View Full Version : Top Heavy?
Brought home my new Aprilia 500 today. Is this thing top heavy or is it just me? I'm short of stature so balance is awkward... But tilted at a quick stop (luckily quiet back-street) and down it went. Learned two things at least - easy to jump off of and easy to pick up. :(
No damage to me or bike, but anyone with experience and or advice on compensating the weight? I'm coming off a Suzuki LS650 btw and novice rider (took/passed this past month). Continued on to a quiet parking lot to work turns and such - it has the feel of wanting to drop on sharp turns. Or am I getting paranoid after the first drop? Thanks! ~kit
10-26-2002, 04:50 PM
It is tall, but not such a high center of gravity. As soon as I mounted mine, the first time, I immediately noticed that the seat seemed high. I find that I cannot stop it quite as smooth and straight as my motorcycles. To keep from leaning it (causing it to turn) when I am stopping, I have been braking to nearly a full stop and then putting one or both feet down. If one leg is extended out past the floor board while still rolling, the scooter tends to tip and come to a wobbly stop. I seem to be doing better stops if I keep my feet planted on the floor boards until practically a complete dead stop.
10-26-2002, 08:54 PM
Since you advised that you have recently got your endorsement I will take that to mean that you are relatively new to riding..
Keep both feet on floor till bike is just about stopped. then put your left foot down only..
Secondly, Keep your eyes focused straight ahead, do not look down at your feet or the road. Doing so will cause the bike to veer towards where you are looking.
thirdly, sign up for a MSF course ASAP, If you have taken the basic course already, sign up for the ERC course..
Sorry, just realized I left out key word in original post. Yes, I just passed the MSF course this past month. ;)
And yup, my biggest habit to overcome is the temptation to look DOWN instead of up (or exit point of turn).
As for advanced course, no-can-do until you are riding at least 6 months (per MSF instructors). :( Sticking to back roads and parking lots here and working my way up. My problem is I do GREAT turning and such in the parking lot. But I get panicked in traffic. That's how I went down earlier.
Pulling out of my driveway, van came whipping around the corner and I jumped on the brakes. Once the thing started to tip though I just could not seem to grab it - that's what I meant about it seeming top-heavy.
10-27-2002, 01:53 AM
At least you know you are uneasy in traffic and are going to take it easy. That is the best thing. Watch the side roads however they are loaded with driveways and people,kids, and dogs. The suggestions are good that you have been given. I am 5'6" and yes the seat is tall. I come to a stop with my feet on the boards and then put down only my left foot. Unless there is paint on the left then I put down my right. Watch the paint is can be slick. The Atlantic is not top heavy compaired to motorcycles. The weight is low but with the type tires it has it rolls through the low CG(center of gravity). Like they said keep your head up. Practice coming to a stop in a parking lot and puting your left foot down. Practice getting the foot down without any drag. Just place the foot flat as if steping off a step. That will teach you to time the stop (also saves on boot soles)
10-27-2002, 01:58 AM
I forgot to mention I slide a little forward on the seat sometimes to help reach the ground. I am looking into cuting down the seat I would also like it a little firmer. One last thing I have discovered. I had to brake realy hard myself to avoid a van. You must in a hard braking manuver watch out that you don.t slide forward off the seat. Best to brace your self with a foot against the forward upslant of the floorboard. You don't have the tank to brace nor grip with your knees.
10-28-2002, 03:13 PM
It's funny I have exactly the opposite feeling on the scooter. To me it almost feels like the scooter wants to stand up alone. Compared to my Suzuki LC1500 the scooter has much less tendency to want to tip over and tight turns are much easier than on the bike.
Like the others have said you just need to practice. When I started riding again after a 30 year lull I was extremely leery of falling when turning and frankly I was afraid to ride on the roads. I took the MSF course and then spent the next few weeks on lightly traveled roads and empty parking lots just practicing.
First and foremost in my opinion is practicing stopping/braking. Find an emply parking lot and just practice stopping as quickly as possible traveling in a straight line. If you do it enough it will become second nature to you like breathing. Keep your feet on the boards until just before you are stopped and pick them up just as soon as you start moving. One of the quickest ways to fall is to put your feet on the ground when the scooter is moving. Always look to where you want to go and not down or right in front of the bike. The scooter is going to go where you are looking. If you see something in the road ahead that you do not want to run over, like a pothole or dead animal, don't look at it. If you do you will run right over it.
