Ad Widget



No announcement yet.
This is a sticky topic.

CyberPoet's Q & A for Newbies *MUST READ*

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • CyberPoet's Q & A for Newbies *MUST READ*

    So some newbies have asked questions of me in PM's and I decided to simply post all the questions & answers here as well. I know not everyone will agree with my answers (I'm cool with that):

    Going around a left hand corner, shouldn’t you technically stay on the right side of the lane, rather than “Straightening out the road”, especially on blind corners… due to the fact that your head would lay over the center lane?

    Don't stick your head over the centerline, especially in a blind corner. The fastest route is not necessarily the best route on the road. Safety first.

    What is the correct procedure for leaning into a corner?

    Which lane should you ride in (i.e., over hills, in town, general riding)?
    In countries with left-hand drive cars, like the USA: The right half of the lane furthest to the left for multilane roads; the left half of single-lane roads. Why? Because this position minimizes the threat from people turning out of driveways and stores, which is the highest threat factor to you; it increases your visibility to them and physically places you the furthest possible from them, while still leaving you room to move left and helping keep you away from oncoming traffic.

    Is it OK to lean my body like the Pro’s, or should that sort of driving be left for the track? What are the benefits?
    Leave it for your 3rd year of riding, or save it for the track. The risk of upsetting the suspension doing it wrong when you are still a newbie is too high for the benefit IMHO.


    Where can I get, and what is the best Maintenance Manual for my bike?

    Suzuki OEM Factory Maintenance/Service Manual.
    Find the download link here: OR HERE:

    What's the Right Way to Check the Oil Level on Katana?
    Oil check method for Katana's (see owner's manual if in doubt):
    Place bike on Centerstand if present.
    Start bike
    let run 1-2 minutes (to fill the oil filter, oil cooler, tranny, upper galleys)
    shut off and wait 45 seconds (minimum) to 3 minutes (max).
    Now with bike held straight up (or parked on centerstand if present), check window level.
    add as necessary.

    What type of oil should I use?
    CyberPoet's "How to understand and choose Motorcycle Motor Oils". You won't go wrong with Castrol GPS or Mobil 1 MX4T.
    BUT far more important is what kind of oil you should NEVER use:
    Never use any oil which is marked "Energy Conserving" in the lower half of the API Service Ring (these oils contain friction modifiers that can coat your clutch and make it not grip);
    Never use any oil which is API SJ, SL or SM rated as it's sole rating. Your motorcycle is designed to use an SF/SG and/or JASO-MA rated motor oil, which by definition conflicts with the API SJ, SL and SM standards. There are now special versions of API SJ and API SL motorcycle oils that can be used -- but these will have a JASO-MA (or JASO-MA2) rating on them.
    CyberPoet's Katana Oil Quick-Reference Chart

    How often should I change the oil?
    Every 3500 miles at minimum, more if you do a lot of city driving or if the area is dusty (deserts, sandy areas).

    Where can I get maintenance parts cheaply?
    I sell virtually all of the standard OEM maintenance parts you'll need for regular services, from oil & air filters to spark plugs, and specialty tools for the Kat. See the KR Member's Only Specials forum: CyberPoet's Current Offers (Maintenance Supplies). My price will inevitably beat your local dealer's for them unless you are a blood relative.
    Sometimes I get asked why I don't carry brand "X" oil filters, etc. -- I only sell products that I have full faith in as being the best in that category, and for many things, the OEM stuff literally is the best I've found for our bike's particular needs (which are different from most bikes by the fact that our oil temps can hit 400 degrees, etc).

    How much play should be in the chain? When should I tighten it?
    CyberPoet's "understanding Motorcycle Chain Wear and Maintenance"
    Tighten it when your play gets over 1.15 inches, taking it back down to about 1.0 - 1.1 inches

    Which is correct … Oil or Wax my chain and how often?
    CyberPoet's "understanding Motorcycle Chain Wear and Maintenance" I believe in oil, and I feel you can't use too much of it, since the excess will fling off. When to use oil vs. wax is talked about on my web page for chains

    My bike has broken down on the side of the road… What should I do now?
    Why is it broken? Do you have a clue? If not, call a friend with a pick-up truck or call triple-A if you have the special RV plan to tow it to where you need it.

