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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started riding about 10 years ago, started on a Ninja, then got an SV which I still have. Got the Scrambler last year after not riding for 5 years. Riding is not natural to me, and I feel stuck in a pattern of fear for faster (speed limit) curves, like 40mph-50mph. I do better on curves going right but really choke on left ones. I’m not sure if my fear is that I’m turning towards the lane of oncoming traffic, maybe.

I’ve done a few track days and I also try to ride a lot. Some days I feel like I’ve got it, but some I don’t, especially when I’m tired.

I have the book Twist of the Wrist, it’s been a while, I can read that again. Just hoping for some guidance on how to build some confidence. When learning, I dropped my bike a lot and i guess it’s messed with my head ever since.

Sorry for the very basic question. I just wish I could get past this hurdle. Thank you. If not appropriate I can delete.

(Me at a track day, clearly not leaning despite the perfect setup for it.)


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I won't give a dissertation on riding skills or pretend that I'm a great rider but I have a lot of experience. I traded my scrambler and now have a Yamaha FJ 09 and the 2 bikes are both good handling bikes with mediocre suspension. I put K-Tech front and rear on my bike and it makes a world of difference. It allows the bike to work and handle the way you'd hope when it is stock. I find that I'm way more confident in how the bike will react and what to expect. It might not be that obvious but even braking is a lot more predictable. If you really like the bike then it's worth investing in suspension for the long haul. The only riding advice I will give is counter steer the hell out of it and when in doubt counter steer harder. Read as much as you can about ridng and practice what you read. Most of it is on the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How is your low speed bike control? Figure 8, slalom etc?
It’s pretty good, I haven’t done cones but I did tight circles in a lot last weekend. On the SV I do use the clutch partially engaged at times with low speeds, I’m tryijg to back off on that a little on the Scrambler, now doing many slow turns without clutch at all.
 

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I've taken the MSF advanced and circuit riders courses. The advanced rider was helpful but boring. The circuit rider is a blast, and more in line with what you're describing. I'd never felt comfortable leaning either, maybe because nobody had explained the proper way to do it. But by the end of one day I was at risk of ripping knee holes in my jeans.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've taken the MSF advanced and circuit riders courses. The advanced rider was helpful but boring. The circuit rider is a blast, and more in line with what you're describing. I'd never felt comfortable leaning either, maybe because nobody had explained the proper way to do it. But by the end of one day I was at risk of ripping knee holes in my jeans.
I will look into that, thank you! I have been thinking about it and feel like the issue for me is that I am leaning towards oncoming traffic. People are so all over the roads these days I am constantly seeing people over the yellow line in the oncoming lanes, texting or on their phones. If I've committed to a curve that I can't see around very well, and someone is crossing the line, I'm in trouble. I get even more anxious with a close guardrail on the right.

My curves to the right are much better and I've leaned more that probably ever in my life on the Scrambler this year. I will definitely look into the circuit rider courses, thank you!
 

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Quick question, is it the high speed stuff that scares you? And what scares you about this?

In regards to low speeds confidence, relearn to use the clutch and the rear brake (with the throttle a tad opened). A pulling engine is your friend.

Besides, you've been riding for a while, how often do you ride?
 

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I've been riding for 30 years now. And still have those days where I'm not feeling the confidence. So I take that In consideration. But I have always made it a habit to ease on the straight and full focus and speed on a turn. Speed entrance gets people into a lot of trouble, best to have a nice pace before you enter, find your line, then work throttle and counter steer. Hope that helps. There's a lot more to good riding. Baby steps!
 

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I've been riding for 30 years now. And still have those days where I'm not feeling the confidence. So I take that In consideration. But I have always made it a habit to ease on the straight and full focus and speed on a turn. Speed entrance gets people into a lot of trouble, best to have a nice pace before you enter, find your line, then work throttle and counter steer. Hope that helps. There's a lot more to good riding. Baby steps!
I think we all have good and bad days, we’ll I do anyway. I think the best way to learn is at advanced level as mentioned above. Anyone who finds it boring is either with the wrong instructor or giving big bollocks. I would put an advanced road rider against a track day god on the road any day, and where do we ride the most? Training is the key.
I’ve done 3 top courses a Honda MAC, IAM which I passed, and 2 full days with a police rider.
And now I can ride in excess of 50mph in a straight line..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quick question, is it the high speed stuff that scares you? And what scares you about this?

In regards to low speeds confidence, relearn to use the clutch and the rear brake (with the throttle a tad opened). A pulling engine is your friend.

Besides, you've been riding for a while, how often do you ride?
I live in New England and we just had the eternal winter, LOL. Then mud season. So not a lot of riding each season, I've been riding a couple of times a week since mid-May, usually at least 2 hours each time I go out. I commute on the bike when I can too.

Yes, I do use the rear brake at slower corners. :) I had to take and retake (and maybe one more retake) my license exam and got decent at the slow stuff by the end of it.

Not sure why I get scared in higher speed turns, and I'm not even going into them higher than posted speed limits so I'm not being dangerous. I just tense up and I think it affects my body's ability to navigate the bike.Like if I stiffen my arms, countersteering doesn't work the same way. Maybe I just need to go ride a road I hate in full gear and ride it for several hours to get over it.
 

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Another good tip, is your engine break, I rarely use my breaks when riding canyons. Keep the the engine revs up before you go into a turn, and control the throttle. Coasting into a turn is scary, dead weight can make the front end feel uneasy, always need to be on the trottle before you enter a turn. It takes practice!
Good luck out there! And be careful who you ride with. There's fast riders, slow riders, and safe riders. I choose safe.
 

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You may be on to something. Sounds like there's nothing wrong with your technique, but something just won't click in your head.

My wife -who hates LA traffic and as such hardly rides- has the same. Her technique is good, but she freezes up and gets stressed/tensed when the speeds go up or the roads are more demanding. All I can say is face your fears, and keep on riding.
 

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Another good tip, is your engine break, I rarely use my breaks when riding canyons. Keep the the engine revs up before you go into a turn, and control the throttle. Coasting into a turn is scary, dead weight can make the front end feel uneasy, always need to be on the trottle before you enter a turn. It takes practice!
Good luck out there! And be careful who you ride with. There's fast riders, slow riders, and safe riders. I choose safe.
Canyons, that's taking it to another level. (trail braking, anyone?)
 

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Pikes peak, TT, or Laguna Seca, has nothing on LA traffic. I hate being on any wheels in LA traffic. Only advice. Be really careful!. Here in San Diego, we have access to our local low traffic mountains. I've taken many new riders out there, for their first rides. Best way to learn how to ride your bike. Learning how to shift, handling, turns, finding lines, building confidence. I find learning oulnlocal streets, creates bad habits. Too busy and worried who's going to pop out of no where, or showing off.
 

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I can’t stress it enough what you want can’t be learned from books or advice. You need proper training.
ie I did a course with a policeman and we were on radio. Going round a roundabout supposedly the largest one in Europe and the guy was shouting in my ear “ push the bar, push the bar” I’ve never felt a front tyre scrubbing against the tarmac like that but it taught me a lesson.
That’s just one experience there were many more.
 
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