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Old 06-21-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
stephenws OP
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Potential Dumba.s Question

I've got a 2009 GSA. A couple years experience riding. Been trying to improve my slow speed skills. Recently took the MSF experienced rider course and did well with everything except the figure 8.

Ok, here's the question: I've been practicing figure 8s and u-turns in first gear and having some trouble with "jumpy" throttle input - even while feathering the clutch. Tonight I tried using 2nd gear and the throttle response seemed much smoother and easier to maintain. Should I continue practicing the slow speed stuff in 2nd gear or work on getting better in 1st gear?
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:13 PM   #2
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I'd keep after it in first gear. It's a skill you really need to find.

Part of the trick is finding the friction zone of your clutch. Keep the clutch right at the point just before it starts to engage the transmission. Once you find the point where the clutch just starts to engage you can move the handle just a little to engage or disengage the clutch and it will make things smoother.

You don't want to give it a lot of gas when slipping the clutch or you will heat it up to much.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:48 PM   #3
bemiiten
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Try leaving the clutch alone and just concentrate on using the throttle smoothly. The rear brake is also a great tool for helping tame the throttle at slow speed.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:38 PM   #4
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You may want tot think of body English

At parking lot speed in addition to using the rear brake, feathering the clutch, being liberal with the gas, considering addition leaning your body slightly off the COG away from the direction of the turn, lean left when turning right. This is exactly the opposite of cornering at none parking lot speeds.
Takes practice.....
For riding around corners at parking lot speeds on a heavier bike took waaaaaay more time to learn than riding round corners on a heavy bike at 60 mph.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:16 AM   #5
stephenws OP
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Thanks for the ideas and advice. I'll continue to work on it. Kinda intimidating with the size and weight of the bike, but I know I need to master this before I'll feel confident riding it. Almost dropped it 3 times yesterday practicing....
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
Penfold99
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I have found the same thing practicing on my new to me '05. It almost feels like the idle speed is too high to do the slower speed stuff without a lot of clutch work. Add to that the on/off idle throttle response, and it is jerky...
My newly installed boosterplug helps some, and just getting used to it. I also found the servo brakes to be very grabby at first, but have now become accustomed to them.

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Old 06-22-2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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Not a dumb question at all... It takes some real skill to do this well.

I am good turning left...struggle turning away from my clutch hand to the right! Take the panniers off, find a good smooth spot of dirt and grass to practice (skins things up less when you drop it...and you WILL drop it) drag that rear brake and things will improve!
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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Also, you will be surprised how slow you can go in first with the clutch fully engaged without stalling the engine.
Without touching the clutch, throttle management must be very precise and smooth. You should hardly feel the throttle move.
A good way to get used to the very slow speed on your big/tall machine is to find an empty parking lot and instead of playing with clutch and throttle, get it in first and had a tiny bit of "choke" (high idle lever for cold start). When you get used to that speed, take some off and go even slower. Keep going... It's a lot easier to be smooth with the high idle lever. When you are used to the very slow speed work, then stop using the high idle lever and work on your throttle control. It is usually easier to work one thing at the time.
Good luck.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #9
stephenws OP
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Thanks again for all the advice.

WoodButcher, I think I'll give the Accelerator Module a try. The price is reasonable and appears quick to install.

Had much better luck today practicing. Guess I was just off the other evening when I stalled the bike twice and almost dropped it 3 or 4 times practicing u-turns in a parking lot. Like I mentioned, my riding experience is limited. I didn't grow up riding and got my first bike when 50. When I get nervous or feel something is going wrong, I tighten my grip, which tends to pull in the clutch - just what I don't want to do during a slow speed turn. Guess I need to just practice, practice and practice to develop the correct responses.

I appreciate all the help.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Good question

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenws View Post
When I get nervous or feel something is going wrong, I tighten my grip, which tends to pull in the clutch - just what I don't want to do during a slow speed turn..
At a training course I did last year, they got us to use just two fingers on the clutch and brake controls. IMHO, this made the slow speed exercises much easier. With a full hand grip it is hard to be subtle.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Another good skill to learn is how to pick up your motorcycle by yourself. It will happen so learn how to do it and practice it a little. This video shows the technique.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sP3cqKbOEs
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSrider View Post
Also, you will be surprised how slow you can go in first with the clutch fully engaged without stalling the engine.
Without touching the clutch, throttle management must be very precise and smooth. You should hardly feel the throttle move.
A good way to get used to the very slow speed on your big/tall machine is to find an empty parking lot and instead of playing with clutch and throttle, get it in first and had a tiny bit of "choke" (high idle lever for cold start). When you get used to that speed, take some off and go even slower. Keep going... It's a lot easier to be smooth with the high idle lever. When you are used to the very slow speed work, then stop using the high idle lever and work on your throttle control. It is usually easier to work one thing at the time.
Good luck.
1200's don't have a manual cold start enrichment system...
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VEGASGSA View Post
1200's don't have a manual cold start enrichment system...
Thanks. Sorry I missed that.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenws View Post
I've got a 2009 GSA. A couple years experience riding. Been trying to improve my slow speed skills. Recently took the MSF experienced rider course and did well with everything except the figure 8.

Ok, here's the question: I've been practicing figure 8s and u-turns in first gear and having some trouble with "jumpy" throttle input - even while feathering the clutch. Tonight I tried using 2nd gear and the throttle response seemed much smoother and easier to maintain. Should I continue practicing the slow speed stuff in 2nd gear or work on getting better in 1st gear?
I also did the MSF course when I got my new 2001 GS. Regarding figure 8s, I never practiced them on the GS...too heavy for me (we were given small Yams and Kaws for use during the MSF course). So, I practiced figure 0s in both directions. These days, I stay out of parking lots. Also, I often will pull away from a stop in 2nd gear. I find nothing wrong with your use of 2nd gear/ slipping the clutch at low speeds to improve control...but, admittedly, I'm no expert.
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