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The Friction Zone, Tight U-Turns, and Other Myths?


John, Northeast Florida

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John, Northeast Florida

This information was passed along from a trainer where the motor officers were changing from HD's to RT-P's. The officers were grumbling about the RT-P, the 'dry clutch' and likely other issues. No one likes change!

 

The trainer, and I'm only the messenger so don't jump on me, please. The trainer passed along that the RT-P will idle very nicely at around 7 mph +/- on level ground, etc. And, rather than engaging clutch, finding the friction zone the same effect can be achieved by engaging the clutch full out/in and using it as a sort of throttle control (feathering???) rather than riding the way they were used to with the HD's, that is, revving the engine in the friction zone, etc.

 

I may not have described it precisely, but most should get what I mean.

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John, Northeast Florida

Merry Christmas John. How old are the twins now? Where are you competing next? Any JAX competitions coming up?

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Yes, this works. :) I was trying to pull off the "little box" on my RT on a MSF range a couple weeks ago. After several attempts clutching and reving in the friction zone, I had more success coasting though at idle. Not without breaking a sweat in December, though.

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I believe this is how John the "motorman587" does the patterns. Unfortunately I have a high first gear ratio on my '98 RT-P so lots of clutch/throttle gray area during patterns would be needed. Since I own the bike, I try to baby the clutch and avoid tight pattern work.

On my taxpayer supplied Harley, lot's of revs and clutch slippage is needed to do patterns. Since it is a wet clutch, it takes the abuse without complaint.

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Merry Christmas John. How old are the twins now? Where are you competing next? Any JAX competitions coming up?

 

The twins are 4 1/2 growing like weeds. That is how I know I am getting old. :D The next competing is Feb 18-21 in Tallahassee. We are on Friday doing a bike show (non-police) in the evening. Here is the link. http://www.capitalcitychallenge.org/ Have not heard about any Jax competitions. Trying to go to Charleston SC in June to compete.

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The trainer passed along that the RT-P will idle very nicely at around 7 mph +/- on level ground, etc. And, rather than engaging clutch, finding the friction zone the same effect can be achieved by engaging the clutch full out/in and using it as a sort of throttle control (feathering???) rather than riding the way they were used to with the HD's, that is, revving the engine in the friction zone, etc. I may not have described it precisely, but most should get what I mean.

 

That's exactly how I do my slow tight turns with my clutch as my speed control, and using the rear brake only when making slow turns. I found it was easier than using he friction zone. I also didn't like the "friction" smell of the clutch :(

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Just went through all that this week re-training Deb :thumbsup:

Deb's got the urge to get back riding her own ride again and so she had to relearn her clutch technique. We spent a couple of hours doing low speed stuff in a parking lot getting her used to the R1100R and the dry clutch. Her previous bike was a CB750 and "relearning" her clutch hand with the BMW clutch was "interesting" for her, to say the least :grin:

 

She's doing great though...loves the comfort, handling and balance of the R vs her old CB750 NH. Oh! And she is almost enthralled with the R brakes (ABS). Well, who wouldn't be after riding a CB750 NH :rofl:. Anyway, she just needs a little more training, regaining her confidence and finding her comfort zone before we go out for a fun Texas Hill Country ride :Cool: I can't wait to go riding with her :clap: :clap:!!

 

My! What a difference a year makes......

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On my taxpayer supplied Harley, lot's of revs and clutch slippage is needed to do patterns. Since it is a wet clutch, it takes the abuse without complaint.

 

Noticed that your current work bike is an '03. Just wait til you get the 103's, the clutch will complain very loudly! At my old agency, they were going through clutches very quickly.

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The trainer passed along that the RT-P will idle very nicely at around 7 mph +/- on level ground, etc. And, rather than engaging clutch, finding the friction zone the same effect can be achieved by engaging the clutch full out/in and using it as a sort of throttle control (feathering???) rather than riding the way they were used to with the HD's, that is, revving the engine in the friction zone, etc.

Well, I think he’s close. But rather than full in/out motions with the clutch, move in/out, “feather” just into, just out of, the start of the friction zone. The goal is rather than finding a slip amount and maintaining it, indeed hard on a dry clutch, instead use the clutch to almost ‘bump’, (or maybe “taps” is a better word) you along. Albeit very small, almost unperceivable taps.

 

When doing it correctly your clutch fingers are in almost constant very small motions, pull, release, pull, release, as you add and release power application. In the meantime your throttle is almost stationary.

 

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Ken,

 

That is EXACTLY how I do it. I'm too verbally challenged to put it into words so nicely : )

 

Do not overlook the last few words about the throttle. Keeping the throttle closed or just about closed keeps the RPM's down, clutch plate cool and doesn't allow you to slip back (excuse pun) into the technique of riding in the friction zone.

 

Kevin

 

ps: The easy pull of the BMW clutch will make the lever action easy. Keep it out whenever you can.

 

 

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