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6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This information was originally posted on Jan 22, 2010 (post #31 now)
direct link to page here >

In an effort to keep the information easily available, I am posting a new thread. I reside 30minutes from Deals Gap in Greenback, TN so if anyone wants to get together, let me know when you will be in town.

Again - this is the sumation of over 10 PAGES of information and Q&A. I do no thave time to reorder the information right now so please understand the order seen is how it was originally posted in the other thread. I have left out quite a bit and it's still a mini-book. As previously stated, even though this information is being posted here, I reatin my rights and request than anyone who wants to share this info on anything other than a personal level contact me first. (Share the info with some of your riding buddies but don't print this out and teach people without talking to me first.)

Here is the fun stuff:

UPDATE: This information is also valid for the F6B! (same motor and drivetrain).

Okay --- I have received requests for info from a bunch of people so I will post my response here.

Take the info and learn from it, or fight it and don't learn from it. I am not going to get into any kind of discussion about it here. This is not the thread for that. (see above link for original thread)

If you have genuine questions, please PM me and I will answer them.

Here's the info I have sent to several members...

Lack of faith in bike not falling over... this is one of the EXACT reasons why we are going to do the following... Many of you who have already been exposed to RLP, I want you to get away from RLP for right now. Do the following, then RLP stuff will be a snap! (RLP = Ride Like A Pro)

I have a different viewpoint so here's what I show / tell people who are finding difficulty in laying the bike over and performing tight turns... (we're going to step away from tight turns for right now, but we will get to those very quickly)

My first suggestion is going to sound like I have never ridden a wing before....

Make sure you are on pretty level ground, then...
Get the bike moving and get into 3rd gear as soon as you feel comfortable. Once in 3rd gear, let off the clutch, brakes, and throttle. The wing has plenty of torque AT IDLE to do what we want to do. I know this is a foreign concept, but I am asking you to simply have faith and after a very short time you will learn the wing has amazing power.

Spend a little bit of time doing easy smooth, NON-TIGHT turns. Get used to how the bike feels when transitioning from left to right turning (again, not tight turns).

Once you get a bit more comfortable, do some "cone weave's" --- the goal here is not tight turning, but a quicker transition from left to right turning. (again - 3rd gear, no brake, throttle, or clutch)

Once that feels comfortable, NOW we can BEGIN to think about turning circles. Again, we are not trying to turn tightly, just consistently.

Everybody takes about the figure 8's... rubbish. Not ready for those yet. I want you to think about what you are doing, not start a figure 8 and have to stop halfway through and think about what to do to go the other way.

Do 10 "static" circles. (Keep going around and around in the same direction until you have completed 10 circles.) This gives you the chance to get the best body to bike position. As you are turning, you can make slight adjustments with your body position and where you are looking. Once 10 have been completed one way, do ten the other way. I do not want you to worry about doing exactly 10 circles, don't worry about counting them... you'll know when you feel like going the other way.

So the current plan....
1. Get used to 3rd gear without throttle, clutch, or brake
2. Get used to quick transitions - cone weave style
3. Perform Static circles

If you can not drag your pegs throughout the entire circle, repeat steps 4 and 5 until you can drag an entire circle.

4. Perform more aggressive quick transitions - cone weave style
5. Perform static circles

If at anytime you feel you are falling over, just give her some gas.

See, by using 3rd gear you take the human error factor almost 100% out of the equation. Once you get comfortable with performing dragging peg circles CONSISTENTLY (and only then) we can discuss the ride like a pro style controls for tight turns.

I want you to get used to dragging your pegs in 3rd gear. Listen to the sound, learn what that feels like. You will become VERY familiar with how far you can lean your machine simply via sound of peg drag and position of foot on dragging peg.

I hope the above helps you and if you have any question, please let me know. I will be happy to share more info. The above will get you started. We want you to get used to the machine's limits before your really push it in tight turning.

Side notes:
1. If you are concerned with dropping your machine, put some radiator hose around your crash bars. (You can get used ones for free at many shops.)
2. Once you are ready to look at tighter turning... from your waist up, stay vertical (bike leans, but you do not) - THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!!
3. WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR --- I AM NOT liable in any way, shape, or form for your actions on your machine, which you are in 100% full control over.
4. If you intend on getting to the point where you are doing super tight turns, eventually you will screw up a bit and drop your machine. It's just a question of when. THAT IS NOT A BAD THING! Anybody who tells you they have never dropped their machine doing this stuff either hasn't been doing it a long time, or is full of it. Even the cops drop their bikes from time to time. It happens, do not let it freak you out.
5. I heavily suggest setting up video camera equipment so you can review what you have done. What might feel good, may not look good. I don't mean looking cool, I mean you will see things in the video that you will want to work on.

That should get ya started!

Some of you are new to the wing and don't know me from adam and that's a good thing! Some of you will use this as a seasonal refresher and that's great too!

For those who don't know me at all, I have included a few pictures of me practicing and some competition riding. I am a Expert Level Top Gun Champion several times over. Within GWRRA, I am a Lvl4 Master Tour Rider, Road Captain, fmr Public Relations Officer, Seminar Presentor, PLP Facilitator, plus a slew of other little titles. I have logged well over 300,000 miles on the GL1800 platform from 2007 to 2012 alone and have several motorcycles.

