How to make a tight u-turn - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 7:14 pm Thread Starter
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How to make a tight u-turn

I would be ever most grateful if you would provide a very detailed description of how to properly execute a tight u-turn on an LT. Please provide a sequence of events through the maneuver from approach to completion. Please address eyes, body position, and what both hands and both feet should be doing. Thank you very much and I will be certain to add you to my list of things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Ray

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post #2 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:01 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Do you know how badly I want to say: Lean hard left, rev her up, first gear, hard left turn and dump the clutch.
But, I'm not a smart ass, so I won't say it.
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post #3 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmlt
Do you know how badly I want to say: Lean hard left, rev her up, first gear, hard left turn and dump the clutch.
But, I'm not a smart ass, so I won't say it.
But I want to turn right! LOL

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post #4 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:12 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Ray,
Difficult to explain but I'd recommend the courses through MSF .
Once you see an instructor do it on bikes like an LT & Harleys, it's easy.

For starters, you start out in the middle of the road . . .

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post #5 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:16 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

You first need to spend a bunch of time riding your LT to get used to it...as far as a tight U turn, the main approach is to be aware of the speed you are traveling for the sharpness of the turn, tight being pretty slow. Then you need to keep your head up, look where you want to be when you are done with the turn, and turn. keep looking at where you want to be, not at your hands, or the windshield, or at the road in front of you, keep your eyes on where you want to end up. People have different riding styles, and I don't think one persons step by step description will suit everyone, but I know from experience that if I look where I want to go, somehow the bike follows and my body just does what needs to be done. Yea, its magic...
If you want to wimp out, just stop, put the bike in reverse, back around, put it in forward, and turn the handle bars where you want to go to, and dump the clutch...slowly...
Good Luck!!

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post #6 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:18 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Here's a previous discussion on the same topic.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...hlight=u-turns
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post #7 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:47 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Run about 2500 rpm, and slip the clutch to move the bike thru the U-turn. You can lock the bars and move slowly, while balancing the bike. Drag the brake slightly if you want, I don't, too much to do. I can do these turns all day with wife on the back, it's not that hard if you practice it in a level parking lot a few times. Don't be intimidated by the mass of the LT, if it's moving at any speed there is a stability that you can work with.

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post #8 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 10:45 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

To make a tighter circle at slow speeds, you need to keep your weight to the outside so you can lean the bike more. This creates a decrease in rake angle and the bike will turn tighter. To practice, go to a vacant parking lot and try turning a comfortable tight circle keeping your weight to the inside, then to the outside. The difference can be significant.

If you have a second motorcycle that is lighter than the LT, that is the way to practice. I enjoy taking my DRZ400s out and practicing slow speed maneuvers. The LT is heavy and is less forgiving to practice at extremely slow speeds. I get tired fairly quickly when practicing on the LT, but I can tell that after practicing, my slow speed skills are better.

My suggestions when practicing slow speed maneuvers: Practice using the clutch a lot and only the rear brake. Smooth is key, so start big and comfortable and work your way to the tight stuff. Before long you're doing full lock circles and figure eights.
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post #9 of 54 Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 10:56 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

The uncultured way:

After owning the bike 3 months and with a group of friends, find the most moss covered narrow road to get lost on between Monroe and Arlington, Washington. Decide to make the u-turn in front of the group by going too slow, tapping the front brake, begin to nose down and then panic by wrapping the throttle and kicking the bike 45° more than intended sending it more sideways than straight to hit a non-moss covered patch of asphalt to send you rocketing forward straight down the correct lane with a "devil-may-care" control.

Brag to friends that it all in the superb handling and find an AM-PM to regain composure while everyone else is getting gas.

The cultured way: What everybody else said.

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post #10 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:03 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

And when you think you're really good....take a look at this guy! And....you can always spend some money on some "Ride Like A Pro" videos from Jerry Paladino.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqRvq...eature=related

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post #11 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:46 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

On Youtube, just enter 'motorbike u-turn' or 'motorcycle u-turn' as search terms and you'll find plenty of info.

Have a nice day!
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post #12 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:48 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by casualemt
Then you need to keep your head up, look where you want to be when you are done with the turn, and turn. keep looking at where you want to be, not at your hands, or the windshield, or at the road in front of you, keep your eyes on where you want to end up.

+1... Look where you want to end up. Turn your head as far as you can.

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post #13 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 3:52 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Look, Lock and Lean

When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.
Colonel. Theodore Roosevelt

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who would do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. Albert Einstein
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post #14 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 6:45 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by PMitchell
Ray,
Difficult to explain but I'd recommend the courses through MSF .
Once you see an instructor do it on bikes like an LT & Harleys, it's easy.

