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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Red face Newbie w/riding question

What's up everyone.. I just started riding (Ninja 500) about two weeks ago and only have about 400 miles under my belt so far.. I was hoping to get some insight from someone who has been riding a little longer then me I am taking the MSF course next weekend -fyi

I have been riding about every evening after work with some friends (who have all been riding for a while). It has been pretty windy (15-30 mph gusts) on most days and I seem to be having a hard time adjusting. NOBODY else seems to notice/mind this but me. For instance, we were going down the highway when all of a sudden this gust came from my right side and pushed me from the middle of my lane onto the double yellow (with on coming traffic right there)! I totally thought I was gonna crash... So my question is this:

Is the wind something you just get use to (like a skill you develop)... ?
Is it something that you should try to avoid riding in...?
Or am I just being a wuss and i'm the ONLY one that notices this.... ?

Any imput would be helpful, thanks!
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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Wind is a fact of life when it comes to riding. It shouldn't be blowing you across the lane, though. Not a wind gust like that, anyway. The more comfortable you become on your bike, the less it will bother you. The trick is to not move with the bike. Being a new rider, I am guessing you are probably trying to remain upright on the bike regardless of the wind... and that would be your mistake. Let the bike move back and fourth if it wants... just pay attention to where your body is and where you are in the road. Eventually it will become natural.

But to answer your question... Minor wind doesn't bother me, but high wind is quite an annoyance. It's hard to hold a good line when the wind is heavy.



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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 08:29 AM
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Welcome

As already noted, its just reality. I ride in lots of wind given the open fields on my route and often find myself riding partly leaned over to compensate. As you'll learn in the MSF, continuously focus down the road where you want to go and you'll find that your hands and the bike will compensate for the gusts. You'll still move around in the lane but it'll be far less distressing.

Also, you can crouch a bit if the windy sections are in long sections to help reduce your overall surface area. I often tuck under the windscreen with my chest literally resting on the tank. Be cautious, however, given that you're a new rider. It will feel awkward.

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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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Also, you can crouch a bit if the windy sections are in long sections to help reduce your overall surface area. I often tuck under the windscreen with my chest literally resting on the tank. Be cautious, however, given that you're a new rider. It will feel awkward.

I do that for headwinds, but I have found that crosswinds will blow me around worse when I am crouched... The pivot point changes too much for me.

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continuously focus down the road where you want to go and you'll find that your hands and the bike will compensate for the gusts.
That is a much better way of phrasing what I said.

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Originally Posted by zx6r1033
Let the bike move back and fourth if it wants... just pay attention to where your body is and where you are in the road.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 09:00 AM
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Yeah, what they said...

If you're keeping your arms tense (which is typical of virtually all new, and many seasoned riders) then you are inadvertently making inputs to the bars. If you loosen up, you will move more independently of the bike. I always let the bike lean a little bit with the wind, and lean my body into the wind, and end up tracking straight. It's hard to explain, but I guess the best advice to follow would be what kanwisch said, and just keep looking down the road where you want to go.

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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 09:31 AM
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snake's thoughts on arm position are important too. Your arms should NEVER be locked since that creates a problem with control of the bike. It takes some time and frequent checks to ensure you're not inadvertently doing that.

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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks alot for the welcome and all the help! Yeah I have about a hundred questions for those poor MSF instructors when I see them.. But that helps alot in the mean time (I didn't even want to ride yesterday cause of the wind). It's funny that you mention arm position, I didn't even know that was big deal. I get super tense when that wind starts going and my arms go totally stiff. I get so tense my even my neck and shoulders hurt by the time I park it....

So I'll take the good advice and look straight up the road, relax and try not to worry if my bike is getting knocked around. You guys rock
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:21 AM
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If you feel like you're getting tense, try doing the "chicken dance." Just see if you can move your elbows like you're flapping your arms. Be careful not to overdo it though, because you could accidentally make steering inputs. Just gently move your arms a little bit to remind yourself to loosen up. Use your abs to hold you up, not your arms.

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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakesht View Post
If you feel like you're getting tense, try doing the "chicken dance." Just see if you can move your elbows like you're flapping your arms. Be careful not to overdo it though, because you could accidentally make steering inputs. Just gently move your arms a little bit to remind yourself to loosen up. Use your abs to hold you up, not your arms.
Great minds think alike; I was just thinking that.

The reasoning on the arms is that when your arms are locked at the elbows, the only steering inputs you can give are by moving your entire upper body, which upsets balance and is not a fine-grained control that you want. Watch all the cruiser riders and squids and you can quickly tell who's had formal training or been to the track and who hasn't merely by this tell. My experience has generally been, also, that those who lock their elbows never have gear on, but that could just be me.

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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
Great minds think alike; I was just thinking that.

The reasoning on the arms is that when your arms are locked at the elbows, the only steering inputs you can give are by moving your entire upper body, which upsets balance and is not a fine-grained control that you want. Watch all the cruiser riders and squids and you can quickly tell who's had formal training or been to the track and who hasn't merely by this tell. My experience has generally been, also, that those who lock their elbows never have gear on, but that could just be me.
I was out riding on Sunday with some friends, and one of the guys is pretty quick in the twisties, so he and I are normally at the front of the pack with everyone else ending up a mile or so behind. I was on the Duc, which I'm still trying to get comfortable on. I noticed that after a few corners I'd tense up and the bike responded by trying to go wide, and just a general "nervous" feeling in the chassis. I loosened up my arms, squeezed the tank, and she went right back to being stable and composed.

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