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Went to a civilian motorcycle training seminar presented by Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Police. They had an expert and a novice course, the novice side was like the expert side but the patterns were opened up a bit. I could not complete a single pattern on the novice side :eek:. I had been practicing occasionally and watching the videos and thought I could do it, but boy was I wrong. I lacked the one basic skill needed to complete each course and that was to be able to go from straight to a full lock (or nearly full lock) turn.

I knew what to to, but just could not do it, keep your body straight and shift wait to the outside of the saddle, keep the clutch in the friction zone and control speed with the rear brake.

The good news is that I know where I am at skill wise and what I need to practice for next year. :)

I really recommend to everyone to attend such an event if possible, you will certainly learn something.

LoupGarou
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Exactly, making a U-turn is one thing, making it from a dead stop is another.

Most of the courses that we did started in a similar way and I could not get in a groove. For instance, unlike the MSF figure 8 where you enter the box from the end and perform a U-turn first, here you entered from the side and in the center, so the first move was actually a complete circle. Certainly it was doable and most could do it, but I have a lot of work to do.

What the officers and civilians could do on the expert side was incredible. :eek:

LoupGarou
 

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I wouldn't feel too bad Loup. When I spoke to a riding instructor about the slow tight turns he said that not much weight is placed on that maneuver from a safety standpoint because the higher speed maneuvers are where you are going to get seriously hurt. Inability to do the slow ones do cause a lot of 'Parking Lot Embarrassment" though. Just a thought. Augie
 

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LoupGarou, you are doing the right thing by evaluating your riding skills and actively focusing on improvement. I think about my skills when riding at times, at other times I just ride and enjoy. The times I'm thinking about my skills help me to create a mental list of skills to read about or to talk with others about then go practice.

Feeling comfortable in low speed maneuvers is important. Knowing proper technique and practicing is the only way to improve.

I really hate the idea of "duck walking" around when better slow speed skills eliminates it. We had a party last week and I had to move my motorcycle in from of an audience that included several experienced riders. I did it skillfully and to the applause of the crowd. No Duckwalking required.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did feel bad at the time but I got over it and will continue to practice. One thing that I have found helpful is to go around in a circle and get it as tight as I can, this is helping me build muscle memory, improve balance and build confidence.

Went on a 100 mile Saturday morning ride yesterday and had a great time. :)

Loup
 

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now i get it, i can go to a parking lot and do endless figure eights but i've never tried to do one starting in the middle and completing the first circle. and then the eight. if i think of it i'll try to do uturns from a dead stop i got new highway bars so if i drop it there will be minimal damage. a tight turn is the hardest.
 

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After 20 years riding (with a hiatus in the middle), I'm taking MSF course for the first time starting this Thursday... I'm guessing I'll have similar stories to tell: Never did focus much on the kind of 'parking lot' maneuvers they emphasize. I can do a decent u-turn even from a stop, and never had any problems, but I still suspect some embarrassing moments. All in good pursuit of better skills, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I do realize that these are primarily parking lot maneuvers but it seems to me that as I get better at low speed control it carry's over to high speed control.

Am I wrong?

LoupGarou
 

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I do realize that these are primarily parking lot maneuvers but it seems to me that as I get better at low speed control it carry's over to high speed control.

Am I wrong?

LoupGarou
No, you are not wrong. The only way to handle your machine better is to get good at the "fine motor skills" first. You have to control the bike in manageable situations and those skilled eventually build up to the higher level skills. High speed and low speed skills are different, but not isolated from each other. For example, someone pulls out in front of you…you slam on the brakes, put can only get it down to 30 mph before impact…you can do a hard countersteer/swerve move to avoid a collision…these are skills you develop at lower speeds.
 

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tight turns

i've found that if your going to try what the officers do in training, try coming to a stop from a speed of 10mph or so them take off at the desired direction with out putting your foot down. If you try it from a start of less than that I found that the motion won't keep you up with the axle wanting to push you out of angle to complete it.
 

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I find that my 650 feels very twitchy at ultra slow speeds and would find it hard to perform that maneuver. On my sons Stryker it is far better balanced and I feel that I could do this easily.

I really feel like it has a lot to do with C of G and how low the mass is in the frame. I.E ( how much weight is low in the frame)...
 

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I find that my 650 feels very twitchy at ultra slow speeds and would find it hard to perform that maneuver. On my sons Stryker it is far better balanced and I feel that I could do this easily.

I really feel like it has a lot to do with C of G and how low the mass is in the frame. I.E ( how much weight is low in the frame)...
Without denigrating any of the "fine skills are good skills" sentiment... I do find it somewhat artificial that putting your foot down is a "bad" thing in MSF and other courses for low-speed parking lot maneuvers. Truth is putting your foot down is, to me, perfectly acceptable (even wise) if you're maneuvering at low speed and things get twitchy... It's, in fact, the sensible thing to do...

I did end up taking the basic2 course (e.g. same as basic but on your own bike) and it was MUCH harder on my 1100 than on the little 250 I originally used the first time. I did do "the box" but it was very tough and "twitchy" (you've hit on precisely the right word there, I think). It felt very awkward vs. the dozens of times I'm made a tight u-turn on my bike IRL and just tapped down my foot if needed...

Our bikes just aren't designed to do figure 8's in a little box... and is that really such a bad thing? On the rare occasion you actually have to go 180 degrees in one lane width... I say put your foot down if need be. You'll probably make the turn faster & more stably if you do.
 

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I agree completely. I have witnessed the floorboard dragging turns going back and forth on the full dresser H.D and even though interesting as hell to watch, I could not see myself doing it on my 650.
 

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I just completed the Advanced Rider Course (ARC) Yesterday (fourth time), this time on the new Star 1300. The ARC doesn't even address doing any of the tight low speed turns in a box or out. I don't remember doing them from a stop in the the BRCs, always from a roll. Jerry Motorman Palladino shows how to do them in his DVD.

The geometry of the different bikes make them handle differently. I went from a Virago 250 to a Star 650 to a Star 950 and then to a Star 1300. I had the 650 and the 950 at the same time and the 950 was much more agile. Probably due to longer wheel base, differences in weight distribution and rake and trail differences. The 1300 is very agile also or, I am getting to be a better rider. :confused:

It was a fun day yesterday :) Augie

Edit: Here is a thread I started on another forum that might be of interest. http://www.yamahamotorcycleforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45441
 

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Ah thanks another piece of cheese on my thread sandwich...

Yum :) :rolleyes:
 

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