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Learner experience so far

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by mexiwi, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. So I have had the bike 2 months now.

    Have clocked up 4762.3kms :)

    I am getting comfortable with the operation of the bike - the gear changes and other make the bike go bits are taking less thought - leaving more of my somewhat limited brain capacity to concentrate on the important parts, like the road and others on it, and off it.

    I did a 4 hour Advanced 1 course at HART about 3 weeks ago - I found that to be very helpful.

    I came out of the learners and licence tests with a basic understanding that the bike went along the road somehow and if you did things it did things.

    Saturday practice (although I am guilty of not practicing at practice) gave me a lot more information - I like to understand what i am doing before doing, so Doug and Barb and others patiently explained everything to me.

    I went and did - and it works.

    I watched twist of the wrist, and Barb told me off for watching it too soon, but again, the theory helped out.

    I am getting comfortable with cornering, gripping with legs and looking looking looking where I want to go.

    I have found a couple secluded spots to go and do lots of u turns and figure 8s and things - I still suck at u turns if I have to do one in the spur of the moment - but after a couple goes out the back of the industrial estate they work good - confidence I guess there.

    The HART course helped me click on dead slow riding as i don't commute so didn't have that filtering sneaky skillset, and really looking into and thru a turn looking with my whole body as it were.

    I still am not very comfortable in the wet. I was ok on the Black Dog when I got my visor wet for the first time - but yesterday I was riding in the Yarra Valley and many of the corners were damp under the trees and I just slowed right down - how do you even find how much grip you have in that situation?

    Coming home I took the Ring Road and got caught in the huge traffic jam from the accident at Sydney Road - traffic was stopped so I filtered for the first time - the tailback was a bit over 4kms, pretty much stationary - was great being on a bike - but I had at least 3 people try and block me, so I stabbed them.

    Got to the accident and the 400 police didn't even shoot me for filtering.

    Not sure if my bike loves me or hates me for riding it so much - the previous owner only did 6000km in 4 and a bit years, I've done 75% of that in 2 months.
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  2. I think its good to rack up as many kms as you can when learning.
    I did 20000km in my first year.
    Keep taking it easy in the wet until you become more comfortable.

    I was assuming it always rains heavily after someone buys a bike.
  3. Good to see your getting a lot of riding done. Best way to learn is to do.
    Done about 15-16,000kms in my first 4 months so far.

    With wet weather riding try not to tense up and freak out. Just relax. Make bigger gaps and take things a bit slower and you will be just fine. You just need to be mindful of the fact it's wet but there is no need to get freaked out about it.
  4. #4 Ghost chips, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    You’re flying. I’ve done my first 2300kms since getting the bike in Feb and I’m starting to feel much better too. Bit opposite to you in that I’m pretty comfortable filtering and going slow but I need more twistys.

    Would you recommend me doing the same course? I'd love something that focuses more on cornering in particular.

    BTW I’ve been looking at what my next LAMS bike is going to be and the GSX650F has got some pretty good numbers. How you finding it?
  5. I have been off work since i bought the bike so have plenty of time to pick and choose the days.
  6. It's not too dissimilar from what we do on Saturday practice, just on their bikes. I did get value out of it though.

    I am finding it pretty good. it is heavy but I don't really notice that except when stopped.

    Reasonable grunt down low up until 7000rpm where the power rolls off for the restrictions, but good torque - find myself wanting more on occasion :)

    New tyres have made a difference, likes to tip in much easier now.

    Have a go on it next Saturday.
  7. You're doing really well! Do you commute? You've done double my kms so far :) but I only get to ride once or twice a week, and have had a few weekends off due to weather and social commitments.

    I'm trying to decide whether to slot in my advanced course before my holiday, or wait till I get home. I'm going o/s for 6 weeks so won't be riding for a long period and thinking it'd be better to wait till I get home so I can put what I learn into practice straight away, instead of forgetting it all in a European alcohol-induced-haze...

    Sounds like you're really coming along, and great to see you did BDR on the weekend as well, what did you think of a group ride of that size? I was so mesmerised by the huge array of bikes, truly something for everyone huh? :)
  8. No, I don't commute, but i haven't been working so heaps of time for riding :)

    It wasn't too bad, but I actually did corner marking, so I was way up front in the Netrider gaggle - I got caught at a level crossing about 400m after the start so I had about 53,000 bikes behind me and no-one in front :) took about 80km to catch up to Dave at the front.
  9. Well done it gets easier btw Where did you do the Hart course
  10. Did it at Somerton at their training centre there
  11. Good post @ mexiwi , and thanks for the smiles.

