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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently switched from a cruiser to a sport bike, and have found that my confidence has actually gone down just a bit since. I've managed to put my finger on exactly what my problem is, and am hoping you guys can help me with it.

I have a ton of miles of experience on a giant cruiser. I knew EXACTLY where the bike's limits were in the corners, and I knew where my limits were as a rider. My brain has a mental governor that tells me how fast I can take corners that has been fine tuned to that bike. The problem is, with the new ride, the limits of the bike FAR exceed my own and it's throwing off my mental governor. So now I find myself going just a tiny bit slower in the twisties than I did on the fat boy! I used to know how fast my bike could run a certain corner, and I just backed off a bit to keep a little safety margin in there. Now, I'm going the same speed as before, but I don't feel any of the tell tale signs that I'm reaching the limit of the lean angle when my brain says I should be (because I'm nowhere near the limit) and it freaks me out. So I end up backing off.

Basically, the bike is telling me it can go a lot faster, but I can't seem to get my brain to listen. I was cornering around 80% of the capacity of the cruiser, which is probably 40% of the capacity of the sport bike. I'd like to be up around 60% or even a bit more. I don't need to be dragging knee or pegs, but I know I can (and i want to) go a lot faster than I have been. Has anybody else experienced this? Maybe after suspension upgrades, or changing from one bike to another, or some other similar scenario? How did you reset your mental governor? I'm sure racking up some miles will help, and I'm planning to take an advanced rider's course before this summer is over. I'd just like to know if anybody had any tips or tricks, or even specific things to practice, that will help me acclimate to the more capable bike.

Thanks SVR!
 

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Practice on a twisty road you know well. Your Buell has almost unlimited cornering clearance compared to the Fat Boy which has some of the least of all the baggers. Going slower on a new bike is very common. As you stated, it's all mental when it comes to trusting your abilities and the bike's. You just need to break that mental barrier with practice. Ride the Buell at the same speed as your Fat Boy through the corners. You know the bike is laughing at you and can easily make the turn. Ride the Buell like the sport bike it is, look through the corner, lower your inside shoulder. Repeat through these corners over and over at the same speed until you realize that nothing bad is going to happen. Then, increase your speed by a few mph and repeat. Pick one gear, try not to use your brakes or roll off. Eventually you will be able to reboot your brain and relax through the corners. You must remain loose and look through the corner to slow the speed down in your brain. Practice makes perfect.
 

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One word "Vision"

Vision effects every aspect of what we do, how we feel and how we interfer with the motorcycle. It is fundamental to our riding.

Second, practice does not make perfect.

"Perfect practice makes perfect".

Find a good class like Total Control and it will transform your riding.
 

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Several thoughts. From what I have read, many Buells are sensitive to suspension settings. Please check and adjust.

Are your tires in good shape and inflated properly?

As noted above, vision or sight lines are crucial. Perhaps you are not willing to run any faster because that would entail over-running your sight lines. If so, good on you.

It usually takes a bit of time to adapt to a new bike. How many miles on the new bike?

Education, training & practice are good things. Do the refresher if you haven't in a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the replies so far! There is definitely some good info there.

As far as the bike setup is concerned, that's all good. I'm not willing to blame the bike for this, it's all in my head. The bulk of the problem is convincing my brain to accept the new, improved capabilities of the xb. My suspension is set to all the settings the owner's manual suggests for my weight, the tires are Pirelli Diablos that are very nearly new and inflated to the owners manual spec. I'll fine tune settings and tire pressure later after I am fully acclimated to the bike. For now, the equipment is correct. The operator... Not so much. Also, I've put a little under a thousand miles on it so far.

So the consensus is two fold: seek proper training and practice what they teach.

I will be taking an advanced rider's course later this summer, but scheduling and cash have combined to push that back another month or two. Can you guys suggest some methods to enhance my vision? Any tricks that I can practice? Can vision practice be done in the car? I put a LOT of miles in commuting to work, but never on two wheels (in the time I've put just under 1000 miles on my bike, I've put well over 5000 on my Jeep). If it's possible to do, I could practice some drills while driving to work...

