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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Really enjoy reading about the training and exercises that motormen are put through. You guys can really handle your machines. I attend Police Motorcycle Rodeos whenever they're held in the Dallas area; just to watch, learn, and marvel at your abilities. :bowdwn:

There's no place I know of where civvies can get that kind of training; so I have a couple of parking lots that I use frequently (like two or three times a week). I have some half tennis balls that I use for cones. (not the same, I know, but I can fit a lot of them in my tourpack).

Hope you professional riders read this and post some of the routines that you must master and your experiences and tips. (like the "keyhole" described in a previous thread).

By the way, I'm not sure I could ever get my Ultra to enter an 18' diameter circle from a keyhole entry and make it all the way around. I can cut 18' diameter circles round and round and round in both directions, but always enter from a tangent . . . not straight on. Any tips?
 

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The Best Me I Can Be
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This has the makins of an interesting thread.

Joe
 

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Thought this might be of interest to some of you looking for civilian police motorcycle training. A fella in my HOG chapter wrote an article about his experience taking a Basic Police Motorcycle Training Course for Civilians program through Michigan State University. The course is actually taught by certified motorcops and looks to be a pretty intense course. The fella in my HOG chapter did not pass on his first attempt at taking the course. Out of a class of 12 students, only 2 passed...and neither of the two had ever ridden before. Guess they hadn't picked up any bad habits yet.

Anyway...here is the website for those interested:

http://www.msu-htsp.org/cycle.htm


Linda
2002 FLSTCI
 

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Training

Have been riding Harley's as an officer for several years now and all the exercises seem pretty easy now. One thing you have to remember, we don't have to pay for the damage when we drop them in training. I can put my Road Glide through any of the patterns that I do on my work bike (Road King), but I don't want to put the extra abuse on the clutch, nor to I want to take a chance of dropping it. I do practice on it making tight turns, but just not to the extent that I do on my work bike.

I applaud any of you that do take the time to go out to a parking lot, whether it be with cones or tennis balls, the more training you, get the safer you will be riding. Plus it looks better than what we refer to as Harley walking. What I mean by that, is those who walk there bikes when going slow, rather than having their feet up on the pegs or boards. You don't pass motor school if you're doing that.

The most important training you can do is to learn to properly use both brakes to the maximum capability. I won't go in to a complete lesson, but if you check out motorcops.com, there are some good articles written by other motor instructors like myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Talking about wearing out the equipment

I recently had to replace my rear brake rotor and pads. I do a lot of parking lot training; and apparently drag my brake too much. I thought I was using LESS brake as I got better.
Now, I'm more aware of rear braking and am attempting to learn how to do maneuvers without any rear braking at all. Problem is . . . .the motor keeps speeding up! :laugh: If I don't apply some brake, I can't stay within my tennis ball course. :laugh:

I am riding with the clutch in the friction zone and rpms around 1,800 to 2,000.

Look at the guy in the first part of that video. He's squatted on the seat and apparently uses no brake at all!:dunno:

Wish we had some place to get real, professional instruction for those of us that want to master the skills.

Ken
 

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Interestingly, in the Ride Like a Pro videos, he advises to always use the rear brake. Whereas, Harris suggests learning to not use it. Seems like not using it would result in better skill and less wear and tear.

I've gotten to the point of not using the brake at all. It seems scary at first, but I just pulled the clutch in more and lowered the RPM slightly. You have to trust the engine to provide some low end grunt to stand the bike up. Occassionally, I still use the rear brake a little in a figure 8.

Here is how I started to not use the rear brake: Instead of holding the bike in a continuous lean like a figure 8, try just a left or right hand turn from a stop. Just lean it over one time and then begin to let the clutch out and stand it up. Don't use the brake at all. Don't worry about holding in a lean. Just dip it over once and bring it back up. Pretty soon, you will be able to leave it leaned over for a longer time with no brake. It takes nerve to lean it over that far, control the clutch very gently, and don't stall the engine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dmax, that is a very good answer, thank you.

In fact, I've been doing exactly what you described. (Lowering the RPM and slipping the clutch a little more) I'm trying to lighten my rear brake usage more and more until maybe I won't drag it as much. Seems like it'd be much easier on the equipment (both clutch and especially brake wear).

