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Freeway/High speed riding

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Maetrik, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    So i finally got myself a bike, a Suzuki SFV650 Gladius. A mate modded it and he upgraded to a zx10r so i was lucky enough to pick this up for a steal.


    I have been riding around my area the past few nights, getting familiar with the feel of the bike and getting used to riding amongst traffic. Last night i was restless at home so i thought a good burn on the bike was warranted, and decided i'd rip down the freeway.

    I've ridden dirtbikes my whole life (and am familiar with riding at speed), however i got up to 100km/h on the freeway and felt really unsteady and uneasy. I guess the presence of lines and having a 'boundary' i need to stay within made me feel pretty uncomfortable. On a dirt bike im used to defining my own path and riding any line so even at speed it has a bit of freedom. On the road it felt pretty scary to be honest, the wind resistance on my helmet was full on!

    Basically, can any of you offer some tips to gain confidence at speed on the road? What postures/seating positions do you recommend for best handling/control? I basically squeezed my legs against the fuel tank, drew my arms in close to my body and ducked the head but it still felt odd! Im used to trail bikes which have a much different feel.

    Any suggestions are welcome, it has definitely put me back in my place, i thought i'd be able to rip up the freeway but as they say, slow and steady wins the race!
  2. How much do you weight,have you set the sag.And the next step is tyre presures.Are you saying the bike was unstable or were you outside your comfort zone or a bit of both.
    Riding slabs to me has always been painfull,before the excessive police presence sitting on 140 without a fairing for any length of time is excatly like doing chin the bars,not fun.
  3. Grip with legs, relax upper body and hands. Make sure your arms or back aren't dead straight. Try looking further ahead.
  4. Best thing is to just relax as stated and build up your Fwy time.
    Remember similar when I started riding.
    My initial thought was how the F do you put up with this wind.
    But soon enough, you settle and find your own good Fwy position.

    Don't even think about it now...
  5. Train yourself to be desensitised from the wind and wind noise.
    ear plugs or music helps.

    Tuck under the windshield and concentrate on your position in the lane and an exit in case sh1t happens.

    and as stated relax the upper body. Let your knees, abs support your upper body and bend your elbows.
  6. Zim, bike was definitely stable, it was me who wasn't! I'm 6"4', 110kg. Won't be for long, getting back into footy next year so im working on shedding 10-15kg so any adjustments i make i'll base it on a weight of 100kg's. Can you explain what "setting the sag" is? For your info, the guy i bought the bike off is my height, not sure of his weight but he wasn't a skinny bloke.

    I think it was lack of confidence on my behalf, nothing wrong with the bike. I went to fully close my visor and the wind caught my arm, so i quickly grabbed the handlebars again haha, im willing to say i did shit myself. With one hand on the bars it felt completely stable, i just didn't like the feeling.

    phizog, good to know re: posture. I think without noticing i did have a bit of a "tight" upper body, as much as i probably thought i was being relaxed i was probably holding on for dear life. I will focus on the tight legs and relaxed arms/torso next time.

    The wind was full on, hit the helmet like a ton of bricks, im sure with experience it will become commonplace. I'm actually glad it struck the nerves a bit, has taught me to take my time and go at my own pace despite cars zooming past me.
  7. It does sound like you need to relax and "go with the flow". Assuming everything on your bike is aligned and balanced, it should find a smooth track.

    However Im not so comfortable with the idea of being slower than cars, especially in highway situations. When in my car I notice some people dont even realise how fast they are coming up on me in my big wagon, and change lanes very close.

    As you can imagine on a bike, you are a much smaller target, and driver inattentiveness becomes a much larger concern. You cant even relax in what should be the simplest road situation.
  8. +1 its easy to over control these things (and very tiring too)
  9. Well to be honest, i looked down and at 105km/h they were still going past me at a decent rate.

    On my first highway ride i was not prepared to go more than 5-10km/h over.

    Probably should have made it more clear, i can imagine you all picturing me sitting in the far left doing 80 clicks at night haha. Definitely not the case, otherwise i would have stuck to an arterial rd, not a freeway.

