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Discussion Starter #1
After one year, I'm still loving this bike. But I really miss being able to corner just a bit aggressively without hearing the scrape of metal on tarmac. Has anyone tried grinding the 'feeler pegs' under the floorboards down for a little more clearance or otherwise modded the boards (different mounting brackets maybe)?
 

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But I really miss being able to corner just a bit aggressively without hearing the scrape of metal on tarmac.
Stock boards or 3rd party ??

And then.....this is a touchy subject for some but it is entirely possible that your riding technique needs a little "tweek".

If you lean or shift your body weight more to the inside, the bike itself will have to lean less.

Shifting your butt on the seat can be a real bear when your feet are out in front.......so on a cruiser, most of it needs to be body lean.
 

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Hey Kwaka,
I tried to pull up some posts to see what types of bikes you were used to cornering aggressively. Couldn't figure it out.
Do you like the Pirellis any better than the stock? I never felt like my front tire gave me good feed back on the 900. I think it was the suspension and not the tire.

As far as cornering more aggressively; when riding 1-up, I would really hang my backside off the seat and lean my body right as I started the turn.
I guess if you came from sports bikes you know about that though.:)

It is my understanding that the custom has a little more lean angle before hitting the pegs so I guess a mod could give you a little. But, you aren't hurting anything and boards are so much more comfortable.:)

Scott
 

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I don't think grinding a few milimeters is going to give you a noticeable increase in clearance. Part of riding a cruiser with low, forward mounted floorboards is the fact that you've got to give up some twisty road prowess!

Do you throttle through your corners? Adding throttle towards the beginning of a corner (entering it slow enough to do so, of course) will prevent the nose from diving, giving you a bit more clearance. I've found entering the corner slower than necessary, and using throttle through the ENTIRE corner (rather than just powering out of it) allows me to lean noticeably farther. Learned that trick in a book and it's a blast once you master it.

The only way to modify the bike to increase clearance though would be to fabricate new brackets to raise the floorboards a bit. Or go on craigslist and get a laid-down Ninja 250 for $1,200 from some high school kid and use it as a twist road machine! I've been tempted to do that a few times. My buddy used to have one and I'd ride it all the time. They aren't straight-line speed machines like the bigger sportbikes but they are cheap, reliable, and MAN can they corner. In fact he paid $800 for his. 16 year old bought it, was trying to do a wheelie, wrecked it. His mother said she was going to to take it to the scrap yard if he didn't sell it THAT week. $800, a new left peg, and bending the rear brake pedal back in place, and it was going! Scratched up but who cares? It's an $800 cornering machine! Was an '06 with 16k miles too!

And, as others have said, do some reading on sportbike riding techniques (counter-steering while leaning your body, etc.) You can make the bike turn faster with the same lean angle, making better use of your limited lean angle. I will say though, and this is just my $0.02, I don't think you'll ever get to a point where you'll say "Gee, this thing lays over like crazy and carves corners like a sportbike!". The comfort we get from laid back low-floorboard V-Twin cruisers requires some compromise in the performance and handling department!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Stock boards or 3rd party ??

And then.....this is a touchy subject for some but it is entirely possible that your riding technique needs a little "tweek".

If you lean or shift your body weight more to the inside, the bike itself will have to lean less.

Shifting your butt on the seat can be a real bear when your feet are out in front.......so on a cruiser, most of it needs to be body lean.
Stock, as far as I know. I bought the bike on consignment last year.

I could see the need for a weight shift if we were talking about high speeds in the mountains, but this bike can grind even in a turn at an intersection. Part of the equation I know is suspension; if it's compressed due to braking or too much speed in the turn, there's less clearance available. I just haven't had this issue on any of my previous bikes. The Hyosung GV650 would occasionally touch down, but not this often.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Kwaka,
I tried to pull up some posts to see what types of bikes you were used to cornering aggressively. Couldn't figure it out.
Do you like the Pirellis any better than the stock? I never felt like my front tire gave me good feed back on the 900. I think it was the suspension and not the tire.