Intrestingly, I've also started practicing an immediate turn from stop, left and right. I noticed that in Motorman's Police Rodeo video, they started at a right angle from the start line and had to initiate an immediate left-turn. The contestants began from a dead stop . . . foot on the ground . .. handlebars turned to the left(probably to the limit). Foot up - accelerate - lean - and turn . . . .all at the same time. Let me tell you, doing that is scary. I found it impossible to even attempt without heads-up and focusing my head and eyes to the left. Even then, it takes a mental committment to atempt the maneuver. It is by default, a no-brakeing maneuver, I believe. My next step is to continue this maneuver beyond the 90 degree point, eventually to a full circle.

People that ride in a straight line all the time don't know what they're missing. :chopper: :wootdnc:
 

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Yes, it is easier to say it than to do it! Of course, the Harley engine has great lugging power and is the key to keep from falling over at very low engine speeds. Of course, you might also stall the engine and/or drop the bike! I haven't dropped mine yet, but I'm sure I will.

Here's another thought: To learn how much you can lug it. Try taking off with little or no throttle while straight up. You'll see how your engine feels and sounds when it is running too low. You won't fall over because you are straight up, but you will learn what it takes to killl the engine. Try this with a hot and cold engine. This is how I gain a little trust in the bike.

I also try not to make any fancy manuevers in front of an audience with a cold engine. Just in case she decides to cough and die! :ntlgh:
 

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Motor Training

Different motor schools teach various ways to do your slow work/cone patterns. Some teach with use of rear brake while finding the friction point of your clutch. Others are throttle/clutch only. The second of these two is mush easier on the clutch and rear brake.

As the officer in the video demonstrates, you don't have to drag the rear brake all the time to make the bike turn sharp and slow. A motorycle will actually turn sharper without the rear brake. Application of the rear brake actually wants to make the bike stand straight up. It's just a matter of having the confidence of having the comfort with just your clutch and throttle working together. This takes practice and comes easier for some than others.

Another excercise to work on this is what we call a slow race. Just as it's called, you want to see who can cover a distance in the shortest ammount of time. This develops the use of the friction point on your clutch and propper application of the throttle. When we're rating a student we're also looking for this to be done in a smooth manner. No excessive reving or pumping the clutch and once a foot hits the ground, the race ends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good advice, Glen073.

There's a Harley rider guy here in Dallas (not a motorcop) that wins every slow race he enters. He's able to stand motionless for 5 seconds or more without the slightest wheel motion. He stops and cocks the handlebars to one side and then just sits. I've heard that he can even turn the motor OFF, wait a couple of seconds, and turn it back on without losing balance.

His license plate reads, "Slo-Rider" It tells it all. When he enters a slow riding contest, he even balances while standing in line to do his turn; everyone else is racing for 2nd.

Oh, he also placed first or second in a recent local police rodeo course against moto-cops on Kawasakis.




glen073 said:
Another excercise to work on this is what we call a slow race. Just as it's called, you want to see who can cover a distance in the shortest ammount of time. This develops the use of the friction point on your clutch and propper application of the throttle. When we're rating a student we're also looking for this to be done in a smooth manner. No excessive reving or pumping the clutch and once a foot hits the ground, the race ends.
 

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Ken R said:
I recently had to replace my rear brake rotor and pads. I do a lot of parking lot training; and apparently drag my brake too much. I thought I was using LESS brake as I got better.
Now, I'm more aware of rear braking and am attempting to learn how to do maneuvers without any rear braking at all. Problem is . . . .the motor keeps speeding up! :laugh: If I don't apply some brake, I can't stay within my tennis ball course. :laugh:

I am riding with the clutch in the friction zone and rpms around 1,800 to 2,000.

Look at the guy in the first part of that video. He's squatted on the seat and apparently uses no brake at all!:dunno:

Wish we had some place to get real, professional instruction for those of us that want to master the skills.

Ken
Hi Ken-

There is a practice method you can use, which will teach you how to slow your bike down, without using the rear brake.

You need to set up the slow cone weave exercise.

