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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have spent several hours riding my bike (08 Ninja 250r) around my neighborhood and have felt very comfortable with it from the start. My neighborhood is a large apartment complex with curves, intersections, large hills, parking spaces, etc. I have done very well with the 5-30mph speeds that I am able to go here. I looks into all the turns (its amazing how the bike seems to just go to where I'm looking), don't drag my feet, u-turns are good and I think I lean the proper amount for all turns and curves. I am comfortable with take-offs and shifting and have not yet stalled.
And, most importantly, I am comfortable with braking and when not to use the front brake.

I got my bike insured and plated today and my 3 questions are:

1. With 3 hours of practice under my belt, would it be stupid of me to practice in the complex a bit tomorrow and then ride 1 mile down the road to a large empty parking lot with no cars to practice braking from higher speeds, driving in a circle to practice leaning, whatever else I can come up with (that was a long sentence)? It is a straight shot there, no sharp curves or anything.

2. I have only ridden at less than 30 mph. How differently would the bike handle at higher speeds (35-45 mph)?

3. I keep watching instructional videos and reading instructional documents and the more I read, the more confused I become (counter-steering vs. not counter-steering, using the clutch to upshift vs. not using it, etc...) As stated earlier I am very comfortable in my apartment complex at speeds less than 30 mph (as fast as I can safely go here). My wife says I am overcomplicating it and my friend says the counter-steering will come naturally. If I am comfortable with it, could I be overthinking it all?

Sorry for the long post but I really want to ride somewhere new tomorrow so I'd really appreciate answers. Thanks in advance!

EDIT- I sound nervous in this post and feel the need to clarify. I am comfortable when ON the bike, its when I am in front of the computer watching videos that I get nervous and confused.
 

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An Arse
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Counter steering will come naturally if you've ridden a bicycle before. It's just good to be conscious of your counter steering so you can apply it more effectively when you need to.

The faster you go on a bike, the more pressure you need to apply when you counter steer in order to turn. You don't have to go crazy and apply a great deal of pressure, you'll just notice that you have to apply a little more. (Bike naturally wants to go straight ahead due to physics, and the higher speed reinforces the physics of the bike.) Other than that, increase your following distance to cars, etc., etc.

You probably are overthinking countersteering a bit. I did the exact same thing as you. I also read a ton before I took the MSF course.

If you haven't taken the MSF course, I highly recommend it. At the very least, it'll make you feel a lot more comfortable riding. At the most, it'll save your life.

Good luck, and stay safe!
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks. I am taking the MSF course on April 20-22. I don't have my endorsement yet, but the urge to ride is too strong to ignore. I will probably stick to roads close to home at times when traffic is very low.

-I called around trying to do my skills test to get my endorsement while I am waiting for MSF but no one seems to do them anywhere near me. How ridiculous is that? If the law requires you to do a skills test (or MSF course) to get an endorsement, I think they should offer it everywhere at all times.
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #4
I actually finally found a thread from another forum that helped me understand counter steering and it sounds like I am doing without thinking about it too much.

Other than counter-steering how much different does the bike handle at 35-55 than it does at 30?
 

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An Arse
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I had the same temptation as you do to take the bike for a quick spin while I just had my permit, but I decided against it. It was a little easier for me because I only had to wait a week for my MSF course.

If you do decide to go out, be careful. Everything happens a lot faster at speed. It's not going to be fun turning into that parking lot you want to practice in if you suddenly notice a hazard in the road (say, a bunch of gravel when you're turning into the lot) or a cager does something dangerous in your vicinity.

When you're on the road, remember, "You go where you look!"

Personally, I'd wait to get my endorsement, but I'm pretty safety oriented. Lots of people learned to ride without taking the MSF class and I'm sure at least one other person will chime in telling you to go for it.
 

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Other than counter-steering how much different does the bike handle at 35-55 than it does at 30?
Not a whole lot differently, really. Milky Joe pretty much summed it up when he said that the "counter steering pressure" needed to initiate a turn will increase. The faster bikes go, the more they want to go in a straight line.

Other than that, the common sense stuff applies. Stopping distance increases, the amount of available time to react to any "surprises" decreases etc. etc.

Don't over think stuff too much. If you're the type that has to over think stuff, put that effort into developing survival strategies for dealing with traffic. :thumbsup:
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, guys. And Milky Joe, I understand waiting and I am going to try to wait, BUT, riding is like all I can think about at the moment. I've already been waiting over a month and still have a month to go (until MSF). You'd think with the 85 degree weather we have here lately, they'd have a sooner course.
 

