What makes some motorcycles more forgiving? - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-06-2011, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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What makes some motorcycles more forgiving?

I had this question asked of me recently and am trying to comfirm my beliefs on what makes a motorcycle forgving.

Quote:
For me, the best way to describe forgiveness is when a bike is designed not to push limits. When you take the Hornet 599 into account, there are several aspects that will limit you from doing things you shouldn't be doing.
For starters, the seating position is more upright, you will be less inclined to try and knee down from this position. I would say that the upright seating position helps stabilize the bike more, but I'd be lying. A bike will straighten itself regardless of if it is a sportbike,cruiser,or standard if given the chance to do so.
Next up you have the suspension; the suspension leaves a lot to be desired, but that is good when your first starting out, it makes you take your corners at a slower speed.
Then you could move on to the brakes, the brakes leave a lot to be desired as well when compared to a sport bike. While it may seem like a bad thing to not have as much braking power at first, you have to realize a lot of mistakes newer riders make is because they squeeze too hard on the brakes and then low/high slide it. While you could do the same thing on a Hornet 599 or similar bike, you'll have a greater margin of error.
Another distinction would be (this excludes the ninja 250, but refers to the higher cc sport bikes) on sport bikes you usually have a fairly weak bike in the lower rpm range; whenever you hit those high rpms jerks to life SUDDENLY. If you were to throttle the bike as a new rider and not respect the sudden jump in the bike at higher rpms, you could fall victim to taking a corner at a speed which you are not able to or not comfortable enough to take it at.
In short, less is more sometimes.
That is what I responded with. I will be the first to admit I'm no motorcycle technician, but I have been riding since I was 16.

What do you guys think makes a bike like say the 919 more forgiving than say... an R6 or something of the sort? Am I mistaken on anything?

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post #2 of 15 Old 10-12-2011, 04:17 PM
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I'm going to go the other direction from your line of reasoning, I don't believe that sub par suspension and brakes make a bike more forgiving, instead they make it more dangerous. Look at all the cruisers out there that have crappy brakes and can barely lean into a corner, are they safer than a sport bike? Perhaps they're ridden slower in general, but I'll bet more fly off the road per miles ridden due to their built in deficiencies.

In my opinion what makes a bike forgiving is excellent brakes, top notch handling with a well balanced chassis, enough hp to get out of its own way with smooth power delivery, quality modern tires, relatively light weight, comfortable seating position, and being well maintained so everything is in proper working order. High tech options such as ABS and traction control also arguably add to the forgiving factor, although I prefer my bikes simple and straightforward, the brain in the body on top of the bike is still the most important factor in riding safely.

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post #3 of 15 Old 10-12-2011, 05:26 PM
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Sbeau nailed it as far as the machine. The capability of the motorcycle will determine how much room for correction you'll have in oh s* moments...that is if the rider knows how to react in the oh s* moment. But what stands out to me as far as forgiveness is the torque curve on the 919, like you said 'less jumpy.' Pair it up with the right sprockets and you have yourself a commuter, a tourer, and something that can hold its own up in the fun stuff. Not to mention the price you can get them now...

But lets not forget that motorcycles don't drive themselves, forgiveness is how much room you've given yourself. Some need more room than others and it's understanding what you're confident with.

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post #4 of 15 Old 10-12-2011, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeau1960 View Post
I'm going to go the other direction from your line of reasoning, I don't believe that sub par suspension and brakes make a bike more forgiving, instead they make it more dangerous. Look at all the cruisers out there that have crappy brakes and can barely lean into a corner, are they safer than a sport bike? Perhaps they're ridden slower in general, but I'll bet more fly off the road per miles ridden due to their built in deficiencies.

In my opinion what makes a bike forgiving is excellent brakes, top notch handling with a well balanced chassis, enough hp to get out of its own way with smooth power delivery, quality modern tires, relatively light weight, comfortable seating position, and being well maintained so everything is in proper working order. High tech options such as ABS and traction control also arguably add to the forgiving factor, although I prefer my bikes simple and straightforward, the brain in the body on top of the bike is still the most important factor in riding safely.
I'm with sbeu on this one, especially the 'smooth power delivery' and 'top notch handling' Bottoming out your suspension a bumpy curve sucks, especially if you accidentally whack the throttle when the RPMs are in a very non forgiving zone.

