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Slow Riding

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by patske, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Hey Guys,
    I've noticed when in traffic on my fzr250 and travelling slow or following slow traffic I tend to move my handle bars left to right to compensate balance and avoid putting my foot down but eventually it just makes me lose more balance and I slow and put a foot down. I just don't know what it is when I'm travelling slow on my bike I just feel wobbly I've got my P's test coming up in 2 weeks so naturally I'm concerned. Only at speeds below like 20kms this happens. help me out farkin!

  2. Not sure what others do but i work my back brake while working my clutch at the same time . Keep your head up to , dont look down as this can cause the wobbles.
  3. I tend to trail the rear brake too, and move the bars from side to side if im trying to roll up to an intersection and not place a foot on ground. It does take alittle bit of practice though, then you find you are doing it natually and you wonder what all the fuss is about. Find yourself a nice car park or quiet area and practice it. I only started doing it after watching a mate doing it that had been riding for many years. Of course, the first time I did it, I was all over the road, not a good thing. :D
    If you're finding it hard to steer/turn the bars at low speed, make sure the bars move freely, I was having a really bad time with controlling my Bandit. I had put it down to me not riding well, had just had an off on another bike and thought I wasn't getting into it again. Turned out to be the head stem bearings. Changed them and was back into it again. But thats totally as a last resort.
  4. The single most important thing in riding slow is look ahead as far as you can in the distance and focus on one spot. I can bring my Ducati to a halt at lights and depending on how flat the road surface is I can stay stationary with no feet on the ground until the lights go green again.

    Slow riding and cornering is different again, like when you do U Turns etc. In this situation always look to where you want the bike to go, lean the bike into the corner and you lean the other way and take the weight of your bum and onto the pegs. While doing this you need to trail the rear brake with the throttle set just above idle and using the clutch to control forward movement. The extra revs and drive against the rear brake help to keep the bike off the ground (Centrifical force). It is something that you may need to be shown and is always better to it on a little dirt bike or something and not your pride and joy in your driveway.

    AMCN had an article a few months back covering this exact topic. It was an instructional (How Too) article. I could track down the issue if anybody is interested and I could scan it and email it to anybody who would want it.

  5. Yes me again I found that issue of AMCN and it was over a year ago geez time goes :-k Luckily I catalogue all my AMCN's. The Article is how to do a U-Turn and it is in AMCN Vol 53 No16, Feb 27 - Mar 11 2004. If you don't have it or can't get it and you want the article I am sure I can scan the two pages and email it to who ever wants it.

  6. All good advice. I am assuming you have not attended a Victorian Learner Permit course, as this technique is (should) be covered.


    1. The most important part and where most people have some trouble is eye direction. Your body gets balance from the fluid in your ears, but your brain needs a referrence point to know where level is to begin with! Looking up at the horizon gives your brain that referrence.The more you look below the horizon the less your brain can see and use of that reference. Some people may not so much be looking straight down, but their eyes may have dropped a little and sofeel like they are doing it right, but not as well as they should. By the sounds of what you posted about wobbling left and right that is the most likely cause. In traffic you may tend to scan your eyes between the cars. Most people that read left to right tend to scan right to left when looking. Anyway, there is a saying that "where you look is where you go". And it is a VERY true statement. The body feels more comfortable looking where it wants to go. To highlight this try walking through a doorway with your head turned and trying to look over back over your shoulder as you walk through. It doesn't feel right!!! Especially when compared to looking through the doorway and walking through. So how are you going to make a bike go in one direction when you are looking at another? Easy try say turning a corner and looking straight, when your want the bike to turn in another direction. Does that make sense?

    2. Rear brake will help stabilise the bike at walking speeds or slowing by dragging the brake a little. This keeps tension on the chain and helps lower the centre of gravity. If the bike struggles or is about to stall then too much rear brake is being used or try slipping the clutch.

    3. You arms steer the bike, your knees are not as effective. so hold your knees against the tank, RELAX your elbows so that your arms can make course corrections should they be needed. Many people without thinking lock their elbows and so try to steer through their shoulders.

    4. Practise!!!

    These are the steps in words, but they are not a supstitute for professional training. In Victoria the slow ride does not apply to the licence test, however it is a technique that people use more than they realise. Doing U turns etc is based VERY much on eye direction and throttle control.

