the bike just wouldn't make the turn....

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Andyvh1959, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

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    I've heard that on occassion, even had a few riders ask me about cornering and why their bike "wouldn't make the turn". This came up again at the BMW shop where I work part time. I was cleaning up a K1300GT that had obviously taken a ride through the tall weeds into a field. According to the shop owner, the rider had said it wouldn't make the turn. When he described where it happened, I said "that is no brainer turn at 60, could probably easily do it well over that."

    Shop owner said, "if the pegs or some other part aren't dragging through the turn, the bike WILL make the turn." True, as long as the road is clean, decent tires, as long as the rider has some ability, the bike WILL easily make it. The rider chooses NOT to make it, by actual choice, or by brain fart, or by panic/freeze mode on the grips. Probably expains a lot of those left laners on the Dragon, same for the ones photographed off into the trees.
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  2. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    I remember the first time on a real racetrack how surprised I was at the effort needed to turn an otherwise easy handling motorcycle at high speeds. It is alarming.
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  3. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    We had an accident along those lines with the vintage motorcycle club of which I eventually became el Presidente. Moral of the story the ride leader on that ride began preaching countersteering. Try it. It takes some practice, but in an emergency situation you can firmly control that bike to the point where the pegs or the cylinder heads (in the case of a BMW) are on the ground.
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  4. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Practicing counter steering,the only way a bike turns is counter steering.
    Guys just dont know they're doing it.

    I think if riders never push all that hard on corners to get a feel for what going fast is like,when a corner does come up too fast they freeze up and off the road they go. Corners are the fun part but only if ridecraft is up and working.

    It can almost always be saved,but once the eyes are looking somewhere besides around the corner its over,better be some soft dirt.
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  5. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Turn your head, look where you want to go, press on the handgrip. The MSF is right.
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  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    I'm glad you mentioned the road being clean and decent tires. I've had a front knobby let go on the pavement, and I didn't feel like I was even pushing it that hard. I was able to save it, but I can definitely see how a bike possibly wouldn't make a turn if traction let go or hard parts dragged.
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  7. andykeck

    andykeck Been here awhile

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    I would also suspect that this rider had a problem with his outside arm fighting what his inside arm is doing. I don't know if it's a psychological thing or simply natural muscle tension, but my riding got so much better when I started to concentrate on keeping my outside arm 'loose' while turning. It was like getting an all-new, much sportier bike when I learned that trick.
    #7
  8. Wingfixer

    Wingfixer Watch this...

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    Yup!
    :eyes
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  9. Falconx84

    Falconx84 Lurker

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    ^^ this... Identical experience, written more clearly with less words than I was going to
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  10. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    For sure, especially if he got nervous and tensed up. he may have also been focusing on slowing down rather than turning. I had a friend do that and by the time he realized he better turn, it was too late. Even dragging hard parts, as long as they pivot out of the way it should be no problem.

    Is there a 'fog line' on that corner? I know a lot of people use the fog line to focus on as they go around the curve... no line and some people find something else to stare at. Sometimes it's a fixed point as in, don't hit the tree, watch out for the tree, don't hit the... oh shit! :eek1
    #10
  11. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

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    Airplane pilots are subject to a similar phenomenon when they get disoriented, sometimes called the "Giant Hand" phenomenon. They describe a feeling like a giant hand is opposing their intended control inputs.

    This is one of the things that can happen to motorcyclists who suddenly find themselves far outside their experience. Our monkey brains aren't born with the equipment to respond correctly to the unnatural or artificial sensory inputs of motorcycling. Unless a rider has deliberately learned and practiced the correct reactions, our built-in monkey reflexes (bodily reactions to "falling", flinching away from perceived danger, visually fixating on danger, etc.) will take over.

    For the complete explanation, look up the term "survival reactions" in the "Twist of the Wrist" books from Keith Code.
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  12. PT Rider

    PT Rider Been here awhile

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    Not exactly. Countersteering is the way to handle the centrifugal forces of the turn. The bike doesn't have to lean to turn, but it must lean to handle the centrifugal force.

    The poor alternative is for the rider to shift body weight to the inside of the turn direction to handle limited centrifugal force (not hanging off, but an unconscious shoulder lean), then steer the bike around the turn. This works but is very limiting. This is one good reason why, "the bike can't make the turn." This is one case where the arms are trying to wrestle the bike around the turn, and it just won't go and maintain balance.

