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Floating - Sort Of


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Today, I did a 50 mph ride on the kid's CB400SF in cool weather (6C). This is a bike that I have never gelled with and I don't dare using force to change direction because it feels like I can easily turn it fast enough that the front wheel will plow. I know this is unlikely, but that's the sensation I get.


But today I snapped it into a left-hander quite a bit more briskly than ever before. And got greated by a sensation I've never felt before on a motorcycle. Namely, the sensation of being weightless. The bike, that is. It felt for a second like it the bikes detached from the road and floating above it. I also had a feeling that my line got shifted outwards a foot.


However, there were no actual sliding sensation, the feeling you get when tyres are sliding. Not any sensation of slide/grip. Just a weird floating sensation. I'm pretty positive the wheels were planted and absolutely positive that nothing or nobody were weightless. So it's a sensation in my head that got interpreted wrongly. But is there a logical explanation to this sensation, or am I just going mad?

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It felt like the whole bike was floating evenly. The suspension isn't much to write home about, but I've had far worse bikes in that respect. The pace through the corner was even with no acceleration or deceleration and lean was far from dramatic. It just felt like the wheels move out under me when I turned in, almost like I stayed where I were and the bike shifted position outwards as if not attached to the road. Pretty weird and not entirely easy to fully explain accurately.

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  • 5 months later...

Took the kid's little Honda out for a spin again today. It's the first time I rode it since I upped the rear shock spring preload from min to max and filled the fork with 20W instead of 10W oil as well as a bit more of it.


It rides a lot firmer, going from Gold Wing cushy to almost jarring on pot hole infested sections. But this also gives me more feel for what the tyres are on about.


Whether or not the new, correctly sized Michelin Pilot Street Radial (140/70 - we've used two sets of 150/70 before while the front is still one step too wide at 120/70) have made a difference, I cannot say. But the Dunlops are long gone, replaced by Nankang sport-touring rubber, of which the front is still holding up fine. I rode it with soft suspension and Nankangs and still hated it and felt highly insecure. Big chicken strips.


Regardless, today it was a transformed machine for me. I got rid of all traces of chicken strips on the rear tyre after just a few corners, whereas the front still has one half inch left. Other than a few micro-slides when riding over a few pebbels, the tyres stuck just fine.


In fact, today it was my own conservatism (well, fear limit) of what the road could take that set my speed, and not any lack of confidence in the bike. I could corner faster than on the Z650, in which I have total confidence. So set-up does matter ;)

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