The first Grand…
September 22, 2009 at 4:36 am #3449zipperZeeParticipant
So I’ve recently posted the first 1000km’s on my bike and would like to share some of the experiences, idiocies and lessons learned from the first couple weeks of me and my little ninja.
Of course, any advice and/or CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always appreciated.
1) Let your bike warm up. Refusing to let your bike warm up can easily lead to stall points where normally you can throttle out of. This can lead to drops. *raises hand
2)The mewing sound after you turn off your bike is not a malfunction, merely the gas tank pressure trying to equalize with the air pressure around it. (Guess this is a Kawasaki thing…none of the suzuki’s or honda’s seem to have this problem…)
3) When you put your kickstand down…make sure your kickstand is ACTUALLY down.
4) Park with the bike facing DOWNHILL. I can’t tell you how impossible it is to walk a bike backwards up a hill. Had to get off the bike and walk beside it nearly everytime.
5)Using the killswitch to turn off the engine nearly every time. I’ve asked around and it does not harm the engine in any way.
6)Always make sure you’re in 1st after coming to a complete stop (eg: traffic light). Just simple put your right foot down (hands on front brake and clutch) and stomp on your shift pedal. Specially important for uphill starts.
7) If you accidently shift your bike into neutral, dont’ panic but shift UP, not down. This happens to me a lot, usually from 1st to 2nd. Of course, the best way is to not do this altogether and just shift smoothly and safely. Don’t try to shift quicker than you are accustomed to.
Damp roads are no joke. Even if its just after the rain the ground is ridicolously slippery. I had my first tail waggle due to this, after coming out from a roundabout.
9) When tackling twisties stay the F&^( away from the centre line. I’ve had countless times where a car, truck or even bus come barreling at me taking up 1/3 to (not even joking) 1/2 of my lane. If I was taking the corner out-in-out, I would’ve been in a potentially life threatening situation. Course, I was going too fast in the first place which leads to…
10) Accelerate THROUGH your corner. Better to set a slow entry speed and fast exit speed than the other way around. The bike seems to handle better AND gives you time to look through the corner, plot a line and spot potential dangers.
11) Last, and to me most important. Riding isn’t about taking twisties dangerously, trying to attain the highest top speed possible or revving your engine squidly (can it be an adjective?) at every intersection. (<--- I am guilty of this...though trying very hard to quit this bad habit)
It’s about cruising through twisty narrow streets, the above trees painting spots of black on the otherwise bright grey pavement below…than suddenly coming out of the foresty back roads to have the sea on your left and the cliff on your right while your motorcycle purrs under you and the water crashes against the rocks below you.
THAT to me, is what riding is all about.September 22, 2009 at 8:14 am #22466eternal05Participant
A few things. First, did you mean park with your bike facing UPhill? If it’s facing up the hill you can always turn it on and use the motor to get up the hill. If it’s facing down and you need to go up, you need to, as you said, walk it backwards which blows. To be really crass and anal-retentive, if you do park on a hill, you should park with your bike slightly downhill-facing but mostly horizontal, kickstand side facing the downhill. If possible, you want your front wheel tucked into a curb to prevent roll.
Tip #7 is a FANTASTIC tip. Can’t tell you how many crashes I’ve seen as a result of the wrong approach to a false neutral (i.e. a “missed shift”). As you say, absolutely SHIFT UP!!! If you shift down, you run the risk of ending up several gears lower than you think, and if you let the clutch out you may end up blowing your engine (if your engine can’t spin fast enough to match your wheel speed in that low gear), locking the rear thanks to excessive engine braking, or both. Either way you’re probably going to be a sad panda.
One note about missed shifts: they’re actually entirely preventable on the street. If, rather than just nudging the shift lever up and letting go, you hold the lever up until the clutch is totally re-engaged, you won’t miss a shift. I assume the same is true for downshifts but I’ve never missed a downshift…I don’t think downshifting is usually a problem for people.
