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Came off for the first time - seeking help

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by mrnamjama, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. The other day I thought I'd go on a relaxed ride on a somewhat windy road in Canberra - the one going past the yacht club, for those who know it.

    I wanted to practice my leaning into a turn and downshifting, both things I was taught a few weekends ago at the Stay Upright advanced I course.

    I came to a tightening left hand corner (I knew it tightened, you can see quite well) at what I thought was a brisk but reasonable speed. I leaned into the corner, started turning... and the pegs scraped.

    At this point I panicked - since I knew that the corner tightens, I thought there is no way I can make this turn if they're scraping already... I straightened up, braked hard, locked up for a split second and basically almost came to a complete stop as I hit the leaves and dirt on the other side of the road and slid off. No damage to anything (bike, clothes or me).

    This is the corner:
    htt p://maps.google. com.au/?ie=UTF8&ll=-35.297067,149.107507&spn=0.001666,0.002414&t=h&z=19
    I can't post URL's yet - the corner is the first sharp left turn east of the Alexandrina Drive and Hopetoun Cct intersection.

    I have a few questions now...

    Firstly, the bike I ride is an XV750 Virago (cruiser). I regularly scrape the pegs on it doing turns which to me don't seem particularly tight, and every time it scares the bejesus out of me, basically because I don't know how much more 'leeway' i have in the bending of the peg, before it can bend 'no mo' and the bike digs in, then throws me off.

    So what usually happens is i have a moment of panic and straighten up to a greater or lesser degree, then move on... how can I tell exactly how much leeway there is there? it seems to me that the pegs start scraping at unexpectedly low angles of lean...

    It's mostly because of this regular scraping (and scaring) that I think cruisers aren't for me. I thought they were when i first bought the bike (my first bike, clearly) but now I'm thinking i'd like something with more ground clearance (is this the right term? i want to be able to lean more without the pegs scraping).

    is this actually a very significant difference between cruisers and bikes like say an xjr1300 (or vfr 800, kawasaki versys...), or am i in for some disappointment? Where can i see the difference between lean angle capability in different styles of bikes? What about the 'peg scraping angle' and the 'dig into road angle'?

    In all the riding I do, I think I have a reasonable grip on most things, but it is a complete mystery to me just how safe it is to scrape a peg, and how much lower you can go before it's 'too low'... so i panick and straighten up.
  2. :rofl: Cruisers are not for you!

    Ordinarily, the peg feelers are there to let you know you're getting close to the edge of you tyres, usually around 45 degrees. On a cruiser, the peg feelers are nowhere near 45 degrees, you probably could have leaned it over more & been fine.

    However, starting out at a much slower pace & gradually building up to peg scraping speeds will probably see you live longer!

    Glad you're ok.
  3. Huge difference between a normal bike and a cruiser.

    If you're scrapping the pegs then you're going too fast. If you were on a VFR800 you most certainly would have been able to go through the corner faster without touching the pegs at all.

    I think you have now realized cruisers are not built to go quick through corners.
  4. That's the thing though - I don't know how much more i could have leaned it over before it would have dug in...

    I agree. Up to now, all the peg scraping was at quite low speeds - left and right turns on roundabouts or tight intersections basically. This was the first higher speed one (still low speed relatively speaking, but too high for this corner!).

    I think it must be almost a year now since i started riding this bike, so i have managed to delay the coming off fairly well :p

  5. Yep I see nothing wrong with that statement now! :)
  6. I was on the same course as you. If I have the right guy, I remember watching you on that corner with the cones (wide entry, tight out) as your peg scraped on one lap - the bike wasn't leaned over very far at all and you weren't going very fast. I guess it's just the nature of your particular bike.

    The only way to offset that as as they said on the course, keep the bike more upright and you lean off more. But even doing that on your bike probably won't help much if you want to take corners at a decent pace.
  7. heh, small place hey! I'm a pretty tall guy (6'5"), black helmet, red and cream virago. i certainly did scrape pegs plenty on the course... leaning over definitely helped, but on this corner i think i would have had to get my arse out the side - and i'd never done that before, so it wasn't exactly second nature....

    what were you riding on the day? i might remember, i was drooling over all the fast bikes there...
  8. Black GS500, I was in all black, may have noticed the red P plate, only one of 2 there.
  9. yep, I remember. We were two out of... i think 3 people on restrictions? I did feel somewhat out of place.
  10. Ah, I didn't notice your p plate! The other guy was on a blue GS500. Yes, I know what you mean. It was interesting that most on the course were "mature", I would have expected more young people to do the course.
  11. I also got the distinct impression that quite a lot of the mature riders were coming back after a while and had some habits they had to unlearn - such as the emergency braking with rear brake only...
  12. Get a room you two :roll:
  13. they cn only afford a thread :p

    OP - get a more sports orientated bike, or learn to get your whole body not just your arse off the bike.

