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Topic: Need some advice post my first lowside on my first sport touring bike  (Read 4446 times)

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Jaynen
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« on: October 01, 2011, 12:02:39 AM »

I guess I should start with the obligatory a little about me and my situation before the question

I am 33, I have been riding dirt bikes not counting as a kid for about 6 years. I've been riding on the street the past 3 years doing a lot of commuting. Thought it was more than that but its been about 11,000 miles

My old bike was a 2008 yamaha wr250R. but I sold my truck a couple years back and had a hard time making it to the dirt so it became a commuter, I had a super moto set of wheels for it as well (still have them and need to sell lol) went to sell the bike because it wasn't getting used and ended up trading it instead to try a new bike a sport touring machine which was something I had wanted for a while.

So I got a new to me 01 Aprilia Futura on labor day this year. The bike was great, the power smooth and controllable but oh wow fast compared to my little yamaha. I took it for a ride on a curvy road when my daughter was napping (the other kink in this is having a 16mo old little girl, our first)

I was taking it very easy trying to get used to the way the bike feels cornering because it is so alien to me and the weight is hard to get used to, I ended up hitting a concrete causeway where a creek can flood the road and losing control barely missing an oncoming car locking the front brake and having a lowside at about 20-25mph

I am an ATTGATT type of guy but still sustained some banged up knees and skinned knee on the right side. Purely cosmetic damage to the bike except for a bent rear brake lever.

So now to the question. I DO want to take the streetmasters class when finances allow but in the meantime I feel like I have lost some confidence that I started with and on top of that I feel like I am unsure as to what I can do to get comfortable with this new riding position new bike and the weight/handling of it.

What are some things I can do on my own in the meantime to help build my confidence and ability to ride the bike especially in regards to cornering?

Thanks, Jason
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 12:11:19 AM »

look to find the MSF's "Advanced Rider Course-Sport Bike Techniques" (ARC-ST). Excellent course, both because of the riding exercises, as well as the classroom discussions.
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 12:29:56 AM »

While you await the course, get yourself to a vacant paking lot and practice slalom like maneuvers, braking and figure eights. Keep your speed down and concentrate on looking where you want to go by turning your head, and being as smooth and relaxed on the bike as you can. Increase your speed as your confidence grows. Make the figure eights tighter and change direction often. with a heavier bike it is the smooth application of control inputs that makes the difference.

Glad you are OK that sounds like it could have been alot worse.

But do commit yourself to receiving the training and take a course.

Welcome to ST.n  Thumbsup
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2011, 12:54:46 AM »


I ended up hitting a concrete causeway where a creek can flood the road and losing control barely missing an oncoming car locking the front brake and having a lowside at about 20-25mph

I'm not sure I understand what it is you are refering to as a "causeway".

Are you refering to a concrete road surface, or a concrete curb or divider?
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2011, 01:02:16 AM »

 You may also want to do some reading when you're not riding, and practice the techniques described in books like Smooth Riding The Pridmore Way, Twist Of The Wrist, and Sport Riding Techniques.  We all ride a little different, but it's good to explore how other *good* riders do it. It'll give you a baseline to help find what works for you.

 Above all don't worry about going fast. Speed comes naturally with skill, and confidence. You'll learn more by staying within your comfort zone, and practicing proper technique.
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2011, 05:05:44 AM »



I'm not sure I understand what it is you are refering to as a "causeway".

Are you refering to a concrete road surface, or a concrete curb or divider?


Sort of like hitting a big pothole

http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb57/jaynen00/e059d444.jpg

This is from the side I crashed on so I came toward the camera, essentially it goes asphalt/concrete/asphalt the junction between the two surfaces is at a pretty severe angle and not smooth, much more severe than what it looked like. You can just barely see all the scrape marks from car bumpers/oilpans etc. The concrete bit is there for the creek to flow over the road flooding it, as asphalt would be eroded
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2011, 05:08:44 AM »


 You may also want to do some reading when you're not riding, and practice the techniques described in books like Smooth Riding The Pridmore Way, Twist Of The Wrist, and Sport Riding Techniques.  We all ride a little different, but it's good to explore how other *good* riders do it. It'll give you a baseline to help find what works for you.

