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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting to know the new Bonny through the twisties and have been trying to refine my riding technique a bit to take advantage of the full performance of the bike. I am trying to determine the best technique for shifting my weight...keeping weight off the bars...leaning versus countersteering the bike etc. One of the things I am trying to adopt is a good right hand position on the throttle that will allow achieving a full throttle position without changing my right wrist position. I find old habits die hard and that the bike handles best when scooching forward on the seat a bit to pressurize the front wheel and keeping a light reign on the bars with a slightly bowed right wrist so I can achieve full throttle out of the turns.
This bike seems to be less sensitive to countersteering than others I have ridden however responds very favorably to change in weight distribution not only side to side but front to back altering the CG of the bike.
Please let me know what you have learned to extract the best handling and performance from the bike.
Thanks,
George
 

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Stock bars?

Are you running stock bars?

I found the ride through the twisties to be much more fun after I switched out to M Bars.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I prefer the stock bars as I don't want a lower or bar with less pullback. This isn't comfortable for me cruising around. No doubt the M bars are better for the twisties but I can get my chest close to the tank as I get my weight forward with the stock bars. I do this all the time when riding aggressively. I do a bit of 2 up riding as well and the stock bars are better suited for this as well with more upright torso angle.
Cheers,
George
 

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You could try NH rearsets, which marry well with M bars but also work fine with stock. Thing is, IMHO, spirited riding and the bonnie are not that compatible. If you aspire to spirited riding or stretching the boundaries of performance, you end up running out of tweaking options - which is what happened in my case - leading as I have said before to .........saying goodbye bonnie hello Thruxton. So I suppose to answer your question - the performance and handling was not good enough, so I bought another bike! The main issue in my case was the fact that the 865 engine is much much better than the 790 but you have the 865 and there is little difference. I suppose you have, as others have said, the 904 wiseco option. The throttle position can be easily tweaked by rotating the bars - as I did - or virtually eliminating any cable slack so the pick-up is as instant as you can get. After market silencers will add performance and grin factor out of proportion to the cost. The bikes are not perfect - but there is nothing out there I would go for as an alternative.
 

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George,

There is much that could be written in this regard and I have just a moment. I went to Total Control riding and after digesting what he said, I have a few reservations. Hanging off -that works on a track - not for the street.
I am opposed to the pure racer approach of keep the bike upright, climb out and then drop in to the turn. I use countersteering with the addition of the shoulder shift to improve cg and I might go the "half a cheek off" if I am really cranking in a bend. The countersteer is fast and it leaves you options to correct a line for an obstacle so thats what I use. And I feel its best done with your body roughly centered and locked into the bike. The big front wheel on the Bonny which many disparage as slow I feel is wonderful. Its like a big secure gyro out there and you can use it to shift off center and leave the bike upright or for the climb out exit. It just feels stable. The bike will drop in and climb out nicely.

I use the tank pads to improve my security on the bike and let me relax my arms. I also try and steer with the inside arm and let the out side relax. One thing I totally agree with Lee on is muscle memory and believing in the bike, that it will turn.

That said confidence, linework and good vision are your mainstay.You can choose and correct lines like a pro on this bike. I do climb forward to load up the front. I also trail brake into the apex if I feel good. As far a laying down on the tank, my buddy tells me if he sees me lay over the tank he goes right to WOT . :)

Its hard to say what total approach to use all the time. I feel its a bit more conservative to keep your body roughly centered , with some slight hanging off and just countersteer a nice line,out in out drop in apex and climb out - I think out in out is the most aesthetically pleasing ride, not point and shoot.

In summary George,for me its all about the in out in,beautiful lines, with a bit of hero type body shifting, let it drop in and climb out, throw in some trail braking on the entry and throttle on the exit and its a recipe for that post adrenaline smile.
 

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George,

Do they have track days at your local - Michigan - racetrack? Is Gratton near you?

Theses are unbelievably fun, and if you belong to a local RAT group, you should get a discount. A full day usually runs around $130 to $150 with group rate.

