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Help needed adjusting to new bike!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by mbikeboy, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone! I'll give a quick back-ground, then launch into my concerns which I am hoping a few people may be able to help me with. :)

    I used to ride a Kawasaki ZZR-250 (and my mates Aprilia RS250 regularly) many years ago, accumulated about 20k klm's of experience in all weather and conditions, and was a confident and capable rider...until I lost my licence being a fast/youthful twat. I stayed away from bikes for years afterwards, and only recently got my bike L's again.

    Anyway, cutting a long story short, after weeks of waiting I took delivery of my Cagiva Mito yesterday and have been riding it all of today. It's been fantastic being back on two-wheels again, love the new bike, etc but I have found a few issues with my riding technique which have taken the shine off things. It's with things that have never been a problem for me previously, so you can imagine how I'm getting frustrated with myself. I realise with time, practice and familiarality of the bike, things will get better, but in the meantime... :?

    The Mito's got a reputation as a razor-sharp handler, but for some strange reason I'm struggling to make it turn in a lot of the time, and for whatever reason it's because of me! In particular I am having trouble turning right at roundabouts, and off-camber corners. I have a feeling that because of the aggressive riding position which I'm still adapting to, I'm incorrectly putting too much weight on the bars and trying to muscle the steering rather than let the head (looking where I want to go),hips, feet and knees do the work. I also noticed that when I act on instinct it 'gels' and I corner better (!), but if I think/plan the corner I bollocks it up royally. :cry:

    Another thing, I find myself on occasion turning the front end in a bit quicker as my previous bike was a ZZR n the new Mito steers in much faster...quite different bikes I know! I tend to find myself running a little wider on exit than would be normal, but not in a concerning way, I'd just like to be able to tighten my line up at will and be more confident doing so. :?

    Other than getting out and practicing over n over, I'm unsure what I can do to improve my techniques and gain a bit more trust in what the bike can do. I'm fine with riding a 2-stroke, throttle control and gear selections, road-craft, etc, it's just cornering and confidence in handling which has got me a bit frustrated and frazzled. Would somebody perhaps be interested in some 1on1 mentoring or does anybody have any advice which they can offer? Anything which may be of use is greatly appreciated! :grin:
  2. highly reccommend a advanced riding course in your situation, maybe start with cornering skills course, trust me, youll ride away from the course like a motogp rider
  3. Unable to because I'm on "L plates" and to do those kinds of courses you have to be unrestricted which I find incredibly stupid! In Victoria, there is a 'learner to licence' offered, however this doesn't focus on my concerns...just very basic road-craft. I know how to corner and never had problems in the past, I just haven't got it sussed on my new bike yet and need somebody who's got experience to help get me back in form. :)
  4. Find an empty car park, or industrial suburb, on Sunday and practice, practice, practice . . .
  5. It'll take you several months with regular riding to get settled into the new bike.
    Other than that, YOU already have identified what you might be doing wrong - something to be commended for, coz alot of blokes would'nt be able to.
    I rend to agree with your self analysis of what might be going on - just be patient...don't force it, and let it come to you naturally...give you and your bike a chance to develope the partnership you need.

    Use your upper torso and legs (grabbing the tank) to support your weight and release the weight on the bars, so that you can finesse the corners.

  6. Cheers for that Raven! I'm going out for a legthy ride this morning and will concentrate on using my upper torso and legs more to improve my posture and technique. I reckon this will make a big difference, so I'll let you know tonight how things go anyway mate! :grin:
  7. I will come back to you I'm sure.
    I know if I dont ride several times per week I get a little rusty (I usually ride every day) and I know someone who only rides weekends and hates the first 50km so I can understand your situation.

