Proper technique in the twisties?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by -Q-, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    BMW riders are famous for planting their butts in the seat and hauling ass through a set of twisties without any body gyrations at all. Actually this works pretty good up to an 8/10th's pace and really pisses off sportbike riders who are hanging off like a mofo. However, when the pace really starts to crank, you have to get your weight into the corner and over the front wheel. That means climb up on the seat/tank area, get your chest low and forward, and pivot your butt around the tank into the lean of the corner. You only need to pivot a few inches either way from center, When you pivot around the tank, you automatically get your body closer to the bars and this gets weight over the front. Works like a charm.

    As for braking, I think we are being too rigid in our "don't brake while cornering" theme. Yes, braking at full lean is bad, but getting completely off the brakes before starting the turn is not always good either. It has to be a smooth transition. full hard on the brakes while straight up and down, as you lean in, you slowly start releasing the brakes and by the time you are off the brakes completely, you are a full lean and just about to get on the gas. It's a smooth, but quick transition. Getting completely off the brakes and then quick flicking the bike in the corner, puts the frontend traction at risk. Racers do this, but they maybe wanting to push the front a bit and this is a good way to get it started. It aint for me though. Besides the Telelever GS is the finest trailbraking motorcycle I have ever ridden. It would be a shame to waste that advantage.:drums
    #21
  2. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

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    I understand what you are saying, traveltoad. However, technique, experience, confidence, speed and safety are all interrelated. So, it's easy to see how posting about one would inevitably lead to a discussion about the others.

    About learning on smaller/lighter/weaker bike - I'm 100% in agreement with that. It's easier to be comfortable pushing limits on a smaller bike. Being comfortable is very important for acquiring confidence.

    Here's an illustrated example:
    [​IMG]
    The guy behind me is riding an unfaired SV650. The red X means that he's an instructor. His bike's got ~65bhp. I'm on my Aprilia - a 1000cc V-twin with >100bhp. both bikes weigh about the same.
    Q: Will he pass me?
    A: Are you kidding?! Of course!
    Q: When?
    A: Before the end of this turn.
    Q: How come?
    A: He's going to get on the power smoother and earlier.
    Q: Why don't I use my HP advantage?
    A: Because I'm afraid to find myself on the other side of the traction limit if I give too much throttle. And with this kind of bike it's too easy to give too much.
    Q: Will I get better if I continue taking my Aprilia to the track?
    A: Certainly, but it will take a looong time.
    Q: How can I learn faster?
    A: Get a used MZ Scorpion or an SV650 (the latter is probably still too large) and learn on it. Then try to transfer the skill to riding the bigger bike.

    Same applies to riding in the dirt.
    -
    Ilya
    #22
  3. DevDel

    DevDel Been here awhile

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    A dirt technique that works on the GS is "elbows up". In the dirt it keeps you from getting chucked over the bars, on the GS it helps keep your weight forward and gives better leverage for fast Deals Gap type transitions.

    Fred
    #23
  4. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    iillyyaa's post is just about as good as it gets about technique, so I won't attempt to augment it at all except to add one little thing: countersteering.
    One of the beautiful things about the GS is its wide handlebars, which yields superior leverage. The GS is just about the perfect bike to demonstrate "Push right, turn right". You give those bars a healthy shove and - BOOM - you're leaning, like, right now. I'm probably not the world's smoothest rider, nor the fastest, but I just love to flick the bars, shift my (considerable) weight a tad, and feel the bike going just where I want it to.
    #24
  5. -Q-

    -Q- Adventurer

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    About countersteering.... I've done a little bit of this, but I don't think I've gotten anywhere near its potential. Could someone elaborate on this technique.
    Thanks in advance
    #25
  6. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    I think BMW Rider said it pretty well..... Push right, turn right. Push left, turn left. You can test it out on any straight road where you get up to speed and try it out. Lots of riders don't notice they are doing it even when they are. It mostly noticable on transitions, say in a set of "S" curves where you are leaned over on one site, and you need to get transitioned over to the other side fast for the next turn. In a situation like that, it will blow your mind how fast you can get over for the next turn.:drums
    #26
  7. Grover

    Grover Blinkenlights Adventurer

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    If you have a hard time getting a grip on countersteering, don't think of it as turning in the opposite direction of the handlebars (which is admittedly counterintuitive for most of us) - instead think of it as a sensible technique to set your lean angle, which then carries you around the turn.

