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Highway Riding/Leaning on corners, etc

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Roar2Life, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Hey guys. I've ridden on the highway a couple of times but only for a few minutes (ie. get on at one stop and off at the next). However, yesterday I rode on the highway for about 10-15mins and it scared the shit out of me. I dunno why but I just felt so unsafe and found it really difficult to control the bike against the wind (which wasn't that strong). Is it just something you get used to or what? Also, i've found that going round corners, roundabouts, etc, i'm scared of leaning the bike too far so kinda just putter around fairly slowly. In good conditions how far can you lean the bike. I mean I just don't want it sliding from under me.

    Sorry for the kinda rant but i'm getting a bit jumpy about it.

    P.S. I've got a GPX if that makes any difference re. highway riding.
  2. Same feling i had..... the highway you get used to after a few rides.

    the leaning......well i'm still learning that too..but puttering is a good start...as you get confidence you will find you start to lean a bit more and a bit faster....just make a point of doing it lots and it will fall into place with the rest of the riding...it all takes time and practice.

    oh and keep the black bits on the ground :grin:
  3. I started with a gpx too.

    My first time on a freeway was the ride home from the shop.

    The feeling of being exposed did my head in that night, but it's also the reason we love bikes. Exposed equals freedom equals thrill equals the love of riding... there's no riding without windiness.

    As to the leaning thing, I had the gpx scraping pegs (in good weather of course) and I'm still here.

    Just climb up your learning curve at your rate.

    Can I make a suggestion roar. Do skills courses asap/when you can afford it and spend heaps of bike time getting the basic controls down so that you don't have to think about them - that will leave more brain power left for riding... and get you over the confronting feeling of being exposed.

    Good luck!
  4. Relax your body, will stop your body acting as a sail. Don't grip the bars too tight either. Doing both will make highway riding significantly easier for you.
  5. Oh ya... i remember my first time (my first ride to work)

    I knew the theory behind it all (grip the tank with legs, nice and relaxed on the bars ect ect) but man were m hands sore when i arrived, just nervous.

    But now i love it, i really enjoy finding my gap (either going ahead or behind major traffic) and just riding, its great.

    I also like the wind, sometimes you gotta duck down a bit but the wind.... its part of riding the bike!

    I say you will defintly get used to it as long as you keep doing it. Try and go in less peak hour times, even if that means early.

    Roundabouts and grip. Honestly, there is prob more grip then you will ever use in your first few months if riding (and so we get chicken strips)

    However, learning to trust that grip is a different story but again, time and practice is important.

    Invest in a track day or an advanced cornering school if your really worried.

    Enjoy all this though. Its part of the learning experience! You (like others and me to) will always remember your first few times on a bike and they make great stories over a beer!
  6. hey there roar.....i still get a bit thrown by the wind on the highway but i am getting more used to it as i do highway riding more......you should ride down to my place sometime - not too far on the highway, and a reasonably good highway stretch.

    as for leaning, again, i'm getting better as i get more comfortable on my bike....

    i'm starting to believe everyone when they tell me it does get easier the more you do it.... :)
  7. GPX is a little prone to windshear, but as the others have said: you get used to it.

    Leaning will come in time, but one way to learn how far you can safely lean the bike is get an experienced rider to take you as a pillion on your own bike. They can show you around some corners and twisty roads what the bike is capable of when you've got the skills to control it. Failing that, head out with a learner ride group and follow someone who is slightly more confident than you - you'll soon see what they're doing and adapt it to your own riding.

    Just make sure you stay relaxed. Keeping the top half of your body relaxed (particularly arms/elbows) makes riding through corners infinitely easier. It's easy to tense up, so keep reminding yourself to relax the shoulders and elbows as you ride.

    Have fun and good luck! :)
  8. I think the general consensus around here agrees that you will get used to it, so stop worrying.
  9. yeah when you first do it its f*cking scary.

    i used to live in footscray and work in epping, and i'd have to ride on the highway in the rain, wind and bad traffic for at least 45 minutes, but after a while you get pretty used to it. once you get used to the highway it becomes boring and you yearn for the curves of the streets

    having a heavy bike makes highway riding much easier too
  10. it'll come with time and practice. on my old gpx it was so light i was getting blown around heaps but the more u ride u will become accustomed to it. i have a heavier bike now and apart from trucks i can hardly feel the wind(exaggeration). the riding position is more upright on the fz1 but i overcome this by lying a little flatter :)
  11. with learning how to lean and such.. how soon is too soon to being rider training classes?
  12. "How long is a piece of string?" Maybe it's time for some training when you find yourself making the same old mistakes time and time again, or you're just not satisfied with how well you're riding and don't seem to be able to figure out how to improve.

