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New to sportsbikes, need help to improve my riding!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Gixasixa, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Ok, here is my story.

    I have been riding bikes on and off for a few years now but prettymuch just exclusively for commuting on a shitty Cb250. A couple of weeks ago i got myself a new GSXR600 and absoloutly love it. Now for regular city riding i am copmpletley confident in my abilities and find the bike to be really easy to ride. My problem is i have started to take it on a few out of city rides and find i have no confidence in taking corners at any reasonable speed. My maine goal is to be able to go for a spirited ride on the weekend where i am well within my confidence and safetey limits but still having a bit of fun and be able to do regular track days and be able to keep up a decent speed on the track.
    I am thinking of doing the california superbike school at eastern creek and am hoping this will help alot. I also got myself a copy of 'A twist of the wrist' but found that to be more for people who are already confident road riders who are looking to refine there skills for racing.
    Anyone got any tips of know of some good literature i could use to help myself out?

  2. Get used to moving around on the bike.
    Look to where you want to go.
    Keep within your limits.

    Training is good :wink:
  3. You need to condition your brain.

    City riding is an art and science in and of itself, and there's a few racers who'd struggle to get through town as quick or confidently as a seasoned commuter.

    But when you get out in the twisties, all your points of reference disappear. Instead of doing 60, you're doing 100+. Instead of being on a road you're familiar with, you're on a road you may never have seen before. You'll go into corners slow and come out thinking you could have gone in faster, if only you knew where the corner went. And then if you do try to up the speed, you'll shit yourself and either get on the brakes in the corner, or maybe run wide even though you KNOW your bike would be able to corner harder if only you had the balls to make it.

    The only way to get past this stage is to get out and ride the twisties as often as you can, every weekend if you can, rain hail or shine. Ride as slow as you need to in order to be comfortable. Don't let people gee you up, don't let yourself feel like you're competing with anyone, just relax and ride.

    Talk yourself through what you're seeing. Learn what a 35k sign means. Watch the treelines and see if you can't use them to work out how tight that blind corner might be. Notice the gravel on some corners, take those nice and slow and think about how you might approach them next time. And talk to yourself the whole time. What you're trying to do is build up pattern recognition, because that's what fast road riders use to decipher roads they've never been on before. If you're riding by a cliffside, there might be some loose gravel or small rocks on the road. If you're on a rainforest road and the road tilts downward and there's a sharp hairpin at the bottom, it might be a river. There's usually gravel and wet roads around those, so take it easy.

    Learn how not to shit yourself when a car appears out of nowhere and it's crossing over into your lane.

    It's a matter of experience, yes, but if you are as conscious as you can be about what you're taking in, you stand a better chance of improving quicker.

    The two golden rules are:

    #1 - Never ride faster than you can see. If that means you ride slow, then so be it. Be patient, stay calm, nobody minds waiting for you and the speed will come in time.

    #2 - Never give up, if you find yourself running wide, MAKE YOURSELF look through the corner and push the bike further down. Do NOT get on the brakes or look out into the gravel.

    Good luck, and if there's any good mentors in your area you might want to take advantage of them to show you a few roads, teach you the simple concept of road lines for vision, and if worst comes to worst, scrape you off the road if you come a cropper.
  4. mmm...do the Superbike school, then see if you can buddy up with one of our mentors or someone else willing to spend a day with you out and about.

    Your bike is very capable bike....but if your skills are'nt up to snuff, you will quickly get in over your head. I mean...just coz your bike can do something, does'nt mean you can - that sort of thing.

    Be careful following others on sportsbikes - that's one sure fire way of ended in a crash, if you try to keep up, and they are more skilled than you are.

    It will take you time to adjust to the new bike, and THEN be able to start honing your skills.

    Twist of the wrist, is NOT just for track riding...while the examples used etc, might relate to the track, the majority of those same principals and techniques apply everywhere.
  5. First thing is practice obviously. Key things to concentrate on is having a relaxed body position and 'look through the corner', always look at the exit, not whats in front of you. Twist of the wrist does seem track focused, but the talk about survival reactions is applicable to everyone in all real road situations so don't pass it off as over the top.

    The superbike school will also certainly help you alot

  6. thanks for this post - I am in the same position as the O-P and I found this post very helpful :)
  7. This, did it at Eastern Creek many years ago, well worth the cash, instant skills that with due care and further practise are put to very good use. Steve Brougie has put together an excellent program.

    Read this part as riding to YOUR abilities at YOUR pace within YOUR limits. If we could all go as hard as the bloke in front then we'd all be too busy chasing Stoner everywhere.

    What Loz says stands firm too, the knack of building self confidence allows you to take the bike further into the fun zone. Your initial post reminds me of a review i once read about the Honda RR where the journo (a very experienced rider) doubted whether anyone outside of racing was capable of taking the bike to it's limits. It made me think how many riders don't know their own limits and where or when to push 'em. Try this exercise it worked for me, find a corner on the twisties that made you shatt it badly, go back there way slower than before and look look look look. What didn't you see first time round ? The clue it was tightening up ? The camber of the bitumen ? Now proceed to twisties further down looking for that clue again and when you see it, remember you now know what to do this time ;)
  8. I should also mention I am reading TOTW2 and although at first it seems like its technical and for the track racer, I have found after the first few chapters I took to the road this morning for my commute and put what I had read to the test consciously and I felt like this morning was quite a successful ride - calm and smooth, no errors.

    Definitely worth reading it!