    Personally, I've never held the bars left all the way through a right turn or vice versa - I simply use the bars to bank the bike as if it was a jet and intuitively straighten them out when I'm at the lean angle I want to be at. I think that's the most confusing part about countersteering for most people.

    "Push right, bank right, turn right" helps me keep it straight in my mind. :):
    #27
  8. pierce

    pierce Ex Tourer

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    yup, or steering the bike out from under you :):
    (which is the same thing, its setting the lean).

    gads, no. if you tried to hold the bars left, you'd plonk yourself on the ground in a blink. a fast path to lowsiding :huh
    #28
  9. porterfish

    porterfish Debaser

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    I recently saw a show on speedchannel that had a race instructor, cannot remember who, talking about counter steering vs body steering. His premise was that a turn should be iniated with a countersteer and completed by body steering, he discussed mainly using weight shifts on the pegs but obviously there are other means especially if you are moving around in the saddle some. I have basically been consciously countersteering since I got my gs, only bout 2 years but did so on my ktm dual sport and vfrs in the past. I still think its the cerebral excitment i get when doing this that i am as aware of it as i am. I tried to apply the principle mr race instructor was discussing with limited success. I can imagine on a lighter narrower bike this iniated with a countersteer (to get the bike leaned over) and finish with body steering would be very effective but the weight of the gs, and the increased countersteer ability of the wide bars, make it less successful than i imagine it would be on a more layed out bike. I really had difficulty in double apex turns that i can normally power all the way around with strong countersteering alone, i guess i was consciously NOT countersteering at the time so it may have been a self defeating excercise. Where I did find this to be effective was in making small corrections in genrally long sweepers. The combination of the two techniques are obviously most effective cuz nothing lays a gs over faster than a good sharp push on that inside grip, atleast nothing that we desire cuz wet red clay will sure pull it out quick too.
    One thing mentioned above is the trick of getting off the bike and leading into the inside of the turn. While looking goofy this manuver actually lower the combined center of gravity for the bike and rider which in some cases can be helpful.
    #29
  10. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    The one thing I would add to what BMW Rider has already well stated is that if this is all new to you Q, work on the counter steering before the weight transfer. An advantage to steering with the bars (counter steering) rather than weight transfer is a much more immediate and accurate turn. Put another way, counter steering turns the bike now and aims the bike where you want to go. Weight transfer can augment this, help with lean angles etc, but practice separating the two and feeling the difference. If you relly on weight transfer alone your turns will get execute more slowly, with less confidence and I think you will end up feeling "behind" all the time in your cornering.

    When you watch racers execute a turn it is fast! The change in lean angle or direction is immediate. When it is time to turn: SNAP, the bike is over, pointed where it needs to go (usually). This is done with a strong hand to the bars (these guys do a lot of upper body weight training in the off-season). The longer it takes for the bike to reach it's approprate lean angle, the farther over you will have to lean it (or the slower you will have to go) to get through the corner.

