I'm flawed

Discussion in 'Riding Techniques' started by faffi, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. GrahamB

    GrahamB Decaying member

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    Was the Desmo parallel twin. Nice bike except for the occasional tank-slapper (meaning about once every few corners on a bumpy road... after a while I learned to just relax and let it happen). It also taught me to counter-steer, since the steering was so slow that the only way it would turn at all was if you gave it a big shove.

    But it was red, and had open Conti's :)

    Looked just like this one:

    Ducati500.jpg
     
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  2. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    I have a comparison test with it where the bike went up against the CB550F1, CX500, XS500 and GS550E. The Ducati didn't win. Nor did it really belong in that company. Then again, the Pantah went up against the CX500, Z550, GPZ550, GS550M and XJ550, so at least they retained the tradition later on :lol:
     
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  3. GrahamB

    GrahamB Decaying member

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    Hé hé, so it wasn't just me then. A friend of the time had some sort of sport version of the CX500 (if that can be imagined), and it was a real struggle to keep up with him on a winding road. Still, I enjoyed it for a couple of years. The rear brake would seize up, so I'd have to service that every year before going for the annual roadworthy check in NSW. The starter solenoid died on one trip so I had to bump-start it, and another time the whole fuse box broke away from the frame. Twice it snapped the clutch cable and I had to ride it across town sans clutch. Something weird happened to the condenser on one of the coils and it started to give me electric shocks to the knees via the fuel tank.

    Otoh, it always started and ran perfectly, with minimal oil leaks. The Ducati Club of NSW had their head office (ie the house of the president) just down the street from me at the time, and the girl friend of said prez had a GTS like mine... which barely ran. They used to come watch me start mine, in awe :)

    In fact I really liked the engine. It had just about the right amount of power for the road, felt comfortable to cruise on at slightly above legal speeds, vibration never worried me.

    The next bike I owned was a VF750F. It was not from the same universe.
     
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    #23 GrahamB, Aug 12, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  4. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    The CX500E, yes.
    honda_1986_cx500e_500cc.jpg

    Always liked the looks of the Desmo S, especially in bright blue of which I could find no image, although the engine itself is no beauty to behold.
    $T2eC16d,!ykE9s7t)+lPBRUobRdJ-!~~48_1.JPG

    Although absolutely nobody could care less, I will still tell you about the comparison test where the Ducati proved to have the worst shaker and also mechanically loudest engine by some margin. It lost the engine section with 52 points, 3 points behind the CB550 and 16 behind the GS550.

    Over to performance, it came shared last place with the CB550 and XS500, 7 points behind the CX500's perfect score of 30.

    It narrowly lost the cost section with one point to the CB550 and GS550, with the CX500 and XS500 another 3 points further up. Being the costliest to buy and second thirstiest didn't help, but surprisingly it scored well when it came for maintenance requirements and consumables were reasonably priced.

    The chassis section is finally where the Ducati could shine with top score for stability, agility and cornering clearance as well as front brakes. Suspension also came out well with 9 out of 10 points. In the end, it shared the section win with the Suzuki, both with 74 points. The CX got 71 and the clear loser was the CB with only 54 points.

    The final section was equipment and comfort, where the Ducati again secured last position with 28 points to the 38 of the three shared winners; CX, GS and XS.

    In sum, the Suzuki won with 249 points, one point ahead of the CX. The Yamaha got 235 points and the Ducati 218. The CB ended last, primarily due to a hopelessly dated chassis, with 209.
     
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  5. kneedragon

    kneedragon Re-Member ... ?

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    CX500s, yes, well now you've lost me a bit. And Ducati Parallel twins, never ridden one, never wanted to. I did once ride a CX 500 Custom, complete with the 'whole wheelbarrow' handlebars, and the tractor seat, which I must admit did a pretty good job for what it was, much better and more capable than I expected. The other surprise I got from CX500s was in 1980, in Cairns. There were not one but two very pretty local girls getting around on bikes, and being very quick about it. One had a Ducati SS 900, early round-case, looked a million dollars, ... and the bike wasn't ugly either... and the other had a CX500. Despite months of looking and wishing, I never bumped into the Ducati one, who was part of the local folklore, but I did stumble across the other one, and had a bit of a strop with her. What I learned, was that a 98hp suzuki on race bred MT28 Phantoms, was limited to 160k, by stability. And a CX 500 with about 40 hp, on rim protectors, ridden by an extremely good looking young woman, was not. It wouldn't go much more than 160, maybe 175, but that was enough. In tight stuff, where (effective) top speed didn't come into it, I could out-brake her, out corner her, out drive her off the corner (by a huge margin) and out accelerate her, by an equally huge margin. But then I'd get to 160 and the bastard would start to weave, and common sense said 'enough', and then there'd be a funny noise, and a pretty girl on an old shitbox Honda would motor gently past me, and disappear into the distance. It was all very ... educational.

