Getting used to the 919 and general tips/tricks
Ok, I used to ride about 8 years ago, got the endorsement and then ended up not having much time, so I sold the bike and dropped the endorsement when I renewed (like an idiot). I have redone all the annoying tests and am endorsed again and started with a gs500e. I stepped up to a 919 earlier this week. I know quite a bit about general mechanics and know cars. I only know about bikes through fixing up the gs500. So, I would like to expand my knowledge base to get a long life out of my 919, be safer on the road, avoid stupid mistakes that will ruin a bike.
So, here are my list of questions, and I'm welcome to any other tips and tricks I may have forgot or am ignorant of to even ask:
1. Cruising RPM when able to choose like in town 35-40mph. Is it rough on the engine to keep it at around 2-3k like in a car? I currently cruise at around 4k as this is what I was told by a few bike owners, but being a car guy, I know unnecessary revs wear parts down quicker, but low revs overwork the engine if there is an increase in incline, need for acceleration, etc. What is the optimum revs as the 919 gives torque even in lower rpms? If there is torque available, does this mean the engine isn't working harder than at 4k? This is the big one.
2. From stop to go: In a car, the optimum way to do this unless racing is to let the clutch out and "almost kill the engine" and give it gas. This saves the clutch and does minimal wear to the engine internals as opposed to riding the friction zone for a smooth start -- saving the internals from excessive wear. In a bike, I've heard the friction zone is your friend, and you ride this in first gear to avoid a choppy start, engine killing, and wear on the internals (aside from torquey bikes throwing you off or pulling the wheel up unexpectedly). What is optimal on the bike?
3. Transmission noise. If you hear a noise in a car when shifting, it's bad. On my gs500e, the shifts are short, even from 1st through neutral to 2nd. On the 919, I almost have to throw the shifter into second to bypass neutral, and I usually hear a loud clunk. I do not hear this shifting from second up. From second to 1st, I also hear a clunk. I assume this is due to bypassing neutral and is normal, but is it? Also, unless I really slam upwards to get to second, I will get a slight grind but not really a grind. Sometimes I don't hit hard enough and it ends up in neutral. Normal? Sign of tranny/clutch wear/damgage? A buddy of mine said when shifting a bike, shift it like a racer: shift hard and shift fast. True?
4. Tire tread: When do you know you're ready for new ones?
5. Cornering: I know the basics. Keep steady throttle in a turn, break and downshift before if needed, and smooth acceleration out. Now, on the 919 I've gotten a scare twice now when cornering in town. I was in first both times. As I was turning, I was going a bit too fast or not leaning enough (still getting used to the 919 handling over the 500). Midway through the turn, to avoid going into the other lane, I let off the throttle (still hard to put a lot of trust into tires that have wear on them to an extent I'm not sure if new are needed). I should have just leaned more; I know. I should have been going slower until I get used to the bike; I know. But I'm trying to learn. Anyway, because I was barely on the throttle in the first place, even the slightest let-off was no throttle. The bike did the usual forward lurch due to it being in low gear and the ass end kicked out a bit. This will eventually get me into trouble. Until I get a great feel for this bike, would it be better to just corner in third for a smoother throttle? Is it a known safety thing to corner in smoother gears, or do I just need to get used to the throttle and trust the tires?
6. General maintenance: Sure, following the manual is all well and good, but what are some of those items that could need careful monitoring or change with driving style? I know if I romp on the bike, valve adjustments are generally needed sooner. I know if I ride on dirt roads more often than normal, the chain will need cleaned and regreased sooner. Are there any other types of things like this that I need to know about?
7. Engine noise: This one is tricky. Injectors tick, bikes vibrate, loose parts like pegs rattle at certain rpms due to frequency match... what is the normal sound of this engine? Mine whines like a turbine engine, the only exhaust noise I can usually hear is when I am at 3-3.5k rpm and open it up to a bit over 1/4 throttle (which sounds beautiful). I know this will be almost impossible to explain, so if anyone has a video link to one which has a good mic and clean sound, that would be great.
Sorry about the numerous long questions, but motorcycles require knowledge to be safe and alive. I'm not ashamed of ignorance, nor should you be on a bike. Lets get me safe, guys!