Keep at it and ride safe.
I guess I'm just a big chicken. :p As previously mentioned, I do GREAT in the parking lots. Tight turns, faster turns, good stops, etc. During the MSF course the only blips I had were the dreaded "box" (edged over the line on the last turn) and on the quick-stop portion of the test I slipped on the downshift (stopped okay just didn't make it to 1st gear). But I'm "turn" paranoid I guess on the real road.
My first trip on the road (on the Suzuki Savage) I went down into the ditch. I let myself get "pushed" by a tailgater and I took a left turn too fast. Did everything possible wrong - accelerated INTO the turn, did not watch my exit point, realized I was too wide and tried to brake (in the middle of the turn). Rear end slid right out and as my hubby said (who was following me) we slid "gracefully" ditchward.
My first (official) fall on the Atlantic (I won't even mention my idiodic idea of practicing a turn on grass - new tires, rain the day before <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/intl/aenglish/images/emoticons/ohwell.gif ALT=":\"> ) I pinned down two of the contributors to the fall. When I hit the brakes, I was halfway onto the street at a 45 degree angle (to the left). I also had that left foot out hoping to grab the road.
I think I've also pinned down why I thought the Atlantic was "top heavy". I'm only 5'2. On the Savage, if I need to grab the bike (for reasons of the inexperienced overbalancing kind), I rely on my knees on the tank as well as legs to hold that thing up. Nothing for my knees to grasp on the Atlantic. It's feet on the ground and all arm and shoulder torque.
So anyway. Thank you again for the feedback. I will definitely be practicing those moves!
10-28-2002, 10:23 PM
K Lee, I commend you for not giving up or getting too discouraged. I have owned at least 24 motorcycles (no more than 3 at a time) and have ridden off and on since more than thirty years ago. But, I still have brain farts while riding. The way you had to brake with the front wheel turned happened to me a few years ago on an expensive plastic-clad Kawasaki ZX11. I had begun to pull out into traffic and then realized I didn't have time to do it safely. So, I grabbed the front brake. With the front wheel turned and no lean angle, I "high sided" and dropped it. Although barely rolling, there was $2,000 damage from the asphalt. There is a whole article (July 2002 issue) on SLOW GOING in the Proficient Motorcycling series that is a regular feature of Motorcycle Consumer News -- a great magazine to help improve you skills and knowlege. You should also read Keith Code's books and David Hough's books.
11-01-2002, 08:17 PM
I survived through forty years of riding, commuting and although had some close calls, never anything really serious.
There are some things that you simply cannot avoid. Riding on Hospital Curve near San Francisco in the rain with plenty of oil on the freeway, I went down.
A woman, for no apparent reason jammed on her brakes in front of me and although I had left plenty of stopping room, my rear wheel slid out from under me and I cartwheeled down on my side on the Goldwing and ended up against the chain link fence in the median.The bike slid on the luggage case, center stand and my faring and I didn't even tear my riding suit.
My rule of survival was: Pretend you are the big ship in the movie "Independence Day" with a shield or zone of protection around you. Never let anyone get too close to you on any side when you are at speed.Pull over to the side if necessary for a tailgater and never have a confrontation, You will never win
11-02-2002, 01:07 AM
Wow! Then can we take it that you were not seriously hurt? Thank goodness!
Wise words - I always ride to keep a big "wall of space" around me too - ESPECIALLY IN FRONT! - and always watching for gravel, slickness, or debris on the road.
Is this related to your selling the Atlantic?
11-03-2002, 04:18 PM
In answer yo your query, no, I was not hurt at all. I could have gone under the car ahead, but instead cartwheeled into the median.
No, regarding the selling of my Atlantic. I'm only semi-serious about selling at all. I love to ride it, but since I'm an old dude, I don't like the cold.
We are headed south for the winter in our motorhome and it will sit until Spring.
I'm almost sure, since it is a 2003 model that I can get just as much then as now since I'm sure when the dealers get them, the price will go up.
At this time, I would consider any serious offer between $5000 and $5500.
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