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Thread: Low speed practice/technique?

  1. #1
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    Low speed practice/technique?

    Ladies and Gents,

    I recently acquired a 1200GS, my first Beemer. Having read a lot of comments on the dry clutch vs. wet clutch issue, I have a question. What technique is recommended for low speed control? The feather the rear brake/friction zone technique is what I am familiar with. Do police departments riding BMW's use that technique and just eat the additional clutch wear, or is the technique modified for the Beemer?

    I like the slow-speed practice for proficiency, and I actually think it's a lot of fun. I don't want to destroy my new ride, though. Any suggestions on how to handle this aspect of riding?

    Thanks,

    Tim
    New guy, here to learn

  2. #2
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Welcome to the beemer crowd! You are absolutely going to love the boxer engine and the GS specifically. It is a great bike.

    Do not worry about your technique with the clutch. It will do fine for your practice, and you have it dialed in to feather the rear brake and work in the friction zone. One thing you will notice is that the boxer engine likes to stay above 2500 rpm to really be happy. Generally, I will run up about double normal idle speed, lock my friction lock and ride demos with the bike (MSF Box!) feathering the clutch.

    The biggest thing I can tell you is to NEVER, EVER touch that front brake doing low speed maneuvering unless the bars are square or you will get dumped quickly. The other secret to maneuvering at low speed is to keep the speed up above walking speed so the bike can hold itself up. The other thing that amazes students is that I ride the box at about 5-8mph without ever playing with the clutch, and the bike holds itself up.

    If you really want to have some fun at traffic lights, practice the "walking the line" slow speed race the police competitions use. Modulate the rear brake and clutch and see how slow you can go without putting a foot down. It generally amazes car drivers to see this. I had a guy watching me doing that with a big GS Adventure a couple of weeks ago at a traffic light. Never put my foot down for about 45 seconds, and at the next light he rolled his window down and asked me how the bike stayed up like that.

    I gave him a serious answer: Its a BMW, and they have a gyro stabilized balance system standard. His answer: Wow. Germans really make cool stuff ! I rode off trying to avoid laughing until I put the face shield back down!

    Have fun and let us know how your bonding experience is going !
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
    MSF #127350 NAUI #36288

  3. #3
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    If you would like to see some great techniques on slow speed bike maneuvering I can recommend the DVD Ride Like a Pro. The DVD is by Jerry the Motorman Palladino. You can check out the web site at www.ridelikeapro.com Gary
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    Its a BMW, and they have a gyro stabilized balance system standard.
    Wow! I didn't know that! Is is called, um, GS-BS?

    Thanks for the remarks, Doug. After all I have read I was beginning to think that taking a BMW for a slow-ride was asking for trouble. It's good to know it won't self-destruct if I do some parking lot work.

    Nice to hear from another ham, too. KX3H here.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I can recommend the DVD Ride Like a Pro.
    Gary, thanks. I've got a few RLAP DVDs and a agree, they are good. I used to do a lot of the drills on my V-Strom and was impressed with how well the techniques worked.

    I'm planning to do a lot of parking lot work to get comfortable on the GS - should be fun!

    Tim

  6. #6
    ghostryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunker View Post
    Ladies and Gents,

    I recently acquired a 1200GS, my first Beemer. Having read a lot of comments on the dry clutch vs. wet clutch issue, I have a question. What technique is recommended for low speed control? The feather the rear brake/friction zone technique is what I am familiar with. Do police departments riding BMW's use that technique and just eat the additional clutch wear, or is the technique modified for the Beemer?

    I like the slow-speed practice for proficiency, and I actually think it's a lot of fun. I don't want to destroy my new ride, though. Any suggestions on how to handle this aspect of riding?

    Thanks,

    Tim
    New guy, here to learn
    I do the figure 8, and a few other low speed techniques through out the year to kinda keep my skills up and have noticed no ill effects from doing them for a while. I would not however be so willing to do a full 2 weeks worth of routines on MY bike. As long as your not going out there doing it for hours every day I wouldn't worry about it, I would however remember that warning about grabbing the front break!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    Welcome to the beemer crowd! You are absolutely going to love the boxer engine and the GS specifically. It is a great bike.

    Do not worry about your technique with the clutch. It will do fine for your practice, and you have it dialed in to feather the rear brake and work in the friction zone. One thing you will notice is that the boxer engine likes to stay above 2500 rpm to really be happy. Generally, I will run up about double normal idle speed, lock my friction lock and ride demos with the bike (MSF Box!) feathering the clutch.

    The biggest thing I can tell you is to NEVER, EVER touch that front brake doing low speed maneuvering unless the bars are square or you will get dumped quickly. The other secret to maneuvering at low speed is to keep the speed up above walking speed so the bike can hold itself up. The other thing that amazes students is that I ride the box at about 5-8mph without ever playing with the clutch, and the bike holds itself up.

    If you really want to have some fun at traffic lights, practice the "walking the line" slow speed race the police competitions use. Modulate the rear brake and clutch and see how slow you can go without putting a foot down. It generally amazes car drivers to see this. I had a guy watching me doing that with a big GS Adventure a couple of weeks ago at a traffic light. Never put my foot down for about 45 seconds, and at the next light he rolled his window down and asked me how the bike stayed up like that.