Again, if you have questions, feel free to send me a PM and I will be happy to help you in any way possible.


6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Just want to make sure that the 3rd gear is to get tuned into the bike and get used to how she feels at greater to full lean angles. "Tight" turns can not easily be performed in 3rd, but it is doable. Just get some good practice in before attempting tight turns in 3rd.

Right before starting the left turn, I do a dip to the right to put the rear tire as far to the outside of the turn as possible. The opposite is true for a right turn. Dip to the left before turning right.

Counter steering does not come into play at low speeds for this example. When you have the gyroscopic force of the tires turning at speed, counter steering becomes very important. At slower to very slow speeds, your motorcycle acts like a bicycle and it turned as such.

OH -- one more note --- once you are very comfortable with the third gear riding, go ahead and practice one handed. Pull your left hand off the bar.

One of the big things we are trying to do is build up your confidence in the machine to do as it is asked. Once you FEEL the bike in a scraping turn in third gear, while riding one handed you will "get it" and your confidence will be at a level where you will not think twice about friction zone turning.

Once 3rd has done what is can for you, go ahead and repeat everything in 2nd gear. You will notice a significantly higher response level from your throttle so start being mindful of how much throttle you are using if you have not kept an eye on it thus far. This is the point where we start working on your friction zone.

Repeat steps 1 through 5 paying special attention to the static turns. While doing your static turns, keep your throttle at twice your idle speed. Any more any you're wasting gas. While in your static turns, play with your rear brake pressure and your clutch lever. See how the bike responds. You will find out quickly what does and does not "feel" right.

We'll work on 1st gear after 2nd gear has done all it can for you. 1st gear is a whole new beast and that's where your skill really matters big time so we'll come back to that after a lil bit.

3rd does a number of things for you, the least important (IMHO) is the lower throttle response. The most important (again, IMHO) is the removal of the clutch & braking from the equation.

It is my view that while RLP is EXCELLENT and "must do" training, after speaking with many riders who are still having trouble dialing themselves in on tight turns, I feel that RLP *can* be too much info at one time. My solution to this is to break things down and the most important thing is to learn the lean limits of your machine. 3rd gear allows you to clear your mind of braking, friction zone / clutch work, AND throttle position so you can concentrate on making smooth turns while getting used to feeling the bike under you and you lean further and further. Once you can consistently perform circles while dragging your peg or board dor the entire duration of the circle, you will no longer focus on this aspect while trying to focus on everything else. It will become second nature to the point that you can concentrate on the next skill that will become second nature.

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I know these skills have the ability to save lives, let alone keeping you safe. If I have something to share that could keep a fellow rider at a lesser risk, I will share.

I can't do this alone. All of you HAVE to take the time to practice. Sure your buddies may give you crap, but within a VERY short time you will be able to whip that u-turn or ride in traffic jams without dragging your feet, and THAT is the point where stuff starts to get seriously FUN!

BTW --- a conversation via PM brought up some key points that I want to share here.....

The big deal about RLP videos is a FUNDAMENTAL change to how you ride. Mileage and "experience" are irrelevant. For all you know, you may have been riding wrong all those years. I was.

When I watched the RLP video for the first time, I realized that in my (at the time) 15 years of riding, I was doing it all wrong. Again, looking at yourself is never fun, but if you do it with an open mind your skill set will improve much faster.

2 things to pay close attention to...
........1 As long as you are on a non slippery surface (sand, ice, gravel...) AND you keep power to the rear wheel, it is not physically possible for you to go down. (Unless of course you're leaning the bike and decide you want to hit the gas really hard, but that should be common sense.
........2 This has to be FUN. When what you are doing is no longer FUN, it's time to hang it up.

Again, my suggestions are compiled after many thousands of miles and countless competitions and speaking with too many riders to count. Until you open you mind and actually TRY it, it will not make sense.

Though 2nd gear will allow a slower, tighter turn... 3rd gear u-turns are doable with practice. Find your comfort zone and work within it!

I have drug in countless parking lots and I have yet to see and real damage to a parking lot. The pegs will leave a surface mark, but that goes bye bye very quickly. You're not going to be gouging up the surface unless you really foul up so I would not be too concerned about it.

The big deal about dragging pegs in a controlled environment is you don't over react to hearing that sound in a turn. If you never get used to what dragging a peg sounds and feels like, then you have a MUCH higher risk of reacting to it while buried in a turn. *MOST* riders who hear their peg dragging in a turn (who are not used to it) will over react by straightening out the bike AND getting on the brakes hard, OR several other actions that are not needed.

Remember, draggin a peg is a warning that you are getting close to the lean limit of your machine. It DOES NOT MEAN you are about to crash or are in any danger. It's a safety margin built into every single motorcycle with pivoting pegs/floorboards.

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Simple --- pegs will drag first, then kickstand foot, then ergo II (if you have them), then crash bars (if you do not have ergo II's).

No such thing as a stupid question... keep em coming.

That being said, after getting involved with a drill team, my presumptions that the Ergo II's were going to be an issue were proved to be correct. I did drag them and they do restrict your lean angle. This is currently being discussed in another thread right now (I think it's called Highway Peg Adjustment). I have posted some responses and concerns in that thread.

