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Discussion Starter #1

Although I can just flat foot my 650 (I have no wish to lower the bike or get a lower seat), when I come to a stop, most often, I put my left foot (only) down. On a windy day, I'll lean the bike a bit more into my left leg ...

Especially if I have to lean the bike more, when I take off (and, unless I'm in a hurry, I prefer a slow, controlled take-off), the bike tends to "wobble" a wee bit before I "get moving". This doesn't happen every (or even most of the) time. I should also add that, it's actually pretty minor and, IMO, not an issue of safety at all.

I've been riding for less than a year, and have only put on about 7,000 km total (about 4,300 miles) on the two bikes I've ridden. So my question is:
Is this simply a matter of my inexperience and lack of skill,
or the normal result of riding a tall(er) bike?
 

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Both, actually, but with more experience, the second can be mitigated. One thing you might try is keeping that down foot (I prefer the right foot down, allows me to shift in and out of neutral) as far forward as possible. This allows you to keep it down as long as possible during takeoff, making the transition to wheels happen at a faster speed.
 

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Standard protocol is left foot down, right foot on rear brake. Aside from throttle and brake control, most students I've taught that tended to wobble on take off were looking down at the controls or directly in front of the bike. Keep your focus up and forward and practice take offs in and empty parking lot.
If you stall out on a wobbly take off it's likely you and the bike will go down
 

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Standard protocol is left foot down, right foot on rear brake. Aside from throttle and brake control, most students I've taught that tended to wobble on take off were looking down at the controls or directly in front of the bike. Keep your focus up and forward and practice take offs in and empty parking lot.
If you stall out on a wobbly take off it's likely you and the bike will go down

This.

Also when sitting you tend to relax so when you take off you tend to grab the bars. If you grab one side more than the other it points you off line for a bit = wobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input so far.


Standard protocol is left foot down, right foot on rear brake. Aside from throttle and brake control, most students I've taught that tended to wobble on take off were looking down at the controls or directly in front of the bike. Keep your focus up and forward and practice take offs in and empty parking lot.
If you stall out on a wobbly take off it's likely you and the bike will go down
Yep ... left foot down, right foot on rear brake, eyes forward. It's been quite some time since I've stalled, and I have yet to drop a bike.

I don't recall having this "issue" on any of the tiny bikes they had during the safety course I took. More recently, I didn't experience this "wobble" when I tried a friend's 750 (Honda) cruiser, nor when I tried my son's BMW (F800R); both took off straight as an arrow, every time.

It's not a big deal (I'm filing it under "skills acquisition"), but I'll keep working on it. :var_6:
 

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locomotion is your friend. Give er a bit more throttle to get you going faster and this will soon disappear. Takes a bit of practice and time on a heavyish bike. Parking lot practice starts and ,better yet, stops will go along way to improve this and increase your confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
locomotion is your friend. Give er a bit more throttle to get you going faster and this will soon disappear. Takes a bit of practice and time on a heavyish bike. Parking lot practice starts and ,better yet, stops will go along way to improve this and increase your confidence.
Thanks, Spud. You're right. Faster take-offs tend to improve/ eliminate this.
And maybe it's just me, but I'd like to master pulling away slowly.
 

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In your first post you said that you wobble before moving. It almost sounds like you are doing something (shifting position, putting pressure on the bars, etc) before you start moving. While stopped I only have my left foot down and as soon as the clutch starts slipping my foot is back on the peg. You should only need minimal clutch slippage before moving and very little steering input is required to maintain balance.

You don't say what year your bike is. I don't know if you bought it new or if it is used and could have been modified. You should double check things like tire pressure, alignment, fork bearings, etc. The tire profile can also influence the slow speed behavior. Some tires fall into turns easier. The easier the bike turns the more any input at the handle bars will upset it. If your bike has the forks pushed up in the triple clamps to lower the front that will make the bike more wobbly at slow speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In your first post you said that you wobble before moving.
Sorry for the confusion. What I wrote was:
the bike tends to "wobble" a wee bit before I "get moving".​
By "get moving", I meant getting up to speed. The bike doesn't wobble while stationary.