I've found these to be the best way to improve your "twistie" skills, plus... it's legal! The guys from the track will observe and give plenty of tips, and if you spill, you're on a track instead of the street.

Best tip I've been given - "You will always give up before your sidewalls will".

Try it, I know you'd like it.

Have fun,

Bob
 

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My most favourite peatl of wisdom for when you are riding your bike.
"never look where you are going, but where you WANT to go"
Do that and cornering will be smooth and safe, and in fact all aspects will be safer.:p
 

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On my bike the best upgrade I made was the tires.
The added feedback and stick in turns increased my confidence on the bike tenfold, and I found that my lack of confidence is what really held me back.

I have to agree with what Sal P says.
I have a 70 BSA B44 that I would ride the piss out of (before I blew up the engine :p ), and it's handling characteristics are very similar to the Thruxton's. I find the bike would much rather be "pulled" into the corner instead of being "pushed".
Let it lead and "remind" it you're turning, don't tell it what to do or it won't react right.

If I may get a bit philosophical, think of it this way maybe:
You "ride" a bike and you "drive" car, you can't "drive" a bike and you can't "ride" a car. If you interchange the terms/actions, you presuppose a lack of control.

I figure the Thruxton is designed like an old bike, so I should ride it like one.
 

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This bike seems to be less sensitive to countersteering than others I have ridden however responds very favorably to change in weight distribution not only side to side but front to back altering the CG of the bike.- George


Compared to what you were riding, yes, but it will countersteer very well and track superbly. You had a Vegas- I found the Vegas to have a scary lack of centripetal force from the front wheel relative to its weight and lack of stability. You actually have to balance that monster. Its so different on the Bonny, the sum of the forces is optimal.

I believe the Bonneville geometry has been optimized for spirited riding and so its a totally different thing. The resistance you feel when countersteering has been maligned by some as heavy steering. I like feeling the gyroscopic force. Its like the bike has a presense and a balance. I still find inputs to the bars give a quick and accurate response. Coupled with the stability the big front wheel provides and it's a great combination of fast response and composed stability.


One day I came screaming around a turn and saw a cage ready to pull out of a hidden driveway in the inside of the apex. I stood the bike up, visuallized another line and an escape route and plotted course. The Bonneville remained composed , handled the adjustment and when countersteered again, the bike leaned back over and finished the turn. All with countersteering. All before I could consciously think about it

Very important - I never hit the brakes.

Thats confidence.
 

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This bike seems to be less sensitive to countersteering than others I have ridden however responds very favorably to change in weight distribution not only side to side but front to back altering the CG of the bike.- George


Compared to what you were riding, yes, but it will countersteer very well and track superbly. You had a Vegas- I found the Vegas to have a scary lack of centripetal force from the front wheel relative to its weight and lack of stability. You actually have to balance that monster. Its so different on the Bonny, the sum of the forces is optimal.

I believe the Bonneville geometry has been optimized for spirited riding and so its a totally different thing. The resistance you feel when countersteering has been maligned by some as heavy steering. I like feeling the gyroscopic force. Its like the bike has a presense and a balance. I still find inputs to the bars give a quick and accurate response. Coupled with the stability the big front wheel provides and it's a great combination of fast response and composed stability.


One day I came screaming around a turn and saw a cage ready to pull out of a hidden driveway in the inside of the apex. I stood the bike up, visuallized another line and an escape route and plotted course. The Bonneville remained composed , handled the adjustment and when countersteered again, the bike leaned back over and finished the turn. All with countersteering. All before I could consciously think about it

Very important - I never hit the brakes.

Thats confidence.
+++1

Bob
 

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By the way, I should add that the racer technique is to climb out on the bike before the turn while its still upright and then relax the outside grip, give a slight push on the inside grip and fall in without countersteering. others here know more about this than I so I will leave it at that.

The racer's goal is to have the absolute minimum disruption to the suspension. To racers, a countersteer input is a disruption. On the street you should not be riding at that razor thin margin and therefore the countersteer is not a problem. I wouldn't oversteer and still recommend building your skill set towards the goal of smoothness. The goal is the muscle memory for smooth riding will help you maximize traction in an emergency.