#10 is great too. People dis the track a lot, but I’m of the opinion that people would be MUCH better riders and drivers if they were all required to attend performance riding/driving schools on the track. One of the things you are forced to do on the track is to employ the one-time rule: for a given corner, you brake once, turn-in once, and get on the throttle once. No braking some, turning in, realizing you’re going to fast, braking more, then turning harder, then realizing you’re turned in too hard, so you turn out, then get on the gas, start to run wide, chop the throttle, adjust line, get back on gas, blah blah blah. The key is to, as you say, set your entry speed on the low side with one firm application of the brakes, turn in deliberately, and as SOON as you’re turned in, crack open the throttle just a bit. From that point on, your throttle use should be steadily and smoothly increasing all the way through the corner. Good tip!
Oh yeah, and #2 is annoying, isn’t it? My housemates thought there was a starving kitten in our garage until I corrected them. Freakin’ Kawasaki and their retarded gas cap vents.September 23, 2009 at 2:28 am #22486
Actually, I miss shifts sometimes downshifting from 2 to 1. Not sure what the deal is; I haven’t figured it out yet.September 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm #22522MattNParticipant
Park facing downhill…..
Have to disagree with this one. Your right, it is hard pushing a bike uphill… but if you park facing downhill, your bike can roll forward and that can cause the kickstand to fold up… and your bike can fall over without you there…
You should always park with the kickstand side of your bike facing down hill with the front wheel slightly higher up the hill than the rear wheel… that way 1. its solidly leaning on the kickstand and 2. if it does roll it rolls backwards which won’t fold the kickstand up.
Just avoid situations where you park and can’t drive out of them is my recommendation.
Other than that good notes..September 25, 2009 at 7:13 pm #22525EddiepowerfmParticipant
Glad to hear it is a Kawasaki thing and not just my bike. In the first month i thought the thing was going to blow off.September 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm #22524EddiepowerfmParticipant
already submitted it.September 26, 2009 at 2:16 am #22536Jon D.Participant
If I remember from earlier posts, you were practicing on your wifes S40. That particular Suzuki has a big neutral for lack of a better term. Most bikes neutral kinda feels like a half click. The S40 seem to actually have a neutral gear, Easiest way to avoid missing is a double or triple down when going from second to first. I’d sit at a street light with mine and just got in the habit of stepping down ( fidgeting essentially ) while waiting just to ensure I was in first. Hope this helps. Ride safe and God bless. Jon D.September 26, 2009 at 5:57 pm #22538
I think that you are thinking of Bob Harley, another member. That kind of thing just isn’t for me, though as my husband would happily quote (from Airplane I think) “It isn’t another woman is it? I just couldn’t compete with that.”
However, I have to agree with you otherwise. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that when I shift down into first through neutral (as a single action), there is frequently a double click.September 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm #22540Jon D.Participant
Oops! Sorry about the mix-up. Seems to me that you are sorting out the downshift problem. The Savage/ S40 is the only bike I have ever ridden that has that big neutral setting. I used to watch others (and myself) search to find neutral on other bikes, not a big problem with the S40. Anyway, my apologies and enjoy your bike. Ride safe and God bless. Jon D.September 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm #22546
I think every bike has its quirks. For example, one of the things that I have read about the Buell Blast is that new riders find lots of false neutrals between the gears. In the end, it all just seems to come down to riding the bike and learning from experience.September 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm #22547RabParticipant
Good advice, but I’d also add that if you’re going to park on any gradient where there’s a danger that your bike may roll, you should leave it in gear. Some folks always leave their bike in gear when parked, regardless.
I think most modern motorcycles have an interlock which will prevent the engine from starting if the bike is in gear, so don’t let that put you off, and anyway, you should always ensure that you’re in neutral (check neutral light and/or roll bike) and also pull-in the clutch before starting a motorcycle’s engine.
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