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technical tips

Go Back   FZ1OA Message Board > FZ1 & Fazer Owners Association > Riding Tips & Techniques

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Old 07-12-2017, 11:42 AM   #1
Bikejunky22
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How to get over the fear of leaning

So since I started riding bikes on the street a lot, I've always had this issue with leaning. I'm afraid to low side a bile. How do I know how far I really can lean it? When following a group I always put myself in the back as I know I take corners way slower than anyone else. I've been getting better about it but have any of you had this issue? How did you get over it. And how do I know how far I can lean in on a turn without low siding
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:18 PM   #2
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Everyone has their own limitations. I applaud you asking the question, but I fear that if you are afraid of leaning your FZ1, that maybe the FZ is not the right bike for you.

what's you experience level? Realize, that the bike itself want's to stay up, just like a gyroscope.

I don't drag knees like some on this forum. I'd say my chicken strips are about a 1/2". I ride in my comfort zone. but sometimes I like to push my limits. usually more when on roads I know and when I'm riding solo rather than in the rare group ride I do.

It's possible you don't have good sticky tires. or perhaps old tires. new sticky tires will certainly give more confidence. I don't buy the super sticky sport tires as I need more longevity and go for sport touring style. But I've also never had a tire last more than a year so they don't get old and slick.

Have you ever ridden on dirt? I've not had a dirt bike for a while now, but riding dirt even on a small single cylinder is great practice for working on leaning and forcing yourself to deal with traction. I miss my little TTR125 which was really great for improving my street riding skills.

I know people who intentionally avoid gravel roads on their street motorcycles. they fear it. I don;t seek them out, but I don't shy away from them either. I just adjust my riding. it's good to be able to handle any situation and gravel roads happen. plus I used to live on one so I had no choice.

I'm sure there are better people here who can offer better assistance/advice.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:44 PM   #3
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I think it's a feel thing that comes with experience. Sorta like the first time you scrape a peg. First time scares the shit out of you but then you get used to it and know what your bike feels like when it's leaned over that far. I can guarantee that you have way more clearance than you think you do. A good rule of thumb for how fast you can take a corner is whatever the suggested speed is you can usually double it, and that's with shitty body position to boot. If your doing everything right you could probably double it +10. Best thing to do is find some twisty roads and have fun. Just push yourself a little bit further each time over a familiar stretch of road. It'll come. I wouldn't worry too much about low siding your bike. Most people (especially a rider with only a few years of experience) crash because they feel they are entering a corner too fast so they slow down, stand the bike up, target fixate, and run off the road. In reality they had plenty of lean left and would have been just fine had they leaned a bit more. When in doubt - throttle out.

Last edited by dschult2; 07-12-2017 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 12-17-2017, 10:49 AM   #4
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I think it's a feel thing that comes with experience. Sorta like the first time you scrape a peg. First time scares the shit out of you but then you get used to it and know what your bike feels like when it's leaned over that far. I can guarantee that you have way more clearance than you think you do. A good rule of thumb for how fast you can take a corner is whatever the suggested speed is you can usually double it, and that's with shitty body position to boot. If your doing everything right you could probably double it +10. Best thing to do is find some twisty roads and have fun. Just push yourself a little bit further each time over a familiar stretch of road. It'll come. I wouldn't worry too much about low siding your bike. Most people (especially a rider with only a few years of experience) crash because they feel they are entering a corner too fast so they slow down, stand the bike up, target fixate, and run off the road. In reality they had plenty of lean left and would have been just fine had they leaned a bit more. When in doubt - throttle out.
I think most of this is correct in my opinion, but the throttle out part is a risky suggestion for the rider that is obviously inexperienced. I would say if you find your self thinking your in too deep and start to panic a little...don't panic...stay with the braking and lean while closing the throttle completely. you must look through the corner while all this is happening. Your bike will go where you look. If the rider you're describing has already panicked and has sort of given up and is obviously heading into the dirt...throttling out would probably just launch you off the mountain side even further. Now if you're a motocross rider learning the street...now the throttle out and flat track method might work? Best advice...go slow on corner entries...work on exits and learning the road. Don't follow faster riders. I love all the input and information we all try and give to the community. I'm just throwing out some food for thought. I don't really know what I'm talking about yet...only 44 years of riding street bikes...another 10-15 years maybe???
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Old 03-22-2018, 10:55 AM   #5
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I think most of this is correct in my opinion, but the throttle out part is a risky suggestion for the rider that is obviously inexperienced. I would say if you find your self thinking your in too deep and start to panic a little...don't panic...stay with the braking and lean while closing the throttle completely. you must look through the corner while all this is happening. Your bike will go where you look. If the rider you're describing has already panicked and has sort of given up and is obviously heading into the dirt...throttling out would probably just launch you off the mountain side even further. Now if you're a motocross rider learning the street...now the throttle out and flat track method might work? Best advice...go slow on corner entries...work on exits and learning the road. Don't follow faster riders. I love all the input and information we all try and give to the community. I'm just throwing out some food for thought. I don't really know what I'm talking about yet...only 44 years of riding street bikes...another 10-15 years maybe???
Facts , and I even have a background in dirtbikes . To be told my Gen 1 fiz is the first 100% road bike Ive ever owned . I rode all dualsports before it and dirtbikes before them . And I'll tell ya . A street bike was very different in handling characteristics . I even had slight nervous leaning the fiz when I first go it because on a dirt bike when you lean you can still remain somewhat upright on a turn as you throttle the rear of the bike into a drift and you dont have to be leaning with the bike as much .

