Roadcraft references for cornering

I’m due to cover cornering in my EDAM run tomorrow, and I’ve found a section in Roadcraft that bears out my previous post on experimenting with how I sit on the bike.

On page 89 of my edition of Roadcraft (the first impression way back in 1996) it says under “Riding Position and balance”:

“When you are moving, sit in a comfortable position with your body slightly leaning forward. Sit so that you can reach the controls comfortably without locking your arms straight. A slight bend to your arms will prevent the transmission of shock from the handlebars to the rest of your body and the bike”.

In my case it seems that I have to lean a bit more forward than “slightly” but if I work back from having my hands on the bars, bend my arms slightly then the position I adopt comes from there. It certainly works better in practice.

Motorbike passes its MOT Test

The R1100RS had its MOT booked for this morning at 09:30, so I was out early and used the opportunity to go out for a ride and try some different options for cornering.

I’ve started the advanced riding training again for 2007, and I’m on to weak areas in the lead up to the test. My slow speed maneuvering and cornering are needing work. A big part of this is how I get on with the bike, e.g. sitting in a different position or leaning forward or back can make a big difference to both of these. I went out to look for some twisty roads to see if I could work out what was better for me.

I headed out on the A71 and decided to turn left down a road to see where it went. I turned left at the roundabout outside the Hermiston Park and Ride and discovered that following this road (Gogar Station Road) took me to join the A8 just outside the new RBS campus. I headed along the A8 and decided to try one of my “Nemesis” roads. There is a back road to South Queensferry which I take to go to drop the bike off to get serviced that has a tricky set of low speed corners that I ran wide on once. This was a classic running wide on a left hander, so ever since I’ve almost tip-toed along there. As I passed over Newbridge I spotted Peter Woollven, the EDAM Secretary and gave him a wave going the other way. Through Newbridge on the A89 I turned right at the lights into New Lisbon Road. This road goes from a 40 mph limit into a 60 mph, with a sweeping right hander just before the road goes under the M9, then a tighter left, kink right then 30 mph limit. I gave a go at leaning foward on the bike to stop my elbows locking up – the recommendation is to have your lower arm parallel to the road. And I think it worked, it was a lot easier to apply the countersteer to keep the visibility line through the corner. It’s not quite what you would call a “racing crouch” but it points to what I need to do to tidy up my cornering.

I headed up Path Brae on to the High Street, then Station Road and turned right into Main Road. Then a turn left, leading out of the 30 mph limit into another 60 mph. This road is quite narrow, then leads to a 80 degree left, 90 degree right, then another left then right. It wasn’t as tidy as it could have been, but it wasn’t a problem. So I followed this road out to the A90 and headed North. I turned off at South Queensferry before McDonalds and headed West along the A904. I headed along there and cut left under the M90, then headed back east through Winchburgh and back to Kirkliston to try those sweeping corners again.

I’ve still got practice to do to get used to it, but it seems that how you sit makes a big difference.

After all that I headed to C & J Wilson in Uphall to put the R1100RS in for its MOT, and it passed. A couple of advisories on the front left hand disc bobbins and the front shock lower mount.

Does that mean I am an Artisan?

Just back from my last evening class at Borders College on the Know Your Motorcycle course. Hats off to Shane Black for knowing his stuff, and tweaking the course content to allow us to get on with the spannering.

It was great fun, and the only downer for me was having to travel all that way to Galashiels. I can’t believe that I have to travel 40 miles either South or West to get a basic mechanical maintenance course. I guess the city bikers must be too posh to get their fingernails dirty. And its not as if they have to, I wear nitrile gloves and stay clean thankyou very much.

We did everything from removing wheels to electrics, changing the oil, changing the brake fluid, removing the forks (the suspension at the front) and we had one bike running tonight, one almost running (it had a spark) and another not working. As we didn’t even know which of the three bikes worked before the course, that was reckoned to be good going.

Shane has a day job working at a Chrysler dealer as a diagnostic technician on Jeeps, and has worked on quads, bikes, cars etc etc. Turned up on his Fazer tonight, one of the other guys was on his GSXR.

Having got the reputation as the guy with the BMW, one of the others (who is an associate with Borders Bike IAM) gave me a link to a video of a BMW R1150GS going round the Isle of Man during TT time – they do strange things with roads during that time.

Ninth or Tenth Ride To Advanced

I’ve checked back and I’m not sure which week this is, so here goes anyway.

The preparation for my IAM Advanced Motorcycle Test with EDAM started up again today with the clock change. Between work and recent illness I haven’t been out on the R1100RS that much, so today was reassuring in that I appeared to be at a similar level as I was in November. Same weak areas, others have held steady or have become more of my standard ride which is a good thing. I need to look as far as possible, observing what is going on and using the information. My slow maneuvering is also a bit ropey, as it was before.

I was out with Bob and Steve today, Steve having his test pass and planning to train up as an Observer. We did a mix of A/B, town and dual carriageway.

It was good to get out with my same Observer, there are limitations to practice and what can develop, but with the lighter evenings I might be able to get out and practice slow stuff. MOT is on Saturday, hopefully there won’t be any frights in that area.

Second Opinion on the BMW R1100RS

Collected the R1100RS on Wednesday night, after a feat of logistics planning between Livingston and South Queensferry. I’m the only driver in the house, so I had good fun with the round trip involving driving the car, riding the motorbike, catching a bus and catching a train.

Having checked the bike over, I’m going to avoid second guessing the examiner and put it through its MOT test, and see what he thinks. The lower shock mounting has been tightened up, the brakes have been freed off, and the pads in both calipers replaced as they were badly corroded on the backs and not sitting on the pistons correctly. The discs have been left alone, as have the handlebars – they are mounted on two large rubber bushes and are supposed to move. The chap working on it gave it a good test ride and it handles and goes fine for him.

Just over £80 so far – we’ll see how the MOT goes in a week’s time.

Outlook 2003, VPN and Windows Desktop Search

I understand Office 2007, and in particular Outlook maintains a continuous index and is blinding when it comes to finding stuff. I’ve got Windows Desktop Search (WDS) installed on my work laptop and I find it excellent. I’m having fun lately marking the “utility” as I call it of various computer systems. This one has a 4 out of 5 rating.

I’ve also installed Adobe Reader 8 for the iFilter it gives me, and once I’d turned on the extension I can index into the internals of pdf files.

The only recent downside I hit was down to the joys of VPN. I haven’t been in the office for several weeks, and therefore I’m doing the ever so risky maneuver of archiving my outlook over the VPN. This normally works ok, I kick it off at home while watching telly and let it chug away in the background. It was particularly slow tonight, and of course there it was – WDS had noticed the archive file joining outlook and was diving in to index it. I wouldn’t mind if I was on a LAN, but over VPN it was plain annoying.

So into WDS config and unchecked the archive file.