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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Was practicing in my lot (picture below). I've been going out for about an hour after work and practicing all of the maneuvers, trying to learn slow speed control. I drove down the left side and made a U turn, attempting to line up with a painted "T". Not sure what happened, know I was going to slow-I might have hit the front brake. But had forks turned completely to the right and it slowly went over. Tried to stop it, but found out real quick what 500 lbs. feels like, even going less than idle slow. Scratched up my right side turn signal and the brake lever end. Rubbed out the brake lever scratch with 0000 steel wool. I guess I can replace the scraped turn signal. Nothing else I can see. Kind of bummed me out. I'm the new owner of an old bike that didn't (until now) have a scratch on it.

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The pic didn’t come through for me, but the main thing is you’re ok, the bike has very minor damage based on your description and you probably learned something about yourself and your bike. No one can fault you for going out and practicing your skills.


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Discussion Starter #3
it was almost at a complete stop when it fell. Slow speed Right turns from a stop, and right U turns are my Achilles Heel right now. I feel much more comfortable going left. Getting better, just going to take some time. Just hated to put a scratch on it.
 

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"...I might have hit the front brake. But had forks turned completely to the right and it slowly went over...."

If Im reading this right you used the brake while the bike was turning and the bike went over.

Im afraid you have discovered from experience one of the things you will learn in the MSF course: never brake the bike while turning.

It does not matter if you are going 90mph or 1mph. Turns and corners are one of the things that are different on a motorcycle from driving a car. You must slow down when approaching a turn, corner or curve, set up your speed before the turn, countersteer into it at normal riding speeds, or turn the handlebars into the turn at "walking" speeds, and then continue thru the turn at a constant steady speed.

As you exit the turn you give the bike some gas to straighten the bike up. On a big sweeping curve at normal speeds getting on the gas and feeling the bike pull itself straight as you ease up on the pressure you are pushing on one grip to counter steer, is one of the things that makes the bike so amazing to ride.

Somewhere in the last 20 seconds you asked yourself "but... what if I have to STOP in the middle of the turn?" Then you must straighten the bike first, and then brake hard once the bike is straight. To straighten the bike at normal speeds push on the opposite grip to countersteer the bike in the other direction from where it was going, then brake to stop. If you were going thru the curve as fast as the bike can possibly go, you are going to be in trouble if you have to do this. That is why you look all the way thru curves, take the outside-inside-outside path, and do not ride at the edge of traction on your tires, unless you are on a race track, and this is your 200th lap around the same course, and you have been walking the bike up faster and faster on your practice laps and know exactly how fast you can take each curve. Not possible on the street.

One other thing: when you are taking curves at normal riding speed you keep your head in line with the center of the bike, you lean with the bike, not more, not less.

When you are making a U turn or going around a corner let the bike lean to steer like a bicycle, but keep your body and head vertical, and twist your head and shoulders into the turn to look where you are going, and to allow your shoulders to turn with the handlebars all the way to the limit of its turn (hitting the stops).

Sorry you dropped your bike. The motorcycles that are used at the MSF course do not have mirrors or turn signals, because they sometimes get dropped. Then the only thing that gets bruised is our ego.

Im afraid you have now qualified for a 'personal experience' of the merits of taking the MSF course to get your license. In the class an instructor would be watching you everytime you practice a maneuver, and will tell you if you are doing something not right, and how to correct it. I can still hear my instructor telling me over and over "keep your head up - look where you are going...." I was use to riding a dirt bike and kept looking right in front of my front wheel (for the rocks and ruts that were not there :^). Mirrors and turn signals and handlebars are surprisingly expensive to replace. If the course keeps you from dropping your bike even once, it has paid for itself.

One more thing: you dont normally need to turn your bike immediately from a stop while riding. At a red light for example you have a few car lengths to get the bike going before a turn from a stop. But if you do need to turn you bike from a stop, in a parking lot for example, while you have your feet down turn the handlebars all the way and lean the bike a bit in that direction while your feet are still on the ground, then start to engage the clutch into the friction zone and feel the bike pull ahead into the turn. This take practice, and they do not have you do this during the MC road test.