    I have only read clips from the previously mentioned book but Keith Code's "Twist of the Wrist" has lots of pictures for those who don't read so good!
    #30
  11. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

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    Oh, yeaaah... Thooose booooks... A lot of good advice, but shitty explanation. I personally have hard time doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. If my head doesn't comprehend and agree with the motivation for a particular action, it is hard for me to believe that that's the right thing to do. Underlying reasoning may not be so important for someone else, but personally I think Keith Code himself should have taken a physics class before writing the book. (I wouldn't be surprised if a cease and desist order from the Church of Scientology was already on its way to my mailbox. :deal :yikes )

    Re: countersteering - it's the only way to steer a motorcycle. Even when you think you're doing body steering - you're really countersteering. I seem to remember Eric Wood or Penguin Racing (IIRC) telling us about an experiment where they attached a second set of stationary handlebars to the body of the bike (with functional duplicate controls) and asked people who thought that countersteering was optional to ride it holding on just to those bars. Nah-uh! The amount of control they retained was negligible and certainly not enough to make it around the track.

    I was lucky enough to have learned motorcycling among experienced bikers (my wife had already been riding 15 years when I met her, and she let me learn on her own bike, speaking of true love), so I knew about countersteering before the first time I put my hands on the bars. A few years ago I met a couple of women on Viragos who mentioned that they'd never heard of countersteering. They didn't believe me and though I was crazy when I mentioned it. It was completely incomprehensible to me how they could ride without that. Since then I've met more folk with no clue about countersteering. The only logical explanation that I can think of for those people being able to ride their bikes at all is that they don't consciously know what they are doing, but they are countersteering nonetheless. Scary. It's like not knowing how a handgrenade works and having to use one. No thanks. I'll stick to Russian Roulette instead.
    :):
    --
    Ilya
    #31
  12. cRAsH

    cRAsH Banned

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    If you want to see how "body steering" works, try taking your hands off the bars at speed and initiating a turn by just "body steering", or leaning off to one side. (you'll need a throttlemeister or summat to do this).
    It don't work -- rather it will eventually work, but very s...l...o...w...l...y.
    Now, reach out and ever so gently touch one hand to the bar and push. Instant turn-action.
    When people think they are "body steering", they ARE ACTUALLY COUNTER-STEERING.
    #32
  13. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    I agree that everyone countersteers to turn. Many people, however, seem to counter steer to help the body steering rather than visa versa. And yes this makes for very slow turns. Hence why many people get "behind" through a series of corners. One is a lazy way the other is a more proactive (for lack of a better word) way to steer a bike. I still think that if one learns to draw a good line through a series of corners, learns to steer by counter steering then adds weight transfer (whatever technique you adopt) you will end up being a faster, smoother rider.
    #33
  14. CoolCarbon

    CoolCarbon Elsewhere, for now... Supporter

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    '"God gave you brakes for a reason. Use them instead of your engine for slowing before a turn. Using your engine is lazy.'"

    Pre-supposing there is a God..........Why use brakes if you can use your Eyes instead !!

    Brakes are there for when you F..kup.

    Read the road far enough ahead and your brakes become passengers.

    Sure there are times when the engineers had to make it kink a bit more than they may have hoped, but in the main, roads can be navigated without using your brakes except perhaps for the wildlife strolling across your path.

    Using your throttle control skills is a far more polished acomplishment than...squirt, brake and steer.


    :): CC
    #34
  15. turkish

    turkish Long timer

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    There was a big religious war on netnews a couple of years ago about countersteering vs. body steering. It got rather nasty with Keith Code advocating countersteering and Reg Pridmore advocating the body steering approach.

    Code actually built the bike you're thinking of and called it the "no bullshit" bike. A friend of mine actually road it (he's an instructor for CSS) and said that it was possible to change the direction of the bike, but impossible to control it effectively.

    http://www.2wf.com/articles/stories/AB44B4F1-B8AF-440C-911D-3B3744371990.asp
    #35
  16. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

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    That is the bike I was talking about. I thought I heard about it elsewhere, but thanks for setting my story straight.

    To: coolcarbon
    About braking versus rolling off, it depends on what the objective is. If you want to have a nice relaxing ride (I didn't say slow ride,) then the roll-on-roll-off technique is certainly appropriate. (BTW, if you are going within +/-10mph of the speed limit, you will most likely not need brakes on most American roads, except for stopsigns and obstacles. But when you are racing against the clock or are keeping up with someone who thinks he/she is, then you do need brakes indeed. It's just like body steering. You don't need to start using it until you run out of clearance or the speed of transitions becomes high enough to warrant it. Same with brakes, except that the threshold for when to use them is lower than for body steering.

