M.O.M's Thoughts On Riding: For Beginners & Street Riders - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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M.O.M's Thoughts On Riding: For Beginners & Street Riders

Everyone likes talking about bikes and mods, and tires, and whatnot but there seems to be an almost taboo assignment to the role of the rider in the act of proficient motorcycling. In light of the start of riding season (in most areas) I thought I would throw out some wisdom from my own modest perspective that people seem to overlook. As always, feel free to contribute or dispute and please bear in mind that this is coming from the perspective of someone who cares more about being a smooth and consistent rider than leading the pack.

I am not expecting that any of this is going to make you a better rider, but rather I aim to share some insight that might better allow you to avoid putting yourself in otherwise avoidable situations. If you have a death wish, or a genuine disregard for responsible riding then you'll probably be clicking your way out of this thread by now. But for those of you looking for a little feedback on how you can be a safer rider and still have a little fun, then read on.

********
Traffic

1. There is a time and a place to ride like a fool: If you like to do wheelies in traffic then expect that you are going to crash in traffic. If you like to speed and weave in and out of traffic, expect that you are going to crash in traffic. While there are occasions where the designated speed limit is inappropriate (rural areas maybe?) expect that if the posted limit is 35, then there is a reason you shouldn't be doing 90. Cross traffic, school zones, business districts, etc. All of these places are cesspools for motorcycle accidents and hauling ass through them only increases your chances of getting taken out. So use a little common sense and if you just absolutely MUST go 90 through the yellow light at the intersection, then you should probably be taking into account the dude inching out from a right turn who "can't see you."

2. On that note, and this is probably the most important bit of wisdom I share with anyone (especially those who like to lane split): bear in mind that if the DMV indicates that drivers should scan their mirrors every 10-15 seconds and you are lane splitting at 50, even the most upstanding motor-vehicle operator is not going to notice your presence until he cycles through another scan. Since we all know that drivers very seldom follow the guidelines outlined by the DMV we can safely assume that the car driver will have NO way of knowing that you just came barreling through the row of cars behind him and that you are now right in the path of the lane change he is in the process of making (without using a turn signal) . Yes, he is accountable for not scanning his mirrors, but you are also accountable because there is no way that in 10-15 seconds he will be able to appropriately take note of your presence when you are riding that quickly. This is only compounded when you are weaving in and out of traffic.

3. So we've concluded that drivers are inattentive assholes. How can you avoid this? Well... you can't. But you can reduce your chance of getting bit by it when you are hyperattentive. We've all heard the theories on target fixation and I think this is a good rule of thumb to apply to street riding as well. When you are in traffic it's good to know where you're going, but its also important to know where everyone else is going as well. While we can't read minds we can make ourselves aware of driver cues. I spend a lot of time reading side mirrors and the flow of traffic when I am riding in a gaggle of cages or lane splitting. If I can see in a guys side mirror that he is doing a crossword puzzle, I can assume that his behavior is going to be erratic, he might even become startled by my sudden presence. So I put myself in the best position to avoid succumbing to his destruction; OR I pace along behind him until I see him notice that I'm there. If I simply fixated on the free spot in traffic, or the lead of the line, then I might not notice that traffic flowing erratically, or that the guy is texting and he is about to panic and jerk his wheel into my path.

********
Peer Pressure

4. Chicken Strips: This is actually a pet peeve of mine. I find it to be a mildly ignorant assumption that chicken-strips = slow. Espeically, when we are talking about street riding. Sure, plenty of newbs are intimidated by the lean capabilities of their bikes. But just because a person has a quarter inch strip on each side of the tire doesn't necessarily mean that they are slow by any means. It has a lot to do with body position. When I am hanging off the bike, I actually lean the bike less but it doesn't mean I'm riding any slower. I have passed people who are leaned over way further than me but cornering way slower than me. What a joy it was when the same asshole who was poking fun at my "chicken strips" at the beginning of the ride, had nothing to say by the end of the ride.

