Having trouble adjusting to the bigger, heavier, torquier, sportier VFR.

Discussion in 'New Riders' started by AdventureDog, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. AdventureDog

    AdventureDog New Member

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    Afternoon everyone, my first bike was a 1982 Yamaha XJ550 Maxim - it served it's purpose well. I now know I like this whole two wheels thing - so this year I bought an 06 VFR800.

    I just got back from taking it to the MSF course laid out in the local community college parking lot and I was having trouble. Where the 550 I could chuck around no problem, and crawl along at a snails pace confidently the 800 I'm jerky, hesitant and missing my marks.

    My two biggest problems are - I'm weighting the bars, leaning on my wrists. Going from a low handlebar to clipons and a more foreword position I feel like i'm weighting the inside handlebar excessively on turns instead of just using pressure to initiate control inputs. I know this is wrong - but it's what is "coming naturally" it feels like I HAVE to (if that makes any sense?)
    My second problem is the 'snatchy' throttle: torque on application and large amount of engine braking when the throttle is closed. I'm not smooth at all, and I'm having trouble with precise control (possibly the angle of the clipon being different than the straighter bars i've been used to in the past?)

    I'm pretty sure this is just a matter of "needs more practice" possibly take a day and start from the very basics? Riding the friction zone in a straight line, that kind of thing. I know the fear of dropping my shiny new bike is playing heavily into the equation as well.

    I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any advise to help with the adjustment.
     
  2. sunofwolf

    sunofwolf New Member

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    after dropping it a few times, you might be able to not drop it as much
     
  3. redwing750

    redwing750 New Member

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    Welcome, this is never an easy one to break down but I see SOW has already offered his sage wisdom...

    The most important thing you can learn, is that you are never done learning :)

    The 6th gen is not a generally traffic friendly bike, does take some time so don't feel bad there. There are mods to smooth things out, but

    for the sake of simplicity I'll leave those out for now. You may want to look into a set of Helibars or other bar riser setups.

    First things to address are possible mechanical factors, sloppy throttle cables and/or loose chain are the two most common.

    For skill, proper clutch finesse is critical. Not "locking too soon" -until you're acclimated it's a good practice to 'hover' over the clutch.

    Also, treat the clutch as part of the throttle, not separate functions. Engagement is always proportional to throttle, and always variable with conditions & situations.

    This applies to decelerating as much as accelerating, also important to not overslip, it is a feel thing.

    That's just a few off the top of my head for now....
     
  4. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    Seeing as you are new to this forum, the absolute first piece of advice I can give you is pretend Sunofwolf does not exist. His is incompetent at best and an idiot either way. You will come to find that out yourself in due time but I thought I would stop you in your first tracks from taking idiotic advice from someone who should not be allowed on a computer un-supervised. God knows how he ever got a MC endorsement or a driver's license at all

    I learned to ride on mine so its behavior is expected for me. I am aware of the jerkiness at low speeds in first gear. I don't really know it there is much you can do about that. Some here have suggested you can reduce this a bit but I think it will always be there to some degree. I bought mine brand new out of the crate and it has always done that. But only if I am idling along in first gear or very slight throttle.

    The weight on the bars is something I think you will overcome in time. I am relatively newer to riding given my age. This bike (an 06) was the first bike I had ever ridden. Someone here, can't think of who off hand, suggests to squeeze the tank with your knees and let up on the downward pressure on your hands. In other words, hang onto the bike with your knees and steer with your hands.

    Others will likely chime in with some valuable advice for you as well. I would listen to most of it. Try what is presented and focus on techniques offered for a season and I think you will find your comfort level will dramatically increase riding this fine machine.

    BTW. Welcome to the forum. Swing on over to the Introductions thread and introduce yourself. Put as much detail regarding your bike in the "My Profile" area. That way, in the future, when you post up, we may know what gen bike you are dealing with. You will find there are many here who are very much in the know on problem solving for these machines. Wished I was one of them.

    If you fail to post up photos of alleged VFR, you will be sentenced to spending a whole weekend in bed with someones 90 year old gramma.
     
  5. fatbastard

    fatbastard New Member

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    I've swapped from a GS500 to the VFR and yes it's a very different machine. The V4 seems to carry it's mass higher and the bike feels heavier in low speed turns. Clutch control is very important for smoothing things out, getting the suspension set up right can make a big difference too. These bikes tend to be set up for handling at high speed rather than puttering around town and if the suspension is a little stiff for your weight you will find yourself jerking on the throttle with every bump. There may be mods you can make to smooth it out a little too, but keeping the revs up and modulating the clutch works quite well on my bike.

    I find that leaning out in the low speed maneuvers is more important than on my old bikes, so try shifting to the outside of the saddle and weighting the outside peg to counterbalance the bike. Because of that weight, you may also find that you need to be a little more aggressive and committed to the turns too.
     
  6. Knight

    Knight New Member

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    Welcome AdventureDog!

    This bike is not the worst in this respect but it is in between a standard bike and race replica like the CBR. Our body position is slightly forward. You have identified one of the biggest problems with riding and steering: Downward weight on the bars turns the steering to mud. If we use a light touch, only left to right, the bike becomes a super bike. Your fix is to grip the tank with your legs. When you start doing it you must remind yourself constantly. I find that when I am tired or have a headache or such that I forget. The bike reminds me though because the wrists soon begin hurting. So each time out, grip the tank hard. Like any technique it will eventually become natural.

    Practice this for a while before swapping out the bars for higher ones. Changing bars immediately may make you a lazy rider and you will not develop this technique.

    Do you hit the gym? The hip aductor and abductor exercises are good for this. Always balance the muscles. If you do 50 reps at 50 lbs of the one machine, then do the identical reps with the alternate machine. You would probably find that one muscle is naturally stronger so let the other muscle catch up first.

    The bike's drive train wants to be extended from the engine pulling force, but at slow speed you get the jerkiness of extension and relaxation of the drive train. To solve this use a slight pressure on the rear brake. That pulls the rear tire back and artificially extends the chain and suspension. As pointed out above, you do this in combination with staying in the clutch friction zone and a slight steady throttle.

    Check out your bike's mechanical records. Have the starter valves been tuned recently? This is Honda's idle control circuit. If the vacuum is not balanced, the throttle can be completely abrupt, either ON or OFF, beyond your control. Then as Redwing mentioned, check out the throttle cable and chain adjustment.

    What will your riding habits be with regards to stoplight vs. touring? I do much city riding. To reduce the clutching and bring the gearing more in alignment with slow speeds I changed sprockets to a shorter ratio. Recall these bikes stock have gearing designed for proficiency from zero to 130 mph, so the sprocket ratio is a compromise that you can easily alter to align with your riding habits.
     
  7. sunofwolf

    sunofwolf New Member

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    I am very competent at falling down and not too good at fixing things
     
  8. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    Handling a VFR at low speeds requires using the clutch's FRICTION ZONE to smooth things out, as mentioned above. :stung:
     
  9. RobVG

    RobVG Member

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  10. MichaelD

    MichaelD New Member

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    Give it time and take the great advice given. You will come to love this bike for its versatility. Once you get accustomed to it other bikes won't compare.
     
  11. Saul

    Saul New Member

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    A deep thought reply, or a devoid reply? Me, personally, I tink it a thoughtless reply, not worthy of anything let alone contemplation.
     
  12. fink

    fink Member

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    Nice to see your back and sensibly replying to threads that are over 3 years old. :Rapture:
     
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