    Heheh ... there’s enormous value to be had out of TOTW, but the biggest danger that I see for new riders is information overload, and not grasping differences between track and road. Understanding principles theoretically, conceptually, is one thing ... but applying them – being at a stage ready to apply them – is a whole other world. And how someone understands a principle, and their ability to apply it, is shaped by where they’re at in the experiential learning curve.

    Naturally, novices are especially susceptible to this. It’s worth keeping in mind that regardless of whether you have previous car driving experience or not, and the amount of kms accumulated (very helpful – but a lot in a very short period can also be a like a sugar hit - time/duration at something is also a dimension of experience) - the “novice” period is approx. first 3 years of riding, ie yr 1 – learner; yr 2 – intermediate novice; yr 3 – experienced novice; then yr 4 transition to intermediate. No matter how much people would like to hurry this process along, time is an important element.

    Frankly, I think Rob’s noob 101+ threads stickied at the top of this forum IS the cornering bible that will see new riders through their 1st year.

    He’s done an excellent job there but I’ve seen too many people that have read it through, ticking off elements like a checklist, nodding “yup, yup, yup” know that, got that, but aren’t applying it (not you specifically, just speaking generally).

    What you’ll find is that applying what he’s said there is like a never-ending string that extends commensurate with your experience and feeds smoothly into the following stages.

    Keep revisiting the noob 101+ posts, they will serve you well. :)
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  12. You can feel the surface of the road quite easily. Just touch the road with your boot while riding. You'll feel better if it's grabbing or slipping and how much.

    Don't do this if you're not comfortable with it off course.

    But I find it valuable when the road surface is suspicious and I can't understand it.

    Having said that, the amount of grip can be felt by a rider. Yes, it is another FEEL thing. But if you don't trust the grip, slow down. It comes from the feel generally.

    More advanced riders become grip managers and all they do when they ride spiritually - manage the grip.
    But they have a lot of the feel for it due to experience and skill.

    This is exciting journey and you'll eventually get there. Give it time.
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  13. thanks
  14. Hey guys,

    Been reading through all the pages of these beginner forums and thought id share my experience from my first 2 weeks back on the bike.

    My first bike was stolen before I even got my L's so I have been waiting for months to be paid out for the bike (long story) still havnt got anything back so decided to just go buy another bike.

    Ended up with a 96 cbr250rr.

    First week was riding around the back streets of eltham. Get the feeling of the bike, and riding again. Few days after that I was riding from eltham through kangaroo ground, to diamond creek round about and back to eltham. Was kind of a little nervous aroubd traffic but it was the only thing holding me back.

    Been trying to push myself to start riding and getting out in decent traffic. I havnt got anyone to ride with so I find it hard to push myself that little bit further.

    Sunday I thought stuff it, im riding to the missus house in frankston, and im taking the harder way, springvale rd!

    Traffic wasnt too bad sunday, but monday arvo riding back it was getting pretty heavy.

    To all the newbies out there worried about riding in the traffic, the only way of over coming the fear is to actually get out there and do it!

    2 weeks and over 1000km's down. I work 80 hours a week, dont ride to work and still manage to fit in around 100kms a day 5 days a week.

    Still not confident enough to filter though.

    So any tips on being/feeling safer around the cagers? Lane positioning ect?


    Am I better off riding with someone?

    Also i had a crack at the eastern freeway. Didnt bother me too much, although the bike felt a little unstable in the wind? Am I doing something wrong?

    Any newbies from my neck of the woods (eltham) ?
  15. Fixxer,

    OK search netRider - this has all been covered before I'm sure...

    500kms a week and not commuting? - well you're putting in the effort. I'm just a little bit further along the learning curve but not far & it sounds like you're doing the things I sort of did so here's a re some of my uneducated viewpoints.

    I started daily commuting after a month of back street wobbling and that helped get more confidence, but I realised the same ride every day wasn't teaching me too much technique beyond defensive methods. Good for getting used to being near cars and calming down.

    So what next? Well you did the "Stuff it" and rode to Frankston. How about Early Saturday head down to the Elwood cone session? I found that ride instructive early on 'cause it made me go down streets and intersections I'd been avoiding - which you are doing anyway. Then doing the cones in a relaxed and safe environment off the street let me push myself and learn to trust the bike. In the cones I quickly hit the fear barrier before the bike got anywhere near it's limits. And one of the main points of Elwood is people down there will give you sage advice. Also get's you around other riders and people at your level. Then there are all levels of rides.

