Stopping gracefully

Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-2017)
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Stopping gracefully

Post by murr57 »

Admittedly new to my 2005 Goldwing, after 10 years on my VTX 1300, I have to ask, what is the secret to stopping gracefully on this bike? Rarely can I slowly come to a stop with only my left foot down without either quickly slamming my other foot down or feel like the bike is going to go over and taking massive amounts of muscle to keep her centred. Is this common for this heavy bike or have you more experienced riders found a consistent technique for bringing the bike to a full stop without the duck walk, foot slam, or 'holy heck she's going over' moment? And I do practice this practically each ride along with slow u turns.

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Re: Stopping gracefully

Post by Viking »

I noticed this back in 2010 when I purchased my GL1800, coming from a cruising style bike (Harley). A lot of riding, and practice and the problem has gone away, for me. It is the feel of being top heavy as compared to a cruiser style bike. One method of stopping that may help is to come to a final stop with the front hand brake only and set both feet down. Another thing, which is what I do, is to stop with the bike very slightly leaned to the left with my left foot down. It works for me. I repeat, VERY slightly leaned to the left.
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Re: Stopping gracefully

Post by tamathumper »

Mine was fine the first year, and very difficult the second year because the front brake lever became "notchy".

It would catch and then I'd apply more pressure, and it would move at the last second, grabbing too much brake and diving the nose and throwing off the balance of the bike.

A bit of lube on the bushing and it was back to smooth as silk.
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Re: Stopping gracefully

Post by hondapotamus »

My advice - FWIW.
Practice does not make perfect - it makes permanent!

Parking lot practice (and lots of it) where you are concentrating on straight line, center balance (meaning no hanging a leg - keep both feet on the pegs) and when you are almost stopped put your left foot down with a slight (very slight) lean to the left.

Keep doing that and eventually you will be doing it without even thinking about it.

If you are uncomfortable at first bring a friend along with you to the parking lot. Not to support you in the stop, but be there to watch, provide feedback and reduce your level of stress (fear of tip over and getting it back up is a major distraction to doing it right).

And one more thing - when you take off again practice getting that left foot back on the peg as fast as possible to regain your center balance (but not a "jerk up" - smooth but fast).

I see too many people pulling away from a stop with one or both feet hanging off to the side - all that does is throw off your balance and makes getting underway that much harder. My myself, at this point, my foot is back on the peg almost before I start moving. As stated above - it takes practice, practice, practice and pretty soon you won't even think about it - it will just happen.

Good luck and relax.
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Re: Stopping gracefully

Post by WingAdmin »

It takes practice, but it can be done. I can stop and start very gently, from years of practice.

Like landing a plane, the success and gracefulness of the end result depends largely on the quality of the approach. I make sure I know exactly where I plan to stop. I get the bike so that it is traveling exactly straight - getting your front wheel turned, even a little bit, is a recipe for disaster.

I then decelerate smoothly using BOTH brakes, gradually letting off the pressure as the bike gets slower. The front suspension will be compressed as you do this. Now here's the secret: If you just hold this until you come to a stop, the bike will pitch forward slightly as it actually stops, compressing the front suspension, then rebounding. If your front wheel is turned even a little bit at this point, you're going to have problems.

So instead, as the bike speed approaches zero, I smoothly let off the brakes entirely. This allows the suspension to smoothly unload, just as the bike comes to a stop from the lowest speed of its own accord. At the same exact time, I put my left foot down. If done correctly, by the time my foot hits the ground, the bike is already stopped, so my foot does not move. Putting your foot down while the bike is still moving throws you off balance, and can destabilize the bike. This is all about smoothness, balance, precision.

Setting off, I will gently feather the clutch while smoothly opening the throttle. The instant the bike begins to move, my left foot is off the ground - again, I don't want my foot moving and pulling me off balance. My foot is right onto the footpeg instantly - you don't want your foot dangling and catching on anything (again, balance and stability). Besides, if something goes wrong, do you really think you're going to hold up that 900 lb bike with your foot?

This is hard to describe, perhaps I should make a video on this. :)
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Re: Stopping gracefully

Post by murr57 »

Great suggestions everyone, thanks! The one suggestion that has made the biggest difference for me was to totally let off on the front brake before coming to a complete stop. The unnerving thing for me is determining how much lean to the left to make before planting my foot. But it is comforting to know that it seems to be a learning curve that many of you had to experience also. Thanks again.

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