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Lisa, I applaud you for acknowledging that this is a problem for you, and for taking direct and intelligent action to solve it.

If it makes you feel any better, I went thru a period when I was having trouble with curves -- right-hand curves, to be specific. Started scaring h*ll out of myself, thinking I was gonna go down.

My epiphany was realizing that I was not taking the curves under power. I was slowing down thru those curves, when instead I needed to slow down BEFORE them, so I could accelerate thru the apex.

This problem developed after I'd been riding for several years. Dunno why it cropped up, but I conquered it.

You can, too.

Hang in there; we're pulling for you!

Best wishes,
Christine

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I am also taking the course with Lisa.. We got rid of her C50 and moved her to the Honda VFR specifically for its ability to corner. It may be the perfect Sport Tour for a small frame person. (notice I did not say woman). I don't quite get the counter steer stuff either. I tend to just use my *** and hips to steer. I am looking forward to both us use being better riders. I figure being a better rider could save our life someday.
VFR is an excellent bike all around. Good choice!
Steering from the hips is not nearly as effective as initiating the turn with your upper body position... especially on a sporty bike. It actually works pretty well on a cruiser, but you will take a turn faster and more confidently when you start into it with your upper body. That, and steering from the hips tends to put the bike sideways underneath you, where steering from the upper body tends to put you off center, leaving the bike more upright and allowing more clearance before you touch a peg down. So, if you come into a corner hot, you will have more room to work with.
One of the best things to practice is to take an easy ride down a twisty road, and practice using your upper half to change the direction of the bike. Intentionally move your shoulder position off center as you enter the turn, while you use some bar input. Once you do this for a while, gradually increase your speed. You will find confidence you never knew you had, and will be a much smoother rider for it. It really worked for me.
 

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Just did a sport bike safety class and we covered exactly what Steve is talking about...worked great. It was amazing the difference it made.
 

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Lisa, I am proud of you for posting what most of us won't admit we need help with. What a responsible rider! I would love to sign up with you and ST-Dave for this class.

By the number of replies, you should feel the love and support we're sending your way.

Good on ya and best wishes for a successful exorcism of the demon.

Brandy
 

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One more thing to consider...
on a bike like the VFR where there is some forward lean, it's easy to put too much pressure on your wrists and arms. This will make it difficult to corner. Get used to supporting your forward weight with your stomach muscles and gripping the bike with your legs. Try to keep a light touch on the bars... almost like floating on the bars. The bars are for steering, not for leaning on.
 

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One more thing to consider...
on a bike like the VFR where there is some forward lean, it's easy to put too much pressure on your wrists and arms. This will make it difficult to corner. Get used to supporting your forward weight with your stomach muscles and gripping the bike with your legs. Try to keep a light touch on the bars... almost like floating on the bars. The bars are for steering, not for leaning on.
Thank you for all your input Steve. The VFR has Risers on it, but still has some forward lean. Lisa holds on like shes gonna fall off evidenced by the grip puppies allways pushed off the handle bars. We are getting lots of great tips from more experienced riders:wayhappy: She is taking them all to heart and can't wait for the school to start in 8 days. We may make this school an annual event. Hmmmm "TRACK SCHOOL RALLY":twisted:
 

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That is definitely a problem... that tight grip. If it is a standard VFR, it's not too different of a riding position from my Triumph, which has low rise bars. There is still significant weight on your wrists that can affect your steering input. This is something that has made all the difference for me this year. I've found a new level by concentrating on not putting weight on the bars or holding too tightly.
I'm trying to share the things that I know have improved my riding. I won't tell you anything that I'm not sure of or have not proven myself. I am glad to help if I can. I KNOW she can work through this. Part of it is technique, but a big part of it is psychological. I think both problems can be solved by practice of good habits and some controlled riding with an instructor.
 

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That is definitely a problem... that tight grip. If it is a standard VFR, it's not too different of a riding position from my Triumph, which has low rise bars. There is still significant weight on your wrists that can affect your steering input. This is something that has made all the difference for me this year. I've found a new level by concentrating on not putting weight on the bars or holding too tightly.
I'm trying to share the things that I know have improved my riding. I won't tell you anything that I'm not sure of or have not proven myself. I am glad to help if I can. I KNOW she can work through this. Part of it is technique, but a big part of it is psychological. I think both problems can be solved by practice of good habits and some controlled riding with an instructor.
I suspect you triple is similar to my Sprint 955 and both bikes have risers but the Sprint ST is taller, but then again she is shorter. I agree you definitely need to grip the tank with your legs and have a light grip. (hard to do when your stressed) We gonna get it all sorted out.
 

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We gonna get it all sorted out.