Only this time, you're going to do some things differently, and by the time you're done, you're going to be doing a lot of things much more professionally.

The exercise is a familiar one, in that you want to set up six disc cones ( or cut up tennis balls ) 12 feet apart from each other, all in a single row.

It should look like this.....

x

12 feet of space

x

12 feet of space

x

12 feet of space

etc..etc..

Your objective is to handlebar steer through the exercise, without using any rear brake.

You want to weave in and out of the cones, left to right, then right to left, at a speed no greater than 5mph

If 12 feet is too difficult, use 15 feet of space, bringing the cones in, as you get more comfortable with the exercise.

Your ultimate goal should be 12 feet.

Keep your head AND eyes, up, focused straight ahead, at a fixed object, say, 50 to 100 feet ahead of you. The disc cones/tennis balls will still be in your field of vision.

You will quickly find out that it is impossible to complete this exercise at an rpm speed of 1800-2000. 9-1100 is where you should be, or, a little over idle speed.

In motor training, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. If you're having trouble keeping your rpm speed down, just keep repeating these six words to yourself, over and over, as you go through the exercise.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

You will also find that it is impossible to complete this exercise without turning the handle bars, almost to a full lock......and here is the first key, to learning how to slow your bike down, without using the rear brake.

When you're going through the exercise, allow those handle bars to physically TURN!

Turning the handle bars, creates friction, which natually slows down the speed of the motorcycle. It doesn't matter if you're handle bar steering at 3 mph, or countersteering at 80mph.

This is one of the reasons why a motorcycle needs more throttle when you're countersteering. Pushing on the left, or right handle bar is, among other things, slowing down the wheel speed of the machine.

Once you get really comfortable going through the slow cone weave, without the rear brake, your next step should be to go back through the exercise, only this time, you want to use NO clutch.

That's right, negotiate the motor through the exercise with your left hand completely wrapped around the handle bar grip, using no rear brake.

It can be done.

By not using the clutch, this will now force you to use the handle bars for 100% of your braking.

This takes time, in that it is obviously not easy to do. That means patience, and determination, are the virtues that you'll need most to succeed.

Once you master this exercise, you will find other slow speed exercises are now much easier, in terms of not needing to use your rear brake.

In fact, I would go further than that...

In my opinion, once you complete this exercise, you will find that the rear brake is not needed in ANY, slow speed exercise.

I'm very interested in your progess. Please feel free to ask any further questions, as we all are still learning how to ride our bikes.

good luck! :)
David
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, Nazzdak! Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement!

I really appreciate your taking the time to type that description for me.

As luck would have it, I just purchased 24ea 12" traffic cones today on Ebay. They should be in by mid next week. I've been using tennis balls cut in half, but cones would be much more effective in preparatiion for formal events. There's a corner of a parking lot in front of a cafeteria and CiCi's pizza parlor that I use for practice. There's plenty of room for 5 or 6 12' separation cones.

I've done a lot of 12' cone weaving during our weekly practice sessions last summer. I never tried doing them slowly without my rear brake dragging; the goal was always to use the friction zone and brakes to make it through without going too fast or knocking a cone over with my saddlebags. (I ride an ElectraGlide. I can imagine that attempting slow weaving without brakes is going to take a lot of concentration.

I see you're from Indy. Are you part of the world-famous motorcycle team?

Ken
 

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Nazzdak / David,

Thanks for your suggestion about not using the rear brake; I must try that next time out, and after that, I will move on to trying it without the clutch, also as you suggest. I believe that I will be able to do it within a few sessions as I have been able to turn the handlebars side to side more than I ever have, well, with such confidence anyway!

If you click on the picture in my signature line, you will see me practicing the Slow Cone Weave combined with the U-Turn. The roadway is perfect as it is 24 feet across. Not the best quality film for sure, but you get the idea.

I have only had the Ride Like A Pro DVD for a few days, but a few things that I have found out so far:

It has been easier for me to do left turning U-Turns than right turning, probably because of the clutch control

And I was able to do the Figure 8 quite easily, albeit without markers, once I got the Head & Eyes technique working - that is the best tip on the DVD, folks, no secret about that.

