Help with two-up riding at slow speeds - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 59 Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:50 pm Thread Starter
 
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Help with two-up riding at slow speeds

Two weeks into the new for me (used 2001) LTC. Two up riding while coming to a stop is sometimes a challenge for me on the "Orca" (black LT). My other half is only 130lbs and she still makes quite a difference on board. I've ridden for approx 5 years (average 12k miles per year and I've owned over a dozen bikes and three currently) but almost all of it has been solo riding - and none this big. I find that I put both feet down when coming to a stop because I'm not sure which way that dam whale is going to go with her on back (to head off any jokes, my wife is not the whale). Any tips? Instructions I can give the rider? I'm 6' and 200 lbs and in shape so that shouldn't be a problem. But it still can give me the willy's at slow speeds. By the way, I bought the used black 2001 LTC with 9,500 miles for $10K - how did I do?
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post #2 of 59 Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:58 pm
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The passenger has to know to stay in line with you at slow speeds. If you lean a little, the passenger should stay right with you. After a while it should become natural to them.

Yes, riding two up on a heavy bike takes practice, for both rider and passenger, but as most anything else, practice makes perfect! The pleasure the LT can give both of you makes the learning curve worth wile.

At higher speeds, tell the passenger to always look over your inside shoulder in turns. that will keep them from counterleaning, which is a sure recipe for disaster as we all know.

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post #3 of 59 Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:59 pm
 
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I have never tried putting both feet down but I would suggest that in doing so you are creating a situation that allows the weight to go either way(and you don't know which way until it happens). I have always used my left leg during a stop, which leaves the right foot for braking if necessary. This leaves the bike tilted very slightly to the left and very predictable. I'll be interested in hearing other opinions.
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post #4 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 12:44 am
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The most important thing to remember when stopping the LT is to keep the handlebars straight. Even if you plan on making a turn after you stop, keep the handlebars straight when you come to a stop.

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post #5 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 12:50 am
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I have found that if you come to a quick stop and put the left foot down you can keep your balance. With my xo up, I do a quick stop using front and rear brakes, put my left foot down, then my right. I aslo found that the right pair of riding boots makes a difference. I have a pair with thick soles and heels and they seem to do the trick. I also found that you will get better the more you ride two up!

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post #6 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 12:59 am
 
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One thing I found with stopping the mammoth is when you plan on stopping, STOP! Don't try to walk it up at 1 mph to where you think you should've ended up. I'm 5'8" at 200 lbs with a bad back and figured right from the start I'd have to deal with the sheer bulk of this bike. So far, so good.
My biggest fear is my passenger getting on/off. Takes a wide leg swing to straddle the rear seat while mounting for the back seat rider. I've thought of letting them board 1st but I have a further fear of the centerstand folding before I was aboard. I quickly educate them as to the easiest method of boarding and then I set up my "tripod of death" stance at the controls. Legs out like iron rails and a slight lean forward like I'm pushing the bike forward, but with the front brake locked.
Which brings up a good point on this subject. Another post stated they use the footbrake until stopped. I use the pedal until almost stopped then transfer the weight of the stop into the front brake using the lever, freeing up my legs. If for any reason (oil, roadkill, gravel, pothole......) you would need use of your legs, they're available this way.
Hope this helps.
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post #7 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 12:59 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrod Maguire
By the way, I bought the used black 2001 LTC with 9,500 miles for $10K - how did I do?
You did good, assuming of course that everything is in good shape on your LT...

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post #8 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 1:28 am
 
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I'm finding if I stop the bike smoothly in a complete cycle without varying the speed during the deceleration process, it's a controlable and predictable situation. If I decel almost to a stop and try to edge forward a couple of feet or so, it gets rather dicey..
With 2 up, I brief the pax to remain motionless and not to make any sudden moves without letting me know first. It's worked so far ( fingers crossed)..
I also practice slow speed turns in a vacant parking lot almost every time I go out riding which is increasing my slow speed handling confidence..
And finally, always keep the front wheel straight when stopping..:-)
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post #9 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 6:45 am
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My wife has now been pillion for almost 3 years, and thankfully she was a very quick learner. She is now so confident on the back that she never holds on, just sits back totally relaxed which is a HUGE help in handling the bike. If she wants to stand and stretch or wriggle while going, she just lets me know and there is never any trouble.

