Please help me turn better!!!

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Guy Jinbaiquerre, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    I've been riding for about 7 years, and I still suck, suck, SUCK at taking tight turns at speed. Well, any turns, really, but especially tight ones in the twisties. Heading into a turn, I always imagine myself running wide into the guardrail or off the road if I am going "too fast". As a result, I go way, way slower than average riders, not just speed freaks. When I ride in a group, I'm always last through the twisties, by a long margin. Frankly, it's embarrassing and I'm tired of it. (On the plus side, my bike's never been down. :evil)

    People who have watched me say I stay too close to the inside of the turn, instead of starting at the outside edge and moving to the inside as I progress through the turn. There's also apparently a technique involving shifting my weight on the bike which I am not doing right, either. And finally, I'm not sure about what gear to be in on a ride through the twisties: Do you shift up on the straights and down before a turn, or just stay in a low gear the whole way?

    I have read books, watched videos, and talked to other riders about this and I still suck. What can I do to get better?
    :ear
    #1
  2. Jaynnus

    Jaynnus Adventurer

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    If you really want to get better get to a trackday!!

    If you can't, or won't the key elements are...

    1) outside-inside-outside path of travel
    2) look through the turn...all the way through
    3) maintain or increase speed through the turn
    4) use a countersteer input at the entry of the turn and hold that countersteer until reaching the apex, sometimes longer
    5) you must be relaxed on the bars

    find a curve that you are familiar with in a remote area and practice practice practice.
    #2
  3. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Thanks. On a run through some twisties, do you downshift before a turn and upshift after, or just stay in a low gear the whole way and rev higher in the straight bits?
    #3
  4. VFR_firefly

    VFR_firefly Buh Bye!

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    Try looking further ahead towards the exit and not in front of your front tire. Don't look at the side of the road at the wide, evil line -look where you want to go. Look far enough ahead and it actually slows down time, while looking right in front of you makes it seem like you are going a bazillion miles an hour. Looking far ahead is like giving yourself more time to think and plan and decide where you want to go in your line. When you are comfortable going into a corner at a pace that is right for you the you can crack open the throttle just a tiny bit and keep the bike going at a decent speed rather than braking and wobbling all over the place. Once you can see the exit you can start slowly rolling on more throttle until you are upright again and can roll on more until you get to the speed you want to go.

    You can't go fast in the corners until you learn to go slow and perfect. Only then can you dial it up a little bit. Don't worry about keeping up. Worry about figuring out how to make the perfect corner slow. Then it's just a matter of raising the bar a notch or two each time you feel that you've mastered moving up a tiny bit with the speed..

    Buy this book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Sport-Riding-Techniques-Develop-Confidence/dp/1893618072">Sport Riding Techniques</a> by Nick Ienatsch. He basically goes over in plain English everything you really need to know. I think it is one of the best books for bettering your skills and understanding what is going on with ANY motorcycle on the pavement.

    Taking a track day after reading that will also help you master the techniques in a safe environment and many track schools offer one-on-one help.
    #4
  5. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

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    It really depends on the road, and the bike. Lots of times you can run down a set of turns in the same gear, but many times you've got to down shift, then upshift as your accelerating out of the turn.

    There's not a lot that feels better than getting on the power at the apex of turn.
    #5
  6. josh9399

    josh9399 Daily Adventurer

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    This is the easiest way. It makes the gyro like effect make your bike tilt. Only if your wheel is generating enough inertia tho ( high speed). So while on those twisties as you come to a right turn, ease the handle bars to the right ( I mean easy or it will put you on your side ) the bike will lean to the right more as you push harder. Then hold it there. You can feel the effects of this while riding on straight roads too just turn the handlebars some and see what the bike does. It wont work if any part of your bike will touch the ground tho !

    A crotch rocketer showed me this. It works great too.

    Good Luck , and practice practice practice !
    #6
  7. josh9399

    josh9399 Daily Adventurer

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    Oh yeah , that same force will lift the bike back up too.....
    #7
  8. STROH80

    STROH80 Emerald backroads

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    as stated above !!!!!! Buy the book "Sport Riding Techniques" :lurk

    No....Really BUY IT
    #8
  9. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Forget easy, that's the way your grandma rides. In order to be efficient and quick in the corners, you have to ride by using late apexes. In order to make that late turn, you give an input all at once to make the bike "fall-in". Easy is for lazy sweepers and cruizing on a Sunday afternoon with your girl on the back.

    The faster you are going, the harder you have to push on the bars.

    Same technique whether parts of your bike will touch the ground or not (my crotch rocket will scrape pegs...)
    #9
  10. josh9399

    josh9399 Daily Adventurer

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    OK, I agree ! I just didnt want the dude to ruin his bike or grind something off of it!
    #10
  11. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Stop messing yourself up AND STOP LOOKING AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.

    Slow or brake before the turn // look THROUGH THE TURN roll on the trottle and trust your tires.

    Stop STOP STOP LOOKING AT THE EDGE OF THE ROAD. Look where you want to go and go.

    Be smooth. and RIDE RIDE RIDE
    #11
  12. Goran69

    Goran69 MNE

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    + 10 on this.


    Just to add. Read Jaynnus post and remember. Find curve. Visualize, practice...you will be fine.

    #12
  13. Reverse

    Reverse Armchair Tough

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    I'm a slowpoke myself. I used to be even slower, until I bought two books:

    - Sport Riding Techniques
    - Total Control by Lee Parks

    Both are excellent books. For me, Total Control worked best. I would just read a chapter (or two), then apply whatever I'd read on my next ride. I'm still not great at tight twisties, but got a lot better pretty quickly.