    It's horrendous how many car drivers actually see you, lock eyes with you but then just disregard it and make their move anyway. Before i got on the road i thought people just didn't see riders. Now i know they damn right do, they just don't care and expect us to take the evasive action to avoid their pathetic driving.
  10. The bike rides itself all you do is sit on it and let it do its thing at speed, like everyone said RELAX.
  11. I think i should relax by going for another freeway ride tonight ;).

    Thanks guys, as simple as it may sound, being told to relax will help me do so.

    I was sitting on the bike going along last night unsure of posture and position, which in turn made me uneasy and probably lead to being more unsteady than if i'd just relaxed and 'let the bike do its thing'.

    Hope to attend one of the Saturday morning Learner rides once ive built up a bit more confidence.
  12. Maetrik, just pretend like your invisible, if you dont expect them to see you, then you wont be so surprised when they dont. biggest thing to start with is to not sit in the drivers blind spot. remember the aim of the game is to get from a to b safely, not to get there with as few drivers as possible seeing you.

    but its all part of roadcraft and you will learn it as you go along

  13. good idea, they are a nice crowd.

  14. Yeah i avoid the blind spot, i'd rather get stung by a camera for going 15km/h over the speed limit and get in front of someone than sit there and let them blindside me.

    I think im fairly good in where i place myself within a lane, as you said though i'll learn the roadcraft with more experience. Hence why i'd love to go on one of the learner rides, really need someone with experience to critique my riding style as i'm here to learn.
  15. Sag is how far the bike sinks on the suspendion from zero weight on the centrestand,if you have one,to when you are sitted,its supose to be 1/3 of the full travel,one trick to dont sqweeze the grips to tight with you hands and relax you shoulders,dont forget to breath and look well ahead.It ammases me how many even high end bikes have never been set up for sag.Might be worth asking at your next service
  16. I am taking it to Peter Stevens tomorrow, might get them to have a look at it.

    Thanks bud.
  17. BTW Maetrik, not sure if anyones commented already... but that is one BITCHIN' ride! Lookin' very nice indeed. Bet you're stoked with it haha.

    Cheers, and don't worry, you'll get the hang of the highspeed thing pretty quick - boingk
  18. Reminds me of my ride home on my first bike from Geelong back to Melbourne.
    Getting up to speed felt awesome, but once you are there for the first time on a bike you realise it's bloody quick!

    I had REAL trouble getting a hand off the bars for long enough to switch the fuel tap to reserve (which I ended up having to pull over to do). It just wasn't 'comfortable' and didn't feel right or stable (me, not the bike).

    It will come to you in time.. I think it's just going to be a matter of getting to know the bike (along with the relaxation that others are advising!!) the more you ride it.

    *All statements from this point on are based on a virtual world with no laws, dangers, or popo*

    One thing that might help is to go a bit faster for a small squirt. When you came off the freeway, how much more stable, alert and responsive did you feel back on the 60km/h roads? If your virtual world has any appropriate roads with good visibility, little/no traffic, you could try running it up to 130-140ish in a straight line, then head straight back to the freeway which should be a little more comfortable.
  19. Road bikes do move around a little, effected by the road surface, wind, but primaily "you" the rider. Relax into it, and let the bike be a bike.
    As everyone else has said :)

    Off road, when your bike has been traversing the variou humps, ruts, and bumps, you would have learnt through experience to ride "with" the bike. You do the same on the roadbike, but your rider inputs are more subtle. In a fw weeks you"'ll start to get a bit of that feel you need, to ride "with" your roadbike.

    And yes check the suspension settings where possible, so they are optimal for your weight.

  20. Thanks guys the advice is really encouraging. As you've all said, a little relaxation combined with a growing familiarity with how the bike feels and i'll be laughing.

    raven, i think you've nailed it in saying the rider inputs 'are more subtle'. This is exactly where the difference lies for me, im so used to throwing a bike around, putting it where i need it as you do and have to do with dirt bikes, to now be stripped of the ability has left me feeling a tad vulnerable.

    I intend to stick to 60-80km/h roads for the next week or so, i'm trying to practice my braking and cornering from the lesson i had before getting my L's. Even getting used to the controls is a challenge in itself, im used to a switch for lights and that's it. I couldn't even start the bike for an hour when i first got it, had no idea.

    I am learning rapidly, looking forward to a ride after work tonight thats for sure.