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practicing late at night

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by cleanhands, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. I've been driving in the small street of my neighborhood for the past while but I found out the hard way that a newbie practicing turning in a very small car park filled with cars is a very bad idea.

    So tonight I took the CBR out of the neighborhood and went onto the main streets. Went out about 11PM, so the roads were clear. I could concentrate on the basics without fretting too much about cars shooting next to me, past me or tailgating me (only 1 brief tailgater).

    I headed out to a very large car park which at this time was totally empty. Indicate right and wait... and wait... and wait... 1 set of lights, 2, 3, 4. The sensor didn't pick up my bikes presence so off I went straight instead, did a u-turn and made it into the car park.

    Worked on my turning. Much more room to maneuver and no cars popping out on me. Slowly built up confidence with feathering the clutch and revving while turning. I grabbed the front brakes hard a few times while doing a turn (with my feet down) in order to get a feel for the bikes reaction, so next time I'm more prepared. Still can't counter-lean or completely turn my front wheel without putting down my feet.

    After some clutch work and very slow riding I worked on mounting curbs which was quite difficult for me. Slowly let out the clutch and revved but I never mounted. I never revved enough and released the clutch too quick so stalled a few times before mounting. My main fear was just flying forwards and losing control. (The reason I'm doing this is because at my place of work there is one ideal parking spot where all the bikes are but you need to mount a curb to get there).

    After this brief session I went screaming down (at least it felt like it) some main roads. Only thing is I found it very hard to keep track of speed without losing focus of the road and surroundings.

    I think everything will come together pretty quickly with more of these night time sessions. Its so much easier when your not worrying about dozens of cars around you.

    A few questions:
    Any tips on mounting curbs?
    What do you guys do with those lights that have sensors on the road?
    Do you guys mount the curb with your bike when you park in places or do you like to find the nearest ramp / pathway?
    When downshifting, is it done progressively and slowly when approaching the lights or do you click click click straight down to first on a red light (which is what I'm doing)?
    How do I know exactly when is the ideal time to go up a gear? (my bike goes to 20krpm but I'm pretty sure it should be nowhere near there when I'm upshifting).
    What about downshifting? I'm quite scared of experimenting when doing 70-80km/h and doing it too soon and having my bike jerk and throw me off.

    Anyone here ride a cbr find their elbows get in the way when trying to do full turn on the bike??

    thanks !!

  2. Good on you for practicing some skills.

    Whenever I'd mount a kerb (square on), I'd get the front tyre very close to it then give some revs whilst slipping the clutch. If it starts to go too fast then pull in the clutch a fraction and if you haven't gone up then try again. It worked for me.

    With the lights with sensors, if it is late at night then I'd run the red if nobody was around. Alternatively, do like you did.

    I only mounted the kerb when I had to. If there was a ramp that was close enough (within 30-50 m) then I'd use that.

    Downshift however you like. I used to blip, change down and let the clutch out each time. At least that way you're in the right gear to go if you unexpectedly had to.... but the real reason was mainly to do with the sound of the after market exhaust. :grin:

    The guide I used for normal riding when changing up gears was that I'd be at the bottom of the range where it'd still pull after I changed up. With the v-twin that had a redline at 10,500 rpm, that meant the revs being no less than 4,000 rpm on the flat after changing up. My guess is that it'll lug or be in the dead zone below 6,000 rpm on the flat on your bike. I'm sure you'll work it out soon. Naturally, it'd need more going uphill.

    Downshifting for me was similar but in reverse. I'd wait until it was in the dead zone before changing down. That was normally about 3,000 rpm for my bike. Let's say 4 or 5 for yours. If you downshift one gear at a time then downshifting one gear at 70 or 80 won't have the bike buck you off / do a compression lockup unless you were in a low gear to start with. One thing that does wake you up is if you downshift into first too early. You'll get a compression lockup. Additionally, be careful when downshifting in the wet. I stuffed it up the first time (didn't blip the throttle and I let the clutch out quickly - two things 'wrong' there) and downshifted to second too early and dragged the back wheel for a handful of metres! Let the clutch out slowly on the downshift in the wet if you don't blip the throttle and you'll be fine.

    I hope that helps and happy riding. :)
  3. "When downshifting, is it done progressively and slowly when approaching the lights or do you click click click straight down to first on a red light (which is what I'm doing)?"

    Thats the way the instructor for pre-learners wanted me to do it, you'll be fine man :grin:
  4. 2 Main benefits spring to mind for downshifting coming up to the lights

    1) Something happens, you're in a gear with power
    2) You're not rocking the bike or slipping the clutch when you only get a "half shift" while clicking down with the bike stationay (Especially when shifting down more then a copuple of gears.)
  5. I'm like you Cleanhands, I've been riding around late at night too, it's a lot easier concentrating on actually riding and techniques without having to worry about all the cars being on the road :)

    I also have trouble with the gears, and just hold in the clutch and click click click straight down to first. I don't know how to gear down slowely. However having said that, I'm also not that good knowing when to gear up either!

