Cornering (NOT countersteering) conundrum

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Breezo, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Breezo

    Breezo Misadventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    West of Kiama
    so there I was...zipping along the highway on the Beemer GS....thinking how lucky I was to have so many fellow motorbicyclists assist with my dilemma about countersteering.....up comes a right hander....well, I've been to Superbike schools so....a right hander means move my body to the right, right knee down, right arm bent, left bum cheek on seat, and hang off cause thats the ways its done...but...holy cow NOoooooo!!!! there's dirt and gravel and mud and possum pooo on the road!!!!

    and I've been to dirt schools and I've read "how to ride dirt" books and I'm riding a dual sport so.....totally undo everything I've done and do the TOTAL opposite....ride motard style....body upright, right arm straight, left bent, slide right cheek on seat and hang left cheek off the outside of the corner.....

    so..... if I have to "hang off" on the bitumen 'cause thats what the experts say I should do, and I have to ride "motard" or dirt style in the dirt....how much dirt does there have to be on a highway (or how much concrete on a dirt road) before I sit perfectly in line with the bike....

    OR....in other words.....why, for the exact same corner except for the road surface, are riders taught two totally opposite body positions depending on the road surface if in both cases the whole purpose behind the body position is the same...to maximise balance and traction????? and remember that if the road had been just wet (and therefore slippery like mud or dirt) I would still be advised by the trackday gurus to "hang off"??????

    again...like the countersteering thingy....52 years old, started riding at 17 but still get terribly, terribly confused about what seem like the simplest of motorbicycling questions...please help me.....yours in anticipation :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(: :(:
    #1
  2. Chrome

    Chrome Who's gnarly?

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Oddometer:
    175
    Location:
    San Francisco & London
    Having just returned from American Supercamp which teaches you dirt skills and attempts to place them in a road-riding context I'll try and give my take...

    If they're done right, the techniques share more than they differ. In both, you're trying to push the COG down by keeping the outside peg weighted and pushing the bike down with your outside knee. In both, you're keeping your body as perpendicular to the ground as possible even though the position of your backside is different. In both, you try to maximise leverage by keeping your elbows high and you maximise traction by moving your body weight forwards and backwards.

    The mistake in hanging-off is to lean in with your head and shoulders rather than just moving your ass across - watch the race guys and you'll see that their torsos are leaning less than the bike, i.e. they're staying on top of the bike even though they've moved their body weight inside.

    By staying on top of the bike and pushing it down under them they can slide and drift just like on the dirt - the techniques aren't so far apart as you might think.

    But hell - maybe I'm confused too...
    #2
  3. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,421
    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    On the pavement, you mostly hang off if you are leaning the bike so far that you are running out of road clearance and starting to drag parts. Also, if your contact patch is "crossing" the edge of your tire, hanging off may help you keep more tire on the road. If you aren't close to dragging stuff and if you aren't using your whole tire, then most of the reasons to hang off are a wash.

    In the rain several more factors are added. When you are riding straight, the center portion of the tire is touching the asphalt. As you know, rain water brings up a lot of oily crud from the road, and a lot of it sticks to the tire. But the center of the tire, which is constantly in contact with the abrasive pavement, gets continuously cleaned. Therefore, the straighter the bike is, the more of this "clean" rubber is on the road. Also, in the rain the tires cool off much quicker, so, again, the center patch is the most recently "worked" part of the tire and therefore the warmest. Although that's probably a lot more important on race tires, which are much more sensitive to temperature changes than DOT's.

    I can't speak much about the motard-style of riding. Maybe someone else can fill us in. :ear
    #3
  4. turkish

    turkish Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    7,140
    Location:
    Gone fishin
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I ride my GS and KTM 950 in the "motard-style". To me, it comes down to a matter of bike geometry. The wide bars and upright position of a dirt or dual purpose bike make hanging off a really awkward proposition--at least for me. It's much easier to stuff the bike down into turns while keeping my body upright. Keep that outside elbow up!

    The long forks of d/p bikes also tend to limit the feedback one gets from the front wheel, so I feel like I always have to be ready for the front to slip. On many occasions it has, and being on top of the bike makes it pretty easy to recover--just gas it and look where you want to go. If you're hanging off and the front slides away, you're on the ground instantly.

    Sportbikes are a different story. On my Ducati I try to get as low as possible because that's the most comfortable and efficient way to ride the bike. Buffing the pucks is a normal occurrance at the track. The feedback from the front wheel is excellent and as long as you're on good pavement (no dirt with the Ducati), front wheel slides aren't really an issue as long as you're not trying to keep up with Eric Bostrom.