    What should be in my tool kit?

    What should my air pressure be at?
    What tires do you run, and what do you weigh?
    Generally Dunlops and Michelins are 33 front, 36 rear for 140 lb. rider;
    Pirelli's and Metzelers are 35.5 front, 37 rear for 140 lb. rider;
    add 1/2 psi front, 1 psi rear for each added 50 lbs of load weight, careful to not exceed the max pressure imprinted on the sidewall.

    What about Bias Tires?
    KR Thread: Why to never use Bias tires if you can avoid it (might save your life to use radials!)

    How do I get my bike up on the centerstand?
    also, this video on youtube makes it more clear (although he's using a very light bike in the vid -- credit to gytrdunkat for the vid link):</span>&#91;/u

    Headlight/turn signal/brake light/fuse blowing electrical problems, where to start first?
    Then here:
    CyberPoet's "Motorcycle Electrical Charging System & Battery Diagnostics"
    and here:
    CyberPoet's "Headlight Electical Diagnostics Page"

    How far should I fill up the tank (to the lip, until it starts bubbling)?
    As far as you want to without spilling fuel on the tank or the ground. Some people fill it, burp it, fill some more. Some just fill it to the neck. It's a judgement call.
    If you fill up at night, do not fill it to chock-full (multi-burping full); when the sun hits the tank the next day, the fuel will expand and the excess will overflow.
    California tanks have a secondary vent inside the tank that shouldn't be covered -- don't burp & continue to fill a California model (stop when at the base of the neck).

    What Octane Gas should I use?
    In the USA and any other country that rates octane by PON (which is [RON=MON]/2=PON): 87 Octane unless you have modded the engine by reboring to get higher compression (like a WiseCo engine over-bore kit).
    In Europe and any other area that rates octane solely by RON (research octane number): 91 Octane unless you have modded the engine by reboring to get higher compression (like a WiseCo engine over-bore kit).
    General Rules: In all first-world countries, the stock 88-07 GSXF series is designed to run on the lowest octane commercially available at the pumps. You're better off spending the extra few pennies for high-detergent name-brand low-octane fuel than spending it on no-name high-octane; the detergent load makes a bigger difference over time.
    Caution: In some third-world countries, octane numbers can be very, very low and you should use the best fuel you can get, or bring a supply of known-good fuel.
    More Info:

    What is [PRI] Prime for
    To refill the carbs if they run dry for any reason, such as if you drop the bike (gas spilled out), your run the bike out of fuel & have to switch to Reserve (hit PRIME for 30 seconds first), or if the bike has been parked too long (fuel evaporated). Use of PRI on the petcock should always be considered a temporary state, and used only for 15 to 60 seconds while on the bike... The only time it should be used longer than that is if you are draining the content of tank into another container (such as getting rid of old fuel), or if your petcock fails (bad vacuum diaphram) and you're awaiting replacement parts.

    How does the petcock actually work?

    Why can’t I just always ride in reserve, it’s the same tank anyway?
    Crap in the tank either floats or sinks. Do you really want to suck that stuff down into your engine unless you have to? Plus, the reserve is a warning to you that you desperately need to seek a gas station (in case you were too distracted to pay attention to the gauge or the gauge isn't working as it should).

    My Petcock's Label Sticker is gone... where is ON, RES and PRIME?

    General Riding
    Why do my hands get numb after a while of riding?

    Is it ok to “roll” through stop signs (as in, almost complete stop, but don’t put feet down)?

    Not according to the law in my state. A stop on a motorcycle is defined by putting the foot in contact with the ground... As for "is it smart to go through stop-signs?" -- think about it.

    Is it safe to throttle past someone if you're in their blind spot?
    Better than staying in their blind spot. Whether it's safe is dependent on conditions -- it may be safer to pull back.

