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Thread: Help for a new and nervous rider

  1. #16
    Should Get Out More Julian_Boolean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider


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    Get a 125 and ride it around until you're happy and confident on it, then move to something bigger, my own progression was 50, 185, 250, 350, 750 and then all over the place with engine sizes.
    For commuting and touring the Honda CB400SF I had a couple of years ago was superb, top speed was about 110mph so it was more than capable of keeping up with traffic, this one is a bit of a bargain https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HONDA-CB4...wAAOSwzMlcXsro (it's nothing to do with me, but I have seen that actual bike and it's quite nice)
    The FZR400RR I have now will do 130mph and handles excellently, it's also tiny and light, I've had to put some extra foam on the seat to raise the seat height a little and I'm about 5ft 7. https://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/mo...400rr%2090.htm

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    Wow! Thank you so much everyone! You're all so nice!

    I am being egged on by my partner who wants a touring buddy however he has been riding for many years and has just bought a new 800 cc beast so I do feel massively under pressure not only to pass the test but to be able to keep up with him so he doesn't get bored. I've told him repeatedly I'll be pootling at my own pace not his but he just keeps saying I'll be fine....
    It would be a very bad idea to try to keep up with someone experienced on a big bike unless they are exceptionally considerate - and I'm not sure it sounds as though he is....

    What might be a plan is to arrange predetermined stops to meet up but each to make your own way there. Then you're not feeling the pressure to keep up, however unintentional that may be from your partner. It's also the case that to follow someone else almost always ends up with you going too fast into bends, braking too late, concentrating on the other bike rather than the road & other traffic.

    In any case, you won't be communicating much if at all while riding so no need to stick together like glue.

    Try a couple of shorter trips using this idea and see how it goes. Your partner may well be kicking his heels for a while waiting for you (but of course he can always take the scenic route!)

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  4. #18
    Should Get Out More Mad Ax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    The idea that you "have to be on a big bike in order to keep up" has warning bells all over it. Trying to go faster than you're comfortable with is a very fast way to find a hedgerow, even on a small bike.

    I'm 5'6" and these days I don't have much physical strength, but I ride a GSX1400. For a time I had a Bandit 1200 with a 2" rear lift. I had to stand on the pegs to get on and off it. It can be done - but it's all about practice and confidence.

    FWIW you don't have to kick the bike upright before you ride off - if you turn the bars into the lean and pull away the bike will right itself. Actually the bike will want to naturally centre itself if you pull away while leaning - you just need to be ready to let it do it and help it on its way, and be aware that you won't immediately head in the direction you're facing. All this takes practice and time and before you get there you need that confidence just moving around on the bike.

    A wise man once said to me, on this very forum, "If you're nervous, you're going too fast. Slow down." Now if you're nervous going over 40mph on a clear straight NSL road that suggests to me that you're not ready for the tests, you'll need more time to get there, and I'd be very wary of any instructor pushing you to take the test. But I'm not an instructor.

    That said, once that confidence clicks, it'll probably come to you very quickly - just be patient and wait for that click moment. Maybe that's what the instructor is waiting for. Get as much road time as you can but make sure nobody is pressuring you and if you feel overwhelmed, stop and take a breather.

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  6. #19
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Thanks guys, once again really helpful replies.

    I think the whole not wanting to get up to speed on the NSL road was mostly because it was my first time on the road and less than 5 mins into the ride. We literally turned out of the training place, off a roundabout and onto the NSL road. I'm happy to admit that scared me and it was mostly about not knowing nearly enough to have a chance to get out of trouble if something unexpected happened.
    I am starting to feel better about it all after talking it through with you guys (thank you for your patience!). I agree, it's definitely a time thing, I'm going to see how the next two lessons go. If I'm still not happy, I'm going to postpone the tests and go back to a 125. The lessons are both 4hrs each so that in theory should be long enough to get a good idea of where I'm at and what I need to do. I'll let you know how I get on!

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    Should Get Out More Ant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    You can do it. I wasn't on a 125 for very long at all before going for my direct access on a 500, then getting a 600.

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  10. #21
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to give you a quick update as you were all so lovely and helpful to me.

    I stuck with it and now love it..... I have hired a 125 to get around on the roads and get my confidence up and I'm still planning to do the full licence. I've had a few more lessons on the 600 and the instructor thinks I'm ready for both tests. I did attempt the MOD1 and failed BUT.... I had a clean sheet, I failed on the E-stop as I wasn't quick enough through the speed trap (by 4km / ph) so I've re-booked it and will be practising as much as I can until then.
    I've been going out on my own and ignoring the other halfs advice as he mostly just thinks I should have passed by now. I'm a lot happier travelling at speed now, still cautious through bends on country roads but not overly so.