Stopping: when I learnt to ride some 25 years ago, I was taught be an old rider to stop on the front brake, and that is still the way I do it today (yes I know you are all going to yell and scream about how I should use the back brake too). The back brake only gets used in a grab everything dire emergency stop. My usual method of stopping is to decel with the gears while applying the front to wash off some speed, then both feet out and a fairly quick decel to a full stop and feet on the ground. It can be done smoothly with only a small dive of the front forks. I find this gives the best smooth in-line stop for me. As was said in an earlier post, DO NOT try to roll slowly to a stop. If you are going to stop, then just do it and don't muck around.
However, the machine is surprisingly stable and often if I am rolling up behind stopped cars, and the lights turn green, I can release the brake and just roll at VERY low speed while the cars are getting going again, no need to put a foot down.

Pillion mounting: I have seen a lot of pillions getting on in a very difficult manner by hoisting a leg over the seat while still standing on the ground. The easiest way is for me to apply front brake, stand with a slight lean forward bracing the bike, then my wife puts one hand on my shoulder and the other on the top box, steps up onto her peg and swings the other leg over the seat. If the pillion leans forward to center over the seat as they step up, there is almost no sideways weight put on the bike.

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post #10 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 7:30 am
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Head and eyes forward

I read all the posts here before responding. There were lots of good comments and I'm not going to dispute any of them. The main thing, even riding solo, when stopping is head and eyes straight to the front. Looking left or right is a signal that you're going to come close to dropping or drop it. So far I've not come close with Connie on the back. Solo is a different story.

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post #11 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 7:33 am
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Look where you want the bike to go. If you want to drop it, look down while you're stopping.



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post #12 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 7:42 am
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Help with two-up riding at slow speeds

"Practice the way you will play." MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) teaches "left foot to the ground first" for many reasons. In maximum braking situations (emergencies) you need to have your right foot on the rear brake and continual increasing squeeze of the front brake. During an emergency is no time to be thinking that THIS TIME I need to use more than just my front brake. So, Brian D, I'm the first one to send you this word of caution. It took my wife a couple years of my nagging to ALWAYS USE BOTH BRAKES, but now I feel more confident that in an emergency she won't have to think about using MAXIMUM braking.

At almost any speed, if you "press left to lean left..." you can control which way the bike will lean just before you come to a complete stop. Another couple of tips from MSF. Keep your head and eyes up, looking straight ahead (amazing how that helps with balance).

As said earlier - the slower your speed, the more important it is for your passenger to not move.

I second dshealey's comment about PRACTICE.
I second scottydaug's comment about handlebars straight with the understanding that if you feel the bike leaning right, PRESS the handlebar LEFT to make it lean left.
I second Daman858's comment about QUICK STOPS because the slower you are rolling, the less balance you have. Here again, MSF has students practice "pause & go" which involves a quick decel, then roll again without putting your feet down.
I second bmwusmc's comment about a smooth decel process. Don't apply, release, reapply, etc. (Exception would be if you want to get the driver's attention behind you). If your handlebars are not straight that is even more important.

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post #13 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 7:51 am
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I am with Steve. I too read all the post and like some and dislike others. Steve stated the best. Look straight headed, handle bars straight and squeeze the front brake. Do not grab.
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post #14 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 8:20 am
 
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2 up help

Have you seen the DVD by Jerry "Motorman" Palodino? He offers some great tips and uses a big BMW LT for some of the drills. It has helped me a lot in slow speed riding with and without my bride on back. If you want the name of it PM me and I will get it. (it's on the other side of the house and a guest is sleeping there now or I'd go get it for you now)
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post #15 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 8:57 am
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I'll chime in as well......LOOK FORWARD.....WAY FORWARD. The bike will go wherever you look and if you are looking down, you might go there!

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post #16 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 9:28 am
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There is no replacement for lots of practice on the LT. I suggest slow speed practice one-up till you are really comfortable with those U-turns and stopping with your eyes looking straight ahead and head up, always. The most difficult times with the LT are when you are riding two-up and stopping on uneven pavement or worse in the gravel. Stay away from gravel as much as possible again, until you're comfortabe. You will begin to get used to the weight of the LT and it will seem normal at some point. For me it's the first bike I've learned to use the engine RPM to help with U-turns and tight maneuvers with limited real estate. Use the RPM and slip the clutch to make those tight turns. If you haven't taken the Experienced Rider Course (ERC) in some time, do it, it's worth it every time.

You got a great deal on the LT and this site is a gold mine of information. Enjoy the bike and be careful.
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post #17 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 9:50 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrod Maguire
Any tips? Instructions I can give the rider?
I always tell my passengers to sit still when we are slow or stopped. If they need to wiggle and move around, wait until we are rolling down the road. It's tough enough to balance the combined weight of the bike and passenger while stopped, without having to deal with sudden weight shifts.
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post #18 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 10:09 am
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Little Help

I had a simular problem with two up after being away from motorcycles for 25 years. All of my previous bikes were smaller, lighter, and lower to the ground. They were much more maneuverable at low speeds for these very reasons. With the LT I used down shifting and the front break predominately for planned breaking at lights or in heavy traffic as speed. I use the foot break for slow stops to make the final stoping effort because it is easier to control the momentum. The front breaks seem too powerful and can bind easier at slow speeds. If you use the rear break for slow stops (at traffic lights) it seem less sensitive and more controlled.