 Above all don't worry about going fast. Speed comes naturally with skill, and confidence. You'll learn more by staying within your comfort zone, and practicing proper technique.


Thanks for some tips and some ideas on some reading material. I will look into that class also but financially in the meantime I just wanted to see what I could do on my own. Speed is not really a goal, I mean at some point I would be like to be able to ride "the pace" but going fast is for the track really (another thing I would like to do at some point)
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2011, 06:12:16 AM »


This is from the side I crashed on so I came toward the camera, essentially it goes asphalt/concrete/asphalt the junction between the two surfaces is at a pretty severe angle and not smooth, much more severe than what it looked like. You can just barely see all the scrape marks from car bumpers/oilpans etc.

The dip in the causeway may have unloaded yer suspension, that is, it may have bottomed out then rebounded just as you were starting the turn, which would tend to confuse the bike. Bikes like having their suspension planted thru a turn.

chalk it up to experience.
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2011, 08:08:20 AM »

Take the MSF experienced rider course first and foremost.  That will help with the basics of how to keep yourself out of some of those situations. As long as I've been riding,  I end up retaking it every few years,  usually to convince a friend to do so,  and I always take something away that helps.

Then,  get yourself into a track day lesson.  It's expensive,  especially if you elect to take one that provides the bike,  but it's worth every penny. It teaches you how to respond faster,  and handle the machine at limits you didn't think possible.  It can also restore a good bit of confidence.

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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2011, 10:07:42 AM »

Reading technique books and practicing the skills described in them is really helpful. My favorite books are:

"Total Control" by Lee Parks

"Sport Riding Techniques" by Nick Ienatsch

"Twist of the Wrist II" by Keith Code (good content, not a great read)

"Smooth Riding" by Reg Pridmore

Once you get your head around the ideas and start to own some of them, then an instructional track day (alternating classroom and track sessions) is a good idea if you can swing it.
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2011, 10:30:17 AM »


Reading technique books and practicing the skills described in them is really helpful. My favorite books are:

"Total Control" by Lee Parks

"Sport Riding Techniques" by Nick Ienatsch

"Twist of the Wrist II" by Keith Code (good content, not a great read)

"Smooth Riding" by Reg Pridmore


"The Proficient Motorcyclist" by David Hough is my personal favorite   Smile

Good luck with getting back on the horse. Take it easy, read up on some techniques/basics, parking lot practices are invaluable and take the course as soon as you can  Thumbsup


I will admit to cringing when I read that you left your 16 month old napping at home while you went riding. I presume (hope) that someone else was there with her?  Crazy
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2011, 10:46:32 AM »




"The Proficient Motorcyclist" by David Hough is my personal favorite   Smile

Good luck with getting back on the horse. Take it easy, read up on some techniques/basics, parking lot practices are invaluable and take the course as soon as you can  Thumbsup


I will admit to cringing when I read that you left your 16 month old napping at home while you went riding. I presume (hope) that someone else was there with her?  Crazy


Oh my gosh yes! My wife was home and I went riding with her blessing
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2011, 11:04:32 AM »

I got hung up on the "causeway" statement too, but the picture illustrated it well.


Going into that turn is a bit of a compound maneuver, because you have the large dip and a change in road surface preceeding the turn.  It's going to unsettle your suspension and your traction will be compromised.  You've got to identify those elements before-hand and lower your speed to compensate.

I raced harescrambles on dirtbikes for years. While the lessons I learned on the dirt are an amazing advantage and blessed me with unflappable nerves, ultimately you can manhandle a 220lb dirtbike in ways that can't be done on a streetbike.  IF you hit that same turn on a motocross track you'd probably have a groove to aim for, and failing that you could put your weight on the handlebars, muscle the dirtbike's front end with those big handlebars, and use a little wheelspin to bring the rear-end around the outside.  I used to have a habit of kicking my swingarm with my boot heel to set the rear sometimes... I never knew if it did anything, but redardless it's something that would be fruitless on the street.