In a nutshell, YES the Ergo II mounts will be an issue *IF* you need to put the bike into a full, maximum lean, position. My biggest worry is emergency object avoidance. (Something suddenly in your path of travel.) Though the amount of lean limit lost is still up for debate due to way too many variables (speed, tires, tire pressures, suspension compression, different suspension components & systems, etc etc etc...).

Ergo I mount on vertical bar will eliminate these issues almost 100% depending on exactly where you put the mount.

If time permits, I can redo the video if it needs to be done but I would prefer not to since it's a dangerous setup where an aggressive lean angle can be such that the mount and arm hitting the ground can lever the tires off the ground and cause a crash.

I hope that answers your question, though it was the long version! hehehe

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Okay so you say you can do the full circle scraping... sweeeeet

Now let's get used to keeping your back as vertical as possible as you do the turns. Do not lean with the bike, but let the bike lean under you. In other words... looking at the back of the bike (watching somebody else ride)... thinking of lean angles towards 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock... keep your head as close to 12 o'clock as possible.

You will feel an increase in responsiveness of the bike.

Now we want to start really looking as far as we possibly, comfortably, can in the direction we are turning. You want to look over your inside shoulder.

When working one on one in person, we usually do some one handed, 3rd gear turns. The gets the riders used to where to put your right hand during right turns so you are not twisting the throttle all over the place. My best suggestion is to allow your hand to rotate from the index finger and allow your wrist to pivot towards the end of your bar while not twisting the throttle.

That sounds way hard, but it only takes a couple of times to understand it and it will become second nature VERY quickly.

Parking lot spaces... sometimes we have some time to kill, but not a ton so here are some things to do in a marked parking lot when you do not have time to setup cones or tennis ball halves...

Larger u-turns in 3rd gear, but controlled spaces. AKA putting the bike exactly where you want it. So far we have just worked on getting used to the lean of the bike and how she feels in a significant lean environment. Now it's time to keep that movement in a given space. The parking lot lines will simulate whatever you want them to. Pretend they are the edge of the road or driveway or whatever you want.


pull into the center of a parking spot
pull out of spot and turn either direction (doesn't matter)
SKIP one spot and continue u-turn into next spot. (if spots are marked 1 through ten you would start in 1, skip 2, pull through 3, turn other direction and skip 4, keep turning and pull through 5, turn other direction, skip 6, keep turning and pull through 7, skip 8, etc...)

You are doing several large "s" turns aka u-turns for this exercise.

If you can nail that... the game gets a bit fun and it's time to look at changing to 2nd gear.

More to come soon.....

As always PM for more info

Just a reminder --- if you can, setup a tripod to video your practice sessions.

When taking a break, you can watch some video if you like or review it at home. (Best to do it right then as you know what you felt so you can compare that to the video.)

There are times when what you THINK you feel is actually something VERY different.

You may think you are leaning over quite a bit but the video may show otherwise.

All kinds of things can be picked up from going over your highlight reel.

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I still strongly urge the avoidance of the figure-8 at this point. Do the 10 circles in both directions, one at a time. There's too much that you have to do to prepare for going the other direction while doing the figure-8, for now.

The whole point of doing the 3rd gear turning is to get used to how the bike feels at greater lean angles. If you are not dragging your pegs, then you should work on your 3rd gear turning more. As previously stated, perform static circles until you can drag your pegs both at will and for the entire duration of the circle.

Static circles is a never ending circle where you can change your body position slightly and lean the bike more or less while getting used to it.

There is only ONE way to get over a fear and that is to face it head on. As long as you have power going to the rear wheel and you are not on a slick surface (ice, sand, water, etc...) it is not possible to go down. (The only exception to this is if you lean too far and lever the tire(s) off the ground.) You have a TON of "wiggle room" between when your peg starts to drag and hard parts start to drag.

I can not stress how important dragging a pegs in a parking lot is. If you have never scraped your pegs and you find yourself in a turn at speed when you do drag them for the first time, your gut reaction will be to grab a ton of brake and perhaps stand this bike up. Those actions are the best method for watching your bike slide away from you as you roll across the road. Get used to the pegs draggin in a parking lot so when you experience it at speed, you do not react to it.

Feeling as though you are trying to crash the bike is just your mind over-thinking this. I do ve3ry serious competitions so I have dropped my wing more times than I want to think about, but it does not hurt anything. At the speeds we are talking about, the bike will get a few scratches on the bottom of the crash bars at best.

YES, in short... the pucker factor will diminish to the point that you will find scraping your pegs to be entertaining and one of MANY FUN TOOLS. Turn your head and look as far as you can in the direction of your turn. If it's fighting you, try scooting your but to the outside of the turn before you begin your turn. (Eventually, you will end up with the center of your but directly over the part of the seat where the side meets the top.

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like you're ready for another lesson in 3rd gear.

So if things are getting a bit stale for you, the next thing you can work on JW is ONE HANDED, 3rd gear turns.

Do the static turning, but do it with ONLY your clutch arm, then only the throttle arm. The throttle arm will be a bit tricky as you will have a tendency to twist the throttle.

Again - if you are getting to the point where this is getting "easy" for you... there is always something else to do for a challenge. If you think you have this stuff licked, then start from the beginning BUT DO NOT USE your rear brake. If you can perform 2nd gear tight turns (while using clutch friction zone) WITH the rear brake, then no brake would be the next level to go after.