    What? No, I didn't get to kiss the girl, either...:jezza:
     
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    #25 kneedragon, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  6. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    Noice story, KD :up:

    My experience with the CX500 was relatively short lived, about 3000 km before I totalled it. But I remember the horrible weaves while cornering. Initially, the reason was probably the square worn MX rear tyre with 3 mm wide cracks (cuts?) between the blocks on the edges. My cousin turned green when he spotted it on a trip, thinking about all the sparks we had thrown over the mountains. If he had had some money, I'm certain he would have taken the train for the return home :lol:

    I finally fitted a Phantom MT28 and stability did not improve Straightline stability was great, however, it was the corners it didn't like.

    It's the only bike I have owned that went better than the norm, with an indicated top speed of 187 kph at well over 10000 rpm. It would power-wheelie (well, the front came up an inch or two) on power alone riding two-up. Passing cars even two-up was quick business in 4th gear. Although I must say that my previous experience came mostly from riding a 7hp Honda CB100....

    The poor thing would rev to 11000 rpm exactly, when the valves began bouncing. The bike dwarfed other machines like the Z1000J and CB750 because the seat was huge and the fuel tank very, very high. Regardless of what I have read, changing direction took a hell of a lot of effort (coming off a 78kg CB100...) and the way it righted itself and headed straight if the brakes were touched mid-corner was enough to make satanists believe in god. Still, through rose-tinted glasses, I still have a soft spot for the thing. Always liked the looks, especially the blue metallic one with reversed ComStars. However, I doubt I'll ever own another one. Best leave good memories good instead of bringing them forward to the horrible reality.
     
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  7. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    Took the kid's little Honda 400 out for a spin again today. It's the first time I rode it since I upped the rear shock spring preload from min to max and filled the fork with 20W instead of 10W oil as well as a bit more of it.

    It rides a lot firmer, going from Gold Wing cushy to almost jarring on pot hole infested sections. But this also gives me more feel for what the tyres are on about.

    Whether or not the new, correctly sized Michelin Pilot Street Radial (140/70 that replaced the Nankang 150/70 have made a difference, I cannot say. The front is still one number too large, a 120/70 Nankang. I last rode the bike with soft suspension and Nankangs and hated it and felt highly insecure. Big chicken strips.

    Regardless, today it was a transformed machine for me. I got rid of all traces of chicken strips on the new rear tyre after just a few corners, whereas the front still has about one half inch left. Other than a few micro-slides when riding over a few pebbels, the tyres stuck just fine.

    In fact, today it was my own conservatism (well, fear limit) of what was safe for the road conditions that set my speed, and not any lack of confidence in the bike. I could corner faster than on the Z650, in which I have total confidence. So set-up does matter.
     
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  8. damocosmo

    damocosmo New Member

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    Keith Code says you ride better and more safely when you have more faith, and of course riding better will lead you to have more faith so it's a self fulfilling process. I have found this to be very useful, the fastest way to overcome the cornering 'yips' for me is to just throw it in there a couple of times, sort of like you can't ease yourself comfortably into freezing water, you've just got to take the plunge and after your nuts have shrunk it feels fine.
     
  9. Morpheus46

    Morpheus46 aka John

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    One possibility is that "good" tyres are too good for the chassis and and place too many demands on it and the suspenders, while more traditional tyres dont. Hence old cross ply's may all a better balance.
    But then again I might be talking s**t.
    I've got MPP3 on the back and MPPure on the front of my old VFR and at my last track day - when they were new - I struggled to get rid of the chicken strips. But then again, the suspension is 20 years old and wasn't that great for track work when new. I reckon my lack of confidence was related to suspension rather than rubber.
    I'm sure some of the experts on here will have some valid opinion on this.
     
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    #29 Morpheus46, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  10. Backmarker

    Backmarker Piston broke

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    I really don't like the word "faith".. belief without proof.
    Bt staying with the water analogy, just jumping in can work when you are still long from the limit (the water isn't too cold, and is plenty deep enough) though still tends to promote panic reactions when people suddenly feel they are out of their depth.
    But as you get close to the limit, small progressive steps are the only way IMO. Taking a leap, only to find the water is too shallow, (or for us euro trash, frozen solid) is a sure fire way to broken bones.
     
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