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Parking Lot Practice


DieselDave

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I've spent about a month with my new (to me) RT after 2 years on a Yamaha V-Star 1100. It's a whole new world for me and I'm having a great time exploring it.

 

My friends cautioned me about the RT, telling me to be careful with all that speed at my command. Like many of you here, I feel the driver controls the speed, not the bike. Having said that, I have noticed that I do ride faster on the RT than the V-star, especially in the twisties. This is due to the vastly superior handling of the RT, not a sudden change in my temperament.

 

I have seen several comments in this message forum saying, "Practice in the parking lot". Any specific drills or exercises I should be working? The PA Motorcycle Safety course had us doing figure 8's in a box but I suspect that there is more for this rider to learn.

 

Thanks for your help.

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My friends cautioned me about the RT, telling me to be careful with all that speed at my command.

 

All that speed? confused.gif

Are you sure that you have a BMW RT???

grin.giftongue.gifgrin.gif

 

No advise on the drills, but watch the brakes at parking lot speeds. If you stab at them with the wheel turned, you're gonna tip her over. DAMHIK.

 

smile.gif

Chris

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I watch the guys a sbux in the am making tight u-turns. I am so jealous of their skill. clap.gif

 

On the other hand, they like my RT-P. tongue.gif

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I've spent about a month with my new (to me) RT after 2 years on a Yamaha V-Star 1100. It's a whole new world for me and I'm having a great time exploring it.

 

My friends cautioned me about the RT, telling me to be careful with all that speed at my command. Like many of you here, I feel the driver controls the speed, not the bike. Having said that, I have noticed that I do ride faster on the RT than the V-star, especially in the twisties. This is due to the vastly superior handling of the RT, not a sudden change in my temperament.

 

I have seen several comments in this message forum saying, "Practice in the parking lot". Any specific drills or exercises I should be working? The PA Motorcycle Safety course had us doing figure 8's in a box but I suspect that there is more for this rider to learn.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Practice basic manoevering like weaves, offset weaves, braking (smooth progressive braking to get a feel for what your tires are doing), swerving, work on smooth control operation, throttle, brake & clutch. Finally then you can work on proper turning , sharp corners and U turns using thwe smooth techniques you "practiced".

 

It should be easier to ride faster, stability, cornering clearance and a wider usable engine rpm range.

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Take the MSF basic course to learn the drills and then practice them frequently. And then take their experienced rider course for additional practice.

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Here are some of the cone patterns

Did anyone happen to LOOK at these?! eek.gifeek.gif

Holy smokes. Uh, what's the acceptable time to learn these?

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Here are some of the cone patterns

Did anyone happen to LOOK at these?! eek.gifeek.gif

Holy smokes. Uh, what's the acceptable time to learn these?

Time to learn depends on the rider. In my case, I had two weeks of basic training to master patterns like these. You are expected to know how to do the patterns before you attend a basic motor academy such as CHP. Instructors give you about 4 attempts to do a pattern cleanly. If they see you struggling, they send you home to drive a Crown Vic..

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I think parking lot practice is fine; for practicing riding in parking lots grin.gif seriously though; while doing those types of drills are helpful, they arn't the kind of drills that will give you the edge when driving a powerful machine at highway speeds or in twisty road sections.

 

Having just taken the ERC training, I would'nt say it's totally worthless; they do have a couple of drills that do something besides seeing how well you can counter-weight; but sadly the course is lacking; and the instructors know it. The good news is that they are reviving the course and will soon be coming out with a real "advanced" rider course; in the mean time, I would say your best bet is check out a couple of the excellent written books on street riding; read them; study them and then practice them when you ride

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Slow speed operation is very important to feeling confident.

start with a vacant parking lot. pretend the parking lines are the two edges of a road. slowly practice making uturns. It may take a couple days to get within even two lines but with pratice you will get better then take it on a road and make a uturn on the road. HEAD UP LOOK WHERE YOU WANT THE BIKE TO GO.

 

Tony

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My friends cautioned me about the RT, telling me to be careful with all that speed at my command.

 

All that speed? confused.gif

Are you sure that you have a BMW RT???

grin.giftongue.gifgrin.gif

 

No advise on the drills, but watch the brakes at parking lot speeds. If you stab at them with the wheel turned, you're gonna tip her over. DAMHIK.

 

smile.gif

Chris

 

All that speed is right. The V-Star weighed in at just about the same weight as the RT, but with significantly less hp.

 

Thanks for the tips. I did take the Motorcycle Safety Course prior to getting the V-Star. I still hear the instructor's voice in my head when using the mirrors. (we won't go into the other voices I hear in my head...)

