I would like to practice my slow maneuvers on an empty parking lot

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MapleLeaf, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf Adventurer

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    So I’ve been riding for a while now and still I’m not happy with my slow maneuvers. I have been watching YouTube videos and would really like to do those very tight U turns, figure 8s etc. I’m just so worried about droppIng my beloved GSA. I know I have crash bars and I can remove the aluminum boxes.
    Can I do more things to the bike to give it more protection? Any of you guys went through the same dilema? There’s a local guy here that rents out motorcycle for $80/day, but it’s a 250cc-300cc. I wonder if that’s good enough just to learn from it and not worry about destroying it.
    #1
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  2. krussell

    krussell Gravel Warrior Supporter

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    Any change there are classes offered in your area? We have a few options to choose from here in the PNW where you can use a training bike, and, more importantly, have the benefit of instructors and curriculum to help with exactly what you are looking for. All of it will transfer to your GSA.
    #2
  3. thughes

    thughes All I wanted was a Pepsi.....

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    I just attended a slow speed precision maneuvering class. My advice: Definitely find some training if you can, there is no substitute for proper technique and instant feedback from a skilled instructor. Some students in my class took it easy and skipped the "challenge" parts of the course, I attacked it aggressively knowing full well I was going to drop my bike at some point. My crash bars did their job although I would recommend putting some heavy rubber hose (split and zip-tied on) over the contact points on your crash bars so you won't grind them up or damage the finish..........and then just accept the fact that you're gonna drop it eventually.

    There are advanced courses which provide the bike for you (in the case of the one I am looking at the training bike is a late model Harley Police Special), the rational being that you will not be willing to push your skills past your own limits on your personal scooter. This is the training I took, the class was worth every penny: https://www.proriderpittsburgh.com/ They have classes throughout the US but nothing up your way, sorry. http://www.proridermc.com/Locations.php Maybe there is something similar up your way?
    #3
  4. MarkM

    MarkM Been here awhile

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    Practice on grass if possible. Much less damaging than pavement.
    #4
  5. urpwnd

    urpwnd Just zis guy, you know?

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    www.motojitsu.com - amazing stuff for learning slow-speed stuff and gaining confidence in your riding. The website just redirects to the guys youtube channel.

    You can literally drop the bike horizontally on the side cases and they’ll be fine, as in resting on the cases with the wheels in the air. Same for the crash bars, it’s why they are there. Even when dropped on asphalt or gravel the bars barely show any scratches because of their textured surface.

    Also, thughes’ advice above sounds like a great idea (with the rubber hoses), but really wouldn’t you want to learn how to do these techniques on the bike you will use them on when actually out riding? How slow-speed feels on something small and light and how it feels on the GSA or other big bikes is pretty dramatically different. Even if you take a class or something, that class just shows you the techniques, you still need to practice them (a lot) so unless you are going to rent that bike every time you want to practice that doesn’t seem like a sustainable plan.

    Either way, good luck. Ride the GSA, drop it lots, it adds character.
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  6. Jim H

    Jim H Been here awhile

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    If you can master slow riding you'll ride with far fewer mishaps and far more confidence. There are a few fundamentals to mastering slow riding on a large and heavy moto. Best to learn technique on what you're riding. Study up and start by making u-turns in a wide open parking lot with gradually decreasing radius using the parking space lines for reference.

    Suggest reviewing the following links and then decide how to proceed:
    http://www.largiader.com/slow/ (good written description of the technique)
    (this guy has several "how to" videos that show good fundamentals using a GSA)
    https://www.ridelikeapro.com/motormans-articles/slow-ride/ (Harley ex-moto cop and runs a slow ride training program)

    Good luck and ride well.
    #6
  7. thughes

    thughes All I wanted was a Pepsi.....

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    The take-away from the class I attended: the bike will absolutely NOT fall over as long as there is power applied to the rear wheel....regardless of how slow you are going or how far the bike is leaned over. This is so counter-intuitive to what your instincts want you to believe, you just have to trust that it's true. Learn how to get the revs up, use the friction zone, and drag the rear brake to control speed. The second you remove power from the wheel the bike WILL fall over (don't ask me how I know....twice).
    #7
  8. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf Adventurer

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    I’ve watch this guy many times, it feels like I know him.
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  9. Grizzler

    Grizzler Gas Passer For Hire

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    We got the "Ride Like a Pro" videos and watched them a few times at first. Really quite helpful.
    My wife watches one every year before her annual ride (she doesn't ride much).
    I keep telling her the more you ride...

    A friend and I took the "Total Control" course a couple of summers ago - very good all-day course.