As far as cornering more aggressively; when riding 1-up, I would really hang my backside off the seat and lean my body right as I started the turn.
I guess if you came from sports bikes you know about that though.:)

It is my understanding that the custom has a little more lean angle before hitting the pegs so I guess a mod could give you a little. But, you aren't hurting anything and boards are so much more comfortable.:)

Scott
No, no sportbikes in my thirty-plus years of riding. The nearest thing was the old Concours, and that would hardly qualify. I'm mostly a pretty sedate rider nowadays but do enjoy being able to lean it over in the turns occasionally.

The new tires definitely made a difference in road feel. I can hardly believe Kawasaki would even sell them with the worthless skins that were on them.
 

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Thanks for the reply, Romans. I've been countersteering literally since my first ride, a '77 Honda 750. I learned the trick by reading Kevin Cameron in the old Cycle Magazine before ever taking a test ride. I haven't tried the early braking and acceleration through the turns trick yet, will give it a try tomorrow.
 

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Short rake, high center of gravity, high revving w/lots of HP.
I would count the Concours as a sport.

I like the Hyosung.:) I hope they stick around long enough to become a fixture.
That GV650 really has some clearance and with the dual rear shocks; you would have to get some serious lean to scrape!

I don't think you will ever get that kind of performance out of the 900.

What do you have your rebound set at?
Bring it up to 7 and your ride will suffer a little, but you should get more clearance.

Putting the Pirellis on mine helped to stop it from 'wandering' and made it track straighter on grooved pavement. But, the front always felt just a little 'squishy' in a hard turn.

Scott
 

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Short rake, high center of gravity, high revving w/lots of HP.
I would count the Concours as a sport.

I like the Hyosung.:) I hope they stick around long enough to become a fixture.
That GV650 really has some clearance and with the dual rear shocks; you would have to get some serious lean to scrape!

I don't think you will ever get that kind of performance out of the 900.

What do you have your rebound set at?
Bring it up to 7 and your ride will suffer a little, but you should get more clearance.

Putting the Pirellis on mine helped to stop it from 'wandering' and made it track straighter on grooved pavement. But, the front always felt just a little 'squishy' in a hard turn.

Scott
Well, that was an '86 and nowhere near the power of today's models, plus it was a retitled wreck, so I guess I never felt like a sportbiker on it (ok, maybe up on Highway 21.)

I must admit I don't know what the rebound is set on. Is that an easy adjustment?
 

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It's possible to shift your weight on the seat on the 900. You just have to work a bit harder at it. One thing I found that works is to just swing you knee out in the direction of the curve--left curve, left knee out. Try keeping your head and eyes level with the road and look through the curve. And I have to agree with Romans about slowing slightly prior entering the curve, then adding a bit of throttle through the curve. At the point where you are about halfway around the curve, then begin powering out of it, accelerating fairly hard as you come out of it.

Try airing your tires to the pressure printed on the sidewall. (I know, controversial subject). This will improve the handling as well as increase tire life. To access the rear shock to adjust the spring preload, you will need to remove the front sprocket cover, the left side cover and the engine coolant reservoir bottle. You don't have to take it completely off, just remove the screw that holds it in place and move it to the side.. Seat's gotta come off for this. Your tool kit should contain two spanners in it for changing the spring preload.

Good tires are important. I have Metzelers and I love them. Very smooth handling, predictable. The stockers are junk.j

When slowing going into a curve, you don't have to slow a lot, just enough to set the bike up properly. The idea is to not "bomb" into the curve, cuz if you have to brake in the middle of the curve, you could upset the whole proceeds, requiring you to lean over more, probably resulting in scraping you pegs, or even losing control.

Don't know I'f this helps or not, but these are my thoughts. The 900 is certainly no sport bike, but you can get fairly sporty on it.

