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Tips for better speed control?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by kate, May 8, 2016.

  1. Any tips for a novice rider on better speed control?

    When I am following an instructor it is easy enough to pace myself, but when I was leading yesterday, I had a lot of trouble regulating my speed. I was in a 60 zone on an open road. My mind was so focused on changing up through the gears and preparing for the bend in the road that when I glanced at my speedometer I was on 75. I eased off the throttle and then was on 55. I gave a little bit more throttle and was back up to 70! I was in 5th gear the whole time as the bike I was riding seemed comfortable on that.

    I haven't really gotten the hang of good speed control yet. Any tips to help with this would be great.
  2. Hi, I am new as well, so take this with a grain of salt, but you might be better off in a lower gear, not sure what bike your using, but on my VTR250 i use 3rd gear until I am doing about 70, maybe even 80 if theres an uphill incline. Im sure the bike would be comfortable in 5th doing these speeds, but having it in a lower gear gives you a bit more travel in the throttle to play with and find the ideal spot to keep your speed steady. if you need to slow just a little bit try a very gentle application of the rear brake, rather than closing the throttle which makes the bike jerk and slow rapidly
  3. Practice practice and more practice is all.
    Big open empty carparks are great.
    Eventually you will know by the sound and feel of your bike, much like you do in your car.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. katekate some good advice that helped me was to stop gripping so hard and relaxing arms. The more you relax the arms and stop gripping the bars, the smoother it will feel after a bit of practice. Keep reminding yourself to relax from your shoulders down and use your lower body to grip the bike. I used to have a death grip on the bars that caused a few small throttle mishaps. Hope this helps! :)
    • Like Like x 3
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  5. Like with car accel pedal, need.to.develop fine motor control in your wrist.
    Lower gear will be more.sensitive to throttle due to gearing, but make.more.noise so you may be more aware of speed.changes?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Like all new skills it is all about practice.

    Most learners will are too savage on controls and you need to develop the ability to make fine throttle adjustments. Often it is because they are gripping the bars too tightly. The bars are for steering, not handles to hold you on the bike and as stated above if your arms aren't relaxed you can't make fine adjustments and you will be jerky on the throttle.

    But also as a Learner you are focussed on the mechanics of riding a bike and as you concentrate on that it takes away focus of what else is going on around you. As your riding becomes more automatic your mind is free to focus more on what is going on around you and things like speed change do become more obvious.

    So the answer is practice, practice, practice.

    Meanwhile listen to the engine. If the revs are going up your speed will be increasing so once you get to your desired speed just adjust Smoothly to keep the sound constant. This is an aid though so don't rely on it absolutely but check your speedo now and then to confirm.

    I guess this is technically correct but frankly I do not like this advice and would counsel against it. If you only want to slow down a little because you have unconsciously sped up a little, then you only need to use throttle control and this is what you should do. If you actually need to brake you should brake properly and depending on all the circumstances the rear brake is usually not the way to go. There is also a danger that if this is how you get used to slowing down when you really want to stop you will go for the rear brake which may not be good. This isn't a braking thread so don't want to start a braking debate here but I do see issues with this advice.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  7. If you're struggling with small throttle movements causing rapid speed changes try dragging the back brake a little bit while you're adjusting the throttle... If nothing else it will retard the power transfer from the wheel to the road a bit and stop you lurching forwards at a seemingly uncontrollable speed.

    make sure your arms are loose and your hands are light. I've worn holes through the palms of riding gloves from holding on for dear life - this is not only a dangerous way to ride, but expensive (they don't give bike gloves away...) - loosen your grip on the bars and flap your arms like chicken wings to let yourself know you're not holding on too tight.

    The more comfortable you get on your bike, the less you'll feel the need to hang on so much. A hot tip when I started riding was to grip the seat with your thighs - as humans we tend to hold on with our upper body for support when our lower is not planted, so holding on to the bike with your legs will provide immense stability and subconsciously free up your arms allowing for more minute throttle and steering inputs, because you're not too busy holding on to the bars...
  8. GreyBMGreyBM that is a very valid point...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. I didn't mean use the rear brake to slow down, I meant use it to retard the aggression of your throttle input while you practise loosening up your arms. But on reading what you said I can see how this could be the start of a bad habit...
  10. #10 XJ6N, May 8, 2016
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
    GoldenberriGoldenberri's point above about remaining relaxed is something that resonates with my experience.

    I tended to (and still do, sometimes) tense up through my shoulders, arms and hands. This has typically happened when there's something causing me a bit of bother - another motorist driving erratically or too close and also uneven, bumpy road surfaces - or in the early stages simply because all of my attention was focused elsewhere for a moment.

    If I have a certain amount of throttle applied it tends not to change when I tense up and even though conditions have changed or improved I'm accelerating or decelerating because I haven't adjusted the throttle.

    "Loosey-goosey" sounds silly but it's what I often think when I find I find myself tensing up over bumps - the right hand is less rigidly applying throttle and adjusts more to the changing road environment - uphill, downhill, level, bumpy, smooth, etc.
    • Like Like x 1
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  11. Problem might be you're in 5th at 60. Don't know what you ride but I'd be in 2nd or 3rd (1st if I'm going hard) depending on what traffic is around.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. when in doubt, gas it
    • Winner Winner x 2
  13. I find that as a newb chopping the throttle on and off seems to unsettle the bike more than a touch of rear brake, which seems to stabilise it if anything. but as you say its probably just a case of developing throttle control...
  14. get yourself the Twist Of The Wrist dvd/book or watch the dvd on youtube. it is a major cause for bike instability and rider error.

    chopping the throttle is never good, at it's worst it can be the cause of a spectacular highside, no-one wants a highside!
  15. have read a bit of that book. unfortunately reading is not my strong point these days! a little rear brake just seems to feel right, instead of the on/off response of the throttle its almost like a smaller opposing force pushing in the other direction, which seems to make things a lot smoother and more stable, my instructor went on and on about how "smooth is safe". I dont use the rear brake if i want to actually slow down though, quickly noticed how weak it felt and how easily it locks up, locked it up and sent it sideways going down my driveway at about 15 kmph!
    • Like Like x 2
  17. #18 GreyBM, May 8, 2016
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
    You are correct. Chopping throttle is unsettling. But the answer is proper throttle control. You need to learn to wind throttle on and off smoothly. Using the back brake may ease the problem but it doesn't address the problem and could lead to bad and very dangerous braking practices. I use a lot of rear brake and correctly used it is a very useful tool. But the rear brake has been described by some as the most dangerous control on a bike and there is good reason for that.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. if your chain has too much slack, or your cush drive is loose, they will make the choppiness worse...
    at very low speed in 1st gear, touch of rear brake when rolling back onto throttle can help overcome the above, but higher speeds and higher gears shouldn't need it.. just need smoothness
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. its pretty tough at first to get your right hand, which is used to about six inches of travel, to adapt to mere millimeters. practice makes perfect though right :D
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1