T Nation

Motorcycles, How to Ride a High Performance Bike

So, Im a new rider, got my license in may and subsequently bought a honda VFR interceptor 800. I like to think that I have been progressing well for being a new rider, I had never ridden before, new how to drive stick, didnt do it often, and had been taught on a dirtbike before but nothing that really counted as “riding”.

A couple of guys I ride with have said that im progressing well especially for my experience. YAY ME lol.

I know theres a lot of guys who ride here. Lets here it, tips, tricks, any kind of things that you would like to talk about on performance and riding.

Little things like better acceleration, where does your bike feel best to get that pop, RPM’s (yes i know all ride differently, how did you find you sweet spot), or general guidelines you follow.

I really dont have anything to contribute seeing as Im a new rider so…

My reccomendatuons are:

Always wear your protective equipment (helmet gloves jacket ect.)

Always assume that other drivers don’t see you… Cause they probably don’t

Hey, guys I just bought a B-52, got my pilots license, um…didn’t really take any special classes for the plane so I wanted to know if anyone could give me advice over the internet about how to actually fly this thing…thanks.

On a serious note:

I suggest if anyone is going to take up riding a motorcycle, get enrolled into a class.

Yeah, it’s really cool to tell all your friends that your amazing riding skillz were self-taught, but most of the self-taught people I know actually suck balls, that is compared to people that payed the $500 for the class and have only been riding for a few months. As you ride more you learn little tricks and stuff to make riding easier and safer, but if you take a riding class, 1) your learning curve is much shorter, and 2) you learn all those little tricks and tips and acquire actual knowledge on why bikes are the way they are from a certified instructor. Promise.

I know a few guys that after 20 years of riding bikes, still take classes, they are advanced classes, but still they take classes. And it’s noticeable, knowing how to drive properly will make all those guys doing wheelies down the street look like posers and fuck-tards.

And really, why do people get off on this self-taught shit? What happened to picking a good-great teacher and learning from them. Motherfucker’s in Brazilian Jizzitonyou don’t go around proclaiming they self-taught themselves, they actually have pride in who their Jedi guy is.

Gregron- true that

Brother Chris- I did pay the almost $500 and take a class. But great effort on trying for a rant. I thought the class was great, definitely one of the best investments ive made. I agree that self taught people are not as good of riders, and usually much less safe. But the class is also taught on a 250CC rebel which rides much differently than for instance, my bike. I learned a lot from the class regardless.

I was just hoping to get a good convo about motorcycles and how people ride them going. Not a frickin “heres how to ride a motorcycle, go try and hopefully you dont get hurt” thread. performance, engines, things like that.

  1. Stay the F(*& out of people’s blindspots.

  2. Be mindful of any truck that is in front of you as a tarp coming off a pickup is a deathsententence.

  3. Never underestimate how slippery sand and leaves really can be.

  4. When going only a few miles an hour it really is more stable to have your feet up instead of down. I see this a lot when people start riding, they come to a stop light and feel the need to put their feet down, but all it does is make them unstable.

  5. Apply the rear break slightly ahead of the front.

  6. Remember that the majority of your breaking is going to be from the front.

  7. When in doubt around other cars, drop down a gear and get into your powerband a bit, you never know when a throttle blip could save your life.

  8. Also in regards to that last one, drive offensively at all times.

  9. Always assume people don’t see you.

  10. Have fun, be safe, wear your gear, get good insurance, you will dump at some point no matter what you think, you will dump, be prepared.

Also, trust the bike in a turn. Unless you are dragging a knee, you still have more tread left. Most people tend to start to lean, then get scared and not commit, and end up way too wide. It will take some time to really get a feel for leaning deep into a turn, but just trust that the bike will get you around the corner. Also make sure you are always looking through the turn, it may feel a little awkward at first, but once you start doing it a bit the bike will follow the line you set easily.

[quote]MikeyKBiatch wrote:

  1. Stay the F(*& out of people’s blindspots.

  2. Be mindful of any truck that is in front of you as a tarp coming off a pickup is a deathsententence.

  3. Never underestimate how slippery sand and leaves really can be.

  4. When going only a few miles an hour it really is more stable to have your feet up instead of down. I see this a lot when people start riding, they come to a stop light and feel the need to put their feet down, but all it does is make them unstable.

  5. Apply the rear break slightly ahead of the front.

  6. Remember that the majority of your breaking is going to be from the front.

  7. When in doubt around other cars, drop down a gear and get into your powerband a bit, you never know when a throttle blip could save your life.

  8. Also in regards to that last one, drive offensively at all times.

  9. Always assume people don’t see you.

  10. Have fun, be safe, wear your gear, get good insurance, you will dump at some point no matter what you think, you will dump, be prepared.[/quote]

Number seven is sooo on the money. # Ten sucks but it’s true lol, I have the road rash to prove it :frowning:

The only thing I would add to the list is constantly look for escape routes when approaching an intersection or in heavy traffic. In other words think to yourself “if that asshole does this I’m going to do that”. You don’t have to be neurotic about it and be in constant paranoia mode but this has helped me out in the past. The more you do it the better you get at it.

One other thing…TAKE IT TO THE 1/4 MILE TRACK!!!

You will have a blast and it will be very humbling. The times you see in the bike magazines are pros riding with no reaction times to worry about. The track is where you see who can ride and who can’t imo. Just go on grudge night to get the hang of it first and then sign-up for a day of bracket racing. Racing in front of people is a huge rush and every rider should do it atleast once. You’ll get to meet alot of different riders and get racing tips that also carry over into street riding.

Well, number one:

Ask yourself, If I push on the left handlebar at any kind of speed (say 30 mph, though it could be considerably less), which way will the bike turn?

