M.O.M's Thoughts On Riding: For Beginners & Street Riders - Page 7 - ZX6R Forum
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post #91 of 98 Old 06-14-2014, 06:44 PM
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I did a write up on here quite some time ago about road awareness and looking ahead and being prepared for any situation. It's a must read for beginners. Any beginner I've ridden with, or talk to struggles with being prepared for any 'multiple' situation and its usually because they aren't looking ahead far enough and its a skill definitely to always work on!

It helps prepare for not only the next corner but for the dimwit who has pulled out in front of you while they are driving and checking their instagram on your commute.

Awareness / Anticpation / Looking Ahead

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Arlo's Thread on Rider Awareness

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post #92 of 98 Old 06-08-2015, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by groomlake View Post
A truly great write-up from MOM, and a really great thread. It struck a note with me and probably being likely one of the oldest members on this forum (or so it would seem...), I'll share some thoughts. I'm 63, old and broke down, drawing social security and my pension, and counting my teeth on just my hands...
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As Ms. MoM intended in the original post, my thoughts are for NEWBIES and otherwise inexperienced riders who, for some reason, have either bought a serious “go-fast”, or are at the verge of “just gotta’ have one”....
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Bear with me as this, after all, is a Forum and I’d rather contribute something worthwhile rather than just keep posting one-liner “comments”. To be sure, and after several nostalgia attacks..., this thread reminded me of my first experience with bikes back in 1970. The mere thought that a 600cc bike could produce 100+ HP, and consistently do 130+ mph was unheard of! Not to mention getting to 130+ in what seems to be about a billionth of a second now-a-days.
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Along the way, I learned some things (Well, I'm still alive; so I guess that stands for something....). So, here’s my thoughts and opinions.
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My Rule #1: Get the bike you need for the purpose you want
It’s probably the most important thing I learned, so I called it “Rule #1”.
.
Just because a bike has HP, “cool factor” etc., does not mean that it’s the best choice. To use an example.... Let's say, I get all excited and let my ego and what’s left of my testosterone cause me to buy the latest GFZX-1800RRR Super Ultra with dual everything and the speedometer that has three sections: Slow, Fast, and Oh Wow!.
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Ok... Unless I can zip over to “track-days” on a weekly basis and shed the hormones at some therapeutic speed from hell, then what am I gonna’ do with the beast.. Well with all that horsepower, torque, sexy good looks, and the “nice, new, shiny” factor, of course the temptation will approach biblical proportions. I’ve spent some considerable time here in the last few weeks reading threads on this forum, and most of us (me included...) just cannot resist that rotating handle which releases endorphins into our mammalian cortex areas.
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Now for many members, having a “drone” bike, a cheap or inconsequential tour bike as the daily option, is not gonna’ happen. That said, if we all had our “druthers”, we’d approach riding from two choices; first have the small V-twin, etc., to put-put around in our daily business and... Have the latest GFZX-1800RRR Ultra for the weekends and babe impressing duty. Second option is to have the latest GFZX-1800RRR - but with the FI system ‘mapped’ for selective “go get groceries” all the way to “compete with a Navy F-18 on take off”...
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Of course, option #1 is not practical for most folks. Money is tight and we just have to make do with what we want and try to make the bike “fit” for all uses.
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Good case in point... My daughter decided she wanted a “sport bike”. Why? My son in law has a Suzuki F-Go Fast. Note: For those of you who have survived this long, and with sons or daughters of the “riding age”, forget about common sense, discard practicality, ignore any and all considerations related to any “rules”. Ain’t gonna work because the “discussion” is not going to be based on reality, finances, safety, or practicality.... No sir... Gonna’ be based on emotion and perception of “cool”.
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So she buys (after I advised against it....) a ’06 Katana. Well, it sat in MY garage until she went to M/C school and my son-in-law had trained her as best he could (He’s a good guy, and he’s the Parts Manager at ARS Motor Sports here). Within one week, she’d killed the battery from stalls, dumped it in a ditch, and otherwise (as far as I can tell) will NEVER use that bike to any extent within the capabilities for any time in the near future. She ignored Rule #1 and Rule #2 from the “git-go”. Now she’s gonna’ pay for it.... Hopefully the “price” will remain as pride and fiberglass...
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But the point is why buy the latest GFZX-1800RRR when you can’t really use it (legally)? But if you do.... Remember that unless you are at “track days”, feeling lucky all the time, then enjoy spending most of your time and money in (a) court, (b) hospital, (c) being seriously frustrated with what appears to be the inability to crank that bad boy out most of the time, and (d) making massive payments for insurance.