However I am having trouble with the Circle, although I did manage it a few times. I think it is because I have not figured out how to change my focus whereas with the Figure 8, I had immediately turned my head each time I changed direstion and focused on the opposite of the roadway at the "cat's eye" marker there.

I must go back and read thru that long thread of yours about training and take some notes this time.

Regards, John
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
U-turns to the left or right

I'm only a little over my first year of parking lot riding (although I have many thousands of miles of straight riding under my belt). I also noticed that left U-turns and circles seemed easier than right U's and circles. I think it may be because in the real world, you will usually only do left U's. Then, when practicing, you'll tend to practice what you do best instead of what needs the most work.

Now, I rarely practice left U'ies. Instead, I practice right U-turns over and over and over. Occasionaly I'll throw in a left turn.

I set three markers out, each 9 feet from a center point. About 30 - 40 feet away, I set out three more, each 9 feet from a center point. Around the center points I can practice consecutive U-turns or figure 8's. The goal is to not look down at the markers, but up and towards the center point for the first 1/2 loop and towars the opposite markers for the second part of each loop.




(Straight line riders don't know what they're missing):cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been taking videos, too.

Funny, I don't seem to ride as well when I know a camera is rolling.

Here's a link to my collection of training pictures. The parking lot lines are exactly 9 feet, center to center.

http://www.callairco.com/ken/

Ken



The_Snowman said:
Nazzdak / David,

Thanks for your suggestion about not using the rear brake; I must try that next time out, and after that, I will move on to trying it without the clutch, also as you suggest. I believe that I will be able to do it within a few sessions as I have been able to turn the handlebars side to side more than I ever have, well, with such confidence anyway!

I must go back and read thru that long thread of yours about training and take some notes this time.

Regards, John
 

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Ken R said:
I really appreciate your taking the time to type that description for me.

As luck would have it, I just purchased 24ea 12" traffic cones today on Ebay. They should be in by mid next week. I've been using tennis balls cut in half, but cones would be much more effective in preparatiion for formal events. There's a corner of a parking lot in front of a cafeteria and CiCi's pizza parlor that I use for practice. There's plenty of room for 5 or 6 12' separation cones.

I've done a lot of 12' cone weaving during our weekly practice sessions last summer. I never tried doing them slowly without my rear brake dragging; the goal was always to use the friction zone and brakes to make it through without going too fast or knocking a cone over with my saddlebags. (I ride an ElectraGlide. I can imagine that attempting slow weaving without brakes is going to take a lot of concentration.

I see you're from Indy. Are you part of the world-famous motorcycle team?

Ken
Hi Ken-

Truth be told, Harris is kinda like Yoda around here. We're all just sitting in the shade of this man's tree.

I'm only teaching you, what he, has taught me.

So, call me Obei One or something...lol, Hey, don't take this chit too seriously, 1st and foremost, motor training is about having FUN!

Thank you very much for the kind words.

I am not a motor officer. Harris , however, is a certified, Harley Davidson, motor officer instructor.

My connection with motor training began with the guys you're talking about. My first experience with Harley Davidson motoryclcles was watching the I.P.D. drill team practice, about 2 blocks from my Parents house.

When I was 5 years old, motorcycle cops were the coolest people on the Planet! I very much wanted to be one.

Of course, later on I wanted to be a fireman, than a fighter pilot, etc..etc..

Today, 35 years later, I own a few successful businesses. My partner and I provide entertainment for the regional economy. We work 2-3 days a week, sometimes 3-4 days a week in the summertime. The bulk of my other businesses, as weird as this may sound, are presently in Citigroup, Pfizer, GE, and Intel stock.

I'm one of those guys that has never believed in holding cash. Mind over matter, and all that.....Anyway, all my professional life, I have tried to keep the financial side very simple... Make two, save one, buy low, never sell.

Over the last 11 years, things have gotten to the point where my equity investments are beginning to out earn my tangible business, which is good, because I'm starting to get old...lol

Ken, what you're experiencing is perfectly normal. I was doing the exact same things you are doing today. In the long run, you'll look back at this time and laugh someday.