For starters, you start out in the middle of the road . . .
I second the ERC course. Many good tips for the parking lot and u turns.

Just Go
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post #15 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 7:50 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I talked to Jerry Paladino at Americade a couple of years ago, Jerry told me that the LT is the worst for doing maneuvers. I bought his cd anyways. I've tried and tried get it down but just cant. What he suggested for two up is leaning away from your u-turn (both rider and pillion) head turned where you want to end up. Doing it that way I can make a twenty ft. turn two up. Looks stupid but works for me. Chuck
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post #16 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 8:31 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Believe it was mentioned above, normal is to apply rear brake only and using the motor force against the brake, power the bike around the turn. Of course you'll be clutching it going slow while fighting the rear brake. But It only takes a few times to get the timing and feel.

Problem is with the LT's (i.e. mine) that have the fully integrated brakes. You can't apply just the rear brake, just a matter of balance then. Try the same technique with the LT and it goes to crap when the front brake grabs. My vtx will do slow speed circles very smoothly with the rear brake applied and just powering through the force.


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post #17 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 8:45 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvguy
+1... Look where you want to end up. Turn your head as far as you can.
Regan from "The Exorcist" makes the BEST u-turns.
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post #18 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 11:36 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I practice a half U turn every time I leave my parking spot at work. Roll forward into the throat and then lean her over hard in the direction I want to go and use the throttle to pick her back up before I hit the ground. No slipping of the clutch involved here.

I have not got the stones to try a full U turn that way yet!!!

John
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post #19 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:08 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Here's a better description to the technique I gave above. A lot more can be found in the links below the article
http://www.ridemyown.com/articles/ri...lowspeed.shtml

But again its all for naught on linked brake systems on the LTs. This is why a lot of people go down in parking lot situations. From the above link:
"AVOID using the front brake at all costs when riding at parking lot speeds, as applying the front brake at 5 or 10mph with the handle bars turned even slightly, will pull you to the ground like a magnet."

Some places call it ABCD, accelerate, brake, clutch, direction.

I think on the 1600 the rear is not linked or at least not linked at low speeds.


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post #20 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 4:07 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketRon
And when you think you're really good....take a look at this guy! And....you can always spend some money on some "Ride Like A Pro" videos from Jerry Paladino.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqRvq...eature=related
Funny, but that "LT" looks a lot like a Harley.

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post #21 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 5:27 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

[QUOTE=jzeiler]I practice a half U turn every time I leave my parking spot at work.

What is a "half U" John?
Wouldn't that be a J or a L? =-}

I, too, do a U turn leaving my parking spot at the the homebrew store. I've never really thought about what I do, but it is up hill - which may help. I release the clutch to get enough momentum to pick my feet up and go about 10 feet. I then make a right lock with the bars. I really don't lean but do a slow upright turn (the road is sloping downhill from my position). Turning the head helps. The momentum holds me up as I come over the apex and then head down the slope which gives me a little more speed. Unfortunately, I generally have to brake before entering the street which sucks after making such a pretty turn.

I'm generally better to the left than the right, but (nearly) daily practice makes perfect.

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post #22 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 6:15 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Well I will put some input here about making a U-turn on the LT.

First and foremost if you're practicing on the LT start with making a very wide U-turn. As you gain experience in managing your clutch and throttle control, head and eye placement, and confidence you can begin challenging yourself and tightening up the U-turn. I would begin with approximately 18 ft. then begin closing it up over time.

The rider should stay off all the brakes while making a U-turn. Proper feathering of the clutch and imputing throttle will keep the LT from falling over while in the turn.

Here is how I trained riders in the proper method of making a U-turn:
Start in a straight line, reduce speed using a combination braking. Do not use the brakes in the turn. Turn your head and look over the shoulder in the direction of the turn. Lean into the turn, keeping your eyes off the pavement and on the horizon in the direction of the turn.
Feather the clutch as necessary in the turn to maintain control and eliminate any jerky movement.
Keeping your feet on the foot pegs unless it is absolutely necessary to drop your foot down to correct the balance of the bike.
Hope this will help.



Bill (aka Chipper)
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post #23 of 54 Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 8:52 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

[QUOTE=alabrew]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
I practice a half U turn every time I leave my parking spot at work.

What is a "half U" John?
Wouldn't that be a J or a L? =-}

I, too, do a U turn leaving my parking spot at the the homebrew store. I've never really thought about what I do, but it is up hill - which may help. I release the clutch to get enough momentum to pick my feet up and go about 10 feet. I then make a right lock with the bars. I really don't lean but do a slow upright turn (the road is sloping downhill from my position). Turning the head helps. The momentum holds me up as I come over the apex and then head down the slope which gives me a little more speed. Unfortunately, I generally have to brake before entering the street which sucks after making such a pretty turn.

