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My Rider Progression Thread: Kawa GPz 550 83

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by slygrog, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Thought I'd contribute a rider progress thread to the forum, as I've a much bigger bike than I did my pre-learner course on and the transition is taking some time!

    (I've included the bike in the title because there aren't many hits if you search for it.)

    Though the bike's specs on the web said it was 209KG wet (or something similar), the bike I have weighs in at 235KG. The reason I keep mentioning this is because the bike I started on was something like 160KG, and the difference is HUGE.

    I got my Ls yesterday and sort of just.. jumped on it, without getting a feel for it with the engine off or anything. I ran it at friction point/fast idle out of my driveway and down the laneway next door, and between the fact the front wheel felt flat and the bike was much bigger than I was used to, I panicked through a slow u-turn (which I didn't know I would be making, but someone had put a huge pile of wood at the end of the alley, so my turning space was blocked) and laid the bike down. My girlfriend had to come and help me pick it up because I couldn't remember how to do the heavy bike lift (which I'd seen on YouTube in the past).

    I put it back in its spot and decided to never ride it again!

    A few other notable moments from last night: The first time I'd ever taken it off its center stand (3 seconds before I rode it). The first time I'd ever put it on its center stand. The first time I'd used a center stand.

    Tonight, I pushed it off the center stand and duck walked it (with some difficulty--it's not just heavier than the CB250s, it feels as if it's taller) awkwardly around my driveway. Once I'd figured out I could do that, I pushed it from the top end of my driveway to the bottom, the most minor of inclines but enough to propel the bike forward a little so I could pick my feet up. Did this a few times. Felt like I had nailed the whole riding business. Put it on its center stand (took about 7 minutes) and went to have dinner. Came back for more, took the lock off the front wheel, walked away for a second and this happened. Spent about 15 minutes freaking out about having broken my new motorbike, then went out and turned it on. Continued with the duck walking/hill rolling. Put the bike on its center stand a few times, with more and more ease (Trick: STAND on the little footpeg thing, don't just push down on it. Simultaneously pull UP, not backwards. Bike springs into place like it ain't no thing).

    And that's me done. Can't believe the difference the bike makes. Not sure if it's purely physical difference, or if there's some mind freak involve, but at the Clyde training centre I was very comfortable and reasonably adept at driving in first and second gear. I didn't even come close to dropping the CB250. I had no trouble at all. At home? I feel like I've never seen a bike.

    So, tomorrow I'm hoping to work my way up to driving it with the engine! I'll let you know how it goes.

    Anyone reading this in search of answers: Familiarise yourself with your new bike as much as possible--I'd recommend doing it with the engine off. Center stands aren't too hard, just stand on the foot-peg and pull up on the handle spot that's directly above (/near enough) the stand, don't just try to pull the bike backwards or anything.

    I think that's it!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. I dont know man, trial by fire i reckon. just go out in suburban 50kph traffic during the day and ride around. Im sure you will get used to it 500 times faster and better when you actually have your life/bike depending on your ability to ride
    Just get out there and ride its really not that challenging.

    (this does not apply to becoming an advanced technically skilled rider, but in the very early phases, just go and take a ride, you will do better then you expect.)

    Putting such simple concepts so high on a pedestal will just cause you to stress out.
  3. That was the plan, but it quickly became apparent that it was a bad idea. I'm, you know, a 5'7/65kg girl, and I have not yet managed to pick this bike up on my own. Seems irresponsible of me to hit the roads with a) no certainty I can keep it up in a turn, b) no certainty I can pick it up if I don't.

    But I am hoping to get on the road today.
  4. Perhaps you've bitten off more than you can chew at this stage?

    Not to worry. Just take it easy and be careful.

    As confucious say:

    "man who moves a mountain starts by moving small stones"

    Treat your learning as such. Learn to walk it, like you are. Learn to ride it around the block. Learn to ride it around the suburb. Learn to get a knee down while txting and eating a burger, you get my drift.

    Good luck!
  5. You've definitely thrown yourself in the deep end, but I don't see it as a bad thing. With a bit of luck you'll become more skilled than you would've been with a lighter bike. The most difficult part of operating a bike is manouvering it at low speeds and that becomes much more noticeable as you step up to something heavier. Don't be too hard on yourself for dropping it.

    Maybe it'd help to go for a short ride with someone experienced. I'm taking my big kwaka for a spin or two on the weekend if you need some help.
  6. #6 bulby, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Sounds like we're on the same boat. My bike feels a tad too tall and too heavy. And I'm about the same height too.

    Why not try again from the start? Try doing a number of starts and stops on a straight quiet road until you're a bit more comfortable with the bike.

    Or do it like Doug told me. Find a wider road, roll your rear wheel back into the gutter, ride forward half-way, roll back into the gutter. Rinse and repeat.
  7. I've definitely thrown myself in the deep end. Not just in terms of riding, but mechanically and all. This is the first vehicle I've owned, despite having my license for 5 years. I decided (and was advised) to put some fuel in today because the spluttering noise the bike made last night sounded very much like a 'no petrol' situation. So I put about 9 litres in with a jerrycan. As I lifted the funnel and extender out, the extender FELL OFF AND DROPPED INTO THE PETROL TANK.

    It wasn't stuck in there, it didn't give any indication that it would happen, it just dropped off and tumbled effortlessly down the hole. Nothing but net.

    I then spent about three hours trying to get it out.

    I feel like my dead relatives are messing with me or somethin'.