In the end, a little fire in your heart is all you really need, to succeed.

Before you get into the slow cone weave, if you can, have a friend walk side by side with you, at a normal pace, as you simply ride the motor in a straight line for 50, 100 yards.

Try to keep your rpms below 1,000. Remember, stay off of the rear brake.

In the beginning, your friend will probably keep saying, "hey!, slow down!, slow down!"..tell him/her they need the exercise!....lol

If you're having trouble, remember to stay in the friction zone, pull the clutch in for your braking.

Your right hand should be holding the throttle, almost motionless, there's really no need to pull back on it at all, as you are now training your right hand to act like a manual cruise control, set at 3mph, if you will...keep repeating the words, "slow is smooth, smooth is fast...slow is smooth, smooth is fast".

If I was walking behind you, I should be hearing a nice steady throttle.

Ultimately, your motor should sound as if it were idling through the entire exercise.

After a while, you will begin to notice that your clutch hand, and not your throttle hand, is both the accelerator/brake hand.

Above all, Don't forget to HAVE FUN!...You''ll be fine :)

take care, and God bless
David
 

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The_Snowman said:
I am having trouble with the Circle, although I did manage it a few times. I think it is because I have not figured out how to change my focus whereas with the Figure 8, I had immediately turned my head each time I changed direstion and focused on the opposite of the roadway at the "cat's eye" marker there.

I must go back and read thru that long thread of yours about training and take some notes this time.

Regards, John
Hi John-

If you're having trouble with the circle exercise, here are some tips that should help you.

Try walking the exercise first, then riding it on your motorcycle.

As you're walking through the exercise, pretend that you are inside of a big round clock. Depending on the size of the circle, you want to focus 30-45 minutes ahead of where the motorcycle is, physically.

For example, if you walk into a 24 foot circle at, say, noon, traveling clock wise, turn your head AND eyes around, like an owl, focusing 45 minutes ahead, at the nine o'clock cone, then noon, three o'clock, six, etc..etc..etc..

You want to keep your head UP, while your eyes look DOWN, through your nose.

Again, as you walk into the circle, at noon, pretend that you're on your motor, turn and keep, your head AND eyes focused 45 minutes ahead, and say the times out loud, as you walk around the circle, 9, 12, 3, 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, etc..etc..

The hands follow the eyes. If you can master this head and eye technique, the motor will begin to stay within the parameters of the circle by your 3-4th attempt.

good luck!

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
12' weaving (sans brake)

Sunday was a nice day for practice. I did a little over two hours with 4 5-minute breaks to let the scoot cool down. I think I'm gonna get an oil cooler. The temp gauge reads from 250 to 280 during practice. That seems too high.

I concentrated on brake-less cone weaving and long figure 8's. With the 12' cone weaving I found it quite easy to not touch the brake. In fact, it felt a lot like the tiny bit of parallel snow-skiing I've done, but using turn and dip to check speed. The sharper the turn, the more the motor "dips" requiring a little more clutch engagement to keep the speed UP. I don't have any cones yet, but used 9' parking lot line crosses to gauge 12'. Right-hand weave, front tire hits the line. Left turn weave, front tire centers between two lines. I could run 25 "cones" that way before having to U-turn and hit 'em going back the other way. I also practiced brake-less U-turns at the ends of each run. They aren't so hard after all. In fact, it seems that the bike leans more and U-turns sharper that way.

I tried 360-degree circles without brakes, but always subconsciously resorted to dragging the brake as usual. Same with 36 x 18 foot figure 8's. That's going to be a hard habit to stop. It takes skills that I don't yet have.

My new practice venue is the South Garland (Texas) High School parking lot on Sunday afternoon. ISD Security came by and watched for a while, then waved good bye. I think it's o.k. for me to practice there.
 
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Ken R said:
By the way, I don't wish to hijack the motor officer's forum with all of this if it's not appropriate. My goal is to get all the training and instruction I can from you professional riders as well as others that desire your skills and practice like I do. (There's no other forum here that applies)
If no one objects, I could move the whole thread to the riding safety section. I think it will be a better fit there, with David's (Nazzdak's) thread already there.

Harris
 
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