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Post-Newb, Pre-Intermediate Learning

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by slygrog, May 11, 2012.

  1. Hello,

    You may remember me as the girl whose first motorbike exploded at practice. Or the writer of endless and extremely neurotic first-timer questions. Well.. I AM BACK!

    It strikes me that while I have a workable knowledge of basic bike skills, I am not yet a bad ass and I must actively chart my path to expertise rather than just being happy with basic competence.

    Some learning sphere must exist between absolute newb and track day intermediate. So here's my progress thread for navigating that sphere!

    On the agenda first up:

    Filtering. I've just started doing a bit of this because I ride between the city and Campsie, and Frederick Street alone can be a 30-minute bumper-to-bumper nightmare.. But it has this huge shoulder (both directions) that CAN turn it into a 5-minute caper. I saw a filtering thread here, where people talked about the when's and why's, so I know there are opinions, I just have to form my own. I tend to think stationary traffic is a good bet for filtering, and I am not sure how I feel about slowly moving traffic. It seems like a bad idea, but then I see all these folks gliding casually past me on their bikes and wonder.

    My bad habits. Too much clutch-riding, not enough indicating. Also, my friction point was moved recently so I keep accelerating too early during gear changes. It sounds horrible.

    THROTTLE BLIPPING. What even is this, I just can't do it! But I yearn for the day when my down changes don't drag on.

    That'll do for now. But hey, if you know what comes after total newbing and before intermediateness, please let me know.
  2. welcome back !! :)
    filtering - as you said, everyone ahs an opinion, not saying I do it, not saying I dont :)
    If you know you have bad habits, try attacking one at a time then tick them off the list.
    Throttle blip? hmm roll up to prac session and someone will show you what it is :)
    enjoy yourself and stay safe
  3. Is it actually possible to get WORSE at something?

    About two days after I wrote the above post, I nailed the quick, smooth upshift and rode around feeling like an unstoppable force. Then, on Monday, I bought a pair of winter/waterproof gloves and sucked at throttle control and gear changes and everything, basically, on my first ride wearing them. Rather than facing the challenge and overcoming hamfisted winter glove obstacles, I switched back to summer gloves the next morning. And now I CAN'T SHIFT FOR SHIT. It's like I've gone back in time to when I first started learning. I get stuck in neutral. I grind my gears at least once a ride.

    It's CARNAGE out there and no amount of "OKAY FOCUS THIS TIME" is fixing it.

  4. thanks goddie! the bad habits are disappearing. except the indicating. that i'm getting worse at. :D

    i am indeed saving my throttle blip for the prac sessions. I tried a few and it was weird and lurchy.
  5. I got lazy with the indicator, at one stage I thought 'read my mind' silly me, almost got trashed, my fault, so now I indicate :)
    and headcheck WILL save your life at least once, use it!!

    The throttle blip is great when you are filtering up to the front when you have Mario's doof doofin and your pipes got a growl, time it right and it echos straight into their ears lol

    But dont get to their level!! smile to yourself as you ride off.
  6. i know, i feel like such a dick when i don't indicate because it is so simple and so useful, AND YET I DON'T DO IT.

    so, i have a question (for you and everyone, goddie). i can countersteer through corners alright (though sometimes i get disoriented and forget to either push or move my body and things get a bit weird), but i'm not sure what to do at slower speeds. i guess this will relate to the cone weave too, but what i'm talking about is this one roundabout near my house. i feel like most of the time i am going too slowly through it to do any sort of 'flipping' of the bike, but the turn is quite severe and just 'turning' the handlebars feels really unsteady. am i wrong about the countersteering or should i just be feathering the clutch/using the back brake more for stability? not sure when things are too slow to counter. i drew up a diagram of my roundabout turn - not sure why i felt compelled to do so, but whatever.

    for those who can't see it/don't care, i'm basically taking the second exit but it's also quite a small roundabout so i almost always go wide (not all of this is apparent in the diagram).