Also, once you have been riding for a while and have some practice, then you can start to learn how to slow down in a curve at speed, and even use the brakes. What will happen if you slow down in a curve at normal riding speeds is the bike will lean harder and harder and turn tighter and tighter into the curve, unless you correct for it. That is an advanced riding skill.

For now, whether going slow or fast: no brakes in a curve or turn. Use the friction zone of the clutch to control the speed at walking speeds and steer the bike out of the U turn if its going too fast - and get the bike straight before you use the brakes to stop.

And also: Put your feet down when you have to.
 

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BTW, dont let it bother you. After riding for 6 years I got a bigger bike a month ago, and after riding it for 1000 miles I dropped it while making a u turn. Its the first time I ever just dropped a MC for no reason.

let me rephrase that: the reason I dropped the bike was I forgot all the fundamentals, and I was being careless.

when I make a mistake or do something stupid its good to step up and let it be a warning for others: https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/11-general-bike-talk/115534-dropped-my-bike.html
 

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While I was riding into work this morning it became clear in my head: there is a very simple reason why you cannot stop your bike while turning.

For a motorcycle to turn it must be leaning into the curve. The centripetal force pulling the bike towards the outside of the curve is whats keeping it from falling into the turn, and the speed of the bike is whats keeping the bike creating the centripetal force.

If you were to stop while turning, the bike would still be leaning, the centripetal force would stop, and the bike would fall over into the curve. If you slow down while turning the centripetal force is reduced, the bike leans harder into the turn, and spirals in tighter. If you are making a right turn it puts you right into the curb or parked cars.

This is why you have to straighten the bike up first before stopping or slowing down (braking) in a curve or turn. If you are are going to slow down a little in a curve you have to straighten the bike out a little first.
 

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when doing slow maneuvers and you're about to tip over, a lot of time the solution is more throttle to upright the bike. but u-turns are tough no matter what your experience is. it's great that you're practicing them in a controlled environment. not all new riders do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just got in from work, appreciate all of the replies and tips on handling the bike. You guys are pretty darn good.

One thing I noticed is that when I feel like I am about to lose balance (at slow speeds) I move my knee away from the tank. I guess it's some kind of instinctive balance thing. But I don't think it is correct or that it helps.

I need to find the time for the MSF course, I can see where being under a watchful eye could be very beneficial. I do plan on taking my time, trying to learn all I can before I go on the road. I'm actually ahead of a schedule I had originally set for myself. I had planned on waiting until my last kid at home graduates (2019) High School before learning to ride. But, I kind of spotted the V Star online and well, you know, I just couldn't help but get it. Must be a chrome thing. lol

Still kind of bummed about the first scratch. Kind of like the first door ding on your first car.
 

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^ I think before buying a new car a person should go to a wrecking yard and just walk around alone for about an hour. Get it clear in your head that this is where every car ends up, so you have the right frame of mind when you go to look at new cars. Every new car Ive owned got scratched or dented by someone else within a year.

Riding to work this morning on this beautiful 40F autumn day, Ursa reminded me of another "cool" way to drop your bike. With carbs you have to go thru the choke ritual when the bike is stone cold. Pull the choke all the way out to start, push it in about half way immediately after it fires up (so the idle sounds about normal), do your lights and signals and mirror check, then ride off. About 1/2 mile down the road push the choke in all the way.

Ursa the SheBear needs a new piece on the choke that holds the knob where you left it. Right after I pulled out of the driveway this morning the engine stumbled and quit. Fortunately I had completed the turn and was going straight on the street.

If your engine stumbles or quits for any reason in a curve or turn, it will be like hitting the brakes, the bike will spiral in hard. If it happens pull the clutch in immediately and steer into the turn harder to straighten out the bike. If you already have the handlebars turned against the stop, your only option is to get your foot down fast and hope you can catch the bike.

