How do you know when your bike is too much


38 replies to this topic
  • Jcorwin

Posted January 08, 2009 - 08:35 AM

#1

Afternoon,

I just took another fall New Years eve day - this makes a total of about 3/4 good ones since I've had the bike ( about a year). I have an 03 450, I'm above an entry level rider but well short of an expert. I sometimes fee like the bike gets away from me but not in all the cases. I've considered selling the bike and giving up all together - 41 year old body doesn't fair well falling from 450 height at speed.

I ride with my son - he has a 100 and he's seen me fall just about each time I've done it - he freaks but stays calm to help. Maybe a smaller bike? Maybe riding isn't for me? I'm not afraid of it at all but if it means my long term health I'll put it up for one of you all to play with. Nothing has been broken yet - still waiting to see how my shoulder heals from the last one - may have torn something.

On a side note - I'm 6'3" and 225 and I'm in good shape so I'm not attributing any of this to fitness or physical size.

Thanks for any feedback.

  • BLAZIER

Posted January 08, 2009 - 08:49 AM

#2

It's just part of the learning curve. Dress for the crash and keep trying!

Good on you for riding with your son. My boys ride with me and it's the best money I've spent in a long time!

I was always told that you're not learning if you're not crashing!

  • Watige420

Posted January 08, 2009 - 09:07 AM

#3

Two things, first learn new skills on terrain that your OVERLY comfortable on, second DRESS FOR THE CRASH!:thinking: :smirk: Also have a buddy(prefferably someone with ALOT of bike/riding experiance) examine your riding position/bike set-up layout. At your size you should have a TALL seat, DROPPED/MOVED back pegs, TALLER bar position, I'd recomend the PRO-TAPER P-3 top triple clamp for this, as it will allow you to fine tune both your hight and fore/aft position.:lol: You SHOULD be able to comfortably stand while riding, if you can't then you position is SUB-PAR. Not good with your size:banghead: :smirk: .

  • Jcorwin

Posted January 08, 2009 - 09:24 AM

#4

Yeah I hear you about the terrain - where I ride in SC it's severly whooped and sandy. Only one of my bad off's was on that terrain this last one was on flat dirt - bike got out from under me. None have been at high speed thankfully!

I like the bike setup comments - I've thought about that but haven't made any headway on changing it. The sag hasn't been adjusted nor have the bars (they sit fairly low) or front forks so what I hear you saying is set-up is huge? Is there some graphic that shows proper rider positions - I could get my wife to take some pics for me so I can see how I'm positioned.

The trails I ride on are tight - I would say they're tight for any rider but for the less experienced it feels like onne false move and ir time for a bark snack. I did ride 30 miles on them finally - without my son I just went for it. It look me about 3 - 5 days of recovery time cause I was basically riding whoops for 3 hours or so. I went down twice on that ride just real minor stuff so I know I can do it. On a side not I have all the gear I think I need - no elbo or knee pads but everything else.

  • Baja trail Rider

Posted January 08, 2009 - 09:33 AM

#5

When it is upside down still running on top of you!

  • matt4x4

Posted January 08, 2009 - 09:33 AM

#6

Elbow and knee pads are quite important, I have a couple of nice scars that I got on rides where I wasn't fully protected.
Part of the issue will always be that you can never guarantee NOT falling, it's a part of the game, and no matter how good you are, it will always be a possibility.
Definitely get your bike set up right - it makes a world of difference.
For your size/weight, I would just stay with the 450 and do as stated by most here.

  • Charles De Mar

Posted January 08, 2009 - 11:42 AM

#7

learn from your mistakes. :thinking:

  • face_plant

Posted January 08, 2009 - 11:52 AM

#8

i am 28 been riding since i was 4, my nickname around the shop is captain pitch it away, or skidmark

its a learning process. always dress for the crash even though it may be hot and uncomfortable. our east coast rides we call goat pathing.the 450 is a handfull at times. my buddy has an xr200 and in the super tight stuff he rides me under the table. one thing i did learn after having my bike for 2 whole years....at very slow speeds you fall over...hard to explain the faster you go the less you crash..if your mind says dont hit that rock--you will.look where you want to go, not at what you want to avoid

  • Jcorwin

Posted January 08, 2009 - 11:57 AM

#9

So if the bike is on top of me but it's not running off that will be fine?

OK I'll try to focus on getting it set up correctly and it sounds like adding some padding to the mix would be good as well. Thanks for the feedback guys. Yes I agree, the slower I go the more that thing want to lay down. And becuase I feel like I'm threading a needle down here that's not always an option.

By the way Charles - I hear Rothelsberger went to practice today but his helmet didn't fit because of swelling? Talk about not knowing when to quit!

