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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whipping through a canyon today, the thought occured to me that I was travelling comfortably at a higher rate of speed than last year. Not because of skill development, but improved suspension. Six months or so past, Mr. Wilbers was added. A couple of weeks past, Mr. RaceTech joined the team. So what you say, that sounds like more fun. Well, yes it is more fun. But does it simply mean if I drop the bike, it will be at a faster rate of speed?

I hope not. As we improve our ride, does it mean we are safer? Stated another way: Is a less powerful, less supple bike less likely to hurt you? MMM... My improved FJR is more comfortable at a higher rate of speed. Do I ride it at my past typical rate of speed or at the new rate of speed. Theoretically, I'm safer if I stay at the old rate of speed. Personally, I like to think I ride up to the 80 percentile and back off, my comfort zone. Now that comfort zone is faster. Assuming the same accident rate in my comfort zone, if there is an incident at a higher rate of speed, how am I better?

To the point. As improvements improve capabilities, new attention to throttle control needs to be thought through. Improved suspension, enables more throttle. Obviously, driving around at 35MPH is not a solution. When the rear shock was improved, my attention was shifted to the harsh front forks. Now that front and back are smoothed out, my attention needs to focus on throttle management. Wish me luck!

In San Diego,
BAGSTR
 

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Any suspension improvements will/should make the machine easier to ride.
The whole bike should be more precise and the best thing to come out of better suspension is tyre temperature control which in turn gives better rider control and confidence.

and Good Luck.
 

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Interesting post. I think you are more likely to take more risk, more often, now that you have improved capacity for speed; but, at what point does the increased risk-for-fun, become reckless abandonment of senses, as speed intoxicates like little else?

I had a ton of fun on my FXDL trying to be fast and smooth, though the actual speeds I reached were modest to say the least. Was I safer on a bike with shite suspension and brakes and tires and frame since I was forced to go slower? Yes I was IMO, in terms of a being involved in a single vehicle accident, since I was always aware that I was at risk due to the communication between the road and the rider: I felt every thing.

Going the same speeds on the same road on my ST3 would be boring to say the least. In order to have fun I have to push it, but this bike can handle much greater speeds easily, so I'm more likely to take greater risks more often, and therefore more likley to crash and burn at higher speeds and sustain greater injuries.

Simplified: take away the padding and helmets, and NFL is a different game. Not as fast, not as hard, because players would be killed otherwise if they tried to play as if they had all that protection. Same for NHL. What I find in motorcycling, it's the illusion of mastery one gets while on a well designed bike which is similar to the illusion of invincibility in NFL/NHL. A handful of sand at the apex that wasn't there yesterday in a familiar sweeper will cure any illusions of control in short order.

Now that you have a better handling bike, you will no doubt be going faster and faster, which is not a bad thng. I assume you are like all of us, ready to accept the consequences of throwing a leg over, some of which are fun, some of which are not fun. We focus on and try to have fun only.
 

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Just remember that a percentile is relative. You expanded the envelope of how (safely) the FJR can put its power to the ground. In doing so the location of 80% moved relative to where it used to be.

If you're still riding at 80%, then you're still within the same area of safety. The difference is that the envelope of the bike's ability has changed so that same 20% safety margin is now at a higher rate of speed.

The risk is no higher than it was before. The results from stepping across the threshhold from "risk" to "event" will be higher as a result of the increased speed. That doesn't change the risk if your skills are up to the changes made to the FJR's envelope. But that then would mean that you _aren't_ really riding at 80% after all (skills being one of the factors that make up the 20% safety margin).

But your post is a perfect example of why investments in suspension improvements are usually a better "first effort" than nearly anything else you can do to the performance of a bike. More effectively using the power you have comes before adding to that power. Many riders will spend money on items that have a higher "visibility" (cans, etc.) because the suspension bits _are_ less conspicuous by their nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thoughtful responses all,

Woody, "easier to ride" That is what scares me!

ST, "Reckless abandon...speed intoxicates" I must admit that the feeling of control of the FJR's power is intoxicating. And, it has induced the urge to, "hang it out."

Bounce, "same likelyhood of event" Yes, but the consequences are greater.

Obviously I am overstating the case somewhat. The improved performance is a blast. My point is this: Don't just blast off into the wild blue yonder without a second thought. If I bought a R!, carefull thought had better be in good supply or disaster would be fast approaching. More control is good. Carefull consideration of current events is imperative to preserve future recreation.

PS, ST I love your work. The site is great. I had thoughts of travelling down the ST3 path to the point of buying your "Maintenance and Modification Guide." The manual has great info on many aspects of MC maintenance. 6000 mile valve adjustment is one thing, but your honest evaluation of the electrical gremlins turned me away from the Red Side.

In San Diego,
BAGSTR
 

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Interesting questions and answers. Those of us who have not yet had a fall on a bike I suspect really don't believe it can happen to us. At least at some level. Just saying "oh yeah, I know it can happen" is not like really accepting that as a possibility and riding accordingly. Speed sure is intoxicating. The example of the sand is a good one, sometimes you just can't see the problem is there. Hate to think of how it would feel to slide out of the turn. Deer strike is my nightmare as I live in a place overrun with deer and I can see no defense against them in many situations. I guess the best is to wear good protection and recognize that there are risks to riding. Whether the rewards are worth it or not depends on whether you are one of the "lucky" or "unlucky" ones. I fly little airplanes and have for a long time and love to do it. Risk, yes, in fact one of the flying magazines did some statistics and estimated that flying privately is about the same risk one takes in riding a motorcycle. However, you can minimize the risk by reasonable planning and avoiding the riskiest circumstances. Some (like a midair collision) are to some degree luck just like that small sand spill on your favorite turn. Just have fun and minimize the risk to what you think you are willing to live with.
 

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BAGSTR said:
Thoughtful responses all,

Woody, "easier to ride" That is what scares me!

In San Diego,
BAGSTR
What I should have really said was by moving the limits further away by improving the bikes suspenders should make the ride easier & safer.

After all a wallowing rear end will load up and slide before perfectly setup shocker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ryder/snyder

stryder,

Re:pS Message,

Sorry about the mixup. I confused you with LT Snyder of Desmo Times.

BAGSTR
 
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