    When I ride motard style on the GS, other people seem to think that there's something wrong, but it works really, really well. Try it, you might like it!
    #4
  5. Breezo

    Breezo Misadventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    West of Kiama
    Mr Turkish....I actually do ride my GS "motard" style and I prefer it for a number of reasons....it leaves less of your body hanging out if (when!) you go round a blind bend and meet a car using up some of your lane....I think a GS (because of its weight) needs a lot of countersteering effort and that sitting up gives you more leverage, I think you can change direction quicker because you don't have to move your body around so much (especially on very twisty roads that are new to you) and for reasons I don't understand I can react more quickly to front or rear end slips....so perhaps I should add a poll to this thread to find out how many guys hang off and how many ride motard!!!!!!!!

    Thanks guys for replying.....Paul :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky
    #5
  6. kevbo

    kevbo Rubbery-Lip Flappin' PHI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,478
    Location:
    Albuturkey
    I too often wonder why weighting the outside peg works on dirt.
    Reasons it might be so:

    On soft stuff the tires are digging a bit of a trench. Weighting the outside peg causes the bike to lean a bit more which makes the tires less likely to climb up out of that trench. I put this one first because that is how it feels to me when it is working. Ever have a beater car with loose steering? They always try to climb out of the ruts on the pavement.

    A dirt bike, or DS is probably shod with knobbies. Knobs are more spread out on the tire edges, and less likely (if you also ride much pavement with them) to be worn down, so leaning the bike more uses a gnarlier tread pattern than hanging off and keeping upright.

    On pavement, the tires are not digging in, so the first reason can't work.

    On pavement, those wiely spaced knobs have less traction than the closer spaced ones in center of the tire, so that won't work.
    #6
  7. Namaste

    Namaste Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I don't think anybody does a better job of explaining cornering on two wheels than this guy. Certainly not Keith Code.

    If you ride on pavement... you want this book.

    Kenny Roberts thought enough of it to do the foreword.

    Oh yeah...Nick does a pretty fine job on dealing with braking as well.

    be well all
    #7
  8. Breezo

    Breezo Misadventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    West of Kiama

    Thanks Mr Namaste....so where can I get the book and does it have a number thingy reference or a publisher's name or something???? cheers, Paul
    :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb
    #8
  9. Namaste

    Namaste Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada

    It sure does Paul.
    It's published by 'David Bull' Publishing.
    and should be available through any retailer
    or online bookseller.

    Nick is the chief instructor @ Freddy Spencer's High Performance Riding School in Vegas.

    Be well Paul
    #9
  10. Breezo

    Breezo Misadventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    West of Kiama
    Thanks Mr Namaste......you are a true gentleman.....Paul
    :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky :freaky
    #10
  11. LKYPHL

    LKYPHL Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2002
    Oddometer:
    185
    Location:
    Melbourne, Oz
    G'day cobber.
    I had a copy shipped over by Amazon, took about 8 days. It's a good read.
    Phil
    #11
  12. NAVIGATOR

    NAVIGATOR Wanderer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,733
    Location:
    SOUTH OF THE USA BORDER(friendlier Mexico)
    Motard style, means you slide the rear and if needed the front tire, that's easy to do on dirt and not easy at all to do on pavement, at the end ,the motorcycle is more up-right than when trying to corner faster on "biting"pavement, where hanging off helps at the Upper % level of riding.

    Hard to explain but easier to see if you watch dirt-tracking
    #12
  13. LabRat

    LabRat Playpen Attendant

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,809
    Location:
    Hell

    Paul, thanks for this post. I am a new rider (6 months on a F650GSD) and have been dealing with some of the same issues. Both techniques work (I know because I have tried both out of chance, luck, unluck, curiousity you name it). I constantly am trying to figure the proper manner to approach a turn. I have read Ienatsch's book. It is definitely a good read. Before reading his book I was riding with what has been called here a 'Motard' style. To me it was natural to ride this way. I am an avid cyclist (road and mountain) and cornering on a bicycle is in many ways similar to the Motard style. You weight the outside peddle, and let the bike lean under you, while keeping the upper body perpendicular etc. In my mind it is also similar to body positioning while skiing (the sport I know the most about) let your skis and legs turn under you, while your upper body stays perpendicular. However, after reading Ienatsch's book, I started playing around with leaning into the turn and weighting the inside peg. Works great on dry pavement! However, ~2 weeks ago I was taking a turn at 20 mph, using this technique. The corner had a large crosswalk that was painted. When the bike hit the paint it started to slide, first front, then two wheel. Luckily, I was turning onto a three lane road (I used 2 1/2 lanes for my slide), and a little bit of Mountain biking skills, I was able to readjust body to counter weight, and then true "Motard" style I placed a foot down, and was able to keep the bike up right. IMHO what ever you do to keep the bike upright is correct. However, I look forward to others take on the "correct" technique.

