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Mountain riding tips


Capt-D
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It takes some time experiencing the bike moving around under you before you get comfortable. A favorite line I hear often is true . . . Trust Your Tires. It is unlikely that you can lean a Venture far enough to cause your tires to lose grip without dragging something. With that said, do not lean over hard enough that the frame or crash bars lift a tire off the road. I saw a video of a guy on a Harley lean over onto his crash bar and lift the front tire off the ground. He went straight off the road.

 

Look where you want the bike to go. This is usually around the curve.

 

Swing wide on blind curves to get your best look ahead.

 

At speed you can "straighten" the curve by cutting across the apex.

 

Stay in your lane! Drifting across the center line is dangerous for everyone.

 

Watch the road surface for debris, especially in shadows.

 

It is OK to lightly brake when going around a curve, if the surface is clean and dry.

 

Heavy braking should only be when the bike is bolt-upright and going straight.

 

Holding your horn button will make deer run. Watch carefully where they run.

 

Learn and use "counter-steering" for initiating turns (turn the bars slightly left, go right).

 

 

Posted 25 - 45mph curves:

I like to start at the posted speed limit or the yellow speed warning sign when entering these curves. The first thing I discover is the posted speed is not for motorcycles, it's for cars. Most motorcycles want to fall in on these curves going the posted speed. However, if the posted speed is where you are comfortable, that's OK. This business about slowing before the curve and powering though it is only applicable if you are riding faster than the posted speed warnings. Believe me, the VR can run through most of these curves 10mph over the warning speed without trying.

 

Posted 10 - 20mph curves:

Believe these signs and SLOW DOWN. Be sure to be in a lower gear and carry your momentum, especially if there is a grade involved.

 

55+ Posted Curves:

Not really a challenge. I don't usually even bother to take the cruise control off.

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Stay in your lane! Drifting across the center line is dangerous for everyone.

 

The above clicked another thing to be watchful for .... taking a left-hand curve .... don't get too close to the centre line .... there just might be a cage coming towards ya that is either crowding or over the line ....:eek:

 

This business about slowing before the curve and powering though it is only applicable if you are riding faster than the posted speed warnings.

 

If you are travelling on a straight that is, say 55 mph with a corner coming up with a "slow to 35 mph" ... what are you going to do if you're not going to "slow before the curve"???

 

The point is to slow down before the curve so that you aren't hitting the brakes while into the curve. Applying gentle power thru the curve (aka powering through) helps you to maintain control ... if you're braking or coasting while in the corner, you are not going to have very good control IMHO.

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If you are travelling on a straight that is, say 55 mph with a corner coming up with a "slow to 35 mph" ... what are you going to do if you're not going to "slow before the curve"???

 

The point is to slow down before the curve so that you aren't hitting the brakes while into the curve. Applying gentle power thru the curve (aka powering through) helps you to maintain control ... if you're braking or coasting while in the corner, you are not going to have very good control IMHO.

 

Of course you slow if your speed is too great for the curve and I believe my statement did say "if you are riding faster than the posted speed warnings." I was hearing others imply that he needed to always slow before curves and I only wanted to suggest that slowing was not always necessary.

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Of course you slow if your speed is too great for the curve and I believe my statement did say "if you are riding faster than the posted speed warnings." I was hearing others imply that he needed to always slow before curves and I only wanted to suggest that slowing was not always necessary.

 

 

ahhhhhhhh... my apologies .... guess I mis-read your meaning!

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Great advice guys, thanks. And the pictures are cool to, look forward to seeing some of that. Stuff that yall talked about I would have never thought of till it was to late, that is why this site is so great, lotsa of knowledgeable and experienced riders on this site. Really looking forward to the summer, now if gas just doesn't get to expensive!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another thing to keep in mind (like you need ANOTHER thing), it's a whole lot easier to control the bike going uphill. So use the uphill parts of the run to have your fun and get a feel for mountain riding. Going downhill, take it easy and concentrate on braking to speed before the curve, taking the best line and being in the correct gear to avoid braking in the curve.

 

Oh and most of all...HAVE FUN and enjoy learning some new skills.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest tx2sturgis

For Capt-D or anyone riding in the mountains for the first time:

 

No one mentioned 'throttle-steering' and 'trail-braking'. In short, its the ability of the rider to control his arc thru a curve using throttle and rear brake inputs, rather than handlebar inputs. It allows the bikes frame and suspension to remain essentially fixed thru the arc, so that there is little chance of frame and suspension oscillation. In other words, it keeps the bike stable, yet allows the rider to make fine adjustments once he is leaned over and negotiating the curve. Throttle is applied or reduced (in very small amounts) to widen or narrow the arc, and rear brake can be applied even under full or part throttle to tighten the arc. The conscious effort to use these techniques can increase your confidence on those curvy mountain roads. But never out-ride your line of vision around those blind curves.

 

Next, something only a tad less important:

 

If you are fair skinned like me, dont forget the sunscreen. Even if the temps seem cooler, at high elevations the natural shielding that the atmosphere provides is much less effective, and you will sunburn much quicker at higher altitudes.

 

But then, applying sunscreen means getting that oily stuff on the palms of your hands, and that means getting that oily/sweaty residue on your grips, which tends to damage the rubber.

 

So be sure to also carry some wet-wipes, preferably several of the larger sizes in a ziplock bag, with a trickle of clean water added in the bag, and carry that in the same saddlebag with the sunscreen.

 

 

 

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+1 on "trust the tyres".

