I’ve heard it said, and it makes sense…you can have 20,000 miles of riding experience, or you can have one mile of riding experience 20,000 times. I think it’s great that you’re reaching out and saying, “hey, I need more tools in my tool box to feel comfortable!” I think that’s a great attitude.
Here are couple of suggestions;
> Don’t worry about going fast, worry about technique…be fanatical about technique, and understand how to take a proper line. First comes technique, and then comes speed.
> Be very careful with group riding. I can’t emphasize this enough. In my opinion, group riding is one of the most dangerous things a person can do on a motorcycle. There are a BUNCH of reasons for this, not the least of which is you are bound to have people that will ride over their experience level and crash, possibly taking you with them! The other challenge is trying to “wick it up” just a bit to try to stay with another faster rider. This causes crashes every weekend. The person you’re following may be faster, but may or may not have ANY technique at all. Try to avoid too much group riding. I do!
> I encourage new riders to keep a journal about what they learn with every ride. You should learn something each and every time you go out and writing it down is a good way to steepen your learning curve.
> On riding in the rain; smooth inputs are key. Even smoother than in dry conditions. SSSSSqqqqqquuuuuueeeeezzzzz your front brakes and very smmmmooooooottttthhhhly apply your rear brakes. You still have to press to initiate a turn. I see a lot of riders try to keep the bike upright when turning in the rain. Won’t work. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you were concerned there wasn’t enough grip to turn and wind up having to quickly apply the brakes which causes you to crash, especially when there was plenty of traction available to turn!
> On braking….a lot of interesting discussion on brakes in the last several posts. There are many, many variables that go into total stopping distance, not the least of which are contact patch size, vehicle weight, chassis geometry and the ability of the brakes to shed heat.
SOME big touring bikes CAN stop faster, primarily due to contact patch and stearing geometry. But again, we’re talking about stopping in a straight line, and not using a proper trail braking technique where big bikes are down right squireley!