I'm generally better to the left than the right, but (nearly) daily practice makes perfect.
Yes it is more of a J turn.

I don't lock the bars to the right if that is the way I am going but rather push the bar to the left. That drops the bike's right side down and I pick it back up with the throttle. If I stall the bike she is going down hard on the right side. It is a good no brake technique that I should really practice in a full U in the parking lot more.

You can get the hang of it by starting out rolling slow in a straight line then hit the bars with a "push" as the bike begins to fall over add throttle to bring it back up. Start small and work your way up to some serious lean angle and recovery with the throttle. It is really a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

John
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post #24 of 54 Old Nov 24th, 2011, 10:41 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Works okay except when the *^#^ timing retards and the accelleration you expected to pick you back up is a labouring bog, until its almost to late and then away you go

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post #25 of 54 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 7:05 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

A "SEARCH" will pull up a short report that I wrote on the Ride Like a Pro class with Jerry Paladino a while back on my 02 K1200LT. I had difficulty because of the connected brake and found that even though I would only use the rear brake, the front was still putting pressure on the front, making it quite difficult to make the U turn. With the K1200LT, I used the clutch and slow speed to make the turns, but was limited.

I do find that a 1/2 U turn on the K1200LT is very easy though from a complete stop. I do many of these from a parked position. I'm finding that it is much easier and my U turns are smaller on the K1600GTL. I don't think that the brakes are linked and making a U turn while lightly adding rear brake, seems to work best.

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post #26 of 54 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 11:40 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Humm.??

Here is how I trained riders in the proper method of making a U-turn:
Start in a straight line, reduce speed using a combination braking. Do not use the brakes in the turn. Turn your head and look over the shoulder in the direction of the turn. Lean into the turn, keeping your eyes off the pavement and on the horizon in the direction of the turn.

Just a couriuos question? I've alway been told to counter wieght in a real slow tight U-Turn. Your instructions say "Lean to to the turn". At what point of speed do you "count weight or Lean into the turn?

Bill Jennings, fhp
Denison, TX

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post #27 of 54 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 10:18 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by bulletbill
Humm.??

Here is how I trained riders in the proper method of making a U-turn:
Start in a straight line, reduce speed using a combination braking. Do not use the brakes in the turn. Turn your head and look over the shoulder in the direction of the turn. Lean into the turn, keeping your eyes off the pavement and on the horizon in the direction of the turn.

Just a couriuos question? I've alway been told to counter wieght in a real slow tight U-Turn. Your instructions say "Lean to to the turn". At what point of speed do you "count weight or Lean into the turn?
Hi Bill, your speed is very slow but with enough momentum to start the turn. From this point you're relying on your head and eyes, and clutch/throttle. If it makes it any clearer for the speed, what I was referring to would be about the same as starting from a stopped position and pulling forward about 2 ft. and start the turn. Maybe 1mph. The lean of the m/c starts as soon as the bike begins making the turning movement. The u-turn is not a fast movement, I basically complete a u-turn at about the same speed every time.

Bill I hope this helps you out .

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post #28 of 54 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 11:15 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Maybe I'm stupid and maybe I've done it wrong for 40 years, but tight turns are done in the friction zone, rpm slightly raised and steady rear brake applied, look where you want to go, in other words full head turn. If your engine is turning, you are turning your head so as to look down the road, not down AT the road, you can't fall over. Linked brakes make NO difference in how this gets done.
Now if this scares you and you think you are going to drop your bike, go drop your bike in the grass someplace, but do it while doing what I previously mentioned. Once you get the drop out of the way you'll be far less worried about falling over.
Oh and if you are wondering what the friction zone is? Go to a parkinglot and practice going as slow as you can possibly go in a straight line, rear brake applied and the clutch at just engaged. Once you get it down to an absolute crawl, you've found the zone and it is the same for tight turns. Ride like a pro does a nice job presenting this and providing some good exercises.
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post #29 of 54 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 2:52 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Some previous posters have alluded to the opposite lean part of this U turn exercise but no-one appears to have explained that part of the manouvre. I'm an ex trials rider, and, as most will know, we tend to do the odd turn or 2 in that sport, in very confined spaces and conditions, but the theory is exactly the same. When the turn is being executed the centre of gravity must always be vertical through the bike. This means that as the bike leans into the turn the rider must counter the tendency of the bike to fall inwards by shifting his/her weight (mass) outwards. The bike therefore should never fall into the turn, if this is happening then insufficient weight shift is occurring, and yes, keep the head up because where you look is where you go, look down and,............ you'll go down. Remember, the greater the mass of the bike the greater the counter force required to keep it balanced, not always achievable at full lock for some lighter riders. Very easy on a 75 Kg trials machine. Hope this helps explain.