    As posters above have answered - take a course, watch some videos, and lots of practice.

    I'm not sure about grass, around here it's pretty slippery sometimes. But agree - less damage.

    But it's a GSA. You're gonna drop it sooner or later...
    #9
  10. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf Adventurer

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    I would recommend putting some heavy rubber hose (split and zip-tied on) over the contact points on your crash bars

    Great idea from “thughes”
    #10
  11. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I took the California Highway Patrol course on a Yamaha TW200. Very humbling watching a five foot five inch cop on a full bagger doing all the techniques. Biggest thing I came away with is STOP with your rear brake....if your front wheel is at all canted and you lock the front brake you are going down. ABS doesn't work under 5mph.
    I also took the MSF course...despite having my license for over 35 years at the time.
    Most any class you can take will help you in some way.
    Personally I couldn't imagine taking the CHP course on a GSA..and I've been riding since 1963. I do have a very short inseam..28".....but so did the cop!
    I'd have to say practicing on your own prior to getting instruction will perhaps only solidify your bad habits. Habits are harder to shake than phobia's......and that's a fact.
    #11
  12. lewisjr1

    lewisjr1 Long timer Supporter

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    It's a bike. They get scratched. An instructor-led course will almost certainly be more productive than watching videos, but almost anything is better than nothing.

    The suggestion above to find a patch of dirt or grass to practice on is spot on. Learn to ride an overgrown, over weight dirt bike on actual dirt, and pavement becomes easier to tackle.
    #12
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  13. KHuddy

    KHuddy Survivor

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    Nothing out performs a rental.
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  14. AZQKR

    AZQKR Been here awhile

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    Took the "ride to live" police motorcycle course in Hawthorne, Ca. this year. All low speed maneuvering, panic breaking, counter steering etc. Learned more in one day than in 50 years of riding. The low speed turns and figure 8's inside a 24' circle were a blast once you mastered the skill they demonstrated and then had you perform.

    I now practice slow speed turns in a parking lot doing circles inside two parking lines [ where two vehicles would be parked side by side ]. Gets really easy real fast of you have had some professional instruction.

    Bringing the bike to a full stop, holding it's balance as long as possible and then motoring forward, do it again. Then from stop, do a left and right turn inside one parking stall width.
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  15. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf Adventurer

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    Damn...I so jealous.
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  16. AZQKR

    AZQKR Been here awhile

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    Even more reason to be jealous, the ride to live course is free.

    Of course it cost me 800+ miles on the tires, gas and a motel room.:D
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  17. Coma

    Coma Long timer Supporter

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    All good stuff.

    Kiss the mirror.

    Do you have a bicycle? There is much to riding a bicycle to a standstill and turning so tight the rear wheel is almost stationary that will transfer to the M/C. I was amazed at my improvement in the GS because of what I learned on the bicycle. Plus, drops don't ding your M/C.
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  18. Rider2

    Rider2 Been here awhile

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    Once you get it figured out, don't forget to practice frequently. One guy I know does a figure 8 in the street every time he gets home (traffic permitting), before entering his driveway. I don't practice U-turns as often as I should, and lack confidence. The weird thing is, when I have to do one in a parking lot, it goes pretty well. When I have to do it on a road I freak out because mentally I'm screaming I have to do a U-turn!! instead of just "I'm pointing this way and I want to point that way" so.... zip, turn around. I can't figure it out. Maybe because if I run wide in a parking lot I have more pavement, whereas if I do it on the road I have a ditch?

    I do practice my slow race skills every time I approach stopped traffic.

    Slow speed control is, as they say, a perishable skill.
    #18
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  19. NorskieRider

    NorskieRider Been here awhile

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    A quick google search found:

    https://ridertraining.ca/project/technical/

    If you can find a police-level course (like the civilian motorcycle police classes we have here in MN) you'll really hone your slow speed skills.
    #19
  20. Hay Ewe

    Hay Ewe Just a Wannabe

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    is it pick up the bike that you are actually more worried about.?
    if so, on some grass first, practice laying the bike down (using the end of the bars as a lever) and then picking it up.
    DO THIS FROM BOTH SIDES!

    Its like people who up make their bike faster with power upgrades, engine mods etc, but dont up grade the brakes, all the go but no whoa.


    when you are confident about being able to pick it up, then find a parking lot and do figure of 8's
    they don't need to be full lock at the begining, large radius will be fine.
    only spend about 10 minutes on them and then go and do something else
    after a few sessions it will get easier and more natural
    remember to go in both directions and then do U-Turns, both to the left and right

    I still often do this, I pick two bits of litter or oil stains or some marker and work around those
    #20
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