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I actually finally found a thread from another forum that helped me understand counter steering and it sounds like I am doing without thinking about it too much.

Other than counter-steering how much different does the bike handle at 35-55 than it does at 30?
Based on motorcycle design for streetbikes, doing probably 25 is little different in what you do than doing 65. It is just the speed relative to possible obstacles. The steering is pretty much the same but not as quick and braking done in the same way, but with a bit more effort. It is the "obstacle course" that presents the issues and speed isn't always the issue there.

The first one is how fast you go into corners. You are the judge on how fast you think you can take a corner, whether in your car or on your bike. Too fast and you've got a problem. With a car you may lock the brakes or go a bit off the road on a bike that can be a tad disasterous. BUT this is in your control. Take corners easy until you can read the road surface and the corner radius to know how fast you can go and want to go to traverse it. Most of the time there is no issue when casually riding, it becomes automatic with practice. It is when you are a new rider and don't trust the tires (which will corner far better and at a steeper lean than you), get into the corner and find it is a decreasing radius (corner gets tighter as you go), or something is in the road, that you get in a bind - you panic. That is why you progressively ride a bit harder in the corners you ride frequently. You start learning to trust the tires and hopefully you will have developed the innate instinct to countersteer.

The second is avoidance techniques involving cornering, swerving, braking, and acceleration. Everyone pretty much has the last one down pat rather quickly, it is the rest that must be learned and ingrained into a set of actions that come into play every time a leg is swung over a motorcycle.

The innate instinct to countersteer. Let's say a bit more on this. You can take an intellegent knowledgeable individual who KNOWS all there is to know of the physics of countersteering. Maybe they could even calculate the forces involved and all. Then put them on a motorcycle for the first time. When they ride down the road initially, they will do fine, because they can think out what they must do. Kind of like practicing in a parking lot. BUT when they actually go out and start riding after some practice they may have problems. The problems are people that have driven cars and turn the wheel to the right to go right and left to go left, have a tendency to revert to "car think" in an emergency. In spite of knowing all the physics and the "push/pull" junk, what to they do in an emergency? They yank the bars in the direction they want to go, as they would a steering wheel. Gues what happens - based on countersteering... they go the opposite direction and into whatever they're trying to avoid, be it another vehicle or off the road.

That was what was concluded in a study I saw years ago. The researchers could not understand why it looked like some riders actually turned INTO the thing they were trying to avoild. They found it was new and very casual riders who reacted the wrong way. They reverted to "car think" because they never developed the actual countersteering actions into their set of instinctive actions. You can know it all, but unless you practice, you can't do it all.

Thus the thing you need to do is get out away from traffic and ride where you can actually do some corners. Space where you can swerve about. I often mention one of my favorite games - dotted line slaloms. I'm going down the road alone or behind a friend, the road is straight and there is no traffic. I start swerving back and forth in the space between the dotted lines. It isn't easy as it might sound, especially at 50-60. It's an abrupt maneuver at higher speeds, but just the sort that is needed when avoiding something in the road or other quick maneuvers. It's about creating an innate set of reactions and actions when riding a motorcycle as opposed to a car.

When on corners I know or behind another driver/rider travelling at a slower rate than I can in a corner for whatever reason, I may play around. I also do it a bit when there's no traffic. I will turn in deeper or move out wider mid corner. I will brake or accelerate mid corner. Not extremes or anything most of the time, but I know what I can and can't do when leaned over in a corner. I know enough to be able to brake, accelerate, steer in deeper or out wider and it is rehearsed into an innate behavior when riding a bike.

I could go on, but to make a long drone short, what I am saying is most of your actions will be thought out and done as you would naturally do when riding that relatively slow or casual. You have time to think and do. BUT the thing you need to develop is the innate actions/reactions to be able to do what is necessary when you don't have time to think out the maneuver. When your brain goes on autopilot performing what you more or less instinctively know from rehearsing or practicing said actions, automatically. The point where the reaction will either be the thought process used in your car (turn left to go left and turn right to go right) or the developed second set of instant responses for motorcycles (yank/push bars left to go right, yank/push bars right to go left - and lean). If you never push the practice, if it's all just slo-mo, it's never really going to be there. If you never have switched lines mid corner nor braked mid corner you'll never do that as a reaction. That is part of why many people don't lean bikes enough, not trusting tires. They never progressively leaned further and further. If you don't do it in practice it isn't going to happen when critical.