And I got into a situation where I decided to turn too late and was leaned over but was nervous to lean any farther and I decided to straighten up and come across the bow of a cage sitting opposed to me at the intersection .

The cagers were shocked . I was like wow that could have been bad . But I guarantee if Id just tried to throttle out of that I would have sideswiped that cage .

So if you're scared to lean , like above just go into corner into such a speed your weak lean angle is comfortable and practice moving up a MPH or twoand couple degree more aggressive lean . After you ride for awhile you'll get the hang of it . For an uprigh touring bike these Fzs are pretty forgiving in turns.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:57 AM   #6
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Facts , and I even have a background in dirtbikes . To be told my Gen 1 fiz is the first 100% road bike Ive ever owned . I rode all dualsports before it and dirtbikes before them . And I'll tell ya . A street bike was very different in handling characteristics . I even had slight nervous leaning the fiz when I first go it because on a dirt bike when you lean you can still remain somewhat upright on a turn as you throttle the rear of the bike into a drift and you dont have to be leaning with the bike as much .

And I got into a situation where I decided to turn too late and was leaned over but was nervous to lean any farther and I decided to straighten up and come across the bow of a cage sitting opposed to me at the intersection .

The cagers were shocked . I was like wow that could have been bad . But I guarantee if Id just tried to throttle out of that I would have sideswiped that cage .

So if you're scared to lean , like above just go into corner into such a speed your weak lean angle is comfortable and practice moving up a MPH or twoand couple degree more aggressive lean . After you ride for awhile you'll get the hang of it . For an uprigh touring bike these Fzs are pretty forgiving in turns.
That is exactly my situation, dirt bikes, a dual sport and then first street bike was the FZ1. And yeah, very different handling, I feel I'm pretty cautious when it comes to leaning because I don't know how far I can push it. I'm guessing a lot more than what I am doing
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:55 PM   #7
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^^^Everything said above but I will add that you may want to take a road/racing course. We have one up here called FAST that is amazing!
http://www.fastridingschool.com/
Great for finding your own limits and pushing those boundaries based on professional feedback and instruction.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:05 PM   #8
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^^^Everything said above but I will add that you may want to take a road/racing course. We have one up here called FAST that is amazing!
http://www.fastridingschool.com/
Great for finding your own limits and pushing those boundaries based on professional feedback and instruction.
Yep, track days are awsome for learning yours and your bike's limits.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bikejunky22 View Post
So since I started riding bikes on the street a lot, I've always had this issue with leaning. I'm afraid to low side a bile. How do I know how far I really can lean it? When following a group I always put myself in the back as I know I take corners way slower than anyone else. I've been getting better about it but have any of you had this issue? How did you get over it. And how do I know how far I can lean in on a turn without low siding

Watch this over and over and over again:

https://youtu.be/6OQF7tygAi0
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:39 PM   #10
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There are several track day providers that offer rider training as part of the first track day. I did ART with Team Pro Motion and it was one of the best things I've done on two wheels. It gave the opportunity to learn the track, lines, and work at my pace to find my limits.

Once on my own in the afternoon sessions, I found I was running a pretty good pace in the novice group.

I'd recommend the track over the street to practice. There is some expense with going to the track, but it's worth it. You have instructors and fellow riders to ask questions of, corner and medical workers in case you go down, and you don't have all the hazards of the street to deal with.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:41 PM   #11
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Trackdays. It will come naturally.

Then, know the difference between the track and the street. Especially when you are on unfamiliar roads, or haven't been on a road you know in a while. On the track things are very predictable (most of the time) but on the street, conditions change all the time. If you are going fast enough to drag your knees on the street (understand lean angle is a function of speed and the corner radius) on a road you have not traveled on already that day (or at least very recently) to make sure it's clean and clear, you are asking for a crash. Sand, rocks, leaves, oil, etc - any of these can put you down if you are maxed out.

