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I'm have been riding since March...so I really want to increase my skills as a rider, you can only do so much reading, its November so track days are really not an option, what can I do to make myself a more proficient rider. Any tips I can work on over the winter to become a better rider.
 
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move south to ride some more? hehehe...
honestly, i can't think of anything during the offseason to learn to ride better. what i can think of is to go over the bike during the offseason and get it setup to your own needs better. properly dialling in the suspension, doing what you can to alter ergonomics to suit your preferred riding position. that kind of thing.
and get on the ball to register for advanced riding schools for the spring thaw.
 
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I would start at the local Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Pick up "Twist of the Wrist" and maybe "Proficient Motorcycling".....there are other good ones too that even the most experienced motorcyclists can pick up some good tips and info........And if you get a chance definitely do a track day or 2.....pushing it hard on the track will make you a better rider on the street....(or put you in jail >:D)
 
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I'll second the reccomendation for Proficient Motorcycling (and MORE Proficient Motorcycling). Reg Pridmore also has a book out called "Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way" which is supposed to be excellent. It's on my Christmas list.

If you don't have winter weather that prohibits you from riding (cold doesn't count!), then you can always ride to a parking lot near you and practice braking. Get some soft drink cans, or other markers, and measure out a braking shoot. Practice your braking until you can stop in the shortest distance possible without locking either wheel. You can also practice cornering in a parking lot by using a masonary nail and string to draw out a nice constant radius curve.

It sounds stupid, but it really will help you develop (or keep) good habits.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've got Proficient Riding and Twist of the Wrist...Cold is not too much of a problem here, and we get a few nice days every couple of weeks...practicing low speed stuff, while isn't fun is probably what I should be doing.....braking, working on some emergency stops like in MSF would be smart too.
 

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As you ride around, try practicing easy basic skills that help you ride smooth and in control. Given the torques and engine braking our bikes have, three of my favorite things that I could work on whether in traffic, on backroads, or wherever were 1) learning to blip the throttle when downshifting and braking without changing the pressure on the brake lever; 2) alternatively, use trailing throttle when approaching stops and basically keep the engine running where it's not holding the speed and not braking either - allowing smooth downshifting without changing the throttle position at all until rolling off it at a complete stop(Keith Code makes a point about engines aren't for slowing the bike but brakes are); 3) practice letting the clutch out on downshifts slowly and smoothly just like starting from a stop.

I've found all three to be useful skills. Number two is probably the one I like best for smoothness. Number on is the most challenging for me.

I also vote for picking up any of the good references mentioned above and work at all the seemingly little/simple skills outlined in them as riding situations permit (safely).

Practice braking with only the front brake sometimes and gently add rear brake sometimes to feel how much it can add to stopping power. Some people fein ignorance that bikes even have a rear brake. I've found on some tracks I use only the front brake setting up for turns, while on other tracks there are certain sections I add in rear brake after initially squeezing on the front. You'll even begin to notice a difference in how the front suspension loads up under braking dependent on whether you are using rear brake or not. While on the subject, practice always squeezing on the front brake smoothly instead of grabbing a handfull suddenly - this habit will help you avoid panic braking and keep control of the bike.

Also work on riding with the attitude that on the best days you're invisible to cars. On the worst days they are all out to get you. In response, keep your eyes and head moving to keep a 360 degree picture of what can harm you and how you can dodge it. Practice riding into the "holes" in traffic to keep the maximum safety zone around you. I subconsciously speed up and slow down, pass and get passed and move into the emptiest space. Usually its speeding up to find that space, because you never know when a cluster of idiots can overtake you ;D

Everyone has plenty of favorite tips. These are some of mine, and by no means the best advice. But they seem to have made me a better rider over time.
 

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Don't get Twist of the Wrist, get Twist of the Wrist II. It is less track oriented than the first book.

I learned a little bit about bike balance, the Proficient Motorcycling changed the way I ride, making me both safer and more confident. Study that one. You can also go read all 176 tips and techniques articles at http://www.msgroup.org/. There are some good tips hidden in there.
 

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Don't ride with people that crash....
 
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AllyCat said:
Don't ride with people that crash....
good one there.....I try to not ride with "people that will get me arrested"......that's happened to me twice. It is good to know the people who you ride with and their skill level.......If I see a temp tag on a new Hyabusa for example....I give the guy plenty of room to do something stupid without killing me too >:D
 

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I know that sounds harsh... I find that most of time not always, people who crash ride over their heads or they are showing off. I have no patience and quite frankly no desire to have these type of people on my rides.
 

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lil_mo said:
good one there.....I try to not ride with "people that will get me arrested"......that's happened to me twice.
 
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Several people praised "Proficient Motorcycling". I have been wanting to ask the author a question, but can't figure out how to contact him, so I will ask the question here.

There are several figures in the book that show how you should line up for a curve, then aim for the apex of the curve and accelerate out of it. All this looks OK to me if the curve is constant radius and 90 degrees or less.

My question is, what if the curve has a decreasing radius and/or is more than 90 degrees. In these cases it seems to me that you can't set up everything in advance. In fact you could get yourself in lots of trouble by assuming what lies beyond your field of view. Racers know what's coming up because they have been there before, but many of us are riding a particular twisty road for the first time.

This is hard to discuss without diagrams, but I would appreciate any input.

Jim
 

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from what i remember in proficient motorcycling, david hough recommends taking a late apex approach on the street (and especially on roads you do not know). that way you can see further through the turn and give yourself a little extra wiggle room to correct for either your or (more likely) another driver's unexpected mistakes. though not as sport-oriented as some on this board may prefer, the book can give you a tonne of useful info. he's also put out another book - more proficiant motorcycling - building on the first.
 

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Here are a few options:

1. Find some people who are better riders than yourself, ride with them.
2. Read as many books on riding as you can
3. Watch professionals on t.v.
4. Buy electric gloves, vest, and socks...so you can squeeze as much riding in as possible when it gets cold.

Good luck.
 

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yeah, when it is dark and nasty, read, drink red wine in front of fire place with something to love, and then when it is a daytime go skiing,
and continouysly think better balance, better curves, how think forward, to pay attention but not loose the joy of riding (skiing fast), learn the technics, think about them, why so, why not so, be happy, drink more red wine, make love and relax. and then ride some more.

Skier
 

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Ride more. :D

I should have called ya today, it was an excellent day to ride. Blue River Road got a little rougher though since I last road it.

4500 miles this season.... :D Almost 200 today.
 
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