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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #1
When I think back to the first 10 years of riding I have done, on a 500cc motorcycle, one of the things that was happening to me that caused me to take stock in my habits on the bike, was a tendency at the end of the day to be rather sloppy on the bike, coming to a stop and starting off.

"Sloppy" in the sense that I would find myself "catching" the bike at the moment of stopping, rather than a controlled stop. Then on the "take off" (if you will) a rather shaky start off.

I attributed this to fatigue, but still to this day, am not sure. I don't believe for a moment that there was/is anything wrong with the bike itself; just the driver.

Fast forward 12 years, to a couple of days ago. I come to a familiar light, on familiar terrain, which on this occasion happens to be "red." I gradually downshift as I approach in dry and warm conditions, drop my left foot off the foot pad so that it is just skirting the pavement................and then just as I am about to come to a stop, the weight of the bike pulls me left. I find myself struggling with the bike to keep it "in line" and under control.

"What's THAT about?" I ask myself, feeling rather embarrassed at how "out of control" I must've appeared to drivers around me.

After I finished turning red, and the light turned green, I was able to redeem myself in the eyes of the drivers around me at least, by making a smooth take off, showing full control.

To date, I haven't figured it out. I'm still thinking "fatigue." Either that, or a combination of that and just plain stupid sloppy control. It doesn't happen very often, but still..................

-Soupy
 

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American Legion Rider
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I've never understood why people insist on one foot stops. I've assumed it's because they think they need to because of braking. I never use one foot stopping. Even on gravel. Your stop should be controlled to the point that the last few feet are slow enough to just use front brake and put both feet down. One exception would be crazy terrain. By that I mean terrain you are just not sure both feet will touch evenly or at all on one side or the other which would get the bike off balance if you tried.

Maybe I should say that's me and how I stop. Maybe you could tell me why you must use just one foot. To me though, that's why you get caught off guard. You stop off balance. But then I admit that I stop, balance and continue without ever putting my feet down at all too often. You could in fact have an inner ear problem causing you to be off balance too. Something to consider. Do you have trouble with very slow maneuvers?
 

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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #3
I've never understood why people insist on one foot stops. I've assumed it's because they think they need to because of braking. ........... Do you have trouble with very slow maneuvers?
I guess the answer would be that I was "taught" a "one foot stop" in the MDC (Motorcycle Drivers Course) by the DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles). They would take points off your final road test if you didn't cover both brakes. So I just "got used to doing it that way."

I've heard others besides yourself comment in the same way, concerning "covering or applying the back brake." I'm not saying you are wrong. Perhaps I was taught incorrectly in the MDC.

Furthermore, I have had some folks say that your front brake should be your primary stopping tool, and I tend to favor it, and only lightly touch the back brake, but my right foot is never down, that's true.

As for slow maneuvers, I am certain that I am no expert in all facets of motorcycle riding, and could always use more training in "slow maneuvers."

-Soupy
 

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The MSF BRC teaches left foot first, then right. It looks nice when done smoothly.

That's the way I usually stop on the street, but it could be a combination of either feet, one, or both, depending on mood or conditions.

A sudden pull to one side at a stop is probably the handlebars not being completely square when coming to a stop. (You may have been momentarily looking down at something at the time)
 

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I never understood why people say you only need the back brake. I think thats just a good way to eat up your back tire.
 

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It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye
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I've noticed that most of my sloppy stops are from too much front brake causing the bike to become unsettled when the front end extends at the moment of coming to a complete stop. And it always seems immediately afterward I weave taking off because I'm thinking about how that just made an experienced rider look like a noob to those around who may have seen it. What's bad is the more I think about it the more it happens. It seems the farther I look through the intersection and relax on stops and starts the smoother they seem to be.
The guys I ride with seem to suffer the same intermittent shaky starts and stops as well. But we all ride 1000lb. Touring bikes almost always with a passenger. If it don't hit the ground who cares.
 

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So long
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Having to "catch" the bike could mean too much front brake and not enough rear brake as you come to a stop. Or, if you have adjustable forks too little preload will make the ride more plush but cause the front to dive when braking. If you firm up the front end it won't dive as much and you won't feel like you have to "catch" it.

