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First bike; first drop

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Mike9999, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Hey guys

    I'm a newbie when it comes to bikes; Got my learners in Jan this year and bought my first bike last week - a 2009 kawasaki ninja 250r. Not what I had in mind when i started but the honda cb250s on the market were a bit older and i wanted something relatively recent, although still second hand. Plus it was at a good price ($5000) without too many km's (6000) and still under warranty.

    So I took it for a ride today to the local shopping centre carpark. It was deserted so I decided to practice some emergency braking. All was going well until i broke at around 50km/h. Late into the brake the front wheel locked, I lost balance and the bike dropped to my right. Scratched up the fairing a bit, as well as the exhaust. Right indicator punched a whole straight through the fairing, was pretty difficult to get it back out.

    Im a little annoyed, mainly about the indicator and the damage it caused, but the bike already had a few scratches - really glad i bought a second hand bike.

    My main concern is, how do i avoid this happening again?? The road surface was dry, level, and clean. The wheels were dry. What do I do if the wheel locks up like this again?
  2. So you were braking fine then it locked & you fell over, normally locking the front occurs very early in the braking process, typically from grabbing the brakes too hard..

    Did you check the surface where it locked, any loose gravel or oil there??

    Depending on where you are situated, I would suggest getting along to one of the Saturday morning learner practice sessions where you can discuss emergency braking with some very experienced & helpful people.

    Also go & introduce yourself in the Welcome lounge...
  3. Thanks for the reply. Sorry for the lack of manners, forgot to welcome myself, all taken care of now:)

    I checked the road and it was clean as a baby's bottom - no loose stones or gravel, no oil. Tires have plenty of tread and aren't worn out. I remember the instructor at the HART course I did told us to get on the front brake and squeeze harder as you progress through the brake, which is what I was doing.

    This was the fastest that I'd done an emergency brake so far, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.
  4. It's a bummer to drop but better to drop in a practice than a real emergency.

    Sounds like you squeezed too hard but armchair diagnosis is always a tad difficult.
  5. Yeah, could be that I squeezed it too hard toward the end....gah, can't get it out of my head...
  6. The instructor is correct, but it is completely up to you to moderate your braking so that you don't quite get to the lock up stage. Unfortunately, you have no real experience with that, and it bit you.

    You are doing the right thing by braking progressively harder but you have to ease off a little nearer to the end of the braking section, so as not to lose the front end.

    It's a fine balance that will come with practice.
  7. You most likely grabbed the brake lever rather than squeeze.

    Also with shopping centre carparks which are usually concert would have smoother than normal road surface resulting in easier to loose traction.
  8. 1. You scored a bargain. Thats a good price for that bike.
    2. Listen to Raven :D

    I've locked the front once or twice whilst e-braking. Its always been towards the end. My guess would be its because the inertia force in the wheel that is making it continue to turn against the brake has gotten smaller than the traction force you have between road and tyre, ergo: lock and slide. Luckily I was able to release the brake before I ate road.

    Normally in an e-brake situation you have something to "aim" for. For example, oh shit, that soccer mum just pulled out of that side street, BRAKES! Two things will happen, 1) you'll t-bone her POS 4wd and there was nothing you could do because there was 5m to brake from 60k/hr. OR 2) You'll get your speed sufficiently under control and stop in time. In example 1, bad luck, do your best. In example 2, there will be room for you to release the brakes if need be.

    Carparks are normally covered in gravel, oil, white lines, engine fluids. Might have been something you couldn't see that brought you down. I'd practise e-braking somewhere you know the road is good.

    Chin up, order some new parts and invite some mates around to help you fix your bike.
  9. Thanks for the replies guys, I've since been doing a bit more riding whenever I can, got in an hour or so today before it started to spit, but I think that one mishap has dropped my confidence a little with practicing e-braking...still haven't had the balls to try it again albeit at slooowwwwww speeds...will have to work my way up gradually...bah :|
  10. I concurred. My local S/C is about 3 yrs old and they all have concrete instead of asphalt. You gotta be careful going up there, especially during wet conditions.

    It's sort of unwritten rule that the average newbie would drop his/her bike in the first few weeks. I have the same Ninja (in my sig) and actually bought off a guy who had done 18kms (yes, his ONLY ride) before dropping it at low speed and damaged the L) fairing. I now have 14000 on the clock since last June and feel pretty confident. When you are ready, replacement fairing can be found from your local wreckers or internet. Don't walk in Kawasaki dealer as they will charge you $550 (not including labour) for a side fairing.