    Give it time and practice heaps and you'll be ok.
  8. +1.
    I also found that it helped to keep elbows low, pushing lightly on the inside bar and keep a very light grip on the outside bar. An instructor pointed out to me that I was tensing up and preventing the bars from turning easily by unconsciously resisting with the outside hand. He got me to take the outside hand off altogether, as an exercise, and bingo, started turning properly.
  9. Instinct is fine when you're competent. Hips, feet, head, knees never do the work. The bars need force applied to them... very little force in the whole scheme of things. Every time you fail to turn enough, or tip in when you wanted, give yourself a good scolding for failing to do ONE very simple thing, apply pressure on the bars.

    Don't complicate things, just give yourself a good kick up the bum and conciously make a co-ordinated steering effort, not just the clench, look, lean.
  10. Well I've been riding around all morning and trying out a few combinations of techniques...good news, I've improved dramatically with my cornering and got a LOT more confidence in the handling! :grin:

    I found that by gripping the tank a lot firmer with my inner thighs, supporting my torso using my stomach and back muscles (rather than with my wrists), and dropping the elbows down more, cornering has been a lot easier. By relaxing the arms more, I can push the inner bar and relax a lot more on the outter bar, so it steers in far smoother, accurately and confidently. Altering my line is also a lot easier now because the steering is so light and responsive...I'm beginning to see why these bikes have the reputation they do. As an added bonus, my wrists aren't aching anywhere near as much after a ride! Haha!

    Obviously I'll be investing more practise refining my actions over time and becoming more familiar with the bike (building the relationship up as you could say), but this mornings efforts have been highly productive and riding is far more enjoyable and less stressful!

    Thanks to all your help and suggestions!!! Please keep the suggestions/advice/etc coming, and I'll continue to give updates on my progress. :grin:
  11. Mbike Boy, glad to hear the advice you have received is having some much-needed benefit.

    I can strongly empathise with your situation - I finally made the upgrade to a K2 Suzuki GSXR-600 late last year after having owned and ridden a ZZR 250 for approximately 4 years prior to that.

    In a nutshell, I'm still experiencing frustration adapting my riding style and technique to my new bike and learning to trust its capabilities in terms of improved grip and handling.

    As the others have said, it's something that will take time and practice, but I find that it helps to focus on one task at a time each time you go out for a ride. E.g Start off by focusing on looking through the corner, and once you have this mastered then focus on gripping the tank harder with your legs and using your upper torso to steer, followed by positioning your body on the bike for cornering etc and so on.

    It really does help if you can get out on the bike as often as possible in order to build up your sense of confidence and familiarity. But most importantly of all, try and enjoy the experience - it's what makes bonding with a newly acquired motorcycle all the more rewarding!



    "I live my life a corner at a time.... Knee down!"
  12. I second this wtf is with hart not letting people do riders courses unless on a full licence... wouldn't it make more sense to teach us NOW?
  13. Mbike boy, I'm glad that you have posted this topic up. I myself have ridden a NSR150sp for 4 years and its now been 2 years that i have stopped riding. A few weeks ago i've gotten myself a NSR250 its a little bit of an upgrade but going back on the road has been real frustrating.

    I'm having trouble remebering to turn the indicators off which l feel so stupid when i realise coz everyone would know you are a noobie rider and also finding it hard to trust the bikes handling ability.

    BUt one major problem for me is going in between traffics, I can remember days when i was on the 150sp which i felt very confident going through the smallest gap possible, even if i had to turn my mirrors inwards i would still do it just to squeeze through between cars. Now i have no confidence at all and even feel intimidated when there's heavy traffic.

    This was the way i learnt going between traffic on the 150sp :
    One day a fellow rider past me while i was waiting in a heavy traffic jam. Straight away i thought to myself, if he can pull it off on a bigger bike, i'm sure i can too! So it all started me trying to keep up with him knowning and keeping in mind, if he can do so can I!
    Now i feel intimidated to even ride out in peak hour :cry:
    Do you or does anyone share the same experience in regards to going in between cars when there is heavy traffic jam?
  14. It's always appeared to me, that the L courses are aimed at taking someone who's never even seen a motorbike before, and get them to the point that they are able to at least control it in a fundimental way - Then kick you out onto the roads, as canon fodder for cars...those that manage to survive THAT, are then offered more advanced riding courses due (I guess) to them thinking that you probably know enough for it to be of some use.