My bike doesn't have a telescoping front fork. Instead it has a double wishbone setup with a mono-shock. That plus it's long 62.2 inch wheelbase keeps it from diving at all even under hard front braking. My rear brake pedal is just below the pegs. I only have to flex my right foot to use it, unlike my last bike where I had to lift my boot off the floor boards and mash on a big forward brake pedal. My current bike also weighs a lot less. It's dry weight is only 474 lbs. When stopping I generally touch down my left foot first and keep the right foot on the brake until stopped.
 

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As soon as my starts and stops start getting sloppy I know I'm tired and it's time to get off the bike.

I guesstimate other riders' experience level (before I ride with them...) by whether they can take off without any wobble, and stop without doing the Fred Flintstone.
 

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Troublemaker
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Don't worry about it Soupy, we all do that, even those of us that have been riding for 50 years. Most of the time it's something you are thinking about that has taken your mind of thee task of the time. When I do it, it does get my attention, and I laugh to myself. I also don't worry about what the people around me think either, I'm sure they want to keep their distance for a while too.

I know that here, everything is so flat that I usually just left foot down when I stop. If there is some uneven ground, which happens very seldom, I will put both feet down. I let off the rear brake before I come to a complete stop so that my foot is ready to put down if needed and finish the stop with the front brake. Having both feet square on the pegs will also help to come to a straight stop, everything is balanced then. Also, keeping your eyes looking forward instead of down at the ground helps too.

Just laugh it off and get back to riding.
 

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It happens to me too Soupy. Don't think it really has anything to do with experience, it just happens. I think it happens to me because I'll try to put my feet down too early sometimes, or I try to put down my right first instead of my left. I find doing it more when I'm tired and it's time to but the bike down for a rest. I find I wobble more at take off when I spend time coming to a stop and trying to avoid putting my foot down. Like at a red light you know is turning green in .02 seconds. Nothing perturbs me more than having to put my foot down just to put it back up one milli second later....

Could be worse. I had a cute guy coming up along side of me trying to get a feel for who was under the helmet. You can tell I'm a female by my jacket, and hair but with the full face now you can't see much of my face. And of course I'm checking him out, hey, he's cute, I can't help myself. When, all of a sudden, I get the case of the sneezes and couldn't get the visor up in time. I think that killed the moment. That will teach me to take my eyes off the road......
 

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Confession time.

One time I was at a friends using their washing machine. Had a few wobbly pops while waiting. Later, a bit shaky, I got the bike running, then grabbed the load of washing in a long tube bag, and put it on the tank. That caused even more instability so I thought I would put my foot on the back brake.
Did that and the bike clunked into first gear, and I went clunk thunk forward and fell over. Spent a long time cursing whoever decided to put the shifter on the wrong side.

Another time riding in the mountains of BC in November. Got a bit cold. After a long stretch I pulled in to a gas station. May or may not have put my left foot out, and fell over. Went in for coffee. Was shaking so bad, by the time I got some sugar in, the coffee was cold.

My riding wardrobe is much better these days, and I may eventually get used to the shifter on the wrong side.

Unkel Crusty
 

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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Lately I find myself dropping my left foot off, once I'm done down shifting to a stop, and letting it skim the road as I stop. Seems to help. Great way to wear out the sole of a shoe though, over time.

I don't have wobbly starts and stops ALL the time............just now and then. I figure "fatigue" plays a part, and also concentration.

Someone said (basically) "think thru the stop" (being far-sighted beyond the stopping point). Did I get that right? I'll try that.



-soupy
 

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Try just pulling up to a stop and then, after you are stopped, put a foot down. No messing about, ride right into that stop. If you try too hard to get going real slow you will have trouble. Don't do that. Just pull up with confidence and stop, then drop a foot. I know how counter intuitive this is but it works.
 

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I've been riding over 30 years and find this still happens to me sometimes. But never when I am riding alone, only when I am riding two up. I think that I am just so much more conscious of the weight and I end up trying to put my feet down too soon and sort of "skidding" a bit forward before coming to a full stop. While my bike is not 1,000 lbs., it is between 750 and 800 plus another 350 for my wife and myself. I recently switched from pegs front and back to floorboards, and this has added to the issue. Now I have to be sure that I place my feet a bit further out from the bike at a stop to avoid being "hit" in the calves of my leg by the passenger floorboards.
 
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