    Hope the info helps.

  7. Excellent post.

    See bold. What I was gonna say. I have had to modify my riding posture a lot since I started. Was doing the classic "back straight, tummy in" thing that was pummelled into me by my mother, and my horse riding teachers. Getting over the tank and unlocking the arms and gripping with the thighs (all sounds a bit kinky really) makes a huge difference to stability, and whatsmore makes cornering at any speed oh so much easier!

    I learned to slow ride coming home over the Harbour Bridge one day. Had only been riding a few weeks and wasn't game to lane-split, so mastered the art of rear brake-clutch-throttle combo.

    And, of course, practise. Every time you see a red light, see how slow you can get there, in anticipation of cranking it back up before having to come to a complete stop.

    Balance is inherent in all of us, however sometimes we get lazy and we forget our balance. My balance, along with my core strength, has increased ten-fold in the last 3 months. Motorcycling requires the training of mind and body; I take these aspects of riding quite seriously, but then again I am predisposed to left-field thinking.
  8. I have always been mightily impressed by push bike riders who can balance the bike on the spot while waiting at a traffic lights without putting their feet down. I know you can't do that on a bike cos they can actually rock back and forth, but being able to ride a bike at slow speed IS a very important skill.

    Trials riders are geniuses at this. If you ever get the chance to see video of Lampkin, Mick Andrews, Dave Pinkerton, have a look. It will blow you away.
  9. It was a while ago for me now, but at some point in my experience, I attended a course at HART where they teach and give you practice at slow riding around a course of closely placed cones, figures of 8s and slow riding along a straight plank. They had both the course and separate practice sessions.
    Wouldn't mind getting some more of that practice in again. Good fun. :D
  10. Can't you remember when U did you learners, thats exactly wot
    they trained you to do, & U wouldve actually have done a slow
    run to get ur learner license as part of the practical test

  11. yeah but when I did my learners course I used a Trail Bike as opposed to a mini sports bike. I found this alot easier.
    I've sort of diagnosed it down to me using the front brake too much when moving slowly.
  12. Bicycles are great for refreshing your balance skills.
  14. patske,

    your best bet is to do your license test on the CB250 or trailbike they'll provide you. it's all slow work and if you're doing a full day you've got plenty of time to get used to the bike. Much, much more friendly for low speed work than the fully-faired sportsbikes.
  15. If it's P test in NSW (I don't know where gladesville is), yes, get the CB250.

    The number of people who fail on sports bike is rather high, but pass extremely easily on the CB250.

    The U-turn and low speed cone weave's are the killers for the sports bikes. U-turn especially.
  16. Oh, if you really want to cheat at the P test, get a bike with panniers/saddlebags, and load them up with very heavy stuff. Bike will do the U-turn and cones easily, as at low speeds balances a lot easier.

    Braking one would be slightly harder, but not by much. And the braking one is the easiest of the bunch.
  17. hmmm. I really need to do the Ps test soon. Fear of failure...

    And Kaer - Gladesville is in Sydney. Gladesville Bridge, Victoria Rd, Putney, Ryde... all around that area.
  18. Patske, I NEVER use the front brake for slow riding/balancing at lights. I cover them just in case of mishap, but only use the rear. I admit I have a twin which I find much easier doing slow stuff (but then, I also have an extra 3 years riding experience since I bought the Duke :p ).

    Alos, keep your head up and relax your arms a bit so you are pushing the bars from a more horizontal position...I find that works better for me.

    ......oh, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!!

    :D :D :D
  19. Sorry, lil, but your riding practise goes against all the laws of physics plus correct riding technique.

    Your front brake should do about 90% of the braking in every situation. The rear brake is to do the other 10% and to steady the bike.

    When braking, all the mass of the bike is being transferred forward, so why do you do all the braking with the rear brake which is on the unweighted wheel?

    I'm not being critical here, I'm just pointing out that you need to have everything going for you in every situation.

    Repeat after me, "The front brake is my best friend."

    Cos it is.!!

    Happy riding.

  20. what are you afraid of?
    I'd rather go and not get it then sit around wondering.

    :D I go in 2 weeks :D had my learners like 2 months