 

You can't easily outride any decent set of tyres on mountain roads, on these bikes. They will grip way past the point where you are comfortable riding, but you do need to watch for gravel and ice (esp. early in the morning, even in spring).

 

Lots of good advice in these posts but essentially ... Just slow down. Get a feel for it before you try any more spirited riding, and never outride the distance you can see and stop in.

 

The one thing that hasn't been mentioned is wind. Every corner you turn, everytime you round a headland or pass between large rock formations, expect the wind to change, and sometimes it can be fierce. Be ready for it and you'll be fine.

 

From the Swiss Alps to the Rockies and passing through the Pyrenees, I can tell you that if you take this thread on board, it will be a blast.

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Something I have not seen mentioned is the scenery. In mountains you get terrific scenery and it can be distracting. Do not try to glance at the scenery while riding, the next corner is coming up fast. Find a place to pull over then you can relax and enjoy it. Don't worry about missing anything, there is more just around the next corner. Car drivers get distracted and will slow or speed up and wander. Watch out for them.

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Since I brought it up earlier (selecting a lower gear) .... on a Wing, you don't need to as it has so much power you can leave it in 5th and just crank it on when you need to... :whistling: :witch_brew:

 

On a serious note ... What you said earlier was excellent advice :)

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Something I have not seen mentioned is the scenery. In mountains you get terrific scenery and it can be distracting. Do not try to glance at the scenery while riding, the next corner is coming up fast. Find a place to pull over then you can relax and enjoy it. Don't worry about missing anything, there is more just around the next corner. Car drivers get distracted and will slow or speed up and wander. Watch out for them.

 

This is a very good bid of advice. Many, many years ago, while cursing the Blue Ridge Parkway I was looking at the sites and when my eyes returned to the road, well I was looking at the center of a monster truck !!!

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This is a very good bid of advice. Many, many years ago, while cursing the Blue Ridge Parkway I was looking at the sites and when my eyes returned to the road, well I was looking at the center of a monster truck !!!

 

I'm sure you meant cruising ... :D

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  • 3 months later...

I live and ride in Colorado so mountains are the norm for me. Everything that has been said is great stuff and well worth doing to have a great ride.

One additional thought… If you live at or near sea level and do a mountain ride you are by definition at a higher altitude that normal for your body. That in general means less oxygen and less humidity.

Drink More Water

Use less caffeine and alcohol

Take one aspirin a day

Start a few days in advance of the ride

Taking care of your body will allow you to perform at your best and truly enjoy the ride

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2 things to add:

 

Try not to overuse rear brakes downhill. Too much heat and they stop working. Shed speed with fronts while straight and upright.

 

Going into a tight radius turn where by it's nature you cannot see the other side, it's very easy to assume that it has a constant radius. There are plenty of examples (The Dragon, The Snake, etc... come to mind) where some of the turns have a diminishing radius. IE: the turn gets tighter as you get into it further. If you're already leaned into it hard it'll make you pucker up a bit when you realize whats coming at you (and fast!)

 

The rule I try to always use is: unless you know EXACTLY what is coming next from having ridden it alot, leave plenty of room for error.

 

sp!ke

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When going around blind bends stay as close as you can to the right hand shoulder. In the mountians fast moving cars often crossover into your lane going around these bends and though logic tells you to use the track which offers you the best line of sight the guy in the car is not thinking about you. By the time he comes around that bend you may not have enough time to move over. So stick as far to the right shoulder around these bends as you can safely do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have done alot of riding in the mointains of West Virgina. Biggest issues were tailgaters, gravel in the turns. deer and other animals. Go slow in the curves. Never know what is just around the bend. I also try and concentrate more on watching where I am going. That may sound like a basic rule in riding but I do find myself watching the scenery also. Your bike goes where you are looking.

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There's not much that is easy about mountain riding IMHO. I found it to be both physically and mentally demanding... especially when I did the Dragon. For me, controlling the speed of the bike contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the ride.

Having ridden for years all over New England I am durn glad to be riding the flatlands down heah in de deep South.

Boomer....who sez it's a lot easier to spot dem Dairy Queens down heah den it ever wuz in Noo England....:cool10:

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  • 10 years later...

New rider from Canada here and I took my newly bought RSV out on a ride. It is not mountains as such but hilly and winding roads. As some have said, it is the guy behind you that was my worries. The big semis that they think are sports cars. I know that they have so many gear shifts that it is difficult to change gears but the the way they cut in front of you when you are already in the curve that is downhill is scary. The buffeting that I had to face every time a semi cut in front of me was horrible and I had to slow down. Slowing down on a curve when going downhill was something I did not want to do. It was also a zigzag. Coming out of a downhill left hand curve and then immediately into a right hand curve all going downhill with the semi in front of me and being heavily buffeted all the time. 

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4 minutes ago, Davvid said:

New rider from Canada here and I took my newly bought RSV out on a ride. It is not mountains as such but hilly and winding roads. As some have said, it is the guy behind you that was my worries. The big semis that they think are sports cars. I know that they have so many gear shifts that it is difficult to change gears but the the way they cut in front of you when you are already in the curve that is downhill is scary. The buffeting that I had to face every time a semi cut in front of me was horrible and I had to slow down. Slowing down on a curve when going downhill was something I did not want to do. It was also a zigzag. Coming out of a downhill left hand curve and then immediately into a right hand curve all going downhill with the semi in front of me and being heavily buffeted all the time. 

Maybe snug the steering head a wee bit, about 1/32" to 1/16"turn.

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