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Old 04-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #16
ongrade
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Treat a downhill curve just like you would flat ground. Get your entry speed right before you lean the bike over, meaning get off the brakes. Smooth throttle, either steady or accelerating out of the turn. Chopping the throttle will cause the front suspension to load and change your steering geometry. Body position should be exactly what it is on flat ground. Trying to sit back on the bike to change the weight bias will lead to a stiff body position as you try to fight gravity and the decel of the bike entering the turn. Downhill turns really are no different than flat ground except that gravity does some of the accelerating for the engine and you need to brake a bit more aggressively before corner entry.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:32 PM   #17
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My usual routine is to slow with engine and brake before the turn, then let everything loose ( no brakes, throttle probably about neutral) as I initiate, then add throttle through the turn. And yes, I have lived in the mountains most of my life, so I am big on engine braking.

Interesting about moving forward. My habit from bicycling is to get weight back downhill, although it is much more noticeable on a 20 pound road bike than a 450 pound motorcycle. Can't quite figure that ounce out since the weight is already forward. Maybe by "does being against the tank just put you more in the center, or move your weight forward of center? I'll have to give that one some thought.

As to suspension, I recently replaced the rear shock with a Wilber's, and got that set up right. I haven't done anything with the front. I know it was serviced right before I got the bike. The PO is bigger than I am though. This is stock R100 GS, so I don't know how much adjustment it has. That is something I should look into.

I really am not blaming the bike here. It's not like it feels bad, off, out of control or anything. I just think I am a novice and trying to get used to taking a lot more weight than I am used to through a corner. Add to that having power, rather than only gravity, and it is a different animal.

I just want to be sure that by the time summer rolls around and there is a lot more traffic up there, I can by handling the corners well.

Thanks for all the input. I will see how the weight forward, weight back debate goes.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:45 PM   #18
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Look at racers , road or dirt , forward on the seat. This isn't to keep the front wheel down , it's for traction for turning. And if you don't know countersteering well , try riding a moderately curvy road with your left hand on the gas-cap , you'll start to understand.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #19
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And learn to trust your tyres. they have a lot more tread on the sides than you might believe. picked that up a couple of weekends ago at Simon Pavey's offroad skills training in Wales.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:29 PM   #20
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The extra front traction you're describing is really only beneficial when you turn in. Once you're leaned over and are rolling on the throttle the weight transfers to the rear and the bike stabilizes. It takes more effort to get the bike to the optimum weight distribution to maximize available grip when traveling downhill due to there being excess weight on the front tire. You're simply asking too much of the front tire mid corner.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:12 PM   #21
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The one thing I found that makes it easier to corner going downhill is to downshift one or two gears so you can slow down if you ease off the throttle. It's not the proper thing to do in a corner, but it also means it's easier to control your forward progress with the throttle. Proper technique stabilizes your emotions as much as your suspension. A confident rider is usually a competent rider.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #22
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I think many of you guys are missing the issue here. He didn't ask about traction, didn't mention washing out.
This is a part mental, part experience issue.
Heading into a corner on an uphill, the bike only accelerates as much as you give throttle to do so. Slight adjustments to the throttle help with that but you are in full control of the speed.

Downhill, the bike increases your speed whether you want it to or not if you don't use the brakes while turning (which tend to upset your flow/line). It requires experimenting with the right gear, the right braking and confidence of doing it over and over. He's not talking 9/10ths riding.

I can say that I'm always faster uphill than downhill. You will get better with time and practice. You will have good days and bad days as well.

You also get a better view of the drop-offs on the mountains when going downhill Don't focus on them.
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trc.rhubarb View Post
He's not talking 9/10ths riding.
Of course not, it's just easier to demonstrate concepts using extremes. I admit may have derailed the thread a bit
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:11 PM   #24
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I really appreciate this input. It is helping me think through and visualize my ride. I am probably about where I should be given e limited number of miles under my butt. Most of you are simply confirming the things I am already working on.

I should emphasize that I am not inherently afraid of mountain roads. I love driving the passes, riding the passes, riding my bikes on both roads and trails in the mountains. I do not fixate on the drop offs, I am looking as far forward through the curves as I can, while constantly scanning closer road surface at the same time. I love the level of awareness and concentration this demands, I just want to improve. I have several more weeks before the loads of RV's and visitors start blocking and speeding down the roads, so I want to make good use of them.

I think I will just keep reading, keep visualizing all of this, and get as many curvy miles as I can under the bike. It is a hardship, but it is the cost of living here.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Gary View Post
The one thing I found that makes it easier to corner going downhill is to downshift one or two gears so you can slow down if you ease off the throttle. It's not the proper thing to do in a corner, but it also means it's easier to control your forward progress with the throttle. Proper technique stabilizes your emotions as much as your suspension. A confident rider is usually a competent rider.
But closing throttle in a corner, downhill or up, pushes you wide.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:49 PM   #26
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Once the throttle is cracked on, it is rolled on evenly, smoothly, and constantly throughout the remainder of the turn.

Drill that into your brain
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:15 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by jnclem View Post
I started riding motorized two wheelers again last fall, after about 30 years of on and off road bicycling. Let me say that I'm 55 years old, and not at all interested in setting any speed records. My interest in riding is doing a lot of dual sport miles here in western Colorado, enjoying myself, and becoming a smooth, safe rider, and doing some longer cross-country tours.

I guess I have put on about 3500 miles since I got my GS last September. It has been a blast, and I learn a lot every time I get it out. Today was the first time this year that I had enough confidence in the weather to take a longer ride outside of our valley, which always requires crossing some high passes. It was a beautiful day and a great ride.

