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Discussion Starter #1
It's all repairable!
Had the dreaded parking lot drop last night. Was practicing my u-turns, circles and figure-8's. Told the wife "I'm going to do one more and then we'll head home." Yup, next thing I knew I was on my side, rolling over and popping up like I was 43 not 53. I think I just cut it too tight and tried to shift outside to counterbalance the bike, and then I hit the back brake a tad too much, came to a full stop and BAM! Knocked the left mirror around, bent the clutch lever and broke the left tail light housing. All still functional. My son has the stock lights off of his bike, they might fit on mine to replace the taillight. We'll see... if not I'll get some new LED lights for the rear. I can tape/glue the lens back on the tail light temporarily. Just need to readjust the mirror. I THINK I can bend the clutch lever straight again. It still works but is a weird reach around to grip it. I had no scratches, dings or scrapes personally so that was good.
 

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That's why we practice.
The rear brake is usually very forgiving - I use it more than the front in what I call a trailing turn - you use the rear to help in tight turns. Have you ever taken the MSF course? Specifically "The Box" is a great way to master slow speed maneuvers since you're doing a figure 8 in a small box. Get a roll of blue tape and mark your own in a parking lot somewhere.
 

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Sorry to hear about your drop but it happens sometimes. I taught to MSF beginner class for 10 years and watched many new riders do the same. Here are some tips that might help:
  • Stay away from the brakes in a turn. Too easy to over correct when leaned over.
  • Try to get you speed right as you enter the turn and coast through.
  • You can manage you speed much easier with the throttle and clutch.
  • If you need to brake the front brake is much easier the manage when you are trying to keep your weight on the outside.
  • Get your weight on the outside before you start your turn. So you're not trying to reposition while the bike is leaned over.
  • Make sure to look way far behind you where you are going. Our favorite saying was; shift your weight, turn your head and then turn the handle bars.
I hope this helps. There is no easy way to learn slow tight turns except for practice. Continue the parking lot practice and start with larger radius turns. Then as you gain confidence shrink the size.

I have poor balance and performing tight turns on the small training bikes, we used in class, wasn't too had to master. Trying to transfer that skill to my full size bikes was a different story. I still find myself repeating that 3 step process, (shift your weight, turn your head and then turn the handlebars) to myself, anytime I need to make a tight slow turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey y'all, thanks for the advice!!! I have the MSF course scheduled in two weeks and then a month later a Ride Safe course with the OHP. I'm doing pretty well (I think) so far for practicing, reading, watching and riding in the country with an occasional straight highway jaunt of 5-10 miles. Plus, I'm learning on a 700 lb, 1300 cc bike.

I was in a small school parking lot last night. One row of parking on each side. I was able to pretty consistently keep it in the middle of parking area (normally where you drive) for turn after turn, then I tried to tighten them up a bit. That wasn't too bad. I was really working on snapping my head around and looking as far back as I could to make that turn while putting a bit of pressure on that rear brake. That helped a bunch. I worked on a u-turn from a stop and made that work pretty well a few times (which sort of had me stoked!). I wasn't anywhere near perfect but not bad for my first time practicing that stuff. On the way home I actually did need to make a u-turn and it worked there too so it was good practice. Lost the wife... she stopped to take a picture of three bucks in a field. She didn't come over the hill behind me for a couple of minutes so I cut a U in the next intersection. Don't worry... two lane road, out in the country, can see for miles in most directions. Of course then I found her and had to make a u again. That one wasn't so good but got it done.

I guess I don't get to ride this evening... will probably be wrenching on the bike and the son's truck.
 

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I'm 73. Been riding since I was 9. I have flat tracked and torn up more motorcycles than I should admit to, rode a bike for years as my daily transportation until my late wife insisted that "I buy a damn car!"
I have an 06 Triumph Scrambler. Love the bike, it feels so good riding around town. Not like a Meriden Triumph, but feels good nonetheless.
I have dropped it 3 times standing still, something I never did with any of my other bikes!
I think it is cursed!
I never drop my Sportster, but then it is way lower to the ground.
 

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Glad to hear YOU made it out unscathed! The rest can be fixed!
 

