Newbie question - downshifting & turns

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jstark47
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#21 Unread post by jstark47 » Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:19 pm

ofblong wrote:
Trakanon wrote:As a follow-up, when taking these 90 degree turns in second, am I using a slight amount of throttle or am I using friction zone to power myself through the turn?
umm I dont use the clutch at all. I keep it covered in case I need it (like i have to make an immediate stop) but I dont use it. I just use the throttle like I learned in the MSF course.
+1. Normal 90 degree turn, like from one street onto another? Use the clutch only to get the bike down into 2nd gear, let the clutch out, look where you wanna go, maintenance throttle, let the bike lean....... and the bike will pull itself around the corner nicely.

"Maintenance throttle" means the bike is not coasting. Enough throttle so the engine is pushing enough on the drivetrain to maintain speed.

When you get more experience, then you can worry about accelerating through corners... :twisted: This is enough for now.
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#22 Unread post by Beach » Sat Aug 19, 2006 10:22 pm

Read This Book

And practice the techniques in parking lots with full gear. Large church parking lots are usually good around here (not during chruch obviously).

Shorts: I dont know anything about riding with a handicap such as yours, or should I say handi-capable? I will say that you have alot of nerve to do what you are doing. I looked up your page and saw the mods dont to your bike. I was amazed. I pictured a right foot operated clutch, but I can see problems with that as well. No way to pull clutch in and use both brakes at the same time for a quick stop.

I saw a guy with a chopper on bike night here. He had no controls on the bars at all. He had a foot clutch on the right along with the brake, and the left foot controlled front brake/shifter. Probably suicide, but it was a very impressive looking bike. :D
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#23 Unread post by Shorts » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:13 am

jstark47 wrote: You're gonna have to get through the figure 8 in a box in the MSF course -- you're taking that, right? I can't remember what you're riding or how torquey it is down low. Assuming it has decent low end torque, suggest this: before you take the MSF (they're letting you use your bike, right?) adjust the idle speed down a bit. You want to do the figure 8 in 2nd gear, it's so much smoother. But you don't want to go too fast, and feathering the clutch, which is the usual speed control in this situation, is iffy for you. If the bike's got the grunt, get that idle down so it will just barely pull the bike in 2nd without stalling. That's how you'll get around the figure 8 maneuver.

You can do this. It's do-able. But you're gonna have to practice more than the average rider.....

Yes, I'm signed up for the early Sept class and I'll be using my bike. It's a '00 Honda VTR 250. I'll work on the figure 8s. The bike responds very well to steering input, so managing the speed will be key.

So figure 8s are in 2nd? Is the idea to do them as slow as possible within the certain space or?


Beach, yeah, riding like this has got a wierd learning curve to it lol DH runs through the manuevers before I do (one hand only as well) to test that it can be done that way, so in a way that's confirmation it can be done, now I just need to figure out how to do it. Sometimes I wisj I went with a trike or some bolt on training wheels so I could work on the two things separately - stop/go controls and balance :lol:

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#24 Unread post by ofblong » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:34 am

Shorts wrote:
jstark47 wrote: You're gonna have to get through the figure 8 in a box in the MSF course -- you're taking that, right? I can't remember what you're riding or how torquey it is down low. Assuming it has decent low end torque, suggest this: before you take the MSF (they're letting you use your bike, right?) adjust the idle speed down a bit. You want to do the figure 8 in 2nd gear, it's so much smoother. But you don't want to go too fast, and feathering the clutch, which is the usual speed control in this situation, is iffy for you. If the bike's got the grunt, get that idle down so it will just barely pull the bike in 2nd without stalling. That's how you'll get around the figure 8 maneuver.

You can do this. It's do-able. But you're gonna have to practice more than the average rider.....

Yes, I'm signed up for the early Sept class and I'll be using my bike. It's a '00 Honda VTR 250. I'll work on the figure 8s. The bike responds very well to steering input, so managing the speed will be key.

So figure 8s are in 2nd? Is the idea to do them as slow as possible within the certain space or?