It occurred to me since you are riding the bike in a parking lot at work that could be what happened - you started up the bike and immediately started doing your slow speed turns, and the bike stumbled. When you are practicing make some big sweeping laps around the parking lot for about 5 minutes and make sure the bike is running solid with the choke pushed in all the way.

This is something that everyone must be aware of riding a motorcycle all the time - taking curves and corners is an issue of steady engine power and keeping the line and power in balance. If the engine on any motorcycle suddenly dies in a curve you have to be ready to pull the clutch in and coast thru it. If the engine suddenly takes off WFO in a curve you have to pull the clutch in and hit the kill switch.

Its another aspect of riding that is different from driving: your motorcycle needs to be 100% all the time, or its not safe to ride.

BTW, that dumpster in your photo looks like a motorcycle magnet :^)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I do have a bit of hesitation or bogging down up to about 1/4 throttle, then after that it feels pretty good. I noticed it when I try to do the quick acceleration and stop maneuver for the Test. So I am working the clutch and throttle pretty good in the small lot. This is my warehouse lot (furniture and floor covering business) , I store my bike in the warehouse. The State does the test here, so that's where I've been practicing. I usually go out after work (6-7pm for me) and try to ride for an hour. It's going to get tougher as we get less daylight. I can't really move the dumpster from it's spot, as the trash service cannot access it easily and it would block some of the tractor trailers from being able to back into my docks.


When I dropped it I was heading toward the dumpster and made the U turn to just a little past where you can see the crack fill in the blacktop. It is slightly downhill to the dumpster, so I was turning back uphill a little also. There is a T there for the acceleration and braking part of the test.

I have cleaned and synched carbs, I may need to take the PMS screws out another 1/4 or 1/2 turn. I'm at 2.5 out now. I haven't checked the valve clearance either and I do have a slight tick I can hear after running for a while.
 

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didnt notice the slight angle in the road - that will affect your turns everywhere. The first time i went around a corner up a hill it was very enlightening. Going down a hill on a turn is just as exciting the first few times.

You have to get use to it so might as well learn it now.

The ticking in these engines is normal, esp at idle and moreso when you have a windshield - it amplifies the engine noise up to your ears. They are called tappets because thats what they do when they are properly adjusted and working normally: tap tap tap tap tap

It takes a few tanks of seafoam in the gas to get all the jets cleaned out, and it takes 3 miles or so for a bike with carbs to fully warm up while riding. Before that its always a bit rough with carbs.

Is the bike registered and insured, and do you have your learners permit? If you could get a licensed rider to go with you (follow you on his bike) taking the bike a few hundred miles on the road might be what it needs. Between flushing gunk out of the carbs with seafoam, and burning carbon out of the cylinders and heads, its amazing how these bikes can really come back to life when they are well maintained and well used.

Riding on the road is easier than all the parking lot stuff. Motorcycles are self balancing, all you do is countersteer at speed to make the bike go where you want, and properly brake to make sure you dont lock up the tires, and you got 95% of it covered.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Still have to test for the learners permit, as soon as I can get a Thursday free I plan on taking it. Hopefully with a little reading and study I will pass.
 

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LOL, in NY the written test for a learners permit is easy.

There are 10 or 20 multiple choice questions, and the correct answer to 70% of the questions for the motorcycle test is: Slow Down.

If you just answer Slow Down for all the questions you will get a 70 on the test and pass.

I am not kidding.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Since I haven't got it out of first gear, I should have the "Slow Down" thing whipped. Surely to goodness I can pass this. If I do fail, you will never hear from me again. LOL.
 

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the best road test story Ive heard was a soldier in WW2 who wanted to be a motorcycle messenger. He was assigned to infantry, but heard if you know how to ride a motorcycle it was better duty than running around on the front line and getting shot at. He grew up in the mid-west and had never been on a motorcycle but knew how to drive all kinds of farm equipment, so... how hard could it be?

The day of the road test he showed up at the hanger building, and there were about 100 other guys there with the same idea. The Sargent told the group: Get on the bike, start it up with the kick starter, following the course out of the hanger around the edge of the building outside, ride back in and stop right at this red line. If you stall the bike twice or drop the bike you are out.