    I gave him a serious answer: Its a BMW, and they have a gyro stabilized balance system standard. His answer: Wow. Germans really make cool stuff ! I rode off trying to avoid laughing until I put the face shield back down!

    Have fun and let us know how your bonding experience is going !
    haven't paid for that clutch replacement yet, have you? it WILL be pricey, that's a fo' sho.

    my recommendation is learn to use minimal throttle as you modulate the clutch. revving much above idle and using FZ WILL destroy your large single plate dry clutch much sooner than otherwise.
    but hey, your bike, your $, your choice.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  8. #8
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    If you would like to see some great techniques on slow speed bike maneuvering I can recommend the DVD Ride Like a Pro. The DVD is by Jerry the Motorman Palladino. You can check out the web site at www.ridelikeapro.com Gary

    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    haven't paid for that clutch replacement yet, have you? it WILL be pricey, that's a fo' sho.

    my recommendation is learn to use minimal throttle as you modulate the clutch. revving much above idle and using FZ WILL destroy your large single plate dry clutch much sooner than otherwise.
    but hey, your bike, your $, your choice.
    Yup - what he said.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
    Iron Butt Association Member # 34281

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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    Generally, I will run up about double normal idle speed, lock my friction lock and ride demos with the bike (MSF Box!) feathering the clutch.

    did i read that correctly that you ride your class demos (assuming ERC) with throttle locked and just FZ? really?? i mean, REALLY?!?

    The biggest thing I can tell you is to NEVER, EVER touch that front brake doing low speed maneuvering unless the bars are square or you will get dumped quickly.

    yeah, using a front brake at low speed can quickly become a front break.
    Last edited by bikerfish1100; 10-29-2010 at 02:53 AM.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  11. #11
    On Parole PitRacer's Avatar
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    You might want to check the discussion going on over at Hexheads under Dry vs Wet Clutch... might put this to rest.

  12. #12
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    If you (the rider locking the throttle) use that technique during a MSF class then you are not following the program. Now, before a flurry of fire comes upon me for the "not following the program" comment, keep in mind the MSF courses are standardized using very good techniques useable by a large percentage of riders.

    To do something different may cause issues for a student who misinterprets the demo.

    In my 17 years of MSF classes, and a good many MSF ERC classes, I have never had to lock the throttle on my 94 RS to manuever all of the exercises. I use steady throttle, friction zone, body position, some rear brake drag and strong head turns. Once you get used to honing your slow speed skills, moving the bike around at less than walking speed is easy.

  13. #13
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Ok... chill you guys... yes, the technique is called "steady throttle"... etc. The throttle friction is "steady throttle" and a lot of the ERC guys have never figured that out, thus you can either grip the throttle and place fingers over the flange or however they want to "lock" it for steady throttle. BRC people having troubles understanding what is going on trying to sort out clutch/throttle find it easy to see what is happening too. Besides, I obviously do not use a R1200R on a BRC. It is a simple thing to show people what is actually happening, just as using no clutch (happy clutch burnout guys??? NO friction zone) which shows that the bike will not fall over if you use a little speed, and some basic physics. The point is to get the message across however the students get it: KISS rule!! Jeeze

    By the way... feathering the clutch when doing the "walk the line" is a low duty-cycle for friction zone if you do it correctly, so my clutch plates stay happy and generate no smells. A bunch of Harleys burned up their wet clutches this past weekend at a local police motorcycle competition. NONE of the RT/P's had that problem.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
    MSF #127350 NAUI #36288

  14. #14
    Steve rockbottom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    I obviously do not use a R1200R on a BRC.
    I used my R1200R during the ERC last September. Since the course was given at the local Harley dealer, all of the other riders were straddling shiny pork. It was almost funny how much easier maneuvers and fast stops were for me, particularly since it rained on and off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    Ok... chill you guys... yes, the technique is called "steady throttle"... etc. The throttle friction is "steady throttle" and a lot of the ERC guys have never figured that out, thus you can either grip the throttle and place fingers over the flange or however they want to "lock" it for steady throttle. BRC people having troubles understanding what is going on trying to sort out clutch/throttle find it easy to see what is happening too. Besides, I obviously do not use a R1200R on a BRC. It is a simple thing to show people what is actually happening, just as using no clutch (happy clutch burnout guys??? NO friction zone) which shows that the bike will not fall over if you use a little speed, and some basic physics. The point is to get the message across however the students get it: KISS rule!! Jeeze

    By the way... feathering the clutch when doing the "walk the line" is a low duty-cycle for friction zone if you do it correctly, so my clutch plates stay happy and generate no smells. A bunch of Harleys burned up their wet clutches this past weekend at a local police motorcycle competition. NONE of the RT/P's had that problem.
    i still see a major difference here in operation betweeen your "steady throttle" concept (sure, that's reasonable, just never bother explaining it as such- 5lb bag, 10lb **** syndrome) and what you initially stated of "I will run up about double normal idle speed, lock my friction lock ..." I would call that thoroughly unnecessary and totally inapporpriate for a MSF sanctioned course.
    Jeeze, indeed!
    Last edited by bikerfish1100; 10-30-2010 at 03:23 PM.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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