    What is the correct posture to be riding in? (up forward on the seat, way back on the seat, where to rest feet, etc)

    The one that is most comfortable to you as long as the hands & feet are at the controls. Generally, I ride more upright than most (I don't fool myself into believing it's a sport bike and that I have to crouch). If you find the right position, at speeds of 45 mph and above, the wind hitting your chest should take the load off your wrists.

    What is the correct procedure to Upshift in a lazy way? (RPM’s)

    All shifts should be made with a very fast, hard snapping action [with your foot] with the clutch pulled in.
    For best longevity, upshifts:
    Clutch in, throttle off, snap-shift, throttle up a little, clutch out.
    1st to 2nd - 5k RPM or below
    2nd to 3rd - 6k RPM or below
    anything above 3rd - wherever you want, just stick to the method above.

    What is the correct procedure to Upshift in a hasty way?
    Exactly the same as above, just faster in the actions.

    What is the correct procedure to Downshift in a lazy way (rolling into a town, or to a stop sign behind a car)?
    Clutch in, throttle up a little, snap-shift [with your foot], release throttle, clutch out.
    Don't go back into 2nd or 1st above a walking (strolling) speed. Generally don't go into a gear that would put the bike above 4k while down-shifting as a newbie, and make sure you rev the engine to match the RPM's to the speed the bike will be at.

    What is the correct procedure to Downshift in a hasty way?
    Same as above, using brakes to shed speed at the same time and doing the process faster.

    What is the correct gear to ride in through town (RPM level)?
    Something above 4k and below 9k. In an ideal world, you want to be around 7200 RPM so you have maximum acceleration available on demand (the start of the main torque power-band). On the other hand, being at a lower RPM level will keep the rear wheel from wanting to spin out of control if you happen to hit a patch of slippery stuff right as you get on the gas.

    What about clutch-less shifting?
    It will let you, but as BraadaJim so elegantly put it: "Shifting without the clutch is like screwing a ***** without a condom. Sure you can do it but bad things are gonna happen."
    More Details here:

    Where is the best spot to get low profile turn signals for pre 98 or post 98 kats?

    ??? Where-ever you trust and has it at a good price.
    I'm not keen on mods that make you & your actions less visible to other riders. If you get low-profile blinkers, at least get the kind that stand out a little, so they are visible from a larger set of angles to the bike.

    How do I cut the shovel off of my pre 98 or post 98 kat?

    What is the best upgrade tire that will fit on my pre 98 or post 98 kat?

    IMHO: Metzeler Z6 in a 120/70ZR17 front, 150/70ZR17 rear.

    I mangled/scratched/damaged my fairings, what should I do?

    Four basic choices:
    (A) Live with it. If it's minor, this is my general advice, especially if you are just learning to ride.
    (B) Contact Bob over at and email him some pics. Let him quote you a price to plastic-weld/paint it and ship it back to you. I've used him in the past and am very happy with his work in general.
    (C) Find out how much brand new fairing parts will cost you. Suzuki fairings come pre-painted from the warehouse, so in some cases it's cheaper to simply order a replacement fairing than to score one off eBay and then pay to ship/paint/etc. OEM fairings do not have decals; those are a separate purchase.
    (D) Learn to plastic weld & paint yourself. Go to the bodyshop forum for great tips & how-to's.

    Police Stops, Speeding, Tickets, and Running from the Law

    I've never been pulled over on a motorcycle. What should I do if get pulled over?

    (A) Determine where the next safe place would be for you to stop AND for your bike to be parked without being physically supported by you. This may mean going an extra block or two, pulling off the street into a parking lot or drive way, and/or going to the next exit on the highway before stopping. If the side of the road is slopped dirt, it may not be safe to pull over on it, nor to step off the bike (bike falling over). Slow to a low speed, signal what you are going to do, and then stop as soon as it's safe to. If the officer asks why you didn't stop right away, tell him you were looking for a safe place to do so that would neither jeapardize him nor yourself and your vehicle.