But, what I'm noticing is that I am much more confident going up passes than descending. The roads are in good shape, but being Spring, you always have the possibility of sandy patches, snowmelt running across the road and carrying debris, and rocks coming down, just around any corner, not to mention the yahoos that don't seem to realize there are two lanes on road.

I know the physics of why downhill cornering robs us of more front wheel traction, but I am looking for any techniques that you all use for better downhill cornering on pavement or dirt. I find myself tightening up, going slower, and having to consciously relax and concentrate much more on technique when descending. I am better on right handers than left too. Granted, the consequences for mistakes on our bigger passes can be pretty severe, but I know i can improve a lot. Again, Speed is not realy my goal, smoothness and confidence are, and I don't want to be an obstacle either.

Sorry for the long post - any advise?
I DON'T think you know the physics of why downhill cornering robs us of more front wheel traction. It doesn't, pavement or dirt. Its all about weighting.

For starters, the front wheel is your friend. Treat it as such. After all, like it or not, it takes you where you want to go.
Now, you find yourself tightening up. That's your first mistake. The last thing your motorcycle needs is a nervous & tense rider. Your muscles fight & counter the actions your bike is designed to do. RELAX!

Having put the emphasis on relax, it's something you can't force. Think about it. Someone says " try to relax". Try? That right there defeats the purpose.

Relaxing is something you can only do by yourself. Find a stretch of road that you're comfortable with. One each dirt & pavement. Work them. Work them back & forth. Practice weighting the front. In the dirt get up on the tank. Don't try too hard at first. Find a slow tight corner to practice on. That way if you fall, (& you will) no harm done. You'll learn a lot here. Hint, take a buddy just in case you hurt an ankle or something.

On the pavement, weighting the front applies, but the application differs. Keep your upper body forward & your butt back. Kiss the mirror is a good analogy. It's hard to describe on the web, so I recommend some classes. Dirt & street/track.
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Huzband screwed with this post 04-28-2013 at 05:20 PM
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:33 PM   #28
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To re-iterate the point because I think it can't be said enough, the most important thing is for you to be relaxed, confident, and smooth in your technique in the turn. Not being relaxed or comfortable in a turn is the first step before you do something really silly like target fixation (wow that road edge is closer then I thought might as well stare at it) or grabbing brakes and chopping the throttle mid turn, which can lead easily to a low side.

If there is a particular turn that you don't feel comfortable with, I recommend setting aside a few hours and practice is over and over again until you are comfortable. Again emphasize smoothness and getting to a speed you are comfortable with before you start the turn. You should either be rolling on the throttle through the turn or at the very least maintenance throttle with the incline causing you to accelerate through the turn so your entry speed should allow you to comfortably match that outcome.

There are two things important with any turn on the street. Number one is traction, number two is settling your suspension correctly through the turn. Your suspension should be equally weighted through a turn as much as possible front to rear. Try to visualize what is going on with your suspension through a turn and it will help inform your technique. On a downhill turn, your suspension is compressing forward more, so your technique should push more weight off the front then usual through the turn, this means accelerating more through the turn then you would need to to settle the suspension on an uphill turn. The balance is leveraging the downward momentum with gravity with throttle. It's easier uphill since you can be more aggressive with the throttle and it's easier to fight gravity with throttle then to work with it, but you need to trust gravity and throttle together to get you through the turn.

As far as traction, pick a line like you would any other turn to maximize sight distance and minimize lean angle.

It's all going to be about practice and experience. I really recommend you spend a lot of time on that corner which is giving you trouble until you can do it with your eyes closed. There are a lot of downhill corners out there and not being comfortable or relaxed is the first step towards something bad happening. Ask me how I know.

Cheers
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by single View Post
To re-iterate the point because I think it can't be said enough, the most important thing is for you to be relaxed, confident, and smooth in your technique in the turn. Not being relaxed or comfortable in a turn is the first step before you do something really silly like target fixation (wow that road edge is closer then I thought might as well stare at it) or grabbing brakes and chopping the throttle mid turn, which can lead easily to a low side.

If there is a particular turn that you don't feel comfortable with, I recommend setting aside a few hours and practice is over and over again until you are comfortable. Again emphasize smoothness and getting to a speed you are comfortable with before you start the turn. You should either be rolling on the throttle through the turn or at the very least maintenance throttle with the incline causing you to accelerate through the turn so your entry speed should allow you to comfortably match that outcome.

There are two things important with any turn on the street. Number one is traction, number two is settling your suspension correctly through the turn. Your suspension should be equally weighted through a turn as much as possible front to rear. Try to visualize what is going on with your suspension through a turn and it will help inform your technique. On a downhill turn, your suspension is compressing forward more, so your technique should push more weight off the front then usual through the turn, this means accelerating more through the turn then you would need to to settle the suspension on an uphill turn. The balance is leveraging the downward momentum with gravity with throttle. It's easier uphill since you can be more aggressive with the throttle and it's easier to fight gravity with throttle then to work with it, but you need to trust gravity and throttle together to get you through the turn.

As far as traction, pick a line like you would any other turn to maximize sight distance and minimize lean angle.

It's all going to be about practice and experience. I really recommend you spend a lot of time on that corner which is giving you trouble until you can do it with your eyes closed. There are a lot of downhill corners out there and not being comfortable or relaxed is the first step towards something bad happening. Ask me how I know.

Cheers
+1 Single. Well said.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:45 PM   #30
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Engine Braking....drop down a gear or two and power thru any turns. Relax your grip and ride on!
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