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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Most of you will know me by the thread "My first Bike, a noobie rider" http://www.bcsportbikes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=76376 and it is an interesting read in that it starts off with the standard flaming but it actually has some great advice on how to tame a R1 for a noob.

Now there are dozens of interesting thread on the site R1-forum.com and they have been gathered here: http://www.r1-forum.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=75113

However what all these threads have in common is that it has been stated repeatedly that a R1 is NOT for a noobie, but I know for a fact that there are noobies with a R1 because I am one of them :p (edited: this does not mean that it is ok for a noob to buy a R1, just means that if you are one of the noobs that don't listen to anyone and ended up buying a R1 anyways, this post may help you get the bike going at a safer pace).

So where does a noobie or even an experienced rider trading up from a very old bike to a R1 look for information?

This post is meant to be just an informative post, a collection of advices given by other bcsb members, bits and pieces from PRS and a handful of my limited noob experience with my R1.

Disclaimer: as many of the post below will indicate, training in this manner does not prepare you for the real world scenario and will not make you a good R1 rider. However it will get you out of 1st gear which is dangerous situation to be on a R1.

My buddy, the one that sold me the R1, when asked "how do I tame the R1?" gave me the advice of "take it easy", "take it slow".

Now the problem with the 03 R1 is that it is part of the new generation fuel injection bikes that is very difficult to "take it easy and take it slow". A gentle twist of the throttle will take you into the ditch from the showroom door, after your purchase.

Here is how I tame the R1
1. riding the neighborhood continuously by riding the clutching.

This allowed me to get the feel of the throttle. PRS says that Racers have slow hands which is a gentle increase/decrease of the throttle vs Street bikers that have on/off throttle control. I spent over 12 hours on getting my muscles to learn the gentleness of slow hands. I ended up using only the web portion between my thumb and finger to control the throttle and gripping gently only when necessary.

2. riding in 1st gear in the neighborhoods.

Riding in 1st gear throughout the city and highways was a good mistake but dangerous. It was from an offhand remark by Dat, that the R1 is so powerful that you can get up to 160kph on 1st you never have to change gears; I took this literally.

Riding around the city in 1st really trains you for slow hands as well as clutching around corners. The jerkiness of 1st without slow hands, can take you down in corners if you are not careful. I would suggest that you do use it to slow-hand train at 15kph in a neighborhood, but not out on the roads.

3. Short shift as often as possible. You can use 2nd gear to help you tame the bike.

Short shifting was the life saving advice that really helped reduce the surge of power of the R1. In fact, the R1 has the torque to start in 2nd or 3rd gear with a bit of riding the clutch to get it up to speed. At 1000 rpms and 3rd gear, the bike will still pull you back to speed without a complaint. The bike runs fine at around 4000 rpms.

4, Short shift smoothly before attempting to shift at higher rpms.

learn to short shift smoothly at low rpms because this bike kicks in at about 8000 rpms (at least that is what Kramer says). At that point in time if you are reving at 8000rpms and don't shift well, you will either engine brake at high speeds pulling your bike forward, or over reving the throttle creating a breathtaking riderless bike. It is at the high end of this bike that makes it so dangerous. I was also told that popping the clutch on this bike can toss you rather quickly; rather then killing the engine.

5. lastly a really light grip on the throttle and brakes.

I am using only one finger to brake because it is really really sensitive. I do have my other fingers over the brakes, but I apply only a one finger pressure to avoid over braking.

---------------
So I really hope this post will help those who are noobs or anyone just starting out with a R1. It is a fantastic bike and it brings a smile even thinking about it.

for all those that kept telling me to get rid of it.... my reply is...

Its my bike....

and if you don't understand that, then you are not really a biker :p

Thanks for reading!!!

Ralphael

edited: The writer of this post is a noob himself and the advice given should be taken with a grain of salt. It may or may not work for your purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Now I understand that there are a lot of young uns out there and may be tempted to do the same (i.e. buying a R1 as a noob) and may take this thread the wrong way.

There are a lot of factors that you will need to take into consideration and I will re-iterate them here:

1. absolutely zero % road rage, if you cannot control your emotions, you won't be able to control this bike and as many has said, it is unforgiving. Even a simple gunning of the engine at the wrong time can throw you off the bike. Give someone the finger? and you probably follow that finger to where you were pointing.

2. absolute attention. Where-ever your head turns, your bike will usually follow. I watched with surprise as I glanced briefly at a styrofoam cup on the road and found my bike darted in that direction to run it over. The bike reads your mind!!!

3. Defensive driving. If you cannot anticipate the traffic, then this bike will basically bring chaos to calm as soon as a car darts forward in your peripheral vision. You will react and so will the bike. I have been a fairly good defensive driver with a car, but I found that my level of awarenes has increased by at least tenfolds. I am constantly shoulder checking, pie-ing corners, pie-ing large vehicles and keeping my attention 20-30 seconds ahead. Pie-ing means to look around a corner at an angle way before the corner comes up.