As far as passenger hopping on. I hold the front break on and brace for the passenger mounting the bike with both feet on the ground leaning a little forward. Then like the other post with one hand on my shoulder and the other on the rear luggage rack she steps up on the passenger peg on the near side and while standing steps over the seat. Dismounting is simular in reverse. She stands on both pegs and then steps over the seat to the ground moving her hand to the luggage rack as she turns. No serious leg lifting or stretching from ground level.

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post #19 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 10:30 am
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My wife had to relearn how to be a good pillion. Before we met she would ride with her previous boyfriends but that like 8 year ago. She had not been on a bike since then. We bought our LT in Sept of this year and have had to remind a few times not to lean for me. I could feel her leaning into a curve before me. The one time she thought she was helping me was when we pulling into a gas station and she decided that we might go down so she put her foot out and leaned to the right which thru the balance of the bike way off. I was pulling up the pump at this point and the only thing that kept the bike upright was sheer muscle on my part. That goodness for the years of mountain biking. I told after that point that she needs to let me do the driving and she needs to just hang on. When I first got the LT and we were riding two up I used the two foot methid to stop. Mainly cause this is my first real big bike. Alright it mainly my first bike period. I then would practice the one foot method more and more. Now it is a no brainer. I just stop as long as she stays right behind me. I had to practice the one foot when riding alone thn I praticed with her on the bike. Everything is great now she stays directly behind me and does not try to steer the bike. Have a great Day.

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post #20 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 10:54 am
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I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and guess that you may be inseam challenged, and/or that you are not feeling enough "grip" through your feet when touching down.

Just about every so called "motorcycle specific" boot I've looked at has soles that are as hard as a rock. Great for longevity but pretty poor performers when it comes to grip. Large lug soles are even worse, since you are effectively getting less "rubber on the road".

If needed, "lengthen" your legs by having a custom cobbler add an extra 1/2" to 3/4" height to your favorite riding boots and/or have him install a grippy, wide platform, soft compound tread like Vibram Apollo - it is available in black as well. No question it will wear out faster than traditional soles - but that is the whole point:

http://www.vibram.us/catalog/PDFs/234/239W.pdf

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post #21 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 10:57 am
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All of the suggestion above are good (some better than others) to get the straight skinny go take a ERC (Experience Rider Course) you can find the closest one by going to http://www.msf-usa.org/. It will be money well spend. Also if you are interested in books/DVD's on the subject of safe riding PM me I have a discount source.

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post #22 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 11:14 am
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Well said

Quote:
Originally Posted by bulletbill
All of the suggestion above are good (some better than others) to get the straight skinny go take a ERC (Experience Rider Course) you can find the closest one by going to http://www.msf-usa.org/. It will be money well spend. Also if you are interested in books/DVD's on the subject of safe riding PM me I have a discount source.
I will agree. Want to make it even a better experience, take you pillion with you to the ERC. It WILL make a difference as the exercises are more difficult with pillion on board. Plus it will help train them too.

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post #23 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 11:30 am
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Obviously you have hit on a common situation that many have experienced. The LT does handle differently with 2 people that's for sure. I can feel a difference with a full tank verses nearing empty. Eyes straight ahead, passanger sitting still, and steady on the brake does it for us. What is sometimes tough, is after going for a couple of hours of steady speed (superslab) and then coming to a stop. At any rate the practice practice practice is the best thing.
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post #24 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 11:35 am
 
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Cool stoppies

STOPPING, no matter what speed - fast, slow, rolling stop, or panic - is all about balance. If you have your (and the passengers) weight adjusted in the correct spot (balance point) you will be upright. You can even stop with no feet down (for a second) if everything is in balance. Confidence does this for the rider, experience and relaxation for the passenger. Practice makes perfect. I've been practicing for 49 years now, but still I'm not perfect.
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post #25 of 59 Old Nov 24th, 2005, 10:00 pm
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diddo what BrianD said

Quote:
Pillion mounting: I have seen a lot of pillions getting on in a very difficult manner by hoisting a leg over the seat while still standing on the ground. The easiest way is for me to apply front brake, stand with a slight lean forward bracing the bike, then my wife puts one hand on my shoulder and the other on the top box, steps up onto her peg and swings the other leg over the seat. If the pillion leans forward to center over the seat as they step up, there is almost no sideways weight put on the bike.
My pillion gets on the same way with no problems. I do usually leave the bike in gear(if not running) and the side stand down just for that added safety

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post #26 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 5:28 am
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Coupla suggestions....