    I find it interesting that riders will spend $$ on carbon, exhausts, etc to allegedly improve their bikes performance, yet won't invest in rider training to improve their skills which will ultimately give them a bigger bang for their bucks (IMO).

    Just my 2c. A good course and an open mind will give you excellent ROI.
  13. As kezza may remember, during a maintainance session I took my bike and leant it over and said "you can lean the bike this much and still have rubber on the ground".

    Then I showed her the same on hers (cruiser so she's gonna have even worse tyres and even bigger chicken strips).

    While I'd love to brag and say I've ridden the wheels of it and I have no chicken strips and all that hero talk, I ride an 87,000km old commuter with touring orineted tyres that hasnt had it's suspension touched since it left the showroom. As such, the only way I'll get my knee down is if it's followed with my shoulder and then the back of my helmet.

    But certainly, once you have the technique, even old rubber on and old bike will let you ride to within at least 1/2 an inch of the edge, usually less.

    Speed and lean comes with time, so work on smoothness and line first. then with experience, a new sportsbike and sticky 3000km a set of tyres rubber then big lean can happen).

    I think I have maybe 5mm rubber unused on my tyres, and I certainly didnt feel that I was embarrasing myself on the kilcoy ride. And If I was, I wouldnt care anyway.

    Remember though, the road isnt a racetrack, and the "winner" is the person who rides their bike home in one piece, not the one who went fastest for 5 minutes then went home fast in the ambulance.
  14. haha! you'll get over this, mate.

    i remember when i was learning. anything over 40 was alittle worrying.

    now it's 0- 100 with a quick snap of the throttle and a grin on my face :)
  15. +1, I got an experienced rider (who had done the advanced rider training) to pillion me on my own bike. It was beneficial in knowing how my bike can handle and feel, and the posture and head position of the rider, what gear was being using, throttle control, etc.
  16. It is also fun when you ride up the side of a bike and the wind all of a sudden stops. Then you pass it and it hits you again all of a sudden watch out for that.
  17. +1

    experienced that on my first run yesterday.. creeped my way up to 80kms.. thought to myself.. yeah ok.. not bad.. then BANG :shock: fkn wind came out of no where.

    about the leaning on turns thing.. well.. im trying to learn.. i need the help of a more experienced rider tho.. to demonstrate what it looks like and what my bike is capable of..

    btw.. my lower back and neck is fukn aching from yesterdays ride.. is this the result of bad posture? or another got to get used to it thing?
  18. I ride a VN800 cruiser and you notice the wind more the faster you get but you do get used to it even though some gusts of wind can be scary. On the leaning side of things I have done 30000kms on my current bike (had for just over 18mths) and I am on my 3rd set of risers (those soft metal nobby bits under the pegs) as I take corners fairly tight and scape the pegs most times without any lose of traction or control even in the wet.

    Just stay away from those dam white lines and all shall be good.
  19. i too started with the gpx250r.

    and yes wind scared the shit out of me on the highway along with b-double semis.

    I was always being told that you will get used to the wind and i always thought they were just saying that.

    I must admit you do get used to the wind and riding amongst traffic.

    just try to be as alert as you can but always remember to enjoy your ride.

    my first encounter with a really bad crosswind sent me home with jelly legs not wanting to ride for another week or two.

    i find i learn by going out into the wild and experiancing it.

    i am not used to rain riding so weekend ago i went on a solo hunt for really hard downpours. I found one and experinced riding in the rain, scary but i was only person on the road and average speed was 100-110km/h

    my advice is go out on a windy day and practice. Better to know what to expect than to be caught away from home in an environment your terrified of.

  20. Counter steering is the key to cornering.

    Do a search - as there are many therads on this already.
    The key part is to let the inside arm/hand do the work, and not fight with the outside arm/hand.
    If you tense up the outside arm, you will find the corner is a series of jerks to get the right line.
    Drop the outside elbow to your body, and you will find it a lot easier.
    Steer with your weight.
    You will notice dirt bike riders almost remain vertical, and push the bike under them. On a road bike, you will scrape a lot of pegs, but you won't corner with any margin of safety.
    Road riders lean MORE than the bike, into the corner, which lets them keep the bike more upright, and lets them lean even more if they are running out of road. This will be a major help in the wet, as traction is preserved, and the tyre gets a chance to stick more!