Re: Slow speed driving - I'm a noob
Hehe! Same here. Just got one (2005 model) almost a month ago. Before that, never had such a beast between the legs. Luckily I'm tall enough to reach the ground with both legs while on the center stand, heavy enough to be able to "tame" it (same feeling I had on an English Draft horse of some half a long ton), and as a skier and lazy jogger have enough leg strength to lift it all by myself (yes, I dropped it once already in a right turn from a Stop, actually more like gently let it lay on the side).
What I learned I must do?
- first, make sure bike and rider are prepared to ride legally (DL, registration, insurance...) and
- bike is in proper technical condition. Then...
- be decisive with clutch and gas play when taking off from Stop to the left and particularly to the right, don't be too gentle, the engine may die on you and you're left without power (that's how I dropped it)
- plan your gear for the tight turns, the thing has plenty of torque in all gears, but is good to be in the sweet spot for every turn
- practice stopping at the line on a positive slope followed by right or left turn (very important)
- be in the 1st gear at stop signs, never in neutral, also be mindful, the gears on older bikes can sometimes be tricky to switch, once the display showed me a confusing black rectangle instead of 1-5 or N, likely a gear sensor error, confused a moderately busy 4-way stop intersection, as I didn't know why the heck I could not get it back into 1st
- practice switching gears, feet position, sound of proper switching (mine does a distinctive, clean "clunk" when the gear lands properly)
- practice leg-work at stops, learn to catch/hold the bike with either foot too, may come in handy
- brake with both brakes as taught by instructors even though the bike has integral brakes and ABS
- practice slowest driving and balance acts without taking the legs of the pegs if possible, I like to "micro-roll" at stop signs, then start from a momentary full stop while the bike is still in balance, don't recommend, but is fun, may get me in trouble if a cop sees me and doesn't like it, I practiced it with a lighter bike, so I'm just upgrading now
- practice 8s in 1st/2nd gear as narrow as possible, preferably in empty parking lots (be mindful of your temperature gauge)
- practice on small residential streets, preferably with slopes, lots of Stop signs, dips, turns, curves (I'm lucky to live in one such area)
- don't be afraid to lean it in slow turns, the bike is heavy, but performs admirably, surprisingly sporty in tight turns (wondering if HDs can do that)
- weaving is fun at around 30mph
- didn't practice emergency swerving and emergency braking yet, will do when it is safe
- will attend an Intermediate Motorcycle Course with the bike as soon as possible and
- practice more and more as soon as these damn storms stop battering Southern California with the heaviest and most persistent rains I've seen in like forever and which keep me grounded
Have fun with your LT!