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teddillard
25 September 2013, 0248
I just found this site, BikeSafer.com, and it seems pretty good. http://www.bikesafer.com

Their big focus - getting more actual safety studies done in better detail. In the meantime, some good information, advice and some good links to the studies out there.

I can't stress enough how important this is. There are a few veteran riders here, but there are many for whom their build is their first bike. If you're riding a motorcycle, gas or electric, you need a good training class. Period. I know I screw around a lot here, but this is not one of those times. :rolleyes:

Skeezmour
25 September 2013, 1616
First thing I recommend to a new rider is a safety course.

teddillard
27 September 2013, 0312
um, yeah. It has come to my attention that there are some people who think that a motorcycle training class is about learning, uh, hand signals and stuff? You know who you are. Yeah, for getting your license, sure, but what I'm talking about is something like this: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/244/Motorcycles/Sportbike-Riding-Schools.aspx

I've been riding since I was around 10, and I did a lot of trail and dirt riding back when my body could stand crashing every time I went out (because, in the dirt, if you don't crash you're not riding hard enough :D) and, in the few street accidents I've had since then, even when I was clearly not at fault, I found my reflexes took fairly good care of me. By that I mean, kept me from getting more hurt that I could have. There hve been countless times where I've been able to pull it out before I lost control entirely - front wheel and rear wheel skids, wobbles, going off the road... like that. I always know how bad it is by how much it felt like riding in the dirt again.

I've also seen several friends decide they want to learn how to ride later in life - from their mid-20s into older, and they have had a hard time. One, in particular, and stopped riding altogether, fortunately before something really bad happened. The reflexes just aren't there, and they've never been taught technique.

Adults, in their arrogance, seem to think they don't need anyone to teach them anything. Or they at least resist the idea. I'm here to tell you, if you think you can get on a modern 600cc class bike and learn the controls (and the hand signals) and go out and push the envelope a little bit, and think you're riding safely? You're fooling yourself. You will crash, it will be a huge surprise to you, and you may or may not come out of it OK. And NO amount of technology on that bike will keep you from doing that.

So have some fun, pay a little money, and learn from a professional how to ride that thing.

jonescg
27 September 2013, 0324
Mandatory track days. That sorts the riders from the wannabees. If the kid jumps on his CBR1000 and bins it on turn one, he will most probably survive (unlike hitting a bus shelter). Then he can do one of two things. Get scared and never ride again, rendering our roads a bit safer, or, he might decide "Hmmm, I might try to learn to ride fast without crashing, and get better at this" meaning one more bike on the road who knows the limits.

Win Win.

teddillard
27 September 2013, 0358
I'm more worried about some fat bastard on his cruiser thinking he's Sons of Anarchy, but yeah.

I was going to add, cruisers in particular scare the crap outta me... ever since I read a story in Cycle, back in the day, about road testing a Harley: "The only thing scarier than riding a Harley through the turns is to see one coming towards you while you're doing it." God I miss that magazine. :D

But to be clear, I'm not talking about regulation and legislation here, I'm talking about guys in this community learning how to ride from a professional.

Hell, I've already had the "instant torque with no clutch" bite me in the ass. It wasn't until that happened that I realized how much I depend on the clutch to control my power delivery, especially at low speeds, and the reflex of grabbing the clutch was something I'd have to un-learn.

Brutus
27 September 2013, 0926
I was going to add, cruisers in particular scare the crap outta me... ever since I read a story in Cycle, back in the day, about road testing a Harley: "The only thing scarier than riding a Harley through the turns is to see one coming towards you while you're doing it."

Embrace your fears Ted! lol

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DmkCbzVZJaU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Bikes have changed a bit since that article was written, but it is more about understanding whats under your butt and the skills you are taught and experience you gain from seat time. It still begins with good riding instructors no matter what style bike you ride.

teddillard
27 September 2013, 0942
holy crap dude. This is a shot of my friend, the late (and great) Jackie Fuller on The Dragon.

4998

My ten bucks says he's the guy in the vid- check out the luggage! Different helmet and jacket though... but I need to believe! How many guys can be that good? (and that nuts?)

Jackie had the particular point of fame of owning probably the most badass Harley in New England. Funny part was, there was precious little that was made by Harley Davidson left on the bike. :D

Brutus
27 September 2013, 1019
That would be cool if it is your friend :)

Check these two guys on 1800 Honda gold wings, they are clinically insane!! I guess my point is there are many skilled riders out there and it matters not what they ride.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0nrMQ3QwyPo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Sorry, I will quit bombing this with videos and I agree, go get some additional training before you try doing stuff like I posted in the two videos above.

teddillard
27 September 2013, 1047
Yeah, crap. I gotta get some work done. :O

I will add - Jackie had about 50 years' experience behind him when that shot was taken.

teddillard
27 September 2013, 1112
So, the original comment made to me was just a joke (about the hand signals and stuff). OK, I got that. But I'll say here what I said to him. It's too serious to joke about, and one more thing I didn't say - you really don't know how much you don't know until you have the experience, or the training... or both.

And like I said before. Hell. It's a blast taking these courses anyway... so suck your pride up, give yourself a treat, and learn! Where's the down side?

podolefsky
27 September 2013, 1241
So, serious question....say you've been riding about 3 years. You know how to ride, start, stop, maneuver in traffic, carve canyons, principles of countersteer, etc...inspect and work on your bike(s). You ride almost every day in all kinds of conditions. Do you sit through a beginner course, or jump into the experienced rider course?

teddillard
27 September 2013, 1325
I'd pick a class that seems to address your goals and then talk to the instructor. It's a really common question, and the individual instructor (or the school) may prefer you to sit through the beginner class or not.

