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So I took my MSF class on thursday. I passed my class and couldn't wait to get home and take advantage of a nice night. I jumped on my bike and the first stop sign I came to the bike turned into a rocket on me. I got it under control, but I am wondering what I am doing wrong. I talked to some people I know that ride and none of them had an advice about what to do different. I am really hoping someone might have some advice for me here so I know what I need to change.

Thanks!
 

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Relax . . . Breathe . . . Relax . . . Enjoy . . . When you feel yourself putting the grip-o-death on the bars, straighten your fingers and tell yourself to relax - Congrats on taking the first step . . . the rest will come . . . If you relax -

I used to white knukle it - then I learned to relax and the ride became much smoother, much more enjoyable . . .
 

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practice your braking.
go to a parking lot and do the pull the clutch, apply both brake drill to a full stop with left foot coming down to a stop
over and over, until it's second nature.
you will know because you will have that picture in your mind when you need to stop.
not the one you have now, which is WTF am I going to do OS
 

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Practice your throttle/clutch control with just a very light turn of the throttle while lightly releasing the clutch to the point where the bike begins to move. Pull the clucth back in and let off the throttle STOP. Do this in baby steps until you have a feel for the throttle/clutch control. You should only be moving at best 2 or 4 feet forward while practicing this technnique. Begin to expand your distance. Try doing this in your drive or someplace open like a empty parking lot nearby. I bet this was the 1st thing you practiced in your motorcycle class. Ring any bells?
 

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I learned about relaxing from this forum. I had the grip of death, and sometimes still catch myself, but with more experience and practice you can get over it. Just practice safely in a safe place. When I pull into the driveway and I'm waiting for the garage door to open, I entertain myself by letting the bike roll backwards down the drive a few feet and then pull forward a few feet and repeat. Patience, grasshopper, it will come in time.
 

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So I took my MSF class on thursday. I passed my class and couldn't wait to get home and take advantage of a nice night. I jumped on my bike and the first stop sign I came to the bike turned into a rocket on me. I got it under control, but I am wondering what I am doing wrong. I talked to some people I know that ride and none of them had an advice about what to do different. I am really hoping someone might have some advice for me here so I know what I need to change.

Thanks!
Hey chum1600 - welcome :) Something I noticed is you said it was when you came to the stop that it happened - Watch your wrists and make sure they are level; if you have your hands rolled forwards as you are riding, then when you reach for the brake you are rolling the throttle on. If your wrists are level, you will roll off the throttle when you reach for the brake. http://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif
 

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I always tell new riders that total consentration is a must. Leave the IPOD at home turn off any other distractions and operate the machine by the numbers silently in you head. Do not get overconfident too quickly or the bike will adjust your attitude for you. Good luck, remember to respect the bike and what it can do to you if you don't stay focused on the ride.
 

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If your hands or forearms hurt, you need to relax your grip a bit. You may have to concentrate on it now, but it'll become second nature as you get more comfortable with the bike.

One little tip about throttle wrist position...start with, and keep your knuckles higher than your wrist. If you grab the throttle with your wrist high and your knuckles wrapped around the front of the grip, you'll get the effect you encountered at your first stop sign, which is that your palm rolled on to the throttle as you grabbed for the brake. If your knuckles start on top of the grip, with your wrist a little low on the back side of the grip, see what happens when you reach for the brake lever. Your hand should move forward and effectively close the throttle as you reach for the brake lever.

Any fool can jump on a bike and ride real fast in a straight line. The real skill is in learning how to stop quickly and safely, and performing low speed (parking-lot) maneuvers. Practice using the friction zone and counterbalancing while making tight figure-8's. (I still do this regularly) Don't panic if you scrape the floor boards as that scrape is actually a good sign. It means that you trust yourself and the bike, and shows you the lean angle limit.

Stay at your own pace and don't let anyone else pressure you into riding outside your comfort level. Most of all, enjoy the ride!
 

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I jumped on my bike right after my MSF and went to a nearby parking lot and relived all the steps from my class before I really got on the road to familiarize myself with my bike. My 1st real ride was with experienced friends , also my 2nd and 3rd ..... after about 500mi I was much more relaxed and felt comfortable on my bike , not so much that 1st 100miles though ,most of that was put on in the parking lot. It will come to you just be careful and get use to your bike.
 

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So I took my MSF class on thursday. I passed my class and couldn't wait to get home and take advantage of a nice night. I jumped on my bike and the first stop sign I came to the bike turned into a rocket on me. I got it under control, but I am wondering what I am doing wrong. I talked to some people I know that ride and none of them had an advice about what to do different. I am really hoping someone might have some advice for me here so I know what I need to change.

Thanks!
Releasing the throttle when you want to slow down is not something you should have to think about. Like braking, it should come naturally, and until it does, I'd advise restricting your riding to a parking lot.
_____________
IntheWind
'06 1500 Classic
 

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My first 500 miles I stuck to side streets, with lots of stop signs and sharp turns. However the greatest lesson learned was through friction drills such as board hopping where a 2x8 board is anchored to the ground and you begin by placing your front tire at the board. Continue practicing slowly releasing the clutch to find the friction point where power is now starting to move the bike.
Allow the bike to hop onto the board and brake before going completely over it. Repeat often to build muscle memory. Once you've mastered the clutch, slow speed maneuvers become quite easy and naturally instinctive as does down shifting. This training I received really boosted my confidence level and riding skills. I became relaxed and comfortable with my riding abilities after I used that technique. With some good clutch work you'll be amazed at what you can do on a 700 pound bike at only 4mph!
 

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I have had the same experience. I spent several hours over the course of a few weeks learning to feather the clutch and doing slow turning. Man that made a big difference in my driving and my confidence.
 