On the streetbike you don't have those options.  I still tend to ride like a dirtbiker on the street.  In the pictured scenario I'd probably abruptly brake late, right before the concrete, use my momentum from the brake stab to slide forward a bit and really stick the front tire as I turned it in... it could be a bumpy ride if I bottom the fork, but I'd stay on the road.  It would be uglier than a polished street rider, but ultimately a fast way through the corner.  Somebody better than me at picking lines may do it smother and with slightly more momentum, but they probably start shaving off speed sooner, and either method would generate about the same result on a stopwatch.

It took me years to learn the advantage of late braking.  Once you develop the ability to go fast, I feel late braking is where you pick up the most time, because you can maintain your speed longer.  I tend to be a little conservative and err on the side of overbraking, and start accelerating earlier depending on how much extra margin I have.  It takes time & experience to develop the feel, plus FOCUS and attention to detail.


I'd chalk this one up to experience.  I'd never dissuade anyone from taking a class, but from what I've seen the street motorcycle classes are rudimentary for expert and amateur level dirt racers.

I'd go back to the scene of the crime, start running it slow, and build up my technique through safe experimentation and repetition.
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2011, 11:26:05 AM »

All the advice is great, thank you


Just to elaborate on what happened

I came from the far side
The causeway itself is actually straight although there is a turn after it
A white lexus turned the corner and was headed toward the causeway in the oncoming lane, it was probably around the start or in that shadow when I began to have an issue
I am fairly certain I did bottom out or bounce the suspension, at least enough to bounce me off the seat
I was focused on trying to look where I wanted to go (behind the car) and honestly thought I would not make it in time and would hit the rear quarter panel somehow I dodged it but I was trying to brake and scrub all the speed I could before the impending impact. After I passed the car I was heading fairly straight as I had not had time to make the corner and thats when I locked the front brake and lowsided.
You can actually see the faint skid marks just this side of the shadow in the picture I believe
I believe my overall path was quite straight
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2011, 11:48:57 AM »


While you await the course, get yourself to a vacant paking lot and practice slalom like maneuvers, braking and figure eights. Keep your speed down and concentrate on looking where you want to go by turning your head, and being as smooth and relaxed on the bike as you can. Increase your speed as your confidence grows. Make the figure eights tighter and change direction often. with a heavier bike it is the smooth application of control inputs that makes the difference.


^^That. Do it. If it has uneven sections like storm drain grates and speed humps then all the better, incorporate those into your manoeuvres to see how the bike reacts to sudden suspension changes. Find a big enough lot that you can get some speed and practice emergency stops , too.
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2011, 02:33:29 PM »


Oh my gosh yes! My wife was home and I went riding with her blessing


 Bigok

I had to comment, if only because I've read of others who weren't as clever as you  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2011, 11:18:32 PM »


I've been riding on the street the past 3 years doing a lot of commuting...
What are some things I can do ... in the meantime to help build my confidence and ability to ride [/size]?


Jaynen, when you're commuting, you are riding by yourself, you don't have 3 yrs of experience; you have one year, three times.  
Been there.   You're by yourself.


Rather than read a book, again by yourself, find two or three peeps, better than you, to ride with; observe their lines, behavior, courtesy in their riding style.

So, find a nearby riders gathering of import riders.  Coffee or bike night dinner, likely.  Some riders will be hotshots, pass for now.  What you want are experienced riders who aren't out to show off their ego.  Might take 2 or 3 visits to make your judgement call on the range of riders present.  

Ride with other people.  
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2011, 12:07:42 AM »

There is a euro bike breakfast club local I am hoping to attend too. Looks like the average age tends to be a bit older so hopefully that means at least a few mature and experienced riders
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2011, 12:21:54 AM »

What helped me get confidence is watching even the trailers and commercials for "Ride Like a Pro" on youtube.  They're on giant harley tourers and pulling very tight turns.  Mentally, if THEY can do it on THOSE bikes, a smaller more nimble bike should be fine.  Some good tips in that DVD too if you feel like purchasing it.

Parking lot practice is the best.  No danger, no distractions, just you getting to know your bike at YOUR pace.

Alexi
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2011, 04:52:54 PM »

Some Harley's have very liberally placed mechanical steering stops when compared to sport or sport-touring bikes.
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