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Old 12-11-2014, 12:18 PM   #1
brownricer OP
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Body lean/bike lean

A question that's been bugging me for a while now: am I correct in assuming that hanging one's body off the bike, towards the inside of the turn, is done when one thinks the turn, at a given speed, exceeds the amount the bike itself can be leaned? Bear in mind that I am talking about riding on pavement...
I ride a pretty slow machine, and I am a greenhorn, but when I need more lean than I anticipated, I find myself counter-weighting (leaning my body less and forcing the bike down more)... works great for me at higher speeds and even better at very low speeds. I don't hang my ass off the high side of the seat or anything; I just think "push outside peg down".
I realize there's a limit, clearance-wise and grip-wise, but I've lost track of how many times I've seen riders doing hanging themselves off the inside when it looks to me like they could lean body and machine together and safely get more out of the bike geometry and the tires. Rarely on a track, but plenty on the road. Seems weird to me in those cases, given that motorcycles- especially sport bikes- are made to turn best while leaning. I've even seen people hanging their ass off the seat while negotiating huge interstate sweepers at 70-80mph... maybe they were practicing, or maybe they were just dumb squids.
But is there something I'm missing about this, regarding torque or braking, or saving time getting upright or going the other way into the next bend? Or is it just something you have to do sometimes to corner as quickly as possible? Or is it just another accepted technique for keeping things under control in a turn?
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:29 PM   #2
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Hanging off is fun.

Bikes are far more capable than riders, for the most part.

Counter-weighting is very good at lower speeds - you keep control and can use the bike's mass to your advantage. But at higher speeds, where clearance can be an issue and even when it is not, keeping the bike largely up helps with suspension and steering geometries.

Also, hanging off is fun.

I recently found myself hanging off a bit on the street due to a back injury. Some nerve stress changed how I felt the bike under me, and I was way farther off my seat than normal in turns. Without even thinking about it. Why? Because the bike was more stable that way and I was getting the required feedback from the bike when I got into those positions.

Plus, hanging off is fun.
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
Hanging off is fun.

Bikes are far more capable than riders, for the most part.

Counter-weighting is very good at lower speeds - you keep control and can use the bike's mass to your advantage. But at higher speeds, where clearance can be an issue and even when it is not, keeping the bike largely up helps with suspension and steering geometries.

Also, hanging off is fun.

I recently found myself hanging off a bit on the street due to a back injury. Some nerve stress changed how I felt the bike under me, and I was way farther off my seat than normal in turns. Without even thinking about it. Why? Because the bike was more stable that way and I was getting the required feedback from the bike when I got into those positions.

Plus, hanging off is fun.

That's about what I figured... on my bike, leaning is more fun (I've tried hanging off, and it was not so enjoyable). But it's a mid-weight tourer, not a sport bike, so I just try my best to not put myself in a situation where I can't just lean at a comfortable angle.
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:41 PM   #4
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It can also help you adjust your line by hanging more or hanging less off the bike.

It is also good for building the reflexes you want when you really NEED to change a line quickly.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:07 PM   #5
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The more you lean towards the inside, the less the bike has to. The more the bike has to lean, the less traction (and therefore braking) it will have.

I hang off a lot more on a road with compromised traction (like wet leaves or patch of gravel on the road) to keep the bike as upright as possible. By "hang off", I mean "kiss the mirror", or get my shoulders out. I never actually hang enough to get my butt off the seat - I don't have to at the speeds I ride.

Unless I read your post wrong, it sounds like you are "counter-leaning" - pushing the bike down while your body stays more vertical. This is done at slow speeds (maybe 25mph or less) to not dump it. At higher speeds, it's bad form. At some point it goes from wrong to dangerous as you lean hard parts into the ground, levering a tire up and crashing instead of having plenty of lean left had you been hanging off the correct side.
Apologies if I mis-read you.
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownricer View Post
A question that's been bugging me for a while now: am I correct in assuming that hanging one's body off the bike, towards the inside of the turn, is done when one thinks the turn, at a given speed, exceeds the amount the bike itself can be leaned? Bear in mind that I am talking about riding on pavement...
I ride a pretty slow machine, and I am a greenhorn, but when I need more lean than I anticipated, I find myself counter-weighting (leaning my body less and forcing the bike down more)... works great for me at higher speeds and even better at very low speeds. I don't hang my ass off the high side of the seat or anything; I just think "push outside peg down".
Brownricer I suggest you buy this book "Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well" By David Hough. It will be the best $15 bucks you will ever spend on a motorcycle book. Amazon, Barnes Noble both have it online. Good Luck.
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:36 AM   #7
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The total lean of the entire package (you and the bike) is simply what is needed to counter the centripetal acceleration (or centrifugal force) incurred in the turn. If you lean over more, the bike leans over less. The inverse is true as well.

