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First ride - Disgraceful

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by Nug-Nugget, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Well I just passed my knowledge test today, purchased insurance and went for my first ride on my 07 VTR250. It didn't go as well as I was hoping.

    - I stalled it countless times (I only stalled twice on the pre learner course). Lots of people staring at me during these times.

    - I left the indicator on about 10 times.

    - I rode off with the fuel knob on the off setting.

    - Worst of all I dropped it (thank **** for oggy knobs). I was coming to a stop on the really steep hill and lost balance. It didn't totally hit the floor, I managed to hold it up but hurt my back doing so. There was only a small scratch on the left oggy knob and and little graze on the rear indicator but still really disappointed.

    I'm struggling really bad with coming to a stop, turning my indicator on, and gearing down in a smooth sequence. My friend changed my rear pads and the brakes were squealing and shuddering quite a bit so that was distracting me too.

    I'm also finding it hard to take off at low speeds, like doing u-turns and stop-start turns. I think it's because the friction point of the clutch is too high. I'm thinking of adjusting the friction point but I don't know if that will have a negative affect of changing up gears. Once I'm off and going I'm fine, the gear changes going up are smooth and fast.

    I clocked 25kms today but I don't feel I've made much progress. Does anyone have any advice for me?
  2. Welcome to Netrider!

    A few suggestions ... :D

    - swing by the Welcome lounge for introductions
    - don't know what state you're in, but if in Sydney or Melbourne try and get to the learners practice sessions in the relevant state events threads
    - check out the Mentoring thread & put up your hand for some one-on-one guidance from experienced riders in your area
    - read some of the new riders starting out threads, such as "First Ride on Real Roads" by Ohmigosh etc
    - & of course must read Rob's "Noob" threads (y)
    - & find yourself a good place to practice the slow speed stuff etc, eg a carpark

    Plenty of knowledgeable and experienced riders here to help you out with advice etc, but I think you'll also find much of what you described has also been experienced by other riders when just starting out.

    Take care, relax & enjoy!

  3. Hey RS_Cosworth

    Im a noob too.

    Dont beat yourself up over it! It takes practice. I stalled it a few times on my first ride too, however, i decided to practice in the quiet streets in my area! I also forgot to turn the indicator off numerous times!

    I too know what you mean about the high friction point. This was my first thought when i first rode my own bike, especially since my car has a really low take up point. I know, two completely different things, but it affected me :p But you get used to it pretty quickly though.

    You will get used to gearing down and indicating etc. And slow riding is harder.

    Just practice! Ride often. You will pick it up quickly and it will soon become easy. But will refining your skill will take longer. The other day i was practicing e-braking and doing u-turns at the top of my street.

    I also thought the same thing about gearing down smoothly. Now i just give myself heaps of time to brake and gear down. Dont feel rushed if there are cars behind you!

    I might just ask the pros at this point, when you are slow riding and doing u-turns, how do you control your speed? While i was practicing u-turns i found that i could control my speed easier by feathering the clutch, rather than the throttle or rear brake. Anyone got opinions on this? I might add that i still use the brake and throttle, but the clutch more so :p
  4. Everyting nightowl and tim have said...

    Stick to quiet streets and practice....
    One thing you can do is focus on certain things at a time.
    Like go out and just do stop starts until they become comfortable.
    Probably 30-40 min max per skill you're practicing.

    The indicator thing is common. Many I know just keep their finger on the button and keep pressing it regularly even if they haven't turned as insurance....

    Be paitient and it'll all come together in whatever time it takes which is different for everyone..
  5. Welcome to the 'it's not as easy as it looks' club.
    I've only been out on the road 3 times and have experienced some of the issues that you are dealing with. I'm so lucky that my husband also rides so he is there with me to help me along. That stupid indicator thing really gets to me! Why can't they just make the indicator an auto shut off????? Aghhhh.

    I have found a nice quiet carpark close to home that is ideal for practice, especially cornering and low speed stuff. Can you find something like that around your place?

    Hang in there. There is lots of support on this forum and also the offers of learner days etc.
  6. I'm not a pro...but...
    Feather your clutch against the pressure on the rear brake. Hold the throttle steady. You MUST perfect this coordinated approach to slow riding!
    By using clutch alone, you have no proper speed control and are missing the stability that the rear brake provides at these slow speeds - you'll be impressed. :)

    Ie. How do you imagine a rider on a bike capable of 130+ in first gear, manages to creep along at car park speeds, doing Uturns etc?

    Learn the technique now on the far easier smaller bike, so you won't make a goose of yourself on the bigger bikes, later on. :)

  7. Don't be so hard on yourself! I promise your riding will improve!!
  8. I do use the rear brake, and try keep revs steady. When i say im using clutch to control speed, i mean im using it to change speed, sortof.

    So im riding slow with the rear brake and some revs and the clutch partially engaged. If im doing a u-turn i might find that im falling inwards due to lack of speed. So rather then reduce pressure on rear brake/rev it, i let the clutch out slighty, thus providing the increase in speed i require to stay upright. Or if im going too fast, i will pull in clutch slightly and allow rear brake to reduce speed.

    Which im gathering is what youve said in your post?

    So to corfirm, how should i adjust speed? Eg while doing a slow u-turn, to gain a small acceleration, should i
    a. reduce pressure on rear brake
    b. increase revs
    c. let clutch out a bit
    d. a combination of the above

    Im sure this is something us learners will pick up, with practice, but it would be handy if we started off in the right direction :)

    [edit] btw RS_Cosworth. Not trying to hijack your thread, but i figure we could both use advice :)
  9. RS before heading out on to the streets start by riding up and down your own street or going to a quiet carpark and just practice. I don't know if you have driven a manual car in the past but the motorbikes manual gears is not a h pattern like a car and even if you have driven manual cars in the past it will take some time to get fully used to motorcycle gearing till it becomes 2nd nature.

