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Post  Yammycat on Fri Feb 01 2013, 01:37

whats really hitting me at the moment, is I'm losing confidence in my riding ability - its not judgement of speed or anticipating others next movement. Its cornering - it could be down to the tyres, but i think I lack faith in either myself within the maneuver, or the bike / tyres. It just doesnt feel right at the moment.

Its not that I approach bends at silly speed, its the whole leaning business. Its like a mental block that says "you keep this leaning, up, and youl be sliding along for the rest of it, and its gonna hurt!" As I say, im not going into bends at 100 with my knees scraping (i genuinely don't have the balls for that), but what concerns me is the other bikers and cagers. Where bikers are concerned I usually let them past and wave them on to over take me, 'cos I don't want them to over estimate my ability. Cagers, well, they need 4 wheels to balance on in the first place and just have too many distractions going on in their little cage.

I think Im gonna have to see about some advanced motorcycling course or something, will see how tomorrow goes once I got some new rubber on the bike

anyone else had this come up in their motorcycle life experience? it basically feels like the front end is gonna let go, and i don't feel confident with the leaning....

thanks in advance for any help you can offer
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Post  robertcains on Fri Feb 01 2013, 05:33

Yes I went through exactly this when I had my 'cat,
I was sure in my head it was something wrong with the bike & tried everything I could think of, tyres, wheel alignment etc etc & it completely took my confidence away.
In the end I changed the worn out fork oil for 10w & I simply couldn't believe the difference.
The front end went from feeling like 'it was going to wash out' where I'd run wide out of corners to being planted & my confidence was thankfully restored.
I can't recommend this simple 'mod' enough, I know SteveCat had similar too if I remember correctly, good luck & let us know how you get on please Cool
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Post  thunderstu600 on Fri Feb 01 2013, 05:35

Sorry to here of your dilemma

Lack of confidence could be due to not using the bike as often as you would like, confidence builds after time and need to stop telling yourself you can't do it. If your not going ridiculous speeds then you need to trust your bike. As everyone will say on here the cat is a very forgiving bike.
If you think you need new tyres remember to take it easy on them for a while as they will be pretty slippery with their new coating of shinyness.

Check this out m8 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Always good to take extra riding tuition,

Good luck
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Post  ellie on Fri Feb 01 2013, 07:26

I think having the backend set up correctly helps and like RC says, fork oil makes a diference.

It may be useful to learn your lines too, talking to far more experienced riders and explaining the proper lines to take helped me no end.

Does depend on the bike too & where your head is at that day, my riding varies hugely depending on If I'm 'in the zone' or not.
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Post  Yammycat on Fri Feb 01 2013, 08:52

Hello and thanks for the replies so far !

and thanks for the link thunderstu.

with regards to using the bike, I ride everyday come rain or shine, the only time I haven't used it this year was last week with the snow.

I can appreciate that there isn't a specified time for when the new tyres will lose their coating, but what are we looking at, like 10 miles or so?

The ride to work on Tuesday may not of helped matters, as there was a biker taken down on the M3 in the morning. I didn't see it

what happened at the point of impact, but saw the aftermath and it wasn't good. So to some degree I'm blaming that as well.

To be fair the back end should be fine with regards alignment and set up as this was adjusted on Sunday just gone

Il keep checking back today n see what else comes up. Think I might get a new lid as well, since Im spending out lotsa money anyways lol

thanks again n keep suggestions coming, hope you all ave a good day, im off to get rained on etc

cheers
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Post  Cheshirecat on Fri Feb 01 2013, 10:39

Have you just bought new tyres? I know I was having confidence issues a while back, I changed my tyres to pilot road 3's and wow what a difference in my riding, my chicken strips were a good 2-3 wide and now there only about 1, Like the lovely Ellie said following an experienced rider really does help you with your correct lines, have you been on any of the ride outs? I went to Bishops Castle last year and learnt so much of the other riders, and as a bonus made some great Friends too... Don't beat yourself up and try singing as you ride helps to steady the nerves...
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Post  SteveCat on Fri Feb 01 2013, 10:45

Advanced training is always good, pity I haven't kept mine up.

