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Confidence in the twisties - how to improve ?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by doonx, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. I went out by myself around 3pm on Sunday arvo. From Mulgrave up to the very end of Springvale Rd, then up through Warrandyte into Kangaroo Ground, then to Kinglake, St Andrews.

    After that I took the road to Whittlesea then back to Melbourne

    I did this specifically cause I remember the last ride I went on, the twisties really gave me some curry. I used to ride Reefton and Black Spur with confidence and enjoyment, but that was before my off back in April (suburban off in Hawthorn cause a car pulled out in front of me). Now, the bends just make me feel worried, I rode them very conservatvely and whenever I was going just a little bit quicker than slow into a corner, I felt uncomfortable and nervous.

    To me, riding those roads with thatstate of mind is not safe, for me, or for others on the road. The reason I went out there was that I thought the only way to over come this feeling is to attack the fear by facing it. Logic still tells me that the only way I'm going to feel good out there on those roads is by practice. But sheesh, it's really not that enjoyable right now.

    If I didn't setup for a corner correctly I found myself veering toward the centre line or shoulder and when that even felt like it was happening I came off the power. At slow speeds this caused the bike to jerk a little and change it's pitch, this just added to my tentativeness.

    Any tips on how to get through this safely and correctly? I can't afford nor do I ever want another fall, touch wood.

    The country side out that way is however gorgeous, and I do love riding. Strangely I ride the Monash everyday, without a worry in the world and have high confidence while out there.

  2. I have the opposite problem - happy in the country - very unsure in traffic.
    Familiarity & Practise is what I keep getting told - and they're right of course.
    Now that the weathers improving - gonna try get out there much more - good luck to us both
  3. Doonks,

    Forget speed for a while, concentrate on a smooth flow. Take it easy in the twisties and try to get a nice rythm going. Practice using the vanishing point to judge the road, and try to concentrate on getting a smooth transition going, without worrying about getting through the twities quickly.

    Every now and then I do a lap of the spurs or the StAndrews - Kinglake - Healesville - Yarra Glen = Wattle glen loop taking it easy and just enjoying getting the rythm right. It feels good, and I find my riding improves a bit.

    The Kinglake-StAndrews road is probably not a good one for you to practice on if you're a bit nervous. Myers Creek/Chum creek roads are probably a little better. Try doing a couple of laps.

  4. Strange, isn't it?
    I've got the opposite problem, not feeling all that happy in city-traffic (even though I've had my first few years on bikes in heavy city-traffic).
    Seem to get nervous when traffic's tight, feel I need more space, think too much about all those potential "head-hunters" closeby...hardly ever lane-split.
    Back to your post....how about approaching one of the "older" NetRiders to go out for a day on a 1-on-1 basis. Some theory-talk at the start and during stops/ lunch...practical stuff on the road.
    Just an idea
  5. Doonks - ditto what everyone else has said!

    Your survival reactions are amped up - which is perfectly normal but perfectly a hindrance.

    If you have the KC books, reread them - if not, borrow, beg or steal them and read them, then go for a ride putting the techniques and philosophies into practice... your SR's will abate of their own accord. It worked for me...

    Biggest thing I found was tension. You don't even know you're carrying it... and being tense on the bars makes you go wide... which amps up the SR's more, which makes you tense more, which makes to go wider, which amps up the SR's more, which makes you tense even more which makes you go wider, which... etc etc

    Relax, take it easier to start with, apply sound riding techniques and you'll outlogic the SR's.

    Good luck with it mate.


  6. Figure eights in a carpark are great for building up confidence in turning the bike.
    Just start as tight as you are comfortable with and tighten as you gain confidence.

    Seems like the main problem is your worried about a car pulling out in frount of you rather than your ability to control the bike.
    I guess that will just take time to get over.
  7. i was talking about this with flashfire not so long ago and the fact that we both feel more comfortable in traffic. (i commute approx 250km in traffic per week and am lucky to go for a ride up the OR maybe once a month).

    i put my increased confidence levels whilst riding in traffic down to the fact that when in the city i can only go so fast - the flow of traffic generally dicatates the pace. whereas when i've got a virtually deserted twisty road ahead it's up to my personal judgement to set reasonable and sensible limits upon myself.

    that said, the last time i was up the OR a couple of weeks back, by about the 4th lap i was feeling pretty relaxed so i obviously familiarity with the road ahead is also an influencing factor.
  8. Confidence is achieved with time on the bike.