    Attached Files:

  7. Not much I can add to all that, but I'd avoid filtering any MOVING traffic till you're really competent, or better yet avoid it altogether
  8. yeah, i don't do that. basically i decided to only filter under some set circumstances, on roads i know, if there is some significant benefit. those roads are the ones with huge parking shoulders. i only slip out of the traffic line when it's gridlocked and i barely leave first gear. i am not a liability at all, but i don't think it would be responsible behaviour for me to do the stuff i see road pros doing some mornings. though some of the stuff they do just strikes me as dumb in general. like riding the center line at 60kph, and zooming between a bus and truck? maybe there's a rush there, i don't know, but it seems nuts.

    still, i'll always be a bit jealous of the people vrooooooooooooming past me on the city/westlink in the mornings. =D>
  9. Throttle blipping is a proactive quick increase(twist and release of the throttle) in engine revs to match/catch the increase in revs which will occur when you downshift. Thereby ensuring a smoother transition in speed and in preparation for the appropriate lower gear.. and it sounds cool.

    i.e when you downshift to a lower gear, as your road speed at that instant is unchanged, the engine is forced in increase its revs to match the lower gear at that same speed. (i.e at say 60km/h the engine rev at 2nd gear is higher than say at 3rd gear). This can result in the rear wheel locking briefly if the change is too big/engine redlines

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong (I'm still practicing) but steps are
    1)gradually squeeze of front brake and ensure you will not over rev the engine upon downshift
    2) quick twist and release (blip) of the throttle
    3) clutch in and downshift and release clutch
    4) continue to squeeze brake at the same time

    (2) & (3) occur quickly and close together. Practice in an empty safe area... first couple of times you might have the rear wheel skip.. and do it from say 2nd to 1st gear.. actually maybe practice slow clutch release first.

    You can also achieve this by gradually releasing the clutch.. but not as good as it is slower, heavier on the clutch and decreases reaction time.
  10. Not quite the question you asked, I know, but I prepared this one a couple of days ago, and it might help. There's a gearbox part 1 up on my channel as well.

    There are a couple of examples there of blipping the throttle on down-change, such as 4:00. I'm not really talking about that, it's not what I made the clip to demonstrate.
  11. my problem with this is not knowing how much to rev and i also had bollocks co-ordination between brake/throttle/gear when i tried it. but you're right, i will just have to practice it in a quiet area and take notice of the rpm between gears.
  12. i emailed this home to myself earlier today for watching tonight! thank you :)
  13. Which just makes you like everyone else learning to do it. It's not an easy thing to get right.

    I still get it wrong a fair percentage of the time, and I'm a pretty proficient and experienced rider. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be not too wrong.

    By all means go to a range or practice stretch and try and do it for real, but also try and get the idea by using it anywhere and everywhere you've got plenty of room and a good surface. Most of all, don't give up on it just because it doesn't come naturally and perfectly to you at the first attempt. Nor does playing Fur Elise on the piano, or classical ballet. Riding a motorcycle properly, there is just as much to learn as in classical music / piano / ballet. It's not a trivial thing. It doesn't happen overnight.

    The hard part for me, when I was learning to do this in the early '80s, was to keep more or less the same pressure on the brake while I blipped. I could already do a pretty clean blip + down-change as long as I left the brakes alone. What I ended up doing was using one finger on the brake, and when I got that under control, I went to two fingers, and a bit more pressure / firmer stops. I never really did get it right using all 4 fingers, but modern fast bikes have more than enough bite and power to stop race track hard with two fingers, so that's good enough.

    Funny, I jumped on a 20 year old cb250 yesterday, one of the riding school bikes, and quickly found I couldn't two finger brake, because the lever came back too far and I had to get my other fingers out from under it. It took a few practice goes to get right, but after a few minutes I was doing blip down-changes with 4 fingers and decent brake control.

    PS. As an afterthought, another suggestion, try this.

    Go out to the bike, at home, and just try it with the bike switched off, no gloves or anything. Start by opening and closing the throttle all the way. Get an idea how far it has to twist to be fully open. It's probably about 100 degrees. You don't need all that to blip. You only need about 20 ~ 30 deg. Now try and squeeze the brakes just slightly. The lever should move about 10 ~ 15mm before anything happens, then there'll be a slight pressure, the point where the pads touch the disk(s?) and the brake starts to work. Now watch your hand while you do this. Hold that exact same lever position, and open the throttle 20 or so degrees. My guess is the brake lever will jerk around when you try this. Keep trying. Do it slowly. Practice keeping the exact same (very light) pressure / lever position on while you open and close. Try it with one finger, then two, 3, all 4. It's easiest with one.

    Once you can open and shut the trottle without that lever moving at all, try and speed it up. You only need that throttle open very briefly. It's a very short, sharp blip - not a big rev. When you try and do it fast, the pressure control suffers again. So keep at it until you can do it blink-of-the-eye fast, and the lever doesn't move. All this in your garage, watching your hand. What you're doing is training muscle memory. You are teaching yourself, in slow motion, exactly what movements and positions and muscle reactions are needed to get this thing to happen. When you can do it, try and do it without looking. Does it feel the same?