    Also, Lee Parks' book has a chapter on 'Fear'. Very helpful IMO, and not something you usually find in books like this.
    #13
  14. Jaynnus

    Jaynnus Adventurer

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    #14
  15. Jaynnus

    Jaynnus Adventurer

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    +1

    The slower you initiate the turn in or countersteer the more tarmac you will cover before the bike has made it to it's turning point. A firm countersteer will put you headed in the right direction sooner...then look all the way through that turn.
    #15
  16. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I'm no road-racer but some things that have helped me considerably are the following:

    -Inside elbow should be below/level (depends on seating/bar layout) with your inside wrist
    -Lead into the turn with your inside shoulder -- these two things force you to put some body weight to the inside of the turn as well as applying proper countersteering pressure to the inside bar. Remember that the more you lean the less the bike has to which means more traction. I've heard the term "kiss the mirror" thrown around and it works.
    -As mentioned already multiple times, look as far through the turn as you can. Start outside, aim for a late apex, then swing outside again.
    -Put body weight on the inside butt cheek
    -RELAX. If you are tense, and stiff, so is the bike.
    -Trust your bike. It's not going to randomly tip over and explode
    -Accelerate or maintain speed through the entire corner. This actually causes the bike to lift up on the suspension giving you more cornering clearance as well as settling the chassis. Basically, if you are letting OFF the throttle while leaned over you are doing something wrong. You should be maintaining or increasing throttle all the way through. The bike feels SO much more right when you do this. Here is a caveat that applies to fast driving as well as riding -- don't get on the throttle in a corner until you are SURE you won't have to get off it again until after the corner is over!

    What does that mean? Number one -- always enter a corner at a speed that can be increased during the corner. You can always speed up through a turn but slowing down through a turn is tricky. Number two -- basically, unless you know the corner well enough to know that you can accelerate through it safely, don't EVER enter a corner you are not familiar with with so much speed you can't react to the unexpected.

    Have fun!

    EDIT I should add that it is helpful to try suggestions one at a time. This makes it MUCH easier to see what is or isn't working for you and you can pick and choose methods that help you the most.

    Also, the stuff I just posted is based on Hough's book, advice from instructors and personal experience. I do NOT ride by getting my butt off the seat -- it's not my style. I have no idea how to best do that but the same principles apply. I tend to follow "the pace" ideas. Google it.
    #16
  17. JDLuke

    JDLuke Ravening for delight

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    I probably need not bother chiming in, as you've already received very good advice here.

    I do want to point out one benefit (Hough talks about this) to starting your turn from the outside: You can see (and be seen from) farther down the road.

    Picture entering a blind right hander. If you're on the left edge of your lane, you have an extra 10, 20, 30 yards of road surface and marking visible to you as compared with being on the right edge.

    Motorcycling is a game of sight. Look where you want to go, and your body will magically take you there. That's a two-edged sword, because we're conditioned to look at danger to keep an eye on things. One must overcome this element of human nature.

    One other point: Your motorcycle will turn based on how much weight is right of center vs. how much weight is left of center. You can get a small amount of turn just from shifting over on your seat and leaning your upper body over that way. Now add that effect to a properly initiated turn and you'll find that you are using less (read less scary) lean angle for a given turn/speed. That's why racers 'hang off', and that's why you should (at the least) be leaning with the bike rather than trying to remain upright during a turn. That is, at a minimum your spine should be in alignment with your bike, and it's better if you've actually got the spine leaned over farther. And keep your eyes LEVEL with the horizon at all times. This really helps one sense and control the path of the machine.
    #17
  18. jfurf

    jfurf Been here awhile

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    I read "Total Control" by Lee Parks and he has another handy counter-steering tip:

    Focus on countersteering ONLY with your inside hand. In other words, for a right hander, push firmly and quickly with your right hand while just barely touching the left bar (or take it off completely for a moment). Basically, he talks about how most of us subconsciously "fight" the countersteer with (in this case) our left hand.

    I've found it to be a very useful tip. eventually you stop thinking about it completely and your turns become much smoother and quicker.
    #18
  19. VFR_firefly

    VFR_firefly Buh Bye!

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    This "inside hand only" steering sounds stupid to me. I guess learning to ride off-road for 10 years before really doing much street teaches you different lessons.

    It just sounds retarded to me. But perhaps many street-only riders ARE retarded...
    #19
  20. bespeedy

    bespeedy Adventurer

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    You've gotten some good advice, so far.

    A few things I'd like to point out that haven't been emphasized enough.

    For me, going faster on curves is about one thing - ME.

    It's all upstairs. You have to BELIEVE that your tires will hold the road, BELIEVE that you can go just as fast as 'that guy' in front of you that blows you away in the twisties. Why? Because it's true. Unless the guy is backing it in or dragging his knee through each corner, you can go just as fast with practice.

    Once you master your own confidence in your machine and capabilities you will loosen up and speed up.

    Spend time in the saddle without the pressure of a group to keep up with.

    Later, try to find someone to ride with that's just a bit faster than you. Watch his lines, his body position. Match his speed, if you can. If he's on the same type of bike with the same type of tires, YOU can go just as fast as HE can.

    Having said that, here's something else to consider.

    My buddy, Troy, has been riding for years longer than I. He got tired of me and my VFR running away from him on his Electra Glide, so he bought an SV1000 to ride 'like me'. After low-siding on his first outing on the brand new SV, we tried again many times. Each time he said 'You ride like a freakin' maniac!!' I tried to explain to him that I ride within my comfort zone and he should, too. As he improved, his confidence increased until he was more comfortable in the twisties, but he never really 'bonded' with the SV.

    Fast forward a couple of years. My buddy sells his SV and buys an Ultra Classic. We seldom ride together, but he has found his bike and his pace. It's a different bike and a different pace than mine, but that's OK.

    The point: perhaps you are on the wrong machine and / or riding with the wrong guys.

    :1drink
    #20