As has been mentioned it might not be you, but the bike. I didn't know I had issues with mine, just kept compensating.
One thing that was most noticeable was slow speed cornering, like turning left into a road or going round a mini roundabout, the bike felt like it was going to fall over.

There are several threads on here regarding suspension. If you can, put a cable tie or velcro around one of the forks. Ride as normal and then see how far your marker has traveled. if it is right at the end of the shock, then you know there is an issue.

I wrote about my experience after I had replaced the front and rear springs, not suggesting your remedy is as radical as mine, might be worth a read and see if you can identify your situation. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Tyres are very subjective, and you could find new rubber will increase your confidence. I think the official line is take it easy for 100 miles. 10 is possibly too little, remember though that the center of the tyre will scrub in quite quickly, but the sides will take a bit longer, so a little easy when leaning Wink

LondonBikers are holding a suspension talk and setup days, there is a lot of interest, so guess the first few will be full. I'm interested in going along. Also [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] hold a 2-3 hour maint course monthly and cover suspension, I'm thinking of giving one of those a try too. If you're interested I can send you some links.
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Post  biscut on Fri Feb 01 2013, 12:04

it sounds to me (although I am only a newbie myself) that you are "labelling" it as a problem and its getting bigger as time goes on i.e. you keep telling yourself that its a problem and it builds from there.
What cheshirecat suggests to either sing or talk to yourself and tell yourself that you CAN do it I think is a really good idea. Helped with me as I scared myself into thinking that cornering on national speed limit roads was a real problem (crawled round the corners with my heart in my mouth to start with). I spoke to one of my instructors at the time and he suggested dropping down the speed (obviously when there aren't other vehicles around), repeating the same stretch of corners but gradually increasing your speed to gain confidence in your own ability. Really helped with me anyway.

You can try changing tires etc but I would suspect that even with tires made of glue :-) then it might just be a case of you believing in yourself more than anything. Talking to others about what lines to take is a good idea but you have to believe that there wont be a problem if you take that line (if that makes sense, apologies if its confusing)


Last edited by biscut on Fri Feb 01 2013, 12:10; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : extra/changed info)
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Post  Rampers on Fri Feb 01 2013, 13:34

Have you been on a ride out with mates???? If so the could help to point out where you could be going wrong etc??? Like it's been said above take it easy with new tires for at least 100 miles and have you thought about doing a track day as that can help with confidence with cornering and general riding. If you ever need someone to have a ride with let me know I'm only up the road from you in herts
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Post  Snowcat on Fri Feb 01 2013, 19:01

I had exactly the same issue last year, I'd only recently passed my test but was determined to try and ride through the winter to get as many saddle miles under my belt to help my confidence but it ended up doing more harm than good. I found myself so terrified of leaning the bike in the rain I couldn't do it in the dry, I posted on here and got a lot of useful advice most of which is covered above.

The things that helped me were getting out with experienced rider as ellie said. I'm lucky to have a couple if friends who were willing to take me out and let me follow them to see the lines and this improved my confidence.

Get on a forum ride out, from newbie to pro racer (as with BC last year) you get every facet of rider and plenty of advice, help and again following lines, seeing how corners are taken and lean angles is a real boost. My riding confidence from AM to PM was literally like night and day (no pun intended)!! Wink

The most important thing I did which did the most for my confidence was to do a Bikesafe course, they are a one or two day course, heavily safety orientated but always involving a 2 hour ride out with police trainers, police riders (serving and ex) and they will basically ask you what areas you want to improve and focus on them. You usually ride to students to an instructor and they will show you how it's done.

Also if you think it is the bike get someone else to ride it and give you their opinion.

The cat is a good bike that as you've said is very forgiving and unless you're doing something particularly wrong will get you round the corner if you put your faith in it. The bike wants to stay upright and it is normally rider input that makes the mistake, not the bike.