Another trick to practice is back in 1st gear. The wing will go from zero into parade (or slow race) speed without throttle. If you want to really hone in your clutch control, practice going from a complete stand still to rolling without the throttle. If you get this pretty well, next step is doing the same thing, with ONLY clutch hand.

Just a reminder -- this has to be fun. You can not fight this stuff or something will get hurt. Ego, pride, you, or bike. You have to walk away when it not fun for you.

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Trust in your machine to do as you ask and a whole new world will open up to you!!! (Not to mention honing these skills can save your life.) Your tires can handle MUCH more than you think. Full lock, full scraping turns on WET pavement is not a problem. (Just be smooth on wet pavement.)

I don't care how old or young you are or how many miles you do or do not have. These techniques WORK. Period! No matter how skilled you either are, or think you are, this stuff will make you better!

Kury Arms - One little tidbit I have been pushing for quite some time now is to NOT use the Ergo II mounts and use the Ergo I mount instead. The Ergo I mount should go at least halfway up on the vertical bar of the crash bar. This will keep it up and out of the way for more aggressive lean angles. The Ergo II mounts do slightly DECREASE your ground clearance.

If you are worried about scratching your crash bars.. get some foam pipe insulation and put it over your crash bars. (It's slit down the side so just cut it to length and push it over your crash bars. Couple of wraps of electrical tape will ensure she stays put.)

Hope that helps!

The point is to improve your skills as far as you are comfortable.

Full lock, full lean, hard parts a scraping is not something I would suggest to those who are not into competitions.

In other words, while the ultimate is the full lock, full lean, hard parts a scrapin, one hand a waivin, side-saddle cravin, oh my god screamin yea haw! hehehe.... your regular rider should not feel that they HAVE to get to that level.

I do not advocate 2nd gear scraping turns without being in the friction zone. There's enough torque in 2nd to low side if you get on the gas "harder".

Can you scrape in both directions for the entire circle in 3rd gear like I suggested?

If the answer is no, then you need to go back to 3rd and get the scraping to be consistant. THEN go to 2nd gear and get into the friction zone.

In response to dragging a knee on the wing:
The video of the knee drag does NOT apply to this thread and I am not sure why it was posted aside from somebody wants to show off a bit, which is fine but this is the wrong topic for that subject.

Dragging a knee is a racing technique that is used at high(er) speeds to lessen the lean angle of the bike. This is NOT something that should have been brought up in this thread since this thread is all about slow speed control and finding the lean limits of your machine in a controlled environment.

The techniques discussed in this thread WILL make you SAFER AND FASTER out there.

That being said, if you find yourself in a position where you are too hot for the turn and it's an "oh ****" moment... the technique of dragging a knee may save your butt. (This does not mean you have to drag a knee, but get your body as close to a knee dragging position as possible.)

Racing techniques are plentiful... dragging a knee is one of them which I will touch on briefly for you...

Get as much of your body off your bike's centerline and to the inside of the turn as you possibly can while trying to put your chin to the mirror. What you are doing is changing your center of gravity and you will not have to lean the bike as far to make the turn.

Lee Parks is the best known instructor for teaching this on the wing.

I implore you though.... this is an ADVANCED riding technique used in RACING. This is only a positive for you if you are going fast, or need to reduce your lean angle while maintaining as much speed as possible in a turn.

If you watch Moto GP races, or just about ANY street motorcycle race, you will see this technique used by every single rider.

If you liked what you read here... I have some videos on youtube you may wish to see.

search for "DJFireUSA" on

No worries!! I just don't want somebody to try to drag a knee when they are having difficulty turning their bike around to being with.

Okay - if you can scrape your pegs at will for the entire duration of the circle in BOTH directions, then you have a few options:

Option 1 - Competition Riding:
Find your local drill team and get out and practice. You will learn things that are not public info. I will help where I can but I am not going to give away any competition level tricks as yet. I am still competing myself so yeah... ummmmmmm he he he

Option 2 - Basic Trick Riding 101
Riding with one hand. By now you know what 3rd gear does and how the bike feels during aggressive lean angles. Now that we have a comfort level with our machine, let's step it up a notch and remove one hand.
I suggest only removing your outside hand at first since you will be stretching a bit to retain the outside grip.
You can start with cone weaves and see how she feels while transitioning one hand to the other. This should be done in 3rd gear unless your comfort level is already putting you into 2nd gear friction zone turning and we'll get to that.
Once you are comfortable with scraping turns while one-handed, try waving with your free hand. Be comfortable with what you are doing on the machine. Have fun with it. General rule... if you're not smiling, you should take a break. This needs to be FUN!!!

Option 3 - Friction Zone Turning
For those of you who do not wish to do competitions, but still need to turn your machine around in the street without doing a 3-point turn... let's go ahead and get into 2nd gear...

1.Twice your idle speed. (Any more and you are wasting gas and if the RPMs are high, you run a higher risk of wiping your clutch.)

2.I HEAVILY suggest 2nd gear as it is more responsive than 3rd but nothing like 1st is. 1st gear requires skill or you'll get into some trouble quickly. (You *can* get into trouble quickly... not saying you will.)

3. Back to basics. Repeat the circles but do not do figure 8's. Get used to what's going on because now YOU are in control of the power to the rear wheel. If you think you're going too fast, feather the rear brake. REAR BRAKE ONLY FOR ALL EXERCISES. You do not want to apply so much rear brake that the engine's RPMs start to drop. At that point the bike is actually fighting itself.