.
God knows I love the demon bikes. But when faced with choices, sometimes the 250cc put-put is what one needs to learn, gain competency, etc., but NOT what we really need for the first year or so...
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Picking the wrong bike will be expensive... My wife (married now for almost 30 years, two kids, etc.) has finally decided to learn to drive a bike! I had her read this thread. Scared her to death... LOL!!! But she’s going to M/C school (mandatory in Florida), and right now she exhibits all of the symptoms of abject terror and fear during our training rides in the back road area. I can’t even ride with her without overheating the 883 or the ZX. But I found out that the best way for her to learn is for me to head down to each curve or stop sign, turn my bike off and watch her. She'll get enough confidence to get out of 3rd gear at 25mph on the 250 with crash bar.....
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Even if she passes the test and gets the license endorsement, do I put her on the 883 Sportster? Attempt to teach her on the Ninja? Not gonna’ happen. Nope, she’s gonna’ learn on the 250cc V-Star with the crash bars and big mirrors... After about a year or two, she’ll get the 883 Sportster, and my son who will then be turning 16 will get the V-Star. When he’s 18, he’ll get the ZX6R.
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The second thing I learned, or Rule #2: Be smarter than the bike
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It's all fine and happy to have the latest GFZX-1800RRR Ultra-Max which, if prompted by that reptilian (or raptor...) part of our brain, will outrun the Word of God. But let that Godzilla Mochine get away from you, you are doomed (in all of the possible biblical descriptions, not to mention the other great works of faith...)
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My first bike was a Triumph 500 "hand-me-down" that was in our military unit. I needed "wheels" to find "babes" and a bike seemed like the way to go! Well, it was Murphy's Law Motorcycle School!! I dumped that bike every way possible, tore up the bars, tore the timing system out of the side cover - you name it, I damaged it... No broken bones, but my pride and clothing was in rehab for almost a year...
.
The fact of the matter was that I learned what that bike would do vs what it would not do. Eventually, I learned to "manipulate" that puny 25HP. When you only have diddly-squat for HP and torque, you learn real fast how to lean, apex your turns, heat the tires, etc. Many a CB750 cafe racer-wannabe could not understand how I could zip through our "unofficial" course so fast.
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Conclusion? I really learned to ride, sold the Triumph to the next “newbie” and hopped the train to England get my Norton 750 Commando... LOL!!! Moral of the story? Whatever you get, learn to ride the bike!!!! One of the greatest "scenes" from a few years ago was watching an old cafe racer on a CB500 "clean up" on a bunch of inexperienced superbikers at the Sebring track.
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Which leads me to my Rule #3 from my old “hot rod” race car building days (yah... did that too...): Speed Costs Money — How Fast Do You Need to Go?
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There is some compulsion.... No that’s wrong... There is an overwhelming compulsion that is built into our Freudian brain areas that keeping putting the angels and devils on our shoulders. And that devil has the loudest voice yelling out the undying quest for mo’ better speed (power...).
.
Let me pose a question to “newbies” and otherwise inexperienced riders, if I may. Assuming you have decided that you really need (Rule #1) the GFZX-1800RRR Death Dealer, other than weird cosmetics to fit the social scene, and can overcome Rule #2 before being consumed in a fiery crash that mimics the Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB...), why would you want to spend another bazillion on “upgrades”?
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If that’s the case; and I’m talking about the expensive stuff such as new headers, FI mapping, different brakes, forks, afterburners, sneaky NO2 systems, etc., then it stands to reason that Rule #1 was never applied. And sure as hot water flows south, Rule #2 will raise it’s ugly head again and you are now playing with a short fuse on the MOAB...
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Before you turn the fire breathing monster into a nuclear delivery system, consider the cost vs benefit.
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Many times it’s cheaper to save your hard earned money, apply Rule #1 and #2 and then start the proccess of customizing. Then again, at that point, you probably need a new bike.... LOL.
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My last "rule", so to speak, mimics what's been said here before in many ways: Don't let your friends, ride buddies, etc., make you do something that is outside your comfort and safety zone.
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Don't fall for it. I'd rather be called a squid, wimp-wuss, or whatever is the term of the day and go home at the end of the day in one piece. I always ask the question of my "riding associates", "How many times have you wrecked you ride?", before I start wondering whether or not to take up any challenges...
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Stay safe all newbies and squids!! And if you want to drive real fast... find a track and take some lessons from the track people...

