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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Andyvh1959, Jan 25, 2014.
To complicate things, weight-shift also steers first by counter-steering the front wheel so as to move the contact patch in a way that persuades the CG toward falling into the turn.
Both methods utilize the same principle, only one is direct about it and the other more ponderous while reaching the same end.
Take a bike you don't mind dropping and push it forward from the rear (no hands on the bars), then lean it gently to the left (weight-shift) and watch closely as the front wheel initially steers right, inviting the CG to fall further left, before following the lean into a like path through the turn.
For a bike to lean the contact patch must be driven out from underneath it. Whether this happens by intent (active counter-steering) or comes by surprise (belief in weight-shift being "another" way) is no matter. The same cause-effect relationship exists.
For convenience let's just call these methods conscious and unconscious counter-steering.
If I want to dodge a dead skunk I will opt for 'intent'.
You maybe correct for someone on their very first couple of rides. I'm assuming this thread is applicable to riders of all levels, I saw no mention of beginner only in the title. It's not just beginner riders who fail to take corners. I don't have an evidence to support this statement, but its probably the intermediate level rider who gets into most trouble trying to ride brisk but not having good technique or machine.
"First learn to ride correctly" - Curious as to a definition of the 'correct' way to ride a motorcycle? Is a beginner, intermediate, of advanced technique the 'correct' way? Did anyone ever say just immediately become an advanced rider? It's a journey, but if you don't know the end goal how are you ever going to progress.
"shifting your ass off the seat is fine when setting up for a known corner or preplanned maneuver" - Ever corner I go around is a 'preplanned maneuver'. If its isn't for others, I suggest you reconsider your mindset.
But only to be used on a 'known corner'? In practice this statement is saying that weight-shifting has no place on a public road, and only the track. The very fact that I'm riding on unknown roads, of unknown standard that can change in an instant, sharing it with idiots, etc. etc. etc. is the very reason I want to always be in a position to have maximum control over the motorcycle.
You've never gone into a sharp corner to be suddenly faced with an expected tightening radius turn? If you are already in an advanced riding position, are in the right gear, and have a well handling motorcycle, you should expect to handle this unexpected situation. Half way around a corner, dragging a peg (which will force you to run wide) is not the time to be thinking maybe I should have listened to that guy on ADV.
Rather that write pages on the advantages of the advanced riding technique of correct weight shifting on the road, why don't I just simply explain the basics of the technique and people can go judge for themselves.
Sitting at your computer, feet on the floor pretending your in a riding position, hands on the imaginary bars out in front. Comfortable?
Now dip your left shoulder forward and down (we're turning left), and observe what your hands naturally do. If your left hand didn't naturally go forward (counter-steering) you've got a serious spinal problem. Why spend thousands of hours debating counter-steering theory, when all you have to do is tell someone to dip the inner shoulder down and forward into a turn. Try dipping your left shoulder in the same manner, and push your right hand forward. Pretty dam hard to do isn't it?
Now using the balls of your feet, push up enough to just take your weight and slide 2 inches across the chair to the left. Pretty easy? Now combine both the arse shift with the shoulder dip, moving arse then shoulder. Careful, I've been told you'll fall of the chair unless your an expert.
Now lift your left foot from its straight ahead position and place the ball of your foot on the end of the imaginary left foot peg. If your knee doesn't now point outward at a 45 degree angle, again you've got a serious spinal problem.
Now put it all together, arse shift, foot pivot, shoulder dip. Really wasn't that hard was it? If you'd have been on a real bike you'd have utilized counter-steering together with a significant shift of the center of gravity, and kept your motorcycle more upright in the turn.
If your interested in being a better rider, now go practice, practice, practice the above technique starting out in very small movements which gradually increase over time till you find your own comfortable limits. If your not interested in utilizing some of the technique used by all the best motorcycle riders in the world for the past 40 years, take absolutely no notice.
all that moving around is fine for a fun ride thru the twisties . not so good in commuter traffic, or long distance touring. or most everyday riding. if that is the only way to ride you need to rethink . if a car makes that left turn if front of you and you have to go left fast and them back right to avoid the oncoming car. if dipping a shoulder and sliding on the seat is the way you turn you are not going to make it. BEST ON THE TRACK DOES NOT EQUAL BEST ON THE ROAD.
