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Old May 16th, 2016, 04:28 AM   #1
ZeroGravity360
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Backing up?

I am 5'6 and I can ALMOST flat foot my bike. I have maybe an inch between my heel and the ground. When ever I go anywhere and try to back my bike up into a parking spot, I move so slowly I just end up getting off and pulling it back with the kickstand down just in case. This works, however, it is a hazard to traffic coming when I park down town and in my parking lot, I hold up cars trying to pass. Any other short riders in here? Any tips on how to back up faster? I REALLY do not want to lower it.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:04 AM   #2
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So we have all came to the realization that neutral is to easy to get in, what they don't tell you is how tricky it is to get into reverse. You have to hold the clutch in at a 37 deg angle, release the back brake on a 10 deg grade and slowly and surely press in on the shifter. JK

I don't have this issue but most will either say to lower the bike, keep tip toeing or get higher heels, ask @JohnnyBravo where he gets his heels.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:04 AM   #3
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I have to walk my bike backwards. It's 600 pounds and I can barely touch Down.

I just try to park nose out whenever possible.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 06:24 AM   #4
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That is a sure way to drop your bike, especially if backing up downhill.
The reason is the more the bike moves backwards, the less contact and leverage the foot/leg has.

Practice walking next to the bike, while keeping it balanced with just a little of weight towards your body.
You can use a helper walking on the right side of the bike the first times, so he/she can hold it if you loose balance and the bike tries to fall over the right.

If you loose balance towards you, use your right leg against the side panel to stop it and then recover balance and resume walking.

Grab the left hand grip and the rear handle at the same time.
You should be able to steer with your left hand only.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 07:44 AM   #5
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Old May 16th, 2016, 08:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Motofool View Post
Grab the left hand grip and the rear handle at the same time.
You should be able to steer with your left hand only.
Keep in mind both brakes are on the right side. If you've got your right hand on the grab bar rather than the handlebar, your only braking is your muscles against the bike's momentum.


Some people have mentioned that rearsets (which move the peg further back/up) make it easier to walk your bike around. Since the pegs are out of the way, your legs can go straighter down to the ground instead of having to go around the pegs, giving you better footing. That might be an unconsidered way to fix the problem, without really affecting anything on the bike like lowering would.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 09:04 AM   #7
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I'm around the same height; I just consider the fun of backing up another unavoidable joy of being fun sized.

Hopping off the bike and walking it can be faster. I keep the kickstand up and the bike in gear, both hands on the controls. Even if you opt for one hand on the left control, keeping it in gear and gives you the option of releasing the clutch and stopping the bike.

Side note: my streetbike is a 600, not a ninjette. The ninjette is much easier for me to back up...and has no kickstand.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 09:11 AM   #8
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Practice practice practice!

My wife had the same issue. Over time, it became much easier.

Word of advice. DO NOT back up the bike with the engine running and the transmission in Neutral. Why? Odds are good you will bump the shift lever and cause it to go into gear. Always hold the clutch in when backing up.

I would advise against leaving it in gear as the the clutch can drag a little bit making backing up harder, especially with the engine off. Once you've mastered it or become more comfortable, then you can start using this practice.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 09:38 AM   #9
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Two tips from me that may or may not help you:

1. Pushing the bike (forward or backwards) is easier when the bike is in neutral vs when the bike is in 1st gear with the clutch held in. It isn't a huge difference, but there is a tiny difference. Every little bit helps.

2a. If the parking spot is facing uphill, I'll just ride forward into the spot. When it's time to leave, it'll be easy to back out of the spot because gravity is on your side.

2b. If the parking spot is facing downhill, I like to back my bike in. Again gravity is helping me back into a downhill spot. When it's time for me to leave, I use the engine to ride uphill out of the spot.

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Old May 16th, 2016, 10:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toEleven View Post
I'm around the same height; I just consider the fun of backing up another unavoidable joy of being fun sized.

Hopping off the bike and walking it can be faster. I keep the kickstand up and the bike in gear, both hands on the controls. Even if you opt for one hand on the left control, keeping it in gear and gives you the option of releasing the clutch and stopping the bike.

Side note: my streetbike is a 600, not a ninjette. The ninjette is much easier for me to back up...and has no kickstand.
SORRY!!! I meant for a thumb up!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 10:27 AM   #11
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I'm 5' 7 3/4" I can flat foot...
But if you have man sized feet and want some heels check Drag-queen.com or heels for men.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 10:35 AM   #12
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I'm only 5"4 and can't back up while sitting on my bike at all so I ALWAYS have to get off and pull it back. I get really good at scanning around and looking ahead so I can pre-plan where to stop and pull over and then I've moved the bike around so much i've just gotten fairly quick at it. I do find that leaning my hip into the bike and resting it on my hip helps a lot in that it ads some stability.

Sucks being short sometimes. One of my biggest fears EVER was missing my grid spot when racing and having to back up the bike. I always had spotters at my grid spot helping me line the bike up so I didn't have to risk falling down at the start of a race....how humiliating would that be?!!!