I absolutely believe you will. She is committed to learning, and to work through the problem, which means you're half way to solving it! The trick is going to be getting her to relax on the bike. That's why that first exercise I was talking about, taken at a slow pace, is a good one. You can do it around an industrial park or neighborhood. Slow is great. Just get out there and work on flowing through the corners at a slow speed. Everything should be slow and smooth. Lean your upper body to initiate the turn with a nice relaxed grip on the bars. Your outside leg will naturally start to push the tank into the lean. You will naturally countersteer. look through the turn and flow with it. Your pace is like you're out for a Sunday cruise, but you are riding like your going 4x the speed at the track.
 

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...My epiphany was realizing that I was not taking the curves under power. I was slowing down thru those curves, when instead I needed to slow down BEFORE them, so I could accelerate thru the apex...
^THIS!
Setting up for a turn at speed, you will use the brakes and the removal of throttle (engine braking) along with body position to settle the bike into the turn. A little drag on the rear brake can help getting it to fall into the turn. Once you are leaned over, you need to be rolling the throttle and maintaining speed, if not accelerating.
If you are coming in hot, first use the front brake to scrub speed, but be aware that it can tend to stand you up and fight the lean you're trying to put the bike into. I scrub as much speed as I can and then initiate the turn, leaning as much as is necessary (in really bad cases actually getting off the seat to the low side) to get the bike to steer. As soon as you have reached an equilibrium (if it's not decreasing radius) and you are full over, start applying throttle to maintain or increase speed. The bike will hug the corner.
If you feel out of control... trust the bike and look further into the turn. DO NOT look straight ahead or down, unless you want to go there (which you don't, of course). On a VFR or other sporty bike, there is more cornering grip and performance than you will be using unless you are going way too fast (which is not likely to be the case). In any case, SMOOTH input to the brakes, SMOOTH input to the throttle, SMOOTH changes of body position that are reflective of the speed you are going (if you're going faster, you willl have to transition faster, but stay smooth!).
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Dave and I lost a close Friend to a drowning in the Columbia River this past weekend. Mike's service is this Saturday. He was also one of Battle Ground's finest police officers. He will be greatly missed.

We have rescheduled the class for August 8-9. I will keep you posted.

Lisa
 

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...

I registered for the class and look forward to learning all I can from this group! Told Ron I was a little afraid of the "track" course and he explained the track is the safest place for me to be and for him to teach me the proper way to ride. I will keep you posted as to how I do!!!!
Good luck and I will be curious if one problem you maybe having is to "look forward"
I will be curious to know if he mentions that. The way you describe your cornering, I am wondering if you are looking down at the road and curb instead of looking forward. Your body cant "steer" as you are moving forward if you are looking down, like you would in a car.

Meaning ... if a curve is coming up on the road, look up at the curve so your body can adjust and lean the proper angle.

I am NOT giving advice, I am NOT an instructor, in fact I have only been riding a couple years, just relaying something someone gave me tips on as I prepared for my run in the mountains last week.

SO PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR. I WOULD JUST BE CURIOUS WHAT HE/SHE HAS TO SAY about it, since someone who instructs told me that your body cant steer as you move forward if you are looking down at the ground and not looking forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Update

Sorry guys!

I had scheduled twice for this class and was not able to attend either one due to family issues. SOOOOO, the Gods that be decided that it was not my time to take this class.

I am thankful I did not. August was a MAJOR growth month for me! With the help of the Humes' I seem to have conquered the corner fear and I am happy that I did not attend this class.

Not to say I am not going, Dave and I plan on taking the class in June. I am actually looking forward to the class with the new found ability to corner mixed with learning how to push my limits just a little further! I will keep you posted in June how the class goes! Thank you all for your support and encouragement.....:wayhappy:
 

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Outstanding, So when do dave,you and I get to test out these new found skills on a run around the "hood"?
 

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please take this with a grain of salt. i don't mean to be rude, or insulting, but it sounds like you are actually trying to find out why you are having a hard time, rather than just saying "this is how i ride, take it or leave it" or worse yet even quitting (you mentioned it, but i don't think you like that option, or you wouldn't be posting this).

and on a forum is obviously NOT the way to actually diagnose, or really be able to help someone with riding skills for the most part, but i do have a few questions.