The more you push your limits incrementally the better you get. Of course along the way you need to realize that it is the street and when you get to the limits of reasonable road speed it's time to take it elsewhere. But I guarantee you that with a 250 and some good well paved tight roads you can do everything I've mentioned at speeds well under 60, learn a ton, and have a ton of fun on the way. It's all about practice, repetition, and pushing the limit of whatever it is. Like braking, don't be satisfied with simply stopping, when the opportunity presents itself (no traffic around coming to a stop) push the hardness with which you brake. Anchor it down hard. You don't have to deal with traffic and junk, if you get a bit overboard (too hard) you can ease off without penalty. If you do this often enough to get skillful enough, you will be able to use that skill when a critical situation occurs (that car turning left in front of you or that dog running across the road) and make what would have been an accident or close call into a non-event. I know, I've been doing this for about 40 years now. The close calls occurred 30-40 years ago, but no longer - and I really haven't slowed up. I've just got better innate skills from the practice.
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, thanks. Yeah I am not looking to deal with traffic yet. I am going out when traffic is low or non-existent. I mostly want to practice braking from higher speeds than what I can get to in my apartment complex, but I also want to work on leaning, and other stuff. I basically want to practice it all without people staring at me.

-I watched the Ride Like a Pro DVD and it said to use the friction zone, throttle and rear brake at the same time at slow speeds so I want to see if I can figure that out. I am going to be taking it pretty easy until my MSF course in a month.
 

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An Arse
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Thanks, guys. And Milky Joe, I understand waiting and I am going to try to wait, BUT, riding is like all I can think about at the moment. I've already been waiting over a month and still have a month to go (until MSF). You'd think with the 85 degree weather we have here lately, they'd have a sooner course.
Totally understandable, if I had to wait that long I probably wouldn't be able to do it either. Just the 3 weeks I had the bike waiting to be ridden until I got my permit and MSF class was pretty hard to bear! :)

Just be safe and take it easy out there, make sure you've got your gear! Good luck!
 

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An Arse
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The problems are people that have driven cars and turn the wheel to the right to go right and left to go left, have a tendency to revert to "car think" in an emergency. In spite of knowing all the physics and the "push/pull" junk, what to they do in an emergency? They yank the bars in the direction they want to go, as they would a steering wheel. Gues what happens - based on countersteering... they go the opposite direction and into whatever they're trying to avoid, be it another vehicle or off the road.

That was what was concluded in a study I saw years ago. The researchers could not understand why it looked like some riders actually turned INTO the thing they were trying to avoild. They found it was new and very casual riders who reacted the wrong way. They reverted to "car think" because they never developed the actual countersteering actions into their set of instinctive actions. You can know it all, but unless you practice, you can't do it all.
I'm curious, did the study talk about target fixation in this instance? It seems like a classic target fixation instance: They see the hazard but they can't take their eyes off of it and "they go where they look."
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #12
I guess I am having second thoughts about taking it out. More than anything I am worried about getting caught without an endorsement. I have my Temporary Permit, but in Michigan, that means I have to be with a endorsed rider. I DON"T KNOW ANYONE WITH A MOTORCYCLE!!! This state is so f****** ridiculous I want to hit someone. I can go take a skills test at a third party tester, but no one in a two hour radius is offering it. And even if they were, I'd have to somehow get my bike there. Its like they want us to ride illegally.

-On a side note from MilkyJoe's last post, I have learned that I have no issues, so far, with target fixation.
 

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I know how it feels..believe me we've all been there. But since you don't even have your "M" endorsement, I would suggest being patient. Also I'm positive that there would be a very low speed limit around your apartment complex since it's a private road. Also not a good idea since kids will be playing around the corner or on bicycles or skateboards. Not to mention people pulling out of their driveways. Certainly not a good place to doing 30 especially since you have never ridden before. Also, your insurance might balk at paying for any damages since you are NOT legally licensed to be operating a motorcycle. Might as well learn patience because you are going to need a lot of it when you finally hit the road. Patience will help you avoid making some bad judgements. Trust me. :biggrin:

EDIT: Have you purchased any gear yet?
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I know how it feels..believe me we've all been there. But since you don't even have your "M" endorsement, I would suggest being patient. Also I'm positive that there would be a very low speed limit around your apartment complex since it's a private road. Also not a good idea since kids will be playing around the corner or on bicycles or skateboards. Not to mention people pulling out of their driveways. Certainly not a good place to doing 30 especially since you have never ridden before. Also, your insurance might balk at paying for any damages since you are NOT legally licensed to be operating a motorcycle. Might as well learn patience because you are going to need a lot of it when you finally hit the road. Patience will help you avoid making some bad judgements. Trust me. :biggrin:

EDIT: Have you purchased any gear yet?
-I am patient, I've been waiting 1 1/2 months with my bike in my living room and I still have a month to go 'til MSF. Besides, man, I want to ride to a parking lot to practice, not go flying down the road at 70 pulling mile long wheelies.