    I only ride a 125 so the engine noise isn't that loud and it's dificult to tell when it's time to gear up.

    This may be a stupid question, but (I don't know the name of it) that little dial on your dash that tells you the revs??? - Is there a general time on that to gear up, as in do you 'always' go up a gear when the little pointer gets to 5 or 6 etc when accelerating, or is it different for each bike? -Does that question make sense??
  6. For mounting kerbs, my usual technique is the same one I use for mountainbikes. The general idea is to simply roll up and over the kerb, using the bike's momentum and a bit of body-english.

    * approach perpendicular to the kerb (important!)
    * approach at walking pace or thereabouts, "slowriding" style with the clutch slipping <--- Important. Do not stop against the kerb!
    * as the front wheel is juuuuuust about to touch the gutter, give the bike a little power so that it maintains its speed. Put your weight back towards the rear wheel if you like.
    * once the front wheel is up, put your weight towards the front wheel. Though that's not really a big thing.

    So long as you maintain that walking-pace momentum, the bike will pretty much climb the kerb all by itself. Bonus points for moving your weight off of the wheel about to climb the kerb. :)

    Dakotabre; The rev counter is known as a 'tachometer'.
    As for "when to change up", it does vary between different engines, different bikes, different cars. I'll try to speak in generalities. :)

    When accelerating hard? Shifting at, or slightly after, the peak power rpm would be ideal for hard acceleration. On the CBR125R, peak power is 10,000rpm and peak torque is at 8,250rpm. So if you want to go places quickly, rev it!

    Shift before the redline, of course. (Most bikes will prevent you overrevving, but you should try to shift before the bike's rev limiter cuts in).

    Some cars and bikes become very anemic and "out of breath" higher in the rev range, so ideally one should take a page from the Ducati/Shannons advertisement and learn to "shift by feel". If the bike's laboring at too low a rev (chug-chug-chug-chug-cough), downshift. If the bike feels breathless and out of power at high revs, shift up.

    For downshifting, you'll soon learn which gear is needed at which road speed and pre-emptively downshift into the correct gear before you need to accelerate. Just takes a bit of practice and getting used to the bike. :)

    I hope that helps.
  7. Gear down!

    Like in a manual car. Not only does it allow your bike to engine brake (saving your pads), you're in the right gear to react to trouble (think about how often trouble DOES pop up at intersections), AND you are heard (clutch in past a line of stationery cars = 2000 RPM = no noise... downshifting past a line = ~8000 RPM = noisy).

    As for being unsure (eg. downshifting too quick/jerkily), you will get used to it very quick (particularly if you did it previously in a car). If you just let your clutch out slowly you will feel if you've gone too far and can brake a bit more before releasing the clutch :)

    I've read people here say they give the starter motor a quick blip as it is enough to set off the magnets in the road. I haven't encountered it personally (maybe once), as I always ride in the day... if it were night time, I'd just go through safely (safely includes identifying any red light cams :p )
  8. re: kerb mounting

    Stand up. Puts the weight down low and allows you far greater control of balance, plus you can shift weight forward and backwards and your legs become another set of shockies.

    Downshifting - remember that you don't have to fully release the clutch. I find that I can full release between 6th thru 3rd but 3rd thru 1st are too short so I only release it part way. I like to keep at least a 50/50 engine brake/wheel brake, if I'm going hard then I go to a 20/80 mix.

    I've yet to master the art of blipping throttle while braking. I think it's the lack of an adjustable leaver that's giving me lack of confidence.

    Also, have a peek at the torque and power charts for your bike if available. From this you can glean what rpm ranges are best for shifting up and down.

  9. Once I got used to blipping, I started trying it when on the front brake. I got it right quite quickly and I'm sure you will too (without adjustable levers). Keep doing it and you'll get there.
  10. just practice and you will be fine..

    Tips are great for complete idiots who would never get it on their own but if your smart enough to use a pc you should be fine with practice.
  11. Stop doing that!..you'll toss yourself down the road...downshift progressively instead. You need to learn how to downchange correctly since you need to always be in the correct gear for the circumstances.
    What bike are you riding!!!?...is it a cbr250rr?...if so, then I would get into the habit of more or less downchanging a gear immediately you have to throttle off, since they don't have much compression and can rev pretty hard. (That is of course, unless you are already doing a gazillion revs)
    If that is'nt the bike you are riding then just ignore this last comment

    Oh...for doing U-turns, you will need to arch your elbows out and swivel your inside wrist around the clip-on so that you don't get your inside arm trapped inside your shoulder. You'll get used to it...

    What you are practicing is all very good stuff...and it's stuff that you should master (not just simply be able to do), so keep at it.

  12. :WStupid:
    the trick is to think ahead. its really only emergency stops where you should have to kick down through all the gears at the end. one way of practicing is to ride along at 60-70k and change up and down the gears (maybe 3rd to 4th to 5th then back down) without changing your speed
  13. This is good advice for something to practice. If you can find a quiet road and cruise at a steady speed, your bike can probably handle shifting through 2, 3 or even 4 gears at your set speed.

