HELP! dropping my bike! - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2002, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Unhappy HELP! dropping my bike!

I'v only been riding for about 3 months.

My first bike was a 1982 kawasaki LTD 750 ( I know it's a bit big, but I was told it was light enough that it would b ok). I dropped it 4 times in my first 2 months of riding. I did take the safety riding course. actuially my 2nd week riding i went on a trip for 2 weeks, which is where i dropped it 3 times. when I got back, I bought another bike, an 84 interceptor, vf, another 750. I thought i was done dropping it, but then i did it again! Is this normal?? is my bike too big?? my friend has been riding for 5 yrs, and is the one who helped me buy both bikes, infact he sujested them. He said the bikes are an ok size and just tells me to stop dropping them. All of the spills were slow speed. The first time i dropped it was the first time i rode, so i guess thats ok. i tried to brake with the front brake but my fingers slipped and i accelerated by mistake and side swiped a fence. not a great start i know. once i got my pant leg tangeled in the peg when I stopped and fell over cause i couldnt put my foot down. I wend down again on my trip going down a hill at night. I didnt see there was gravel at the bottom and had to either stop or turn quickly to avoid hitting a wall. I had heard that it was a bad idea to stop quickly on gravel, so I tried to turn and instead slid sideways and went down. I droped my interceptor while trying to turn left from a stop sign on a steep hill. I stalled it half way through the turn and was leaned over at the time, so when i stalled i just went over.

This is realy bugging me! one of the worst things is no one will help me! everyone I know who rides just tells me i'll learn.

I checked with the riding school to see if I could take lessons on my bike, but they wont do it. I have to ride their bikes. when I took the course originally I didnt have a problem, i never dropped it once, but the bike was only a 150.

any advice or comments at all would be greatly apreciated.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2002, 09:08 PM
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First, I'm glad you're not discouraged by your accidents. It takes time to ride well. But, it seems you are having more of your share. As you have surmised, I suspect there is a mismatch between you and the bikes you've been having these mishaps with. As evidenced as you stated that you didn't have these occurences when on a smaller bike. Not knowing your physical dimensions, it's hard to say theres an apparent mismatch but your experiences indicate thus. Why don't you start out w/ a bike that's a bit more manageable? Like the one you apparently had no problem handling in the MSF course. At least until you can than see and isolate whether the mismatch in the bike was the problem. On the two bikes that you had the mishaps, were you able to (when straddled), put both feet down (flat footed)? Were you able to backup the bike on your own? Were you able to lift the bike up on your own when it fell over? Also, the fact that you accidentally slipped on the front brakes and instead opened up on the throttle leads me to believe that you might not be as a bit coordinated as you need to be for someone to operate a motorcycle safely. How's your hand and eye coordination? Do you play sports? And if so, do you consider yourself pretty good? For me, motorsports is in my blood. I can't explain it except that I just have a passion for it. I gravitate more for motor type sports, whether it's playing MotoGP2 on my PS2 or some racing game in the arcades, that's what I'm drawn to as opposed to most guys being drawn to the main stream sports, i.e., football, baseball, etc. In fact, having no knowledge of how motorcycles operate, let alone, having ridden one, I, at the age of 29 took the MSF course and shortly thereafter, bought my first bike, a 96 Honda CBR 600 F3, rode the spanking new bike from the dealership to my home w/o incident. (A lot of concentration and determination.) I'm just trying to illustrate that some people just have a bit more of a head start than others. I am by no means an expert by the way. What 'm trying to say is that you need to be aware of your own abilities. Assess yourself. Be honest with yourself and ask if your abilities and the bike you've chosen seems within reason. From what you've stated, it's obvious your friend didn't make the right recommendations. Since you're having all these fall overs, why don't you start out on a 125cc like in your class that you experienced and move up once you've mastered the basics and feel more comfortable. Just use common sense. When I took the MSF course, we were partnered up and after the first day out on the course, they had asked my partner to leave because the instructors felt she was not able to master the basics and would lead to her death. They had to make the assessment and they saved her life. The sport of motorcycle riding isn't for everyone. I'm not saying it's not for you; that's only something that each individual need to assess about themselves. If you're still passionate about motorcycle riding, start out small and work yourself up.

p.s. Yes, I can attest to the problems gravel can cause. It's like walking into a floor of marbles. I almost lost it when I was making a turn into a side street; indeed this is where most of the gravel collect. You have to watch these major hazards. It can be scary. One of the commentators on the video, "Motorcycle Survival Skills" indicated that he was paralyzed by this very incident. Please be careful. Also, be aware that most two vehicle motorcycle accidents occur while a car makes a left turn in front of an on coming motorcycle. Be especially cognizant when riding through intersections. Also, be a bit more aware of yourself and your body. I'm only saying this because you had mentioned two incidents (misapplied brakes and having your foot get caught on the pegs preventing you from being able to put your foot down). I almost had something similar. Being somewhat inseamed challenged, I often have to roll up my pant legs up a couple times and on a couple occassions, had that roll up get caught on the foot pegs as you've experienced. Luckily for me, I was able to untangle myself in time. Needless to say, I now always have my pants leg always rolled out. This reminds me of how I see some people ride w/ shoe laces. I see a horrible accident just waiting to happen. Shoe lace gets caught in chain, etc. You can just imagine what would happen on a freeway. Jesus guys, for those of you who ride w/ shoe laces, do yourself a favor and get at least a pair of foot wear that doesn't have shoe laces and I don't mean sandles.

Good luck, Yin.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2002, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Thanks for your reply. yes, i could reach the ground flat footed on both bikes. I'm 5'6, 120. I can back both bikes up alone as long as the road is level. a slight hill makes it very difficult. I can not lift either alone if they are on their sides.

