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Old 06-06-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
tustah
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Post 1st ride to work - advice needed

Rode to work for the first time today (~14 miles each way). I had three questions in mind:

1) I read online that at red lights, you should keep your bike in 1st gear. I try to do this when I'm approaching a light that has been red already and if there is someone behind me coming to a stop. However, hands starts to cramp from holding down the clutch. Coming to a light that's turning red, I'll shift to neutral. Will holding down the clutch over time become slightly easier or more bearable?

2) Exiting HOV - stupid gate blocks off a circle turn slightly into the turn. I wasn't sure how much braking I should do here. Ended up shifting to 1st, waiting for the gate to come up, and proceeded with the turn. I don't feel like this is the best way to go about it though for some reason.

3) Slowing down for turns in general. Do you guys shift down to 1st, or stay on a higher gear? I slowed down to ~15 mph to make my turns, but sometimes can feel a cager right up behind my .

The good: all the braking practices came into play today. Only thing I need to work on is going at a better pace that the circle turn next to Hermann Park (Mecom Fountain). Caught myself braking at slow speeds during the turn. Engine braking okay during a slow turn?

Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
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Not sue what the others think but I would say if it's more comfortable for you then that would be the way to go.


I stay in first at the light, also leave myself an escape path, sometimes if I need to adjust myself I kick it into neutral but back into first afterwards.

Turns I go to second in low speeds, it's enough to get going but at the lower speeds not enough to buck me off in case something happens and I end up locking up the throttle too high. If I end up in first it's only brief and I try to get back into second
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #3
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I don't sit in gear during entire waiting periods at lights...usually until I see at least 1 car come to a complete stop behind me. I don't roll first gear into turns often, usually 2nd.
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:37 PM   #4
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Tips noted. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tustah View Post
Rode to work for the first time today (~14 miles each way). I had three questions in mind:

1) I read online that at red lights, you should keep your bike in 1st gear. I try to do this when I'm approaching a light that has been red already and if there is someone behind me coming to a stop. However, hands starts to cramp from holding down the clutch. Coming to a light that's turning red, I'll shift to neutral. Will holding down the clutch over time become slightly easier or more bearable?

Quote:
When I come to a light that's red I usually keep it in first unless I need my left hand for something. I tend to stay inside or outside (depending on my lane) of the car in front of me, so that I have an out if I need it. Never stop in the center of a lane.
2) Exiting HOV - stupid gate blocks off a circle turn slightly into the turn. I wasn't sure how much braking I should do here. Ended up shifting to 1st, waiting for the gate to come up, and proceeded with the turn. I don't feel like this is the best way to go about it though for some reason.

Quote:
If the gate stops your forward motion, then you have to stop when you come to the gate. There really isn't a way around it. Unless you can get around it... then slow, second gear, and go around the gate.
3) Slowing down for turns in general. Do you guys shift down to 1st, or stay on a higher gear? I slowed down to ~15 mph to make my turns, but sometimes can feel a cager right up behind my .

The good: all the braking practices came into play today. Only thing I need to work on is going at a better pace that the circle turn next to Hermann Park (Mecom Fountain). Caught myself braking at slow speeds during the turn. Engine braking okay during a slow turn?

Thanks!

Quote:
There's no need to shift to first in a turn. As you get more used to riding, you'll be able to take the turns without much thought. Second gear is really good for turns; it has a nice range.
I used to ride to school and work as often as possible, but I'm pretty much home bound now. You'll catch on very soon. Be cautious - EXTRA- of the other cars on the road. Many of them are trying to get to work on time while reading, doing their makeup, drinking their coffee, etc. My point is that in the mornings and afternoon drive times, many people are NOT paying attention to you on the road. The best thing to do is to never put yourself in a potential accident by paying attention to all the cars around you at all times. You'll be fine.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:46 PM   #6
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1.)I try to wait at least until there's a car behind me before I shift to neutral. I don't like being hunched over at a light. I also sit more towards the middle white line at a light so that worse case car hits me I would go through the gap instead of being sandwiched between two cars.
2.)Don't know where your talking about so cant be of help.
3.)Im in first or second depends on the turn.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:32 PM   #7
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1) Start jerking off with your left hand. It's the best forearm exercise and it sounds like you need to add some muscle on your clutch hand.