    Chrome, thanks for the good input. As stated above, and similar to Paul, I have been trying to figure out the differences between the techniques. You bring up good points of how they are actually very similar! I will need to work on keeping my upper body perpendicular, even when leaning in. This may very well been the mistake I made in my above stated slide.

    Thanks,
    J.D.
    #13
  14. Spanish Bob

    Spanish Bob I dont know where I am.

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,081
    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    I thought I understood all of this until I started reading these threads. What a confusing bunch you are! Anyway bought the book just in case!
    #14
  15. Doug Matson

    Doug Matson Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,827
    Location:
    Torrance, Ca.
    I am 54 and been riding bikes since 14. The times I have learned the most is when I am riding with guys who ride better than I do. I watch them (cause they are in front of me) and then try to emulate what they are doing. One thing everyone has told me and I have found to be true, good vision. You have to be able to look down the road or trail, look at the exit of the turn. Be smooth when riding. The other thing is especially true in offroading is learn about your suspension and get it set up for you. The one thing most all riders are good about is helping fellow riders, so when you figure it out let me know!
    #15
  16. CoolCarbon

    CoolCarbon By the Tay

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Oddometer:
    316
    Location:
    Alba, for the most part-ish
    I can't get my head around all this moving body parts to different locations on the Bike.........you're bound to upset things by doing this!

    I always have a chuckle when I'm following a rider on a so called Sports Bike, I see them shuckin and Jiven all over the Saddle but don't get any extra speed in the corner.......me, I'm sat in the same place for whatever bend we come to!

    The Man I always refer to is Mike Hailwood.......... He never moved around, became part of the Bike and just blended in with it, Man and Machine in perfect Harmony......

    He was soooooo smoooooth. He was world champ in the sixties and then came back in the late seventies and Whupped their Asses again on a slower bike than the competition on the IOM TT course...........Serious Respect!! :thumb

    As has been said earlier, the best way to increase speed and safety is to improve your forward observation and be smooth in all your actions which with the increased forward observations can be carried out within plenty of time and in complete control.......hopefully!

    CC
    #16
  17. Namaste

    Namaste Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    One of the most important things i've learned in order to ride/drive faster is the value of looking to where it is you want to go. I used to look just beyond my front fender or the hood of my car. At high speed i found myself constantly correcting my line and losing huge time in the process. If you can dicipline yourself to look way out to where it is that you eventually plant your wheels, you will discover two things.

    1.) You will move considerably faster through the turn.

    2.) You will ride more smoothly and actually feel more in control.

    This one tip has brought more joy to the riding/driving experience than any other. Especially on track days.

    be well
    #17
  18. Possu

    Possu de-nOObed!

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,230
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    My thoughts on cornering & corner speed:

    I've seen countless riders shoot towards a bend at high speed, only to slam the brakes & waddle round at low speed before accelerating away. It's not that the approach speed freaked them out, it was the fact that they had turned in WAY TOO EARLY to carry that speed. Having turned in too soon, they were then unable to see as far around the bend as they'd have liked to, so they backed off.

    If "going for it" on my GSX-R1100 or any bike for that matter, I always turn as late as possible, not only does this mean you can carry more speed but you also benefit from being able to see further around the bend, giving you more time to spot any impending trauma (road debris, slow vehicles etc).

    One other benefit is that you can maintain more of a constant throttle, using less fuel as a result. Couple of years ago I travelled 100 miles west of Oxford with a GSX-R mounted friend. He turned in too soon all the time, I was in front & tried to keep the speed up around the 110-120mph mark max, his corner speed was way lower than mine. As a result he had to reach speeds of 130mph just to keep me in sight - he also used 25% more fuel when we came to re-fill.

    IMO, the ability to see further ahead is the biggest benefit of a late turn in regardless of speed.

    Steve
    #18
  19. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,421
    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Never seen such a thing. You are making this up.
    :nono
    #19
  20. Possu

    Possu de-nOObed!

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,230
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    Not worthy of a reply.
    #20