Stopping in Balance

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by stephenws, May 28, 2012.

  1. stephenws

    stephenws Wishful Wanderer

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    I'm hesitant to ask this, because I know I'll be made fun of. I'm a new rider, at 55 years of age. Just bought the bike I've been dreaming of - a used 2009 1200GSA. The riding is going very well and I'm really enjoying the miles and miles of country roads. But after a few near drops, I'm very nervous coming to a stop. Sometimes I can achieve a balanced, left foot down, right foot on the brake stop, and then other times the balance gets way off and I have to grunt to pull the bike into a balanced position. I've tried creeping to a stop. I've tried coming to a quicker stop. Tried using just the rear brake as the speed gets slow. Tried using just the front brake. I just never know what's going to happen, and it's starting to get to me. What am I missing? Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    #1
  2. sieg

    sieg Long timer

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    Practice:deal<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #2
  3. estlerd

    estlerd TXRider

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    I am 63 years young & have noticed my sense of balance starting to decline a little. I got my first motorcycle when I was fourteen & have been riding ever since. I notice balance issues more on my mountain bike than my GS.

    Anyway when coming to a stop I use the front brake only & lower both feet to the ground just before coming to a stop. I am going no more than ten MPH when I do this.

    Also you might try bicycling if it interests you. Your sense of balance is greatly increased because of the greatly reduced mass between your legs.

    :D
    #3
  4. portablejohn

    portablejohn Sociophobe

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    The low seat helps some. Also, put both feet down as you come to a stop. The more weight you carry, the more important it will be to keep the bike centered over the wheels. Straight up, the weight doesn't really matter. As it leans over, it will get heavier and heavier as it approaches the point of no return. It also sucks to drop it on the right side, as it is hard to avoid running the throttle way up as the grip peels itself from your hand. So, not only is your bike lying on the ground, but everybody is looking, trying to figure out what all the noise was about...
    #4
  5. Amania

    Amania Been here awhile

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    the lighter and lower regular GS might be a better option
    and remember your brakes are linked so using the rear brake is not really needed
    #5
  6. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    been riding mine for 2 years now and occasionally still have the same problem!! Don't sweat it!! After many miles you will get use to it and do it less and less. I would recommend you just use the front back as you are finishing the stop. The brakes are interlock, the front grabs both. By not bothering with the pedal as you come to a stop you quickly have both feet ready. I generally tend to go straight for the left foot down, but you gotta make sure of the pavement before you do that! On the street I pretty much only use the rear brake pedal if I am doing a very hard rapid stop, otherwise I mostly just use the front lever. If you height is an issue consider setting the suspension lower, it seems to help a bit, but don't forget to stiffen it back up if you load the bike down for a trip.
    #6
  7. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

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    The GSA is one of the tallest, top heavy bikes to master as a new rider. Be patient. You may/will drop it - so what, it's built to take that stuff. In my motorcycle training class years ago, the advice to stop clean was to keep you head up, use the rear brake/right foot, left foot goes down at ZERO mph, no dragging feet - and most important for stopping straight, Press forward equally on both hand grips, don't look down, and stop. Practice this in a parking lot going very slow. It will come to you if you persevere. If you cannot flat foot you may want a lower seat until you get better at sliding your ass over and putting one foot down at stops.
    #7
  8. mattjw916

    mattjw916 never wears lip balm

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    "practice" is the best advice... the using your legs like outriggers while on the front brake advice, not so much...
    #8
  9. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    didn't mean use them like outriggers!! just don't mess with the rear pedal
    #9
  10. necrid

    necrid Adventurer

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    The sum total of all the MSF and racing courses I've taken, one thing matters the most:

    "Look where you want to go, not where you are going. The bike follows your eyes."

    This becomes far more true as you target fixate on the tree you want to avoid, or the wall at NHMS in Turn 2 that you really, really want to avoid at full throttle. I used to literally yell at myself, "look at the track, not the wall! the track, not the wall!" to snap out of the target fixation as the wall got shockingly close. This also works on a trail, "Look at the trail not the trees!"

    If you are looking down when you stop, you will unconsciously steer toward wherever you are looking. In a braking situation, this takes an already top-heavy bike and starts to tip it over as you have the weight transfer moving forward already. If it helps, look straight ahead with very quick glances down to gauge distance to the stopping point (whether behind a vehicle or line).

