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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

before I get in depth about this, I want to ask if there is a way to lessen how easy it is to turn the bike. I can turn the bike too easily with the new tires on it, which means sometimes I slightly over steer the bike. I have heard people say to raise the bars on the front strut to reduce your ability to corner, but it bike is on the high side as it is. Is there any way to do with without increasing the height of the bike? Is there any way to lower the bike's height without adjusting the suspension or the lowering the bars on the forks? The suspension is set up on the setting best for my weight, so I would like to keep that the same.

Pre-text
So I came to the Kawasaki family from a Suzuki GS500F and although I hated that bike with a firey passion from Heck, I was never really content with my Ninja 650R (2009) till recently. The Suzuki was freaking heavy... I mean that was what made me hate it so much... but the dang thing would turn so easy. By that, I mean I didn't need to counter steer the handle bars to complete my turns... Ever. When I shifted to the ninja 650R, I found that I had to force the mike to turn /lower using the bar on 95% of my turns... it was ridiculous... I tried adjusting the front end down on the front forks and that helped reduce the amount i would have to push the bars to counter steer, but I still had to 95% of the time. That to me was frustrating because it took my mind off the road on every turn...

(somewhat an explanation of my Michelin Commander II choice)
So fast forward about 4-5 months and I had to do a tire change due to unforeseen events... not even gunna go there... But anyway, I made up my mind, I was going to get some cruiser tires for my crotch rocket... I feel like I am about to get shot saying that and laughing to myself, but bear with me you'll understand in a min. I spent hours looking into what people were doing to get more miles/stability out of their tires and google lead me to a revzilla video where they were talking about the Michelin Commander II Tires and how people were getting 20-30k miles out of a set (2015 Best Motorcycle Tires, Top Tires Buyers Guide - RevZilla). So that sealed the deal for me and I searched until I found someone after many google pages had a dealer accidentally put a set on the bike, because the guy at the counter didn't know what he was doing. So I found a calculator and crunched the numbers to figure out the most comparable set to my stock 120/70 & 160/60 's. The closest tires were 120/90 & 160/70, which meant the diameter of the wheel jumps up an inch or two if I remember right. For me I could give a crap less because I'm 26 and I am just getting too old to do stupid sh!t anymore, but kids pop'in wheelies and knee dragging all the time are probably shak'in their head.

(Back to turning problem that they fixed-ish and start review)
Now to continue with the turning issue I was having on the Ninja 650R... After the old tires were switched out for the new Commander II's, I hopped on the bike and noticed the height had definitely increased (its about 1/2 an inch higher than I want it now vs before where it was 1 inch too short). Upon my first 15 seconds of riding, I was pleasantly surprised! I can turn the bike by just shifting my weight again! YES!!! There was a drastic change in the maneuverability of the bike (not the handling which I will get to that in a min). I no longer have to counter steer the bike unless I am basically trying to knee drag, it is like the best thing since sliced bread. Now most people will be saying, you just lost all of your grip you idiot, that's why you can turn so easy. I can honestly say with 92% certainty that I didn't lose any of it. I attribute this to the size change, the tire is a little wider and they just kind of lean better because of the symmetry design, and aggression or the shape... I have put a few hundred miles on the tires and they are still the same feel but look brand spank'in new....

(A little more in depth - Maneuverability & Stopping power)
Now the handling of the bike has changed a little. I feel like there is 0 traction loss comparing to my sports tires, but there is some feedback loss when riding straight up more so than on the side wall. The reason I know that there is no loss in traction is because I can feel the bike and the rear end's speed loss when downshifting/braking and when it breaks completely loose from braking too hard, but I can't quite tell when I am getting close to breaking loose from the pavement due to inertia trumping traction. That is my biggest quarrel with these tires, but I think it has made me a better rider because I don't tailgate (as bad) and am more cautious in the rain, despite knowing there isn't really any difference much difference in stopping power vs my sport tires.