Keep us updated and I really hope you get it sorted, whatever the issue is.
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Post  Yammycat on Sat Feb 02 2013, 00:00

Hi all, back again and thanks for all further suggestions, causes, remedies and so on.
I had a proper check on the tyres just before setting out to get them changed. front was literally on legal border line but had worn unevenly, giving different tread depths in different areas of center of the 3/4 central band. So, no wonder it didn't feel right, combined with trying to take corners in the center of the lane-ish.

The Michelins are now fitted (Road Pilot F&R), and had a chat with the guy that did the work regarding the new tyres, and yep, its 100 mile according to manufacturer, though he said probably 30 mile, but Michelin say 100.

regarding the handling issue, perhaps a bit embarrasing, but I think Ive nailed my possible other problem. After watching the video is when I came to the realisation that, on taking corners, I am not making full use of the left lane, i.e trying to keep the bike in the center but slightly off to the left, while taking corners. that would cause grief, right?

In regards to following other riders to see their style... I did try, but whenever I got close, they gave it beans and I wasn't willing to play keep up with the experienced rider - for their safety more than mine. The streches of road were too dangerouns imo, or at least for me, given my lack of confidence at the time.

As for the new tyres and bedding in - they handle the same as before... so I cant wait til they properly wear in lol.

Out of curiosity, does £240 for Michelins fitted seem reasonable? Im not too fussed at the moment, I know I may of got it done cheaper by buying tyres myself and then having them fitted, but some places wouldnt entertain it. Plus the guy had a proper check over the bike and advised me on a few things as well

thanks again for all the help so far, looking forward to some replies on my riding erm, technique Wink lol
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Post  ellie on Sat Feb 02 2013, 00:34

Did you discover why the tyres have worn unevenly? Is there an underlying problem?
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Post  robertcains on Sat Feb 02 2013, 06:24

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Did you discover why the tyres have worn unevenly? Is there an underlying problem?

Worn fork oil made my front tyre wear very unusually, probably cos I was constantly wrestling the bike out of the bends Shocked
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Post  Cheshirecat on Sat Feb 02 2013, 11:20


Out of curiosity, does £240 for Michelins fitted seem reasonable? Im not too fussed at the moment, I know I may of got it done cheaper by buying tyres myself and then having them fitted, but some places wouldnt entertain it. Plus the guy had a proper check over the bike and advised me on a few things as well


No £240 don't sound bad, I got a set of Pilot Road 3's fitted for £263 mate and to be honest its the best money I have ever spent, done 5000 mile on them and they still look like new to be honest. I'd say 100 mile to run them in, you can still use a bit of pace but don't be too agressive for the first 100 mile.

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Post  Yammycat on Sat Feb 02 2013, 21:27

@ ellie - to be honest it could of been a number of reasons - possibly previous owner, it then sat from august last year, til january this year, when I bought it, and i think it was left a bit neglected til I got it. might of been the wheel out of balance.

On the new tyres, Ive covered 70 miles so far, taken on a few bends, keeping in mind the slippyness of the tyres (has definately been noticed recently Wink )

Before the guy changed the tyres he checked over the bike first, in case theres anything else that needs immediate attention before he started to work on it - and forks / seals were all good, so may have been down to the previous owner - though on a good note the guy did say it had been looked after over all, just the front tyre was worn, and the rear tyre still legal, but If its tyres, Id rather change them in pairs.

Im probably going to be heading to Box Hill tomorrow... see how it goes Very Happy
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Post  bobh on Sun Feb 03 2013, 00:00

In my experience front tyres always wear more on the right shoulder than the left, and in most cases it's a sort of "feathering" effect. I thought it was down to road camber, but someone assured me recently that it's more because you have better visibility on right-handers so you subconciously lean further. Whatever, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

The fact is that the Thundercat does have quite "stable" handling, i.e. it likes to go in a straight line and objects to being asked to lean over. I went out for a ride on mine today, having previously been riding my MT-03, which is very "chuckable". For the first 50 miles or so it felt really uncomfortable whenever I came to a bend. But after a while I kind of gelled with it and was throwing it around happily.