    Find an empty parking lot and practice it 50 times. You'll be bored after about 20 times, but keep going. It'll become second nature once you do it so many times. If it helps, find a lot with lots of unobstructed parking spaces, and try to stop on the line. If you swerve during braking, you'll see exactly how far you are off by trying to ride the line to a stop.
    #10
  11. pfarrell

    pfarrell Been here awhile

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    necrid said it.

    EYES UP. pick a line....and then eyes up.

    ....big bike for a new rider though...just sayin...
    #11
  12. portablejohn

    portablejohn Sociophobe

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    Also note where you are stopping in your lane. The very center of the lane is often higher than where the car/truck tires roll. Often not by much, but if your bike is on the high spot, and your foot is trying to reach the bottom of the low spot, the difference can be larger that you would want. Which track you ride depends on the conditions, but the center of the lane might not be the best choice. If nothing else (beside being higher) is that it might also be very slippery from the oil/antifreeze/water that drips from other vehicles.
    #12
  13. '05Train

    '05Train Mind is not for rent

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    When coming to a stop, you want to transition from the front brake (which also activates the rear brake) to the rear brake only. Reason being is that any abrupt front brake force, especially with the bars turned, will drop the bike in a heartbeat. Below 5-10 mph you want rear brake only.
    #13
  14. Thunderbird

    Thunderbird Adventurer

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    Notice that no one is making fun of you. It's a tall, heavy bike. I suggest that you don't worry about the foot brake and put both feet down at a stop. I haven't touched the rear brake on a bike on pavement since my rear wheel ran out in front of me on a rainy California highway many years ago. Some folks will disagree with me on that braking strategy on a normal bike, but with servo linked brakes, there's really nothing to discuss.
    #14
  15. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

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    '05Train & lhendrik are right about that rear brake!

    Mike
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  16. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    Stop looking at the white line... keep looking out to the horizon.
    You will still see the line without looking down at it.

    Using the front brake at low speeds is a recipe for disaster. I've watched many friends go down this way.
    Not having at least one foot on the pegs leaves you vulnerable for a rear-end collision by leaving you unprepared to accelerate away.

    Watch for dips and potholes and practice. You should be scanning for slick spots and manhole covers as well.

    Practice stopping with no feet down, then putting a foot down becomes easy. If you can hold for 2-3 seconds with 0 forward movement, you have it mastered.
    #16
  17. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Excellent advice in this post!

    It may also help to choose exactly where you want to stop before you get there. Stopping even slightly off-camber can make a big difference in your balence.
    Also, practice moving your bike around while sitting astride it with the engine off. This gives you practice in recognizing what the bike's inertia (or kinetic energy) wants to do, before it actually does it. (and where you're not going to drop it in traffic if it does go down)

    I use both brakes
    #17
  18. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    Not fair Steve, I went through dozens of bikes (I'm almost 60) before I figured out I wanted a GS; you go and get one right off the bat. :rofl
    I guess I might be in the minority but I always come to a stop on my right foot. I'll admit it takes a bit more concentration to always do that with the GS, so sometimes I'm forced to come to a stop with both feet down and then transition to the right only down.
    The simplest explanation would be it's the heaviest of my rides, but I think there are some other dynamics involved. Irregardless, the GS takes more effort to come down on my right foot.
    You didn't pick the easiest bike in the world to start your riding career; but stick with it. As others have advised, do some stopping routines in a parking lot. It'll get easier.
    Hope to see you on the road.
    Jim
    #18
  19. portablejohn

    portablejohn Sociophobe

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    Your right foot works the rear brake. So you wouldn't need that one to work the controls to accelerate.
    Your left foot works the gears. As long as you are in a gear low enough to accelerate, it is indexed correctly.

    Why it it that you have to keep one of your feet on the pegs? And which foot is it?
    #19
  20. stephenws

    stephenws Wishful Wanderer

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    Thanks so much for all the advice. I really appreciate it! I will stick with it and practice, as you all suggested. I have many trips in mind, but I need to get this issue resolved before I "hit the road". Thanks again!!!
    #20