A few tips that will make life a bit easier for you..

Do not ride at idle speed in low gears with the clutch fully engaged. If you need to go real slow, choose 1st gear, slip the clutch and hold the RPM around 2000. Control your speed by riding the rear brake. This will give you substantial improvement in stability.

Do not look down at the ground directly in front of you whilst you are on the move. Keep your head up and look where you are going by scanning ahead. Instinctively you are drawn to where you are looking - if that point happens to be only a few feet in front of you your sense of balance becomes disrupted, resulting in wobbly bars.

Nothing wrong with putting both feet down. I personally dont do it, but that is the way I have been trained to ride. When you are about to take off, you should set up with your right foot on the rear brake, in first gear, and supporting the bike with your left leg. If you do this EVERY time, combined with looking ahead, you will find your starts are smooth and controlled.

A dignified method of getting the cook on and off the back - have her stand on the left side, facing the bike. She places her left hand on your left shoulder, and grabs hold. Stepping up with her left foot onto the pillion peg, she stands on the peg, then gracefully swings her right leg across the seat and slides on. Getting off (the bike that is) - she grabs hold of both of your shoulders, then stands up on the pegs. Swinging her right leg back over the seat, she is left standing on the left pillion peg, and steps down with her right leg. Graceful exit achieved. You should Keep both feet on the ground during these manoeuvres, and make sure she holds tight onto your shoulder for added balance on her part.

Low speed manoeuvering with a pillion - all low speed stuff should be done fairly upright, slipping the clutch and keeping those revs up around the 2000 RPM or above range.. Control is achieved by riding the rear brake. A vital aspect here is keeping your head upright and looking where you want to go, not at the ground. I have written several articles on this stuff, posted on the old site. The advice i give my novice pillions - act like a sack of potatoes. Tell them to relax, and enjoy the view. They should avoid squirming around when you are at very low speeds, but other than that just do it! Advising them to look over your inside shoulder on corners etc is all very good, but if you are pushing it hard enough for this to be a vital requirement you are probably putting your pillion at risk from your riding actions.

These are a couple of advanced rider techniques as taught to the police cyclists over here. They are easy to master, and should be practised at every opportunity. When they become instinctive you forget about them, and they will always serve you well.

Happy trails!! and have a Merry Christmas!

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post #27 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 7:19 am
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Response to Chris' suggestions

Chris had some great suggestions, but for riders who have trouble with slow speed, I would have to disagree with Chris about beginning from a stop with "right foot on the rear brake." That means the bike must be leaning to the left. Starting with your foot on the rear brake when heading up an incline is one of two techniques MSF recommends and is good to practice, but not while you are having trouble with slow speed riding.

I believe that until you feel quite comfortable with slow speed riding, you will have far less trouble if you start with both feet on the ground. Most new riders I have observed who attempt to start with one foot on a peg tend to stall the bike because they know they need to get going quickly to gain balance. Its most evident when the rider also needs to turn right immediately. That's not as necessary if both feet are being used to keep the bike balanced.

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post #28 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 7:50 am
 
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#1 Thing to remember is that for once in your married life - YOU ARE IN CHARGE.> Another thing that I always do that has not been mentioned is that I always gear down before making my stop which will put you more in control. But the important thing is that it takes time and the more you ride two up the more comfortable you will be. An LT is about like an airplane the takeoffs and landing will always be the trouble spots. Good Luck and welcome aboard.
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post #29 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 11:14 am
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I've been riding for 34 years (with stops for meals and sleep pf course). I have seen much good advise on low speed transition to stop handling. I am concerned about the advise to allways stop with the left foot extended. Or any absolute instruction. We all agree these are tall, wide bikes. Many of us are slightly inseam challenged. So what happens if the spot for your left foot is slightly lower than your wheels? Opps! I try to read the road and extend the foot that will be the highest on the road surface for the best platform to balance the load. I have frequently stopped with either the left or right foot dangling in the air due to the bank built into the road.

I tell all novice club members who ask to remember that there are no absolutes no matter what the MSF Instructor may tell you. ( My son was instructed in Drivers Ed. to never cross his hands when turning the steering wheel because if the airbag goes off it will break his arms. So he was taught to shuffle the wheel like Granny who has lost the mobility in her arms. Brilliant!) What works in one situation will not work in all. You have to practice in different situations to be flexible and safe.

So what's my point? Do what works for you. Just remember, these are heavy machines so you have to pay a bit more attention and plan ahead for moves that bring out the awkward low speed handling characteristics of this great machine.