4. Your clutch should be in the sweet spot of your friction zone. ALL motorcycles have a different sweet spot, even the same model, year and brand. You know you're there when you can rev the bike and it wants to go, but does not want to lurch. Finding this spot make take some time and you may also need to adjust your clutch lever setting (1 through 5).

Option 4 - CONES!!!
Now that we are getting used to friction zone, let's start with the cone weave. Put your cones 30 feet apart in a straight line. You do not need many cones. As your comfort and skill increase you will be able to run the cones faster. Once you get to a point where you feel your speed is topped out, bring the cones 5 feet closer and bring your speed back down. Repeat this until the cones are about 10 feet apart as this will make your turns tighter and further off center-line forcing you to put the wheels exactly where you want them.

....... Remember that anybody can go FAST but few can put the wheels exactly where they want them when things get tight(er).......

Once you have the cones at 10 feet and you think you're ready to change it up, we stagger the cones. This is often called an offset cone weave. Again, place the cones 30 feet apart and adjust them closer as your skill increases.

If the cone weaves and offset cone weaves aren't your thing, there are several other cone exercises to practice. Just find one that if fun for you.

Cones... cones give a visual to your path's limitations. MOST riders will fixate on a cone and run it over. Treat the cones as though they were curbs or a parked car or you kid standing there. Don't over-think the cones. Remember that just because you have made a 30' circle with the cones does not mean that you have to make the tightest turn possible. Once you get the bike inside the cone circle, keep your front wheel as CLOSE to the cones as you feel comfortable.

I can't tell you how many novice riders will get amongst cones and end up running them over because they started a turn too soon and ended up putting themselves out of position for the rest of the exercise.

Another note on cones... many like these small little cones. That's all fine and dandy but small cones do not help you when you ride so close to them that your saddlebags are over them. Treat ALL cones as though they are 10' tall. If you get in this habit now, then you will never develop the BAD habit of letting your bags sail over the little cones. This is a very bad habit that does NOT help you in the real world. Again, small cones are fine but treat they as though they are 10 feet tall.

Hopefully yous guys have some more fun stuff to play with now.

Exact dimensions of exercises can be found on the net in a variety of places as well as additional exercises. Find something that interests you. You do not have to be a member of a drill team to be an awesome rider and at the end of the day, don't forget that these skills could make the difference in you getting home safely or not.

Side Note: The wing will do 1st gear take-off with ZERO throttle. If you think you have some skills and want to test yourself or work on your slow speed stuff... start working on 1st gear, zero throttle starts from a dead stop. If you think you have that under control, try doing it one handed. During your slow races, if you find yourself over-correcting or moving the bars all over the place, get your throttle hand off the bars and keep her in 2nd gear. Now you're working your read brake and friction zone only. Many find this easier since they are reacting to the bike beginning to fall to one side or the other so they slam the bars the other way to get the balance back.

Well--- back to changing my wheel bearings. hmmfff

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The best thing a co-rider can do is just sit back and relax. They're not going to fall off.

If you are having a difficult time explaining this to your co-rider, then I suggest the following example be performed right in front of them...

Take their helmet and place it on their seat. Do some scraping turns. As long as you are being smooth and not aggressive with the machine, the helmet will not move. The techniques stay the exact same.

The only time I would warn of anything to pay attention to is when you are pulling a trailer. There are times when a trailer will try to pull you into a more aggressive lean angle, especially when you are doing a tight (or tight-er) turn right after you get going from a dead stop. Also be mindful that top heavy trailers may want to roll if you are doing tight turns too quickly. Yes, you can do these turns too tightly and too quickly depending on your machine's setup.

In response to knowing your limitations:
Remember the wing has tremendous torque so if you are not smooth infirst gear, that little blip of the throttle can get you into trouble.

Just be mindful that the bike has enough power to lift the front wheel even while leaning way over.

That's why 2nd is easier as you put it.

Full lock turns are not needed unless you are either trying to get to a competition level or are just having a blast and want to push your limits a bit here.

Don;t forget boys and girls that knowing your limit is good but if you never go past your limit, then you never get any better. We always hear people talking about riding within your limit. That's all fine and dandy but you have to go past your current limit to get to your next limit. The trick is pushing past your current limit in a CONTROLLED environment, not during a regular ride.

As always... have fun, but be safe about it!

One thing we have not discussed much are cones. Putting your machine exactly where you want it, when you want it.

Once you think you have the third gear stuff down, measure your circle and then setup a bunch of cones. Now you KNOW you can turn your bike inside that measurement. Once the cones are setup it becomes a whole new beast. Your brain starts to fixate on the cones and what a surprise... you're struggling to turn inside the cones.

Yup --- there is always something else to do to bring the fun factor back or to add a new challenge to yourself.

You think you have slow speed control down pat --- get a couple of buddies together and do some slow races. That gets boring, add some cones and do a slow race cone weave. slow race one-handed.

Just keep the exercises fun! I know a few folks who go back and forth every weekend. Whoever loses has to cook the food for the next weekend. Good clean fun stuff that the rest of the family can join in on.

