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Christa525's Avatar
Posts: 3,236
Join Date: October 6, 2004
Location: Herndon
May 4, 2005, 01:56 PM


This is a Short Bike List FAQ, however it has lots of good advice for every rider, especially newbies.
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Watch out kid! I'm in 1st
Ant650R's Avatar
Posts: 759
Join Date: November 18, 2005
Location: Playground Northern Virginia
January 2, 2006, 04:37 AM

Thanks for the post Christa525, I've past this site along to a few friends that thought they were too short to ride. One thought the Honda Rebel was the only bike that she could sit on comfortable but this site lists alternatives. Nice

06 Kawi 650R Black
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Posts: 32
Join Date: January 13, 2005
February 23, 2006, 11:21 PM

The technique that I picked up that has helped me the most as a short rider is how to walk next to the bike. It doesn't matter what situation you get into, if you can master walking next to the bike forward and backward, and turning while doing so, you can get out of just about any situation.

True that some bikes are heavier, but even heavy bikes can be pushed when you're walking next to it. If you tried to stradle-walk it, you won't have enough leverage because you can't touch the ground. Plus being short actually helps with this technique because your center of mass is lower so you don't have to bend over as much. Thus you are able to use your strength more effectively.

When I first got my R6, I practised walking next to it around the parking lot. After doing it for 30 minutes or so, I was really comfortable with how the bike felt and where the balance point is.

Some tips that I found that were helpful for me:

* When you need to move the bike around in a tight space, stop the bike, turn off the engine, put it in gear, engage the kickstand, set it on the stand, then dismount. Turn off the ignition so you don't drain the battery (headlights won't turn off until you do) but DO NOT lock the steering. Now you're ready to push it around.

* Always stand to the left when you walk it, and lean it slightly to the left. This is because the kickstand is on the left. You won't be able to reach it if you stand on the right.

* Grab both handgrips and stand the bike up off the kickstand. Remember to always lean the bike left slightly. Being perfectly vertical or leaning slightly to the right is ok as well. Just make sure you balance it and don't let it lean right too far.

* Retract the kickstand with your leg while supporting the bike. This is very important. You do not want to trip on it while you're pushing the bike or you may fall and the bike may fall on top of you. The first couple of times you do this, get a spotter. It is very hard for 2 people to drop the bike so don't worry. Just practice taking it off the kickstand and then setting it back down, making sure the kickstand is fully engaged. After you do this a few times, you will find that it's very easy to plant one foot and kick the stand up or down with the other.

* When you're ready to walk, I prefer to lean it slightly against me for balance. It actually only needs a little bit of help when it's close to vertical. I can lean my R6 against me and take both hands off the grip and it's fine. Just be careful with heavier bikes because it takes more force to hold them up.

* When you're ready to roll, squeeze the clutch and cover the front brakes with one or two fingers. I prefer to hold the clutch and leave it in gear in case the bike rolls away from you. The instant you lose grip of the clutch it will stop, as opposed to being in neutral where it will roll downhill and keep on going.

* Just keep your head up, keep your body straight, balance, and take smooth steps forward, and then backward. When you want to slow down or stop, squeeze the front brakes gently. If you want to turn, just turn the bars a little bit and push it in that direction. Just be careful because the bike will want to lean a little bit when you turn the bars (countersteer anyone? ).

* When you set it down, make sure the kickstand is fully engaged.

It's really no big deal and it sounds more complicated than it is. After you spend some time in the parking lot just pushing it around you will feel very comfortable with it. So when the time comes for you to move it around, you can dismount and push it back and forth as necessary so you're facing the right way.

I am very comfortable with this, and I'm actually more comfortable with this than stradle walking because I have both feet under me and I can actually exert a lot of force to push the bike around. What I would do is pull straight into the center of a parking space to get out of the way of traffic. Then I dismount and do a 3 or 4 point turn, and turn the bike 180 degrees around. No biggie.

I can actually push the bike backward better than a rider stradle-walking it who can flat-feet. I had a contest with my friend who is 6'4" to see who can turn the bike around when you're facing downhill. He was to stradle-walk and I would walk next to it. I had no problem at all, even though the hill was pretty steep. He had a little difficulty and eventually he got it, but goes to show that you should never discount the determination of a short rider

This was the first exercise we did in MSF back when the curriculum was twice as long. They cut it in half so they can push more people through and double their revenues. But after we learned T-CLOCS and before we learned FINE-C, we learned how to walk the bike around before we actually learned how to stradle-walk.

I was very surprised to see that many people don't like to use this technique. It has worked wonders for me. I have never dropped a bike doing this, whereas I have dropped it God knows how many times stradle walking it when I first started

Good luck and keep practising. If you try hard enough you will get it.
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rushin' the waves
mybabyninja82's Avatar
Posts: 2,392
Join Date: April 7, 2005
Location: Paradise
February 24, 2006, 08:30 AM

Awesome post! Esp. for Tiny!


'03 600rr Track and Street (SOLD)
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