Lean angle, especially in SLOW tighter turns. How to cope?
Ok, so my Hammer S is my very first cruiser, but let me back up just a bit, and you'll more easily understand my apprehension and thusly, my questions here.
I also own a sportbike, and LOVE it. I have no real issues riding it, cornering, leaning... none of that. I don't hang off (I don't believe in knee-dragging on the street, it is both unpractical & unwise anywhere except the track), but I can lean it well to match the turn I am entering. Short wheelbase, grips significantly closer together than a cruiser, lighter weight, all-around more flickable.
Now I hop on my new cruiser and I noticed a few things on my maiden voyage.
From a stop (say turning at a red light):
Initiating a left turn, from a stop, I run WAYYY wide. Nearly curbed the front tire twice in my first two turns. I feel at low speed that if I turn the bars too sharply, the bike is just gonna tip right the hell over. Remember... I'm not accustomed to the low speed weight of this bike yet.
From a stop, right turn:
Still run a tad wide, in one case went about 3" or 4" over the double-yellow to complete my turn. Again, the trepidation of getting the bike going from a stop, letting out the clutch smoothly, swinging my feet into position (I'm used to lifting them up and "hooking them" back on a sportbike's pegs), AND finally concentrating on my turn.
In a left turn lane, on a left green arrow:
This one was alarming as it snuck up on me. Unlike the previous issue I wrote about earlier, in this case I had more runway, so I was able to get up in second gear... countersteering is now in effect to a greater degree, and a bit more speed helps to compress the suspension as it grips for the turn. If I were leaning like this on my sportbike, the turn would have had no issues, but on this longer, heavier machine with a 250 tire on it... I realized about halfway through the turn that I was NOT going to make it at my current angle. The curb was coming and this was gonna get ugly... so I pushed harder on the left bar and leaned it so far that it SEEMED as though I could have been knee-dragging I was soooo low. This over-correction kept me mostly in my lane, but I overshot it by about 3" or so, which meant I was over the white line, but did not hit the curb on the outside of the lane.
Another tidbit to add is that prior to this purchase, my ONLY experience on a large cruiser was all of ten minutes, and in a u-turn (left) I did in fact drop the bike, and that has left me with a paralyzing fear of slow, tight turn maneuvers on most any bike. While I can handle my sportbike well i all instances, I tend to shy away from u-turns, insisting on going halfway around a block if I am able, in order to avoid doing them.
So now that we have the situations laid out, hopefully you understand where my hesitations or "fears" come from.
Here are the questions/situations I'd like advice on:
1) I truly love cornering on my sportbike, so there really isn't a blanket fear of cornering to contend with, at least at decent speeds, but on my Hammer I feel as though I need to go unnaturally far with my lean to do a medium speed turn. Is this abnormal to feel like this?
2) The paralyzing fear I have of low speed, tight turning maneuvers has got to go away for me to practically live with this style of bike. I plan to spend a LOT of time practicing in a huge empty parking lot, but the initial fear still must be contended with. Locking, or near-to-locking the wheel in either direction and initiating a sharp turn from a stop to low speeds... how best to get into doing this properly?
3) If anyone here has transitioned from a sprightly little sportbike to a cruiser, can you help me understand how to adjust to the different dynamics? I surely cannot keep running into oncoming lanes without making life interesting for others on the road. I also need to understand the leaning angle limitations of this type of bike.
I should mention also that I did in fact take an MSF course, and did swimmingly well. But while most can say "a bike is a bike is a bike", a 250cc Rebel used in the class is absolutely NOT like a 700+lb Hammer at low speeds. Over 15mph most everything feels the same, but the long wheelbase and extra weight do play a part in very low speed moves.
Any advice is welcomed, thanks in advance.
2012 HD Road Glide Custom - Black denim