OK, I'm not reading all those pages of conjecture; after reading the first page, I'm just gonna jump in and offer my own.
It sounds to me like the guy was on the brakes. On the brakes wants to stand the bike up, and make you feel like you're rushing into the turn way too fast. it doesn't want to turn, or do anything else except run wide out of the turn, mostly in a straight line.
I rode an early 80s Honda Interceptor 1000 that seemed to resist turning. It was a heavy beast of a bike, with plenty of power, and felt like it wanted to stand up under acceleration. At the time, I was about 175 lbs. The owner of the bike was a smaller guy, at about 150 lbs. He said the key was to just throw all your weight into the handlebars as if you were trying to low side it, all the while keeping the throttle pinned. :eek1
He was a mad man on a sport bike, and died as such. None of us were surprised, but it still hurt to lose a childhood friend like that. (t-boned a car at 100 mph +)
On the flip side, mt Dorsoduro seems to anticipate turns. If anything the handlebars seem to turn too much by themselves.
You need to get out more, mate.
First. It's never a factor. Second, I see threads on it all the time.
The average race driver is also concerned with suspension setup- the typical soccer mom, not so much. Pro racers- car or bike- are seeking the extra 0.01% that will win them a race. That's not really what we're talking about, is it?
PS- I suggest you go google up "Keith Code No BS bike". Body position is good for improving cornering clearance- which, and I'm repeating myself, is almost never a factor in street crashes- but doesn't really help change direction much.
Sounds like a classic case of target fixation and panic mid corner. This is the process: you feel a corner tighten up, and suddnely your brain tells you that you are going too fast, and the bike will slide out if you dont do something - you wont make it. So your first reaction is to pull the front brake hard (which stands the bike up straight) then you look right in front of you (hoping to avoid what you are going to hit) Your arms freeze up fighting each other, you lock up the rear wheel and you go straight off the road.
I did this many years ago, and managed to ride it out. It is a scary feeling, and your only conlcusion since you dont understand motorcycle dynamics is that "the bike wouldnt make the turn." If you are lucky, you walk away.
Of course, we all know that the likelyhood is that you could have made the corner easily if you simply countersteered it all the way through and looked thru the turn. Even washing some speed of with controlled braking helps, if you know how the bike will respond.
Now, after some good training and experience, going into a corner a little too hot is really a non issue. You know what to do and how to override your fear response.
Hardly. Having suspension that isn't right for rider weight can lead to excessive dive on braking, excessive compression in turns leading to dragging parts, changing steering angles, and that ever so lovely feeling of a hinge being in the middle of a bike. Suspension is always a factor, just one most ignore because they don't know any better and think that's just the way the bike is supposed to handle.
Agree one hundred percent here.
Hanging off the bike is an advanced technique that is only useful when necessary to compensate for higher speed through the turn by reducing lean angle.
If you aren't damn close to dragging pegs or other hard parts hanging off the seat is completely unnecessary, but looks really cool to the Randy-Racer types who want to impress their friends.
Leaning into the bars might be one teaching technique to help folks who are unable to easily grasp the principles. Doing this is something that happens above the waist and the butt can stay firmly planted and achieve the goal. When I taught, it was push left to go left, done with the arms only. Seemed to get the point across nicely without resorting to any motorcycle gymnastics which are beyond the scope of a basic learning environment.
No need to get the cart before the horse.
I'm sure it's a factor in crap handling.
I'm saying is it's not a siginficant factor IN CRASHES. Loss of traction or ground clearance- for any reason, let alone one like "bad suspension"- doesn't cause people to fail to negotiate a corner- that error is nearly always between the ears.
It's not the bike that "just wouldn't make the turn". It's the rider.
The OP was a bike that lost it on a country road at 60 mph, discussion the corner should be able to be taken at speeds much greater, up to a point of peg dragging.
From the thread so far I've learnt that suspension has got nothing to do with how a bike handles, and people who drop their shoulder and knee into high speed turns are just posers.
Looking forward to a further 100 pages of "target fixation", "push left to turn left" and "the only way to make a motorcycle turn is counter-steering".