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post #30 of 54 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 7:19 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
. Linked brakes make NO difference in how this gets done.
I am not an expert and can only go by my experience and will have to politely disagree with this statement. Maybe if I get better and can learn a different technique, but I personally find that I can MUCH more easily make the U-Turn without linked brakes. The link brake forces the front to grab and for me, that is a problem.

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post #31 of 54 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 12:25 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
I am not an expert and can only go by my experience and will have to politely disagree with this statement. Maybe if I get better and can learn a different technique, but I personally find that I can MUCH more easily make the U-Turn without linked brakes. The link brake forces the front to grab and for me, that is a problem.
John, I not sure why riders use any brakes at all during the process of making a u-turn...unless the turn is being attempted too fast.

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post #32 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 5:19 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Yes Dano, the brake technique only works with an independant rear brake. Front brake must never used to assist with any tight U turn. The rear brake technique (applying slight brake while throttle is also applied) works because the action causes the suspension to be slightly pulled down (compressed) at the rear, thus tending the bike to want to stand upright, this has the effect of stabilising during the turn. It is a very useful technique to use in roundabouts, especially when 2 up. Plenty has been written about it. Google stayupright.

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post #33 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 11:39 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Before you attempt it, be sure you have the strength to pick up the bike from horizontal.
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post #34 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 12:23 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

DanDive, if you are having an issue related to linked brakes, you are applying too much brake in my most educated opinion. Obviously a linked brake system bike will be a little touchier than a non-linked, but providing you aren't hammering brakes it should be a non-issue. Here is a link showing a GW, also linked brake; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmcjW...eature=related
Here is another linked brake bike, Victory Vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quwbe...B9F6A2D5E1950D

I've personally owned both of these bikes and practiced these manuevers just as in the video's. Both are far heavier so you simply need to practice. You'll get it but it takes time.

Now I'm not a great rider, hell don't even claim to be a good rider, many folks I ride with can ride my pants off, probably a good number of folks on this board, BUT I spend a great deal of time practicing basic manuevers like you see in the "ride like a pro" video series every year. So when I say linked brakes make NO difference, they make NO difference if you KNOW your bike.
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post #35 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 12:37 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
DanDive, if you are having an issue related to linked brakes, you are applying too much brake in my most educated opinion. Obviously a linked brake system bike will be a little touchier than a non-linked, but providing you aren't hammering brakes it should be a non-issue. Here is a link showing a GW, also linked brake; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmcjW...eature=related
Here is another linked brake bike, Victory Vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quwbe...B9F6A2D5E1950D

I've personally owned both of these bikes and practiced these manuevers just as in the video's. Both are far heavier so you simply need to practice. You'll get it but it takes time.

Now I'm not a great rider, hell don't even claim to be a good rider, many folks I ride with can ride my pants off, probably a good number of folks on this board, BUT I spend a great deal of time practicing basic manuevers like you see in the "ride like a pro" video series every year. So when I say linked brakes make NO difference, they make NO difference if you KNOW your bike.
I think the bigger issue with the LT is the high first gear and lack of torque at low RPMs. My LT idle at 7 MPH. Add any throttle at all and you are going 15+ MPH which is a little fast for really tight turns. Yes, slipping the clutch helps, but nothing like a torquey engine that can idle through turns like this as the man narrating the Vision video says. I think that, more than anything, is what makes the big V-twins so much easier to turn tightly than the LT.

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post #36 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 3:22 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Voyager, I think the higher center of gravity is probably more the scare factor for most. When I purchased my RT that was the first change I had to overcome, coming off bikes with a much lower center. I don't want anyone to think I'm suggesting tight turns should be easy to learn, they aren't, they take loads of practice and really getting to know the bike.
For example, to drag boards around a tight turn on the Vision I had to lean slightly forward and raise my elbows. Probably didn't need to do this BUT it was the routine that allowed me to do so without second guessing myself.
All I'm really suggesting is to get out and try different things until you find what works for you and the bike. However a linked brake system won't stop you from doing this manuever, unless of course you've convinced yourself it will. I noticed a couple folks say they do tight turns without the use of brakes... Personally I'd never be able to do that, but it works for them so thats great.
I'll now return you all to your regularly scheduled discourse, and back away. Nice chatting with you folks and good luck with practice. I'm sure you'll work it out.
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post #37 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 3:29 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I've been reluctant to enter into the fray given all of the knowledgeable posts about slow speed turns with the LT, but what the heck...