I also suggest you read Nick Ienatsch's book Sport Riding Techniques. Learn body position and braking skills, and your riding will be vastly more confident and less scary.

Know your own limits. Stay within them. Slow growth is good.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:09 PM   #12
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I echo track days. Easier to learn on a small bike like a ninja 250/300 or R3. I can tell you from experience that a Fz1 is a challenging bike to learn on.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:22 PM   #13
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READ. Practice. READ. Practice. Lather, rinse, repeat.

As grommet points out, anything written by Nick Ienatsch will help you become a better rider, as long as you physically practice, and practice correctly, what you read. Of course, the more you ride you "should" get better, but it will help greatly to know what to think about and how to improve specifically.

Another highly recommended read is by Lee Parks, Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques. It is an easy and interesting read, even for any potential passengers you may have.

Glad to see you are asking the question publicly and realize the importantce of knowing to ride your own ride. You're on the right path.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:31 PM   #14
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I remember when a good friend of mine was in your situation. Then we convinced him to go take a "CLASS" with us at Sears Pt.

The day after the school we all went on a ride. I shit you not when I tell you that his skill level had at least tripled. He was smooth, confident, and having a blast.

At CLASS he had a lot of time to follow instructors and work with them.

I cannot recommend a track school more highly. NOT an "open track day", but a school with instructors who can work with you one on one.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:44 PM   #15
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Like everyone else has said on here, track days!!

It's the fastest and safest way to learn the limits of your bike and yourself.

If you've got the cash, invest in a cheap track bike. Any 600cc Supersport will do the job nicely.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:49 PM   #16
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If you have any friends w/dirt bikes, try to get some seat time on one. They will teach you a lot of bikes in general without the fear of crashing a road bike.

It's hard to remember in the heat of the moment, if you ever find yourself too fast going into a corner, the 1st instinct is hit the brakes, which will stand the bike up, always try to lean as much as possible, as your bike usually can make the turn.
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Old 07-12-2017, 07:49 PM   #17
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To answer your actual question: I have not seen you ride or seen your bike/tires but can state with 99.9% confidence that your bike will lean Substantially further than you think and substantially further than you are currently leaning. Just sitting straight up on the bike it will lean over far enough to drag the foot pegs and not lose traction. So if you have never touched a peg down then there is more lean angle available.

As other have stated, usually accidents happen because riders 'fear' they cannot lean enough to make a corner and stand the bike up. The standing comment for new riders that come here to ride is "lean until you fall over!" If you think you are to hot for a corner, Keep Leaning!

The only way to become comfortable and confident in you and your bikes abilities is to Ride. Get out and have some fun.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:03 PM   #18
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There's just too many variables for me especially where I live. They do shitty road work and you never know if there's dirt on a corner until you're on it. I figured generally you can lean a bike far enough to scrape a peg but damn that seems far. It's just a tough thing to crack. I'm definitely getting more and more comfortable. I've road dirtbikes, owned a few etc. Not the same feeling for me. I just hate that I fall behind in the pack because the other guys start to really get going and hit the corners hard and I just stay at the speed limit haha
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:01 AM   #19
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There's just too many variables for me especially where I live. They do shitty road work and you never know if there's dirt on a corner until you're on it. I figured generally you can lean a bike far enough to scrape a peg but damn that seems far. It's just a tough thing to crack. I'm definitely getting more and more comfortable. I've road dirtbikes, owned a few etc. Not the same feeling for me. I just hate that I fall behind in the pack because the other guys start to really get going and hit the corners hard and I just stay at the speed limit haha
Too many variables exist everywhere on the streets. It is just the reality and part of the game.

Probably the most significant advice I can suggest for you right now is to resist the urge to keep up with the pack. You must ride at your own pace. Fast is not necessarily smooth or in control. In time, if you focus and practice on your riding abilities, you will be able to run with the pack. If you are patient, practice correctly and so desire you will eventually run faster than the pack!
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:05 AM   #20
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Too many variables exist everywhere on the streets. It is just the reality and part of the game.

Probably the most significant advice I can suggest for you right now is to resist the urge to keep up with the pack. You must ride at your own pace. Fast is not necessarily smooth or in control. In time, if you focus and practice on your riding abilities, you will be able to run with the pack. If you are patient, practice correctly and so desire you will eventually run faster than the pack!
FOR SURE. Don't ever try to keep up with Glory, Grommet, Torchysporty (spelled it on purpose) or Harry at the NW Arkansas meet up, just don't. I ran my pace, those boys are lightning!

And if you know roads around you have gravel and such, scout em out before hitting them harder or worrying about going faster
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