Bob Chapman
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post #30 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 11:27 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob204bc
So what happens if the spot for your left foot is slightly lower than your wheels? Opps! I try to read the road and extend the foot that will be the highest on the road surface for the best platform to balance the load. I have frequently stopped with either the left or right foot dangling in the air due to the bank built into the road.

I tell all novice club members who ask to remember that there are no absolutes no matter what the MSF Instructor may tell you.
Thank you, this was my point exactly! If you come to a toll booth and there is an oil spot on you left side, does the lemming attitude mandate you put your foot in the oil to comply?
By not using your right foot for stopping, you are giving yourself a 50% chance of dropping your bike. The front brake is the best tool a motorcycle has and so few riders use it to their benefit. Stopping a motorcycle shouldn't be a panic ridden situation, but there's quite a few replies here that make it sound as such.
Ed
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post #31 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 12:44 pm
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I took the MSF ERC course, and tried to use the left foot down method for a little while after it, but soon abandoned it in favor of the "whatever works best" method. I found that when paying attention to what I did (usually did not even think about it) that I was putting my right foot down first most often. I also have said that for any big heavy bike one should NOT get in the habit of always putting the left foot down, as when you really need to do it the other way your brain may override you for a second, enough to get into trouble. 4 years and 120,000 miles, and I have yet to see what advantage "left foot only" offers. In cases where it is best, that is what I automatically did, and when right foot down is best, that was also automatic. I did not have to think about it at all, just did what the situation called for each time.

I very rarely kept either foot up when stopped, just put both feet down nearly always.

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post #32 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 1:15 pm
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Wink Two-Up ERC Course

If you can find one I would highly recommend an ERC Course where you can take your pillion along on the course, like Steve says. You may learn a few things, both good and bad! We were fortunate enough to have one specific to 2-up riding down in Santa Fe a few years back (at CCR) and found the course very beneficial.

Marilyn and I have been riding together on various Bikes since 1975, and we learned a few things! One item that can certainly play havoc with you is if your pax is actually leaning and you don't know it! This was pointed out to us by the Instructor during the course and taken to heart by both of us. Our slow speed handling did in fact improve after that tip.

More knowledge never hurts!

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post #33 of 59 Old Nov 25th, 2005, 2:24 pm
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The biggest trick to riding two-up is to remember to stop and smell the flowers every so often. Just don't try to pick them.

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post #34 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 1:01 am
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What do you mean Ken? You gotta stop? I don't understand?
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Don't ask me, ask John. Or really, ask Marilyn.

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post #36 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 2:45 am
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<I have yet to see what advantage "left foot only" offers.>

Dave,
I agree with your "whatever works best" method as it has worked for you and many others. One of the reasons the MSF encourages left foot down is to ensure linear brake application during stopping. Another reason is to help students get in the habit of down shifting to first while moving. As experienced riders we develop the dexterity to ease off the rear brake without upsetting the suspension and we have the skill to unconsciously compensate by squeezing a little more front. In this case it really does not matter which foot goes down first, as the rider is preconditioned to downshift while moving and the front/rear modulation is second nature. Many who take the ERC course come away with the misconception that left foot to the ground first is the only technique considered. In contrast, left foot down is the technique that is encouraged because of the above reasons. It is not considered a critical skill and left foot always is not an option , for example crowned roads surface problems etc. Of course when maximum braking is required downshifting is secondary and getting stopped using both brakes is primary. One of the most difficult things to teach in the field is that different strategies are required for these two very different types of stopping, but head and eyes up is about the only "always" that applies in both situations.
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post #37 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 8:48 am
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Angry Basics

Lot of dialogue on this thread about what is best, what is not, etc etc. An observation or two about my earlier post:

I teach motorcycle ridiing to learner riders in NSW Australia. The program is government approved, and happens to correlate nicely with advanced and expert rider techniques. The info below is from the course that I teach to people that have NEVER ridden a bike, and is learned over only eight hours.

1) You should set up every time you start off with your right foot up on the peg, holding the bike with the rear brake. If you do this EVERY time, when you are on a hillstart, you wont be trying to hold the bike with the front brake, slip the clutch and up the revs all at once. This is a BASIC LEARNER rider technique. Start off the same way, in every situation. Why would you want to have a different startoff technique for different situations?

2) You should be coming to a stop with the bike in 1st, clutch in, and be aware of what is happening behind you. This again is a BASIC LEARNER technique. Many rear-enders can be avoided if you have the ability to move forward only a foot or so. - If you are sitting there idling in neutral, both feet down, and the need arises to add space behind you, it will not be possible, and the car behind will run into your rear.

