Knees in/ knees out? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-09-2007, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Knees in/ knees out?

I only have about 150 miles of riding experiecnce. I was making a lot of concious effort to keep my knees in near the tank. I've found that after I ride for 20 minutes or so, as I start to relax I allow my knees to spread out and open up some. Is this a bad lazy habbit I need to stay away from or is it no big deal and ok to ride however feels comfortable?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-09-2007, 11:54 PM
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I don't think it is a bad thing, unless you start hitting your knees on the road

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 12:10 AM
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Hey en750joe, welcome to riding!

In general, on long straight highways the position of your knees isn't very important.

When the roads start getting twisty and more fun , you'll find that when you keep your knees in and have better riding posture, you'll feel a lot more comfortable and confident taking turns. - Remember to turn your head and your eyes and look through turns to where you want the bike to go.

Sometimes new riders get sloppy with their knees and try to point them into the direction of the turns they're taking. The problems with doing this are for starters your knees don't make the bike go where you want it to go (your eyes and hands mostly do) and secondly, dropping the inside knee actually stands the bike up a bit and makes you take the turn wider -which is probably the exact opposite of what you want to do!

Always do your best to stay within your limits (of yourself, your environment and your bike) and always stay alert. Being uncomfortable can distract you from the riding task and lead to reducing your limits -basically increasing your overall risks.

Hope that helps. -Sloppy

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vn750joe View Post
I only have about 150 miles of riding experiecnce. I was making a lot of concious effort to keep my knees in near the tank. I've found that after I ride for 20 minutes or so, as I start to relax I allow my knees to spread out and open up some. Is this a bad lazy habbit I need to stay away from or is it no big deal and ok to ride however feels comfortable?

If you are wearing shorts, then stop and put on long pants cause you will burn your left leg. But if you must, then keep your legs closed as a bee can and will ruin your day...


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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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OK thanks,

I was really talking about highway riding.

But since you brought up turns. What are your recommended tips for taking turns at say 50 MHP+? I've found the bike doesn't really want to lean at that speed it kinda wants to stay upright. Do you just learn to lean over a bit harder or does it just kinda become natural with experience? I dont have any adrinaline desires and dont plan to do anyhting stupid. I just want to start the right approach to my riding habbits.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vn750joe View Post
OK thanks,

I was really talking about highway riding.

But since you brought up turns. What are your recommended tips for taking turns at say 50 MHP+? I've found the bike doesn't really want to lean at that speed it kinda wants to stay upright. Do you just learn to lean over a bit harder or does it just kinda become natural with experience? I dont have any adrinaline desires and dont plan to do anyhting stupid. I just want to start the right approach to my riding habbits.
Natural with experence. Don't do anything you are uncomfortable with and try to take a MSF course. What they will teach you will save your life...


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2002 Kawasaki Nomad 1500 ~ The Red Dog ~ Traded in at 22,000 miles of smiles (purchased new 10/05 / Traded in 6/12).
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 01:02 AM
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Exclamation

OK then .... start by going to www.msf-usa.org and looking for the nearest motorcycle school to you that teaches the MSF curriculum. It's a national curriculum so if you live in one state and take it in another you'll still learn the same basic fundamentals of riding.

On the MSF website you can also download the student handbook. It's the exact same book the students in class get to read, and read it.

As for taking turns at 10+ mph...

1. SLOW before the turn while the bike is still upright and has the most traction available for braking, and set up towards the outside third of your lane. You'll try to take an outside -> inside -> outside path of travel through turns to straighten them out as much as possible.

2. LOOK through the turn to where you want the bike to go. Look at a tree and you'll hit it - that's called target fixation - so look where you want to go look where it's safe to go!

3. PRESS on the inside grip into the direction you want to go. So it's look right press right go right, look left press left go left. If you can't grasp the concept of "the press" try thinking of it this way: you need to counter steer in the opposite direction you want to go in. So basically you would turn the bars to point the front tire into the opposite direction that you want the bike to go in. The concept of counter-steering spooks most people, so just press on inside grip to keep things simple.

4. Smoothly ROLL on the throttle throughout the turn. Braking in turns is bad for your health so do your slowing before you enter turns. Keeping a steady throttle through a turn or even slightly accelerating through turns will keep your bike steady and it will load up the rear suspension thus slightly extending the front forks giving you a little bit more ground clearance which is very handy for taking turns.