So while it is simply fun for many folk, it does indeed help when riding bikes with limited lean angles.

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Old 12-12-2014, 05:14 AM   #8
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That's a great question actually. In simplest terms, hanging off allows the bike to go through a corner with less lean. It helps you out in a couple ways. First, you are less likely to drag parts. Second, you allow the suspension to remain more vertical, which enables it to cope with bumps more easily. Also, if you ever spin up the rear, being more vertical will give you a better chance to save it.

Something else to consider. Once in the turn, you should basically be able to let go of the handlebars and the bike should continue to track through the turn. It doesn't always work like that way. Some bikes try to tip further into the turn. Some try to stand up. Different tires, bike geometry, suspension adjustments, etc., all have an effect. There is an entire science dedicated to making bikes behave properly, but generally hanging off will help the bike track correctly through the turn. I'm willing to bet that, using your current turning technique, if you let go of the bars in a turn the bike will try to stand up. Is it a big deal? Not really, but any input to the bars (including pressing on the grip to hold the bike in the turn) costs you traction. It becomes a bigger deal as you lean further and further.
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Old 12-12-2014, 05:44 AM   #9
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Good question. Ive been seeking an answer too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Moore View Post
That's a great question actually. In simplest terms, hanging off allows the bike to go through a corner with less lean. It helps you out in a couple ways. First, you are less likely to drag parts. Second, you allow the suspension to remain more vertical, which enables it to cope with bumps more easily. Also, if you ever spin up the rear, being more vertical will give you a better chance to save it.

Something else to consider. Once in the turn, you should basically be able to let go of the handlebars and the bike should continue to track through the turn. It doesn't always work like that way. Some bikes try to tip further into the turn. Some try to stand up. Different tires, bike geometry, suspension adjustments, etc., all have an effect. There is an entire science dedicated to making bikes behave properly, but generally hanging off will help the bike track correctly through the turn. I'm willing to bet that, using your current turning technique, if you let go of the bars in a turn the bike will try to stand up. Is it a big deal? Not really, but any input to the bars (including pressing on the grip to hold the bike in the turn) costs you traction. It becomes a bigger deal as you lean further and further.
Im fairly new to riding, but have beenintensively studying crash videos like RNickyMouse vids. Everything you said seems to be true. I noticed a lot of times when the bike is at an extreme angle that a small bump, even a divot from a missing road reflector, can start the front tire bouncing and cause a low side. If the bike is nearly on the pegs and traction up front is lost, its gonna fall on its side. If you've got a bit of room to spare, you have a chance of countersteering and keeping it upright. I never realized you the bike could steer itself through a turn with lean alone. Just didnt think about it. I saw a video yesterday where a rider picked up a gopro off the stripe mid turn and I couldnt believe it. Makes sense now.

Back when I went dirtbiking with a friend he told me to apply presure to the outside peg. Does that hold true on the street?
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Old 12-12-2014, 05:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cJared3b View Post
... apply presure to the outside peg. Does that hold true on the street?
Absolutely!

In fact, this is one of the sensations you should get comfortable with. The whole feeling of the bike pushing up under you. I didn't understand leaning off at all until I got into a situation where I had to push the bike up and out with the outer peg while countersteering the heck out of it. This caused the seat to move under me - my upper body stayed put, but the bike stood up a bit as I pushed down. The corner went from a total pucker to really smooth with that weight transition. I realized later that oh, that was hanging off! Hey, now I know what it is supposed to feel like.

It's not about hanging off so much as putting the bike where it needs to be and putting you where you need to be.

It just happens to be fun.

