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Question on riding test - L to P plate

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by ducm3, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Hi guys, I have a question regarding the riding test I am planning to do in the near future. I am in SA, not sure if the same tests apply elsewhere.

    I went to a vacant licence testing range today to see if I could do the tasks required to get off my L's.

    The slalom - OK.
    The riding between narrow lines - OK.

    However, riding through the S curve and doing the U turns inside the box got the better of me. No matter how much I tried, my bike couldn't turn sharp enough to stay within the lines.

    My main question is, am I doing it wrong or are these tests designed to be successfully done regardless of motorcycle type? I couldn't help but think that with another bike with a smaller turning circle, I wouldn't have a problem. I ride a M659 (same dimensions as M696).
  2. Sorry don't know much about the Duc's turning circle, so this is general U turn advice.

    I've been practicing these things pretty much everyday for the last couple of weeks as it was the one thing i have sucked at since i got my Ls a few months ago.

    I find that when doing a tight U turn, leaning in the opposite direction to the way the bike is turning really helps. it doesn't feel natural at first but try enough times and it starts to become second nature.

    Hope that helps
  3. G'day ducm3.

    You might have trouble on that bike with the u-turn but you should be able to do the cone weave OK. Just keep practising and start your first weave a bit wider than you want and come in close to the first cone.

    With the u-turn you can do what Comrade suggested but to make it a bit clearer you want to lean your bike into the turn but lean your upper body in the opposite direction. It is called counter-balancing. Watch the last part of this vid to see an example (do it with your sound off as what she says is a bit dodgy). Specifically look at 36 - 37 seconds to see the best image.

    Also, there is a guy on here called [MENTION=32545]xsploder[/MENTION] who might have a few ideas for you as he rode a duc and passed his test. (In NSW so might be a bit different but I expect the u-turn requirements are the same.)

    Fun Ha!
  4. Try pulling the clutch in.
  5. To do a decent u turn you need to look back. And keep looking back to where you want to go.
    Put a can on the ground and look at it as you ride by, as you turn and all the way around.
    Counterbalancing as comrade stated does help a lot.
    Use the slow speed crawl as you were taught in your L's to begin. Rear brake, clutch and throttle. Keep looking at that can or what ever you use and push down o the right bar, counter weight with your left foot on the peg and keep your body upright as the bike leans in. And keep you eyes level. Don't tip your head in. Just keep looking back to where you want to go.
    And Kernal I hope you meant feather the clutch, or were taking the piss
  6. Try doing some ever decreasing radius circles or figure 8s.

    There is an optimal speed you need to find. Too slow and you can't lean the bike without it falling over. (Leaning the bike is important to reduce the radius of the turn - it can make more difference than you think.) Too fast and you tend to run wider.
  7. pm sent.

    i can come out to the range and walk you through it, if you want.
  8. hey ducm3

    OHMG is right...I had an M620 for my P test. You will find even if you walk it around the u-turn box at full lock, you will go outside the lines. So I adjusted the steering stops to give a tighter turn..no drama re. cables etc..and nailed it first try after the adjustment. That and turn your head back like Linda Blair in the Exorcist :cool:
  9. Are you dragging the rear brake?

    It's much easier to do the U-turn and cone weave if you have the rear brake on.
    you can then use more throttle which keeps the bike more stable.

    That and leaning the opposite way to the bike for slow speed manuvering should be all you need.
    Oh and as for with everything else - point your head at where you want to go.

    It took me quite a few practice runs to get comfortable leaning the bike over far enough for the u-turn.

    Start with a bigger box than the test one and keep moving the cones in as you get better is how I did it.
  10. I'm from SA as well. I had a baby blade when I was on my Ls. Even on full lock I couldn't get around the box. I just kept practicing figure 8s in a carpark over and over and over until I was able to get consistent, full lock U-turns both ways. Used a lot of rear brake and careful steady throttle. Look over your shoulder in the direction you want to turn and try leaning away from the turn a bit.

    After all that practice I used their little 225cc Yamaha for the test and it was easy peasy. Don't feel you have to use your own bike. Good luck.
  11. The test is more or less checking whether you are able to do a U-turn within the width of a standard two-lane road, because the road authority wants you to look cool. It's not really 'designed' for any particular type of bike. In fact you can reassured that there are just as many learners on sportsbikes protesting that the test is impossible on a sportsbike as there are learners on cruisers thinking only sportsbikes can pass. :)

    - The video above shows counter-leaning, which is one part. The more the bike itself leans into the U-turn, the tighter the minimum turning radius becomes for reasons too nerdy to discuss here. When the rider shifts their weight outwards, the bike is forced to lean inwards to balance things out. Leaning the torso outward helps a little bit, but for even tighter turning circles it's best to scoot half a cheek or a cheek to the left of the seat to really get that centre-of-gravity offset. :)

    - Feathering or slipping the clutch, use the rear brake gently to moderate the speed of the bike during the turn (rather than the throttle or clutch) for the most part, just like when you are slow-riding. The precise speed control this affords is important for the next part.

    - The other trick is to make sure the bike is at full steering lock. This does mean that steering can't be used to balance. Instead, your lean angle/balance is controlled by increasing or decreasing your speed. If the bike starts to 'fall inwards', ease off the rear brake and maybe clutch out a little to increase speed. If the bike starts to 'stand up', drag the rear brake a little more to decrease speed. This bit is the part which takes a bit of practice and courage, but is fantastic when mastered. :)

    (For added imagination incentive points: increasing/decreasing the speed to balance the bike during a tight U-turn isn't dissimilar from a fighter jet making an aircraft carrier landing, pitching up/down for speed control and using the throttle to change the rate of descent)

    With the bike's handlebars held at full-lock and counter-leaning with a cheek or half a cheek hanging off the left side of the seat, you'll be able to U-turn so tightly that a singularity will form in the space-time continuum and draw any and all attractive people toward you. :) (Or, at least, avoid embarressment at having to duckwalk the bike backwards up the camber of the road in an awkward 3-point turn)