I edited this post, thanks to Big Worm reading my erroneous info and correcting me on this. For those of you left scratching your heads, the 900 only has a single rear shock. The Nomad has dual rear shocks. Forget what I previously posted. Guess I had a late-night "DUH!" moment.
 

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To get to the shock you need to take off the seat, the left painted cover, the plastichrome cover and the coolant reserve bottle.

If you still have the tool kit, there should be two spanners (funky hook shaped wrenches) and a metal tube.

If these are in good shape, I bent the end of mine, you can slide the ends of the spanners into the tube and hook them onto the notches in the shock. There is not much room to work; and you have to alternate which spanner end you use.

It is kind of a pain in the @ss, but not complicated.

Scott
 

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You can access the rear shocks directly from the right side for the right shock. For the left one, You will need to remove the front sprocket cover and the left side cover. Seat's gotta come off for this. Your tool kit should contain two scanners in it for changing the spring preload.

.
....left and right rear shocks.....i always thought the vn900 had a monoshock rear suspension...
 

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....left and right rear shocks.....i always thought the vn900 had a monoshock rear suspension...

YIKES!!! :eek: Your are right. I really blew that one. The Nomad has dual shocks, not the 900, and the only way you can get to the rear shock on the 900 is from the left side by removing the seat, left side cover, pulley cover and coolant reservoir bottle. Sorry 'bout that. It was late and I had just wrenched my finger, no thanks to the dog getting squirrely on me and twisting my finger in the collar. I plead temporary mental working deficiency and throw myself on the mercy of the board. LOL :D
 

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I could see the need for a weight shift if we were talking about high speeds in the mountains, but this bike can grind even in a turn at an intersection.
The same principle applies, just to a different degree, regardless of the speed or the bike involved. ANY bike can scrape parts in a simple turn......if the rider is using the wrong technique.

I think one option might be to change out the boards for pegs, also stock on some models.
 

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I've never ridden a 900 Classic, but I don't think my Custom will corner any more aggressively than the Classic. In the Classic the boards may hit earlier, but on the custom your heel is lower than the peg and I gotta say the first time you drag your heal through a corner, it's a bit disconcerting!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Could you elaborate on that a bit, please ?

It makes me think of keeping your body straight UP.....and that effectively means that you are leaning the wrong way.

Your knee thing is good.
This is a technique I've practiced from Day One, along with counter-steering. You're maintaining your head level and upright by bending your neck laterally enough to counter the body lean (on a left lean, tilt the head toward the right shoulder). It helps keep the horizon steady.
 

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Could you elaborate on that a bit, please ?

It makes me think of keeping your body straight UP.....and that effectively means that you are leaning the wrong way.

Your knee thing is good.
Think of yourself flying in an airplane. When the plane banks to make a turn, you almost automatically tilt your head to maintain a level view of the horizon. Same thing with a motorcycle. When you lean it over, simply tilt your head to maintain a level view of the road. You don't have to straighten up your body. Just don't use your body to lean the bike over, countersteer instead. To go left, push on the left hand grip, to go right, push on the right hand grip. It's more a pressure on the handlebars than it is actually moving it like you would when steering around a turn at very low speeds.

Something else I've found that works to aid in going around a curve, especially a tight curve, is to lean forward a bit. It shifts some weight forward to the front of the bike, placing a bit more weight on the front tire, aiding in the turning. It's part of the reason why sport bikes and sport tourers have that leaning forward riding position. Give it a try.
 

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Think of yourself flying in an airplane. When the plane banks to make a turn, you almost automatically tilt your head to maintain a level view of the horizon.
Can't say that I really agree with that.

One thing I have noticed, and my Classic was like this when I bought it- The dealers sometimes install the floorboards with the scraper bars mounted at the front edge of the boards. They need to be removed and installed at the rear, or lowest part of the boards. You might want to check yours.
 
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