    But in one sense it is true...As learners, many riders would not have enough general experience to handle the more advanced courses, so they wait until you do (full licence)

    Unfortunately, if you're a rider that has had some previous experience (pre "L"s), or has taken to riding very well, you are left to your own devices a little.

    Not sure if the California Superbike School has any such conditions on it's availability to riders?

  15. I was talking to a mate in Adelaide lastnight who recently bought a Mito SP525 (essentially the same bike with different styling). It seems he was experiencing the exact same problems I had, so I was able to give him a few pointers thanks to your help! :)

    Raven was dead-right in his explanation on why L-platers can't do the courses, and I am in agreeance as well. While the 'learner to licence' course is a step in the right direction to newbies education, I feel that it doesn't go far enough and should incorporate far more practical time (30 mins currently), than theory time (computer and classroom). There should be a few other specialty courses available to learner and inexperienced riders (ie cornering & braking, etc). Surely it's in the governments best interests and ours to give us every chance on the roads...

    As for lane-splitting abilities, there isn't enough traffic where I live for me to bother! Hehe! I'm heading into Melbourne next week on the bike so I may be tempted to do it, but I'm a pretty patient person by nature n would prefer to arrive a few minutes late than dead on time. ;) I guess lane-splitting is one of those things that only you can decide if you're comfortable enough doing it...I used to do it all the time, but being on a new and semi-unfamiliar bike, and having rusty skills I probably won't for a while yet.
  16. It *is* always tempting to follow another splitter using the whole "if HE can fit - I must be able to" justification, but I try and resist that temptation.

    I have my personal rule-set of when its appropriate and when it isnt to split and I dont want my decision making clouded by someone elses slightly different personal rule-set. If a gap is too close for comfort when I first look at it its STILL too close for *my* comfort even if a 2Lt Triumph Mega-chrome-coated-cruiser slides through it ok...

    Not trying to tell you not to split - but try and make sure you're doing your own risk-assesment and not relying on the dude-infront!
  17. [quote="~DadAgainIt *is* always tempting to follow another splitter using the whole "if HE can fit - I must be able to" justification, but I try and resist that temptation.

    Not trying to tell you not to split - but try and make sure you're doing your own risk-assesment and not relying on the dude-infront![/quote]

    I agree with you that I should have my own set of risk-assesment rather than relying on the dude in front.. but I guess everyone needs abit of a kickstart...

    Its going to take fair bit of time be4 I get comfortable with lane-splitting, I myself do have patient too but its more on the safety side that I choose to wait in line. Yesterday for example, I waited for 3 sets of lights and was still a long way from getting a smooth run. I must admit I was nervous with all the traffic but what made me more nervous was the temperature gauge going higher and higher. Thats when I decided I had to move my way up the front. Either way, Thanks for the tip!
  18. Very well said...
    One can follow another rider and learn from them, but be careful allowing their "judgement" to become your own. The skillsets can be completely different.
  19. To be fair, HART's Advanced and Intermediate courses are open to anyone that holds a license (doesn't need to be a full one). You can even ride their big Hornets on a provisional/restricted license, provided it's a course on their skidpan anyway.

    As for lanesplitting practice.. Filtering and lanesplitting takes a degree of slowriding skill, and nobody buys a bike to ride slow - they buy a bike so they can do 293kph on a 2nd-hand R1. ;)

    Okay, maybe that's a bit cynical, but I've not met many new riders who enjoy the challenge of riding slowly, doing feet-up U-turns, etc. They hate slowriding because it's challenging, they avoid slowriding because they hate it, they never get good at slowriding because they avoid it.

    It's easy enough to practice on your own, though.

    Agreed that blindly following someone through moving traffic can be risky - When the cars are moving, gaps can open and close almost without warning, like waves at a cave beach. *nod*