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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, long time no see. As the post below this one outlined, I found a project 2004 GSX-R750. After about 7 months of work, the bike is operational, and I am dialing it in. But that isn't exactly the topic I wanted to talk about and get some input on.

To you folks out there who have more bikes than just the 300 and/or have ridden more bikes than just the 300, I would like some advice on riding maturity.

I had a late ZX-6R 2 years ago, and I wrecked it in 2 months of ownership. Looking back, I see all the mistakes I made, which lead up to the crash. And not just things that day, that ride, but just general judgement mistakes I made. I was just not ready and not mature enough to use it and enjoy it responsibly. I broke my leg, and gave the bike up to insurance. FYI I am in my mid 20's too.

Fast forward to now, where I have now had 2 crashes so far, the one I mentioned and another on track on my 300. My track crash I had no injuries, and my airbag saved my bacon. Best purchase. And I feel like the crashes have greatly improved my maturity and decision making. Living through the consequences, feeling and knowing how human and mortal we are, and seeing how it affected people around me was eye-opening. Obviously I felt invincible until I had my first wreck, and it is useful to know what 'too much risk' actually is like.

This also brings me to the part that at least I can take the most comfort in. The common misconception is that 2 wheels is just so insanely dangerous that you will just die riding anything. Of course, most of us seasoned riders know that is not quite the case, but that it is inherently more risky than driving. But the thing I have come to learn is that the most dangerous thing to me as a rider is myself. Just about every crash, near miss, close call, incident, or thing that happened was almost entirely my fault. I chose to go too fast, or I chose to make a dangerous pass, or I chose to try and do something outside my skill level. Not that everything is my own fault, other drivers make mistakes too, but we as riders can do a lot to keep ourselves out of harm's way by just using your head.

And that brings me to my new bike. It's a restored 2004 Suzuki GSX-R750 K4. It's smack dab in the middle of what many motorcyclists believe is a really golden era for motorcycles, due to the technology, lower emissions restrictions, and simplicity of bikes. The K4 750 rides wonderfully, and checks all the boxes. Suzuki really has done a good job at making 150hp drivable, usable, exciting, fast, smooth, and sound awesome while doing all that. The bike has outstanding balance, stability, drive, and maneuverability. It really is a fine work of engineering, and I love everything about it.

Although, being that old, it lacks features like ABS, traction control, and rider modes of course. Every motorcycle I've owned to date has had ABS until this one. But this is the first time that I know for certain that my skills are not good enough to handle the whole motorcycle. Not that I ever relied upon the electronics or their features, but having them in the background was definitely a plus in sketchy situations.

As you guys know, the 300 doesn't have any stock features available except ABS. No real need for traction control. But this 750 is an absolute monster, and the thing I feel I got shorted on in my 4 years of riding with the 300 is respect for the throttle. Even on track on a tight course, you still are full throttle a large portion of the time. And now on my 750, I start to get my front wheel fully unloaded/off the ground at over 100mph in 3rd gear at redline, and that's just such an insane difference. Point is though, I need to better my skills and control over the vehicle, and that the limiting factor isn't just me making good choices alone.

For those of you who have ridden faster bikes out on the road and track, how did you learn to respect the bike, and make safe choices, and have fun and excitement at the right times? I'm looking to obviously avoid the mistake I made on my ZX6, but also to fully enjoy this motorcycle for what it's worth. I have a firm grasp on what actual rider skills I need to work on and how to work on them, but how do you guys keep a clear head when making choices with so much power?

To be extremely clear, I am not one to speed through town, lane split above 20mph, pop wheelies in traffic, weave through cars, or any of that stuff. Absolutely zero. I have no trouble respecting the rules when there are people around, other drivers, tight spaces that are unpredictable, or anything of that type. I would never even get a ticket riding around town. But when I am out in the boonies or out in the open country, I like to have a bit more fun when it doesn't affect other people nearly as much.

Any thoughts or advice from you experienced folk would be greatly appreciated.

-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice! That is reassuring.

I know many folks my age just have this almost angry, rage-fueled need to just go fast all the time. I would say I definitely do not have that characteristic, but I, like most other bike enthusiasts love a bit of speed from time to time. All things in moderation I suppose.

I feel like I already enjoy the things about riding other than goin fast plenty, so it is absolutely not like a ride is not enjoyable unless you go fast. Maybe I should budget out more time at the track next season.

Thanks for the input! Any more input is appreciated.
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input.

I don't find myself scaring myself with the bike, and I didn't scare myself with the ZX-6R I crashed either. I very rarely get actual 'panic' moments anymore, and I feel comfortable enough with this bike and my other bikes that the natural things about riding bikes don't scare me anymore. Things like little wobbles, wet patches, a bit of tire spin, etc. I think I can realize I've made a mistake or wrong choice before it actually makes me panic in the moment.

Also to be clear, I haven't had any scares on the GSX-R either yet, even when I open it up once or twice a ride when there's a nice wide open spot. I feel I am still just learning not so much the how, but the when to allow myself to have a bit of fun.

