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How to stop, and get going again, on a hill.


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Just purchased my first big bike (99RT) and realized I don't really know the best way to stop on a hill. Say a steep hill in the rain with a road crew ahead. Thinking first gear with the clutch in and rear brake on but this would only be good for a short stop.

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szurszewski

If I'm stopping on a hill to wait for traffic or a light or whatever, I stop as I normally would: downshift to first gear, clutch in, front brake applied, rear brake applied, left foot on ground. To start again, if the hill is steep, keep a bit of pressure on the rear brake to counter the desire of the bike to roll backwards.

 

Are you looking for a solution that would allow you to take your hand off the clutch lever for a long stop? For me that would require switching feet and brakes: stop as above but shift into neutral before stopping; it's so habitual for me, I would still stand with my right foot on brake and left foot on the ground, then briefly switch feet (right hand on front brake lever the whole time) to shift into first gear, and (seriously - I just don't feel right -ha ha- standing with my right foot down) then switch back to my left foot on the ground before rolling off as in the first paragraph.

 

Since you're on an RT like mine, I can tell you that sitting for a long period (more than a couple of minutes) waiting for something like a road crew with your bike running is going to make your headers VERY hot and subject the paint and plastic around them to temps that will not make those surfaces happy, so you might consider killing the engine (don't forget to put the kill switch back to run, lest you suffer embarassment from a no-start condition when traffic moves again :dopeslap: ). I've even heard that left long enough the plastic around the headers will melt/catch fire, but I haven't been unfortunate enough to see that.

 

I'm sure others will post more concise useful answers. I hope you're enjoying your RT as much as I do mine - and particularly as much as I did when it became my first "big bike" six years ago.

josh

 

 

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Not exactly sure just what you are asking...

 

+1 to Josh's commentary. My RT is in gear from the time I start riding until I return home and put it up. During the entire ride it is in gear; 1st gear when stopped. Restart with clutch lever pulled in, then release clutch lever and pull away. Signal light stops are with left foot down, right foot on the brake pedal.

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The best tip I have is to put the fast idle on just before you are ready to ride away. as you release the front brake to throttle and clutch, it makes things much easier to have some extra throttle to keep from accidentally killing the engine.

Rod

 

 

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szurszewski
The best tip I have is to put the fast idle on just before you are ready to ride away. as you release the front brake to throttle and clutch, it makes things much easier to have some extra throttle to keep from accidentally killing the engine.

Rod

 

 

I've never tried this, but it sounds like extra work. Why would you need to be holding the front brake if you have your right foot where it should be (on the rear brake)? Doing so (holding the bike in place with the rear brake and keeping your throttle hand off the brake lever) also lets you use as much or as little throttle as necessary instead of the preset amount provided by your fast idle lever.

 

On the other hand, other than maybe slipping the clutch more than our dry clutches probably like, I guess it wouldn't hurt anything...

 

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday
I've never tried this, but it sounds like extra work. Why would you need to be holding the front brake if you have your right foot where it should be (on the rear brake)? Doing so (holding the bike in place with the rear brake and keeping your throttle hand off the brake lever) also lets you use as much or as little throttle as necessary instead of the preset amount provided by your fast idle lever.

 

I routinely hold the bike at a stop on hills with the front brake applied. Index finger and thumb are wrapped around the grip, remaining three fingers are on the brake lever. It's easy to work the front brake and throttle at the same time, no rollback required.

 

On the other hand, other than maybe slipping the clutch more than our dry clutches probably like, I guess it wouldn't hurt anything...

 

Depending on the circumstances, using the fast idle lever (if your bike even has one; hexheads don't) may be inadequate. If you're on a steep hill, or have a lot of luggage, or a passenger, the fast-idle ain't gonna do the job. Example: May 2007, on a steep uphill at high altitude in southwestern Colorado, Shawn's bike died. He parked his bike, climbed onto the back seat of my luggage-laden RT, and we rode off to the next town. I was barely able to get the bike moving under those conditions with the main throttle; the fast-idle lever would have been useless.