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Don't beat yourself up to much I did last month with no damage wasn't used to having
Such a short front end on a bike turned a little to sharp of a left trying todo a u-turn
and slomo nose dive picked her up with a helping hand,readjusted the mirror and off again
a little embarrassed
 

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I'm 73. Been riding since I was 9. I have flat tracked and torn up more motorcycles than I should admit to, rode a bike for years as my daily transportation until my late wife insisted that "I buy a damn car!"
I have an 06 Triumph Scrambler. Love the bike, it feels so good riding around town. Not like a Meriden Triumph, but feels good nonetheless.
I have dropped it 3 times standing still, something I never did with any of my other bikes!
I think it is cursed!
I never drop my Sportster, but then it is way lower to the ground.
the old school boys knew it :) better,
that's why current bikes sucks: because, like racing bicycles, they seem designed by architects and engineered by designers to not be able to put your feet on the ground.
 

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I have come off in snow and in rain, come of with the help (?) of other vehicles and once, because of nothing more than my own stupidity. All part of being on a motorcycle. I was a motorcycle courier in London for a while when a teenager. We used to say, 'If you dont come off ocassionally, your just not trying hard enough'. I think thats not a bad line for life itself.
 

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Saw a T-shirt one night at the dirt track; "If you ain't on the wall, you ain't goin' fast enough!"
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe as I get more experience I can live up to those... but for now... the best ride so far (for me) is in the country at 40-45 mph just putting along looking at the scenery and enjoying the wind. It's nice... no traffic, no trucks, nothing but bliss. Well, except when I topped a hill and a danged Black Angus was standing in the road. Luckily no vehicles coming in the opposite lane so we could pull over there. That was our only escape. Ditch to the right, ditch to the left. But we stopped soon enough anyway, just pulled left to giver her more room. That was fun. Got stopped, she wandered off and we putted onward.
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Best ride EVER!!!
 

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Remember, even when practicing u-turns and limited space maneuvers, you still need some momentum to carry you thru the turn. Stalling the motorcycle with the bars turned, grabbing the front brake, or even stopping period can have the wrong effect, as you found out. I have a feeling you're going to hear "head and eyes up" a lot when you take your BRC.

What state are you in? Here in Texas we teach the BRCu.

Also, I made this video a while back, I think for one of your threads. Watch how I execute the box, in the 20' section.

 

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Maybe as I get more experience I can live up to those... but for now... the best ride so far (for me) is in the country at 40-45 mph just putting along looking at the scenery and enjoying the wind. It's nice... no traffic, no trucks, nothing but bliss. Well, except when I topped a hill and a danged Black Angus was standing in the road. Luckily no vehicles coming in the opposite lane so we could pull over there. That was our only escape. Ditch to the right, ditch to the left. But we stopped soon enough anyway, just pulled left to giver her more room. That was fun. Got stopped, she wandered off and we putted onward.
Ok. As another long-time rider I'm gonna do a tough love thing right here.
Start practicing motorcycle situational awareness. Save the scenery for now.
Practice awareness until you don't even realize you're doing it.
A black Angus in the road should not be a surprise because you should be expecting something - always.
Seriously. If you don't you will likely become a statistic.
First you make sure every few seconds you look back in your properly adjusted rearviews.
Then you physically turn your head and look to both sides. Fix in your mind the location of vehicles behind and to your sides.
Always do two scans ahead - one for potential hazards and drivers within 15 seconds at your current speed and the next further down the road from that.
Look for drivers drifting towards your lane or wandering - they are likely going to pull in front of you at the last minute no turn signal. Wandering is also likely a damned texter, Anyone you see with a phone in hand is public enemy #1 - stay far far away.
Practice looking for those signals/bodylanguage until you have it down pat you just KNOW what that idiot is going to do.
Watch for brake lights and swerving that might indicate obstacles in the road ahead.
Watch for the impatient riding people's butts - sooner or later they will snap and yank over to pass with no warning.
Pretend you're a spy and you always need to have an exit strategy. Those looks in the rearview and to the side? You need to know with no doubt those lanes are clear in case you need them.
Seriously - expect the worst and assume you're surrounded by 5 year olds at the county fair bumper cars rink.
You get a butt hugger - move over and let them go. You will not win any contests on the road guaranteed.
You do this constantly and it becomes second nature - THEN you can spare some attention for scenery.
Last and a bit controversial to some - get bright LED headlamps. It makes you "look bigger" and has been the biggest safety item I've yet to find on my bike besides my brains.
I promise you this is not over the top - even for the country. I was riding daily commute in city traffic for decades until I started working at home and I'm still here to tell you about it. Just trust me on this.
Last thing - buy and read Proficient Motorcycling. You can skip volume 2 - not near as good as the first one. The section on turns alone is worth the price of admission. Still on my shelf all these years later.
 