    RE: Weekend help. I might take one or both of you up on it, depending on how my attempts go tomorrow and Friday. I feel like once I get the thing moving and overcome my mind freak, I'll be fine. I can keep the bike upright when I'm sitting on it without the engine on, so it doesn't strike me as 'too heavy' in that sense. I can keep it upright when I'm rolling it down a hill and turning it slowly, I can duckwalk it around, I can stand next to it and push it up and down the hill, so it should be manageable. We'll see.

    If anyone is curious, a bent coathanger is a specialised tool for pipe retrieval.
  8. Ok.

    1. THATS A FAT BIKE!!!!

    And not "ph" fat either...

    2. You're a gurl!!!!!

    and lastly

    3. You've only just started riding.

    I think all up, you're doing a shit hot job. As a guy, I started on a postie bike and then a ninja 250R. Never dropped either of them in 15 months of riding. Test rode my new bike (a ZX7R tipping the scales at about 220kgs) and dropped the fucker inside of 5 mins.

    Bear in mind though, big bikes need to moved using the engine. They are stable and nimble when at speed so don't be afraid of doing things "too fast". Going "too slow" will be a problem. Especially if the bike starts to go, you ain't gonna be strong enough to catch it (very few people, guys included, would be able to).

    Get out there, practice, practice, practice and keep us posted on how you go.

    Also, get to a local learner session. They help.

    EDIT: and post pics of this GPZ....
  9. #9 slygrog, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Oh I just saw this! I was poking through the forums the other day to try and find the post I'd seen ages ago with the gutter trick.

    I am hoping to try again from the start as you described, certainly. I felt like I needed to go back even further from their the other night, the pre-liminary start. But now I'd like to start playing with the engine.

    I'll keep an eye out for your posts, given we're navigating a similar sort of zone!
  10. Thanks for this, ninja! It is good to know that someone with some experience found the 220kg drop-worthy. Perspective like that strangely helps!

    And yes, I look forward to being able to capitalise on the bike's strong points. IE Its magic motor.

    I am gagging to make it to the homebush learner sessions. I will keep you all updated for sure.

    A few pictures attached.

    Attached Files:

  11. The other thing.. The most difficult part of using this bike is getting it off the center stand without unbalancing it and getting it on the center stand without crushing myself. I have a kickstand to attach, but I haven't figured out how yet! I think it will solve a lot of problems.

    I am finished typing now I promiiiiise.
  12. sounds like you're doing it all the right way... take it at a sensible pace and what you feel comftable with.

    Though I'm shocked at how fat your girl is hehe. I thought mine was chubby at 208kg dry. And trust me, I'm a big bloke and dropped mine a couple of times and it's been fun picking her up.
  13. This should be retitled the fail thread.

    Jumped on this afternoon and rode it up the driveway. No worries, can balance it, feels fine... Except when I turn the handlebars to go into the next door laneway, the bike revs. Lucky I was sitting with the back brake on watching traffic, because it rev'd quite high, quite quickly.

    I wondered if it was somehow my hand revving it, so I took my hand off the right grip and turned the handle bars. Same thing. I guess the throttle cable is stuck or broken or something.

  14. I had its earlier brother from new, the Z500, a lovely bike (y)..
  15. Did you have the choke on full ?
  16. No choke. I'm told it's the throttle cable. Apparently it is pinched, so full lock opens the throttle up.
  17. Throttle cable is either incorrectly routed or adjusted too tight. No big deal if you can find a friendly local Netrider familiar with such things to help.
  18. 208kgs dry eh?

    +3kgs of Oil/Radiator Fluid and other random "fluids" 8-[

    228kgs wet....

    Whos got the chubby bike now fatso? :D :D :D

    Mmmmm..... Pics.... Gippy's big brother... Look out. Any of those bigger bikes start picking on any lil' Gippys, this bad boy is gonna rock up and beat them up :D

    My experience had equipped me poorly for riding a physically bigger bike. I've always just tossed them around as I pleased and didn't really ever worry about dropping them. Trust me, riding a bigger bike gives you some random niche skills that are actually really helpful!

    Make sure you are getting out and doing laps of your block or something. It will help with your confidence if you have a chance to do many things in a session. If you keep trying the one thing and you keep screwing it up, you'll get down on yourself. Give yourself a chance to screw up many things. Chances are you'll nail something :p :D
  19. Oh I know mine's a fat girl... Suits the owner down to the ground lol ;)
  20. WOOOOO. Had the cable adjusted and so forth. Rode it for the first time today. Hooked.

    My dad (who bought a GPX750 about a month after I bought my GPz, so he could come and play motorbikes with me) rode his bike down from the Gold Coast on Thursday so I wouldn't be so nervous about taking my bike out.

    We rode (I was pillion) my bike to Marrickville Metro car park at like 7AM this morning and I jumped on it and was TOTALLY FINE from the word go. Practiced stops/starts, practiced gear changes, practiced turning (circles, figure eights - which I suck at) and just got used to the bike. At 8.30, we rode back to my house where dad got on his bike and I followed him around the streets for awhile. Areas of ph34r - stalling in front of cars. Did this one time on a hill and it took me about 3 seconds to recover it and drive off, cabbie was yelling at me in that time. Ass. But overall, pretty good. Looped around Addison Road and whatever that road near Enmore Park is. Did some backstreets, some main roads. Pretty much the greatest thing ever.

    Just having a bit of a rest because I'm really tired. Then we'll head out again this afternoon!