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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there, guys.
I got my 2013 636 not two months ago, coming from a 300 before it.

The thing is, I feel like I'm too cautious when cornering at speed, in fear that if I lean the bike too far, due to the speed, the tires are going to lose grip, causing a lowside.
Let's say I'm not a granny, but I think I have a generous inch of non-scraped rubber on each side of my rear tire.

Having had bikes for several years, countersteering is not a problem, but there's this point where the handlebar starts offering a bit of resistance that gets me on alert mode.
Reminds me of the resistance when you're trying to tip over, say a glass of water.
I feel like if I push too hard, suddenly it's gonna give in and I'm going to lowside, total the bike, and possibly die in the process.

I know practicing is supposed to help, but how would I know how far I can lean without actually lowsiding?

Any tips to help me build confidence are appreciated.
Note: unfortunately, taking it to a track is not an option where I live.

Thanks for any help.
 

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Just take your time and get used to the bike.
My understanding is that counter steering is used to initiate the tip in, once tipped into the corner you really shouldn't need any to apply and real amount of force
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi there. Thanks for the reply.

About the force, I mean like the force when, for instance, you've already entered the corner but want to make a correction because you feel like you're taking it too wide.

At that point you're supposed to push on the inner handlebar to make the turn tighter, and I think it's expected to offer some resistance, and that's where my confidence crumbles.

Fortunately it doesn't happen very often that I feel that I'm going out, but when it happens, more often than not I end up straightening the bike up and emergency braking to avoid going out of the turn and get things back under control.
 

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The front end suspension is very disappointing for track and racing. It is not very confidence inspiring. A stout bike for sure, but my lap times got worse when I came over from the Triumph.

Get your suspension tuned and if you're heavier, you might want to consider stiffer springs or entire front suspension upgrade.
 

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I would say your best bet is to go take a riding school like say Cornerspeed. You'll be amazed how much more comfortable you will become on the bike after a full day of riding instruction.

Having your suspension sorted is helpful as well.

When I started track riding again (was out for quite a while) I was on Dunlop Q3's and in my head I was like these are street tires, no way I can ride them very hard. But then I saw that other people were using them and going not so slow so seeing that in person helped my confidence in leaning the bike over quite a bit.

Now as you can see from the pic below I have no issue laying the bike on its side on that tire. It just took time, and me going about it at a pace that was comfortable to me.

Also, I would say that if you are trying to get rid of chicken strips on the street, well you're putting yourself in an environment where you have so much going on that you have very little mental capacity to devote to actually turning, and are actually putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. I really would insist that if you want to get comfy turning to get on a track. It's a controlled environment with no cars, cliffs, road debris, pot holes or other things that want to kill you. Plus there are coaches there who will help you out. And of course once you do that you'll be addicted and say goodbye to disposable income :)

 

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I will be happy to help you where I can but at the end of the day, confidence comes from within but is affected by external factors.

First and foremost, take your time getting familiar with the bike. Depending on how much/how often you ride this can take some time.

Secondly, the streets are not the place to be working on cornering skills. I rode for 20 years on the streets and had at least 1" chicken strips on both sides. There is no need to use the edge of the tire if you are obeying traffic laws.

I wrote something about this a while back, let me see if I can dig it up.

**EDIT**

Hmm, I thought that I had written a full article on confidence but I can't seem to find it. In any case, check this out as it would be a good starting point for learning: http://zx6r.com/zx6r/61242-learning-ride-again.html

I cannot overstate the importance of doing track days if you want to develop your street skills. A lot of people think that track riding is only for racers which is completely untrue. We have several track day organizations out here that specifically cater to teaching street riders to become more proficient riders. I have absolutely no idea if such a thing is possible in Uruguay but if there are race tracks near you, that is the place to learn.

**EDIT x2**

http://zx6r.com/zx6r/67713-confidence-end-all-all-track-any-riding.html
 

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Suggested Sport Bike Motorcycle Suspension Settings | Sport Rider

Your bike is the same generation as mine, it's a sexy beast but the stock suspension settings are less than ideal. I changed my preload, compression and rebound damping and it made a noticeable difference, especially with nose dive on heavy braking, which is much less noticeable.