2) You're on your own.

3) it is hard to recommend the right gear for any one turn. Bikes have different gear ratios and their engines respond to revs differently. You've got to find out what is comfortable with your bike.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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No lie, some of these drivers don't pay attention to on the road.

I was in the truck of a car today on the freeway listening for a rattle. I opened it to see the car behind us, I opened it and waved for help and the whole time the lady was texting and didn't see me.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:31 PM   #9
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As others have mentioned, 1st gear until a car has stopped behind me. I always watch cars behind me at intersections. It is not good for your clutch to be left in gear while stopped. So once the cars behind me are stopped, I go to neutral.

Quote:
I slowed down to ~15 mph to make my turns, but sometimes can feel a cager right up behind my .
If you know the speed in MPH as you go through a turn, you are paying attention to the wrong things. Learn to ride more by feel.
I never worry about what gear I'm in, I just shift to where the bike feels happy.

Seat time is your friend. Morning and afternoon traffic is not the friendliest place to learn. If you are gonna stick to that plan, be careful.
IMHO, it might be a good idea to spend some time in the evenings and on weekends practicing your skills. After a couple months, if you feel comfortable, go back to riding to work.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:01 PM   #10
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Well said bumblebee. Most of all just listen and be aware of both your surroundings and what your bike is telling you. The rest will come natural as you are already doing the right thing by developing the good habits early.

Another thing I do sometimes if I must commute in the crunch times everyone is mentioning is check Google maps for traffic before I make my trip. You can spot potential hazards and plan a alternate route that is not only safer but maybe even more enjoyable.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #11
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Valuable information. Thank you all for your advice!
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:40 AM   #12
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Alright, understand that advice may vary and take all of it with a grain. From EVERYONE, ride your own ride, the way it makes you comfortable. That said, lets address these issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tustah View Post
Rode to work for the first time today (~14 miles each way). I had three questions in mind:

1) I read online that at red lights, you should keep your bike in 1st gear. I try to do this when I'm approaching a light that has been red already and if there is someone behind me coming to a stop. However, hands starts to cramp from holding down the clutch. Coming to a light that's turning red, I'll shift to neutral. Will holding down the clutch over time become slightly easier or more bearable?

If you are sitting at a red light and there is no vehicle behind you (car/truck) stay in gear and keep an eye on your mirrors. If there IS a car/truck behind you, feel free to neutral it up, but still check your mirrors often, the car/truck will act a bit as a line backer. Yes, holding the clutch will get easier, eventually you will be able to hold it ALL DAY LONG.

2) Exiting HOV - stupid gate blocks off a circle turn slightly into the turn. I wasn't sure how much braking I should do here. Ended up shifting to 1st, waiting for the gate to come up, and proceeded with the turn. I don't feel like this is the best way to go about it though for some reason.

Not sure what you mean here, just be safe and don't let anyone behind push you into an uncomfortable situation.

3) Slowing down for turns in general. Do you guys shift down to 1st, or stay on a higher gear? I slowed down to ~15 mph to make my turns, but sometimes can feel a cager right up behind my .

The only time I use 1st in a turn is when I'm coming out of a stop sign, from a dead stop. Not sure if you've noticed, but 1st gear can wind up pretty quick and apply ALL the torque from your machine pretty much in an istant. Grabbing a fist full of throttle in 1st gear MID-TURN is likely the last thing you will EVER want to do apart from grabbing a fist full of front brake in the fresh rain.

The good: all the braking practices came into play today. Only thing I need to work on is going at a better pace that the circle turn next to Hermann Park (Mecom Fountain). Caught myself braking at slow speeds during the turn. Engine braking okay during a slow turn?