5. Keeping up: This is where my perspective bias really comes forth. Since I care more about being smooth and consistent, I obviously sacrifice a lot of speed. That's just my personal preference. But the way I see it, the more skilled you are at riding your bike the faster you will go naturally. It doesn't necessarily work the other way; the faster you ride your bike doesn't necessarily mean that you are capable of maneuvering it on a whim. A few months ago I went on a ride with a guy who was pretty quick. He blew past me in a stunning display of bravado to keep up with the alpha males of the pack. I held my ground, watching him run wide and check up in almost every corner. All the while I thought: He's lucky there wasn't a car in that lane, or a cow right there." Shortly thereafter he crashed, as I expected that he would. His riding not only put him in danger but it put everyone else in danger as well. Since he wasn't very skilled at riding, his tactic for passing was to tailgate the other riders all the way through corners until they either waved him on, or he found a straight to blast around them on. As we all know, my personal experience with tailgaters is of the worst-case variety so I'm never going to take that kind of riding with a grain of salt.

6. The Company You Keep: I've been fortunate enough to have laid-back, supportive riders as friends. But I've met plenty of riders who like to bully newbies into riding beyond their skill levels. All I will say is you're better off riding alone if this is your social circle; ESPECIALLY if you are inclined to try and prove people wrong. While riding solo has its disadvantages, riding in a group of bullies can be twice as hazardous. At least when you are riding solo you aren't going to feel pressured to ride beyond your means and you can move at your own pace.

********

For the sake of brevity I will cut this short and open it up for others to contribute. I am of the opinion that good riding starts with good sense. Just because you can ride aggressively doesn't mean you can do it skillfully or sensibly. You might be able to move as erratically as you want on your bike... but sometimes that can put you at greater risk than you realize.

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post #2 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 09:01 PM
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post #3 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 09:18 PM
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Very nice thread thank you for taking the time to type this.

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post #4 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 09:19 PM
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Well said. If I got a bike at 18 when I first wanted one, I would probably be dead. I would have ridden too fast, took too many risks, never wore gear, and hell if I would have taken a riding course.

It was good that I didn't get my bike until my 30's. I think with age, a family, and hopefully some wisdom, I realized motorcycling isn't about wheelies or being the fastest up the canyon. Motorcycling is about the whole experience. I like to ride because while I am I'm concentrating on the environment around me (what are the cagers going to do), listening to and feeling the bike, being in total control. When I am so focused all the sh*t of life is forgotten, everything becomes about the experience of riding. It's fun to ride fast at times, to feel pure power, but at the end of the day that's not what makes motorcycling a joy for me.
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post #5 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressOfMayhem View Post
I have passed people who are leaned over way further than me but cornering way slower than me. What a joy it was when the same asshole who was poking fun at my "chicken strips" at the beginning of the ride, had nothing to say by the end of the ride.
Oops


There are a few things that newer riders need to learn. Leaning the bike way over and hauling ass through corners is not involved in any of it.

My usual bit of advice is that everything needs to happen smoothly. All inputs are made with a little bit at first, then some more, then back to a little. You don't want to snap the throttle open then slap it back shut, or cram on the brakes all of a sudden and then let off in one giant drop of the leaver.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your 600cc engine produces about 100 hp (give or take). Your brakes make about 600. Learn how the work, and how to harness their power, and you'll be faster than anybody you know. I'm not saying go out and haul ass into every corner and then cram on the brakes. do some research and learn how to trail brake. Don't let off until you can see your exit, then you start to sneak open your throttle and have at it. Trail breaking is not only about speed, there's some strategy to it too: if you already have pressure in your brake system you can add more. if you don't, then adding some will shock the system and you'll break traction and lose your front end. Be ready for ANY and ALL surprises that will find you on the road. I was out the other day practicing some trail breaking in anticipation of an upcoming track day, and had a deer jump out in front of me right at the apex of a corner. If I hadn't been trail breaking, I would be in the hospital right now and probably not able to type this.

General rule of thumb is remember that you're NOT Rossi, or Stoner, or Pedrosa, or Harga, or Biaggi, or whoever you picture yourself being when you ride. Learn the basics, learn them RIGHT, and the investment will pay you back infinitely.

Setp one: Obtain 5-8 squares of clean, dry toilet paper.
Setp two: some prefer to neatly fold while others prefer the "wad" technique, but you need to condense the squares into a thicker unit of TP.

...do I really need to continue?
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post #6 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Oops
Oops what?

A useful tip I learned in CA Superbike School: Your target should be in three steps: your turn-in point, your apex, and then your exit.

Shit's not nearly as easy as it sounds.