Other than that, practice, just gradually try a little more at a time, everyone learns at their own pace, I got right into it within a month, others take years. I wouldn't worry... And those "chicken strips" don't mean much except that you don't ride like an idiot on the street. You could be riding quite fast in turns and use excessive body posturing to keep the bike upright and still end up with strips that way. They don't mean much except to squids...

Definitely try some novice track days and classrooms sessions :D
 

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I will echo the "confidence" statement.

You're over thinking this. Work on your body position and find a place that you can ride without many obstructions and take the same couple of turns over and over again. The more you go through the same section the more you'll start to build confidence in yourself and your ability to negotiate the turn.

It sounds to me like you're simply not trusting the bike or tires or your own ability. The bike can out-ride you... the tires can take MUCH more than you're throwing at them. So to me, the problem lies in your confidence in the tires and on that new bike. It will take some getting used to.

As I mentioned above... find a place that you can practice the same turn over and over. This is easy at the track because you get to that same turn every minute of two. Not the case maybe in Uruguay. :) But I'm sure there's a turn you like and a place to go work on honing your skills. Go there.... practice. With practice will come confidence.

As for the counter-steering and the extra "push" on the bars mid-turn. Well.... that's a natural effect of physics. The initial tip-in to the turn is where we all realize we're using counter-steering the most. Once leaned over the wheel actually turns toward the turn instead of away. In order to tighten a line mid-turn more counter-steering is needed to push the bike a little lower. You're feeling it push back a bit because of the friction in the tire against the pavement. Not something you feel nearly as much with the bike upright and about to flick into the turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks to everyone for the replies.

First of all, I'm not running track (not city street either, but mostly road), and I'm not picky enough to blame the front suspension on my issues.
Also, at 80 Kg I'm not a heavy guy, so I guess there's stuff to tackle before that.

About a riding school, damn, I'd kill for there to be one but there's no such thing here.

@Honkeystyle hit another point I was wondering about. How are the stock Bridgestones? I'll still be cautious when riding in cold or damp weather, or with not warmed up tires, but can the stock rubber be trusted to lean without worries?
I'm not talking about knee dragging. I'm nowhere near that skill level so that's not what I'm expecting.
I just want to know that if I can trace the curve properly with the bike, putting the needed lean on it won't get me lowsiding.

From all the answers, though, I have to say that what most resonated with me is this:
It sounds to me like you're simply not trusting the bike or tires or your own ability. The bike can out-ride you... the tires can take MUCH more than you're throwing at them. So to me, the problem lies in your confidence in the tires and on that new bike. It will take some getting used to.
I'm just scared of only finding out the limit by going over it.

But as everyone has said, it's probably only practice that will make it go away.

I'll do my best to try to overcome the fear of pushing on the handlebars.
That puts me on edge like I can't tell you.

Again, thank everyone for the tips and words of encouragement.
 

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About a riding school, damn, I'd kill for there to be one but there's no such thing here.

Where is Uruguay are you?

@Honkeystyle hit another point I was wondering about. How are the stock Bridgestones? I'll still be cautious when riding in cold or damp weather, or with not warmed up tires, but can the stock rubber be trusted to lean without worries?
I'm not talking about knee dragging. I'm nowhere near that skill level so that's not what I'm expecting.
I just want to know what if I can trace the curve properly with the bike, putting the needed lean on it won't get me lowsiding.

Again.... you're overthinking this. The stock tires might not be the best inthe world, but they're still a great sport tire and they wouldn't put something on the bike that wasn't going to work.

From all the answers, though, I have to say that what most resonated with me is this:

I'm just scared of only finding out the limit by going over it.

If you've got an inch of rubber left on the sides of that rear tire.... you've nowhere close to the limit. Just sayin'. My street tires generally have about a 1/4 inch of "chicken strip" since I don't lean the bike as far over on the street.

But as everyone has said, it's probably only practice that will make it go away.