3) Why would anyone pay money to go on an advanced course, be shown the techniques, and then decide to ignore the advice given? The techniques of left leg down for stop, holding bike with rear only for starting off are tried and proven. In OZ these two aspects are considered LEARNER techniques, and must be mastered prior to any cyclist being issued a learner license to be allowed to ride on a public street.

Now I will get off the soapbox - and I apologise for ranting a bit. I get somewhat miffed when I see people getting what I know to be unsound advice from the bretheren here.

Happy trails

Chris Paine
Carool NSW Australia
2001 K1200LT
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post #38 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 10:35 am
 
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I think I have used every technic discussed at sometime. The best thing I can ad, is to make sure your brain is engaged on the task at hand. Don't be thinking about the cell phone to the ear that just cut you off, think about a nice smooth stop to a point ahead. Don't be looking around at a stop sign to see if you can roll through at the moment you get there. When you do spot that car and have to make the quick stop you won't be looking where you need to be looking.

Practice and practice keeping the head in the game.

Rick
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post #39 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 11:00 am
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As you said, it is BASIC LEARNER advice. It is NOT techincally important to the point that it "should" or "has" to be followed forever to be safe and ride well. It IS important to use set and tried consistently routine practices to teach new riders, that I agree with. If for no other reason than to have ALL instructors on the same page. Once riders become proficient though most will tend to do what is most comfortable to them on each bike ridden. I just found it to be uncomfortable on the LT, and never found it to be technically important or needed in any way. I tried to do it all the time for about a month after taking the course so I would be "Correct", but found I was not starting off smoothly, and was far more "involved" at stops, taking my mind off what really mattered. I went back to what was safe, smooth, and comfortable for me. I had absolutely NO problems starting on a steep uphill, with both feet on the ground. I was far more comfortable, and proficient at starting out in any circumstance without using the rear brake to do so. To me it was second nature, and very easy to hold the front brake lightly with two fingers, roll the throttle on a little, and time the clutch and front brake making a very smooth start. I rode 124,000 miles like that over 4 years, and feel I was a pretty decent rider. To me, starting out with the bike perfectly ballanced and both feet down is much smoother than having it leaned a little to the left, the left leg under pressure, and the right foot up. I was always a little nervous doing that on the LT. Often road surfaces make that even worse. I still say that anyone who is always stopping right foot up by rote will likely have times where an LT may be dropped when right foot down may be necessary for any reason, and their rote response is opposite, making them thing about it for a second. We all know the LT is a very unforgiving beast when nearly stationary, where first time rider training bikes are usually small, light, and very forgiving.

I had a 1958 650 BSA that I rode for several years, it had left brake, right gear shift. I rode that bike entirely different from the LT, a lot because of the weight. Funny thing, when I first started riding again, after 28 years off bikes, I had to unlearn the left brake/right shift mode! Amazing what the mind can retain over long time.

I did find the ERC course very helpful, and did help me become a better rider, but not the left foot down part. That was making me unsure and nervous at stops with the LT.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
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post #40 of 59 Old Nov 26th, 2005, 8:58 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaine
Lot of dialogue on this thread about what is best, what is not, etc etc. An observation or two about my earlier post:

I teach motorcycle ridiing to learner riders in NSW Australia. The program is government approved, and happens to correlate nicely with advanced and expert rider techniques. The info below is from the course that I teach to people that have NEVER ridden a bike, and is learned over only eight hours.

1) You should set up every time you start off with your right foot up on the peg, holding the bike with the rear brake. If you do this EVERY time, when you are on a hillstart, you wont be trying to hold the bike with the front brake, slip the clutch and up the revs all at once. This is a BASIC LEARNER rider technique. Start off the same way, in every situation. Why would you want to have a different startoff technique for different situations?

2) You should be coming to a stop with the bike in 1st, clutch in, and be aware of what is happening behind you. This again is a BASIC LEARNER technique. Many rear-enders can be avoided if you have the ability to move forward only a foot or so. - If you are sitting there idling in neutral, both feet down, and the need arises to add space behind you, it will not be possible, and the car behind will run into your rear.

3) Why would anyone pay money to go on an advanced course, be shown the techniques, and then decide to ignore the advice given? The techniques of left leg down for stop, holding bike with rear only for starting off are tried and proven. In OZ these two aspects are considered LEARNER techniques, and must be mastered prior to any cyclist being issued a learner license to be allowed to ride on a public street.

Now I will get off the soapbox - and I apologise for ranting a bit. I get somewhat miffed when I see people getting what I know to be unsound advice from the bretheren here.

Happy trails

Chris Paine
Carool NSW Australia
2001 K1200LT
Chris,

As you mention in your post "This is a BASIC LEARNER rider technique." As we are dealing with learners in a controlled environment it is highly efficient to standardize curriculum, as the MSF has done here in the US for decades.