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Warm it up.

I find that when starting the bike you need to give it enough time to decel to idle. Trying to ride while the bike is cold may also be the cause for an inexperienced rider. Just a thought.
 

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I had the same problem. I only started riding a motorcycle in June, and bought a 09 Vulcan 900 Classic. First couple of hundred miles were around my neighborhood, then I slowly went out on to the streets, and didn't hit the highway until my 600 mile maintenance was due. I'm now at 1000K miles.

The point is I was just like you. My hands would hurt after 15 miles, because I was hanging on for dear life and any little gust of wind had me scared. Now I have a lighter touch, and I can tolerate the valley winds that we get fairly easy. It just takes experience. I still have issues, like popping the clutch while in 3rd getting on to the highway, but you just learn from every mistake.
 

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I have had my bike for about a month now, I havnt went on any long ventures yet mostly around town, this has really taught me the breaking, clutch and throttle release, I found myself being sore after short rides and found it to be tension while riding, once you get the hang of it you will be more comfortable and able to concentrate more on enjoying the ride and watching out for the other drivers on the road. So just practice, keep the shiny side up and enjoy your bike!
 

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Hope this helps you out a bit. When you're riding, check where your elbows are. If they are pointed out, away from your body, then your whole upper body is tensed up--a natural thing to happen to those new to riding--and results in the "death grip." Takes awhile to do this without having to think about it, but if you notice this, consciously drop your elbows down, and lower your shoulders. Your grip will relax as your body relaxes. When your elbows are elevated and pointed outwards, it means your shoulders are all hunched up, indicating that you are tenses up. Try this until you don't have to think about it.

I learned this concept from a flight instructor in the Army, and I used it when I was a flight instructor myself: Remember, this thing is only a machine and can't think for itself. It will only do what you tell it to do. It worked for me.

Learning to ride a motorcycle is the easy part, but, IMO, the beginner classes only teach you the mechanics of riding a bike but not how to actually get out on the streets and ride it. This just takes time and experience, and the only way you can gets experience is to just do it. Just be smart about it. Take your time and be patient, and, as others have stated here, it will come to you. Pretty soon that "rocket ship" experience will change from stark terror to sheer joy and make you grin ear to ear. And if you wear a full-face helmet, that grin just might make it hard to get the lid off when you get home!

So go out and practice, practice, practice. Baby steps first, than longer strides, and eventually, all this stuff will be instinctive, you'll be relaxed, and it'll become just fun. And welcome to the world of motorcycling.
 

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Re: releasing the throttle - I'm an advocate of (almost) NOT ever releasing the throttle. You turn it back for gas, and you gracefully turn it forward (with varying speeds) to slow down.

Throttle control is about control in both directions when riding. If you find yourself letting the throttle spring return the throttle for you when you go to brake, then I suggest taking some type of riding class. The best thing new riders could do is to start off on riding a 175cc or 250cc bike around for 6 months, but this is America...

Throttle releasing, at best, might be good for a progressively slower coast on an off-ramp, or to have a cool exhaust sound when you see a red light far up ahead that you would rather not race up on to give it time to change. Throttle turning-back is smoothness - get used to it.

You get used to what some people seem to be advocating - "releasing" the throttle, and when push comes to shove you're gonna find out what a high-side is. Get used to not releasing the throttle, but still slowing down and stopping correctly, and you can avoid some painful mistakes.
 

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Re: releasing the throttle - I'm an advocate of (almost) NOT ever releasing the throttle. You turn it back for gas, and you gracefully turn it forward (with varying speeds) to slow down.

Throttle control is about control in both directions when riding. If you find yourself letting the throttle spring return the throttle for you when you go to brake, then I suggest taking some type of riding class. The best thing new riders could do is to start off on riding a 175cc or 250cc bike around for 6 months, but this is America...

Throttle releasing, at best, might be good for a progressively slower coast on an off-ramp, or to have a cool exhaust sound when you see a red light far up ahead that you would rather not race up on to give it time to change. Throttle turning-back is smoothness - get used to it.

You get used to what some people seem to be advocating - "releasing" the throttle, and when push comes to shove you're gonna find out what a high-side is. Get used to not releasing the throttle, but still slowing down and stopping correctly, and you can avoid some painful mistakes.
That is a very valid point. I always like to tell folks, "The throttle is your friend." If you don't believe that, if you find your rear tire sliding in a curve when you have the brakes locked, just let off the throttle and see what happens. It will be a high side that will spit you off faster than you can think and there will be nothing you can do about it.

As for a letting off the throttle legitimately, I do it while at an idle or riding in a straight line when there is no chance of needing to work the throttle, then for only brief moments. And, of course, as you say, slowing down on a freeway exit or some such.
 

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Interesting , I guess I never gave it much thought , I just have always throttled my bike the way you describe Dave. I get a little rear tire skid some times down shifting coming to a 90deg turn , just ease on the gas going into it keeps it tracking for me.
I've been able to relax my grip , I think my issue is more handlebar position, gona see if some pullback risers help out with that.
 

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Interesting , I guess I never gave it much thought , I just have always throttled my bike the way you describe Dave. I get a little rear tire skid some times down shifting coming to a 90deg turn , just ease on the gas going into it keeps it tracking for me.
I've been able to relax my grip , I think my issue is more handlebar position, gona see if some pullback risers help out with that.
"blipping" the throttle on the down shifts will prevent rear wheel lock ups, rear wheel lock ups are caused from the lower gear rpm's being to low to match your wheel speed, down shifting before the corner will remove any lock ups in the corner which may or may not result in the rear of the bike sliding out from underneath you.
 
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