I've always been reluctant to slip the clutch on any vehicle, it goes against the grain. But, after 85K miles on my LT (and countless thousands on bikes which I haven't kept track of) I can say that the LT is pretty unforgiving at low speeds. I may hold the record for dropping the LT two up and over loaded with camping gear.

I eventually came to terms with slipping the clutch at low speed and now do it regularly. My method has been influenced by many of the posts on this site regarding slow speed maneuvers on the LT.

What I have learned to do:
(BTW, my 2000 does not have linked brakes so I can't speak to the response of the linked brake system on later models).
During slow speed maneuvers, I generally will slip the clutch with the throttle set at some constant RPM (not sure what RPM 'cause I'm not looking at the tachometer) and control speed with the rear brake. With the clutch and throttle pulling, the rear brake controls the speed.

I keep my head up and look where I am headed, not down at the road. I do find myself sitting to the outside of the turn to offset the weight of the bike leaning into the turn.

With this method I am much more confident and the bike seems to be much more controllable. Once I am starting out of the turn I let the clutch out and throttle up.
Whatever the physics of the process, I can say it really works better than any method of trying to control the bike with the the clutch fully engaged and all speed control maintained by the throttle. HDs and Goldwings handle much better at low speeds but I'm happy to accept the limitations of the LT at low speed for what it offers once the real ride begins. (The LT will run with the sport bikes like the HDs and GWs can only dream of).

I haven't practiced in parking lots, nor have I taken a rider's training program. But experience tells me that slipping the clutch, holding the rpm's up, and controlling speed with the rear brake gives much greater low speed control on the LT. I find that I now frequently do turns with the steering head at full lock. I'm not trying to get to full lock of the steering head, it just happens with this method.

Yeah, take an experienced rider course, that's good advice. But if you don't get around to it like me, just practice the clutch slip, throttle up, rear brake method and I think you'll find that the LT becomes much more manageable at low speeds.

This is a WONDERFUL motorcycle.
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post #38 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 4:01 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
Voyager, I think the higher center of gravity is probably more the scare factor for most. When I purchased my RT that was the first change I had to overcome, coming off bikes with a much lower center. I don't want anyone to think I'm suggesting tight turns should be easy to learn, they aren't, they take loads of practice and really getting to know the bike.
For example, to drag boards around a tight turn on the Vision I had to lean slightly forward and raise my elbows. Probably didn't need to do this BUT it was the routine that allowed me to do so without second guessing myself.
All I'm really suggesting is to get out and try different things until you find what works for you and the bike. However a linked brake system won't stop you from doing this manuever, unless of course you've convinced yourself it will. I noticed a couple folks say they do tight turns without the use of brakes... Personally I'd never be able to do that, but it works for them so thats great.
I'll now return you all to your regularly scheduled discourse, and back away. Nice chatting with you folks and good luck with practice. I'm sure you'll work it out.
That may well be. I know a lot of people are intimidated by the LT and fear or dropping her. After 4+ years and 27,000+ miles I have yet to drop mine and have no fear (well, very little anway) about doing that. I don't find the CG to feel all that high. It feels little different than did my Kaw Voyager XII, which I may have dropped once in 17 years and nearly 50,000 miles.

My biggest beef with the LT vis-a-vis low speed handling is that it is simply geared too tall in first for a bike this heavy and with so little low-rpm torque. Starting out on a grade of any significance when two-up and loaded is simply MUCH more work that it should be and requires much more clutch slippage. Just for fun, I compared the speed at idle for my LT compared to my other vehicles. My LT is about 7 MPH (GPS, not speedometer) at idle on level pavement. My Hyundai Sonata is 3.5 MPH. My Chevy truck is about 3 MPH in 1st, but this truck has a creeper low gear and in that gear the speed doesn't even register on a GPS!

The truck is very easy to start out with, even on a steep grade as it has low gearing and a lot of low-end torque, even with the little 4.3L V-6. The Sonata is more work as it has a touchy electronic throttle, little low-end torque from the little 2.5L 4-banger and a light and somewhat touchy clutch. However, the LT is the runt of the litter by far with a first gear that is simply way too tall. You can talk about BMW engineering all you want, but gearing a bike so tall in first that it idles at more than 5 MPH is just bad engineering. Even Germany has mountains and hills to start out on. The entire country isn't autobahn!!

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it!