I realy enjoy the power, I rode a friends 250 and was surprised at the difference. I felt too big for it, but that could be because I'm use to a 750. At the riding school I did quite well. My partner was asked to leave as well, she needed more practice on a bicycle to work on her ballance.

I picked up riding pretty quickly in the beginning, even on my 750, but maybe I moved to the road too soon.

Selling my bike may be difficult. I still have both, and am trying to sell the LTD. But the interceptor I bought cheep because it had been in a nasty crash. the engine is beautifull, and my mechanic realy liked it, but it needs work (shifting lever needs to be replaced, needs new rad.cap cause it pops off, some body work. . . ) and I'm not in a position to put any more money in to buying another bike. If I sell this, I'll probubly ger max $1500 cdn.

I think the weight is a bit of problem with slow speed, cause if its leaned over and I have to stop, I'm hard put to hold it up at any angel.

Yeah, I'm in to sports, martial arts, so my co ordination is good. I even teach classes.
the first time I rode, when I missed the brake and got the accelerator, I couldn't actuially reach the brake lever properly, just with my finger tips, and so it was easy for my fingers to slip.

thanks for your sujestions.

thinking about what you said about the brake throttel thing . . . I dont have very strong hands, i'v had to work around that in martial arts. that may be a problem on a bike.

I was looking at a lighter 600, what do you think? I realy dont want to drop down a lot in power, just weight. my friends 250 (ninja)seemed, well . . . I dont want to say anything bad about a 250, i'd probubly b better on one. . . but after riding 750's, it just seems so small, both in actuial size and in power. I felt like I was way too big for it. it was so low!

you mentioned assessing my abilities. . . well, i have no problems high speed, but then thats the easy part! I'm pretty ok for coordination, but not overly strong. I think I need a lot more experience. The riding course is broken in 2 here,the first part is only parking lot work on 150's, which i took, and the second you mive up to larger bikes and drive in traffic. i havent taken the second course yet. it's an extra $300.

I know I need to know more about the mechanics of riding, but most ppl I ask just say to practice. Which I guess I should do. my insurance is pu in 3 wks, then the bike is parked till next year. This being my first season I dont want to ride in the heavy rain we get. I plan to spend some time weekely in the parking lot next season.
The person I ride with mainly didnt take any lessons, he just bought a bike and taught himself. He kinda expected me to do the same when I wanted to learn. He discouraged me from practicing in parking lots, but I think I need to.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-23-2002, 03:45 PM
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It seems by your description that the bike ended up on its side due to rider inexperience in all instances. You stated that your bike has been through a nasty crash so let's say that your bike is sound and rides straight, it would seem that you still need a lot of practice and I see nothing wrong in doing that in a safe environment such as a large empty parking lot. I'm sorry your buddies aren't more supportive but ultimately it's your responsibility when you get on the bike. I'm glad to hear that you started off with taking an MSF course, they don't teach you everything but instill some good fundamentals such as SIPDI, looking through a turn and riding within your limits. I'm glad your sticking with the sport but I hope you understand that it might be for your own benefit to start off on a smaller bike, because power isn't everything if you can't control it. I'm sure with additional practice you'll be riding upright most of the time. Good luck and keep the rubber side down.

Last edited by DragonBoy; 09-24-2002 at 07:52 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2002, 04:01 AM
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i think you should try to find a nice little moped, scooter or dirtbike or something really small and cheap that you can ride around a parking lot and get used to slow riding.

if you don't give up, you'll stop dropping your bike. it's just a question of how long it will take. the reason no one is that worried is it seems you're not getting hurt and you're going through some growing pains. the problem is the fear that the next little mess up could be the one where you really do get hurt.

personally, i don't think your friend is giving you great advice. a wrecked 750 that needs works is anything but a good starter bike. i'm sure he isn't trying to see you get hurt. and i honestly think he has your best interest at heart (your vf750 is an incredible bike). but i don't think he understands that it's not a bike that you can learn a lot from.

man, a gs500 sounds like the perfect bike for you. and yes, after a 750 it'll feel slow. but you'll be able to go much faster on the gs than the 750. and you'll probably do much better on it.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2002, 08:33 AM
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Way back when...

When I was 17 or 18 my uncle tried to teach me how to ride a street bike. Before this I had ridden a light 125cc dirt bike for years. But the problem was the only two bikes he had were 1000cc monsters weighing over 700 lbs. so of course the first time I dropped one it completely discouraged me. I coulden't corner at all since if I ever had to put my foot down the bikes were just too heavy and I'd go over. At the time I was 6'0 and weighed around 120.

This summer though I decided I would ride a bike. I ended up buying a light sport bike. A cbr 900 rr. Now I can handle it at most low speeds but I've still dropped it 3 times, all in < 5mph turns. I would think that your bikes are just too heavy for a beginer rider. Especially since I've had problems with a 400lb bike.

But since you are probably stuck with them for the time being I would do what your friend is advising against and ride a lot at low speeds in a parking lot.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2002, 05:18 PM
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Like others I tend to feel the bikes you have are a bit to large for you, both in engine size, total weight, & probably you cannot put both feet flat on the ground with a slight bend in the knees.
Obviously if you cannot lift the bikes yourself that is a sure sign you have something to big & heavy.
I will agree, though, that a lot of silly no-speed spills are at almost nothing speeds & often when turning.
My bikes are light & I can stamp both feet on the pavement of my driveway, YET I get off the bikes & with prop stand still down I will walk them back into the garage with one hand on the bar/grip & other pressing on the saddle.
Still so many droppings of the bikes ----- that is hard to accept. I go with others in suggesting a smaller m/c for your own SAFETY for sometime the good luck will run out & you might end up with a broken bone in the leg or arm.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2002, 06:03 PM
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