  • FatBuoy

Posted January 08, 2009 - 02:32 PM

#10

I'm in your same boat-same size, same bike, same age. I fall every time we ride, but we ride pretty aggressively (for my skill level) It is a learning curve, but the last crash popped my MCL. (from trying to catch myself when going down in a sideways slide) I'm still recovering, but at least I didn't have to have surgery. I agree with dress for the crash. I had just about everything BUT knee braces. I will buy and wear them the next time I go out, and probably forever more...

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  • kjr247

Posted January 08, 2009 - 05:00 PM

#11

Time will solve this problem. Slow down and gain experience. I was off a bike for 15 years and when I jumped back on one I fell several times early on. I lost a bunch of skills and had a totally different bike. Now that I have been riding again I ride much faster. New bike, rusty skills means crashing. Gear up on stay with it. The bike does not matter. They all go fast...

  • Mutu

Posted January 08, 2009 - 05:45 PM

#12

Get a lighter bike. It will do wonders for your riding enjoyment.
That's what I'm going to do with my next bike. 265lbs worth of WR450F is painful at the end of the day.

A lot of my friends are going back to MX 250's. Light and serious fun to ride.
A stock MX 450F will do me, with fuel injection. :thinking:

  • wr_450_rider

Posted January 08, 2009 - 06:16 PM

#13

just keep with it
i fell over 3 times the first time i rode my 450 and every time i was going slow but the main reason being that i hadden really ridden in a year and even then it was on a highly modded ttr 125 but yea the mor you ride the better off you will be
once that 250+ pound bike starts to go down theres not much you can do either

  • Just_a_trail_rider

Posted January 08, 2009 - 07:35 PM

#14

Afternoon,

I just took another fall New Years eve day - this makes a total of about 3/4 good ones since I've had the bike ( about a year). I have an 03 450, I'm above an entry level rider but well short of an expert. I sometimes fee like the bike gets away from me but not in all the cases. I've considered selling the bike and giving up all together - 41 year old body doesn't fair well falling from 450 height at speed.

I ride with my son - he has a 100 and he's seen me fall just about each time I've done it - he freaks but stays calm to help. Maybe a smaller bike? Maybe riding isn't for me? I'm not afraid of it at all but if it means my long term health I'll put it up for one of you all to play with. Nothing has been broken yet - still waiting to see how my shoulder heals from the last one - may have torn something.

On a side note - I'm 6'3" and 225 and I'm in good shape so I'm not attributing any of this to fitness or physical size.

Thanks for any feedback.


Good post. First things first... open up another instance of your web browser, goto motosport.com and order some knee and elbow pads. Don't come back until you're done:bonk: :thinking: :smirk:

Now that you're back... 4 years ago, I bought a wr450 as my first dirtbike. I posted the same questions in the beginning and everyone encouraged me to just stick with it. So I did... Over the next three years, I had a broken foot, arm, thumb, sprained ankle and torn rotator cuff. For every guy who survived the 450 as his first bike, there's also a guy like me.

I could always pysically handle the bike ok, I just wasn't experienced enough at making the right decisions on the trails. A 450 assumes that you know what the F--- you are doing and can punish you for mistakes.

I say you trade down and get a wr250 or an xr or something. Spend a year or two having more fun, falling less and developing your skills. How much fun will it be NOT riding with your son if you get hurt? I promise you will have a boat load of fun on a wr250.

You should pose this same question on the wr250 forum and you will find many guys in your same position who downsized and are glad they did.

Good Luck.

  • Swiveler1973

Posted January 08, 2009 - 08:21 PM

#15

I agree totally with what everyone else is saying. Practice makes perfect,
one thing that you can learn is how to fall and not get hurt. Having full protection is a must. and if you find yourself in a bad situation you have to know when to separate yourself from the bike, because what ever happens to
it can be easily fixed but that might not be the same for you. How are your tires? if your front knobs are worn enough you will wash out on the corners.
and if your back ones are wearing down then I would put on a trials tire you
will be pleasantly surprised at how much your riding skills will improve. I would stay on that WR longer if it were me.

  • hillclimbguy

Posted January 08, 2009 - 08:22 PM

#16

I wear knee braces. I dont ride with out them. It seems I wear more protective equipment than most of our group. I feel naked if I dont wear that stuff.
Most of us are in the same boat about getting hurt. We all have to go work on Monday. There is that fine line and i wont cross it anymore. Jr keeps pushing me to do the stuff he does. But if I take a spill, it seems to take two or three weeks to heel up. Jr seems to heel up by the time we get home from the two hour drive. Would be nice to be young again.
Learn your week points and improve on them. Dont push yourself. We arent pros. Just weekend warriors. Its supposed to be fun.