DISCLAIMER**** i'm really really really sorry that this post got so long. but if it helps even a little bit, maybe it's worth the read.





now stay with me for a minute, because even though my methods are odd at times, there is a reason to my madness. (and if anybody feels like this is them, i am by no means picking on anybody or trying to belittle them)

can you or do you ever play with your bike??? (take off seriously hard like your trying to race off the line???)

ever ride aggressive??? (only when safe, or out of necessity, such as fast aggressive lane changes, or to get around or away from a car or uncomfortable situation)

do anything other than just a "slow, gentle, meander from point a-to-b???

ever ride with 1 hand off the bar???

both hands off the bar???

gesture or in some way shape or form (not via radio) communicate with other riders for more than just a quick head nod???

do you feel yourself enjoying the scenery, and even though you are paying attention to traffic,people,etc.., what happens with the bike below you just "sort of happens", or do you think about every action you do such as "when to brake", "how much to brake", "when to shift", "which gear to shift to", "which way to steer", "how much to steer", etc..etc..???

when you pull into a store parking lot, and you pick the spot you are going to park. do you "weeble wobble" into the spot and have to think about everything you're doing, or do you just kinda "ride into" the spot and stop without thinking and perhaps even noticing other stuff around you???

when you find yourself in a "crowded" area with very slow speed such as going through a busy parking lot, slowly riding through rows of motorcycle parking while watching for people and bikes, riding through a crowd of people trying to get to parking at an event, etc..etc.. do you find yourself with both feet down and "walking" the bike while it's rolling, or can you (if you choose) keep both feet on the bike while slowly or barely moving and looking at your surroundings (watching for people, looking for parking, etc..)???

when coming to a stop (regardless if in traffic or driveway), do your legs go out like kickstands way before the stop and you look like a plane with landing gear as you come to a stop, or can you come to a comfortable stop and bring your foot/feet down at the stop???

how about when you take off??? feet up from the stop, or legs trailing like a plane taking off???




(whether you answer those questions here or not is up to you. :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:)


what i'm wondering is,

1)is it "nothing more" than lack of skill and you need more practice,

2)are you afraid of the bike, or is the bike perhaps physically to much for you right now that you are letting the fear of the bike get the better of you, and therefore are afraid to push your practice beyond your current level of skill,

3)are you so afraid of falling/hurting yourself that you have essentially put training wheels on your mind, and now have this subconscious thought that as long as the bike is vertical it's ok, but if you lean you'll fall, which in turn forces you to slow down to the point of having to stay nearly vertical through a turn???




if it's PRACTICE
well......practice practice practice. BUT......make it fun and distracting. cut tennis balls in half, get a few people together, and make courses with the tennis balls and just keep riding. if you make it to serious and stressful you'll want to leave in 5 minutes and won't have accomplished much more than frustrate yourself. with friends, you can stop whenever you want and watch them, take turns as you "compete" at games, take a smoke break, whatever. "just a day at the beach" sorta thing. i've been out riding with friends, and pulled over somewhere to have a smoke, and next thing you know we're in the parking lot just BS'ing around on our bikes trying things or showing each other skills. when my wife got her first bike, she was so determined not to go out in traffic until she was comfortable turning and handling, that she put on 50 yes you saw that right 50 miles on the bike in a square parking lot the size of a 3 bedroom house from the time the bike was unloaded from the trailer, until she first hit the road (she was also so determined to go that she did it in i think 2 days if i remember right).


if you are AFRAID of the bike
well i personally don't think that everybody needs to start on a 250 rebel or little ninja 250 like those MSF course bikes. BUT if in fact you are afraid of either the WEIGHT, SIZE or POWER of the bike, then that might be the way to go. other than that the only option would be to say "get over it and deal with what you got", but that's not just rude, but doesn't work for some people.


if you are afraid of GETTING HURT
well no matter how i try to word it, there is only one thing i can think of for that one. put on your riding gear (with armor/padding will probably help), and go get it over with. put on your do or die face, pick your weakness, hit the parking lot, and go for the lean. only way to get over that one is to either get it over with and realize it's not that bad (with proper riding gear a parking lot practice accident will make you think you just had a pillow fight with a 2 year old. without proper gear...........well anyways, we're not talking about me here. LOL), or do what you are already considering, which is quitting because you're so uncomfortable.
and from the sound of it, you don't like that option otherwise you wouldn't have posted what you did here.
i'm not saying you will never get hurt. it's not IF you fall, it's WHEN you fall. and the proper riding gear, and constantly improving your skills will not only reduce the chances of a more dangerous fall outside of a parking lot, but will also reduce the chances of you actually getting hurt when you do go down, because you will know how to handle the bike and rely on your protective gear from there.


again........i don't mean any of this rude, or to be insulting. i honestly hope for you that you can figure out what is holding you up (literally. LOL) and get past it so you can enjoy the bike and the road.

take it from me.....my wife NEVER wanted a motorcycle, because she watched a guy die in front of her on the highway. well thanks to high gas prices, she wanted something to save on gas, and the 70mpg ninja 250 was "only for commuting". 1 year, 11,000 miles later that 250 somehow turned into a vulcan 900 (same size as our bikes basically), and 1 year later it had over 10,000 miles on it, and when it's not raining out, the ONLY thing that will get her off that bike is our almost 3 year old son.
 
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