Mountain riding, blind left curves...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by IdahoRenegade, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. IdahoRenegade

    IdahoRenegade Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,904
    Location:
    Sagle, Idaho
    I've been riding in N. Idaho, a lot of that in the mountains on ADV bikes, plus a lot of miles on the street on my touring bike (K1600GTL). I recently moved to East Tennessee. Love the area, it's beautiful and has a lot longer riding season. I'm spending times riding some wonderful, very twisty, paved mountain roads (on the K1600). One thing I'm having an issue with is "committing" to blind left curves, and keeping my speed up and leaned over. I tend to slow down-I think it's mostly mental, due to the possibility of cages coming the opposite way. I have no trouble committing and leaning over hard (OK by my standards) on right-handers. Nor, for that matter, on "open" left-handers where I can see through the curve.

    So? Any suggestions to improve? I'm focusing on a couple techniques I used in the mountains on dirt-leaning the bike while keeping the upper body upright to see further around the curve, and also on "late apexing". Practicing these I am finding helps, but I still have a ways to go to get as proficient as I'd like. Any tips? TIA.
    #1
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  2. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    17,512
    Location:
    the hills
    Living and riding in West Virginia we have similar roads. I generally go in wide and slow if unsure. Not much else you can do other than keep the centerline in mind 'cause there will be oncoming traffic in your lane. A lot.
    #2
    flei, JETalmage, KingOfFleece and 3 others like this.
  3. ricksax

    ricksax Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    225
    Way out here in Ore-gone we have the same problem. You simply cannot afford to cut the blind left hand corner. Mentally, it is helpful to remember that a highway is not a race track, and there is no shame in slowing down. The goal is to survive the ride. Likewise, on twisty roads, I will sometimes be pushed by cars or big pickups. Annoying, but I try to let them by, because they can bomb into a blind corner with few consequences, whereas a motorcycle could find a deer, a gravel patch, or a stalled vehicle.

    To paraphrase: Living...is the best revenge.
    #3
  4. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    8,634
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Stay closer to the white lone

    In any or all blind corner, hidden drive situations speed is not your friend
    #4
    Snowbird likes this.
  5. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,916
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    Widening ones safety margin when their field of view narrows is the correct thing to do. Never outride your line of sight, only an idiot does otherwise.
    #5
    Big John Sny, flei, GotFog and 7 others like this.
  6. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    39,007
    Location:
    Land of Endless Summer.
    Usually I use the wheel tracks, right hand I will be center/left in the lane, and right turn the opposite.

    I do no like ducking trucks with their trailer mirrors out.
    #6
  7. johnwoodsrides

    johnwoodsrides Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    462
    Location:
    E-town, PA
    I have to remind myself that I need to be able to stop from where I am to the furthest point I can see. If I can see 200 feet through the corner, can I stop safely at the speed and lean angle that I’m riding? If not, going too fast. Does this cause me to run fun sections of road slower than I could, sure, but I have a loving wife who wants me to make it home.
    #7
  8. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,146
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    Why not simply ride the best of your ability within your lane? Imagine the line is a wall and don’t hit the wall.

    Like said above, you ain’t racing and having to slow down for blind left turns isn’t going to cost you first place, is it?
    #8
  9. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,565
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Smaller lighter bike makes it easier. I'm not saying a K1600GTL is a bad bike but open sweeping curves are it's thing, not the stuff you are talking about here.

    You HAVE to slow down on a bike like that because it will tend to cut over the center lines otherwise and that can be deadly - fast powerful, designed to be stable at high speeds on highways and that stability and weight come with a price.
    I'm not saying smaller bikes don't also have that tendency as well if pushed but they do generally handle better at lower speeds and don't feel like they'll just fall onto the road if you are slow in corners.

    Generally slowing down is what you need to do, and I do understand that feels wrong on that bike but if you want to be an old rider that is pretty much the answer.
    #9
    RedEX, IdahoRenegade and advcoder like this.
  10. 309

    309 Special Purpose

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,451
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    On the street riding better often doesn’t mean riding faster. Getting back to your family/work/life is way more important than getting around that corner a bit faster.