Here's another little secret... if slow riding is tricky for you... get used to using clutch only (motor at idle) and once you are comfy with that... pull one hand off the bars. A very LARGE majority of riders struggle with the slow race simply because they are putting too much energy into the bars and end up moving the bars back and forth quickly to compensate for too much initial movement. This is eliminated when you pull one hand off as you will have 1/2 the energy pushing the bars, hence 1/2 the movement.

Did that make sense at all?


Get the cones out. Doing the turns as close to the cones as possible will help you to overcome the target fixation.

Here's the trick to cones... DO NOT PUT THEM AT YOUR BIKE'S MAX TURNING RADIUS. Setup a 30' circle with the cones and practice putting your front tire as close to the cones as you possibly can. Once you start to get used to this, then bring the cones to a tighter circle. MOST rider will put themselves out of position inside the circle within 5 feet of entering the circle simply because they think they are trying to turn the machine as tightly as possible.

You don't use an elephant gun to take out a mouse. You do not have to turn as tightly as possible... just tight enough to make the turn.

Make sure you do the dip to the opposite direction of your turn before you start your turn to ensure the rear-end is in the best possible position to use all the room available.


Okay - something I should touch on here. Many who have taken the RLP course will know about this...

Think of your bike like a semi truck. The front wheel is the cab and the back wheel is the end of the semi's trailer...

As you turn your machine, the rear tire will track inside your front tire just like a semi's trailer will make a much tighter line then the cab will.

If you have to do a u-turn in the road, you have about 24 feet depending on "correct" road construction. If you move your bike to within 1 foot of the white line before starting your left handed u-turn, you have lost 1 foot of available room. The goal here is not to turn as tightly as possible but turn tightly enough to make the u-turn.

RLP talks about dipping the bike right before you begin your turn. This translates as follows for a left handed tight(er) turn... Turn to the right and point the machine toward the right edge of the road and stick it there until you reach your comfort limit, the immediately crank the bars to the left and begin your left u-turn.

This positions the back of the bike where it will do the most good and you maximize your available space.


Once you get used to your lean limits, PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO WORK ON YOUR -Evasive Maneuvering- AND -Emergency Braking-

PLEASE please please PlEaSe pLeAsE do not put your life solely in the hands of your ABS meaning develop threshold braking skills!

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Your fear of running over a cone is part of what we are trying to get past that is 1 of the target fixations that should be overcome. The goal with the cones in the circle is not to keep aight tight circle going but to practice putting your wheels exactly where you want them so that you're doing a precision turn 30 feet is a good starting point if you are struggling or not smooth at 24 feet find a happy medium between 24 feet and 30 feet and practice putting your tires exactly next to the cones, your confidence will build and you'll see exactly how close you can keep the bike to the cones.

As far as real world this particular exercise will get you comfortable with going to the extreme edge to increase your available room as much as possible. not every road is as wide as it should be. The other point to consider is yes you can turn your bike well inside 24 feet however the other reason to introduce the cones is because they play a mind game on you. They create a physical barrier where beforehand you didn't have 1. For the first time your struggling with a 24 foot turn because your mind is no longer solely concentrating on the bike now your mind is thinking about your barrier so that you don't hit it. That is another form of target fixation.

In response to a question of body position with video sent to me...
He is attempting to not lean with the bike which is exactly what should be done. He needs to work on staying much straighter but he isn't anywhere near perpendicular to the seat.

This is not about being comfortable. This is about getting used to how the bike feels under you at significant lean angles.

Think of performing barrel rolls in your plane... If you are flying a twin turbo prop, you have x amount of mass that has to be controlled. The force required to control said mass changes as the fuel is consumed and the wing is emptied. Less mass = less energy to move said mass.

The same is true with the wing. If you have to manipulate the additional mass of your body, your turns will be much slower and require much more effort.

Try doing a cone weave leaning with the bike, and then repeat without leaning with the bike and then come back here and tell me which you felt was easier.

Again, you are putting your body in a position that it is not used to so no, you should not expect to have a comfortable position at first.

I was unstable and uncomfortable as all get out when I started doing 3rd gear turns. It wasn't until I began to trust the machine that I could relax. Once I relaxed, the comfort level went WAYYYY up very quickly.

BTW - Don;t forget to work on ZERO LEAN u-turns. Meaning: you perform a u-turn without leaning the bike at all. This is an advanced stage of u-turn techniques but will require good friction zone control so only try it when you think you are ready.

The second a rider feels like a practice session has become more like work than a fun exercise, said rider should stop what they are doing and call it a day. When it's more work than fun, you end up developing bad habits. Trying to force that tighter turn actually makes things much worse for you.

Better driver at ALL speeds, not just low. Once you know the lean limit of the machine, and I do not mean just your mind knowing, but your body too, high(er) speed manuevers are much easier, smoother, and safer. Think of it as motor memory. If you dial the same number enough, eventually your hand will remember the specific pattern and you will stop mentally thinking of the numbers and just key it in without a thought. Years later you will still be able to remember the number via motor memory, even if you have not used said number in a very long time.


6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
We have discussed the left turn vs right turn in some pretty good depth already but it boils down to a few different things.

Right turns - you need to relax your right hand and allow the hand to pivot as the right bar gets closer to your hip. Eventually the end of the bar should be very close to being inline with your arm. There is a huge mental factor here. See, all your riding has you getting on and off the left side of the bike., This is 2nd nature. You do not think twice about stepping off the bike with the left foot. This is not true of the right foot and you are actually fighting what your brain thinks is what you should and should not be doing. That being said, you are pre-programed that the left foot is available as a safety and the right leg should not come off the bike.

