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Expert Help - Why would a mate struggle on a speed triple

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by ralph, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Hey guys and Girls,

    I have a very good mate who is having a perplexing time riding. He has ridden for about 5 years. 250, L's and P's, then moved up to a speed triple about 18 months ago.

    He has never been a great rider, and believe he needs to practice, and improve on his technique more. He has paid to have the bike lowered (he is short about 5'8), and improved suspension.

    He recently took his father bike for a spin, a VFR800 and believes he was a completely different rider (as did his father who is a great rider). He hit the corners well, and as per his words he didnt have scarey moments like he has sometimes on the speed triple.

    They are both big bikes, and don't know enough to understand why the bike would make such a difference.

    So my question to the netriders: Why would the VFR800 be much easier for him to ride (A pleasure to ride) and the Speed triple be such hard work.

    As a result he is seriously considering selling his Speed Triple to buy a new bike. Before he does that - I am keen to give him some sound advice (if there is a logical reason why the VFR would be an easier ride) - and also maybe what bikes to look at so he doesn't make a similar mistake again.

    As always - thanks for your help

  2. As I'm not familiar with either bike, I think it got everything to do with the engines. One was designed as 'hoon' bike and one was designed as 'sport-tourer'.

    Anyone else?
  3. the suspension on it is ****ed because it was'nt set up properly when the bike was lowered
  4. My first reaction was same as MT1 upon reading that the bike was lowered. I'd be getting suspension professionally sorted making sure whoever lowered it did the job properly. I can't see the riding position of the two bikes making a difference but I guess it's possible.
  5. 5'8 isnt that short? wouldnt imagine he'd need it lowered...
  6. Nah he needed too get it lowered. Maybe a little shorter then 5'8. But yeah, he was struggling to get both feet down on tippy toes. Anyways, he was struggling before the suspension adjustment, which was why he had it adjusted.

    It is really puzzling, why he is struggling so much. I wonder if there is a bit of a psychological part to it as well. He thinks its the bike, so is apprehensive about riding it, and doesnt get into the groove.
  7. viffers are very rider friendly. one risks falling asleep on them.
    whereas the trumpy is designed to give you a rawer feel. and naked 'vs' faired plays a big part in that. possibly not a sensation he yearns for 5 years in to riding.
    so yeah, psychological effect no doubt. feels faster and harder on one than the other.

    have to determine if it is him or the bike. he should get his dad to ride the bike and find out.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. It's funny... My mountain bike I'm at the point that I hate it, feel very uncomfortable on it. Jump on my mates, different brand, and I am so so much more comfortable. Spec is pretty much the same, its just down to geometry, and the mental advantage that gives you. Fareing might also help, like by giving him some 'protection'.

    But think about it, in cars now you have 12 way adjustable seats, adjustable pedals, adjustable steering wheels, etc etc. So you can set yourself up spot on. Bikes, you can move the mirrors... Anything else costs money, except for the higher end bikes.
  9. i have seen the triples out in action and they look like they have an aggressive power band, maybe its just not for him and a bike with a more linear power band would be better? As above to bike in general might just not "fit" him
  10. All the triples have very high seats all things considered.
  11. The triple has a grunty motor right off idle. It likes to sit up.
    Lowering a bike lowers the center of gravity. It tips in a bit easier but will want to sit up under power and brakes more readily.
    It's a bike you have to force and stuff around if you want it to go quick.

    The Viffer is a doddle under 6,500 and runs out of puff at about ten.
    It will under steer under throttle but never really sit up or do anything bad mannered.
    They're so easy to ride, they inspire confidence. Specially in a medium level rider.
  12. Tyre pressures?

    The S3 is a treat to ride, but the different ride position might have one doing it wrong. It might just need some practice, or the lowering put the weight distribution rearwards a bit and buggered the turn-in.
  13. I'm not sure. I'd like to follow him around a bit and watch. I'd like to see (another) suspension guy have a look over it. I'd like to see him try it with different tyres. I had some stand-up issues with the 14 before I tried Metzler M5s on it - issue sorted.

    It could be simply psychological. He doesn't trust it, so he doesn't like it, so ... One answer might be 'trade it in.' If he's happier riding his dad's viffer then maybe that's what he should get.

    My suspicion is that he's never realised there are times when a bike requires gentle and measured control inputs (steering) and some where it requires some force. For whatever reason, that triple sometimes requires a bit of muscle, more so than the viffer, and he doesn't like it. That or there really is something wrong with it - like the steering head bearings are shot or something. That would explain a lot.

    The right answer isn't HTFU, the right answer is to figure out what's going on with that bike and rider, and fix it if possible, or trade the bugger in if not. Otherwise, we're going to have another of the 'I used to ride bikes - horrible things!' blokes.

    Yes - check the tyre pressures first.
  14. Naked bikes tend to have much twitchier front ends than sports bikes. I've never ridden a VFR but I've owned a cbr900 and a blackbird.

    I've ridden a speed triple and I dont recall anything funny about it.

    I remember the first time I rode a naked bike (I'd been riding for years) and for the first 10-15 mins I was tracking all over my lane because I wasn't used to having such "loose" steering, I was used to the heavy, planted sportsbike geometry.
  15. VFR's are great bikes, but the ones I have ridden have left not remembering the journey. They are incredibly neutral bikes, with front ends that seem to stick but (IMO) offer nothing back. The triple isn't the VFR. It's a raw edged street bike that's trying to convey the road and all it's imperfections back to the rider. If your friend doesn't like (or understand) the feedback, they're going to feel uncomfortable.

    It's worth getting the suspension tuned for the rider, if nothing else to get the sags correct. Then have someone tune the compression and rebound to the type of riding he's doing.
  16. It took me two years to properly 'gel' with my Speed Triple (yes, I'm a slow learner). That was after a VFR. But why mess around? VFRs are great bikes and if he'll be happier on one, there's no good reason not to trade.

    But as WayneD says, at least try tyre pressures (and suspension settings) first.
  17. Its certainly possible that it could be the geometry/suspension set up that needs to be looked at now its been lowered but you mention that he had these same views even when the bike was stock; so not being an expert myself - could a tailored suspension set up really overcome this?

    And if not, its either the power delivery of the bike or it is psychological. The way the power is delivered is unlikely to be changed and if its psychological then any adjustments made may not still be enough to overcome it.

    I would suggest given the popularity of the S3 he should be able to make the change to the VFR without it affecting him too much financially and appears there is a lot to gain. I'd rather be a few quid out of pocket to have a bike I'm really comfortable with "out of the box" rather than gamble on some other set up costs for something that may or may not work and would not be able to be recouped when its time to sell.

    Best of luck to him/her either way though - hope they find a good solution
  18. trade it for a VFR ?????? i am only short maybe 5'4 and i cant ride my old mans FJR for shyt... hop on any cruiser and i am hell on wheels
  19. suggest to him he do an advanced riding course? a decent instructor should sort out what he's doing wrong.

    otherwise my suspicions are the springs are too stiff.