However it is not always the best practice as learners usually find out for themselves albeit without incident.
You ask, " Why would you want to have a different technique for different situations?" As already mentioned in the thread, (1) Severely crowned roads where you cannot get your left foot to reach the ground. (2) Oil slicks commonly found at urban stoplights and toll booths. (3) Stopping in mid (left) corner on a banked highway. In all of these cases (and many more real life circumstance) it is critical to be able to choose left or right and not be restricted by the basic learner standard.

Regardless, this point is mute in most rider training programs beyond basic, as normal stopping technique is not a critical accident avoidance skill. Likewise, most motorcyclists with average motor skills coordination will master this activity a lot sooner than the techniques used in maximum braking . In retrospect, maximum braking, swerving, cornering speed selection, cornering technique, visual directional, and mental strategies over ride the importance of which leg goes down first.
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post #41 of 59 Old Nov 27th, 2005, 2:15 pm
 
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Chris has some good sound advice for Basic Riders and Rick had some very good advice about keeping your head in the game..I have dropped my bike twice now only because I got distracted when trying to stop my bike during slow speed manuevers (no damage, just my pride)..Keeping focused while trying to stop and during slow speed maneuvers works best for me now..The situation at hand should dictate what has to be done to keep this beast(LOL) under control and enjoy the riding..Ride safe..
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post #42 of 59 Old Nov 27th, 2005, 5:23 pm
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J-Rod , i'd say you have been doing it right . to give you an example of coming off a freeway offramp at 70 mph and coming to a stop. Exit freeway back off the gas and coast, next give the front brake a pull, next more coasting , next more pulls on front brake, as you are getting close to the stop sign you can use both brakes if you want ( I only use the rear brake for emergency stops) as you have your speed under control the last ten feet before you are going to stop pull in the clutch and click down threw all gears and as you come to the stop place both feet down firmly on the ground. You are now stopped and in 1st gear. At this point as other riders have said to you keep the bike straight up and level. So if it looks like you are going to be stopped for awhile, keeping in mind the bike is level and straight up lift you left foot up and place the bike in natural all the while keeping the front brake on with two fingers. Both feet down you can relax still having two fingers on the front brake.
While backing up in reverse mode the same would be true, keep the bike level and straight up and do the walkee with both feet down, oh so simple...
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post #43 of 59 Old Nov 28th, 2005, 1:09 pm
 
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I agree with Ron Miller on the boot soles. I dont have the Vibram sole but the BMW all rounders are very sticky compared to my old comfortable Cruiserworks boots, made a big difference in stopping confidence. I know now when my foot touches ground it will not slip. Another thing that made an astounding difference is getting ride or the stock "Comfort" seat. That rounded profile seat was complient enough in the wrong places to alow a vague feel to the bike at slow speed situations. I went with a Bill Mayer Saddle and it is on the firm side and my sit bones now telegraph any lean angle variations to my brain and that disassociated felling is gone at slow speeds. I can still feel the slight wallow at slow speeds two up but it does not seem to be outside of my control.
One other thing IMHO is I allways use both feet up and down at the same time. My bake system is linked and even if it was not both feet down has saved my ass on numerous occasions. There is alot of tractor trailer traffic on the two lane roads around south central PA and since I do not look down while stopping I sometimes find my left foot dropping into a pretty decent hollow. Since my right foot is going down at the same time I have conditioned myself to use it for support in these cases. I also use the least amount of preload on the rear shock as possible two up. Try setting the rear shock up in 1/2 turn steps until slow speed handling improves. Your passenger may object but with her on the back start with 1 full turn above bottom and increase at 1/2 turn steps. You may find that you do not need as much pre-lod as you thought and at the lower ranges of preload the compression and rebound damping of the rear shock increases (travel dependent damping) and actually gives more control.
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post #44 of 59 Old Nov 28th, 2005, 4:27 pm
 
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Help With Riding Two Up

I find that one important factor to bear in mind when coming to a stop is to make sure that the pillion is relaxed. I find if she tenses up, because she knows it can be tricky, this transmits to me and the bike will start to wobble.
Regards
Terry
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post #45 of 59 Old Nov 28th, 2005, 5:28 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrod Maguire
Two weeks into the new for me (used 2001) LTC. Two up riding while coming to a stop is sometimes a challenge for me on the "Orca" (black LT). My other half is only 130lbs and she still makes quite a difference on board. I've ridden for approx 5 years (average 12k miles per year and I've owned over a dozen bikes and three currently) but almost all of it has been solo riding - and none this big. I find that I put both feet down when coming to a stop because I'm not sure which way that dam whale is going to go with her on back (to head off any jokes, my wife is not the whale). Any tips? Instructions I can give the rider? I'm 6' and 200 lbs and in shape so that shouldn't be a problem. But it still can give me the willy's at slow speeds. By the way, I bought the used black 2001 LTC with 9,500 miles for $10K - how did I do?
I have found that just before stopping, if I am leaning the least bit to the right unintentionally, I can blip the handlebar to the right to lean the bike back to the left for a solid plant of the foot. Easy does it. I usually keep my right foot on the brake, unless the wind is blowing from my left! If I put both feet down it tends to give me a cramp in the hips.