The biggest thing is like any sport - building muscle memory, and that comes from what Chris said - time in the saddle, but time doing it right. If you're doing something, oh, like not riding on the balls of your feet, or looking at your controls, like that, that's a bad habit that's gotta be broken. An instructor may be able to break that in an intermediate class if he's good, or he may want you to start from scratch. Think skiing, or tennis.

But, short answer, tell them where you're at and see what they say.

teddillard
29 September 2013, 0654
I was just thinking about this and thought how much fun this stuff would be too: http://www.dirtbikeschool.org/ITR.aspx

Again, teaching muscle memory, the opportunity to crash without getting hurt, what happens when you do things wrong, as well as right. All great stuff. Maybe it's just because I've been bombing around terrorizing the squirrels on the RM, but it's a total blast. I'm not sure if they supply the bikes or not, but I'm sure there's some place that would. One of the things that made me think of it is the dirt bike training that I've seen Shelina post about - it's all part of learning how to ride well.

teddillard
30 September 2013, 1658
Wes just posted probably the best story on motorcycle safety I've seen him do: http://rideapart.com/2013/08/10-common-motorcycle-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them/

...as he put it: "And you won't find more experience with crashing than you will with the article's author."

podolefsky
30 September 2013, 1802
Great article, thanks.

Something I learned through unfortunate personal experience. If you wash your bike, the tires will be wet and you'll have less grip. Especially at a self service car wash, where there might be soap and wax residue on the ground, which makes it even more slippery.

Obvious in hindsight, but I've read lots of advice about washing your bike, and never seen anyone warn about this. In fact, I've read things where people say to take a ride after you wash your bike, to dry it off. If you do, be careful. I've also read of people using the wax spray on their bike, which seems like a horrible idea.

teddillard
01 October 2013, 0232
I guess I'm going to leave this up, so maybe we can have a little laugh at ourselves.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RVOoNh4ICM&feature=share&list=PLf5mpcE05wX6_whkdxmS8ZWvU9WJ5lCC0

...love the cape.

podolefsky
01 October 2013, 0718
I highly recommend riding with a cape.

podolefsky
01 October 2013, 0741
Something I didn't point out...when I went down, I wasn't going through a curve. I was making a tight right out of the parking lot, from a stop. It's kind of ironic. When I ride canyons, or anywhere else, I try to stay super alert. Turning right from a stop, I wasn't in the same frame of mind. I don't have any kind of a long motorcycling career, but at this point I did know how to turn right without falling. I still don't know exactly what happened, I just assume it was wet tires.

teddillard
01 October 2013, 1404
Funny, this got me thinking about tires. All day, as a matter of fact. (Yes, I needed some distraction.) Those are straight-out sportbike tires, aren't they?

It wasn't making sense to me that wet tires, even when the kind of torque you have, would just spin out unless there was standing water and/or grease. Ride through a puddle and see how far your trail is... it's not far at all before most tires squeegee themselves. Sport tires are a different story, especially if there was water on the surface and soap or grease on the tires. They're not designed to shed water. At best they talk about "wet adhesion".

Here's the pattern on a run of the mill Bridgestone rear Touring tire:
http://images.motorcycle-superstore.com/ProductImages/300/633039331768556250230TMRear.jpg

For that reason, I usually buy a touring tire because I get caught in downpours a lot more than I get to push a tire to it's adhesion limits. At the very extreme I'd go with a sport touring tire, but out here in the Northeast I'd never get a sport tire. (I did that, my first round of rubber on my Mustang... lol! Never again. That was about the time I started realizing that CA was a completely different world than New England.)

The other question that's been bugging me - do you make a turn like that with both feet on the pegs? and... Could you have simply tweaked the throttle? That's happened to me a few times - with a slightly different feel than the gas bike, sometimes it just gets twisted more than I intend, especially in bumps and stuff. It occurred to me, once your AC20 spools up, that'd be hard to control.

Tires could probably be it's own thread I suppose...

podolefsky
01 October 2013, 1455
That's interesting about sport bike tires. I have Michelin "sport touring" tires on it - Pilot Road 2's (http://www.michelinmotorcycle.com/tires/michelin-pilot-road-2) I think. They're supposed to be pretty good in the wet, but I don't know about "wet adhesion". I'm thinking more it was soap, wax, or grease. Or maybe some loose gravel I didn't notice. Like I said, there's all kinds of slippery crud at the car wash - suffice it to say, I'll be washing my bike at home from now on.

Tweaked the throttle? Maybe. I'd been riding this bike with the AC20 for quite a while, so I knew how to handle it. It's actually not hard to control, better than the D&D series motor I had before - very smooth and predictable...as long as grip is there. I might have just been happy about having a nice clean bike and went too hard...who knows...

Both feet on the pegs? Can't remember - all I remember is hitting the throttle, turning to the right, and hitting the ground. I probably didn't because it went out almost immediately. I might have had my left already up.

(also, that's a Shinko Tour Master - I only know because I have them on the KZE).

teddillard
01 October 2013, 1510
oops, yeah: http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/72/963/6188/ITEM/Shinko-230-Tour-Master-Rear-Tire.aspx