    There are not hard anf fast rules with confidence.... Reading all the books int he world wont help unless you are ready to practise what is preached.

    The best way to learn is to go riding with someone that knows what they are doing.
  9. All good advice, esp. repeating a nice set of twisties over and over.

    Read the corners: lines formed by the sides of the road narrowing = bend tightening = slow down. Lines widening = speed up.

    Go in cautious, come out faster.

    Drop the shoulder on the inside side.

    If you're feeling anxious, give the mind something to do - like make a chant out of one of the phrases above. Or whatever works for you - if it's sitting watching in fear or making critical comments, that needs to be replaced with something more positive.
  10. I really like the suggestion of hooking up with other experienced riders.

    I too feel like I am just super slow through corners (especially after riding with super six on his 250 honda on the weekend.) He was keeping up with me no trouble at all!

    With all that has been said in previous replys I think following somone who has a smooth corning style will help to see where you are going wrong (I could use my own advice here).

    As for traffic I think its sensible to have a bit of nerves as I have seen so many idot drivers just switch lanes with no warning. My motto is best to be out of the line of fire even if they are not aiming!!

    So any of you old folks out there keen to show me or dooks a few pointers post a reply here.
  11. That's one of the best potential benefits of a group like netrider.

    Repeat after me: "It's not a race." The idea is to have fun.

    Don't be alarmed if a good rider on a 250 can outpace you on your 600. Have a look at the race times for 250s, 600s and liter bikes at (say) the Superbikes or the MotoGP. The 250s often maintain lap times that would see them qualify ahead of some of the litre bikes, especially on a tight track. If you are overly concerned about being slower than someone on a smaller bike, you may well come unstuck trying to protect your dignity.

    See the other post about the guided rides in the Yarra Ranges. The advice you get there is going to be heaps better than what you might get from old farts. I'm old enough that I never had any 'formal' training at all in bike riding. I've picked up a fair bit over the years, and can pass on a few tips, but except for really obvious things I wouldn't be confident evaluating another rider's style.
  12. Why not go on an instructed ride, or come to the superbike school with us in October? You'll learn heaps.
  13. I would be there in a flash, but I'm not available on that weekend :(

    I'm going to post for a ride on 22 Oct for anyone that would like to come along, and hopefully suggest a good route for this purpose
  14. I'd say that would be true of most older riders. Over time you pick up bad habits as well as good, and lose the ability to differentiate between the two. It is however worth remembering that on the road, it's not all about the rider's style. If the objective is to increase confidence, much of the required 'comfort factor' comes from understanding the road itself. For example, understanding factors that might put gravel just where you don't need it, like recent rain across a cambered bend leaving gravel about for a couple of days or more. Racing schools are great, and you learn a lot about handling a bike, but don't forget that racing schools are about racing, and some things that are required on a purpose designed racetrack can kill you on a road with trees, traffic, and other people who ride/drive just like you. The main thing about older riders is that they have survived to BECOME old.
  15. Guys & Gals - please see ----> this thread.

    I've put this thread up in Ride Events so that we can actually put all the good things posted above into practice.

    Please Please Please come along, I reckon it will mean a real lot to a lot of beginner/internediate riders who face all these issues and more.
  16. The two things that built my confidence was going to the pocket bike day the last year....more than enough corners to get over it and the bikes aren't all that stable. The second thing was repeatedly riding to and from work along the Yarra Boulevard.

    And yer it has taken me ages to get back to a reasonable level after my off eariler this year but I'm still not back to where I was. But I do think I'm adding some substance to the confidence so if I get myself in the same situation as I did during my stack I can deal with it without sliding down the road/gravel trap.
  17. Confidence comes from riding, riding, riding, riding, riding, riding, riding, riding, riding, and more riding.

    The more you get out there the better you become. Just remember some days it just doesn't happen for some reason. I am no expert at all, but some days it just feels right and other days it feels like nothing is working for me.
  18. I recently had an off and am also building my confidence up.. I cant say I would ever great at twisty stuff.. Far from it..

    While I was out of action I read Twist of the Wrist and Proficient Motorcycling. Both excellent books and a must read for any newbie who has never tackled twist stuff.

    Anyway, I have been making regular visits to Kinglake and practicing like mad.. Definated have improved but im no master..

    Even though Im only a newbie in the motorcycling world I agree with Steve - Practice, Practice, Practice..

    Just my 2 cents worth