    And I bought my replacement from here for half price :)

    Oh, and don't forget you can get your hands dirty by following technical forums. I use
    http://www.ninja250forum.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=26&topic=660.0 (download the Factory Service Manual from here. It's a MUST if u wanna spend intimate time with your bike)

    And of course, netrider :)
  11. Thanks for the information CeeKill. I've been on the ninja250 forum quite a bit since i bought the bike, a great source of information there. I'm getting used to the damage now, reminds me to keep my head screwed on tight when I'm riding...:)
  12. No problem.
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
  13. A damaged bike is also a less likely stolen bike :p
  14. Well, i dropped it again in the same carpark doing the exact same thing!! However, I managed to prevent it from hitting the ground (probably by a few centimetres, couldn't really see, but it was damn close!)...thank god! If it had hit the ground it would've been on the undamaged side, so massive sigh of relief:)

    I'd been practicing e-braking for a good half hour, around 20-30km/h, sometimes 40-50km/h. I think I can safely conclude that when i even slightly jump on the front brake (ie: not a gradual, smooth application), especially towards the middle/end of the brake, the front will lock. This is advice that has been constantly drilled into me but I guess it's experience that really hit the nail on the head.

    On a side note, when I did drop it, the first thing I did was to kill the engine, as i noticed I was really giving the throttle a good yank while i tried to hold it up (lucky the clutch was in)...first time I've used the killswitch for it's intended purpose!

    Last time I will practice at that carpark however.](*,)
  15. Hey mike

    Its good as that you're keeping enthusiastic about trying e-braking.

    Im a newbie, just got my bike last week and I havent tried it yet.

    To see yourself trying and dropping it and learning from it is encouraging to all newbs around!

    Keep it up. Literally! haha

  16. go do a course through HART - not far from you and cheaper than repairing your bike :) ebraking is essential so practicing on someone elses bike can help :)
  17. Mmmm... Let's see. Ist time at that car park, you dropped it. 2nd time in that ca park, you nearly dropped it. 100% imporovement!
    3rd time at this car park you might have learnt something and not locked it up....oh...wait a minute, your not going back to that car park!??

    Oh well, just when you were starting to learn something perhaps, you decide that the problem is the car park.!!

    The problem!!...is your inability to moderate your brake pressure correctly, to avoid locking it up, at this early stage in your developement.
    You should be conquering THAT original car park, by learning and developing a 'feel' for your brakes and traction limitations.

    Changing car parks, is a "claytons fix"... (groan)
  18. Glad I can help Adrian :)

    Thanks for the reality check Raven. I need to remind myself that I am the problem...not the carpark...not the bike...but ME!! I look forward to a lot more intimate sessions with that carpark and emergency braking.

    But what's a "Claytons fix"??
  19. I'm glad you got my point. Sorry if it was a little harsh. I know there are times when it is wize to step away from something before inviting disaster, but in this case, to stick it out and adapt is the better course of action, i believe.
    Don't think of training for an emergency stop. Cut yourself some slack and just try to stop as quickly as practical. Just as you are about to come to a halt release the brake and roll on through. Go for complete stops after you've had a week or two doing it that, to get used to it.

    Remember that you can't stop if you're falling off, so learn to get a feel for when you are getting close to the max grip you have, and ease it off a smidge - only this time, you will be actually be stopping. :)

    Anyway, don't let it beat you, but creep up on the full on "stop", a little at a time, just like you would for anything else. Feel your lever and develope a "feel" for that as well. While in this stage i would forget about the rear brake. You can reintroduce that, later on.

    Good luck, and take some time - several weeks of it in fact. There is no hurry, but stick to it reguarly, and you WILL get alot better. :)

    Many years ago there was a non-alcoholic beer, called "Claytons".
    Their motto was, ' it's the beer you drink when you don't want a beer'. My reference to it in this context, was suggesting that your fix by going to a different place was going to feel like a victory, when in fact it would be a defeat.
    Perhaps only a hollow victory. :)
  20. Are you keeping your head up while you were doing this? I was practising e-braking on the roof of my local carpark last thursday night, working my way up from around 30 km/h to nearly 60 (it's a big carpark), if you don't keep your eyes up it is very easy to loose balance and I'm guessing that when you started locking it you looked down at the wheel? If you're going straight you should be able to keep the bike up even if you do lock the wheels.

    Edit: Oh and it may seem obvious but check your tire pressures! I borrowed my sisters car the other night because it was drizzling and I just needed to buy some milk and while braking for a roundabout the front tires slide a bit on the bumpy damp road. I have driven her car before so knew it wasn't exactly normal, so checked the tires and of course they were all low because she has no idea about that kind of stuff.