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I made the same switch. I had a VSTAR1100 Classic. Luved the look, luved the floor boards, luved the close dealer and no oil burning ever, luved the flat feet on the ground. Hated what it did to my lower back after 1.5 hours. I have a 02 1150RT now. Luv the long distance ride, luv the ability to ATGATT and not be looked at funny (everybody figures beemer riders are different anyway) and the ability to ride 300 miles w/o pain. The biggest riding difference to me is at low speeds. The VSTAR did much better in the parking lot. The 1150RT is pretty rough in the parking lot (see my very low speed drop post a few weeks ago). Higher center of gravity, feet not really good on the ground (I'm 5'11"). Once you're above about 10 MPH the RT is wunnerful. The other big difference is the RT is downright toasty in the summer (FLORIDA), the VSTAR was just hot. You can say anything you want about fancy underwear, but in ATGATT you flat out roast in Florida on an RT (I still do it, I'm medium well now at 90% and 85% humidity). Actually wish I had both bikes, but my 13' Boston Whaler takes up the other half of the garage and the guitar collection is more than my drummer-no m/c wife can take! Hope this helps.

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Some others have recommended good drills already so I won't waste time repeating them. I tell my students that having completed a BRC is just the beginning of their riding education, and that they should go to parking lots and practice some of the manuvers they did in the class when they buy their own motorcycles. I also tell them anyone can ride a motorcycle at 70 MPH. You could take your hands off the bars and it will (should) stay right on track. It's low speed control and manuvering skills the course really trys to instill in students. Just the kinds of things usefull to practice in a parking lot. Practice makes proficiency.

I just had a chance to play with my RT-P on a range this weekend and it's a big difference from my Road King. I prefer the Road King for some of the manuvers since working the friction zone seems easier with it than the RT, but once I figured out how much rear brake to apply on the RT, it smoothly spun through manuvers like the box and "S" turns with ease and no parts draggin like the Road King does. grin.gif

Can't wait to run it through the multi-curve exercise of the ERC sometime.

I printed out those police exercises that someone posted a link to and I'm going to set em up and give em a try on the range next time I'm out there. Should be interesting.

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Bob,

Do you have any idea how many people fail this test each year? Man, I hope Crown Vic makes a motorcycle, cause I could be in trouble. ooo.gif

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tonyurban

I've learned alot of valuable slow-speed skills such as the friction zone and feathering my rear brake to achieve tight, slow turns. See the videos at http://www.ridelikeapro.com/.

 

No affiliations, just a happy viewer... blah blah.

 

Tony

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If you aleardy know this disregard.

 

There are a few keys to slow and fast riding that you might find helpful.

 

Master feathering your clutch. That is learning to use just enough clutch so that you are applying power to the rear tire. As long as you have power to the rear tire the bike will stay upright even at surprisingly slow speeds (walking speed). Simply go to a big level parking lot clear of debris and curbs. Give it throttle power and release the clutch just enough to get the bike moving. It is essentially having 2 sources of power, the primary (THROTTLE) and secondary (CLUTCH). Take a long time and practice straight up, slow riding (CAUTION Your clutch is a dry clutch. It will smell awful. As it gets hot you will feel it 'skipping. Let it cool for a while. Police bikes go through clutches about 1 1/2 to 2 years depending on how much they train. Eventaully they will burn up over time due to this type of use)

 

Another slow speed skill that is very handy is called counter balancing. At slow speeds you may feel like the bike wants to fall when you lean and turn it. As long as you have power it will not fall. The reason for the falling sensation is due to the fact the center of gravity is shifted in the direction the bike is leaning. Counter balancing shifts if back toward the center. Basically you lean the opposite way you turn. Also, look where you want to go. DO NOT LOOK AT THE GROUND, CURB, CAR. You will go where you look. Trust me been there, done that and still do (but not so much).

 

For fast riding the opposite of counter balancing applies. At greater speeds you counter STEER. Push on the side of the handlebar that you wish to go. To go right push on the ride side etc. The gyroscopic effects make the bike lean to the opposite way you initially steer. We all do this instinctively when we ride any two wheeled vehicle. The more you push the greater the bike will lean. Practice driving straight and pushing back and forth (gently at first) you will see what I mean. Then as you take a turn bay notice to what you do to turn. It's nothing new but you may not be aware your doin git. But now that you know you can really lean it. To get really agressive shift your weight (rear, torso and head) in the direction you want to go AND countersteer. The bike will rail.

thumbsup.gif

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Bob, as a relatively new "Badge" owner, can you tell me how I might get into a training session or a class for the 2 wheelers? I have heard that the CHP training is top notch. Is there a "PD" or a civilian version anywhere?

 

Dan

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I echo BFish's recommendations:

 

Practice putting it on and off the center stand and side stand.

 

I'm embarrassed to admit that after 2.5 years of flawless riding of the RT I dropped it twice in 10 days and in the garage putting it up and taking it off the stand(s). blush.gifblush.gif

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