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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

last friday I did my very first non-commuting scooter ride.

I went on the Ortega Highway (california) to test my new burgman.

In my life I had a 50cc for many years, but I never rode hard, never enjoyed the twisties. So basically zero experience on how much I can lean and how fast I could go.

Friday with the burgman I was really hoping to enjoy the many turns of that particular road. Problem was that it was really humid (I think it rained the day before) and the asphalt looked shiny black in many spots.

I was paralyzed and found myself going very slowly in the turns. I had a feeling (in my head) that leaning the bike a little more would meant a possible disaster.

My question is: if you do lose grip in a turn, do you go down for sure, or does the rear wheel skid a little and if you don't do anything stupid you can easily recover? Or do you lose the front wheel?

I have no clue. I know with the car you have some kind of warning (unless you are driving like crazy), that is if you push a little too much you feel loosing grip and it does not mean a total disaster as the tires will find the grip after skidding a little.

I am asking not because I want to do crazy stuff, heck I will probably not have time again to go for a recreational ride. I am asking because it felt that I was going really slow, but at the same time looking at the humid asphalt was scaring me like crazy.

Thanks
 

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Well first off, congrats on the new Burgman!

Leaning into a curve is an acquired taste, but it's not quite as foreign as you might think. Did you ever ride a bicycle? Still got one lying around somewhere? Get on it and pedal through some curves. You'll notice a couple of things right away:

1) When you want to turn left, you actually push the handlebars slightly to the right. This is called countersteering. Don't worry about trying to do it (or stop it) since you simply can't help but do it as you ride. It works exactly the same on a motorcycle.

2) The faster you turn, the more you lean. If you're going very slowly (as I do in slippery conditions) the bike is almost upright.

You actually will fall over if you lean too much while going slowly. The trick is to ease off the throttle as you enter the turn, but once you've entered it ease the throttle back up. In Slow/Out Fast is the saying. Don't worry about falling over; the bike is way more capable than you think.

The way I drive, it's the rear which breaks loose first. Often it's just a momentary wiggle and then you can recover. Don't jam on the brakes hard in a turn or it'll cause a skid - particularly with the front brakes.

Do NOT hit the front brake hard in a turn. If you're going to high-side, lean a little more and believe in the bike. She'll get you through safely with a little guidance.

Most important, don't ignore those little feelings in your head. They keep you alive and safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the advices!
I am actually a cyclist and never had any problems with the bicycle in the turns. No doubts, no worries about losing grip.


Don't worry about falling over; the bike is way more capable than you think.
I am sure! I don't have the feeling yet.

About having the rear wheel wiggling a little and then finding the grip again, does it happen this way also with the humid asphalt? Or could you lose the front?

thanks again

Marco
 

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Sounds like a motorcycle safety course should be in your future - and the sooner the better. The longer you ride the more bad habits you'll pick up. Learn to look into the curve to where you want to go. Looking straight ahead is about the worst thing you can do in a hard turn - this is the single worst habit I know of. Where you are looking is where you will be going - you don't want to go straight when you're in a corner. Keep your head level to the horizon and look into the corner - this will help negate that feeling that you're on the edge - which causes panic.

As for riding on wet pavement it sounds like where you were it may have been damp - not much to worry about as long as you keep to the posted corner speeds. With rain falling you'd want to take extra care - fresh rain on a road that hasn't seen rain for some time can be very slick - it brings up the oils that have been dropped by vehicles passing by and the oils in the asphalt too. Hydroplaning is a concern too - and some MC tires aren't very good on wet pavement.
 

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I am actually a cyclist and never had any problems with the bicycle in the turns.
That is good to hear. Nothing prepares you for motorcycling better than cycling. So you already have balance, counterstearing, wheel gyro effect, braking, cornering and more down. That's a great place to start.