    It's entirely possible, when you master it, that your hand will be in a different position and your sequence of muscle contractions will be different to mine. That doesn't matter. What matters is you can quickly open and shut that throttle without the pressure on the brake changing. The physical positions and movements you need to employ to get that to happen will be your own. I won't have taught you to do this, you will have taught yourself.

    Then, after a few minutes every day doing this at home, try it on the bike while riding, without looking, and while wearing your gloves, with just one finger. See how that goes. Very - gentle - braking. Take it easy. We're after learning a technique, not seeing how hard you can stop.

    The time and place where you need to back-rev or blip down-change, is when you're riding hard and fast - but that's not the time to try and learn it. The more heavily you're braking, the more difficult it is to get right. Start out with very gentle braking, and when you get moderately smooth and proficient, start employing the technique as a habit, every time you slow down. You'll eventually get to the point where you can do it quite smoothly, even when braking hard. Like all other techniques, it should become competely automatic, like walking. If you have to think about it and focus on it, then don't try and use it when you need to stop hard.
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  14. What I do is
    1) Release throttle then squeeze the brake
    2) Clutch in then downshift
    3) Blip the throttle
    4) Then release the clutch.

    Step 3 and 4 are done almost simultaneously and I'll be squeezing the break with 2 fingers during the whole process.

    Doesn't make sense to blip the throttle while braking with the clutch in...
  15. Throttle blip on down change is as such..
    when you are in third .. changing down to second.. if you clutch in and change down and release you will hear that the engine runs faster after the gear change than before.. generally after being "dragged" up as you release the clutch slowly in second...

    to Blip the throttle means to give a little twist to get the engine running approximately as fast as it should be when the clutch is released at the end of the down change.. meaning it does not need to be dragged up in revs as the clutch is released as its already running at the right revs..

    i do this subconsciously in the cage.. coz its how dad taught me to down change.. (full heal and toe method) and i cringe when in a car with a friend who doesnt do it as i wonder what it does to the clutch while its dragging the engine revs up..

    That being said its not an essential part of gear changing.. if not done and the clutch release is smooth and slow then the change can be smooth.. but you can release the clutch faster if the engine is already doing the correct speed for the newly selected gear..

    in the opposite direction its called "Cut".. when changing from second to third we release our throttle a bit during the clutch process and then re wind it back on as we proceed to accelerate.. if we didnt release the throttle the engine would scream up in revs as the clutch was pulled in due to the lack of load.. (unless you are already in the redline zone.. ) so as much as you release the throttle while changing up in gears the 'technical' process of changing down in gears 'could' involve grabbing some throttle..

    This is written by a full time cager about two weeks from getting his bike L's BUT its the same concept from semi trailers to manual scooters and everything in between. i can only hope i havnt confused you all more.
  16. I've heel and toe'd almost every downshift in my cars for the past 20 years (it just sounds sooo sweet with a nice exhaust, as well as being smooth and mechanically friendly). I haven't been able to do it yet on the bike which has been on my mind, especially down into second and first. Kneedragon's in the garage method sounds like a great way to start.
    Myke, you're doing it wrong, like the others say, clutch in, then blip whilst changing down, clutch out.
  17. Heh. Interesting. I don't drive, but I think it would be more difficult in a car for me.
  18. I learnt when my MK2 RS2000 would stall when cold unless I gave it some accel. So when stopping, I had to brake and accel at the same time :) Then with WRX's and STi's and Lotuses and 350z's, that technique paid off aurally big time :D
    And I highly recommend Pt1 of Kneedragon's vid mentioned above. Great to really highlight and drive home how we should be shifting. I'm sure it will help me refine my technique. Hilighting the lack of synchros and that bike boxes are all dogs is an important distinction.
  19. I'm thinking the same thing. I've had very little experience with a manual car. The 2nd day I got my bike, went out to practice blipping on downshift and got it within 10 minutes. The clutch on the bike seem to be more forgiving compare to a car.
  20. Right steps, but I'd suggest a slight revision to the order.

    1) Roll off - set up - squeeze.
    2) Preload gear lever
    3) Clutch in
    4) Blip the throttle
    5) Change down
    6) Release clutch
    7) Clear the gear lever.

    The catch is, 3 through 6 happen in about 1/3 or 1/4 of a second. You basically move simultaneously on throttle, clutch and gear. They're not 3 separate movements that happen in sequence, you do all 3 together.

    I think I'd better do another clip that looks more closely at this. ... Monday, perhaps...
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