There are several things you can practice. Number one is to keep your head up and look where you want to go, because you go where you look. Focus on the "vanishing point" (or limit point of vision, in some books). At this time of year particularly, when there's a load of rubbish in the road, it's very tempting to look at the road just ahead of you. Don't. Spot the gravel/pothole/greasy patch etc. early, plan your course to avoid it, then go back to focussing on the vanishing point and use peripheral vision to keep track of the hazard - if you look directly at the hazard you will go straight to it. It does take a conscious effort to do this, you have to keep reminding yourself to lift your view, but the difference it makes can be surprising.

Secondly, practice counter-steering, or positve steering as we're now encouraged to call it. The 'Cat responds very well to this, in fact if you don't give it a decent shove on the inside bar it really doesn't want to tip in.

Moving your upper body into the bend also helps because as you lean you automatically push the inside bar; it also keeps the bike more upright to maximise the contact patch. We're not talking shifting across the seat, track style, just some movement from the waist. In fact, if you do try more extreme body movements it may catch you by surprise how effective it is at getting the bike set up in the bend, so only try it out when you've got plenty of space.

Check out how you are sitting on the bike. If you are tense with stiff arms, it's a lot more difficult to control the bike, so keep telling yourself to relax, drop your elbows so your lower arms are roughly parallel with the ground, and keep them loose.

Even if you don't fancy joining up with the IAM (and you're not a million miles from my own group, TVAM - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] it's worth getting hold of a copy of their book "How to be a better rider", available from iam.org.uk for a tenner (at least it was when I got mine). It has loads of useful stuff in it, including all the above. The book is included with the "Skills for Life" joining package, by the way.

OK, end of commercial. Hope that helps.
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Post  stevemcc on Sun Feb 03 2013, 00:33

I had that exact feeling of no confidence in the front end late last year, I went through the same emotions of blaming the tyres then myself then the suspension etc etc.

My problem turned out to be a leaking fork seal that had gone un-noticed for ages, I got it fixed and wow what a difference, front end feels completely planted.

Always worth getting everything on the bike checked or at least tested by a fellow rider before you start beating yourself up.


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Post  Yammycat on Sun Feb 03 2013, 09:18

Hi Bobh, and thanks for the helpfull tips there - funnily enough I have caught myself on occasion doing the "looking at things in the road" and consequently going for them - unintentionally of course.

and there have been the times when Ive noticed my arms all tensed up, and then relaxed them a little - with the shoving of the bar to get it to lean, ive done thins a few times with the old tyres before they were changed, and the front end didnt seem as sticky as Id like it to be, and it just felt, wrong and didnt feel i could put my faith in it.

Im happy to accept that the cats problem could be me, but as it needed new tyres anyway I figured get something decent on there n see how that goes.

Ive had a quick look at the website (tvam) and will have another look later on when I get back.

Some very helpfull stuff there dude, thanks!!

stevemcc - easier said than done, I only know a handful of bikers, and were rarely around at the same time, will see what can be done etc though, and keep posted on it as im nearer to that 100 mile, and have been on bends as said above lol.

Due to my nature with anything, I will end up replacing or upgrading parts here there n everywhere as needed. You know how it is with shiny things, right? Very Happy

am off to wash the cat, re oil the chain and heading out for a blast, see how it goes.

Thanks again for all the input guys n girls

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Post  kwakkat on Sun Feb 03 2013, 10:44

1 word Relax
keep the arms slighty bent
don,t grip the handle bar,s too tightly
lean forwards into the corner focus on where you want to be ie look where you want to go & you will go there . but above all try to relax stiff arms & gripping the bar don,t help stat loose
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Post  Snowcat on Sun Feb 03 2013, 20:13

Agree with the above there, it's taught at the Superbike school and Chris Eddie (Eddie990) told me to hold the bars gently as if you're cupping a baby bird. Sounds rediculous but try it.... Combine that with keeping your arms loose and elbows bent parallel to the ground or there abouts, knees tucked into the tank. The reason for arm position is think of the position of the bars, to turn you want to push or pull them, you don't want to be twisting them which is exactly what you are doing with a stiff elbow at a more extreme angle, this takes more work on your part.