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...Depending on the circumstances, using the fast idle lever (if your bike even has one; hexheads don't) may be inadequate. If you're on a steep hill, or have a lot of luggage, or a passenger, the fast-idle ain't gonna do the job. Example: May 2007, on a steep uphill at high altitude in southwestern Colorado, Shawn's bike died. He parked his bike, climbed onto the back seat of my luggage-laden RT, and we rode off to the next town. I was barely able to get the bike moving under those conditions with the main throttle; the fast-idle lever would have been useless.

 

I'm sure the primary factor was the altitude, not Shawn, right???? :lurk:

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we have days where the wind is so strong and gusty, you better have BOTH feet down and locked. And wind from the wrong direction.

 

On those days, I just leave the fast idle on all the time. I have an RS, no lowers, so hot exhaust is not an issue

 

Rod

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Along with starting and stopping, you have to be careful of stopping while traversing. Keep the bike tilted into the hill.

 

Otherwise your downhill leg will get too short and overloaded. Before you know what is going on, off you go.

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Two other worries: a heavily crowned road--be sure to stop with a lean toward the higher side or the bike might get tipped too far (my second stationary drop). And, careful when putting your foot down on a paint stripe or arrow in the wet; slippery as whale snot.

 

----

 

 

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I have to go through this every time I take my RT out as I live behind the Sacramento River levee on top of which is Highway 160. I have to drive up a steep levee ramp and stop on the grade to check for traffic on the highway. I was a complete newbie on a big bike when I bought my 1100RT in 2008. I managed to drop that bike twice and my newer 1200RT once trying to ease out onto the highway. I never had a problem with my little Honda Rebel with lighter weight, lower gear and lower profile. I finally figured out that I was too timid not slipping the clutch sufficiently and not keeping rpms up. The engine would falter or kill and over I would go, very suddenly. Now I stop at the top with both feet out in 1st gear. I use the front break (integrated rear/front). I start out reving up the engine, and slipping the clutch as I ease off the brake. I've learned how to do the one-hand brake/throttle control. As I ease off the levee ramp I'm making sure to keep the rpms up, slipping the clutch considerably and letting off the brake. I'm probably not doing the clutch any good, but it's better than dropping the bike on the highway. Main problem with these RTs is they sit too high and 1st gear not low enough.

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I found the best way to handle hills and steep grades and other awkward maneuvering situations was to get a bike that wasn't too damn big to handle. After dropping the RT-P a time or two and spraining my wrist trying to avoid dropping I got rid of the PIG and bought something more reasonable, the F800ST.

They even have lowered versions for the vertically challenged.

I've ridden with some folks on RT's and K GT's that really should be on a smaller bike but aren't man enough to admit it. Or smart enough to realize it.

The Big Stuff ain't for everybody.

 

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This is one of those things that will ultimately come pretty naturally to you. The one thing that's important to handling this type of situation smoothly is to be in the right gear--first--as you roll to a stop. If it's going to be a stop of short duration, I just keep my foot on the rear brake pedal and keep the clutch lever in, with my left foot on the pavement.

 

When it looks like it's going to be a bit longer, I just do the dance between the right and left foot, shifting to neutral and letting out the clutch lever while I wait, with either the front (linked) or rear brake engaged. It takes a little conscious planning at first, but you'll eventually get it. I'd suggest practicing this a few times on a level surface or a gentle incline, when you're not subject to the additional stress of dealing with other vehicles and a steep angle. As Mitch points out, it's not all that difficult to manipulate the brake lever and the throttle at the same time. This all comes with more experience, but you can help improve your proficiency by practicing this someplace where you're not stressed by messing up in the middle of traffic.

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Besides advice already given, you are in control and if you feel stopping on a hill will result in loss of control be prepared to do anything to avoid the situation. That could mean waiting at the bottom of the hill until riding up can be done without stopping. You could also lane split to the top of the hill.

We motor officers practice riding and making u-turns on San Francisco's steepest streets.

Do practice hill starting procedures in parking lots while a safety rider watches you.

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Split second before I put my left and only my left foot down, I give a slight push on left and causing wheel to turn just a tiny bit to the right. I'm taking about the split second before left foot touches the ground. This slight push on the left hand almost ensures the bike leans to the left as my foot hits the gound.

 

My right foot never leaves the brake holding the bike until I give has and go. Little gas, little clutch, you hear the engine strain, release the right brake and away you go.

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