If the LT was geared low enough to idle through a tight turn, I think tight turns would be a lot easier as would generally operation when loaded and on less than level terrain.

I wish I had done the idle speed check on my Voyager, but never thought to do that as starting out was never a high-stress event on the Kawasaki even when loaded and on an upill grade.

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post #39 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 6:30 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Ok one last post and I really am staying away from this topic.
You mentioned the guys commentary in the Vision video... but the guy was talking smack. You can hear the throttle being raised and die off as brake is applied. I know this to be true because I've done it on the Vision hundreds of time. Trying to idle would kill the motor and put you on the ground, which brings me to point 2. It actually works to your advantage that the LT idle coasts at 7mph. Remember to do these types of turns you need raised RPM, rear brake applied and clutch in the friction zone.
Maybe I'm not explaining it clear enough, so lets try this. If you wanted to ride in a straight line on your LT, at slower than walking speed, you'd need to brake, raise rpm and feather the clutch. There is a point on the clutch disengagement/engagement where you can rev the snot out of the motor and the bike won't move any faster, that spot is the friction zone. With that point achieved and SLIGHT pressure on the rear brake, the LT will turn tight.
What I see most often when someone cannot get their bike to turn is they cannot balance their bike at ultra low speed either. You have to learn ultra slow before you can master ultra tight turns such as in the video. Balancing the LT and RT at these speeds is far more difficult than I've experienced on GW's and Vision... not to mention HD baggers, it isn't impossible but it does require more practice. Get the balance down and the turns will follow.
Again I appreciate the conversation and I hope some of you will give some of the points discussed a try/look. Lots of good discussion that hopefully someone will benefit from. I know I'm gonna try a turn or two without touching the brakes to see if my RT will let me get away with it. Nice chatting with you fella's.
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post #40 of 54 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 7:02 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
Ok one last post and I really am staying away from this topic.
You mentioned the guys commentary in the Vision video... but the guy was talking smack. You can hear the throttle being raised and die off as brake is applied. I know this to be true because I've done it on the Vision hundreds of time. Trying to idle would kill the motor and put you on the ground, which brings me to point 2. It actually works to your advantage that the LT idle coasts at 7mph. Remember to do these types of turns you need raised RPM, rear brake applied and clutch in the friction zone.
Maybe I'm not explaining it clear enough, so lets try this. If you wanted to ride in a straight line on your LT, at slower than walking speed, you'd need to brake, raise rpm and feather the clutch. There is a point on the clutch disengagement/engagement where you can rev the snot out of the motor and the bike won't move any faster, that spot is the friction zone. With that point achieved and SLIGHT pressure on the rear brake, the LT will turn tight.
What I see most often when someone cannot get their bike to turn is they cannot balance their bike at ultra low speed either. You have to learn ultra slow before you can master ultra tight turns such as in the video. Balancing the LT and RT at these speeds is far more difficult than I've experienced on GW's and Vision... not to mention HD baggers, it isn't impossible but it does require more practice. Get the balance down and the turns will follow.
Again I appreciate the conversation and I hope some of you will give some of the points discussed a try/look. Lots of good discussion that hopefully someone will benefit from. I know I'm gonna try a turn or two without touching the brakes to see if my RT will let me get away with it. Nice chatting with you fella's.
It would be far better to have gearing so the bike idled at 3 MPH and took some throttle and RPM to get to 7 MPH. I haven't driven a vehicle yet from car to truck to dozer to semi that didn't work better with proper gearing at the low end. You simply have better control with lower gearing when driving a manual transmission vehicle. Sure, you can slip the clutch to overcome the lack of gearing, but that is a poor solution to a problem easily solved with proper gearing.

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post #41 of 54 Old Nov 28th, 2011, 8:19 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by david_yancey
The uncultured way:

After owning the bike 3 months and with a group of friends, find the most moss covered narrow road to get lost on between Monroe and Arlington, Washington. Decide to make the u-turn in front of the group by going too slow, tapping the front brake, begin to nose down and then panic by wrapping the throttle and kicking the bike 45° more than intended sending it more sideways than straight to hit a non-moss covered patch of asphalt to send you rocketing forward straight down the correct lane with a "devil-may-care" control.

Brag to friends that it all in the superb handling and find an AM-PM to regain composure while everyone else is getting gas.

The cultured way: What everybody else said.
That was awesome. Sounds like something I would do.
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post #42 of 54 Old Nov 28th, 2011, 3:37 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I have one item to add.

I move up in the seat so I can reach the steering lock which ever direction I go. Otherwise, slow, slip clutch, look over shoulder and eyes up and looking out. Sometimes I will use the back brake, it depends on speed.