I'll do my best to try to overcome the fear of pushing on the handlebars.
That puts me on edge like I can't tell you.

Keep practicing! :D

Again, thank everyone for the tips and words of encouragement.
Keep practicing... and watch this if you haven't already.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVWLIfChUwg
 

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I'm just scared of only finding out the limit by going over it.
I don't think you need to feel bad about that at all! You just need to take it at your own pace and find that limit nice and slowly. Exceeding any limit is almost always the easiest way to locate it. Since you don't want to do that, just keep progressing slowly instead.

If you approach that limit nice and slow, you'll probably get an opportunity to barely exceed it without completely losing your bike...then you'll know where the limit is.

Also, keep in mind, that your limit is different in different situations. I've gently found that limit multiple times, but it's usually when the road is a little damp in the morning or something like that...because the limit is closer to normal riding conditions.

Anyway, keep taking it at your own pace and don't be over-eager to find the limits or to push them :bigthumb:
 
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Thanks to everyone for the replies.

First of all, I'm not running track (not city street either, but mostly road), and I'm not picky enough to blame the front suspension on my issues.
Also, at 80 Kg I'm not a heavy guy, so I guess there's stuff to tackle before that.

About a riding school, damn, I'd kill for there to be one but there's no such thing here.

@Honkeystyle hit another point I was wondering about. How are the stock Bridgestones? I'll still be cautious when riding in cold or damp weather, or with not warmed up tires, but can the stock rubber be trusted to lean without worries?
I'm not talking about knee dragging. I'm nowhere near that skill level so that's not what I'm expecting.
I just want to know that if I can trace the curve properly with the bike, putting the needed lean on it won't get me lowsiding.

From all the answers, though, I have to say that what most resonated with me is this:

I'm just scared of only finding out the limit by going over it.

But as everyone has said, it's probably only practice that will make it go away.

I'll do my best to try to overcome the fear of pushing on the handlebars.
That puts me on edge like I can't tell you.

Again, thank everyone for the tips and words of encouragement.
The Bridgestone S20 are great tires and great for all-around sporty street riding. The S20 EVO is even better now... these tires have ok tread life with multi compound rubber and plenty of grip and traction in dry and wet :)

Buy and read these books:

http://www.amazon.com/Sport-Riding-Techniques-Develop-Confidence/dp/1893618072 (wow, glad I got my copy back I lent a friend, I only paid $10... price went up. Used like new... my OCD kicked in because the cover is slightly worn now xD )

http://www.amazon.com/Twist-Wrist-V...45537490&sr=1-1&keywords=twist+of+the+wrist+2
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you approach that limit nice and slow, you'll probably get an opportunity to barely exceed it without completely losing your bike...then you'll know where the limit is.
That's what I'd like to believe.
My fear is getting into a catastrophe with no previous warning.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I will. Thanks!

Keep the advice coming, guys!
 

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First thing I always check if handling feels a bit off if tyre pressures check them against the manual. Once the three are warm and your on a well surfaced road the chances of you lowsiding are tiny unless your trying to trail brake. The bike and tyres will be scraping legs before they let go I think more seat time on a nice road you know and just get more used to the bike
 

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Find a nice set of corners, the big caveat is they also have limited objects that would cause a sudden stop. Speed doesn't kill it's the sudden stops. (most times)

Figure out a good time there will be limited traffic. Run the road, turn around repeat.
After you run the road dozens of times you can work on body position and noting speed.

Once you become familiar with your corners you will find it easier to go faster, not much faster but a little. Say 1 mph or 2 kph. Run the corners a dozen more times once you get comfortable bump it up again.

At some point your going to have to live with the limitations of street riding.
The street isn't the track, you can't control several very important and life threatening conditions, namely cars, trucks coming the other direction. Some very easily could be in your lane.
(I've encountered this very event several times) but was not traveling much over the posted limit, which if I was trying to accomplish what your doing would not have been the case.

Consider what it will take to move, or at least what's needed to do vacations where you could explore the track.
They have track schools that provide motorcycles.

Don't push it to hard on the street. Please, it's not the place.
 
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