    For example try cruising at 60kph in 4th, downshifting to 3rd and easing out the clutch and then bring the revs up, and then down to 2nd, all while maintaining your 60kph. Then upshifting whilst doing the same. This will give you a good feel for how the bike will respond to shifts and to clutch input at different revs.

    Dont worry about blipping the throttle or matching revs etc until you get a good feel for how the bike responds to downshifts or upshifts matched with your clutch inputs. By rights, there's no reason why with the correct clutch feathering and brake input you can't be doing 100kph in 6th, downshift to first and incredibly slowly and easily ease your clutch out to slow you down - with unlimited free space in front. (note - screw it up and your bike will either hate you or you will lock the rear wheel, so don't try this for the hell of it, its just to note that shifting both up and down is purely a function of feel between you, the engine and your clutch/gearbox).
  14. Thanks for the input, I'll be trying to integrate some of these things into my next session.

    Yes, its a cbr250rr. So once I've released the throttle your saying I should basically be clicking down one right away?

    Anyone know what the power band or ideal area my revs should be kept in on cbr250rr?
  15. Yep...any time you sense from what's going on around you, that you may have to slow down or decellerate just drop down a gear.
    ie...cruising 60-70k's in 6th gear approaching an intersection where of course their is an increase in alertness and potential hazards, drop it down a gear (or two) in preparation, and roll through the intersection in that gear - then snick it back up again once you are clear...I do it on the Blade, if my spidey-senses start tingling.

    Your bike has plenty of headroom in the rev range, and while you don't want to be riding everywhere with it revving it's tits off, you DO want to be prepared in the event that you have to take some evasive action - whether it be braking or getting on the gas. Dropping it down 1 or 2 in such circumstances would give you some engine braking or power if need.

    If you are riding briskly, I would expect the bike to be in the 8-12K rev range...otherwise just cruise along at low revs till you need it.

    Yes...you might see a pattern of anticipation...it's about staying ahead of the game, and your bike.

  16. So went for a ride again tonight. After the carpark session went onto Nepean highway and a few surrounding roads. I missed that bit about not revving the tits of the bike, so I was mostly riding around the 8-15k rev range. But I worked on downshifting, upshifting. Did some e-braking from 60,70,80 - had the bike wheels lock a few times and the bike started shifting from side to side. I let go of the breaks and regained control. Not sure which wheel it was that locked up.

    When downshifting in order to stay above 8krpm I noticed that sometimes the bike front wheel would make this funny plastic tapping type noise and then after a while I realized this would only happen when dropping to first (still working on keep track of which gear I'm in and keeping everything else in my head).

    I have no idea when its at 8 or in the ideal range of rpm etc. I can look at it but its uber dangerous given how much focus I lose. I drifted a few times while doing this.

    My turning has improved massively - I'm not getting the full-lock turn but I can counter-lean now and confidently do some turns. Did a few u-turns without the legs coming down. I got good at mounting curbs too.

    At one turn today I almost lost control going into it at 40 (roads were wet), I let go of throttle and luckily regained control.

    A few more late night practice sessions and I think I should be good to go during the day in light traffic.
  17. Good stuff :grin:
  18. Maybe we can practice together. :)
    I really need to practice being uphill at an intersection.
    And growing some balls to travel to the city more often.
  19. Hey guys,

    What is happening to my bike when I break and it feels like its skiing on the road? is that my wheels locking? It sort of sways from side to side and just glides. I let go of breaks and it goes back to normal. Happened to me when I stopped for an orange--> red light today down from 60 (on a 70 road). I want to stop in time but I don't want to lose control and hit a car next to me.

    Is the solution here more progressive breaking ? I usually easily stop at these speeds with a car (ABS).
  20. In your case, the swaying sensation is more than likely the rear wheel locking up due to too much rear brake.

    Short answer: The solution is more emergency stop practice, really. Learning to threshold brake; learning to recognise a skid occuring at one of the two wheels and recover immediately.

    Longer answer: Why is the rear brake locking up?
    Weight on the tyre = grip = potential stopping power at that tyre.

    As you begin to brake harder, the weight of the bike is transferred from a neutral ~50/50 split between the front and rear tyres, toward a 70%, 80% or even 90% bias toward the front tyre in hard braking.

    100% of the bike's weight on the front tyre occurs when the rear tyre leaves the ground, in what is known as a 'stoppie' (or for mountainbikers, an 'endo').

    So, the faster you decelerate, the more grip your front tyre has available - and so, the harder you can apply the front brake).

    The faster you slow down, the less grip the rear tyre has and so the rear brake must be eased off a little or the rear tyre will lock up.

    With practice you'll be able to modulate the rear brake accordingly. Of course, the majority of the bike's stopping power comes from the front tyre, so learning to get the most out of the front brake is important.

    As you say, a smooth, progressive increase in braking pressure (at the front).