You don't say what year your bike is. You should double check things like tire pressure, alignment, fork bearings, etc. The tire profile can also influence the slow speed behavior. Some tires fall into turns easier.
2013 bought new late last season. Bike is in perfect condition. Tire pressure is checked regularly (especially now, when the air temperatures vary so much, day to day).
 

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Don't know if it will help you but you might practice what I do-

Usually when I stop at a stop sign- if there is no traffic to wait on- I come to a full stop- then ride off without ever putting my feet down at all!
Practice doing that increasing the amount of time you can stay "feet up" and it might improve your take-off wobbliness.
 

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Might want to do some parking lot practice with the friction zone. Learn to control the clutch, its not an off or on switch unless you treat it that way. Just ease in and out of the clutch's friction zone till you can smoothly pull away. Its a learned skill and is different on every bike type.

When I first got the DL1000 it had a horrible hydraulic clutch engagement point right at the end of the levers travel. So I had to correct that. Find and take note were in the lever travel the clutch fully engages and learn to briskly feed in the clutch till your smooth. You probably are letting out the clutch too slow or too fast with low rpms. Many beginners are afraid of the throttle, but in reality on a 650 you need to throttle up some on take off and use the clutch to control initial acceleration. You should be able to smoothly take off at 3,000 rpm or 6,000 rpm. Control the power with your clutch. After a while it becomes second nature and you know the needed RPM and clutch take up speed for a smooth take off or a quick take off or a really fun take off. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Might want to do some parking lot practice with the friction zone...
Thanks, Sage.
Friction zone/clutch smoothness isn't a problem at all (as far as I know).
It seems to be more an issue of balance or, more accurately, lack thereof at slow speed take-offs. And "wobble" is, probably, a bad choice of terms - I just can't think of a more accurate one, off-hand.

As I think more, it seems to be an issue when taking off from a stop with the bike leaned a bit too much; this, for me, requires a balance correction (or two) to get on track at I take off. And the slower I pull away from a stop, the more noticeable it is (to me ... nobody I've ridden with has noticed it).

Perhaps this is why, with the smaller bikes used on the safety course, the 750 cruiser, the 800 BMW, as well as my 'learner bike' (GSX-R750), it was never an issue at all. They all had noticeably lower seat heights and, except for the Gixxer, centers of gravity were low enough to keep the bike more upright at stops, with the option of comfortably two-footing if it was windy?

As an aside, I've seen this "wobble take-off" with many other bikers on the road. It may, in fact, be a non-issue; but I can't help but feel it's simply a lack of skill ... I dunno.:confused:

Perhaps just another of those wonderful benefits that come with age. :mod2_wheelchair:


 

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As I think more, it seems to be an issue when taking off from a stop with the bike leaned a bit too much; this, for me, requires a balance correction (or two) to get on track at I take off. And the slower I pull away from a stop, the more noticeable it is (to me ... nobody I've ridden with has noticed it).
It's possible the excessive bike lean when stationary may be contributing to the problem on take off. Although not a problem on the Strom, on my dirt bikes I have to slide off the left side of the seat in order to keep the bike securely upright when stationary. This approach may be something you want to experiment with, but perhaps others with short inseams or experience may chime in on the matter.
 

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I always stop with bike in first and clutch in, then scootch forward on my seat and put my left foot down with right foot on brake, once i have the bike under control i straighten the bike up to the same point each time so it is level but not in danger of tipping to the other side. When light goes green i give it some throttle, let out the clutch to get it moving and get my foot up and on the pegs, then sit back, smooth as silk. Practice makes perfect.
 

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Similar to what BugMagnet said. I ride a DR350 around town a lot. Pretty tall bike. Scooting forward as I stop makes a huge difference in how stable I am at stops. Forgetting, and ending up back on the seat and higher off the ground at a stop means I lean. And when I lean for a take-off, I give a little swerve as I get going. Not a problem, but I have definitely observed that little swerve as I roll off. I don't think the Strom offers as much opportunity there, but it definitely helps to know where the lowest spot is in order to have a smooth start. On my DR, that low spot is a few inches from where I sit for town riding.
 

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Wait a minute...if you guys put your left foot down at stops and keep your right foot on the rear brake pedal, what do you do the keep the bike balanced and upright when you lift your left foot to shift into first before you start moving?

And why do you need the rear brake on level ground? Or even a hill if you have a functional front brake?

