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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by RandyButternubs, Sep 10, 2019.
Road hugging weight.
I regularly stalk down Super Sports my Multistrada....with my wife on the back. To the point that I have friends that call us "The Marauding Pillioners".
The big Multi thinks is a Superbike until your feet hit the ground, and I am perfectly capable of using all 150hp...because I am usually rolling around at max weight.
Which will feel more "planted"?
A 50cc Italjet:
Or a Beemer from the same era?
Like I said earlier depends on set-up.
I'll spare you the details, but a few years ago I turned my Triumph over to a Race Tech shop to sort out some issues I had made worse by bolting on aftermarket stuff (not relevant to the story), and they were super generous about explaining what they were doing. I learned that there is a ton more to setting up a bike properly than just sag and damping... but your issue probably starts there. You weigh almost as much as your bike does, and probably exceed the rider weight presumed when it was designed by 70 or 80 lbs or more. That means you're blowing through a lot of travel just sitting on it, and that it's undersprung and underdamped. The latter means that the bike can't react as much to impacts, and will be very slow to return to normal after compression... a problem if you encounter more than one bump at a time. That makes a bike feel woozy and airborne, and especially in turns. You felt better on the Versys because it weighs almost 170 lbs more than your DR, and is suspended as delivered to accomodate a pillion and luggage, which allows it to absorb some of the difference in mass between you and a 'typical' rider.
You would be amazed at the difference it makes to have a bike that's sprung for your weight and shocks with damping to match. I'm totally in favour of getting professional help with suspension setup - it can be miraculous - and if I was built like a linebacker as you are, would never have a bike without it.
First thing I do on purchase is suspension. It is everything.
Some very well reasoned responses in this thread, but all clearly miss the importance of a properly sized and positioned gremlin bell.
I don´t there is such a thing as "the perfect handling bike" because different riders prefer different handling characteristics. I grew up on Japanese bikes with 19" front wheels so got used to stable, slightly slower steering and having to adapt your riding style to suit. I don´t really enjoy riding quick steering bikes because (weirdly) they can make putting a series of bends together too easy, even though they are objectively better at the job, I prefer having to deliberately set a bike up for a corner. Likewise somebody doing long miles on a motorway/freeway at speed is going to value weight, where anybody that does most of their riding on backroads or around town generally prioritises light weight and manouverability.
There are way too many variables to figure out what you were feeling and how, but - if you found a magic bike that works for you, buy it.
The other thing I got out of your post - the invisible hand holding up the bike - that is likely the centrifugal effect of bigger heavier wheels. Similar to Johann, I got used to those big heavy front wheels and I like the stability.
One type of great handling is simply a perfect balance between the turn in of the bike and the centripetal forces holding it up. That is designed into it and you can't get it or enhance it with shocks and dampening. That perfect balance is not the whole story, but if you have it you have a great basis to improve on. It's a certain natural feel. Your own height, weight and riding style play into this as well so it is different for various riders. My T100 has it, and it has shot stock shocks on it but on a smooth road it will carve turns like few other bikes.
Riding hard and beating other bikes in road races with your wife on the back is just foolish. I wouldn't engage in anything like that, you can launch her 1000 ways from Sunday. In this case, discretion isn't the better part of valor, it's all of it.
Tire size will have an effect too. That is why people build supermotos. If you like everything about your dual sport, you could convert it. You could also look at the DRZ400SM.
If you want something more powerful and highway worthy, you might like a KTM 950SM, Aprilia Dorsoduro 750, or something more dirt oriented like a BMW 850GS.
If you want to spend more, check out the Ducati Hypermotard.
100% PLANTED! Guaranteed.
My Jeep is currently under dampened. I can't find the coolant leak.
Yeah. That explains why 150 lb Trials bikes handle so dang poorly with 165-175 lb champ riders on 'em.
And they don't seem very "planted," either, the way they go around jumping gaps and such.
I’m constantly tempted by that bike. I don’t need the power but i really want the rest of it.
You won't be disappointed.It all comes together with this bike.
It was fun watching your video. I owned a Versys and although I purchased it to run some of the many dirt roads around these here parts, I thoroughly enjoyed 'riding' it on the streets. It was the only bike I have piloted, at any price, that when you placed a little weight on one of your butt cheeks it would turn in that direction. Awesome! An absolutely great momentum bike. Unfortunately me running into a dog in the street totaled it. If it had a bit more umph available I would probably have another one.
A bike like the DR350 is likely undersprung for a rider your size. My DR650 was woefully undersprung for me and I'm 5'10" at 210lbs.
I converted mine to supermoto with 17s front and rear, lowered the suspension, got a heavier rear spring, and my mistake that has plagued me for a while - buying a set of Progressive (brand) springs for the forks.
There is nothing wrong with Progressive Suspension's products other than the "one spring for a given bike" rate choice. I bought them because I had good luck with them on older bikes but didn't factor in that I ride much harder than I used to and I'm significantly heavier.
Heck, I used to race on a set of Progressives in the stock forks of my 86 GSXR...but I weighed less too.
All that said, the Progressives were not heavy enough for me riding as a supermoto bike. It constantly oversteered and I would find myself having to stand it up to widen my line and not run off of the inside of the road. It always felt prone to tucking the front end which was a result of the light springs, using way too much stroke and thus having my trail reduced.
Again, I have nothing against Progressive Suspension; one needs to be aware of what they're buying though.
These characteristics followed when I returned the bike to full height with the 21" wheel on the front and a 17 on the rear. The bike was nearly impossible to control on any loose surface and still oversteered at the stock geometry and configuration.
I ordered the proper rate springs (couldn't tell you what off the top of my head) and it's been absolutely wonderful since...as long as I don't have it loaded down like Jed Clampett's pickup for solo multi-day rides.
If you like the DR enough, a set of springs would be a whole lot cheaper. Many, perhaps most, bikes are way too undersprung especially for Americans and heartier folks elsewhere. Fat old guys buy DR650s; I was shocked that it was so far off.
If you really want the answer learn to speak Italian. They seem to have this covered.
But seat height is too high for me