4. patience in riding slow speeds. This is the absolute control of this beast. Slow easy throttling, short shifting, using the gears to slow you down, smooth acceleration from a standing start. Smooth turn from a standing start. None of this comes easy with a high power fuel injection bike. Before I head into the highway today, I spent an hour warming up my skills by riding around the neighborhood at 15kph, practicing my counter-steering, counterbance, and turning off my signal lights after a turn.

Now I understand perfectly why you would learn more and probably quicker with an R6. Fear is the main impediment to learning. If you are afraid of your bike, you won't be trying out new things.

Also with older bikes without fuel injection, you can roll the throttle without the rapid acceleration you get from a fuel injected bike. I believe that this bike can do a wheelie without me; it is the red button to the right

Ralphael
 

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To be honest, all that stuff applies to ANY bike. The difficulty with a litre bike is it's much easier for it (versus other bikes) to control you. It's not to say it WILL happen, it's just much easier.

Anyone can sit in a fighter jet and probably taxi it down the runway but how many of us can truly fly it?

A friend of many of ours here died not long ago riding his R1. He was an experienced rider, he was a good rider, he'd done a number of race schools. Yes he pushed himself but it's more difficult for that bike to control an experienced rider than it is a less experienced rider. I'm not trying to scare you I'm just stating the facts.

You can ride in the neighbourhood riding your clutch all you want but once you hit the open road, it's a new ball game. Looping around a cul-de-sac doesn't prepare you for leaning into a turn at 150km/h, jolting the clutch and being at 200km/h in the blink of an eye while you shit your pants.

A big mistake many riders have made was to get too cocky thinking they knew their bike but then they discovered a whole new power band on new terrain. I hope you never fall into that false sense of security.
 

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I agree totally JamieJames... once you are out on the roads, there is very little you can do for the unexpected.

Ralphael
I agree with JamieJames. this applies to all bikes. The "unexpected" decreasing radius can throw you off of a 250 just as quickly. Its all about mitigating risk. The R1 combined with limited to nil experience is far from mitigating that risk. :batman
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree with JamieJames. this applies to all bikes. The "unexpected" decreasing radius can throw you off of a 250 just as quickly. Its all about mitigating risk. The R1 combined with limited to nil experience is far from mitigating that risk. :batman
I agree too.... which under the circumstances, since I do own a R1, I am really trying to mitigate the risk by keeping it at lower speeds, lower rpms, slow hand and keeping the clutch covered. You cannot blanket say that it is a lost cause.

Also time is spent learning about the bike itself which is what the cul-de-sac rides does for you. Once you are able to handle the bike itself, then more attention can be given to the roads once you are out there.

Ralphael
 

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Meh, whatever. I still think someone will improve a hell of a lot faster on a smaller CC bike than an R1. So have at her. It will be fun when the newbs fly by you on their 250cc bikes that they know they can man handle in the corners instead of "I should really watch my throttle control on my R1"

Ride safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Meh, whatever. I still think someone will improve a hell of a lot faster on a smaller CC bike than an R1. So have at her. It will be fun when the newbs fly by you on their 250cc bikes that they know they can man handle in the corners instead of "I should really watch my throttle control on my R1"

Ride safe.
Miguel, never mind the 250cc on the corners. I was beaten by a scooter from a standing start at a red light. :laughing

Its okay. I'll enjoy my cruise, the 250's can enjoy theirs.

Today on my road ride at PRS, one of my classmate was telling how his 250 was at the end of the throttle (5th gear) going up the slope of the Alex Fraser Bridge. Chris the group leader and I were on litre bikes and were still on 1st gear at 95kph. It is what is in reserve that counts.

Enjoy the ride, not how fast you can corner.

Ralphael
 

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Funny you should mention that, R1 BLEW bye me on a straight stretch the other day. we hit the twisties and not only did I catch up to him, but I got pretty close when he hit the next straight and was off like... well, a rocket.

Anyone can sit in a fighter jet and probably taxi it down the runway but how many of us can truly fly it?
-Very good point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Funny you should mention that, R1 BLEW bye me on a straight stretch the other day. we hit the twisties and not only did I catch up to him, but I got pretty close when he hit the next straight and was off like... well, a rocket.
My first road ride on the PRS bikes (250cc) was fun, but in order to keep up on the highway, I had to run through all the gears.

My second road ride, today, was with my R1 and it was delightful as my bike didn't make me feel like it was struggling and it is a major psychological factor in riding. When a bike struggles on the straightway, noobies has a tendency to tense up; kinda like urging the bike to go faster.

Chris called out 95kph and I felt like I was riding a cushion of air as I open up the throttle; perhaps it was just the crosswinds from the bridge? :laughing

Hmmm.... that R1 that blew by you was not me :p

Ralphael
 

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I agree totally JamieJames... once you are out on the roads, there is very little you can do for the unexpected.

Ralphael
my point though Raphael was that no amount of cul-de-sac riding and riding the clutch will enable you to "get to know" your bike or prepare you for what lies ahead. Really what you're doing right now, you're effectively riding a 250cc.