See, your left foot is the only part of you that is not dedicated to doing anything aside from shifting so it's available to "save" you. The right foot is dedicated to rear brake use so it is not available.

Yes, the goal is to scrape your peg for the entire circle AT WILL, not just a one time shot or by accident.

Your speed isn't really what is important. You should not be thinking of speed. You just need to pull the bar in a bit more and lean the bike a bit more.

Just relax and from your butt to your head keep it straight towards the sky, look over your shoulder as far as you can and the rest will follow.

Take your time with it and don't rush. The idea is to be SMOOTH.

Start smooth now and you'll thank yourself later.

Here is a demo in Houston with roughly a 30 foot circle. You an clearly see the difference between someone who is not used to the circle and someone who is. Not trying to make the tightest circle... just be smooth at this point. Mixed in a cone weave to get a bit of air flow.

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6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Keep in mind that from your butt to your head should be in a 100% straight line towards the sky. You will REALLY notice this in cone weaving. You are training new muscles so don't try to be a Pepsx or StevieMac or DJFireUSA right away. Be patient as it will come soon enough. Try to video your riding so you can critique it later or during a break.

You hit on a key point and I want to push it a bit again. You mentioned you had a blast! That is a VERY large chunk of this. Once it starts to feel like you are working, and it's not fun anymore, it's time to back off a notch and possibly call it a day. Even World Champion Competition riders have bad days or days when things aren't clicking like normal. You'll know when you are having one of those days so don't try to push through it. Just go for a nice ride instead.

Glad to see you are finally able to see what all the hoopla is about! I know you've been chomping at the bit for a while now.

Here's the reasoning behind what you are feeling: Let's face it, the ratio of slow speed riding vs normal speed riding is almost one sided for most riders. Because of this, slow riding is often ignored and not practiced. Your body is not used to the positions it is in when doing slow, high angle turns. Once you get your body used to the new positions, a whole new world opens up to you.

IMHO a rider should not be attempting, or performing, tight(er) turns in 1st or 2nd gear until they can comfortably drag their peg for the entire duration of a 360 turn to both the left and right. Once that comfort level has been reached, it's safe to go after friction zone tight(er) turning.

I am convinced you will have a completely difference experience with the RLAP course after you get comfortable scraping pegs (at will) for the entire duration of a 360 turn in both directions.

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6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Here is something you DO want to AVOID... dragging hard parts. The is the result of leaning the bike too far. IMHO this rider was flirting with a very clear line aka Point Of No Return and it's not his first dance with it. He simple pushed the envelope too far. This is NOT normal but you should be aware of what CAN happen if you hit hard parts and keep pushing.

Liability release--- you do the following at your own risk.

Take your right glove off. Do a figure eight. Look at the color of your knuckles. I think it's a fair bet you are squeezing the throttle too hard. If you are seeing some white coloring and red areas, you need to relax. Steady throttle needs finger strength more than entire hand squeezing strength *at times* !!

Loosen your grip big time. As you turn to the right, allow the end of the bar to pivot under your hand so that the end of the bar is under the center of your palm. Right now, flip your right hand towards the sky and touch your pinky to your thumb. A "v" will form at the base of your palm. This is where you want the end of the right handlebar to end up when turning to the right. Most riders try to keep their entire hand on the throttle and this forces the elbow into the torso and a perceived limitation is felt. This is an error in technique, not a limitation. You will find the use of the inside of your hand (thumb, index, and middle finger) to help more than using the entire hand.

If you find your friction zone is touchy, please make sure your cable and clutch are adjusted correctly or if you have a hydraulic clutch, try to find a pair of adjustable levers so you can reposition the friction zone to a better place. (Adjustable levers allow you to move the friction zone either closer or further from the handlebar.

If you have a non-adjustable lever, and a hydraulic clutch AND thicker after-market grips... you *may* be in a position where the lever just can not move enough.

Much of this is better discussed over the phone. Feel free to call me during daylight hours (I am in the Eastern Time Zone). 904-705-8975

Remember, to maximize your reach, you must not be reclined in the seat. At the very least, you must be sitting upright.

Also remember that this thread targets the GL1800 Goldwing directly and other models will require some variation of the techniques I have posted.

If you are comfortable with it, try to place a camera in a position where we can hear the motor AND see your clutch use. Also shoot a video of your figure 8's. (Until you have mastered the friction zone, I do not agree with doing figure 8's though. Have you read this entire thread or just a few posts?

What we are talking about here is a fundamental shift in how you ride. Even after just one hour of pad time, a normal rider's skill set will increase exponentially.

Increased skill combined with routine use of said skills, even at a basic level, will result in a safer and more enjoyable ride.

As has been stated... just because you can drag a peg does not mean you have to.

Srobak summed it up perfectly. These techniques when correctly used can and will save your ass one day. The ability to do an emergency swerve while pushing the machine to the max lean limit gives you a choice where previously you may have just jumped on brakes and hoped for the best. Redirecting inertia is much easier than stopping it.

In response to MSF being all the training a rider needs:
MSF teaches a rider how to control their controls, NOT their bike. MSF's instruction is sadly out of date.