If you don’t know, then seriously consider a real riding school, not the one that helps people get a license.

And if you think you know then get on the bike and try it, and if it does the opposite, again consider the real riding school.

Seriously.

Very.

Second, riding on the dirt will develop skills it is very hard or impossible to acquire on pavement alone. Partly because the wheels slide all the time in the dirt, but not so much on the pavement. While it’s true that a skilled rider can bring the rear out anytime he wants to with throttle, I wouldn’t suggest it as a novice on a powerful bike with no dirt experience.

It’s kind of like the B-52 example. It’s not the right vehicle to get the experience with.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Well, number one:

Ask yourself, If I push on the left handlebar at any kind of speed (say 30 mph, though it could be considerably less), which way will the bike turn?
[/quote]

You mean it won’t go straight up to the stratosphere? lol, I’m gonna get myself a bike soon and cant wait to go to a school beforehand.

I understand there is a difference, i also feel the best way to learn is to do. Somethings you just gotta feel out. In my job I am trained to deliver a baby, theres no practice in that one, at least on an ambulance, when it comes you do it. Bad example i know.

Lets pretend Ive been riding for 20 years and am just trying to start a good conversation about how people like to ride their motorcycles and talk about motorcycles.

I would talk about how I bought a Ninja 500, went out into a big empty parking lot late at night and did figure 8’s around lamp posts. I don’t ride anymore, but have a book called Proficient Motorcycling that has a lot of useful tips.

[quote]fighting_fires wrote:
I understand there is a difference, i also feel the best way to learn is to do. Somethings you just gotta feel out. In my job I am trained to deliver a baby, theres no practice in that one, at least on an ambulance, when it comes you do it. Bad example i know.

Lets pretend Ive been riding for 20 years and am just trying to start a good conversation about how people like to ride their motorcycles and talk about motorcycles. [/quote]

Well, you could wind up like my first flight instructor, the incompetent Hitoshi Suda, who did not know how an airplane flew, as he learned “just by doing” and therefore for example did not know what would happen if you added power in flight without moving the stick.

Or rather, he THOUGHT he knew, but he did not. In fact the airplane does completely differently than he believed.

Did it look like he could fly a plane? Yes. Did he have the competence to be able to fly a plane in all situations? No, because “learning by doing” (and perhaps from a likewise incompetent instructor) had him not knowing what he was doing.

Feel free to not know how to steer a bike. There are countless riders who don’t know. They can’t steer a bike with any rapid direction changes due to this lack of knowledge. But they think they can ride.

As for pretending you’ve been riding for 20 years rather than giving you advice appropriate to the actual situation, why don’t we pretend the moon is made out of green cheese?

I’m not gonna lecture you or be sarcastic like these other guys, but I got one thing for ya… please don’t work the clutch/front brake with four fingers. Hahaha I can’t stand those guys that ride without gloves and use four fingers on the clutch. Other than that have fun and be careful, or you’ll be looking like a fool with your bike on the ground…

Oh and don’t let your laces stick out or you might fall over at a stop sign.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Well, number one:

Ask yourself, If I push on the left handlebar at any kind of speed (say 30 mph, though it could be considerably less), which way will the bike turn?

If you don’t know, then seriously consider a real riding school, not the one that helps people get a license.

And if you think you know then get on the bike and try it, and if it does the opposite, again consider the real riding school.

Seriously.

Very.

Counter steering is a weird concept at first but it should be understood for sure.

Second, riding on the dirt will develop skills it is very hard or impossible to acquire on pavement alone. Partly because the wheels slide all the time in the dirt, but not so much on the pavement. While it’s true that a skilled rider can bring the rear out anytime he wants to with throttle, I wouldn’t suggest it as a novice on a powerful bike with no dirt experience.

I learned on the dirt as well and it saved my ass a few times and made things more fun on the street when I got more experiance. I started small and worked my way up to the GS1150 I own now.

It’s kind of like the B-52 example. It’s not the right vehicle to get the experience with.[/quote]

[quote]Tyrant wrote:

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Well, number one:

Ask yourself, If I push on the left handlebar at any kind of speed (say 30 mph, though it could be considerably less), which way will the bike turn?
[/quote]

You mean it won’t go straight up to the stratosphere? lol, I’m gonna get myself a bike soon and cant wait to go to a school beforehand.[/quote]

It will go right, not left.

Which is something you should know, especially when you want to lean into a curve.

Not sure if serious…

^Counter steering is a weird thing to wrap your head around as a newbie but must be understood for sure.

[quote]XiaoNio wrote:
Not sure if serious…[/quote]

That it will go right, not left?

The wheels are rather heavy gyros that react to any movement in one way with a countermovement in the opposite direction.

So, if you tip the left bar it will lean slightly left and then go in the other direction which you can use to lean into a curve.

I know what countersteering is, but I was always taught it as “push right to go right, push left to go left” or “push steering”. Which is really the same as turning the bar in the opposite direction of where you want to go. So, I would think the bike would lean left if you pushed away on the left handlebar. But I guess that depends on what your definition of push is.

[quote]XiaoNio wrote:
I know what countersteering is, but I was always taught it as “push right to go right, push left to go left” or “push steering”. Which is really the same as turning the bar in the opposite direction of where you want to go. So, I would think the bike would lean left if you pushed away on the left handlebar. But I guess that depends on what your definition of push is.[/quote]

The idea is not to force it in the direction you want it to go, it is to slightly tip it in the opposite direction and then use the momentum of the counter reaction to bend it into the curve.

Of course you can wrestle it in any direction you want to, but then you always have to overcome a resistance that you could use to your advantage.

Try it, it flows more naturally than when you have to wrestle your bike down at every corner.