In other words, I feel like I will soon enough have a decent skillset at driving the faster bike safely, but I just want to make sure my mental skillset will also be up to par. I am a pretty conservative and safe driver I would say, and the times when I am rolling around town I have a high degree of confidence I won't run into trouble. Pretty rarely do I have any incidents with other drivers for example, even on the GSX-R.

I would agree with your sentiment of how much to push when having fun being about a 5/10. I am probably in a similar boat. I think when I am rolling around town, I drive probably a 2-4/10, and when I am having a bit of fun, probably a 5-7, depending on the conditions.

I think you are right though, I just need more track time, and I also have been eyeing picking up a nice starter dirtbike to really feel the traction. Coming from the 300, I just haven't learned how to really handle a bike that can power wheelie and loop itself without the clutch, or spin tires on dry clean road, or get a tank slapper from going full throttle.... Always more to learn.

Thanks for the input. More is welcome, I appreciate it folks.
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the tips! I believe I already abide by most of the defensive driving tips, and it has served me well as a driver and rider, having never had an accident with another party. I wouldn't take nearly as much risk if there are other drivers or riders in close proximity to me, but if no one is around, I may opt to have a tad bit more fun lol.

Yeah I am noticing a similar effect from the bike like you did on the BMW. I think part of it is I still need to get used to it. But I also probably need to budget more track time out. Perhaps I'd buy a beater 1000 and dedicate it entirely as a track bike.

Would you guys recommend any parts or configuration that might make the GSX-R more street and safety oriented? I put a set of Michelin Road 6 tires on it for the rainy season, but I won't take it out in the rain too much, but just in case I get caught out. I was thinking about a progressive throttle tube as well, it's pretty touchy as is. I have stock mirrors, and a Yoshimura slip on with a dB killer in it, perfect volume.

All this reminds me too, I really gotta fix up my 300.... Bodywork exploded at my last track crash in the rain. Motor and frame didn't even touch the ground, rode it home, but it looks real ugly. The GSX-R has made me come to respect how well a bike like the 300 is optimized to just ride well and easily, and allow a great deal of fun with an entirely manageable amount of power. I think I will still use my 300 a lot on street to be economical and safe. What a great motorcycle.

Thanks for feedback!
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for the advice. Sounds like you've had a lot of experiences in your riding career.

I would agree that my interest in healing time and bone break recovery has definitely dropped a large amount since I started riding as well.

I find I can usually focus pretty consistently, and manage other cars and their dumb whereabouts.

But especially since you've always had such powerful bikes, what in your opinion was the best way to learn how to really handle the power correctly? Anyone can just grab a fistfull of throttle, but how do you get more finesse and learn the limits when there is so much power and no assisting tech? I've just never had a bike that wanted to power wheelie so easily, and I just haven't been exposed to the tank slapper opportunities as much as now. I can wheelie a bicycle all day, but I just don't have the throttle control to do much more than close the throttle once the front end starts coming up. I also haven't had as much experience with this much rear tire spin, if you're not coming up on a wheelie it can just spin and leave a trail of rubber... How did you learn these lessons without getting into too much trouble? I want to practice and build the skills to literally handle the bike and power, and also to help me in low traction situations and prevent myself from upsetting the suspension and whatnot.

Thanks for the advice, let me know what you think.
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah I figured, and that is how I learned to turn just by riding twisties everyday on the 300. It was great.

Indeed, I am 150lbs, and I am running street pressures on street tires in the cold and wet PNW winter. Lol. If it's clean and dry I don't get wheel spin, but going from the 300 to this, this is a whole new level of possible wheel spin.

My local shop who rebuilt my forks and shock did baseline my suspension setup recently. Feels quite nice and planted.

I am looking to do an ECU flash and dyno tune this winter as well, in the hopes that this will (most importantly) smooth out the power delivery, and smooth out cracking open the throttle. More power would be a nice touch though, but I want it to have a bit less snatchy throttle if possible.

Downshifts are still a bit tricky too. Maybe 3 years ago I rode my first 600, and it was a late model CBR600RR. And It rode great! But I was just insanely shocked how sensitive the throttle was, coming from the 300. Doing a 300-style downshift on a supersport does not go the way you'd hope when learning... Of course I don't have that exact problem anymore, but it's still tricky getting smooth downshifts with blipping, it's just so fast on the throttle.

And alas, here at my home town, there are not very many great roads for learning on time and time again. When I was in college in Arizona, there was a few absolutely epic roads that were always open, always clean, predictable conditions, and I knew every turn. Wish I had that here....

Thoughts?
Thanks again.
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Indeed I am a member there, and have stirred up many threads. I tracked the entire restoration on a build thread over there, and the folks have answered many of my questions.

That is a good callout though, I actually checked at least my secondary throttle position sensor, and didn't quite get in-spec resistance readings. Interesting you say that. Maybe I will go measure them both, and replace as needed. Thanks!

