so many trouble moving a heavy bike
August 16, 2010 at 2:49 am #4175Ursula AlusruParticipant
I learned the absolute most useful thing today that totally blew my mind and made me wonder why I didn’t think of it first! I think the following may be totally ridiculous to those of you who have been at this a while, but I ride alone and don’t have any veterans to ask stupid questions on a daily basis so my own trial and error and the internet are my main modes of learning. I also found that my basic riding course was exactly as advertised and didn’t cover anything except actual riding. So, some background – I’m 5’9″ 130lbs I bought an 81′ Suzuki GS850 G about a month and a half ago (I know it’s a totally ridiculous first bike, but I fell in love and the rest is history) that weighs about 650lbs dry. I love the bike, I’ve put 5000km on it so far, and have no complaints or troubles except that it’s HEAVY. So, I dropped it in a parking lot, while I was stopped, and learned how to pick it up pushing with my legs (my girl arms aren’t much use and I managed to put out my back pulling), check out this guy lifting a Goldwing – it changed my life and is endorsed by my chiropractor who rides a big old bike himself.
Yesterday I was hanging out with a friend who doesn’t have a bike anymore, but who rode as a primary mode of transportation for a decade. He was asking me about what my major worries were with the bike. Besides doing stupid stuff like dropping it while parking, I find that I have trouble moving it when it isn’t moving.
Trouble #1 – walking it.
I did a lot of walking the bike in the beginner training course I took on 250cc bikes. I found with them I walked much as I would with a bicycle (which I have ridden for about 25 years now on a semi daily basis), holding the handle bars the bike vertical with a gap of 6-12 inches between my body and the bike. I tried this with mine in a parking lot and found it totally impossible – not only was it challenging to right the bike, any attempt to alter direction was futile. I just gave up on this idea until I took it in for service (I have gremlins in my electrical system) and watched the mechanic move it from the parking lot where it sat with a dead battery to the service bay. The man used his hips. This changed my life. He used his hip to shove it off the side stand and right the bike and kept contact with the bike the entire time he was moving. I gave this a try later on and found that I had WAY MORE CONTROL over the situation and was using my body instead of my back. I could actually steer the bike wherever I waned to go. I still leave the kick stand down and walk it o the left side as I’m not 100% confident, but it’s an improvement. This sounds dumb even as I type it but, as a beginner with little bike experience and no one to show me the obvious stuff I was missing this was HUGE.
Trouble #2 – inclines.
I have trouble backing the bike up if I’ve parked on an incline. It’s heavy, it’s tall and I don’t feel like I’ve got a lot of leverage when I’m on it walking it with my feets. I try to park way in the back of any parking lot so I have a pull through or I can U-turn through 2 spots so I am facing forwards. So, this is what my most useful friend taught me. To begin with he said “stop being such a stubborn ass, turn it off and get off the bike.. but leave it in gear”. He then approached my bike from the front, straddled the front wheel facing the gas tank grabbed the clutch (telling me that I was now to use it as my new brake). He righted it and backed it out for me using the clutch to slow down or speed up as he walked steering as needed with very little effort. I thought it looked impossible, but gave it a shot. I thought it’d be difficult to lift off the stand, but is actually easier that riding. With your weight over the pivot point and closer to the weight of the engine than you are when you are in the seat it is as easy as pie. I can’t find an youtube video, but think perhaps I might make my own, it seems so simple to see but so hard to explain. He said that that I’d have no trouble walking it up any hill this way even at a steep incline. While I haven’t tried it in the extreme, I’m feeling way more confident about the situation.
So, as a real and true beginner, it’s been a big week here at the learning factory.August 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm #28101RabParticipant
Picking up the bike, yes, that’s the best way I know to do it. If you’re lifting it from the right side, put down the kick-stand before lifting in case you lift it too far and it tips over on to the left side. The kick-stand might just stop it from falling all the way over.
#1 I don’t like the idea of walking with the kick-stand down as you may trip over it or it might catch on something. As I can “flat-foot” it, I always duck-walk my bike as I think there’s less chance of it tipping over. It doesn’t look very cool, but better to be safe than to be cool I think.
#2 is a novel approach and I’m assuming that the engine is off when doing this. I’d be afraid of the bike tipping over though because there’s no-one to catch it if it over-balances as you’re walking it.
Most people just make sure that they always reverse into any parking space (unless it’s facing up hill) by duck-walking the bike backwards into the space and using the front brake to slow if necessary. If you can’t do that, then I’d say look for a lighter, better fitting bike (which might not be a bad idea anyway).August 16, 2010 at 10:26 pm #28105MunchParticipant
Hmm…. well as far as walking the bike in case of a dead battery or other non planned event… I can see that very useful. Still not understanding the idea behind walking the bike up hill…backwards. I live on an incline… I pull straight up into the garage….when I leave…. fully saddled on the bike I just back up using the front brake (which is now acting like a back brake) to control the speed while going back. Seems too easy to me rather then to try and man handle my bike up hill backwards. Then again…. it’s me. Again I am on a very different bike to… maybe the difference is between a sports style compared to a cruiser? /shrug.August 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm #28107eonParticipant
#2: I assume you meant walking it down the hill with this technique? Hard to see how you could walk it up the hill. But like the others I struggle to see how this makes life easy but then again I have not tried it. I guess the ergonomics of the bike make a huge difference.
Assuming you have the space you might want to try a technique I was taught in dirt bike school. This is a technique to get your bike facing downhill after you have stalled it going up a steep hill and uses a combination of tricks already mentioned. Engine off, bike in gear and use the clutch as a brake (as in #2). Stand to the left of the bike with your hip against the seat (as in #1) to support it. Then, pulling in the clutch slightly roll the bike backwards (downhill) and rotate it around your hip. Should be easy enough to get it parallel to the slope of the hill at least. From there you should be able to ride off.
Might be worth trying. Like Rab I just cannot see how you can prevent it from tipping over using #2. Would love to see the video if you persevere with that strategy.August 17, 2010 at 4:22 am #28113gitchy42Participant
A tip for moving a bike with a flat…maybe everyone else has figured this out.
I got a flat a month and a half ago, and had to man-handle my bike about the length of a block. When I got to work a coworker had a similar situation and when he took it to the shop the tech started the bike, controlled the bike speed with the clutch and walked along side it. I’ve found that it works just about anytime I want to walk the bike along, but don’t want to be on it, like when loading it into my truck.
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