Why is braking in turns bad for your health? -> For starters you have limited traction in turns with the little patches of your tires that are actually making contact with the ground at any time. You need most of that contact patch traction for leaning and some of it for the acceleration. Try to brake in a turn and you can easily ask too much and exceed the limits of traction of your tires, which could possibly stop your front tire from turning and cause a low side kind of accident. Also braking in turns loads up your front suspension, which will reduce your ground clearance and can result in scraping hard parts of your bike on the ground like your foot pegs, side stand, mufflers, handlebars etc...

If you screw up your entry speed and enter a turn too fast and need to brake, a safer way to scrub off speed at that point is to briefly straighten the bike up and brake with the bike upright (where you have the most traction) and then quickly get back into the turn.

Taking turns under 10 mph is just a little bit different. Slow, (set up towards the outside of the turn), look, turn the bars (yes turn) and roll/ease out the clutch. At slower speeds you don't counter steer.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vn750joe View Post
I've found the bike doesn't really want to lean at that speed it kinda wants to stay upright.
Also, yes. As you have noticed by now, the faster you go the more stable your bike becomes and the more it wants to stay upright and go straight. The slower it goes the less stable it becomes. At 0 mph it's so unstable it'll just fall over if you let it. Up to about 7-10 mph your personal sense of balance is very important and keeping your head and eyes level will go a long way towards keeping you upright. At speeds above that you'd be amazed at how stable bikes can be.

Keep your head and eyes level when you come to stops. Just before you roll to a stop your bike is briefly very unstable until you finally stop and put a foot down, so be sure to keep your head and eyes level at that critical time. Target fixation takes over, look at the ground when stopping and you'll be very tempted to tip over when you come to a stop.

It's common for MSF instructors / rider coaches to shout "EYES UP!! EYES UP!!" 1,000+ times at you on day one of the class with good reason.

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Kawasaki F&S floorboards < Link >
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tips. I read some of it already from reading and studying on finding the right line, I also read on look at the tree hit the tree, and coutersteering does indeed seem a little awkward in practice but in concept it makes since.

I've looked into the MSF and Rider's Edge courses (by harley) several times. Both courses are $120+, over an hour away in drive time, (one way) and take place all during my work hours. I cannot get off. Also the regular MSF course requires you to supply your own bike and must be under 500cc.

I have a buddy who rides a VTX1300 and he's been a big help when he's available but it's mostly me, on my own, self taught. I hope I dont have a fool for a student. My first ride ever was actualy on the VTX1300 so this is a bit of a step down in size, wieght and displacement. That hardly qualifies me as an experienced rider I know.

Right now I cant ride but 30 min or so at a time before I need a break because my butt is starting to burn and my fingers are tingling so bad they are going numb. I imagine my butt will get a bit more used to it and I've learned a few different hand positions to help relax my grip.

Not sure why I spilled out all that...... I was really just wondeirng if relaxing my knees was a bad thing.

Anyway, I am soaking up your info like a sponge. Thank you for taking the time to explain whatever you can.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-10-2007, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vn750joe View Post
Right now I cant ride but 30 min or so at a time before I need a break because my butt is starting to burn and my fingers are tingling so bad they are going numb. I imagine my butt will get a bit more used to it and I've learned a few different hand positions to help relax my grip.

Anyway, I am soaking up your info like a sponge. Thank you for taking the time to explain whatever you can.
You seem to be on the right track for wanting to learn good riding skills.
Keep practicing at safe speeds, and it'll come to you. It just takes time.

The finger tingling is often referred to as 'arm pump'. It's usually from being tense and having too tight of a grip on the bars.
When I start feeling that, I'll move my thumbs from under the grips, and just set then over top of the grips, with my fingers.
Ya gotta be careful doing that though, 'cause ya don't have the same amount of control if a quick maneuver is needed. If you're going to try that, do it with just one hand at a time.


As for the knee position, I started motorcycle riding on dirtbikes. On those, ya pretty much always have your knees tight against the tank. You can get alot of your control from more than your hands on the handlebars that way. But when ya really try to keep them there, it does get quite tiring.
Again, it's practice that helps. Make an effort to keep them there, but not with a death squeeze, just like with holding the grips.
One thing that may help is keeping your toes pointed slightly inwards.

And for turning a faster speeds, I make sure to lean my entire body with the bike, putting pressure on whichever footpeg is on the inside of the turn. All the while being as smooth as possible with the throttle. Beside not braking in a turn, ya also don't want to mash on the throttle, or let off it really quick. Be smooooth.

Now I'm not a professional instructor, so if any of this is really off from what they may teach at the MSF classes, someone please speak up and I'll edit my post.
Just 'cause it works for me, doesn't mean it's right or safe.


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Aim for the apex."

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Last edited by hyperbuzzin; 07-10-2007 at 02:28 AM.
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