Take off Grip
Now I am odd because to me Grip is 2 things, stopping power as i just went over and launch grip. Think about it, when you brake, you more than likely pull your clutch, so there are a ton of different forces art work VS cracking the throttle and taking off like a bat outta heck. So, when I take off from a stop, I don't see any grip loss, I actually think that I have more grip (torque loss from tire size bump up aside) and seem to get a better take off out of my bike. From a rolling launch, I feel like it is just about impossible while above ~12 mph to burn out while rolling and clutch dumping unless you are near red-line. I don't make this a habit, but some Azzwart in a mustang forced me to test this. (rambling/in-depth explanation disclaimer) He thought he would be cool trying to crack the throttle from a light and blow by me like he was a bad mofo. My problem is that I accelerate quick from a stop if I'm the front car at a light, its the street racer in me, I just cant help it, forever cursed and I also anticipate lights. So whoever you are, I will have a lead on you, even if I don't know your going to take off and try to race me. So at about 11-17 mph a few seconds into the light turning green, this freaking mustang catches up to me and gets beside me which sets everything into motion (clicking in my head causing me to instinctively), crack the throttle wide open and pull the clutch a little for a pre-load. About the time the wing on his car is next to my face, boom I drop the pr-eload from like 7-8K load and take off hard from my rolling speed. Catch him even at about 35-40mph, and at about 55-65 when I know he is behind me, call it quits. So to make a long story short, no loss in take off grip.

**one last disclaimer**
For the tires to work, I had to remove the front wheel guard and make a bracket to take it up a little over an inch. The rear tire was a direct swap. This being for my 2009 650R, not sure about other years.

** Additional disclaimer ****** Edit in after post

I forgot to mention that the kick stand is a bit on the short side with new tires and scares me unless the ground is level or at an angle such that it helps make the kickstand seem longer like this -> \. The bike leans aggressively parked.. I plan on extending the kick stand in the future. Shouldn't take much effort to cut the old one up and fab / weld a pipe in the middle to extend it some :) they sell longer ones on ebay, but I don't care how my kick stand looks, paint it black and forget about it.


Summary out of 5. (going above 5 is not particularly good meaning a 6 is like a 4)
Turning - 6 out of 5. -- The bike turns so much better now... but it turns too well for my taste as I sometimes over steer a little with just shifting my weight on accident.
Handling - 4.5 out of 5. -- There is a little loss in the ability to feel the road, but at the same time, the hit from pot holes and drag from cracks in the road is reduced greatly creating a much smoother ride.
Ride - 5 out of 5. Way smoother than I have ever thought possible... These things are so nice, my girlfriend BSB says 100% ride quality improvement.
Power - 4.5 out of 5. I think there may have been a little bit of power loss, but I have been having issues with my Power commander 5 fuel controller, so it could be related to that.
Life - 5 out of 5 **** I haven't driven enough to give a good rating for this, but thus far, they show less wear than any tire I have had with this many miles on it.

(re-asking the question if it was forgotten)
The main thing that I would like to lessen a little is my ease of turning. I can turn the bike too easily now, which means sometimes I slightly over steer the bike. I have heard people say to raise the bars on the front strut to reduce your ability to corner, but it bike is on the high side as it is. Is there any way to do with without increasing the height of the bike? Is there any way to lower the bike's height without adjusting the suspension to a softer setting or the lowering the bars on the forks? The suspension is set up on the setting best softness for my weight, so I would like to keep that the same. If I could change something out or move something, but keep the level of absorption, I would be game for that suggestion.

any questions, hit me up.
 

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How do you turn without counter steering? Are you only going slow speed everywhere you go, as in ~20 mph?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
shift weight, turn body, and lean to the side of the bike as an over all answer?

Like I said, if I want to knee drag, i have to counter steer, but I guess it is kind of unfair to say that because if I had curvy roads around here, I would probably have to counter-steer the wheel..
But for you average joe, 90 degree turns in the city, no counter steer, it just works by shifting my weight, leaning into the turn, and leaning to the side. I also start leaning before the turn instinctively to make it a nice gradual and graceful process then pull my weight out of it the opposite way to gradually stop turning. Is that cheating?

If I am on the highway, I shift my knee out often beyond the faring, move my weight the direction i want the bike to go, and then lean that way. If I need to do a really quick lane change I'll counter-steer, but I don't do aggressive lane changes on the bike often. (mostly because I ride when traffic is minimal usually.

I also kind of stand up a little when I turn, or rather I take my weight off the seat so that should I hit a bump or slide, I can react faster/am not disoriented.

Does this help at all? The bike turns easy, but it is balanced enough that if you have the room, it will go from slanted / to vertical on it's own just about. It is kind of hard to explain, but I think it has a lot to do with the curve or U that the tire makes. Never felt anything like it, but I have only tried 10 or so bikes.

It is possible that when I lean, the weight of my arms counter steers the wheel a little with how I am moving my body, but I definitely make no effort to counter steer nor do I try to.

not saying that I could do "the tail of the dragon" without counter steering, but for 95% of your Point A to Point B trips where you don't go out of your way to find a curvy road that is kind of on the way, I don't need to counter steer the wheel to make the turn, but I don't think I would take a turn at over 30 mph, there is way too much gravel on the roads to be doing that kind of crap around here (unless it is a road I have been on a ton and trust).

