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joshg

New Rider - Expert bike dropper

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joshg
Hey All! New to riding a bike (2 weeks) and just bought a new FZ-07 in liquid graphite. I just passed the Basic rider course two weeks ago and decided on the FZ for my first bike.
 
The learning curve has been a bit rough so far, I'm commuting to work each day but I've dropped it about 3 times on cement practicing low speed turns (albeit in bad spots). I've come to terms with the fact that it's my first bike and is going to get a bit scratched, but I was wondering if there was any specific tips you'd have for this bike's characteristics in low speed handling (past the basics). What's worked for you?
 
The bike is a ton of fun. I've ordered frame sliders and shorty clutch levers so far as I've managed to mangle my current clutch lever already. I'm excited to get as much riding as I can under my belt and get up to speed.
 
 
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bmwpowere36m3
Dragging the rear brake during low-speed maneuvers and feathering the clutch.

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magsz18
Get frame and axle sliders immediately.
 
If you've dropped the bike three times you should also probably spend at least a week or so in parking lots before you go out onto the streets.

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joshg
Thanks - I have ordered sliders. These instances have been during isolated practice, not on the streets. I had been practicing making tight turns and just have run out of room and stopped with the wheel turned. Definitely avoidable if I had practicing in a parking lot instead of a back street with curbs. I plan on doing some more practice as soon as I get the frame sliders installed in an open parking lot. I want to feel confident making any kind of narrow turn.
 
I had an almost perfect score in the rider's course, so I have a good idea on the concepts of handling it. I think I'm just having difficulty with the extra power and higher ride height (5'7") of this bike as well as missing the confidence of being on a weaker bike that's low. Definitely need some parking lot time!

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joshg
Counter balance your weight on the outside peg, drag the rear brake and feather clutch. You can keep the rpms up, control is all in the clutch.  
This book contains exercises you can practice.
 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0760336741/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0760336741&linkCode=as2&tag=webbikewcom-20
 
 
 
Awesome - I'll check that out :)
 

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hippiebikerchick
Welcome joshg! The advice given here ^ ^ ^ is right on. Don't feel bad about the clutch lever; I bent mine shortly after getting the bike.  ;-|
 
Keep practicing!  :)
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phicurious86
For slow stuff it helps to scooch over on the seat towards the opposite direction of the turn a bit. Also, big +1 on feathering the clutch + dragging the rear brake. No power to the rear wheel (aka fully engaged clutch) during a slow turn and the bike is almost guaranteed to fall over.
 

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djdiddles
I'm a new rider for the road, but have been riding enduro off road races *75miles distances* for about 10 years or so. What I've found to be extremely helpful is this:
 
Your clutch is your friend! The FZ07 has a wet clutch just like most dirt bikes, which means you can ride it a bit and it won't hurt anything. Practice just using the clutch to perform the figure " 8 " in an empty parking lot. As you ease out the clutch, you'll feel it grip and you'll start to move, but you wouldn't have let the clutch out fully. Using the clutching zone so that you're never fully letting out the clutch. This is called Feathering the Clutch. You shouldn't need much throttle if any at all so don't worry about using your right hand for gas.
 
Start with a large figure "8" and after each pass *starting with a 20 foot figure 8. then goto 18ft, then 15, then 13, then 10, ect.
 
you should be coming to a crawl the smaller you go, but doing this gradually will help you adjust slowly and you'll get the handle of super slow turning and the limits of your bike.

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nerd
Just to echo all the previous members... clutch control, counter balance your weight, drag the rear brake and you should be good. Where did you take your BRC? They should have covered and let you practice all of those aspects as when I took BRC (on a military base) it was all sub 30mph most sub 20. Also, look where you want to go. It makes a world of a difference with tight turns.

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jerryv
.....and don't grab a handful of front brake, especially if your wheel is turned. That will cause the fork to dive and tip you in that direction. I've done it too, on my first bike.

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yamahaha
Don't be so mean to your bike! Practice something easier for a while. ;)
 

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wickedtwister
Also echoing the rear brake comment. Using front make when turning sharp causes the bike to fall that direction. Rear brake is tons better for that sharp stuff. Also I practiced with me leg on the direction I was turning down. Left leg down when turning left. In slow speeds I've caught my self plenty of times. Also don't think about it too much over thinking causes you to stress out about it and your brain gets in the way of your body movements. I practiced large circles in an empty parking lot then progressively got tighter and slower. To me circles are easier than figure 8 because its easier to gauge the size with parking lot lines. I started out with circles outside 3-4 spaces wide then worked down to inside 2 spaces. When turning that tight I still but both legs down and feather the clutch. Be careful with throttle response as it can jerk the bike enough and cause you to drop it as well. Good luck and keep it up.