Primarily it is the rider. But, having a lousy suspension contributes to the feeling the rider has that the bike just won't make the turn.
If when they try to lean further it gets wobbly, or, if when they change throttle position it changes the steering angle and drastically alters the line they are taking, this could be something that makes things bad enough that they give up.
I remember riding a new 1984.5 Sportster 1000 that had forks that were about the same diameter as the ones on my first bike, a Suzuki 50 Gaucho. They didn't have the strength for the application and would flex horribly.
It was most disconcerting riding this bike until I finally figured out that there was a delay between when I moved the bars until the flex in the forks translated to the wheel. Maybe a quarter or half second. I couldn't depend upon the bike to make quick swerves, but, I could plan my way through the turns easier once I knew what to expect.
Imagine what this might be like for an inexperienced rider trying to use counter-steering. They provide a steering input and nothing happens. Then, suddenly shit starts happening and they try to undo it. Again, there's a delay. This creates a feedback loop that can be disastrous and is due to a suspension/steering/engineering issue with the bike itself.
Many cruiser bikes are not provided with the components to accomplish precise maneuvers the way sport and dirt bikes are equipped. It is a budgetary and profitability decision that most riders don't miss until they find themselves in a situation where that level of precision might save their bacon.
The bike couldn't make the turn, because:
the load was too heavy for the springs and hard parts dragged,
the forks weren't beefy enough to translate the steering inputs in a timely manner,
the load was imbalanced to the rear and the shock ran out of travel because preload wasn't changed for a pillion or luggage added,
changing throttle or applying brake drastically changed the attitude of the bike because the springs were under-rated for the load,
Any of which could be read by the rider as feedback that the bike had reached its limits and the rider didn't have experience enough to compensate.
Granted, most of the folks who don't make the turn aren't the kind to push the limits and explore the edges of the operating envelope of their bikes in the first place. So they are caught unawares. Primarily this is the rider's fault. However, these riders tend to migrate toward bikes ill-suited to envelope pushing in the first place. So, the cards are stacked against them, even when they try to do the right thing they get the wrong response.
You drop your knee to move the center of gravity inward. Anything that moves the CG inward makes a bike go around the corner easier, especially a big heavy BMW touring bike.
I thought you were going on about hanging out there like a GP racer. My misunderstanding.
That technique IMHO is rarely justified for the majority of routine street riding being done. (repeated speed runs up and down the canyon isn't routine) Hanging it out there probably increases risk in more cases than not. This is due more to the myriad variables found on the street that aren't found on the track where this technique is used to eek out the last bit of performance of man/machine/surface in a tightly controlled environment.
Some get in the habit of being all hung out there and find out just how well an unanticipated gravel patch or errant piece of cardboard, or the surprise of a hot tar snake is dealt with from that precarious position. Whoops, didn't make the turn again.
As for the technique you shared, the weight of either knee moving outward six inches or so is insignificant in relationship to the overall mass of my 500 lb. bike with my 250 lb. carcass on it. On a "big heavy BMW touring bike" it would be even less significant.
If you are doing this as part of shifting weight to the ball of your foot on that peg, then sure, every little bit helps and all. Do you feel this is something a rider having problems turning should focus on first in order to improve their technique?
Would this take priority over practicing a simple weave using the handlebars to increase familiarity with steering inputs?
IMHO what you describe is only helpful as an advanced technique after having mastered the foundational skills. The ones lacking that caused the rider to miss the turn to begin with. Braking, calculating the line, steering the bike, looking through the turn all have to become a practiced skill before adding anything else to fine tune technique with subtleties.
I think all modern day sports bikes can out perform 90% of there riders.
I don't hang off the side. I just brake, downshift, counter-steer, look through the turn, and throttle out. Keep it simple. If the bike starts sliding, and you use tires that break loose gradually, it's easy enough to adjust for. The pegs on a dualsport are WAY up there, so I don't have a concern about dragging them on a public road. I usually lean with the bike or stay on top of it and lean it under me.
A tire that breaks loose suddenly on pavement can make things interesting, especially if it's the front.
I don't stand the instant I get on dirt either. I usually only stand when I need more control, more ability to transfer weight, or more suspension.