    So, my suggestion would be to stop looking at being unwilling to commit to blazing around a blind corner as an issue to overcome. It’s just good sense.

    I do think that working on riding skills and techniques is fun and worthwhile. Going into the turn deep before leaning can help you establish a line of sight through the turn to identify hazards, allowing you to then complete the turn with appropriate speed. This may ultimately get you through faster but the objective should be to get that line of sight so you can get through safer.
    #10
  11. SilentRay

    SilentRay Wheres that go Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,023
    Location:
    Blairsville, GA
    And dont forget especially up here in the mountains about the chance that there may be sand / gravel in the curves . The curvy roads shouldnt be ridden like your at a track day .
    #11
    AwDang likes this.
  12. lamotovita

    lamotovita DAMN SNOWBIRD! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,885
    Location:
    WA/AZ, USA
    So what if you're committing to a blind right corner and a Deer/Horse/whatever jumps into your line?
    My number one concern when riding such roads is to be able to ride more of them. Ask yourself why nobody builds race tracks with blind corners.
    #12
    Big John Sny likes this.
  13. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    4,918
    Location:
    MABDR mile 0
    Seriously?

    @IdahoRenegade
    a K1600 is the wrong tool for Appalachia.
    #13
    Mrstig likes this.
  14. FW190Pilot

    FW190Pilot Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2021
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Idaho
    Staying within my lane, outside-middle-outside is a general rule I follow on blind lefthanders (and blind righthanders for that matter). I don’t compromise my body and head position to get my bike closer to the center line. I don’t want my head anywhere close to oncoming stuff in the other lane.
    #14
    IdahoRenegade likes this.
  15. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,865
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    I don't know about Tennessee, but out here in the west, a lot of on coming traffic seem to believe their half of the road is the middle. Stay wide, live long, and ride within your sight line.
    Besides traffic, decreasing radius curves can be a bad surprise.
    #15
  16. IdahoRenegade

    IdahoRenegade Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,904
    Location:
    Sagle, Idaho
    My other bike is a 390 Adventure. I'm finding it a lot of fun on tight, twisty roads (as well as dirt of course). I need to try it on the BRP. Honestly, even with barely 1/4 the HP of the K bike, I bet it's as fast in the twisties. The big bike can get in trouble awfully quickly with 160HP in the tight stuff, and I've never seen the need for full throttle in those situations.
    #16
    KingOfFleece and AwDang like this.
  17. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Think for yourself

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    15,042
    Sounds like you’re doing it right.
    #17
  18. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    4,918
    Location:
    MABDR mile 0
    The 390 is great around here! It’s not as much about the hp’s as it is the weight and flickability. Imagine if you were on a 690 or 890 Duke. Corners come at you in quick succession across Appalachia, and a heavy bike get’s tiring. Don’t get me wrong about the hp’s it’s still nice to have some to pull these hills and dig out of the switch backs. IMHO, 100hp, 400# wet, and a short wheelbase is The sweet spot.
    #18
  19. Chotu

    Chotu Lifan x-pect

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2021
    Oddometer:
    370
    Location:
    Florida
    I don’t understand these kinds of threads.

    Why do we have so many of them?

    You stay wide to account for possible traffic in your lane and slow TF down. That’s it.

    Alternatively, you can ride the center of your lane (if good road surface for it - watch for gravel, sand, debris and oil there) and be ready to instantly adjust to a wider circumference turn if necessary because of oncoming traffic (or slippery stuff) in your lane.

    You don’t try to push your bike to the edge of its performance envelope on a casual ride. Enroll in some local races if that’s what you’re looking to do.
    #19
  20. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    37,834
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    Coming from the West I found the area around the Dragon to be very disconcerting. The tree canopy kinda freaked me out. I was unused to the restricted views. It's gotten better over the years, but every now and then I find myself wondering exactly which way is up.
    #20
    CRP6001 likes this.