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Discussion Starter #1
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 :D 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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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.



Welcome to the forum!
 

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Strength and Honor
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Welcome :cheers:

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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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.

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.

zx6r1033 said:
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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 :D
 

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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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Strength and Honor
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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.
:laughing: 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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:laughing: 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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Discussion Starter #11
Oh man, I feel like such a dipshit.. I thought you were supposed to like lean over and use your arms for support. Wow, i'm glad you told me that Snakesht. I'm guessing you've been doing it for a while.. Hey that works out though, i'm all for an extra ab workout.. Nice bike by the way.
 

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Oh man, I feel like such a dipshit.. I thought you were supposed to like lean over and use your arms for support.
:eek:
NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bad idea, break yourself of that habit, and I mean yesterday!!!

Nice bike by the way.
Why, thank you!
 

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LOL!! Yes sir, I will most certainly stop riding like that! :D I can't believe nobody's ever told me that before.. I've never really been around bikes, just my sport quad, so this is like a whole new learning curve for me. But I really apprieciate all the help, I know it's going to make a HUGE difference in my riding.
 

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Strength and Honor
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LOL!! Yes sir, I will most certainly stop riding like that! :D I can't believe nobody's ever told me that before.. I've never really been around bikes, just my sport quad, so this is like a whole new learning curve for me. But I really apprieciate all the help, I know it's going to make a HUGE difference in my riding.
So will attending the MSF. If the others in the group are doing that, then I'd suspicion they've never had formal training, which would very much be a shame.
 

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Yeah, some of them just took the dmv test (not everyone has the money). But I need to work on my u-turn and refuse to attempt it again on my own bike, so I can't wait to try it out in the class (on their bike) :thumbs2:

Who knows, maybe i'll ride better then them eventually (nothing wrong with wishful thinking...)
 

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Yeah, some of them just took the dmv test (not everyone has the money). But I need to work on my u-turn and refuse to attempt it again on my own bike, so I can't wait to try it out in the class (on their bike) :thumbs2:

Who knows, maybe i'll ride better then them eventually (nothing wrong with wishful thinking...)
You seem to be going about it the right way. It's nice to see someone starting on the right kind of bike instead of arguing about why a 600 is okay for beginners. :thumb:
 

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You seem to be going about it the right way. It's nice to see someone starting on the right kind of bike instead of arguing about why a 600 is okay for beginners. :thumb:
600's are only ok if you're under 5'10". If you're any bigger than that, you gotta have a liter bike. Haven't you been paying any attention lately?

</sarcasm> :twofinger
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Being the fresh meat that I am, the look of the larger bikes actually intimidates me.. I wanted something with a small look to it, I actually thought the ninja was quite ugly when I saw it. I went to buy the GS500 because of the nicer look but once I sat on it I hated the way it seemed so boxy on the front end. I did base my puchase on looks in a way, but I wanted something that seemed smaller and more friendly (girly, I know)... And the ninja is just so narrow, I love it.

As for engine size, well all I can say is i'm damn glad I didn't get a 250. I bought my bike totally blind to how it would ride. I was afraid a 600 would have too much torque and freak me out if I accidentally goosed it or something... I was a little disappointed once I got on my ninja 500 because my four wheeler probably has a little more response off the line. But once you're going that thing will definately move, so I don't really have any complaints...
 

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Welcome to SBW!

You'd be suprised just how a 250 will boogie when you know what you're doing. Over Christmas, my bike was in the shop, but Mrs Tree's bike was calling out to me. I went on a group ride and found myself in the lead pack most of the day. The bigger bikes were getting away from me on the straights and uphill sections, but I was able to stay with them on the corners due to the low weight of the bike. I cornered faster than I'd ever dare to on my 1100!! :burnout:

Take your time learning. By now you'd have realised there's a huge difference between riding your quad in the dirt and riding a bike on the street. Work on the theory that everyone on the road is out to kill you, including road crews that leave loose gravel on the road after doing some maintanence. :cussing;

While you're trying to relax and keep the weight off your arms, relax your hands, too. You're grip should be no tighter than if you were trying to hold a wet sponge without squeezing any water out. The only time you should be putting weight on the bars is when you're counter-steering.

Don't be afraid to keep asking these guys a million questions. They're a great bunch who want nothing more than for new riders to become old riders.



(kanwisch and snakesht - I was thinking of the chicken dance, too! :thumbs2: )
 

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600's are only ok if you're under 5'10". If you're any bigger than that, you gotta have a liter bike. Haven't you been paying any attention lately?

</sarcasm> :twofinger


:laughing::laughing: Oh man oh man.. I have to upgrade as fast as possible. I am 240-250 lbs, and I've been stuck on this lowly little 600 for the past 5 years. It doesn't even matter that I can't ride it to it's full potential... This just isn't working out.
 
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