    (B) Once you pull over, park it, turn off the motorcycle, step off slowly, remove your helmet and set it on the ground. Face the police car, but do not approach the police car; allow yourself to remain in full view of the officer. Do not get out your license, your registration or insurance until prompted for the items specifically. He may only want to tell you that you have a problem you are unaware of (such as a low tire).

    (C) I recommend everyone watch this video on how to handle a traffic stop & other police encounters:</span>&#91;/u.

    (D) Do not be arguementative EVER -- even if you are accused/ticketed for something you did not do, this is not the time to fight it: that time is either with his superiors later, or in a court of law instead, preferably with either hard proof or a lawyer or both.

    Bikes can easily outrun police vehicles -- what happens if I just gun it?

    (A) In every state I know of, the instant you run, you have committed a felony. That changes the whole game and can open you up to a bunch of negative consequences, including being physically run off the road while riding (and potentially permanent injuries or death as a result), seizure of your bike, loss of your driving license, and hard jail time. They can come get the bike from your home the next day, even if you claim you weren't riding it (since the vehicle was still used in the commission of a felony, it can be impounded as evidence until the case is resolved). Compared to the possible results of stopping for the police (unless you are Rodney King), running is just stupid. If you feel threatened by the circumstances before stopping, drive slowly to the next police station and stop there.

    (B) The Katana is not a race bike. It is very possible that your bike can not outrun the vehicles that would be chasing you, especially once you factor in radio and post-event video analysis to get your license plate. About the only thing you are likely to outrun is Police harley rider, and even then only for a short while.

    I was given an unfair ticket -- such as speeding for a speed I wasn't doing, targetted out of a group of vehicles doing the same speed, etc.

    Take the ticket quietly and get a lawyer and/or hard evidence that you could not have been doing what was claimed (example: one of our truly rotund individuals was charged with pulling a wheelie through town on a bone stock 98+ Katana).
    If you feel you were specifically targeted unfairly because you were on a motorcycle, seek a lawyer either specializing in motorcyclists rights, or ask your local ACLU chapter or Bar Association for a recommendation on a lawyer specializing in discrimination (yes, being targetted specifically because you are on two-wheels is a form of discrimination).

    I heard Federal Park Ranges can't give tickets.
    Wrong. In their jurisdictions, they have the right to act as police. Their tickets do not have any points that apply to your license, but they do have stiff fines ($250 and $1000 respectively), and failure to pay is a federal offense.

    I heard State Fish & Wldlife Officers, State Park Rangers, University Police, etc. can't give tickets.
    Generally wrong. Most of these agencies have rights on their own territories, and may have reciprocal rights from other agencies that let them stop & ticket you outside what you might consider "their" territory. Stop for the officer, do not be arguementative, make sure the address listed for where the ticket was issued is correct before you sign it, and then let it get resolved in court. Your local public defender's office will be able to tell you whether the officer was legally permitted to ticket you at that location (jurisdiction).


    Highside & Lowside
    with video example

    Left and Right
    All things mechanical are always referenced in relationship to where you sit on the bike as the rider. Thus, your left headlight is on the same side as the clutch control lever, no matter where you are standing (even looking at the bike head-on, you'd still call it your left headlight -- although technically it's to your right side at this moment).

    Cylinders & Carbs 1 through 4
    Since everything starts on the left as viewed from the rider's seated position, cylinder #1 is the left most (as viewed from the rear of the cylinder bank) and carb #1 is the carb that feeds it. #4 is the right-most.

    Car, van, SUV. A driver surrounded by a metal cage.

    A person driving a cage. See above.

    Original Equipment Manufacturer - either Suzuki or whoever supplied the parts to Suzuki when they first built the bike.

    Aftermarket or Third-Party
    Any parts which are not OEM (see OEM entry above).

    After-fires vs Back-fires
    After-fires come out the exhaust (i.e. - happen after the exhaust valve opens)
    Back-fires come out the intake tract (backwards through the carbs & into the airbox).

    Tank Slapper
    with video example.

    Chicken Strips

    (the entry was written in part by KR members).

