Been riding my 2012 Suzuki VStrom 650 for just over three weeks now. Great starting bike and my skills are improving after every ride — the gear changes, throttle application and braking proficiency is smoothing out. A good friend recommended I read the book Sport Riding Techniques and I’ve been devouring each chapter. Though I don’t own a sport bike, so to speak, the skills the book dissects are critical and worthwhile.
Case in point, initially I was grabbing at the front brake with a full hand. The first chapter of the book strongly recommended use the index and middle-fingers for brake control. Modern brakes are powerful enough for two-finger application and “grabbing a handful of brake” in an emergency situation will only lead to disaster (front wheel washout). I’ve found this tip to be change from my self-taught methods — and a good one.
The one thing this book stresses, beyond any other technique, is braking. Brake at slow speed, brake at high speed, consistently brake and learn the limits of your own skill and the limits of the bike. As stated in the book, the throttle is the most abused control on two-wheels; however, the brake is much more import. So, based on instruction, I take my bike to a deserted parking lot, get up to 40mph and apply the brakes in a consistent but strong method. I try to decrease the amount of distance needed to fully stop and after a few attempts, engaging both the front and rear brake I start feeling the shudder of ABS through the handlebars — the very reason I sought and purchased the VStrom. Great day of riding while my continual learning curve of the bike continues.