So its a bit of a hybrid style. A bit of racer thinking on the CG and lines , but allow some countersteering for linework and correction as needed for the street.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks everybody and in particular thank you Sal for your comments.
Your comments especially resonate with me. Gob...I am not really a track guy but I do respect others that like to go there and no doubt time spent at the track creates a much better rider than I am.
I feel I have talent for riding briskly but my skills are far from refined.

Right now I am having a hard time even just getting out on the road for a ride with my schedule.
Thanks again,
George
 

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The best performance upgrade for any bike is a good riding school.
 

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someone here mentioned Lee Parks and his TotalControl class. all i will say is this... if you have 1/2 a chance at taking this class; do so. when i got my bonne i thought the pegs were so high i'd never scrape them, and that's all i did all weekend was feel the ashpalt under that boot...until they handed me a kneepuck...NEVER thought i'd experience THAT!
imho, that class and an open mind will take you quite far toward experience, faith and trust in negotiating turns.
ha
 

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The best performance upgrade for any bike is a good riding school.
Ya got tha right! Then follow up with a few track days so you can experiement and test your limits in a safe environment.
 

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Hey Biker7...good thread here. I've been riding on the street (and dirt) for about 40 years with about the same number of bikes...minibikes, crotch-rocket Honda RC-51's, VTR's, VFR's Blackbirds, BSA's Kawasaki's, Hodakas, Zundapps, Triumphs, Yamahas, Suzukis, Ducati's, HD's...you name it and I've probably ridden it. (no MV's yet though...)

I thought I would chime in with my 2 cents worth... my Thruxton was a 'pretty good' handling bike in it's stock configuration, but the thing is, I and (most of us here) keep fiddling with the stock configuration, and the handling definitely changes a little every time we make a change! This makes it a moving target in terms of 'dialing it in'.

Personally, I have made a number of suspension changes: installed Progressive fork springs, 15W fork oil, KYB rear shocks, then IKON rear shocks, raised the fork tubes, played with tire pressures and brands, adjusted fork preload, adjusted rear damping rates, tightened spokes, installed steering damper with all it's settings, tried different riding styles: full hang-off, 1/2 cheek shift, shoulder/head tilting, centered no-hangoff, front-rear seating positions, and always counter-steering (used in conjunction with the above).

Bottom line? I need to quit playing with the bike (BTW, it's gotten 'progressively' better with my hardware changes) and just need to perfect MY riding technique for THIS bike. I've been working on that part lately (even though I just installed a 180-55VR-17 rear yesterday, HA!) in an attempt to be more smooth on the old girl.

Even with the stock crappy Metz tires, I was able to get the 'chicken-strips' down to less than 1/8" on the rear. I know it could have gone even more, but this is street riding, and the roads are full of hazards...cagers, water, oil, foliage, dead-critters, etc. I like to leave a little margin for safety's sake.

I have to say...this bike is the most difficult one I've ever had to adjust to in terms of personal riding technique! It feels a lot like my '70's bikes (which I still have) only a lot better. The frame is, after all, a throwback to 70's 'large backbone, twin down-tube' designs. Could just have been the stock non-grip tires...which have now departed.

The rectangular tube swing-arm is decidedly better than the 1" round pipe they used back then, but the rest of the frame is pretty similar to the old-school. The new fork tubes are much larger than the 70's bikes, and I now have zero issues with the front end.

Still...the frame is 'rubbery', which is not totally a bad thing. You need a certain amount of flex for good handling when the bike is at full tilt...the shocks can't go up and down over bumps as much when they are leaned way, way over!

So, these bikes will never be as good as even a 10 or 20 year old sportbike in the handling department, but they still go around corners very nicely indeed.

Well...I'll keep working on my technique...it's not something you ever really ever perfect. Every time I go for a ride, I learn something new!

Cheers!
BLIGHT:motorbike:
 
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