    I don't want to be accused of not using my brakes when I should. I'm just saying that there are different styles of riding. It all depends on what a particular rider enjoys most about riding. One might get into tunnel vision nirvana after a stressful balls to the wall ride, and might feel unexcited by anything short of that, and feeling obligated to finish the ride by pulling a 3 gear wheelie. Another might enjoy realizing just how fast he/she can go while being relaxed and observing the scenery. Yet someone else may be perfectly content with a near speed limit ride out in the country. Hey, whatever makes you tick!

    My point is that the basic riding techniques translate well between different styles. But various nuances do not necessarily apply equally to all riding styles. That's why I was trying to just touch on the basics in my first post. When someone you've never seen in the saddle asks me for advice, that's the best I can do. If they are asking me how they should ride, I shouldn't start telling them hiw I ride. That's also why when someone posts describing a technique that I know is not effective for me, I won't necessarily post impeaching their statement. That's the technique that works for their riding style that's different from mine, and that's just it.

    It's only when you get to road racing or MX racing or any other kind of racing that many of the subtleties begin to converge. There you have many people that are united by the common goal to ride at the fastest possible pace on the same type of pavement through the same course, and most often on the same type of equipment. So, while the riding styles of the competitors may still be different, they are a lot less different than, for example, the spread that we have on this board.

    So, beware of giving or taking specific advice on riding technique, for it may not benefit different riders equally. If you don't understand the reasoning behind a perticular manoeuvre, best try to understand it before making it part of your routine. Or better yet, take a road-racing course, where instructors will follow you around the track and give you very specific advice that in their expert opinion applies directly to your riding style. If you are not planning to go into racing, don't adjust your riding style on the track to emulate what you see racers do on TV. Just ride like you would on the street, so you start from the base point that you're most comfortable with. I guarantee you that even if you don't get addicted to the track (which is a worthy achievement in itself :evil) you will drastically improve your street riding skills. Just make sure that you choose a reputable school with a good students per instructor ratio.

    I hope, wherever you may be, that spring is treating you better than it's treating us here in Mass. More snow came and still more coming. Sigh...

    Later,
    --
    Ilya
    #36
  17. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Enjoying the ride

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    Now, I feel better with your conformation of what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years. I’m a dirt bike rider of average skill, and road rider of less then average skill. So, not being an expert, Iillyyaa was harshing my buz, because with a big twin four stroke letting off the throttle is akin to dropping anchor. The wimpy rear brake works just fine for off road, but is just too wimpy for the street. I don’t have nearly the deceleration control with the rear brake when compared to engine braking. So, I’ve always used engine braking and only use the front brake when I’ve misjudged my entrance speed. I think what works best for light weight sport bikes on the track is NOT all that similar to what works with a #600 street beast. If I were to take the pig to the track, then Iillyyaa is spot on. But, using the ultra fine techniques of light weight track bikes has never felt right on the pig.

    Patrick
    #37
  18. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

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    Ooh... I don't think I'd ever been accused of harshing anyone's buz. Whatever that buz may be. :confused

    I am not sure which one of my statements you are reacting to. If it was this one (my only reference to using brakes in this thread prior to coolcarbon's post):
    , then I think you took it out of context. It was placed under "going in too hot" header. That's when you misjudged your entrance speed and are realizing that you are going in faster than you think is possible for making the turn. Are you going to argue against using brakes then?
    --
    Ilya
    #38
  19. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    If this groups ability to ride matches its ability to articulate, then I am going to be wwwaaaaaayyyyyy off the back in the Sierras in July!!!!!!:rofl :rofl
    #39
  20. iillyyaa

    iillyyaa Adwrenchurer!

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    :rofl :rofl :rofl
    #40