Thanks!
You will soon find that there is a "sweet spot" with cornering in general. Engine braking is an excellent way to manage your bikes speed without upsetting the chassis too much but you want to be smooth about it, and be in the appropriate gear (transmission, not attire). At slow speeds it is common for me to not even touch the brakes at all, I find myself slightly pulling the front or just tapping the rear to kick on the brake light in order to telegraph my moves to people behind me out of courtesy though.

Be safe, don't let anyone push you past your comfort zone, you've got quite a bit of machine under you for your first time out. Never get bored of going out to a parking lot or something to brush up on things like braking and figure 8's. Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:55 AM   #13
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I stay in first gear all the time no matter what the length of the light is. Also stay to the left of the lane so your left foot comes down on clean road and the right foot is still on the brake. Even with cars stopped all around me I have had the person right behind try to go on a red light.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklikewhoa View Post
No lie, some of these drivers don't pay attention to on the road.

I was in the truck of a car today on the freeway listening for a rattle. I opened it to see the car behind us, I opened it and waved for help and the whole time the lady was texting and didn't see me.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:14 AM   #15
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I never turn in 1st gear, well hardly ever. If you do just be ready to feather the clutch a little.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:26 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklikewhoa View Post
No lie, some of these drivers don't pay attention to on the road.

I was in the truck of a car today on the freeway listening for a rattle. I opened it to see the car behind us, I opened it and waved for help and the whole time the lady was texting and didn't see me.

you are a fool, EK.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:36 AM   #17
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I am ususally in N 50 feet before the light.

I dont think I have ever taken a turn in first gear on the street, unless I am pulling away from a stop.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:06 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by 7cain View Post
Alright, understand that advice may vary and take all of it with a grain. From EVERYONE, ride your own ride, the way it makes you comfortable. That said, lets address these issues.



You will soon find that there is a "sweet spot" with cornering in general. Engine braking is an excellent way to manage your bikes speed without upsetting the chassis too much but you want to be smooth about it, and be in the appropriate gear (transmission, not attire). At slow speeds it is common for me to not even touch the brakes at all, I find myself slightly pulling the front or just tapping the rear to kick on the brake light in order to telegraph my moves to people behind me out of courtesy though.

Be safe, don't let anyone push you past your comfort zone, you've got quite a bit of machine under you for your first time out. Never get bored of going out to a parking lot or something to brush up on things like braking and figure 8's. Good luck.
Definitely. I practiced over a month before I took my initial ride to work; a lot of practicing at the park, especially with braking. I know it takes seat time to become better at these things.

I don't ride with full motor; ride in C mode (600cc equivalent). I read about tapping the rear brake to indicate you're slowing down, which I do as well.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:01 AM   #19
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I try to act like it is a track day and pas all inside, outside, lot of room, no room, keep rpms around 5500-6000 (red line at 9), and try to do dps in corners when able.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tustah View Post
Rode to work for the first time today (~14 miles each way). I had three questions in mind:

1) I read online that at red lights, you should keep your bike in 1st gear. I try to do this when I'm approaching a light that has been red already and if there is someone behind me coming to a stop. However, hands starts to cramp from holding down the clutch. Coming to a light that's turning red, I'll shift to neutral. Will holding down the clutch over time become slightly easier or more bearable?

2) Exiting HOV - stupid gate blocks off a circle turn slightly into the turn. I wasn't sure how much braking I should do here. Ended up shifting to 1st, waiting for the gate to come up, and proceeded with the turn. I don't feel like this is the best way to go about it though for some reason.

3) Slowing down for turns in general. Do you guys shift down to 1st, or stay on a higher gear? I slowed down to ~15 mph to make my turns, but sometimes can feel a cager right up behind my .

The good: all the braking practices came into play today. Only thing I need to work on is going at a better pace that the circle turn next to Hermann Park (Mecom Fountain). Caught myself braking at slow speeds during the turn. Engine braking okay during a slow turn?

Thanks!



prayers sent.
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