Alright, so I spent about 2 hours practicing in a parking lot this evening. They used to have msf courses here and the parking lot I use must be the one they used to use because there are markings and lines everywhere. I watched capt. crash’s videos and practiced a lot of slow speed stuff, braking, shifting, and getting real familiar/comfortable with the clutch on my ninja. I walked the bike all the way down the parking lot just using the clutch and friction zone. Another thing I did was practice down shifting and using engine brake instead of the regular brakes. I used some of the markings and just practiced on them, one was a real tight S turn and I did that until I could do it consistently, then there was another tighter S turn that I practiced on. I practiced riding in tight consistent circles while focusing on one spot. I am still a little shaky on those so I want to practice that more. One thing I didn’t get to that I will do tomorrow hopefully is the u-turn with in 2 parking spaces. I am feeling a lot better though with slow speed maneuvering and balance. I had been contemplating taking the bike out on the road, and all that practice had me feeling pretty good so I decided to take the bike out on the street for the first time, just to go get gas because I was almost on E anyway. Of course it was late and there was practically zero traffic on base (planned that one) but it felt good to get that first ride on the road in. During that ride I got practice stopping at stop signs, shifting, downshifting, using the clutch/friction zone, braking, turning, changing lanes, and even a few intersections where I had to communicate with the cages. Not to mention it was nice paying 15$ to fill up a tank rather than the $70 it takes for my truck!
Oh yeah and I was a lot more comfortable not covering the brake the whole time. I definitely felt like I had more control of the throttle and overall just felt better. I kept my right foot by the rear brake a lot like Jeff said he does and that felt good for me as well. I wasn’t in any situation where covering the brake was necessary so I kept my hands on the grips and just switched to the levers as necessary. I found that using my index finger to pull the front brake felt the best and still left me with control of the throttle. Like Jeff noted, I tried going from hand fully on the throttle to four fingers on the brake lever and that didn’t feel good at all. I lost control of the throttle a bit and the bike revved and jumped up on me, I got startled so I immediately pulled the clutch in and used the brake. Overall, even though I was instructor-less I felt like I learned and improved a lot today. I do have some questions though.
When you are down shifting while approaching a stop is it good practice to always down shift to 1st gear? Or is coming to a stop while the bike is in 2nd ok? 1st gear on a 250cc goes so quick that I would rather just leave it in 2nd, but is this bad for the bike/bad practice? I did this once at a stop sign and when I went to accelerate again I ended up killing the bike, not once, not twice…but three times lol. Luckily it was late and no one was behind me or I would have felt like a real dummy haha. Does being in 2nd gear affect the friction zone/amount of throttle you need to take off again? Thinking back on it I felt like it did but I was also a little nervous so that might have had something to do with it haha.
Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for readin’ guys