Just my thoughts.
Been out of action for a year with "family management", but wanted to bring this back up for the new crew....
.
PS to MoM... Wife finally declined on driving a bike; and does not really want to ride on 2 wheels.. Oh well.. C'est La Vie... I'll continue on with the "Dolce Vita" concept.

Drive your bike like there's a drone watching you... You'll survive, get really old and have to give your wife Viagra for Women...
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post #93 of 98 Old 06-08-2015, 07:01 AM
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post #94 of 98 Old 03-02-2016, 03:52 PM
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I don't have a whole lot to contribute here, I'm a fairly new rider but I might be able to share a bit of perspective from someone who only recently got licensed.

Around these parts, a safety course is mandatory. I can say for sure that the best thing I ever did is take the 20-hour version which included two full days of riding with instructors helping the whole time. I had an awesome experience and feel like I can jump on just about anything and get it going safely. I never felt compelled to buy a "starter bike" simply because I'm confident to ride on the street with the experience I gained through the course and continuing to apply it in the real world helps to hone that confidence and continue to improve. Considering I had to ride my friends CBR929RR home for him after he bought it and have ridden my bro-in-law's 1200 Sporty, I'm reasonably comfortable making that statement. Certainly I'm no expert on those bikes, but I was able to get a Fireblade from A to B within a couple weeks of getting licensed after only a couple minutes learning the controls (yes it's absolutely ballistic but it's also pretty easy to go slow - just don't rip on it and slip the clutch smothly).

I know it's not mandatory for many places, but I keep seeing and hearing about first timers buying supersports and wrecking them leaving the dealership. I can't help but think if they had ever dicked around in a parking lot on a two-wheeled toilet practicing clutch control that those wrecks could have been avoided. Or the number of times I hear guys say "I had to put it down". No, I don't think you did. I think you responded to an emergency situation mid-turn by stabbing the brakes and the bike launched you. I don't think they ever learned that "fluid is fast" or how to rev-match on downshifts. I'm sure some of them don't even figure out counter-steering until they sideswipe someone in the opposite lane.

My plans for 2016 are to take a refresher course to get my comfort level back and enjoy my bike, applying the stuff from the course to putt around my neighborhood and through parking lots as well as merging onto the highways and just riding. There's just so much stuff I want to practice. I also found the local motorcycle association who puts on track days. I am IN for coached instruction on a closed circuit. Hopefully leathers under the tree this Christmas

Although, I'm a big believer that you never stop learning either, and so long as you come into the sport with some foundational knowledge, a realization that you aren't the be-all, end-all of riders, and accept that you're embarking on a lifelong learning experience then you know what, this stuff is actually pretty easy. And fun. Never let it become un-fun!

Mike B
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post #95 of 98 Old 03-02-2016, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyb79 View Post
I don't have a whole lot to contribute here, I'm a fairly new rider but I might be able to share a bit of perspective from someone who only recently got licensed.

Around these parts, a safety course is mandatory. I can say for sure that the best thing I ever did is take the 20-hour version which included two full days of riding with instructors helping the whole time. I had an awesome experience and feel like I can jump on just about anything and get it going safely. I never felt compelled to buy a "starter bike" simply because I'm confident to ride on the street with the experience I gained through the course and continuing to apply it in the real world helps to hone that confidence and continue to improve. Considering I had to ride my friends CBR929RR home for him after he bought it and have ridden my bro-in-law's 1200 Sporty, I'm reasonably comfortable making that statement. Certainly I'm no expert on those bikes, but I was able to get a Fireblade from A to B within a couple weeks of getting licensed after only a couple minutes learning the controls (yes it's absolutely ballistic but it's also pretty easy to go slow - just don't rip on it and slip the clutch smothly).

I know it's not mandatory for many places, but I keep seeing and hearing about first timers buying supersports and wrecking them leaving the dealership. I can't help but think if they had ever dicked around in a parking lot on a two-wheeled toilet practicing clutch control that those wrecks could have been avoided. Or the number of times I hear guys say "I had to put it down". No, I don't think you did. I think you responded to an emergency situation mid-turn by stabbing the brakes and the bike launched you. I don't think they ever learned that "fluid is fast" or how to rev-match on downshifts. I'm sure some of them don't even figure out counter-steering until they sideswipe someone in the opposite lane.

My plans for 2016 are to take a refresher course to get my comfort level back and enjoy my bike, applying the stuff from the course to putt around my neighborhood and through parking lots as well as merging onto the highways and just riding. There's just so much stuff I want to practice. I also found the local motorcycle association who puts on track days. I am IN for coached instruction on a closed circuit. Hopefully leathers under the tree this Christmas

Although, I'm a big believer that you never stop learning either, and so long as you come into the sport with some foundational knowledge, a realization that you aren't the be-all, end-all of riders, and accept that you're embarking on a lifelong learning experience then you know what, this stuff is actually pretty easy. And fun. Never let it become un-fun!
This is very wise and introspective...unfortunately 99% of the people starting out do NOT fall into this category =)
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post #96 of 98 Old 03-03-2016, 12:02 AM
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I'm a very new rider and I agree with everything you mentioned in the original post. I haven't gotten into cornering much at all really, but the other info is great advice.

Thanks for the helpful thread!

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post #97 of 98 Old 03-12-2016, 09:46 PM
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Thanks for the write up everyone. Great example of what real riders should be viewed as. Vrs the drunken hellz angel of some teenager.
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post #98 of 98 Old 03-13-2016, 12:58 AM
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How do people 'discover' countersteering so late/after months of riding? It's Day 1 of the training in the UK.
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