    I read below thread 10 times before I went out on my first ride and it helped immensely.

  10. Hi RS,

    I'm new as well and have done all of those things and still do. I've just clocked up a 1000k's on my new bike and the difference between my first 25k and now is huge.

    Don't be too hard on yourself, I've found that some days it all clicks in and it feels great and other days I get off and think that was crap!

    It's massive learning curve and will get better with time and confidence.

    I found it useful to sit in my drive way just practising finding my friction point then backing off.

    I'm learning everyday and thats the fun part:)

  11. Thanks for the support and links guys. Just to clarify I live in Sydney and have been riding around in quiet local streets. And yes I have driven manual cars for 10yrs now. There's no quiet carparks I can practise in without crossing major, busy roads and I'm not comfortable with that yet, especially with the drivers around my area (western suburbs).

    Tim_4, its okay I'm as interested as you are.

    I think I'll dedicate a whole day getting friendly with the friction point and very slow acceleration. I've been doing it how they taught me at the stay upright course - rear brake, fast idle, ride clutch, use rear brake to stablise but my throttle control needs a lot of work. I seem to want to just take off as soon as power goes to the wheel. Has anyone ever adjusted the friction point of the clutch? I think this will help me a lot.

    Also I have to get my head around using the right side of the controls and the left side of the controls independently.
  12. Plenty of good advice above and in the rest of these forums.

    Just keep at it and things will improve. Almost everyone will admit to having good or bad days regardless of their experience. Sometimes everything feels right and other times you just want to head home.

    Keep to low traffic areas or spaces where you won't feel too pressured by other road users till you gain some confidence and you'll be feeling much better in no time.
  13. Don't worry, it will all come together, you and your bike will soon become one. Except for the indicator thing. I've ridden 50000km and I still sometimes forget to turn it off and come accross all sorts of riders all the time with the same issue.
  14. Oh yeah, riding in town you see this all the time. I'm guilty of this from time to time but find that the habit of switching the indicator off before changing up works well - a tip I picked up from these forums somewhere. I'm sure other riders use other que's to remind themselves.
  15. Just to share what I have found, only got my learners about 3-4 weeks ago & had my GS500 for a little over 2 weeks now, done about 110ks so far, had some pretty bad weather in Melbourne over the last couple of weeks, so my riding time is down on where I would like it to be.

    One of the first things I found was I wasen't revving enough when taking off, so this caused a few stalls at first then once I got over that I noticed the engine would be labouring a bit after I got completely off the clutch & was moving.

    My instinct as a long time car driver is to not rev the bike much, I have been consciously making sure I rev higher than my car experience tells me to & coming off the clutch slower as I got used to balancing the two out, has made for much nicer take-offs & I am not worried about stalling at intersections or lights anymore, although if its an uphill intersection I have to still concentrate a bit more & adjust accordingly.

    Also when riding slowly, say taking off in first gear around a tight corner, instead of being totally off the clutch I will use it a bit more to control speed while keeping throttle fairly even.

    Dunno if this will help or if I am doing anything badly wrong (don't think so), but seeing I just passed through that first week or 2 of riding experience as you are starting to do, what I discovered might be usefull :angel:
  16. Happens to cagers as well when they change lanes. A 1 minute timer on the indicator might be a good idea. It dooes seem like it could potentially cause a serious accident, although I doubt many accidents have actually been attributed to this.
  17. For now, maybe it will help if look at the indicator as a really low priority. Start indicating well before the turn, switch it off as your last thing once you've cornered.

    That'll give you one less thing to do.

    The friction point of the clutch is a red herring (unless your hands are really small and you actually can't actually ease through the friction point). Each bike is different. Just keep practicing.

    And listen to raven.
  18. No hijack..:)...or if it is, it's for a very good question.

    You are basically doing the right thing. Alot of riders will use the clutch to regulate their speed. But it's not a "golden rule", and I happen to believe that it is not quite correct.

    We are pretty much hard wired to view the brakes as a "speed control".
    So...you may find it a little more intuitive if you use your throttle and clutch combination to set your revs...and use your rear brake to regulate your speed.

    It's what I teach/preach, and it's what I do.

    It's not a case of right and wrong...more a case of right and righter! :)

    Try thinking of it the way I advocate, which is a little more logical for the brain, and see if it works for you after a few decent goes at it.
    This particular method, also ingraines in your skillset, a better feel for the rear brake overall, which becomes very important at the higher skill levels.

    Thus I believe it is the better practice to master.

    See how you go. Just adjust your thinking slightly, and give it a good chance.

  19. seriously? motorcycle gears are piss easy compared to a h-shift. took me about 8 seconds to get used to it. Clutch was a breeze, much much easier to control with your hands than your feet.
  20. Hi RS

    First don't beat your self up. Riding is a skill and like any other skill, to get good you need to practice. Somethings come naturally to some riders but if they don't, then with practice you will get there.

    You identified two of your points of weakness - taking off and coming to a stop. So start of by practicing them. Find yourself a quiet street, preferably a longish one, and take off once you get rolling bring the bike to a stop. Then do it again. Then repeat several times. All the way up the street. Don't forget to check mirrors before each start and each stop. Doing this a hundred times won't take all that long and by then you'll be pretty proficient.

    If you wobble when coming to a stop, get into a car park practice some slow speed riding. The how-to's are covered above. You should be able to comfortably ride your bike without wobbling at about the same pace as a slow walk.

    And like Nightowl said, try to hit a local learner session if there is one close by and stick your name down in the mentor thread. I can't believe Noobs don't use this fantastic resource.

    It seems hard now, but in twelve months you'll be the one giving advice to the noobs

    Good luck