You were probably wise to be a little afraid in the turns. Normally water is not a huge deal with bikes, you've much more to fear from sand, gravel and loose rock; As you can see from my little incident a couple weeks ago. http://burgmanusa.com/forums/20-safety-tips-ideas/71385-my-gear-saved-my-rear-literally.html

However, it hasn't rained in sometime, and the oils on the ground are sure to bite you when stirred up by the little drizzle we had. So good call. No doubt your cycling experience played a part.

It's a little difficult to give instruction without seeing what you're doing or what the problematic terrain is. Most we can offer is general advice. Here's an article from my scooter group about riding the twisties...http://www.meetup.com/LAScooterGroup/messages/boards/thread/10308898 I also suggest watching some riding instructional videos on YouTube.

However, I'd be glad to meet you sometime, make a day of it riding the twisties. I could at least show you what the bike is capable of so perhaps you won't be so nervous trying it yourself. PM me if you're interested. I've been riding LA for 30 odd years (and only been down once. Lol). :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
knucklehead: yes, I was going for the MFS course, then I took a shot at the DMV riding skill test and got my license. Now the safety course is postponed. Still not sure if it is for me though. I am far from being like somebody that has never been on 2 wheels. I have NO experience on a big scooter and really do not know what to expect if I push it in the turns, but not sure if a few hours of instruction will make a difference (this is more of a question than a statement).

I would probably prefer a nice book/dvd on riding skills than one day and a half of course. Again, I am not sure what is the level of the riding class.

I am working on looking into the corner. It the same thing with the road bikes, but speeds are usually lower and if feels much easier to handle. With the burgman I almost went straight in one of the twisties because I was looking ahead instead of into it.

Liamjs: that is a great link, thanks. And thanks for the invite in riding together. I am starting a new job and will be pretty busy until I settle down a little, but I will definitely contact you in the near future.

Thanks again guys
 

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Books and DVS's are 'ok' but there is nothing like having someone with an experienced eye to tell you what you might be doing wrong. And the sooner you take a safety course the less likely you are to develop bad habits that can last a lifetime. Some bad habits can shorten that lifetime.

When I started learning to ride back in the mid 60s I rode with a buddy I'd met on the ship I was serving on. He had previously taken a beginners course at his parents insistence - and had the instruction book which he loaned me. Between my reading that book and his excellent memory about that course and quick eye for what I was doing wrong helped correct some bad habits I had. One of which was not looking into corners. I can honestly say that it helped greatly in not having a serious accident in the almost 50 years I've been riding.

The only 'serious' accident was with a GF on the back that decided she wanted to try something best left to the back seat of a cage!:D I ran off the road into a field at ~20mph and into a few blackberry vines where we fell slowly over - kind of like that guy (Artie?) in Laugh-In on the tricycle. Neither of us were hurt - and we decided that kind of behavior was best left to the back seat - or her place. The only other accident was a guy with a pickup with faulty brake lights. I ran my XS-750 Yamaha front fender up under his rear bumper which damaged the fender - the hit was soft - maybe 2mph. He probably didn't have any insurance - and being at fault offered me $100 on the spot to clear up the matter. I took the $100 and found a replacement fender for $20 IIRC. That is the extent of my accidents on a MC. Pretty good record if I do say so. I don't know how many miles I've logged over the years but its been a bunch. I've learned to drive very defensibly. Crashing hurts - so I've been told.:D

One other thing - :compress::compress::compress:SEAHAWKS RULE!!!:compress::compress::compress:
 

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I would probably prefer a nice book/dvd on riding skills than one day and a half of course.
Everyone learns in their own way. If you're looking for a book, I'd recommend David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

If a DVD is more your style, I'd recommend Jerry Palladino's Ride Like A Pro series. Any one of them is fine; he churns out a fresh one every year but the techniques he shows are all the same.

I took the Experienced Rider Course from MSF. It was a 1-day course. A friend dragged me along because he wanted some company and I didn't expect to learn much. Then, on the way home I realized just how much I'd actually learned (despite myself!) and have been recommending MSF courses ever since.
 

