Originally Posted by mailman
I feel stupid even asking this question, I just started riding again after 30 years, I am 54. I feel like an idiot but I am having trouble turning right after a stop. I can't stay in my lane lane unless I kreep around the corner. Any tips will be apreciated. My son is calling me rightie, he jokes with me about maping out a route to ride with only left turns! Thanks, Mark
Don't feel like an idiot, everyone who quits riding for a long time goes through this. Unfortunatley, more than a few don't survive it. My wife works with a woman whose brother bought a new Harley after not riding for years. On his first day one the bike he took a turn too wide and T-boned a truck pulling a horse trailer. He left a widow and two orphans.
I'll be blunt! If you are having trouble making right turns, then the rest of your riding skills are not going to be up to par either. Your abilty to avoid a bad situation is severely compromised. Your overall ability to coordinate the controls of your bike have not been honed to the point where operate that machine safely.
The solution is to park the bike, sign up for a training course and get the basics under your belt. A good instructor will teach you the basics of everything. You need to be able to maneuver your machine slowly before you head out for your next ride.
Then take an intermediate course than a few advanced courses. Limit your riding to practicing slow maneuvers. Then ride on roads that have limited traffic. Don't just jump on the 405 and head north with a pack of crazed cagers.
I cannot stress how important it is to learn how to ride your machine slowly. In a very short amout of time you will learn how to avoid obstacles, zip around cones, stop the bike and turn it with ease.
Learning good throttle and rear brake control via the friction zone will give you a sense of control of your bike that you could never have imagined. By putting a bike in the friction zone you can virtually stand still or crawl along so slowly that it will freak out riders who don't know how you are doing it.
While you are waiting for you first training class, I would suggest ordering the "Ride Like A Pro" videos. They are based on the training that is given to motorcycle cops, who are probably the best big bike riders on the planet. http://www.ridelikeapro.com/
Then find an empty parking lot at a local school and practice. Once you get the rear brake/clutch/throttle friction zone down, you can do just about anything. Watch the video a couple of times. It's fun to watch and you will learn a lot.
You don't want practice your riding skills in traffic or where if you bust your ass some old gal in a Buick will run you over. At least while you are getting back into riding, dress for the crash. A full face helmet, gloves, and protective jacket, pants, and boots can be the difference between spending nursing a few minor injuries and living in a hospital for a couple of months.
Harley Davidsons are big, heavy, and somewhat top heavy machines. They are not beginner's bikes by any means.
Since you asked the question. Making a right hand turn.
Start out in the left side of your lane. That will give you a wider arc than if you start of on the center or right side.
Turn your bars slightly to the right. Not too much but enough to get the bike pointed in the direction that you want to go.
Take off slowly. A problem that beginners have is that they take a long time to get the bike turning and are half way through the intersection before they start to turn. That makes them either run into oncoming traffice to have to turn too sharply.
You can add a lot of stabilty to the turn by using the friction zone until you are through the turn. Use the rear brake to slow the bike while not fully releasing the clutch. Keep the RPM's at a point where you dont' stall the bike, but don't over rev the engine. [I ride in the mountains a lot and the friction zone turn is a life-saver when ascending slow switchbacks.]
Look where you want the bike to go. Don't look at what you don't want to hit. In other words, if you are looking across the turn or at an oncoming car, you will tend to steer the bike outside of your lane. This takes some discipline. Looking at an oncoming car in a turn is common cause of a rider crashing when he probably could have made the turn if he had been focusing on his lane. It is not an easy skill to learn for many riders.
Once you learn how to ride your bike slowly, you can lock the bars to either side and turns circles until they cart you off to the nuthouse.
When you stop your bike, keep your eyes up, don't look at the ground, or at least don't focus on it. This trick will help you stop with a balanced bike.
Learn to use the front brake to stop your bike. Many cruiser riders who wreck never even touched the front brake. The front brake provides over 60% of your braking power. Just don't use it as you are terminating your stop or use it very sparingly. There is nothing that can dump you faster than completing a stop where the front forks are not straight and the front brake throws you to one side or another.
Another common cause of crashes is going into a turn too fast and having to brake inside the turn. An experienced rider can do this, but only to a limited degree. A new rider is asking for serious trouble by over committing to a turn and then trying to bleed off speed. It is much better to slow down before entering the turn, then adding power as you leave it. That way you have more options to maneuver the bike or to stop it.
Don't think that because your riding buddies can do it that you can too! I ride a Sportster that is set up for mountain turns. It has great tires, and a nicely balanced suspension. I also ride over 22k each year on twisting roads. If you go into a turn behind me thinking that we are both riding Sportsters and that you can keep up, you are probably going to have some problems. Ride your ride, don't get suckered into doing something that either your or your bike, or both are not ready to do.
Sorry if this sounds a bit preachy. I have been where you are and I've been to too many funerals lately. Ride safe.