Beach, yeah, riding like this has got a wierd learning curve to it lol DH runs through the manuevers before I do (one hand only as well) to test that it can be done that way, so in a way that's confirmation it can be done, now I just need to figure out how to do it. Sometimes I wisj I went with a trike or some bolt on training wheels so I could work on the two things separately - stop/go controls and balance :lol:
I found the figure 8 easier in first because your only going like 5mph. That would be something you need to figure out in practice. In 2nd the figure 8 seemed hard to handle at least for me whereas in first it was a piece of cake. Not sure how others on here handled the figure 8's but thats my experience with it.
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#25 Unread post by scan » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:00 am

I just want to endorse the 2nd gear comments. I will say it wasn't until this year that I actually had the confidence to use this technique fully though. During the MSF course the instructure kept telling me I could use 2nd gear and the brake to control slow manuevers (like the figure 8 box), but I just didn't have the smoothness of operation to do that, I would always swing too wide. That was the only element in the MSF I could not complete with success. This year without even knowing I was doing the 2nd gear style turns, I started doing it in slower turns and also feather the rear brake for control. It is now natural and a regular part of my parking lot training - which I try to do at least a small bit of practice on each ride.

I also can say with all things bike - take your time. Learn at your speed. A baby doesn't get up and run around the house first - it crawls. We are all expert walkers by the time we are 5 or 6 years old. If you spend many hours on your bike per year and practice good habits, only good reuslts can become the outcome. Cheers.
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#26 Unread post by jstark47 » Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:53 pm

ofblong wrote:I found the figure 8 easier in first because your only going like 5mph. That would be something you need to figure out in practice. In 2nd the figure 8 seemed hard to handle at least for me whereas in first it was a piece of cake. Not sure how others on here handled the figure 8's but thats my experience with it.
A lot depends on the throttle response of the specific bike. That's the problem with making generalizations about all bikes. A lot of bikes are twitchy in first gear, the drive train isn't providing enough resistance to mute down the engine response, the result is jerky speed control. Second gear provides more resistance, smooths out the throttle response, which means small variations in throttle setting don't produce huge sudden changes in bike speed.
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#27 Unread post by jstark47 » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:21 pm

Shorts wrote:So figure 8s are in 2nd? Is the idea to do them as slow as possible within the certain space or?
Can be in 2nd. It's just another weapon in the control arsenal. If it doesn't work for you, don't use it.....

The figure 8 is done within a box (I've been looking but I'm darned if I can find authoritative reference to the size of the box.) You do it at whatever speed you can control the bike, but most folks find pretty slow is easier, but with enough speed to maintain balance. Putting a foot down or going outside of the box will lose you points.

Now, let's keep this all in perspective. The way the skills test is scored when I took the MSF, you start with 100 points, and can lose up to 20 points before flunking. The figure 8 is worth 8 points. You can totally blow the figure 8 and still pass the course.....
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#28 Unread post by ofblong » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:28 pm

jstark47 wrote:
Shorts wrote:So figure 8s are in 2nd? Is the idea to do them as slow as possible within the certain space or?
Can be in 2nd. It's just another weapon in the control arsenal. If it doesn't work for you, don't use it.....

The figure 8 is done within a box (I've been looking but I'm darned if I can find authoritative reference to the size of the box.) You do it at whatever speed you can control the bike, but most folks find pretty slow is easier, but with enough speed to maintain balance. Putting a foot down or going outside of the box will lose you points.

Now, let's keep this all in perspective. The way the skills test is scored when I took the MSF, you start with 100 points, and can lose up to 20 points before flunking. The figure 8 is worth 8 points. You can totally blow the figure 8 and still pass the course.....
the box size (based on a thread I started) depends on the state but the avg was 20ftx60ft. I believe someone in colorado told me theirs was 16x60 but I know mine in michigan was 20x60. Oh and thanks for the clarification in the post above yours :D. I havent had time to test out shadow deluxe on the box yet so maybe that bike will be better in 2nd than the suzuki 250 I rode in the MSF course was.

oh and in the figure 8 I lost 1 pt for putting my foot down 1x. I wasnt paying attention and kinda lost my balance (didnt have my arse hanging off the side lol).
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#29 Unread post by Shorts » Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:16 pm

Great info jstark, ofblong and scanevalexec. I've got some good things to think about and practice next trip out.

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#30 Unread post by Shenanigans7 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:51 pm

Beach wrote:Read This Book

i agree. this book was recommended to me when i was new on here last october, before i even took the MSF course. i read through the entire thing before i was even on a bike, which made understanding and getting thru the course a lot easier. i still don't have my own bike, but i ride my neighbors '99 Honda Shadow 1100 every weekend, and pick up that book at least twice a week to refresh or even learn something new.


also, remember....slow, look, lean, and roll....try not to ride the clutch, just stay in second so that you have power to come out of the turn....
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#31 Unread post by alfendena rider » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:20 am

may i suggest that you purchase the book by DAVID HOUGH--PROFICIENT MOTORCYCLING. it is so very informative and will clear up alot of the mystrey that is before you now. at your stage of the ride, i think that you will find it invaluable.
happy trails

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