I just don't want you to be in a situation where you're all comfortable that you know your bike because of all the neighbourhood riding then when you get out on the open road, you decide to try riding faster, you're accelerating, you shift up and crank the throttle and before you know it you're either doing an unintended wheelie or you're going a hell of a lot faster than you intended and possibly at the wrong time.
 

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It all seems so easy until you hit a small bump in the road that you don't expect or is harsher than it looked. Or you come out of a corner thinking that isn't too bad.... One accidental twist and you've lowsided. Too much power will do that. Anyone can honestly ride any bike in a straight line with some throttle control. Same goes with putting along on the street. It's in the curves when you're commited where true throttle control or none causes problems. I don't want to bash you but I really don't want you to give other new riders a false sense of security.

A smaller cc bike allows you to learn how to shift as well. How to shift in corners. How to downshift to progressively slow yourself down to enter a corner. It will also allow you to learn how to accelerate out of a corner without having to worry if the back end is going to break loose.
With all honestly and I stand by this. I learned more about riding in one season of YSR (80cc) racing than an entire year on the road. Despite what you say, it is all about the corners, not how fast but how fast safely.

While admirable, I'm a little worried that you're offering advice to n00b's about mastering a litre bike when you really don't have any true experience to offer. Sorry but riding around the block does not count. Nor does 2 group rides with PRS instructors with controlled speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
my point though Raphael was that no amount of cul-de-sac riding and riding the clutch will enable you to "get to know" your bike or prepare you for what lies ahead. Really what you're doing right now, you're effectively riding a 250cc.

I just don't want you to be in a situation where you're all comfortable that you know your bike because of all the neighbourhood riding then when you get out on the open road, you decide to try riding faster, you're accelerating, you shift up and crank the throttle and before you know it you're either doing an unintended wheelie or you're going a hell of a lot faster than you intended and possibly at the wrong time.
I quite agree, but this would be a situation regardless of the bike. All bikes can go fast, just that some can go faster and then there are ones that you can't see them go by you :laughing but yeah, culdesac training will never train you for real world situations. Which is also why I have rush hour training too; sitting on the bike waiting for the traffic to move :p

Thanks JamieJames. I will rack up as much road riding as possible at safe riding speeds. I am quite aware of me being the old air bag for my bike.

Ralphael
 

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a litre bike is not noob friendly...end of story.riding around the cul-desac and around the block for 20 years straight will not improve your skills of handling a high horse power beast. whats done is done, you have already purchased a bike that is too powerful for you. Just remember that all straight roads lead to a starbucks for poser points at discount price:laughing j/k....just try and keep the shiney side up....and remember that no one here would flame you for downsizing

cheers,
Cory
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
..... but I really don't want you to give other new riders a false sense of security.
definitely not my intentions.

While admirable, I'm a little worried that you're offering advice to n00b's about mastering a litre bike when you really don't have any true experience to offer.
I do understand your concerns and I've attempted to word it as corefully as possible that most of the advice are from members here and a bit from what was taught at PRS. Myself I have very little to offer at this time except my own struggles with the bike, hence the title "Surviving an R1 written by a noob".

Just wishing to share my experiences...

edited: I've added a disclaimer and a few notes regarding my noobie status. Hopefully this will help dispel the notion that I am actually giving advice.


Ralphael
 

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Ralphael,

Well written post. I admire you're sense of self preservation and restraint.

Keep up the cautious good work and hopefully, you will make a few other riders think before they twist. It it always easier to control power than it is to control momentum and weight.
 

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I also think it's well written, and perhaps you can find riders on 250cc bikes learning more about 'how to ride' because they have to push more to get the speed where others can be lazy.

The thing is, some people love the raw power.. want that adrenline, but don't want to throw it way over in the corner. And guess what? That's ok. *YOU* may not think so, but the reality is we all use things differently and some folk may not be so interested in dragging a knee around the street and would simply enjoy mind boggling power instead; not to mention the saftey (or possibly not depending on experience) of having said power always on tap.
 

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Ralphael,

May I ask you who taught you to "continuously ride the clutch" as you were going around the neighbourhood? I went to PRS as well, and I was only taught to ride the clutch for those low speed manoeuvres. And low speed in this case was 4 - 6 km/h.

In your 2nd group ride, may I ask you what you have learned by staying in 1st year all the way up to 95km/h? When Chris and Dat took us to the Alex Fraser, I learned what it really means to accelerate and shift up. I also learned why it is necessary to do that. And I also learned to down shift. In particular, I learned why, when and how I need to down shift in preparation for my next move on the bike. And lemme tell you, braking and downshift simultanously is not easy to do, especially if you want to do it smoothly. It took a lot of practice and I am still far from being perfect.

Oh, I forgot. You learned how to ride the clutch. And you learned how to feather the throttle. All the way up to 95km/h. In 1st gear. :rolleyes

Makes me wonder how much you would have learned have you been riding a 250cc all this time...

-Rick
 
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