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mjh937
I think your biggest mistake was practicing in a narrow area. Find the largest empty parking lot you can. There is a church near me that has a gigantic parking lot where I practice (except on Sundays of course). If there is a curb nearby I will hit it :)

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jerryv
That's target fixation, covered in lesson 2 :)
 
 

I think your biggest mistake was practicing in a narrow area. Find the largest empty parking lot you can. There is a church near me that has a gigantic parking lot where I practice (except on Sundays of course). If there is a curb nearby I will hit it :)
 
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tino206
I would suggest to keep trying to perfect your friction, these bikes are a bit touchy on the friction zone but once you get it you will be golden. Take your time and i dont mean to be mean or anything but im surprised you passed and your are struggling this much, i think they were too easy on you if you have dropped it so early in the process at basic skill level stuff

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snowdriftless
Welcome to the forum, Lots of good advice already in the thread.

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joshg
I would suggest to keep trying to perfect your friction, these bikes are a bit touchy on the friction zone but once you get it you will be golden. Take your time and i dont mean to be mean or anything but im surprised you passed and your are struggling this much, i think they were too easy on you if you have dropped it so early in the process at basic skill level stuff 
I never dropped it in the class, and actually had the second best score (behind a woman who already rides). I made some poor decisions on where to practice and ran out of room trying tight turns. In fact, almost 40% of the class failed :( I think there is something to be said for being stubborn and trying to run before you can walk :)
I actually did very well in the class, and had the second best score (behind a woman who already rides). In fact, almost 40% of the class failed!   
Ultimately I tipped it a couple times because I made some poor decisions on where to practice and ran out of room trying tight turns. I think there is something to be said for being stubborn and trying to run before you can walk :) I really have to check my pride in this process.
 
 
Thanks for the all the advice everyone! I've purchased a book (proficient motorcyling) to read alongside practicing, and I ride every day to work on the freeway. I've also been going on long group rides and riding in the city. I feel more comfortable making awkward turns at this point and have become a lot more familiar at managing the friction on the bike. I live in a place with a steep driveway, so it took some confidence building to handle it. I plan on doing some additional parking lot turn practice in the near future as well to round out my confidence.
 
I've also added frame sliders and a shorty clutch lever from CRG. I can reach it far better and I'm able to reduce the takeup by a large margin.
 
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joshg
I think your biggest mistake was practicing in a narrow area. Find the largest empty parking lot you can. There is a church near me that has a gigantic parking lot where I practice (except on Sundays of course). If there is a curb nearby I will hit it :)
Absolutely :) I've had a chance to practice some awkward stuff at work every day in seattle now on entering the parking garage. There's a couple awkward turns where I have to navigate a lane blocking arm and then turn fairly sharply between two lane dividers. This terrified me at first but after being mindful of the fundamentals from the BRC I've been able to start working my way through it.

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tino206
Hey I didn't notice you were local, I live in Bonney Lake and work in Kent, let me know when you go rides and I might be able to join in

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joshg
Hey I didn't notice you were local, I live in Bonney Lake and work in Kent, let me know when you go rides and I might be able to join in
Right on! We are actually planning a small group ride to leavenworth if you're interested in June. Feel free to PM me your FB if you have one and I can shoot you a invite :)

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howworkclutch
i always tell new riders to buy a used bike with cosmetic damage for your first season. you're going to drop it and break things. its part of the process.
 
also, since the bike needs cosmetic repairs, there is opportunity for learning how to fix things. if you happen to like that sort of thing, you might sell the bike for a few bucks more than you paid, and use that as a down-payment for a brand new machine in your second season.
 
i know: kinda late for this advice. but, if you're still riding motorcycles in a few years, you can pass along this same advice... and as you now know: its solid advice.

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wickedtwister
If it makes you feel any better I dropped 2 bikes in 2 days. A z1000 and my brand new (13 miles) fz07. The z1000 I was in a parking lot with gravel on a odd angle, tried to hold bike more with one foot and my foot came right out from under me. The fz07 I was in a parking lot trying to park got side stand down, but didn't put weight of bike on stand, went to dismount the bike and kicked the tail with my boot. We both went over, rolling bike forward just enough to push stand up... Hit my head on the curb and did some bad damage to my helmet that luckily I was still wearing. Anyway two sets of controls and a helmet later I haven't had more issues but did learn from a lot both of those. Weight of bike goes on side stand before getting off and gravel cleared before supporting weight of bike with my legs...

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jerryv
Dang ... that's a blow to pride and confidence.  Glad you are OK!!
 
 

 Hit my head on the curb and did some bad damage to my helmet that luckily I was still wearing.
 

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wickedtwister
Dang ... that's a blow to pride and confidence.  Glad you are OK!! 
 

 Hit my head on the curb and did some bad damage to my helmet that luckily I was still wearing.
It was a built helmet so I wasn't too mad... I replaced it with a Shoei GT Air.  If i damaged this thing i would be mad.... bought it in Germany so it has a buckle strap instead of the double d ring.  

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