    =-= The CyberPoet
    Last edited by The CyberPoet; 07-12-2009, 04:49 PM. Reason: Updated links, added oil-check method
    Remember The CyberPoet

  • #2
    wow that must have took a lot of time.thanks marc!!i always shift around think i should wait until 5?it just seems like its running to fast.


    • #3
      good stuff! perhaps this may qualify as a sticky in the introductions section?[img] [/img]
      One who is a Samurai must before all things keep constantly in mind, by day and by night... the fact that he has to die." -- The Code of the Samurai


      • #4
        Originally posted by rwcreigh
        wow that must have took a lot of time.thanks marc!!i always shift around think i should wait until 5?it just seems like its running to fast.
        Original post updated to add the words "or lower".
        4k is fine, but you may find your bike lugging if you constantly ride around at 4k RPM or so in all gears... out on the highway, you need to rip it up to 8k occassionally just to feel it (you don't have to be in top gear if you are concerned about your speed).

        The bike will let you do things that go against what I said (it's perfectly happy to shift 1st to 2nd at 9k for example, or downshift into 2nd at 50 mph -- but in the long run, you are far more apt to get tranny problems & 2nd gear failures as a result).

        =-= The CyberPoet
        Remember The CyberPoet


        • #5
          thanks for taking the time to do this. Great work


          • #6
            Who runs this site?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Zukiman
              Who runs this site?
              Somebody other than me, that's for sure...

              =-= The CyberPoet
              Remember The CyberPoet


              • #8
                Long before joining KR, but shortly after buying my Kat I found this great page which just happens to be written by none other than The CyberPoet:


                CP, what are your thoughts on Tireflys these days? I still have them with no ill affects on the valve stems going on at least two years. Still recommend them or are you against them?

                I'm not trying to hijcak the thread, but I think the page referenced above written by CP answers a lot of Newbie questions also.
                ****** WAS...Ma Ma Ma My Katana ******

                Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Yellow2002Kat
                  CP, what are your thoughts on Tireflys these days? I still have them with no ill affects on the valve stems going on at least two years. Still recommend them or are you against them?
                  Actually, I'm against them now -- after watching one pull an entire valve stem out on a tire balancing machine on the GF's Ninja 500, and seeing a couple others induce rubber-stem valve damage on tires. The risk of an unexpected tire pressure loss isn't worth the added visibility in my mind. Then again, I also recommend metal valve stems and I now carry solid billet aluminum lifetime-use 82 degree tire valves -- see CyberPoet's Special Offers for KatRiders Members: Maintenance Supplies, Upgrades, etc for more details and actual in-stock updates).

                  I guess I should go back and change the web page, huh?
                  EDIT: Page changed.

                  =-= The CyberPoet
                  Remember The CyberPoet


                  • #10
                    Think you forgot the other newbie question:

                    I have a sportbike like all my other friends but they can leave me/pull away from me like if I was a joke to them...why and how so?


                    • #11
                      well could be alot of things, they riding in higher rpms, different gears, amount of throttle given, different number of cc's, might have a v-twin opposed to inline 4. i said the vtwin part because i am pretty sure they have a more useable or flat torque curve so that might be a reason.

                      oh and i forgot that they might have changed gearing for faster acceleration and losing top end.

                      “Programming today is a race between software engineers stirring to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.”


                      • #12
                        Great write up CP. When do you have time to do anything else writing up threads like this one??!

                        Welcome to! Click here to register
                        Don't forget to check the Wiki!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by steves
                          Great write up CP. When do you have time to do anything else writing up threads like this one??!
                          When my GF is naked in bed...

                          =-= The CyberPoet
                          Remember The CyberPoet


                          • #14

                            It must be riding season....

                            Welcome to! Click here to register
                            Don't forget to check the Wiki!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The CyberPoet
                              Originally posted by steves
                              Great write up CP. When do you have time to do anything else writing up threads like this one??!
                              When my GF is naked in bed...

                              =-= The CyberPoet
                              and what does SHE have to say about that