Looking back on my riding experience, I can't tell you how many close calls I could handled drastically differently had I been exposed to the techniques we have been discussing here. It's to the point that the more I looked into it, the more pissed off I became at the MSF's LACK of functional, modern, training. Being able to turn tightly should be required at the most basic level of instruction. How many times have you heard about somebody saying they had to lay it down to avoid this or that and you and I both know that is total crap.

No, the MSF should not be considered the go-to source for training though many areas do not have much of a choice about it. All these years and they have been able to scrape by charging a large chunk of money while doing the least aomunt of training they have to to stay in business. That is the biggest difference to me. I consult to help people. MSF just wasn't you in and out as quickly as possible so they can do another cattle call.

I think testing and training should be tougher.

I would happily rather deal with less riders who of higher ability vs more riders who can barely operate their machine.

Until the MSF changes what they do, I feel the BRC especially is a joke. They are sending riders out there who imho are not qualified.

That is my view and while i respect your view, i do not agree with it and that's kool.

Preload... oy veh. Please do NOT do this. This is a bad choice to make. Do not lower the preload ANY lower than your normal setting. Doing so will tune you into a machine that will be a different machine as soon as you bump the preload back to "normal" and training on a machine that you are not going to use is a bad idea. IMHO - with a correctly operating preload (preload kicks in somewhere between 0 and 5, nothing above), and a stock suspension system, you should be at 15 or more. If you are a bigger guy/gal, run it higher. If you run at 20 while 2 up, drop it to 15 for one up during practice sesions or whatever you normally run for one up use.

YES, dropping the preload to zero will help you drag parts sooner but that is cheating. We're trying to build your skill and confidence up. You can't do that by simply forcing the machine to drag parts sooner because you lowered the bike.

In response to turning the head:
Knowing your problem is a very large chunk of fixing it.

Sounds like some prakling lot practice WITH CONES will help you get over that mental block. Cones too expensive? Take some old tennis balls and cut them in half. Cool thing about those tennis balls ---- they pop right back into shape.

Sounds like your comfort level is not where it could / should be and I believe setting up a very clear "limitation" with either cones or something else will help you BIG time!!

We watch all these police rodeos and think wow that's kool, I can do that (or want to)! Then, one day we find ourselves face to face in a sea of cones and it WILL mess with your brain. It's one thing to screw up a turn in an open lot. It's something VERY different when you HAVE to manuever the bike inside a very specific area. Even though you may very well have the skills to perform a u-turn in the street very easily, actually doing it when failure will result in a serious problem... all the rules "change" in your mind.

Once this happens the average rider goes into a failsafe fight or flight type mentality and begins to seriously over-think the task at hand.

Your comfort level should be such that you do not think about it. You just do it because you have done it so many times before it is 2nd nature and you do not HAVE anything to think about.

If we do not help each other, who will?

I do not have a lot to "give back" to the GW community aside from some technical stuff and riding techniques so I offer those anytime someone wants to hear what I have to say.

NO, I am NOT the end all be all authority on this as there are too many variables but my methods are the easiest to use as a introduction to slow speed control and tight(er) turning. Sometimes you just have to take the human error factor out as much as possible. Doing exercises in 3rd gear eliminates so much of that human error factor, it's not funny. Again, once you can comfortably drag pegs at will in third, one handed, side-saddle, the friction zone stuff is a snap. Getting over the fear of falling over is the biggest hurdle IMHO.

While you are practicing, IF you feel comfortable doing so... while doing the static circles in 3rd gear (no throttle, brakes or friction zone) let go with one hand. I think you will be amazed at your result. I know what I expect you to tell me the result is but I do not want to lead you on and tell you what the result will be. IF you decide to do this, let me know after you have had a chance to think about what the bike did that was or was not different and the same is true of your body... what did you find yourself doing differently, or the same, while riding with only one hand.

Obviously, you do the above at your own risk and I bear zero liability. I can tell you that a rider who knows their machine and these techniques can ride one-handed, side saddle without thinking twice about it. (Just ask PepsX!)

167 Posts
Thanks for this. I was practicing in lot Thursday. I haven't quite got the pegs all the way down yet. I am going to find a bigger space, I was flirting with the edge of the lot and stopped. I can't imagine that a trip into the grass would end well. Jay

283 Posts
Thanks Doug!

the few times I manage to get out and actually practice, I have trouble getting dizzy practicing tight turns-- serious!
the tip of using tennis balls for cones is a great one-- you can roll over them w/o damage, bright color, and the wind won't blow them away...

someday I'll be able to scrape my pegs with out fear....:oops:

6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Very good stuff, Doug! Hope to see you in Woodstock next weekend.

sent using tapatalk
Big wrench in the mix --- Mother-In-Law was here for the holiday and now wants to buy property. She's coming up next weekend to look at property so I may only be able to be there for the sessions on Friday afternoon and then have to beat feet back home.

Barring that - we're both in TN so we could always get together as time permitted.

(Not to mention Wings Oveer the Smokies is the weekend after Wingstock.)

482 Posts
Many Thanks

DJ, always enjoy the value in your posts and with you taking the time and effort to put all of this in one place is nothing short of amazing. Many thanks again.


6,535 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
DJ, always enjoy the value in your posts and with you taking the time and effort to put all of this in one place is nothing short of amazing. Many thanks again.

Just trying to give back where I can John. Thank you.
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