When Things Feel Awkward With An Old Friend

When Things Feel Awkward With An Old Friend

While doing the Void Rally 11 and for the week following when I was road tripping on it, there were several times when my Tiger felt tall, top-heavy and a smidgen unwieldy. I actually felt like I needed to “be careful” versus operating in a way that felt second nature, if you know what I mean.

This is sort of a new phenomenon. There was a time when the big orange girl felt so right. But as I’ve had dalliances with other more petite, narrower and lighter bikes my relationship with the Tiger has changed. It has largely become my traveling bike and so it sits for longer periods of time now. So when I go from riding something low with a smaller footprint like the Bonnie, the Tiger feels gigantic and tipsy.

I especially feel it’s weight being carried up high during slow maneuvering, say… on a hill making a turn from a stop. Or when my tippy-toed feet have to negotiate an uneven surface with pebbles or rocks. I think I’ve become paranoid about dropping it again – like i did last October in Ohio.

It’s disappointing how such events can take root in your mind. Tens of thousands of trouble free miles and then you have one stinkin’ tipover and everything thereafter becomes a nervous exercise in trying not to do it again.

Anyone else go through this with one of their bikes? Lately I’m wondering if this is the prelude to a protracted breakup. I don’t consciously want anything else though.

12 Replies to “When Things Feel Awkward With An Old Friend”

  1. Yep. It messed with my mind on my Tiger 800xc. I’m 5’8″ and still struggled with the top heavy nature of it. We live near heaps of dirt track mountain roads (high country Victoria, Australia) and after a few nasty drops I lost confidence with myself and the bike. Those slow speed, from-a-stop U turns you speak of were the end of me, particularly on dirt. It was the only bike I had, so I made do. Early this year I got tired of the fear (there was also embarrassment in there too) and bought a Tiger 800xrx. Great bike and I love it. Should never of held onto the xc as long as I did, but I guess I’m a stubborn cow and didn’t want it to beat me ;-).

    1. That’s the worst 🙁

      Well, it stinks that you suffered through but i guess we operate on hope that things will magically change. Sometimes I guess we need to kick them in the pants to make it happen. I’m glad to hear things have turned around for you 🙂

  2. I tipped over on my R1100RT back in July. I had just gotten the screws outta my right ankle, and I was trying to pick up where I had left off. I sold the bike shortly after, and bought my Super Tenere. I can reach the ground better, and it’s not as top heavy. I was able to pick up the BMW by myself. I think I could pick up the Yamaha alone. I don’t wanna find out.

    Riding dirt bikes, I fall on a regular basis. I fell off my IT490 twice yesterday, and never gave it a second thought. Maybe it’s cuz I can pick it up by myself. It’s also a lot lighter and harder to damage.

    Maybe the difference is that road bikes are ridden in public, so there’s there’s the “humiliation factor” attached to dropping it, and possibly needing help to right it. I have no intention of giving up road riding or getting a smaller road bike, but I would entertain that thought if it kept me riding.

    1. Yeah, i hope you dont need to find out, too.

      I know what you mean – offrraod it is more “natural” though still unwelcome. But the road bikes? It seems to wrong. I dont even know if it is the embarrassment factor though that certainly sucks. On a roadbike when its on its side you didn’t try hard enough. A dirty bike? You tried hard 🙂

  3. Dropped my TEX while standing at a stop light just the other night. Put my foot down wrong and lost balance. Once she starts to go… It’s all over but the crying! Sh*t happens. Shake it off. In the grand scheme of things, the important part is that you can still ride. If all you do is tip? You are winning! It’s going down at high speed that’s the problem!

  4. Rachel,

    When I got my new bike last year we had a love-hate relationship. It was too tall for me and a few times I lost my footing on uneven ground and 3 tipovers. It shook my confidence in a huge way. I actually thought about selling my bike. Then I made the decision to get a lowering link and then took an advanced riders course and bith things helped quite a bit and took the stress off. But sometimes I think we do outgrow bikes for various reasons, maybe time is coming for a change and if it is you both had a good run!

  5. When we have ridden for so many years these things happen. Pull up to park the bike and get off and walk away without putting the kickstand down. These things happen. Jesse , 45 years in the saddle, thousands of miles of riding two up with my wife on the wing. I crashed two up making a right turn into my driveway just a few years back. I was doing 3 mph. I took aren’t or two and my wife dislocated her hip. I figure I just got lazy. This stuff happens. If some say it does not happen to them they are Lieing.

  6. One week after I bought my 2014 Wing I was in Florida and driving exhausted. I stopped on a sloped shoulder and got off – only to watch my new Wing lay over to take a nap. Ever since them I think about that a lot and am nervous about parking on any slope at all.

    That being said, I live with it and love my ride!!

  7. I had an accident as a brand new rider when I got my FZ6R. 2 kids rode out on bicycles from in between townhouses not too far in front of me, and I slammed on the brakes and tried to swerve. I did a stoppie and went down with my bike, clinging to it like a spider monkey. The kids were long gone and didn’t even stop to see if I was ok. Picked the bike up, and rode it home (no I didn’t hit the kids, and I was going 10 mph at the time starting to get up to the speed limit in the neighborhood).

    It shook my confidence for a good several months. I didn’t trust my bike at all. I haven’t dropped the GSXR, but it is wobbly at low speeds and it makes me a little nervous. My FZ6R I now trust to do pretty much anything, but I know what you mean. One tipover can make you nervous and think about it, especially on iffy sections of the road. On my GSXR, I’ve gotten very creative with how I have to take low speed turns with it since it has like zero turning radius. It’s also slightly taller in the seat than the FZ6R, and while I stand at about 5’6″, I still am on the balls of my feet on hills or higher sections of pavement. My husband hasn’t dropped a bike or had an accident and doesn’t really understand the nerves at times.

  8. I feel ya, I really do. I have dropped every one of my 9 bikes (in succession, not concurrently, mostly) at some time or other. My current bike, since 2010, is a 1200GS, standard height, and I ride with all hard bags most of the time. I have dropped it many times and probably could pick it up myself if I made sure to do it the right way, not the quick, ohmygodbeforesomeoneseesme way. 😉 But, I get over it and still love the bike. If I was in your shoes, had other bikes not so tall and top heavy, I might feel differently. You are certainly not alone in your questioning, that I know!

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