Current cornering methods that I've been doing: look through the corner, shoulder to the inside, and (out of fat boy habit) one cheek off the seat. I am careful to keep my shoulder inside of my hip to avoid 'crossing up'. Admittedly, I move around a lot more on the seat than I need to with this bike. The fat boy required that I hang off a fair amount, as it dragged hard parts pretty early. So I am practiced at getting off to the inside and keeping my torso from crossing up. Also, i keep a firm grip with my thighs, and use the balls of my feet on the pegs, never the arches.

I feel like I'm doing most things right, I just subconsciously stop myself from going any faster than I would have on the fat boy. The lack of feeling the bike nearing it's limit is what's really throwing me off.
 

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Don't get wrapped up with the "limit" of your Buell. That's the problem. Very easy to find the limit on your Fat Boy, but the Buell has much higher limits. If you do find the limit of the Buell, you will be shredding the corners in a blur. Go to a parking lot and do some circles, you won't be scraping anything. It's not easy going from years on a cruiser to a sport bike. Take your time, it will come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's the fat boy's limit that's getting me. Honestly, I have no desire to find the Buell's limit. It's that I'm expecting to feel it getting close, and when I don't, my brain says there's something wrong and I back off. I'll just keep riding and getting used to it. I'm just looking for proper techniques to practice to ensure I get it right. ;)

Thanks again everybody! You've all been helpful so far!
 

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Relax your arms. Consciously stay relaxed through the corner. That helps me a lot. When I am not making a big deal out of it, I tense up and then I can't steer any more and then I slightly panic and then roll off.
 

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Lack of confidence would suggest your focus is misdirected. Sometimes this will happen out of necessity---e.g. traffic conditions. But left to your own devices it's just you, the bike, and the road. And as you've discovered, on a sportbike you yourself are usually the limiting factor. I found Keith Code's A Twist of the Wrist II helpful in addressing my own limitations. You should be able to find a .pdf copy with a google search.

Rule #1 is "Once the throttle is cracked open, it is rolled on evenly, smoothly, and constantly throughout the remainder of the turn."
 

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Can you guys suggest some methods to enhance my vision? Any tricks that I can practice? Can vision practice be done in the car? I put a LOT of miles in commuting to work, but never on two wheels (in the time I've put just under 1000 miles on my bike, I've put well over 5000 on my Jeep). If it's possible to do, I could practice some drills while driving to work...
Note: see signiture :thumbsup:

The funny thing is you probably all ready do it in the car. When is the last time you gave a gravel patch anything more than a glance in your car. :dontknow:

One thing that helped me with vision is follow someone else and look where you think they should be looking. 1: it keeps you looking somewhat ahead 2: it takes a lot of focus to not watch who you are following. Especially in the straights you will tend to get lazy and watch your partner, that is your warning, get those eyes back up. Then once you are use to it, it just comes natural like in your truck.

As for body position: I started moving my shoulders first, and leaving my butt in place. For our speeds, you don't need to fully hang off, so only moving your top keeps you from crossing up, which imo is worse than not leaning. Also, if you do decide you want to hang off, you have a really good start. You just do exactly what you were doing... then shift your lower half.

The more you do right while cornering the slower it will feel. Focus on doing little thing right, and the speed will come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had an interesting revelation Friday. I only had 400 miles of seat time on the new bike. I thought I had at least double that. Anyway, I put another 300 on it Saturday, and more than half of those miles were hard core twisties. Following Fastlil1, I might add.

Another realization Saturday... I thought I was looking through corners before, but I busted myself only looking half way around a bunch of them. All of your guys' advice was ringing in my ears all day. "look ALL the way through the corner". I worked on that, and it helped a lot. I think I've picked up a bad habit of looking too close because I have to on my commute. It's 60 miles of bumper to bumper, so looking too far ahead can be trouble. Thanks for all the advice about looking way out ahead, drilling that on Saturday made a big difference.

Good point about handling gravel spots in the car, you're right. Since I switched from a sport sedan to a Jeep, I often speed up for that kind of stuff now. Haha!

And btw, Fast - watch the rider in front of me? Easier said than done. You guys were seriously hauling! I tried to follow Carpe's lines, but I couldn't keep up for very long. Corners on hills or with a lot of foliage had me chickening out a bit. If I couldn't see the whole thing I backed off.
 

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Under 1,000 miles on a new bike, it is certainly expected to not be pushing limits yet. Let alone moving from a big cruiser to a sportbike.