Practice, practice, practice.
It is easy in the parking lot but is a lot harder when the wife is on the back, everyone is looking and you are on a very narrow road with deep ditches on either side.

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post #43 of 54 Old Nov 29th, 2011, 4:12 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

A U turn is one thing....but with wifey on the back....it's a whole new ball game. She moves around like a 16 year old cheerleader!

After doing U turns with her on the back, when she's off the bike, it's a real piece of cake!

So....just practice with someone on the pillion seat, you'll find it much easer to accomplish this U turn feat with just you on board!

Kinda like practicing basketball with ankle weights. Once you remove them, you feel like a Michael Jordan.
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post #44 of 54 Old Nov 29th, 2011, 4:56 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Warden Ross, you need to train her to sit still mate. It took me some time to achieve that little milestone when I had my K100, but after she too shared in the pain of a slow speed tip off (bruised knee etc) she conformed. Dropping a k100 in a U turn is one thing,..... dropping the K12, I hope never. I asked mine to reserve her "cheerleader" type behaviour for "other times".

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post #45 of 54 Old Nov 29th, 2011, 7:33 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I find it interesting to read so much about a relatively simple subject. Some of you are making this way more complicated and confusing than it should be. Let me be so bold as to clarify a couple of items which may in turn help some out. You DO NOT have to move around in the seat to make a tight, slow turn. You MUST get as close to the gas tank as you possibly can if you want to really get good at this. Riding "on the tank" helps the rider avoid streching way out to reach the handlebar controls. It also keeps the rider from dipping his/her shoulders into the turn. You should keep your body as vertical as possible, don't lean into or out of the turn. Turn your head and eyes in the direction of the turn, but only as far as your elbow. Balance comes from your head and eyes so make sure to keep them level with the horizon and looking towards the turn. At slow speed power to the rear wheel comes from the clutch, NOT engine speed or rpm. A high or low ratio first gear means nothing in this venture. If the bike can move itself from a dead stop it can make a slow, tight turn. 1200 to 1500 rpm's is what you are after...the lower the better. Some motors have dry clutches and some have wet clutches. Wet clutches tend to take slipping much better than dry ones, hence Harleys and the like will take more abuse (slipping) as long as you keep them adjusted. You can FEATHER the rear brake in a tight turn, but don't "ride" the brake. Doing so wears brakes and clutches out very fast and makes it much more difficult to complete the turn. Really good riders use very little to no rear brake in a tight turn unless they absolutely need it! Remember, you are trying to gracefully make a nice slow, tight turn and look good doing so. You are not trying to beat the bike into submission which usually results in the bike winning!

COMMIT TO THE TURN in other words tell yourself you CAN make the turn! If you hesitate making the turn you won't make it. Many people get halfway through a turn and panic because they think they can't make it. This almost always results in their pulling the clutch lever in and dropping the bike. No grey area = no power. No power= no turn. Simple hey? Use ALL the room you can making the turn! Don't short change yourself on front wheel placement and don't make an oval out of a circle! Practice making "tear drop" turns. When you begin the actual turn DON"T go to full lock! After you get half the turn completed then you can go full lock, but only if needed. By not going full lock you save a little steering imput in reserve if you find out you need more steering. Remember, power to the rear wheel will help pull you thru and out of the turn. If you need to buy yourself a little time then feather the rear brake a bit, but don't bear down on it....you want to use the brake to slow things down a bit, not stop the bike. Don't pull your grips to make the turn, use your palms to push the grip into the turn. Doing this helps avoid changing clutch engagement and throttle position.

When I owned my 2005 LT I quickly discovered that I could apply a small amount of rear brake pedal movement and engage rear brake only. If I pressed the rear brake pedal too much I would apply front brake which is the kiss of death in a slow tight turn. Applying front brake in a tight turn will take you straight to the ground.....guaranteed! Lastly, one reason why Harley Davidson touring bikes perform exceptionally well at parking lot speed is due to the location of the fork legs. These legs are BEHIND the steering stem and this greatly assists in slow speed turning control. I hope this information helps some of you but remember, if you can make a 20' turn with confidence you can make a u-turn almost anywhere and look like a pro doing it. Some people like to push the envelope and try to make smaller turns when they really don't need to. This usually results in a damaged bike or worse yet a damaged rider. Which reminds me, keep your feet of the boards/pegs. It doesn't feeel very good when you run your own ankle over...I know from personal experience!!! Oh yeah.....C.D.I.
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post #46 of 54 Old Nov 30th, 2011, 1:55 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I agree with the previous poster that this is becoming way too difficult.

Here is my take on the subject.