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post #5 of 15 Old 10-12-2011, 05:46 PM
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"Riding a moorcycle is not in and of itself inherently dangerous, but to a much greater degree than driving a car is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect." Paraphrasing of a saying about aviation.

A '68 Honda CL90 will kill you just as dead as a Hayabusa. It just takes longer to get to a speed capable of doing so. Past that, it is the responsibility of the rider to make the bike forgiving. This takes considerable experience, but is not as difficult as many think -- it just takes time and listening to what the bike is telling you every time it is being ridden.

Admittedly the current (last 15 years or so) crop of sportbikes will rear up and bite you at the drop of a clutch, and many novices holding the opinion that "The throttle goes both ways!" rapidly find out that it doesn't take much twist to get in lots of trouble on the latest hyperhorsepower fire breather. Sometimes before they get it out of the dealership's parking lot. Nonetheless, with experience it is possible to throw a leg over a 200 HP bike and never risk any more than your drivers license. Again, all it takes is experience.

Why do you suppose so many countries have tiered licensing? It allows an acclimation period to learn during the critical first year on something that takes work to get up to speed.

Forgiving or unforgiving has little to do with subpar brakes / suspension / chassis, which given the current state of motorcycle technology "subpar" means "not the latest trick parts", not dangerously insufficient. In other words it's more a matter of perception than actuality. It is all about the rider, not the bike.

Oh, and bottoming out your suspension in the middle of a corner is a non event if you know what the hell you're doing, and a major disaster if you don't.

Rob

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post #6 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
=robtharalson;471976 Oh, and bottoming out your suspension in the middle of a corner is a non event if you know what the hell you're doing, and a major disaster if you don't.
Ain't that the truth!

My take is that one can improve the "forgiveness" of a bike by improving it's handling characteristics...which, on the 919:

Number one is Rear shock high speed compression. My 07 was extremely unforgiving on bumps in a corner...almost wrecked it the first hard bump I hit at speed in a corner at only 45-50 mph. Now, with a more forgiving Ohlins rear shock, that bump in that same corner doesn't disrupt the handling at 70-75 mph.

Second is front springs/valving. Once I had the Ohlins rear, and it's more forgiving performance, I'd go faster into corners than before. Immediately, the too soft front end, and too slow-to-react-appropriately front valving reared it's ugly head. Fixed that with a Kyle Racing front end treatment. The front end is now more forgiving, and therefore safer, as it doesn't wiggle around so much under hard breaking, and the bike holds it's line MUCH more precisely in turns.

Third is ergonomics. Hmmm...maybe first is ergonomics....if you aren't positioned correctly, the bike isn't going to be as forgiving as when you are positioned correctly. I LOVE the new positioning I have with the TharBars. My wrists didn't follow the bend of the stock bars well, so, this has been an improvement that lends the bike to being more forgiving, as my ergonomics have improved.

Well, now that I think about it...tires certainly have a lot to do with forgiveness, too. I changed the rear stock tire to a Bridgestone BT 16, and soon noticed my front end was sliding on fast corners. That is not a forgiving situation when I'm the pilot of a bike, so, I quickly had a matching BT 16 put on the front...now, I consider the bike more forgiving, as the front sticks to match the rear. I guess if you have really bad tires, or, one is flat, the most important change to make the bike more forgiving would be to get a better, or not-flat tire on the bike!

I don't think about the engine much when relating it to forgiveness, because I haven't been on any really high performance bikes that might be tough to throttle, such as a turbocharged nitrous bike. But, that's getting about as off-the wall as talking about having a flat tire that is obvious.

One thing for certain, a bike is much more forgiving to you if you ride another bike, when compared to, say, a girlfriend or wife.

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post #7 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 06:52 AM
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R6 is more forgiving than my 919. I think my 600RR was the most forgiving bike. I could make at least two corrections deep in a corner on that bike without bricking my pants. My old RC51 was probably the most unforgiving. Heavy, hard to redirect, it pretty much went where you initially pointed it. The 919 is about in-between. I've been able to hard trail brake on the 919, but am afraid to push the limits.