Tucking your knees into the tank will make you feel more planted on the bike and subconsciously allow your arms to relax more. As apposed to "leaning" on the bars, gripping the tank will allow you to support your upper body through your core and cause less arm fatigue. Plus by not leaning on the bars your body becomes more fluid and road deviations are transferred through your body less. This allows the bike to do its own job of absorbing bumps stopping them going through you and causing unnecessary rider inputs which can cause instability.

The bike wants to stay upright and the less you input, the less the bike has to deal with making for a much more smooth, stable and comfortable ride.

I would recommend a read of the book, and a viewing of the DVD "A Twist Of The Wrist" by Keith Code, they call it the cornering bible and I think it's invaluable when it comes to the science of cornering
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Post  Yammycat on Sun Feb 03 2013, 22:18

LOL!! yup, pretty much nailed it there Snowcat & kwakkat!!

So I headed out to Box Hill today, - covered the 100 mile on the tyres by the time I got there. The issue would, as it would appear, is me - although the previous front tyre wouldn't of helped matters.

I took some time to youtube a few vids while writing this, and its pointed out a few other bad habits I've picked up along the way.

looks like il be back onto amazon in a minute.

Thank you all for your input on this, its greatly appreciated and also very helpful in the process, I suppose Id better learn to ride again, and to relax - after today my shoulders been killing me, funnily enough, my right shoulder.

Your all brill - thanks Smile

*edit / addition and rant* I think, the most probable cause for my tensing up is because august last year I was knocked off my ybr, I was stopped at a roundabout giving way to vehicles on the roundabout, when the car behind decided that he didn't want to stop. Im still not fully recovered physically but am on the mend, perhaps psychologically I may not be as confident as I was or think I am, despite passing my test (module 2) in december. A lot of my riding is on the motorways, unless I use the A road, which can be more hassle, as it seems a lot these cagers are completely incompetent when it comes to driving. The motorway is just as bad sometimes. Combined with seeing said aftermath on Tuesday, the bikes front end slipping out on me outside my work on Wednesday resulting in an off, cracked the fairing & indicator and i guess damaged my confidence a little bit more. Yeah... excuses Wink

Thanks again to all of you for your input on this one, it really much appreciated.

for anyone whose taken the time to read all of this after having similar issues : [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

cheers
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Post  Rosco on Mon Feb 04 2013, 07:49

Changing from old (probably worn) front suspension springs and worn out (probably) standard 'weight' 5w fork oil....

....to new heavier 'weight' 10w fork oil

and at the same time i put in new hagon fork springs ( I went for the progressive ones).

It was a night and day change and really improved the confident in corners.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Rosco

ps. Sounds about right price for the tyres.


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Post  SteveCat on Mon Feb 04 2013, 09:29

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:So I headed out to Box Hill today

Sorry, didn't see your post about going there - could have possibly arranged to meet you. Give a shout next time you plan on going and I'll see if I can get there.
A bit of a ride for you to get to Rykas/Box Hill, but if you're up to it we can go down to the 'next' bikers meet at Newlands Corner.
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Post  Yammycat on Mon Feb 04 2013, 22:35

Rosco - I'l get the Haynes comic out and have a look, see what needs to be done, and decide from there for now. just had a quick look on ebay for pricings etc... yeah they can wait for now me thinks.

SteveCat, no worries on not seeing the post, i usually head out there on my own anyway on a free sunday. I know newlands corner as well, havent been there in time. as for the distance, my commutes 50 mile a day, to go somewhere Id rather not be, so whatever mileage it is to box hill doesnt bother me, plus its good practice (when im doing it right in the first place!)
Probly be going up next sunday as well, depends what 'er indoors is doing.

Cheers
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Post  Rosco on Mon Feb 04 2013, 23:44

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Chris Eddie (Eddie990) told me to hold the bars gently as if you're cupping a baby bird.

Don't listen to him!!!! - I was trying to cup a bird once and all I got was a slap in the coupon.
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Number of posts : 6519
Humour : Oh Go On Then
Registration date : 2008-11-06


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