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Take the the safety course as soon as you can. They will teach you how to lean without fear. You would be surprised how much you can learn in one day and a half of course. Here are a few links you can look through and learn a lot from. Good luck and enjoy your new scooter. :)
http://www.ridemyown.com/articles/riding/BTB-overcomefearofleaning.shtml
http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/fear/
Those are some awesome articles! This is worth a read everyone. Especially the one on fears. I like his phrase of being an "eternal student on the subject of motorcycle riding". You can ALWAYS learn more on riding no matter how long you've done it.
 

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just another + 1 for the course - BTW it will reduce your insurance in most cases, If you really feel the basic course is too basic - and i can see that but the course covers how to go slow and how how to quickly turn and stop and how to go through corners with leaning - then take the ARC (advanced riders course) - i do that every other year, just to keep myself leveled on the basics (as well as the insurance) - its just nice to have someone tell you what they see if nothing else - there's no pass or fail.

I have had other people say the ARC is a waste of time ( its only a day) as its too slow in a Car park - but like i said its the observance by skilled experienced riders that i gain. yes it wont teach you how to kneedrag - but that isnt why you are there
 

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You would really be surprised on how much grip a bike has. On dry and clean road surfaces the bike should drag its sides LONG before the tire loses grip. Wet, Oil, Diesel, Sand and leaves are a whole different problem. In the rain, an average Motorcycle tire has about 80% of its dry grip. You should still come very close to dragging the sides of the bike even when wet.

If you do lose grip, it then depends on skill and luck. If you have good riding skills and luck is with you, all that happens is a bit of a sideways slide and you keep going. If your skill level is low and luck is all bad, then hope all you do is a "Low Side" crash and your gear keeps you from major damage. But if you slide sideways and then regain grip, most times it will be a "High Side" and you get pitched up and come down hard (SPLAT).

Confidence and skill are paramount in riding a motorcycle.

CONFIDENCE AND SKILL ARE PARAMOUNT IN RIDING A MOTORCYCLE IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE!!!!!
 

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I was--and to an extent still am--somewhat in your position. One advantage of living in WV is that if you go any distance, you'll have to deal with twists and turns (we are not called 'the Mountain State' for no reason) and I am gradually getting better with practice.
 

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Other than
Wet, Oil, Diesel, Sand and leaves
I've never come close to losing traction on a corner. Not even when rubbing the stand parts.

Sadly, I've encountered each and every of the aforementioned friction modifiers. Often to less than optimal results. Well, with no body parts broken or missing, the results could be considered optimal.
 

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Keep this in mind....Motorcycle tires typically have 80% of their grip on wet roads.
Also remember that painted surfaces on the road are slick when wet.
So if you stay off the lane lines when cornering on a wet/damp road you should not lose grip.
Just like on your bicycle.
Ride Safe and Have Fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ehi guys, thanks for all the replies and the useful links. I will start with Palladino's books/DVDs and take the course as soon as I have a free weekend.

Sorry for the late reply but real world life caught up with me as I started working last monday.

Thanks again
 

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Don't worry - we all have real lives which catch up with us from time to time! ;)

Glad you found something which looks good. You may find there's a waiting list for the MRC courses though. Whatever you do though, the key to success is to find an empty parking lot and practice from time to time.
 

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mtedde, we have a lot in common; L.A. area (North Hollywood), first time motorcycle rider, long time and experienced bike rider. I got my AN 400 in October. I took the MSF course and I'm glad I did. BTW, did you buy your Burgie new? If you did, and you take the course, Suzuki will give you $100 back. Just saying'...

If you don't take the course, I suggest you ride with some experienced riders like Liam and the other LA Meetup group riders.

But take the course.
 

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In the ride like a pro video Palantino mentions wrapping the crash bars with protective materials, to protect them from scratches.

We don't have any crash bars, just VERY expensive tupperware, that breaks when you drop the scoot at 0 MPH.

I'd be doing much more parking lot training if my 650 had working crash bars, like Harleys or even better, Victory Visions
 
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