Lots of fun.

It feels wicked when you do it right.

And you happen to be hanging off. Whether you intended to or not.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cJared3b View Post
Good question. Ive been seeking an answer too.



Im fairly new to riding, but have beenintensively studying crash videos like RNickyMouse vids. Everything you said seems to be true. I noticed a lot of times when the bike is at an extreme angle that a small bump, even a divot from a missing road reflector, can start the front tire bouncing and cause a low side. If the bike is nearly on the pegs and traction up front is lost, its gonna fall on its side. If you've got a bit of room to spare, you have a chance of countersteering and keeping it upright. I never realized you the bike could steer itself through a turn with lean alone. Just didnt think about it. I saw a video yesterday where a rider picked up a gopro off the stripe mid turn and I couldnt believe it. Makes sense now.

Back when I went dirtbiking with a friend he told me to apply presure to the outside peg. Does that hold true on the street?




It's the streets... not a track. If a rider is at the extreme lean where they need to be concerned they're being quite foolish. RNickyMouse loves people like that. Makes for good footage...
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:06 AM   #12
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I think I know how this is going to go - allot/most/all of the responders will tell you all about how great/correct/fun "kissing the mirror"/hanging off is.

There is a counterpoint - on a lighter weight, upright bike w/ lots of ground clearance like a dualsport or, I don't know, an ADVenture bike, pushing the bike around under you while the rider stays more vertical is perfectly OK and just as acceptable/correct/fun.

The closer a bike is to a dirt bike and the further it is from a roadracer the more this is true. Supermoto racers aren't doing it "wrong". Neither are flattrack racers (I know they are are on dirt, but that polished/hard clay is more like a crappy paved road than it is like loose dirt) So, it depends some what on what kind of bike you are riding and your personal style/experience/comfort level.

A sportbike w/ a roadracer on board - hang off and keep the bike more upright. An KTM EXC w/ a motocrosser on board - push the bike around and the rider stays more upright.

One last point - extremes of either is not acceptable street behavior, save it for the track of your choice.
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Moore View Post
That's a great question actually. In simplest terms, hanging off allows the bike to go through a corner with less lean. It helps you out in a couple ways. First, you are less likely to drag parts. Second, you allow the suspension to remain more vertical, which enables it to cope with bumps more easily. Also, if you ever spin up the rear, being more vertical will give you a better chance to save it.

Something else to consider. Once in the turn, you should basically be able to let go of the handlebars and the bike should continue to track through the turn. It doesn't always work like that way. Some bikes try to tip further into the turn. Some try to stand up. Different tires, bike geometry, suspension adjustments, etc., all have an effect. There is an entire science dedicated to making bikes behave properly, but generally hanging off will help the bike track correctly through the turn. I'm willing to bet that, using your current turning technique, if you let go of the bars in a turn the bike will try to stand up. Is it a big deal? Not really, but any input to the bars (including pressing on the grip to hold the bike in the turn) costs you traction. It becomes a bigger deal as you lean further and further.
great post. It made me think. so now i have a question.
when going around a curve and leaning your body to the inside, so that no steering input is required, is that the point of maximum traction?
in other words,does hanging off more,while it stands the bike up actually reduce the available traction at the tires?
this question has nothing to do with ground clearance, maximum speed a curve can be negotiated or anything else. just asking if continued steering input in a curve reduces available traction?
for the record i think it does. i think as jim points out, that maximum traction is obtained when leaning an amount that steering is neutral. but i do not know that for sure.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:20 PM   #14
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Pushing the bike down and remaining seated upright works the suspension more so than staying inline with the bike or hanging off. That can be a good thing or maybe not...


It's fine if your bike is set up for that, but if it's on the soft side ie; you need heavier springs, then it's best to lean with the bike and perhaps move your torso inside a bit if needed for peg clearance.

If your bike is heavily sprung/valved or you are a light person, then you are not going to get much use of your suspension if you are just hanging off for fun.

"For fun" meaning you are nowhere near dragging pegs.
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:36 PM   #15
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http://www.ofirmx.com/blog/2013-04-1...positioning/21

Interesting read, not only does hanging off increase the fun factor of curves but it allows you to tackle them with more confidence instinctively.
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