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Old May 16th, 2016, 10:50 AM   #13
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I would not worry about holding up traffic. How many times have you sat waiting for some poor sap who cannot parallel park?

Best advice is from cadd I think, pull in or back in with the slope of the hill.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 12:00 PM   #14
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When dirt biking in hilly terrain you will soon learn how useless the front brake is if rolling backwards down a hill! Using engine braking by feathering the clutch whether the engine is running or not will give you full control and stop the bike from rolling backwards out of your control.
There are different scenarios of braking/clutching depending if your pointing uphill or downhill but if you practice on the flat or a very gentle slope I'm sure you'll quickly catch on.
As for worrying about holding up traffic because you have to get off the bike: I wouldn't waste one second worrying about it! Do what you have to do and do it in control without adding needless pressure to yourself! Be more concerned that when you do get the bike parked; it's at a safe angle so it won't tip over and in gear so it won't roll!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 08:08 PM   #15
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Even being able to flat-foot, backing up is really slow sometimes. Keep at it, I think, it seems to be getting easier the more I do it.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 12:57 AM   #16
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My driveway goes uphill... and the most optimal way to park my bike in the garage is with her nose facing outward. (The garage is shared with a Prius, and the fact that I have a sloping wall to park along means that it's safer to park with the handlebars in the wider part of the parking spot, so there's more room between them and a car door that might suddenly hit them.)

Backing 380-some pounds of Ninja up a hill when you're 5'3" and weigh 130 pounds... is intimidating.

I might just end up parking on the sidewalk, backing the Prius out so I can go forward up the hill and turn around in the garage (there's not enough space to turn a full 360 in there otherwise), then re-parking the Prius once the bike's parked. (It's not my Prius, but I'm licensed to drive it.)

On the flip side, I'm getting really muscular calves.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 01:46 AM   #17
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I only put one foot on the ground so I almost always get off and push. Way faster and less chance of dropping my bike. Also way less silly looking than trying to push with one foot for an extended period of time
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Old May 17th, 2016, 02:15 PM   #18
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If no traffic is around, I can duck walk it back with the balls of my feet. I'm no where near both feet flat on the Ninja - even less so on the Honda.

If the slope or ground conditions are not good for backing into a spot along a street or when only one space is open, I'll dismount and walk it back, steering with both hands on the bars and using the clutch and brake to adjust speed.

Usually though I look for spaces I can pull into and circle around to be pointing out (three or more spaces wide), or a spot I can pull through to be pointing out, or any other spot in the area that is better for me to safely and easily park. I don't care if it's close or near others or away from where I'm going, me being comfortable is all that matters.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 02:36 PM   #19
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Use the terrain, plan your stops prior to stopping.
Look for an up slope before you stop, reverse with assist of gravity.

Sit on one thigh and use the opposite (one) leg to support your bike; instead of trying to tip-toe with both leg.
That's what I do with dirt/rallye bike that have 40" standover height.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 06:41 PM   #20
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:43 PM   #21
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Holy cow... it's tempting, but I feel taking my Ninja for a quick pirouette would only end up with both of us on the floor.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:47 PM   #22
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Tried a bit today with rocking the bike back and forth, shifting my weight from one foot to the other and pushing off with the one carrying the weight. This will take some practice....
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Old May 17th, 2016, 09:15 PM   #23
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Holy cow... it's tempting, but I feel taking my Ninja for a quick pirouette would only end up with both of us on the floor.
Baby steps. Start with only getting the weight onto the side stand. When you feel planted; pull a little more until one wheel is off the ground. Repeat until you're comfortable. Maybe it will take a few sessions. When you feel planted; pull a little more until the second wheel clears the ground. When that feels planted; turn it an inch or two. You get the idea; slowly build up your confidence and technique until one day: ta DA!!!
It's an invaluable skill to have!
Good luck! No matter your stature; with practice anyone can swivel any bike on the side stand. Well... Probably not most cruisers!
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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:21 AM   #24
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The sidestand swivel seems super cool and useful, but my fear of expensive failure instantly turns up to eleven every time I ponder attempting it. Someday maybe.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:58 AM   #25
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I used to be 5'7" but my latest physical shows that gravity is catching up with me so I'm 5'6" also.

It does get better with experience, but it's never going to be easy to back up even the slightest incline using just the balls of your feet.

This is the one biggest beefs I have with people who say that not being able to get a foot down is not an issue. If you're short, it IS an issue, especially if you're inexperienced. For those of average height or greater, go duct tape a rolled-up beach towel to your seat and give it a try, especially when there's grit/sand/gravel on the road.

If you're not comfortable getting off and pushing the bike, consider scooting over to one side just a bit so you can get one foot fully down.

The comment on rearsets is spot-on. My Ninjette had rearset adapter plates (they reposition your stock rearsets back and up), and it did make a difference.

