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Old 12-28-2008, 05:37 PM   #1
suziq94
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Took the MSF course April 2008, passed with flying colors and was licensed. I own a 1994 Suzuki GS500E. This is a great beginner bike.....She may be 15 years old, but she purrs like a kitten, and looks brand new thanks to my husband's talent. I have been a devoted passenger for many years, and decided I also could enjoy the freedom of the open road. Since April, I haven't been able to put more miles on Suzi due to conflict of work schedules...I only ride when my husband rides, and we hardly have weekends off together. This in turn has put me back some. No fear, for I am mentally driven to ride. My weakness right now, is slow turns or slow corners. I seem to take them too wide or too tight. Then there are days when I ride I feel 100 percent confident, other days when I haven't been on the bike I lack that feeling of confidence. I have no problem touching the ground flat footed, for I am 5 foot 10. Though being lean, I do lack the upper body strength. Knock on wood, I haven't dropped the bike yet. Riding takes practice. I am also more aware of how stupid car drivers are and the lack of respect they have for motorcyclists.... Would love to hear feedback.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:44 PM   #2
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"I am also more aware of how stupid car drivers are and the lack of respect they have for motorcyclists...."

Motorcycling is a life-long learning process, and no matter how long you ride the stupid car drivers won't get a bit smarter. Remember that, and you are way ahead of the game.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by suziq94 View Post
Hello
My weakness right now, is slow turns or slow corners. I seem to take them too wide or too tight. Then there are days when I ride I feel 100 percent confident, other days when I haven't been on the bike I lack that feeling of confidence. I have no problem touching the ground flat footed, for I am 5 foot 10. Though being lean, I do lack the upper body strength. Knock on wood, I haven't dropped the bike yet. Riding takes practice.
Many riders have difficulties with slow speed corners and especially u-turns. I've seen a lot of bikes dropped that way. It's enough of an issue that some magazines I take have ads for DVD training courses on the subject. However, you have the answer already: it's really a matter of practice. When you're in one of those "up" moods, find an empty parking lot and practice. BTW: most riders find it easier to turn in one direction than the other; I have no idea why. Right brain/left brain?

Upper body strength has nothing to do with handling a bike unless you're hanging off the bike dragging knees on the track at racing speeds. And even then, the riders tend to be small and lean, not bulky and muscular. Street riding is all about finesse, which come from...practice.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:38 PM   #4
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Hello
My weakness right now, is slow turns or slow corners. I seem to take them too wide or too tight. Then there are days when I ride I feel 100 percent confident, other days when I haven't been on the bike I lack that feeling of confidence.
The one thing that stuck with me from both the basic and experienced MSF courses is "look where you want the bike to go." This is expecially true at slow speeds. Try to focus NOT on where you are, but rather, where you want to go. Try turning your head and looking further up the road. Also, ride more often.

I always feel a little rusty when riding after a layoff longer than 2 weeks. My goal is to ride every week of the year (not always possible).
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:03 AM   #5
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Trust me, I've been doing this for years and I have off days now and then. It seems like I've never even seen a motorcycle before let alone ridden one, then other days everything just falls into place and it's like the bike is riding itself. Just part of the game, do the best you can and stay focused on what you're doing.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #6
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You want to get over the fear factor a little faster? Go to someone's riding school. Not MSF stuff. On a track with their bikes get training from an expert. Yep- it will cost a little, but it will shorten your timeline in self confidence. There are more than a few of these and the prices will range from about $700 to as high as $2800. Since you're not trying to be a pro racer check out the least costly schools first. It's usually a two day thing and you'll need full leathers (some schools rent them), but it will be worth it to learn from an expert road race instructor. They'll make you see things that might take you years to learn on your own.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:27 PM   #7
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Welcome! I've got a later version of your bike, not that Suzuki really changed it that much ever. Getting one of these into a low speed corner doesn't take all that much upper body strenght; it's more a matter of balance. You can get a GS500 to do a 180 degree turn on a two lane street by shifting your weight in the opposite direction of the turn and leaning the bike over - the opposite of the way you steer it at high speed, so this can be a bit counterintuitive.

If it's work schedules that prevent you from riding, why not ride the GS to work once things warm up a little? I did this almost every day in April, only taking one day off when I had to bring a truck home from work and two more when the bike had a dead battery. They're great commuter bikes, and this will give you a lot of practice and confidence.
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