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post #8 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
Oh, and bottoming out your suspension in the middle of a corner is a non event if you know what the hell you're doing, and a major disaster if you don't.

Rob
This has been bugging me all day. Did I piss in your gravy and forget about it in the past?

if you love your motorcycle, set it free.. if it comes back and hits you.. you highsided
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 04:36 PM
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forgiving is knowing your own limits...better this that and the other thing means nothing..as far as a sport bike being more safe then a cruisers,,i dont buy that..sports bikes are way easier to get in trouble with there light feel and power...bottom line its up to the rider

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post #10 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beefsalad View Post
This has been bugging me all day. Did I piss in your gravy and forget about it in the past?
Not at all -- I was just using bottoming or dragging hard parts in a corner as an example of something that in my riding infancy came close to killing me several times. Now, however, a little extra body english toward the inside of the corner combined with a loose grip on the bars and a steady throttle hand and it's barely noticed.

One thing I should mention is compared with the motorcycles I cut my teeth on: with willowy forks, shocks that had oil in them only to keep the seals from squeaking, frames designed with manufacturing economy in mind rather than handling, crap drum brakes, tires ... you get the idea: any sport or standard is a full fledged GP bike and tremendously "forgiving"! At least with my current riding skill set.

Rob

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post #11 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 05:03 PM
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What makes a bike more forgiving over another?

My take:

- Throttle touchiness - yes, how you hold the throttle comes into play, but fact is, some throttles are just plain touchy as and others are not. Usually, the higher the HP the more touchy the throttle the less twist is takes to get up there. For instance, a GS500 has a 1/4 turn throttle while the SV650 has a 1/5th turn and I believe an R6 has a 1/6th turn throttle. The result is, the same amount of turn on a throttle will see the GS500 ride off while the R6 launches off. Hence, the throttle of the R6 is less forgiving.

- Cornering. This is one of those somewhat vague things. I'm not talking about adjusting suspension correctly to get best cornering, I am talking about the rider inputs to make the bike corner how you'd like. Again, a GS500 will take apparently less input to get into a corner, making it ideal for those learning rider inputs. The 919 is close to the GS500 but it takes More Input to achieve the same - it feels less likely to dive/fall into a corner and takes a conscious choice to make it so. Be this due to extra weight or wheel widths or shorter handlebars (leverage), it is thus more likely to run a newbie Wide compared to a GS500, so is less forgiving.

- Feel. Some bikes have lack of feel in some parts of the bike. Front end slides without Feeling the front was even close, for example. Yes, with experience, we all learn the nuances of our bikes, but some have more feeling than others, and are thus more forgiving as you know something is up much sooner. Be it a lose front end, rear brake lack of feel or whatever. Throw in a touchy throttle and look out.

Michael

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post #12 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 05:45 PM
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beside the rider and if they have any sensability,

i think what makes a bike more forgiving than others has to do with their CoG, trail, and rake. those would be the biggest factors.

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvster View Post

i think what makes a bike more forgiving than others has to do with their CoG, trail, and rake. those would be the biggest factors.
No fair getting all scientific on us!

I'm just hurt that no one commented on my wife/girlfriend chances of forgiveness compared to any bike.

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post #14 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackheart View Post
No fair getting all scientific on us!

I'm just hurt that no one commented on my wife/girlfriend chances of forgiveness compared to any bike.
Picture this: Herding a mid '70s Kawasaki Z1 punched out to 1215cc and turbocharged with the original tires, leaking shocks, untrustworthy brakes, a crack in the frame near the left swingarm mount, and a powerband like a lightswitch due to a too large turbo around a decreasing radius downhill mid speed left hander with an annoying drainage channel just past the apex.

Now think of making the long stretch between Westmoreland and Tucson on an '05 Gold Wing with your lady behind you and your favorite music on the surround sound system.

That's how forgiving the Z1 is going through that corner compared to a woman scorned, P.O'd, or whatever. At least physics still applies to the bike.

Rob

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post #15 of 15 Old 10-13-2011, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
That's how forgiving the Z1 is going through that corner compared to a woman scorned, P.O'd, or whatever. At least physics still applies to the bike.

Rob
So true...so true.

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