  • Demo_Slug

Posted January 08, 2009 - 11:08 PM

#17

I sometimes fee like the bike gets away from me but not in all the cases. .



when you ride, do you grip the bike with your knees?

you have to have control of the bike. even when you are standing on the bike. you can't control your bike with your arms. I'm about you height too and I couldn't grip very good with my kness until I got lowered footpegs. but, I can do pretty good by gripping with my heals. dig in the heals. sqeeze the bike with your legs. push down hard on the pegs.

if the bike changes dirrections on you, you'll go with it and still be in a position to control it.

most of the time guys are just sitting on the bike and sitting on the seat will keep the bike under you. or if you are on a ligher bike it is not as crittlical. but you will eventually get into trouble.

so, sqeeze the bike. push down hard on the pegs. practice it. eventually it will become automatic.:thinking:

  • bwardipi

Posted January 09, 2009 - 01:18 AM

#18

for my 2 cents worth i would say it's all about the decisions you make out there on the track. I ride with my dad for the last 20 years. He crahes a lot. We both have ridden various size bikes from 80, 125, 175, 250, 350, 400, 450's. My dad still crashes a lot. Wrote of his klr 650 just last year.
I don't believe it's the bike. You're on one of the best handling bikes around. The power is also "good" power, as it can really get you out of trouble, or launch you across ruts etc. The bike is also really stable in corners. better than all my older smaller bikes i've ridden (which in looking back were really crap).
Firstly, i think it's about the agressiveness with which you ride, the risks you are prepared to take, and how you like to get your thrills. I personally don't like pain. I nail the bike when i know it's safe to do so... ie, i've got a clear run, a corner with plenty of room, predictable surface, good traction etc. When i'm on unpredictable surfaces, off camber roads, poor light visibility (shadows of trees etc), i am extra cautious, knowing i cannot predict the unpredictable. In these conditions i am just gambling in being upright. So it really comes down to the gamble you take with the conditions that are presented to you. Front tyres washouts were always a real problem for me and my riding style... so to limit this type of risk, i always experiment with front tyres and have the best fitted for the terrain. My dad... he likes to go fast!!

  • Watige420

Posted January 09, 2009 - 02:02 AM

#19

Time will solve this problem. Slow down and gain experience.

I would say speed up and gain experience. Gyroscopes are our friends! Without them we FALL OVER GO BOOM!! So the faster you go the greater the GYROSCOPIC EFFECT= easier balancing/easier control. Part of the reason GREAT RIDERS/RACERS are SSOO amazing is because of the speed they've learned to maintain. That comes from being comfortable ON/WITH your bike AND learning to trust it. YES it CAN get you into trouble, but more often than not if you abide by the "WHEN IN DOUBT HIT THE GAS!!" rule the bike will usually get you out of trouble as well. NOW at that higher speed a screw-up has MUCH dire consequences! That's the learning to TRUST your bike comes in. You can see when a GREAT RACER's brain gets in the way. They're doing every thing right , THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN! They CRASH!! HARD! They started to over think what was going on. The ONLY thing that compares to what we do NEUROMUSCULARLY (sp?) is what FIGHTER PILOT's do. AND ROAD RACERS of course ALONG WITH ALL the OTHER 2 wheeled competitive pursuits. But think about it... All 4 of our limbs are doing completely dissimilar things! IN UNISON/CO-ORDINATION!! THAT is a big as to the WHY of proper bike set-up. That means suspension/rider position/control position/power delivery/geometry-handling. They are all inter related and co-dependent. ATAATT! I use my elbows as gate deflectors when riding tight trees. Knees need all the help they can get, I mean get braces. They can be had fairly cheap off ebay.

  • Jcorwin

Posted January 09, 2009 - 05:29 AM

#20

Great replies - I'm sold on a couple areas:

Full gear - add knee and elbo pads to the mix

Bike setup - has not been done for me, I have yet to adjust F/R suspension or bar height.

Tires - could probably stand a couple but they will do me for another ride or two.


The speed is really the factor in many of the spills I've had - this bike wants to fall over when you baby it on tight trails, sandy tight trails just add to that. Instinct tells me to lay off the throttle when I feel like I'm going down but I'm learning to give it some more to get me out of trouble. Technique / position on the bike are something I need to work on but I may have to leave my normal spot and head to more wide open spaces. Just too tight to 'practice' on the Wambaw trail here in Charleston.

Only one person suggested a smaller bike 'mauricedorris' suggested a 250. I'd certainly like to feel what the difference is between the two - I agree I'm a weekend warrior and the objective is fun times with my boy. If I can be safer on a 250 maybe that's the direction - they're all still fast but I'm assuming the 250 is not as 'fat' as the 450.

Anyway I appreciate all the feedback - didn 't think I'd be alone but the responses atleast give me some ammo for the wife when she says " is it normal to fall of these bike so much" :thinking:




 
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