-The posted speed limit in my apartment complex is 30 MPH, so yes it certainly is a good place to do 30.

-I am not an adrenaline junkie,nor am I stupid. If I wasn't comfortable going 30, I would not be going 30

-No worries of people pulling out of driveways as there are no driveways, just skinny parking lots.

-Yes, I have gear.

EDIT: Rude comment removed
 

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Sigma ... take it easy.
Everything will work out fine :)

You should counter-steer.
And like someone said ... you've already been doing it on your bicycle. It just works better on a MC.

Use your clutch when changing gears.
You're not a racer yet :)

Go out and get the feel of it - in the early morning with no traffic.
Don't get busted, don't wreck your bike, and wear safety gear.

Have fun!
dT
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #16
I'm fine, really. I just hate when people lecture on forums as if they've never done anything wrong or illegal.

-Thanks, DT, I've pretty much found all the answers that I've been looking for. Now I am just debating whether to risk going out on backroads and parking lots. My thing is, the Michigan Temporary Permit does not say that I have to have another rider present. You have to search online to find that. So I think I could honestly play dumb to a cop if I did actually get pulled over, especially considering I have valid plates, insurance and drivers license. Not looking for permission or validation, though, More or less just thinking to myself out loud (or online)
 

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-I am patient, I've been waiting 1 1/2 months with my bike in my living room and I still have a month to go 'til MSF. Besides, man, I want to ride to a parking lot to practice, not go flying down the road at 70 pulling mile long wheelies.

-The posted speed limit in my apartment complex is 30 MPH, so yes it certainly is a good place to do 30.

-I am not an adrenaline junkie,nor am I stupid. If I wasn't comfortable going 30, I would not be going 30

-No worries of people pulling out of driveways as there are no driveways, just skinny parking lots.

-Yes, I have gear.

EDIT: Rude comment removed
Hey fella, what is the title of your post? Did I say you were stupid? What did I say that made you think that I was lecturing you? You wanted advice and you got advice. In your first post you stated : (quote)My neighborhood is a large apartment complex with curves, intersections, large hills, parking spaces, etc. I have done very well with the 5-30mph speeds that I am able to go here. I looks into all the turns (its amazing how the bike seems to just go to where I'm looking), don't drag my feet, u-turns are good and I think I lean the proper amount for all turns and curves. " I gave you advice specifically to help you decide if what you are doing is intelligent or not. Especially about whether your insurance will cover you if you have an accident on the street while simply having a learner's permit. Your remarks to me or about the reply I posted tells me that your temper seems to have a hair trigger. Take it easy. Once you hit traffic you'd better be able to control it. Good luck.

EDIT: As to your not looking for validation or permission or even advice then why bother posting this under the title of "How intelligent would this be?" Why bother posting at all if your mind is already made up?
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I'm sorry. I may have read too much into your post. Actually, on a positive note, I was able to find a guy to do skills testing for me at 5:15pm today. On a negative note, I have no way to get the bike there but ride it...in 5 o'clock traffic. I am a little nervous about it, and while I have been riding all day and feel pretty confident, rush hour traffic is NOT how I wanted to start out, so I may or may not keep the appointment. I will probably do it as my wife is going to drive behind me so I can go as slow as I want without someone on my ass. Plus, its only 1 mile away (straight shot) at 35-45mph with 1 intersection that I know like the back of my hand. So as stupid as this probably is, I'll most likely do the test. If I pass, I'll be able to practice at night legally ( I know, I know, but the roads here are completely empty after 9pm on my side of town and the town is well lit at night).

Edit-When I say I road all day, I just looked at my odometer and I actually put almost 50 miles on the bike today. I practiced braking, turning, counter-steering (I was definitely overthinking it) emergency stopping (I made loops around the parking lot and my wife randomly popped out flagging me to stop), u turns. Taking off going uphill and downhill. The one thing I need to work on is taking off when I'm on a downhill slope, its the only time I've stalled the bike. I'm good with that. That won't come into play where I'm going today and neither where I'll be practicing later, so I just add that to my practice list.
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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Discussion Starter #19
51 minutes and counting...wish me luck.
 
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