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My biggest challenge

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by onward_and_upwards, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Hi, just got into biking again after a hiatus of a few years, and now I'm older I'm realising that perhaps I wasn't as good a rider as I thought I was :shock:

    The sportiest bike I had previously was a Honda CB750, which I thought went ok, and this time round I've got an 08 KLR650 mainly due to it's riding position and price.

    Anyway............and thanks for sticking with me so far.............. the thing I am having the most trouble with is.........roundabouts!!!! Specifically, those times when you have to go all the way round or take the third exit (a right turn if you like) at those small ones that seem to be popping up all over the place. It's a sharp turn at low speed, and I feel that leaning over at those kinds of speeds isn't going to go well :? I don't seem to be able to take my eyes off the inside kerb, which of course ends in me heading straight for it.

    There's a confidence factor here for me as my only ever accident previously was due to me not taking a roundabout properly, hitting diesel and sliding into the front of a bus...... not hurt but sure as hell shocked the bus driver :shock: :grin: :shock:

    So anyway, sorry for rambling, has anyone got any tactics I could experiment with that could possibly help, or am I thinking about things too much? :roll:
  2. I suggest 2 things.
    1. Practice
    2. Select a gear that allows you to turn with a bit of throttle on (2nd)
  3. There's a mini roundabout near my place that I go through every day. I find you can still get a fair degree of lean even at low speeds if the curve is tight enough.

    2nd gear on a VTR250 works well.

    They're really fun once you get the hang of them! :grin:
  4. I've never had to do more than a regular turn at a roundabout (ie going left or right) but positioning yourself as wide as possible for entry would help I'd think. Give you more space to make the turn?
  5. Get out into a car park and practise your slow riding technique. Do tight corners and figure eights. Trail the brake to stabilise the bike while slow riding. Feather the clutch if necessary. At very slow speeds (<20Km/h) you can turn without using Counter Steering. Of course, you shouldn't need to be that slow on a roundabout, but sometimes it is necessary if they are small, tight (narrow lanes), off camber, wet and/or slippery.

    Anyway, search around here for tips on slow riding techniques, and discussions on roundabouts for that matter. There are lots of them.
  6. Ding ding, we have a winner. Add in correct gear and speed plus some braking before the turn and it should all fall into place. I had a similar issue, I kept on scrapping my boots on the inside gutter. I now keep my head more upright and scan the exit of the turn.

    As mentioned before, once you get the hang of a 3rd exit roundabout, it's great fun.

    I have at least one 3rd exit to work and a 2nd exit which is pretty much like a 3rd exit, due to the extreme size of the roundabout. I can get some decent lean on both of them now, who needs extra speed for fun :LOL:
  7. This is where you identified the main problem.

    You know you shouldn't be looking at the kerb so stop bloody doing it. :)
    You need to keep your chin up and look through the turn. If you look where you want to go then that's where the bike will go, so look at the exit, chin up and eyes on the prize. A crash can cause a loss of confidence and has resulted in you developing a dangerous case of target fixation. The only way to get better at looking through turns is to practice. Everytime you find yourself looking at the kerb, force your self to look up and through the turn. Do this over and over again until looking through the turn becomes the something you do instinctively.

    More than likely the bike feels unsteady because you're sending it mixed signals. Leaning it into the corner and then steering towards the kerb will make it want to lie down. If you look towards the exit, you will naturaly steer towards the exit and the bike will be happier with the lean angle because it matches the steering input.

    +1 to the other advice. Practice low speed turns in a carpark, and practice using the throttle to balance the bike at a lean. You need to use some throttle all the way through the turn, don't just coast. :)
  8. Just wondering what this means? Sorry if it's blindingly obvious to some, but I've read the term before and not thought to ask what it actually means. Using back brake? Or something else?

  9. Wikipedia is your friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_braking

    Not the best description, but I don't have time to post a better one at the moment.

    In the context of slow riding, trail braking would be with the rear brake only. Some would argue it is not really trail braking, it is just rear braking to help control the speed of the bike, since better speed control is possible by using the throttle and a little braking, which takes the slack out of the drive train (ie the chain).

    In the context of getting around a roundabout, it is trail braking, and is very handy.

    The search function here should bring up lots of results also.
  10. Mini round abouts are quite chalenge for me as well at one stage. I find it quite hard to tip my bike it and just hope that the tyres wouldnt let go. After a while I had enough confidance in the wet to intentionally get the tail out abit with the throttle while exiting the round about. but thats with shit tyres in the wet. I cant do that in dry with a 250.
  11. Thanks RoderickGI. I ask, I learn.
  12. Roadabouts are a biatch. Why? As always, we need to look where we want to go, however we also need to look at the entering traffic, to check that they are going to give way. Focusing too much on the entering traffic will impact on your smooth ride through the corner. Focusing to much on the corner will be risky too as sooner or later someone will not give way. Not being able to do both is normal. Roundabouts a are biatch.
    And there usually off camber.
  13. Thanks guys, I guess I need to take a wider line going in and just take a deep breath and go for it. Ah well, another excuse to get out there........ :grin:

    Thanks again