    what was it you liked about cruisers, thought it was the bike for you? if it was the looks, plenty of naked more upright sports-tourers out there, and you will get alot more lean off them.
  14. At the course they instructed us to only lean with the shoulders, and leave the arse and knees firmly planted on seat and against tank respectively, so it wasn't somethign that came to mind quickly - the seat of my bike doesn't really lend itself to moving off it quickly either I have to say...

    the virago reminded me of the old school american cop bikes from movies (would have been sportsters i guess) and it sounded fantastic (had vance & hines pipes which i have since removed).... i really should have test ridden a few other bikes, but i fell in love with that one and that was that :)

    what i do intend to do is to go to a nice wide open carpark and ride in an ever tightening circle until i scrape the pegs the entire way around. should get me used to the lean angle
  15. Unfortuntely you reached the limitations of your bike before you had even got to the true corner...We all often talk of riding within ones limits - that includes the limitations of your bike, which is part of the learning process.
    The fact that you stood it up, cannot be c ountered by the usual thoughts of "just tip it in more" etc, because that would have made little difference for you.
    I could mention that you needed to hang off the bike more, but being a cruiser rider, THAT is probably not something you are used to doing either...so we are back to the limitations of the bike, and unfortunately you just exceeded them in this case (good that it turned out so well in the end)

    Well...unless your pegs fold up, you DO know your bikes limitations...sounds like you ride on them reasonably often...so you've answered your own question there..:)

    You know the leeway....when it scrapes - that's about it, matey. And they scrape so easily because it's a cruiser, not designed so much for cornering. It's the bikes inherent design that you are struggling with.

    If you want to, or are able to corner at higher speeds and therefore greater lean angles than your bike can handle, and you are unsatisfied with that, then you have two choices...slow down and reduce the lean angles required, or yes...cruisers are'nt for you, if THAT cornering ability is important enough to you.

    Yes!...heaps...just stand behind any bike and look at the relationship between the peg and tyre contact patch when the bike is upright. The line that you draw in your mind from the pegs down to the contact patch represents just what kind of lean angle the bike is capable of.
    There is not alot of difference between scaping and digging in..your pegs may fold up, but sooner rather than later bits that don't fold up are going to touch down - from that point on, you are close to dig in point and it's time to put your undies on the outside of you pants. :)

    Think of it this way...scraping parts are your bikes way of saying that you've just maxed out the safety threshold. You can regain some lean angle by body position - "hanging off" the bike, but is that really the way you want to ride around on a cruiser?...
    Nup!...it's the wrong bike, IMHO.

    So you have choices to make - do I want to cruise around everwhere and not get too enthusiastic in the corners - Do I want a bike that will allow me to do both pretty well, but is more of a compromize (XJR1300, or VFR), yet is'nt as layed back to ride as the cruiser due to it's different design mantra - Or do I want to sacrifice comfort for cornering, so I can go as hard as I like, and get into the finer points of riding a full blown sportsbike

    The fact that you bought a cruiser in the first place suggests to me that you like a more laid back ride, or like to travel a fiar distance on your rides, yet would still like to be able to tackle corners - I'd go the VFR for that, but bear in mind it still has it's limits, although they are WAY past the cruiser.

    Have a think about it, and in the meantime, recognize your current bikes limitations and stay within them - otherwise you will develope some seriously bad habits which won't transfer to other bikes successfully at all.

    (Sorry if I've repeated anything others have already said - I just answered directly)

  16. :idea: If you've got nothing worthwhile to post piss off.
  17. Thank you John, everything you said makes complete sense. Yes, I do like a more relaxed ride and have no intention to get anything like a supersport. Have to run off now, but yes - very informative post, thanks!

    (PS: yes, the pegs on my bike fold up - that is what i was referring to.)
  18. I reckon you should look at something like a Suzuki GSX1400. Big naked sports tourer - I just want one :)
  19. I know ecactly where your talking about, quite good fun in a car but i find it a bit too bumpy and blind to safely have fun on with a bike.

    As everyone else has said your on the wrong bike but I don't think im experienced enough to reccomend a bike but a sports tourer sounds about right
  20. Again, thank you all for your input. Through the discussion I've realised that I did something else wrong (in addition to going too fast for this bike):

    I think I mostly disregarded the little right kink which comes just before the left turn, which probably placed me too far to the left side of the road. This of course meant I had to make a much tighter turn than I otherwise would have had to deal with.

    After about a year of riding this bike now I think I do have a pretty good understanding of what I'd like from a motorcycle - a close-to-neutral posture (not laid back like a cruiser, not in fetal position like a supersports), a tall seat (6'5"), reasonable touring ability (not crucial - I do mostly just commute on it... under 10kms!) and the ability to 'throw it around' a little bit through the twisties. Not necessarily going quickly, but go through tighter corners confidently.

    sooooo who makes a bike like that? :p i actually think the versys ticks pretty much all those boxes, though the proof will be in the test rides