    Fingers crossed I'll be back soon to tell you I'm finally a Proper Motorbike Rider!

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Well done for sticking at it. Better to be over cautious than under.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Well done.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider


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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    I've been going out on my own and ignoring the other halfs advice as he mostly just thinks I should have passed by now.
    Good thinking. If you're not comfortable with what you're doing you are likely to make mistakes. There's a phrase that gets used here, "ride your own ride". You'll get there in your own time.

    still cautious through bends on country roads but not overly so.
    Caution is good. There's another phrase, "what if?" That applies to more than bends. It's not to stop you but is to help you be aware and prepare for things that could happen

    Fingers crossed I'll be back soon to tell you I'm finally a Proper Motorbike Rider!
    I've never managed that yet.

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    Should Get Out More RiceBurner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Glad to hear you're still out there and starting to enjoy it!
    Keep at it, the more you ride, the more confidence you'll generate and the more fun you'll have.

  18. #27
    Should Get Out More Horse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Jack View Post
    a heavy bike that has to be parked backwards uphill in the only place it will fit. .
    It's always easier to ride forwards uphill and sit on to wheel backwards downhill. Is there a reason you can't do that?

    For the OP, when of the things that's key to the move from a lighter bike to heavier, is the amount of planning that you need to do for apparently simple stuff like stopping and parking. You will be on all sorts of horizontal trouble if you try and stop with the bike even slightly leant over, for example in a U turn. Instead, you need to get the bike straight and upright, then stop.

    Often, riders panic, stick both feet down, then grab the front brake. You need to be competent and confident in equal measures - and planning everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    I've been going out on my own and ignoring the other halfs advice as he mostly just thinks I should have passed by now. I'm a lot happier travelling at speed now, still cautious through bends on country roads but not overly so.
    Keep ignoring him, ride for yourself

    Next thing to remember is that going a 'bit' faster means that stopping takes a 'lot' longer.

    For argument's sake, use the Highway Code distances (which I can only remember in feet ):
    50mph 50ft thinking 125ft braking
    60mph 60 ft thinking, so only 10 ft further before you even start braking, but that extends to 180ft

    That's an overall stopping distance from 175ft to 240ft. 65ft difference! Now you really need to be planning ahead.

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    Expecting rain saga_lout's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Breaker View Post
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    ...still cautious through bends on country roads but not overly so.
    Caution is good. There's another phrase, "what if?" That applies to more than bends. It's not to stop you but is to help you be aware and prepare for things that could happen
    It's better to be on the road thinking "I could have taken that bend 10 mph faster" than sitting in the hedge thinking "I should have taken that bend 10 mph slower".

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post

    I've been going out on my own and ignoring the other halfs advice as he mostly just thinks I should have passed by now.
    I banned hubby from coming out with me when I was learning (he said I made him nervous and this made me very cross and stubborn ).

    I’m fairly small myself - 5’5” and 8.5 st - so I understand a few of your issues but, like the others have said, it can be done and where there’s a will there’s a way if you really want to get there. I love riding both big and little bikes but I still do have issues moving big bikes around and I know I need to practice.

    Good luck and you will definitely end up LOVING it (and maybe one day you’ll be quicker than your o.h., haha!)

    xx

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Funnily enough I was giving presentations only yesterday about the problem that we all tend to face with bikes... we buy a bike, then tend to try to fit ourselves to the bike.

    The process should be the opposite way round, but out of 30-odd people in the presentations, only two or three mentioned "because the bike fitted me" as a reason for buying.

    Have you looked at what you can do to get the machine fitting you better? Lowering the machine, fitting a low seat are definitely things to look at. And making sure you have changed the brake, clutch, rear brake and gear shift to fit you is vital.

    I'll offer a contrary view to the 'ride a 125 and gain experience and confidence' line.

    Why? Because what we learn to ride and what we gain confidence on is a 125.

    We still have most of the problems - weight, height, bulk, not to mention the power - when we do transition to the bigger machine.

    I've taught dozens of vertically challenged people to ride on Direct Access bikes so it's far from impossible. The biggest problem I had with people who'd learned on a 125 was that they often thought they'd jump on the bigger machine without problem - and then they discovered that what they'd learned on the 125, particularly throttle and clutch control, needed to be completely relearned for the bigger machine and on a number of occasions all that hard-earned confidence evaporated again. Other instructors know this... so encouraging a novice to ride the bigger machine isn't necessarily 'bullying' them - it's just experience of real-life learning!

    Anyway, a clean sweep on Mod 1 is pretty good - just a bummer about the speed trap.

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