I hope that better explains.

speed limit + 7-15 mph. normally i go from speeding / above speed limit to slightly below by the time I turn apex-ing all of my turns, so I coast from pre-turn and start through the tightest part of the apex, then accelerate gradually as I pull out of the turn.

Highway is anywhere from 65-100 MPH variating from 10 over to 30 over. I don't like to go over 100mph on the highway unless it's an emergency.

I guess if you were an aggressive rider 100% of the time you would counter steer some, but I try not to ride aggressive anymore, I have almost been T-boned full on about 10-15 times in the past 2 years by drivers who don't do what the traffic signs say and are not paying attention. (straight in turn lanes, running lights, not stopping/yielding) I have to be more cautious now in the city cause ppl are retarded...
 

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"Counter steering? Never done it" from a recently retired WSBK champion. I've never seen the MotoGP riders do it either, only in an emergency situation, never in regular riding, carving or speeding in the canyons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"Counter steering? Never done it" from a recently retired WSBK champion. I've never seen the MotoGP riders do it either, only in an emergency situation, never in regular riding, carving or speeding in the canyons.
Thank you, I was beginning to worry that I was cheating the system somehow or something... Imagine you go from rarely counter-steering to a bike that makes you push hard counter-steer 100% of the time... it effing sucks... now that the tires have been changed, the bike turns so damn well i have to go easy on how much I lean when turning haha. Any advice on reducing the ease at which she leans? I feel like if I push like I normally would have before the tire change, Ill lay it on it's side easily.
 

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The upright handle bar doesn't apply sufficient down force on the front wheel. For your style of riding I'd go to flat bars or clip-ons. I push down on the front fork with my arms bent, elbows out and chest over the fuel cap in order to get more feel off the front tyre. I just changed to Metzeler Z8, they give a more spongy ride compared to the Roadsmart2 I had from new. I got 12,000 kilometres from the rear, could have got another 1000 or so but it rains a lot here in winter and the Metzeler have a better reputation in the wet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
p.s. If you counter steer, it isn't really a bad thing to do unless your racing (for the reason a GP racer needs to stay kind of loose to make those hellina tight turns. If one were counter steering and bumped the road or one of those side pads while counter steering, it would be tragic. I don't see any way for someone to correct the path of a bike if that were to happen, but then again, there is always that 1 guy that has figured out a way to do it, so take that with a grain of salt.

I just have always worked on leaning and I raced cars before bikes, so apexing my turns was something I already did prior to my first bike. it just kind of went hand in hand, but I don't think I could do what the GP guys do without counter steering... they have a lot more practice, balls, better parts, custom compound tires, & etc. I think I am average joe level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For your style of riding I'd go to
flat bars or clip-ons ----- Check, I have the 2 piece clip on (well I guess a bolt tightens it onto the strut, and I have it set at a weird yet comfortable angle.
I push down on the front fork with my arms bent ------ Check. sometimes I instinctively push so hard I am sore after a short ride fml lol.
elbows out and chest over the fuel cap in order to get more feel off the front tyre ---- more feel of the front tire? that is my general stance unless i am straight line riding. If I know I am not turning, my head is almost directly over the cap so my back doesn't hurt so bad.
I haven't tried the road master 2 yet but did consider it. Depending on how these ones go, I will try those next. Thes ones kind of have a stiff ride, by that i mean you glide, until you hit a big bump, then you really feel it. the small ones you hardly feel.
I have thought about playing with the tire PSI and dropping it some. The wall's rubber is a harder compound, so it kind of support's its self. I could see dropping the PSI help you feel the road, but I wanted to get the Power commander working first and get some more miles of experience with these.

P.S. forgot to mention in original post that the kick stand is a bit on the short side with new tires and scares me unless the ground is level. the bike leans aggressively parked.. I plan on extending the kick stand in the future.
 

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WOW!
 

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I think that your steering issue is the profile of your front tire...120/90 on a rim made for a 120/70 means that your front tyre is more 'peaked' than the standard tyre - you are losing some of your contact patch and you have completely changed the geometry of the front end. Kawasaki didn't just find some tyres in a back shed and throw them on the bike - everything is R&D and matched for optimum handling in most foreseeable circumstances given the technology of the front end. Try a standard size front tyre and see if there are any changes....