Blessings!
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post #46 of 59 Old Jan 31st, 2006, 9:27 pm
 
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Question Newbie starting to regret decision

Hello, I am new to this site and not yet a BMW owner. I have been riding cruiser style bikes since 1995. My current ride is a Suzuki C50 Boulevard. I took my wife to a dealer to demo a R1200RT last weekend. I wanted something that would be fun in my daily commute as well as comfortable for the long haul. To make a long story short, she saw the 1200LT and fell in love with it. Who wouldn't? We took a 12 mile demo ride on both bikes and the LT was a hands down winner for her. We put a deposit on a 2006 LT and will be picking it up in about 2 weeks. After reading through this thread, I have to admit that I'm starting to feel a little uneasy about our decision. Our test drive had us tied up in fairly heavy traffic for a portion of the ride and while the bike was much heavier than I'm used to, I never felt like I was going to drop it during stops. My Suzuki is the heaviest bike I've ever owned, is the additional and higher weight of the LT going to be difficult to handle? It's not too late to get the RT, but if I do, my wife will seldom ride with me. Are there others that use their LT as their primary ride? I plan to ride this every day to work. Thank you to everyone for all the helpful information. Thanks, my name is Rich.
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post #47 of 59 Old Jan 31st, 2006, 9:53 pm
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been there

Rich,

I just picked up my '06 LT on the 21st. I spent that 1st week with some of the same concerns about the heavy bike and missing the RT that I traded in. I commuted to work on it everyday, feeling very uncomfortable at first. As the days went by, my confidence built.

This past weekend I put on ~900 miles with my wife on the back, taking it up to Death Valley and back. Stopping became easier, although the other guys on the ride will tell you I'm still learning. My wife observed continually increasing confidence and control.

After the long ride, I have complete assurance that this LT is a love that will last. I may some day go back and get another lighter bike, but IMHO this is the only way to eat large portions of highway mileage with a partner on back, enjoying the road, the music, the conversation, the heated seats, the GPS (oops, "what I like" is a different thread).

I predict you're gonna feel good about your choice over time.

Rich
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post #48 of 59 Old Jan 31st, 2006, 10:02 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boadb2sys
Are there others that use their LT as their primary ride? I plan to ride this every day to work. Thank you to everyone for all the helpful information.
Rich, I'm a newbie too -- I started riding in August; rode a Honda 600 for a month, then moved up (way up) to the LT; haven't looked back since.

You're getting excellent advice on this board regarding your concern. Best comment I ever received when I expressed a concern about the weight and low-speed manners was "there will be a day when you wondered what all the fuss was about". That day has come and gone. I'm still getting proficient two-up but that will improve over time, also.

You'll get there. Don't be concerned, just be aware and act accordingly. It will be second nature soon.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
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post #49 of 59 Old Feb 1st, 2006, 12:52 am
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Rich -

No need to regret - just keep reading this site and remember to keep the front wheel straight when stopping, trust your balance and try not to put your left foot down until you have STOPPED (you ain't stopping this baby w/ your feet!), and get a decent pair of boots with grippy soles and good ankle support.

Ted

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post #50 of 59 Old Feb 1st, 2006, 7:11 am
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Thumbs up Great Decision

Quote:
Originally Posted by boadb2sys
Are there others that use their LT as their primary ride? I plan to ride this every day to work. Thank you to everyone for all the helpful information. Thanks, my name is Rich.
Hi Rich, and welcome to the forum. I got my first LT in July 2001, coming from a much lighter Moto Guzzi. I nearly dropped the LT with my wife on the back during the test ride! And later I did drop it in a gas station. Yes, it's big and heavy, but I found it to be such a great ride, such that it became my primary vehicle. I went from riding 3 or 4 thou a year to 15 thou a year! I quickly became comfortable with the LT, and with some miles under your belt you will, too. Read our FAQ about all the little quirks, and be sure the bike is truly vertical, and you are looking straight ahead, when you stop her. As the old saying goes, look where you want to go. You are in for a great riding experience, and we are glad you are among us!

Blessings!
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Sunday - Nov 12 - Anyone interested in riding? Tom_Becker South West 0 Nov 12th, 2005 4:50 pm
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