He got in line more than half way back watching the other guys take their turn. A few people carefully let out the clutch, eased the bike out of the hanger, made the first turn, road around the track and pulled back in and stopped. A lot of people were stalling the bike when they tried to take off, most of them stalled it twice and were out.

As he's watching all this he kept thinking, they're not giving it enough gas, its like driving a tractor up a steep hill.

It was finally his turn. He jumped on the bike, cranked the throttle and kicked it and the engine roared to life. Taking a deep breath he got on the throttle, leaned forward in the seat, and let the clutch out.

The back tire spun on the concrete floor and the front tire came two feet off the ground. The bike pulled forward so fast it threw him back in the seat and he could not release the throttle. The bike and him flew out of the hanger on one wheel wide open. As he got to the first turn he let off the gas and slid the back tire out all away around the turn. Then he found 2nd gear and the bike took off even faster.

On the last turn into the hanger he realized he had not touched the brakes. Flying into the building he grabbed the clutch and the brakes, locked up the rear tire and skidded to a stop with the front tire right on the red line.

A Colonel walked up to him, took off his sunglasses, looked him up and down, looked at the bike, looked at him again and said "son... that was the best dam riding Ive seen in a long time. I want you for my personal courier.

How hard can it be?
 

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the best road test story Ive heard was a soldier in WW2 who wanted to be a motorcycle messenger. He was assigned to infantry, but heard if you know how to ride a motorcycle it was better duty than running around on the front line and getting shot at. He grew up in the mid-west and had never been on a motorcycle but knew how to drive all kinds of farm equipment, so... how hard could it be?

The day of the road test he showed up at the hanger building, and there were about 100 other guys there with the same idea. The Sargent told the group: Get on the bike, start it up with the kick starter, following the course out of the hanger around the edge of the building outside, ride back in and stop right at this red line. If you stall the bike twice or drop the bike you are out.

He got in line more than half way back watching the other guys take their turn. A few people carefully let out the clutch, eased the bike out of the hanger, made the first turn, road around the track and pulled back in and stopped. A lot of people were stalling the bike when they tried to take off, most of them stalled it twice and were out.

As he's watching all this he kept thinking, they're not giving it enough gas, its like driving a tractor up a steep hill.

It was finally his turn. He jumped on the bike, cranked the throttle and kicked it and the engine roared to life. Taking a deep breath he got on the throttle, leaned forward in the seat, and let the clutch out.

The back tire spun on the concrete floor and the front tire came two feet off the ground. The bike pulled forward so fast it threw him back in the seat and he could not release the throttle. The bike and him flew out of the hanger on one wheel wide open. As he got to the first turn he let off the gas and slid the back tire out all away around the turn. Then he found 2nd gear and the bike took off even faster.

On the last turn into the hanger he realized he had not touched the brakes. Flying into the building he grabbed the clutch and the brakes, locked up the rear tire and skidded to a stop with the front tire right on the red line.

A Colonel walked up to him, took off his sunglasses, looked him up and down, looked at the bike, looked at him again and said "son... that was the best dam riding Ive seen in a long time. I want you for my personal courier.

How hard can it be?
<ROFL>

Just love it ....

Kind regards, Wim
 

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Glad you are ok. The bike can be fixed. Do not let this stop you from practicing. I was doing it today in front of a whole group from my club. This is usually when you drop your bike, when a group is watching. I was on my sons new bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Since I haven't got it out of first gear, I should have the "Slow Down" thing whipped. Surely to goodness I can pass this. If I do fail, you will never hear from me again. LOL.
Well, I guess you will have me on the forum a little longer. Passed my Kentucky Permit today. It's good for a year and you can renew one time. I plan on taking the MSF course (weather permitting) next. As many have said, the permit test wasn't exactly overly challenging. :grin:
 

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Sign up for the MSF course as soon as you can. In the spring they book up fast, you dont want to wait for 6 months.
 
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