I ment when following someone at your own speed. Should have mentioned something Saturday, (or wish I had seen this post earlier) I certianly would have dropped back and helped you out. I could have also filmed you for a while. It is amazing how different you look versus how you think you look. I thought I had a good handle on leaning in and not being crossed up.... and then I saw the film champer took of me :dizzy: Not saying you are doing it wrong (I haven't paid attention to notice), just saying I thought I wasn't. Now, I am 10x better than I thought I was, and still think I have a lot of room to do more.

There is deffinatly a balance of focous in heavy traffic vs. twisties vs. track. You should always be looking far ahead, but it is still very different. On the street, you have to be backing off on blind corners. There is a lot of unknown out there.

With that, one more thing to think about: ESPECIALLY in blind corners, you have to hold a wide line as deep into the corner as practicle. Take this diagram:

Some may disagree, but in a blind corner I try holding the line labeled "late turn-in" Imagine that track is your lane of the road on a blind corner. Imagine how much more you can see from that late turn in point than you can from the turn in point of the other lines. You may not even be able to see your apex on the other lines if it is a truely blind corner. Wouldn't it be nice to know there is sand at the apex before you even turn in? For me, holding that wide line is even harder than looking far ahead. It is another one of those things though, every time I do it right, it feels SO much better and safer that I kick myself for doing it wrong all those times before.

And for another display of why to hold a wide line, I remind you of the video champer took of me at ZARS.

Enjoy :thumbsup:
 

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Quit being such a pansy!








;D
 

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http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa438/fastlil1/properapex2.jpg[/IMG]
Some may disagree, but in a blind corner I try holding the line labeled "late turn-in" Imagine that track is your lane of the road on a blind corner. Imagine how much more you can see from that late turn in point than you can from the turn in point of the other lines. You may not even be able to see your apex on the other lines if it is a truely blind corner. Wouldn't it be nice to know there is sand at the apex before you even turn in? For me, holding that wide line is even harder than looking far ahead. It is another one of those things though, every time I do it right, it feels SO much better and safer that I kick myself for doing it wrong all those times before.
True and the Late turn in point can be your best, we actually teach this in the Total Control Advanced riding clinic for all the reason posted and more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks again to all for the advice! I'll be practicing the late apex turn on corners that I can see all the way through in preperation for the next road with blind ones.

Thanks again Chris, the pic and video and explanations are awesome!!!
 

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You've probably heard it a lot: "Head up; look where you want to go." If you're like most riders, though, you probably know it more than you do it.

One trick that works for me is, I SAY it to myself, as I'm entering and as I'm riding through a turn. Over and over. Like a mantra. (One time, when the radius of the turn suddenly decreased, and I glanced a car coming the other way through the turn, it became more like a prayer....) It may seem goofy, at least at first, but it works. Try it.
 

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Good point about handling gravel spots in the car, you're right.
Often people look very close in front of their bike trying to see problems - but even with modest street speeds that´s not far enough.
When you move your head to look through the turn, you briefly cover the near area as well (and you have looked at a lot of it already while approaching the turn BTW). Anything you don´t catch in this quick glance is not worth your attention. Realizing this can free your mind of much load.

Oh, and remembering a quote (from TotW, possibly?) along the lines of "the bike can make the turn easily if the rider isn´t disturbing it" helped me to focus on my own actions in tight situations as well.

Ciao
Jan
 

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One trick that works for me is, I SAY it to myself, as I'm entering and as I'm riding through a turn.
Reminds me of my very first trip to the Alpes years ago. I literally told my self "Turn your head" and even exaggerated the looking ahead a bit in every turn. And the Alpes have a lot of them (I didn´t feel silly - not :)).
By the end of the second day even the hairpins had lost a lot of their scare potential.

Ciao
Jan
 

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One tip that a very experienced friend told me that has helped alot since i have started is; when turning right for instance 'pretend' you are flexing your right bicep and hold your left arm more straight while keeping your arm bent, and vice versa for a left hander, while weighing the peg opposite the turn. Stay relaxed like the others have stated so dont yank the right bar toward yourself (cause you still want to 'push' the bar in the direction that you want to turn) and dont shove the left away from you in a right turn, youre just pretending those motions i guess. that has made the bike feel alot more stable.

Reading that looks alot more confusing than the little lesson that my friend taught me but if you get the jist of it that may help you feel more stable and confident in turns.
 
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