But a lot of that has to do with bad habits. So, to reiterate what zoom said, start yourself off right and you won't have to contend as much to overcome the bad habits.
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post #7 of 98 Old 06-13-2011, 10:56 PM
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post #8 of 98 Old 06-14-2011, 12:27 AM
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While I can't claim that I follow these guidelines all the time, I have a squid side that comes out when I'm really mad, I do fully endorse them for new riders

My 2 cents for newbs: Find the experienced, quietly confident rider who doesn't brag or show off; follow them and mirror what they do. Most of these guys/gals are patient enough to set a reasonable pace for you to match in the twisties. This is how I moved from newb rider barely being able to lean, to actually learning proper form and cornering. And I am extremely grateful for all the experienced guys who took me under they're wing, and now do my best to help the inexperienced guys learn the ropes.
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If you want the breakdown on fuel management systems, take some time to read this thread.
For a walk through on pulling FI Codes, check out this thread.
Questions about Flashed ECUs vs. Fuel Controllers? Try this one.
Got a Z-Fi TC System? Read This to get an idea of how it works.
Here's a link to some Kawasaki Service Manuals that I've got hosted for everyone's use.
And please check out my blog for more sage advice and technical ramblings.
Some basics about braking here.
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post #9 of 98 Old 06-14-2011, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressOfMayhem View Post
Oops what?
Because Hubert and I gave you so much shit for your massive chicken strips....on brand new tires that had hardly even been scrubbed in on the ride home from the shop

Setp one: Obtain 5-8 squares of clean, dry toilet paper.
Setp two: some prefer to neatly fold while others prefer the "wad" technique, but you need to condense the squares into a thicker unit of TP.

...do I really need to continue?
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post #10 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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Lol I didn't give a shit about that. Actually, your penmanship was kinda funny. I just assumed you were knowledgable to know better. Surely you know by now that I seldom take you seriously... except when you are dragging knee in airport parking lots on my bike and I gotta lay down the law.
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post #11 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressOfMayhem View Post
Lol I didn't give a shit about that. Actually, your penmanship was kinda funny. I just assumed you were knowledgable to know better. Surely you know by now that I seldom take you seriously... except when you are dragging knee in airport parking lots on my bike and I gotta lay down the law.
Hahahaha...zoom...so do u guys live with each other or what? Lol. I.m at work and I can't believe I just read all that. .lol. That's some good info... Mom! Lol

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post #12 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 08:36 AM
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very good advice. i would also recommend doing what i did. i started out riding quads and dirt bikes to learn clutching, shifting, and throttle control. i also started riding my first motorcycle (05 ninja 250) with my grandpa, who at 76 years old has been riding for more decades than i have been alive. he taught me that you dont have to race everywhere. just enjoy the ride and experience and, when you can, enjoy the scenery. people who have never ridden a motorcycle will never know the joy and freedom that comes with it. thanks for this thread MoM.
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post #13 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 09:08 AM
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Get comfortable with what the bike wants from you before you really start to ride it hard. To many head ons from bikes crossing the centerline on curvy country roads. New riders tend to feel the bike drifting toward the center and panic. Instead of a little more pressure to the counter steer, they try to stand the bike up.
I'd also remind you to look through the turn and not ahead. The bike is going where you look. Funny how that works huh.

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post #14 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZoomSplat View Post
Because Hubert and I gave you so much shit for your massive chicken strips....on brand new tires that had hardly even been scrubbed in on the ride home from the shop
Wait, all new tires don't come with "pussy" and "slow ass" written on the edges next to the Michelin Man?

Oh and I was the one who rode the r6 home from the shop, so MoM hadn't even ridden on those tires when you wrote on the sides.


If you want the breakdown on fuel management systems, take some time to read this thread.
For a walk through on pulling FI Codes, check out this thread.
Questions about Flashed ECUs vs. Fuel Controllers? Try this one.
Got a Z-Fi TC System? Read This to get an idea of how it works.
Here's a link to some Kawasaki Service Manuals that I've got hosted for everyone's use.
And please check out my blog for more sage advice and technical ramblings.
Some basics about braking here.

Last edited by EvilTwin; 06-15-2011 at 05:29 PM.
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post #15 of 98 Old 06-15-2011, 02:13 PM
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way to go m.o.m

please keep these reminders coming for all of us here who tend to forget so easily
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