Measure the width of the street in front of your house. Probably 20' or more. This is probably the minimum diameter turn you will ever have to make unless you fall prey to a self inflicted poor parking plan. Work on this parking plan issue separately from your 20' diameter turn.

Start practicing in a large parking lot with a 30' diameter turn marked off with tennis balls cut in half. Practice turns to the left and to the right until it's easy for ya.

Decrease the diameter of the circle by 1' to 2' until you get to a 20' diameter turn. This is good enough. Now go and ride in peace. You have mastered the u-turn.

If you have to make a u-turn tighter than you are comfortable with just take the opportunity to show off your fancy reverse gear.

Would ya rather drop the pig with your espoused unit on board in front of your sniggering friends or would you rather just use reverse? Good choice!

As far as technique? Just look to where you want to finish up and you will find yourself at that point at the finish of the turn. Look down and you will crash! Look at the dog which has decided to bark at you and chase you while you are going so slow and you will fall. Ignore the idiot dog. If you run over it with the LT rest comfortably knowing that the dogs' motorcycle chasing days have just ended due to no fault of your own.

If it is more comfortable for you start with a 40' diameter or even a 50' or 60' diameter circle just do it! You will quickly get the hang of it.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It frustrates you and it annoys the pig.

The LT will NEVER be the u-turn queen. Forget about wasting your time trying to learn how to make a u-turn on your sidewalk. Get your skills to where you can make the 20' turn and then go ride the bejeebers out of the bike in the twisties! This is truly where the LT shines and where your time will be better spent!

Good night,

Loren

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post #47 of 54 Old Nov 30th, 2011, 6:35 am
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

I took the "Ride Like a Pro" class about 6 months ago and really did learn a lot. I still highly recommend it. I was able, with a little practice, to make the U turns with the K1200LT ( even using a very light touch of the rear brake) but as Loren said, the K1200LT really shines at the higher speeds. My 02 had linked brakes and if you touch the rear brake a little too hard, the front engages and it is not pretty.

As part of the class, maybe the last 30 minutes, we went over some higher speed maneuvering and that is where I left the HD's in the dust ! They were able to maneuver through the low speed turns a little tighter, but when it was time to accelerate through the cones, twist and turn, lean and have fun, the K1200LT really shined.

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post #48 of 54 Old Nov 30th, 2011, 12:11 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeTerry
To make a tighter circle at slow speeds, you need to keep your weight to the outside so you can lean the bike more. This creates a decrease in rake angle and the bike will turn tighter. To practice, go to a vacant parking lot and try turning a comfortable tight circle keeping your weight to the inside, then to the outside. The difference can be significant.

If you have a second motorcycle that is lighter than the LT, that is the way to practice. I enjoy taking my DRZ400s out and practicing slow speed maneuvers. The LT is heavy and is less forgiving to practice at extremely slow speeds. I get tired fairly quickly when practicing on the LT, but I can tell that after practicing, my slow speed skills are better.

My suggestions when practicing slow speed maneuvers: Practice using the clutch a lot and only the rear brake. Smooth is key, so start big and comfortable and work your way to the tight stuff. Before long you're doing full lock circles and figure eights.
That is an excellent point. I've been riding bikes for 40 years not knowing this simple technique until I took an offroad class two years ago. They showed me how to turn a top heavy bike on a dirt by shifting your weight on the footpeg on the opposite side (turning left - weight on right)
It works like a magic on dirt (on my X-Challenge) as well as with my LT on tight corners or U-turns on a paved road.
It takes some practice though - you need to condition your brain to something that is not very obvious, or contrary to a common sense.
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post #49 of 54 Old Nov 30th, 2011, 1:50 pm
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

BJ,

That sounds interesting because if there was one thing that makes me pucker and that is either dirt or sand on the road. You are saying that you can do a U Turn in the dirt on the LT?

I'd love to see a video of what you are talking about, Ref: " keep your weight to the outside so you can lean the bike more"

Maybe there is a clip on U Tube showing this technique. Sounds quite different for what I do.

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

12 K1600 GTL
02 K1200 LT (gone but not forgotten)
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post #50 of 54 Old Nov 30th, 2011, 2:23 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bedford Hts, OH, USA
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Re: How to make a tight u-turn

When our local BMW club had the MFS ERC event (customized for our BMW club) we were shown how to sit, where your, head, shoulders, elbows had to be to do the slow speed maneuvering. Under 10 mph its a different technique. I would highly recommend whatever the equivalent course to that would be. We only had one LT dropped, and no it wasn't mine.

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Mike
Cleveland Ohio
2014 K1600 GTL Grey Wolf.
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