    A less poor alternative is to do the usual hidden countersteer where upper body movements push the arms for a secret countersteer--which the rider vehemently denies, 'cuz everybody knows you can't turn left by steering right!

    And, of course, the correct way where the bike is steered the "wrong" way to make it lean, then the front wheel drops into the turn to actually get the bike turning for the curve--after the bike is steered right for a left turn and leans to the left, the front wheel turns to the left to make the turn. It is so empowering to feel for the first time tightening the turn radius by pushing forward on the inside grip.
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  13. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    I concur- on our track the first turn at the end of the back straight can be entered at about 130 mph- it's a left flick followed by a right and you scrub speed as you enter but don't brake. Do it correctly and you are set up for the next left. It takes all of my strength to muscle my Honda RS250 through those turns at pace, and that's a machine that only weighs 250 pounds. I apply enough countersteering force that the handgrips (renthal soft) wear out each season as do the palms of my gloves.
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  14. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Yup. I found that I could switch between countersteering and "conventional" riding pretty easily, but at the end of a long trip on a bike with relatively narrow handlebars my arms and shoulders would be dead tired. Much easier to countersteer a big GS BMW than a K1100RS or a K100RS, which originally had some seriously narrow bars fitted.
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  15. healeyblue

    healeyblue Old and Cunning

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    In almost every case I have known, of a bike not "turning", the rider had target fixation. He looked where he didn't want to go rather than where he wanted to go. Had he done everything right the bike would have low sided.
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  16. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

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    Which reminds me of my younger and wilder days. I used to have a lot of friends who were Harley enthusiasts. They were more fun to hang around with than the other riders.

    Anyway, this was back in the late 80's, and after tossing back a few beers we were off to the local small-town festival. We pulled out of the drive and onto the two-lane highway headed uphill into town. In my infinite wisdom I thought it was a good time to show off by executing a couple of sweeping deep turns while maintaining my lane. The K75C I rode then was perfectly capable of going from dragging the left peg to dragging the right peg and do all of this within a lane's width.

    I forgot to factor in that the tires had only had about thirty seconds of "warming" at this point.

    I dove left, towards the centerline, then heaved heavily as I was want to do in order to execute this particular maneuver and, as all the forces of physics were focused on the front tire contact patch, it let go. Let's say for argument sake that business picked up for me about then. The effects of the beers were lost in a rush of adrenalin and I found myself saving the washout by bringing the bike upright in the wrong lane as oncoming traffic crested the hill.

    It all worked out, I avoided the washout on a cold tire, and I believe that I inconvenienced the oncoming car a little as I made my way back into my lane, but still completely impressed my HD buddies with this epic save. (very embarrassing for me)

    Most of what I took away was the reminder that has forever stuck in my mind to make absolutely sure the tires are warm before going all Blue Angels on the pavement, and, to be ever wary of the tight spots a little six-pack courage can get you into.

    The bike just wouldn't make the turn, almost. Fortunately for both of us there was enough muscle memory from experience to prevent it being much worse.

    Moral to the story: Despite all the things that were playing against me, what saved my ass was practice.

    Practice counter-steering often. Make emergency swerves something you do for fun often enough that they are automatic responses when you need them. Oh, and take into consideration all of the conditions that play a part, tires, pavement, state of mind, and all things that might affect the outcome. In the long run having the practiced abilities in the tool belt will offer more benefit than simply understanding what to do and having practiced it once during a Rider Course years ago.

    One way I do this is on an open road with no traffic I'll thread the needle slaloming in the space between each painted stripe. This can only be done at highway speed with quite a bit of force applied to the handlebars, and it is safer as it doesn't require high lean angles. It is a convincer for those who think they don't believe in countersteering. You cannot do this with body lean, never touching paint for half a mile of weaving.
    #16
  17. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    'You want to improve even more, trying PULLING with your outside arm while pushing with your inside arm.
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  18. Bar None

    Bar None Long timer

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    Piratejohn,
    What is this "conventional" riding that you speak of? Are you saying that you don't need to counter steer a two wheel motorcycle?
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  19. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Yeah. I want to be just like you.:lol3
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  20. Solarbronco

    Solarbronco Been here awhile

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    Man, every freakinbody should be required to ride single track trails on Dirtbikes before getting on a heavy street bike. When you can ride standing up on a six inch wide trail next to a cliff and powerslide corners without even thinking about it, you are then ready for a so called adventure bike and only having to worry about staying upright in a big wide road lane. Oh, and cars.
    #20