Also, if you move as far forward in the seat as you can, the step-over height is less because the seat is narrower close to the tank. That might help.

For the record, my street bike is now a GSX-R750 (seat height 31.9 inches) and I have NO problems duck walking it, because I've gotten used to it.

My track bike is an R6 which is so high I'm on my toes at all times. But since it's a track bike, I never have to deal with street issues like crowned roads, loose surfaces, etc.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:59 AM   #26
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Old May 18th, 2016, 09:32 AM   #27
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The sidestand swivel seems super cool and useful, but my fear of expensive failure instantly turns up to eleven every time I ponder attempting it. Someday maybe.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 12:52 PM   #28
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Sit on one thigh and use the opposite (one) leg to support your bike; instead of trying to tip-toe with both leg.


I'm 5' 0" and that's what I do, pushing off with one foot and grabbing the brake before I push off again.
That's after I lowered my ninja 3 inches aha.

It's also not that much work to lower the bike if you wanted to. I got a kit from roaring toyz and had it all ready to ride in about an hour.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 02:03 PM   #29
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Hey, I have the same lowering kit as you.

And I love your username and quote, @BlueDragon. Short reptilians for ever
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Old May 20th, 2016, 10:37 AM   #30
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5'6" here too (on a good day) and cannot flatfoot. Here's something I do sometimes when reversing up a slight incline:

Link to original page on YouTube.

I've also recently mastered the kickstand pivot (hint: stand closer to the fuel tank/engine side since that's where most of the weight is; also use your leg for extra help in lifting the bike). Very useful for getting out of a somewhat tight space or just my garage.

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Old May 20th, 2016, 10:50 AM   #31
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5'6" here too (on a good day) and cannot flatfoot. Here's something I do sometimes when reversing up a slight incline:

Link to original page on YouTube.
.

This I must try....

Fortunately I now live in a house with a level driveway so I haven't need to screw around with inclines for awhile.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 10:53 AM   #32
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Bouncing it- huh. May have to try that some time. Could be useful.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 11:01 AM   #33
allanoue
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I got tired of dropping my bike because I did not get the kickstand down all the way, so I bought a front tire stand. Bouncing it back is how I get it off the stand.

It works.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 11:40 AM   #34
ZeroGravity360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfman View Post
5'6" here too (on a good day) and cannot flatfoot. Here's something I do sometimes when reversing up a slight incline:

Link to original page on YouTube.

I've also recently mastered the kickstand pivot (hint: stand closer to the fuel tank/engine side since that's where most of the weight is; also use your leg for extra help in lifting the bike). Very useful for getting out of a somewhat tight space or just my garage.

I have to try this, this is great!
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Old May 21st, 2016, 04:54 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allanoue View Post
I got tired of dropping my bike because I did not get the kickstand down all the way, so I bought a front tire stand. Bouncing it back is how I get it off the stand.

It works.
Is that the Harbor Freight stand?

That one works IF you're tall enough and IF your floor is grippy enough.

I bought one of those when it was on sale and adjusted it as far as it would go. I could NOT get my bike out of it... bouncing or any other way. I'm just too short... the stand wound up just sliding across the garage floor.

I now have a Condor chock, which has a cradle you can adjust more than any other stand. I moved the pivot point of the cradle forward, which means there's less "up and over" to get the bike out. Love it.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 05:32 AM   #36
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Baxley wheel chocks ftw. I walk my bike off the chock though.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 06:22 AM   #37
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Talking

Related thread: Are you a bit short for your bike?
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Old May 21st, 2016, 07:49 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adouglas View Post
Is that the Harbor Freight stand?

That one works IF you're tall enough and IF your floor is grippy enough.

I bought one of those when it was on sale and adjusted it as far as it would go. I could NOT get my bike out of it... bouncing or any other way. I'm just too short... the stand wound up just sliding across the garage floor.

I now have a Condor chock, which has a cradle you can adjust more than any other stand. I moved the pivot point of the cradle forward, which means there's less "up and over" to get the bike out. Love it.
Yes I do not think you could bounce it out if you are short. I am a bit over 5'10" but the point is bouncing backwards works
I got it from Cycle Gear, same difference, cheap but has been doing the job for a few years now
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Old May 24th, 2016, 06:44 PM   #39
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Put it in neutral, if you are off the bike, make sure the side stand is down and you are on that side. That way if it begins to fall, it won't fall down. Picking up a 400 plus bike is pretty near impossible (for me and I'm 5'7" and lean muscle mostly, for a girlie girl).
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Old May 25th, 2016, 02:06 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Motofool View Post
While others may not like it, I used to do this. I think it's a useful skill to have. Just make sure you don't rotate the bike forward (collapsing the kickstand).

Sometimes it's easier to just nose in and then deal it later.

Depending on the parking situation, I might just turn on the blinker and pull over as far as possible (still going in the direction of traffic), then hop off and back the bike in. Unless you are in the narrrowest streets, a car should be able to go around you.
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