PS - I always carry a piece of 4"x4"x3/4" plywood. I put it under the side stand when the surface is inclined or dodgy - mud and so forth...high tech solution ;)
 

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I was only able to make it about half way through the first post, thinking this guy is full of "fail" the whole time. I don't even know where to start. This is a joke right?
Interesting point of view. I read it all, I think that the OP might be legit...not overly clued-up...but legit...but then again....Is it important?
 

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But for you average joe, 90 degree turns in the city, no counter steer, it just works by shifting my weight, leaning into the turn, and leaning to the side. I also start leaning before the turn instinctively to make it a nice gradual and graceful process then pull my weight out of it the opposite way to gradually stop turning. Is that cheating?
The simple answer is:
You have a different bike now with different handling characteristics (probably better really) and you have to adjust your riding style to match it.
Really, honestly.

And what you are describing of your riding technique is almost certain to produce "over steer" in most street riding situations.
Try a LITTLE lean (without shifting your body consciously) and a LITTLE countersteer; the countersteer should happen more or less automatically when you lean.
And stop anticipating the turn and starting your turning "manuvers" before you really need to.

It sounds to me like you are riding on the street like you would on a race track and that is NOT good.

If you get less aggressive with your riding style, I think things will just automatically "come in" with a little practice.

P.S. Forget about trying to change the handling of your bike to make it "tighter".
If you really can't adjust to the different feel, start shopping for a different bike.
 

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I think you summed this up perfectly. Is this one of those threads where we just calmly walk away?


Remember the story of the three pigs? Remember how the one pig built his house from straw? You've done that here by not understand counter-steering. That concept is not an option. Its how the bike turns once your moving faster than a walking pace.
leaning, weighting pegs, going through your gymnastic moves, pay attention to your hands.

Heres how to teach yourself. The next time you start doing the gynmastic moves to turn, pay attention to your hands. Once you feel that, stop the cool moves and use your hands.

PS...the world superbike rider was joking, and/or did not want to get into it with fools.....

Its not even soemthing a person can argue about, but its very easy to miss unless someone tells you. As kids, we ride for 15 years before the term was invented. You've done it , too, if you've ridden a bicycle or motorcycle.

You learned it the day your parents took the training wheels off your bicycle. Up until now, you've never been aware of it.
 

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Overthinking it and to "purposeful." Need to rely more on feel and feedback. In the turns, try using just one hand on the handlebars and the other just lightly touching. Or watch some of the how to videos on YouTube. All this chatter is just overwhelming.
 

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I think you summed this up perfectly. Is this one of those threads where we just calmly walk away?


Remember the story of the three pigs? Remember how the one pig built his house from straw? You've done that here by not understand counter-steering. That concept is not an option. Its how the bike turns once your moving faster than a walking pace.
Yup, this appears to be a "just walk away" moment. But, alas, sometimes it's soooo difficult.

I figure there's one of three possibilities, 1) the OP has figured out a way to defy the laws of physics, 2) the OP has no clue how to ride, or 3) this post was written in the spirit of The Onion.

Here's the no BS (body steering) bike from the superbike school.

 

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Here's the no BS (body steering) bike from the superbike school.
The problem with the "no BS" bike is that it is TOTAL BS.

The point it is trying to make......that it is impossible to actually ride a bike in practical situations without countersteering......is absolutely correct.

BUT.....there are things ingrained into your brain that you just can't override. One of them is: If you are holding the handle bars, you MUST countersteer.
A really experienced rider can steer the bike through gentle maneuvers with "no hands" or hands on the tank just fine. I do it all the time.
The problem is when your unconscious brain thinks you have ahold of an actual set of handle bars but they don't work like they are supposed to.

"It is really not practical to ride a bike doing normal daily things without countersteering." True.
"You cannot make a bike turn without countersteering." Absolutely false.
 

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Yup, this appears to be a "just walk away" moment. But, alas, sometimes it's soooo difficult.

I figure there's one of three possibilities, 1) the OP has figured out a way to defy the laws of physics, 2) the OP has no clue how to ride, or 3) this post was written in the spirit of The Onion.

Here's the no BS (body steering) bike from the superbike school.

That's what I was going to post. The OP needs to read some Keith Code writings/videos (Twist of the wrist etc.) and realize that you MUST counter steer to turn a motorcycle, unless you are going at less than, what, about 10 or 15 MPH? People who think they are 'body steering' are actually counter steering without realizing it.

I really couldn't finish reading the OP's post once I read the part on the counter steering, although I did manage to 'skim over' it.
 
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