    Filtering - scared me for ages (& I had a little dummy spit :oops:). I eased in to it by practising low speed balance. Stopping at lights I'd coast up as slow as I could keeping balance and getting over the wobbles and feeling that I wouldn't be bouncing off car doors like a pinball. Started at intersections where the lanes and hence the space between cars was wide. Made sure I had a target to aim for - not far from the front, a large gap to ease into etcetera and only do it if I think I had time before the lights go green. There's a thread somewhere on "Practical Filtering" - pick & choose bits and start simple. Filtering is a complicated skill and another topic that causes much animated discussion. Still feel that I'm pissing the cagers off by pulling in front of them.

    Wind on the freeway - common question, lots of threads. For me the method that works is clamp the bike with the knees and relax the arms and hands. Soft hands, soft hands. Trust the bike to weave a little and compensate.

    I'm in Heidelberg and love Eltham-Warrandyte-Diamond Creek. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday exploring the roads around Yarrambat. Not fast just refining on unfamiliar roads.

    Would you be better off riding with others? - I'll leave that for the Netrider Gurus.
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  16. My 2c worth, I agree with Al_Cam regards wind, Hold onto the bike with your knees, use your core strength to maintain body position and hold the bars very lightly. Trust the bike to settle itself. If you try to correct it, or ride stiff, the wind effect is much worse. In very strong cross winds, you might need to lean into the wind a bit. Just be careful and try to feel what the bike is doing and what it wants. If you are stiff on the bike, you can't work out what the bike wants over what you are doing to it.
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  17. jump on the Saturday practice, and Sunday rides. filtering is easy... just go for a ride in peak hour traffic and spit the dummy :p

    I'll come riding with you sometime if you'd like, we can have a race and see how much the power restriction changes the 250rr ;)

    seriously though, I started filtering after about a month because I was commuting in to work and just got sick of traffic. Started like AL_Cam said, have a couple of stop points, be aware of when the lights are going to change, and watch your mirrors.
    luckily the cbr250rr is quite narrow and very stable at low speeds, along with having a low seat makes it very easy to filter on.
  18. Just a word of caution about filtering. It's not yet stricktly legal. It becomes legal in NSW on 1st July 2014, but only for Full licence holders. If you are on L or P plates, you still shouldn't filter and depending on the mood of the police officer, you may be booked, fined and lose points. You are taking your chances with the police and the system in every other state of Australia.
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  19. the best way to try filtering might be to just slip into the bike lane ~25 meters before a red light. plenty of space, lines to guide you, and perspective on the gap between cars/curb.

    if you dont want to ride with blueyy i will steal his bike for the weekend and ride with you.
    come to saturday practice soon though. the bus lane down hoddle is motorcycle allowed, so eastern - hoddle - punt - st.kilda is an easy way down, and il meet up for that as well if you want
  20. cheers for the advice guys,

    al cam - yeah not commuting yet, but I tend not to do things half assed, and the more riding I do the more I like it. Elwood Saturday mornings sound good, first ive heard of them but will definitely look into it. Taking some time off work soon so it might be a good time. I seem to feel pretty stable with the bike at low speed and when coming to a set of traffic lights, I think the thing that worrys me the most with filtering is just getting used to the pressures of being so close to the cagers and taking off at a reasonable pace to keep them away.

    senetor17 - ive tried to be a little lighter on the bars and grip the bikes more with my legs, and the bike does feel about 200 times more stable, although I think I may be leaning on the bars a little too much though, as my palms sometimes get pretty sore after not too long on the bike. Might have something to do with being 6ft4 and 120kg's riding a cbr250rr lol. Although the bike has surprised me with how its put up with my size. Yeah im aware of the filtering laws, just want to have a crack at it, get the feel for it like all you other blokes do, monkey see, monkey do lol.

    blueyy - be interesting to see what the non restricted version goes like compared to mine. Im pretty surprised how mine deals with my size though. im sure I will spitt the dummy sooner or later with traffic too. the weekend rides will be on the cars soon too.

    Lostwallet - will be starting with the bike lanes next time I go out, wont over do it but will give it a crack, and yep definatly up for coming out on one of these Saturday practice rides and meeting some people too.

    Now its time for me to give this wet weather riding a crack. just waiting for the rain to stop and the roads to stay wet, need to invest in some wet weather gear before I go out in the rain. Wet roads will be a nice new challenge too.