I mostly figured I was just inexperienced with that throttle though. My buddy with the exact same bike rode it and found it to feel relatively normal.

-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Indeed, thanks for the advice!

Luckily my suspension was done with me there, they used me to set the sag and it is a very marked improvement in planted feeling.

I think you bring up a good point, and it's especially something I hear echoed from a lot of track folks. The idea of "adapt the bike, not yourself" is probably a tad bit flawed like you said, but also there are a ton of cheap/free/easy ways to make the bike more comfortable, more controllable, and thus safer. The bike has a radiator leak currently, one of the fittings had a good deal of pitting on the hose fitting, and even after I smoothed it down a bit, it was still too rough, so the hose leaks. Once I get that sorted out, I think a Rev3 throttle with the progressive cam will help.

I have gotten a much better grasp on the throttle control as of late, riding in the rain and such. It can still be snatchy, but it has gotten better, especially after I redid my throttle sync and added real heavy bar ends. Smoothed out the vibrations, and really helped make cracking the throttle open feel very.... "once". So I will continue my efforts to get the bike 100% dialed in.

As for the self adjustments you mentioned, that is a really good way to think about it that I have not thought of before. Indeed, my mindset and decision making has to change to maintain a level of comfort, safety, and risk between say my 300 and the 750. I feel as though the 300 had (at least until I even rode anything with more than 100hp) almost cheated me out on fine throttle control. Even with the 300 on track in the rain, a pretty rapid and abrupt- but continuous- opening of the throttle won't make you lose traction. It will get you a good lap time, lol. The hardest thing I am finding on bigger bikes is just the 'cracking open the throttle' action. Once the engine is loaded onto the rear wheel and I am applying positive power to the ground, the smooth roll on is not too difficult. But cracking open the throttle mid corner right when I want to without delay, and without being abrupt is just a skill I need to master more. On the 300, it is very easy to crack it open at maximum lean angle and have the most buttery smooth engine engagement when cracking open the throttle, but I just haven't got that down on the big bikes yet.

That brings up a new question I have, especially for you folks who like quick turn throttles. How long should I use the progressive cam in the Rev3 kit to aid in my throttle control? I don't think I'd want to leave it in forever, it would make me worse off at throttle control in the long term I'd think. Maybe after my first track season on the 750 I could take it out if I have gotten better control? I hope the progressive cam won't make it hard to control my roll on out of corners say if my rear gets a bit loose. Some folks still think there is too much travel on modern supersport bikes in the throttle. Although, I had a late gen ZX-6R, and I do think the throttle on that was a good deal less sensitive than this one on my 750. Maybe it was computerized stuff, but still.

Thoughts? Thanks folks!
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've actually done that already. Yeah looking at the actual cam on the throttle bodies, and where the cables meet up, I made it much tighter than the manual recommends. Still the tiniest bit of play to ensure it still closes and doesn't open when I move the bars all the way, but yeah.

It definitely helped. Especially blipping for downshifts, it makes that much more predictable. Right now that is one of the biggest challenges is smooth downshifts. On my old ZX6 it was quite easy to blip, it was somehow more manageable. But alas, I wrecked that bike before I could get more familiar with how the throttle worked. I did have to tighten up that throttle cable set a lot too to make it usable as well. Must just be how high performance engines with throttle cables work....

I am beginning to think you are right about getting used to stock more. It does get better every day, and I find my grip is relaxing more as I gain more control over the throttle. My throttle is as old as the bike, and one of the OEM throttle cables is not available anymore, so I may still get the Rev3 throttle (along with a nice RH control set) and set it up similar to stock at least, just for the replacement.

What do you think?
-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Yeah group rides usually end poorly. I usually ride alone, and if I am riding with others, it's usually the closest homies, and I can usually talk to them on bluetooth coms. Helps talk things through and calm people down if needed, and warn people in the ride of hazards. I probably do max of 3 total riders in a group ride.

But yeah, those are usually not great, at least with other sport bike riders. Good call.

-Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
@Rapido1 So I did adjust my TPS. I couldn't get my voltmeter on the STP sensor, but it wasn' throwing a code so I presume it was calibrated enough for the bike to run its self-calibrate every time the engine runs.

Anyhow! I adjusted the TPS and it is so much better! I can really crack the throttle open the tiniest amount possible and it's fantastic. Wow! I think the twitchyness might still be there maybe 5% if it was there 100% before the adjustment. I went through the diagnostic mode to set the TPS, and man it was a pain. The most tiny adjustment is way too far an adjustment immediately, and after you tighten the set screw to lock the sensor in place, it just gets out of adjustment in the direction that makes the throttle twitchy....

Either way, I got it either spot on or super close. Maybe it could be a hair more in the right direction and it really would be flawless. I'll keep riding it and getting used to the new fixed throttle and maybe I will find that the leftover twitch is just my wrist, lol.

Fun times. I genuinely find the bike much more controllable now! Definitely helps riding in the wet, and just with the general finesse.

Good call on the TPS!
-Mike
 
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