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I'll admit to a mistake I made yesterday on my way home from the hill country that as an experienced rider I should not have made. There was a driver who was aggressively speeding, weaving in and out of traffic. As traffic came to a stop just on the west side of Houston, I was meandering my way thru the wall of cars and ended up in front of this driver. He passed me in my own lane and tried to side swipe me. Had I been a little more focused on the task at hand and remembering threats and "collision traps" I would have remembered him and made sure I got further away from him or stayed behind.

Inattention will get you hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Man I really appreciate the support and advice you all pass out. It's awesome to get that kind of help from y'all!

Yeah the only reason the cow was a surprise... we had just made a right turn from a stop sign, there is a house on that corner and they don't trim their trees back... the stupid cow was sort of behind a tree limb standing on the edge of the road. It's sort of an uphill there... more of a rise than a hill. About the time I started to shift to second, I saw her head move so I was in second gear when I saw it and the wife had just barely turned when I pulled left and stopped. I'm not challenging a 1500lb cow for a lane...

I'm trying hard to stay focused out there. That's why I'm on slow speed roads only during the evening (much less traffic out here after about 6pm). We can ride and focus on small stuff like stopping correctly, turning and staying in our lane (without on-coming traffic to worry about), emergency braking etc. We go to the school parking lot... it's about a 10min ride to get there to practice 8's, circles, u-turns etc. Nobody ever there in the evenings. I have figured out not to look straight to the side no matter how big the deer is... Too many other things to worry about on a bike.

I'm saving for the LED's now. I'm going to switch to LED's all around. I'm putting a light bar on the front that will take LED driving lights so I can have three in the front. In the rear will be an integrated light on the fender along with bullet LED RTB's. I want to be SEEN since so many drivers are blind.

I did order the stock Honda turn signal to install for now. Probably won't get the LED's until Christmas time. Just put in a new pool pump and filter. The upstairs A/C died. Wife's birthday coming up... four grandkid's birthdays and to kid's birthdays in the next three months. So sort of tight for my discretionary spending for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Remember, even when practicing u-turns and limited space maneuvers, you still need some momentum to carry you thru the turn. Stalling the motorcycle with the bars turned, grabbing the front brake, or even stopping period can have the wrong effect, as you found out. I have a feeling you're going to hear "head and eyes up" a lot when you take your BRC.

What state are you in? Here in Texas we teach the BRCu.

Also, I made this video a while back, I think for one of your threads. Watch how I execute the box, in the 20' section.

That is basically what I was doing but between the white lines... and not quite as fluidly. The parking lot we go to... since it is a small country school doesn't have head to head parking like that. Just one row on each side facing out. After I get better we can go to a bigger lot in town. For now I'm just working on circles and u-turns between the lines. Thanks for the video work though!!!
 

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That is basically what I was doing but between the white lines... and not quite as fluidly. The parking lot we go to... since it is a small country school doesn't have head to head parking like that. Just one row on each side facing out. After I get better we can go to a bigger lot in town. For now I'm just working on circles and u-turns between the lines. Thanks for the video work though!!!
Take a tape measure with ya, and some tennis balls cut in half. There you go.
 

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I have figured out not to look straight to the side no matter how big the deer is... Too many other things to worry about on a bike.
Not only that but you'll learn the bike goes where you're looking.
That's why in a turn you pick the spot you need to be and keep looking at it. Don't stare at the line and try to stay inside - look at the point you're aiming for - everything else falls into place..
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Took the MSF course this weekend. Was pretty good. Ended up on the littlest bike there. That made it hard since it was way to small for me but I managed and cleaned the course for zero points lost on the test. Now I am at DMV trying to get my endorsement. I broke the system I guess... the system would only let them issue a Motorcycle Only license. So I'm sitting here waiting on the helpdesk to fix this SNAFU.
 
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