I can anticipate that some will say it's recommended to keep the bike in first at stoplights to be able to scoot away quickly when the car behind you is about to give you a license plate enema...OK, but situations where that might represent a real danger are relatively infrequent compared the the usual stop-look-and-go from driveways, parking lots, gas stations and Dairy Queens.
 

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wobble, shmobble

When stopped at a light, I am never stopped straight inline with the road. Of course if your bike is aligned with the road and leaned when you start, there will have to be a bit of correction. It's just like a small portion of a weave. But where somebody might come up behind and smash you, it is best to stop the bike at an angle relative to the centerline. That way, you are poised to get out of the way faster. If you lean opposite the way you are pointing, getting the bike upright again is just a matter of getting speed matched to lean with throttle/clutch control. With practice, there is no under or over correction and the bike path just curves one way until straight and aligned with the centerline.

At stop signs, I'm rarely stopped long enough to want to lean the bike. It's a barely stop and go, with no feet down. If it is necessary to wait, (for one of the damned drivers determined to win a misguided politeness contest), tip-toes keeping the bike straight up means no corrective steering when starting again.
 

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Wait a minute...if you guys put your left foot down at stops and keep your right foot on the rear brake pedal, what do you do the keep the bike balanced and upright when you lift your left foot to shift into first before you start moving?

And why do you need the rear brake on level ground? Or even a hill if you have a functional front brake?

I can anticipate that some will say it's recommended to keep the bike in first at stoplights to be able to scoot away quickly when the car behind you is about to give you a license plate enema...OK, but situations where that might represent a real danger are relatively infrequent compared the the usual stop-look-and-go from driveways, parking lots, gas stations and Dairy Queens.

Always have the bike in first, clutch in at stops unless you have several cars behind you for a buffer!

The rear brake holds the bike and you can keep it on until you start to roll, kind of hard to do that with the front.

Once you start to roll that's when you put your left foot back on the peg. Don't leave it hanging all the way through the intersection as cruiser riders tend to do. :mrgreen:

Always doing the same stop routine builds muscle memory. I use to just come to a stop, hover and go. I quit doing that because of all the people that roll stop signs now. I come to a stop and put my left foot down, gives me time to take a better look. Bike in gear, rear brake on. The same routine always. Consistency reduces random events.
 

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I'm with Mike, was beginning to think I was the only one. :confused: My right foot is the one I put down, always. Gives me the choice to go into neutral or not, as conditions dictate. Traffic coming from rear, leave it in gear. Empty space, give the hand a break. Buffer cars, same thing. Also, when I approach the base gate, I don't have to stop longer to shift feet back and forth, since I need my clutch hand to give the guard my ID. approach on a roll in neutral, front brake to stop, right foot down, hand over card, once it's back, clutch in shift and away I go.
 

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Wait a minute...if you guys put your left foot down at stops and keep your right foot on the rear brake pedal, what do you do the keep the bike balanced and upright when you lift your left foot to shift into first before you start moving?

And why do you need the rear brake on level ground? Or even a hill if you have a functional front brake?

I can anticipate that some will say it's recommended to keep the bike in first at stoplights to be able to scoot away quickly when the car behind you is about to give you a license plate enema...OK, but situations where that might represent a real danger are relatively infrequent compared the the usual stop-look-and-go from driveways, parking lots, gas stations and Dairy Queens.
At slow to zero speed I always use the rear brake. A lot of slow speed tip overs occur because of people using the front brake with the handle bars turned slightly. I still use the front brake as needed, but my muscle memory has me releasing my front brake immediately before coming to a stop. When I am coming to a controlled stop even from a relatively quick stop, I have very little fork compression at the very end.

When stopped on an uphill I always stop left foot more toward the uphill side. I'm sure this is just what I learned from riding off road. The front brake can be useless when on a steeper uphill and you want to lean the bike into the hill. When stopping downhill I keep the lftt foot more toward the uphill side and while I still use the rear brake I also use the front slightly.

At a stop there is never a need to have my right foot down unless I want to put it into neutral, which is rare. If I plan to do that I will put it into neutral before stopping. If I do put it into neutral I would put my right foot down to put it back into gear before starting out. I would switch back to left foot down before letting the clutch out.

I lift my left foot right at the moment of clutch engagement.
 
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