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Discussion Starter #1
I seem to have read conflicting advice regarding cornering. Some people suggest keeping your body more upright (perpendicular to the road) and leaning the bike, others suggest leaning your body with the bike like the racers do.

What do you think??
 

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I lean with the bike when I don't think about it. I keep my body upright when I do. Eyes level either way. Nose pointing in the direction of the exit. I don't know if there's anything to it, but I feel more in control when my body remains upright. YMMV. Heck, so may mine! :D
 

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Dave Dragon had an excellent write up on cornering, look it up, it will answer many questions and give you insight on what to do when...
 

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I keep my body upright to the bike and I do not lean into the curve or perpendicular to the road.
 

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Great question!
I so don't get the whole "counter steering" technique in my head.
I am a visual learner, maybe @ the CCR somebody can show me on a bike?

This is one reason I ride so conservatively. I find myself thinking about what " line"
To make than anything else.
 

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dthogey said:
I seem to have read conflicting advice regarding cornering. Some people suggest keeping your body more upright (perpendicular to the road) and leaning the bike, others suggest leaning your body with the bike like the racers do.

What do you think??
Understand *why* people do different things.


Short summary:

At normal speeds on the street there is NO reason to be either hanging off the inside of the bike, or positioning the body outside of the bike (i.e., maintaining a vertical body orientation).

For 99.9% of riders, in 99.9% of riding situations, keeping the body with the bike AND THE HEAD/EYES LEVEL WITH THE HORIZON AT ALL TIMES! (and looking *way* ahead through the turn at the same time) takes care of cornering.



More detail (not well phrased, but, hey, I'm tired tonight):

Why do like the racers?? First, basic physics on a motorcycle in a corner: For any given corner radius, for any speed around the corner there is a corresponding lean angle. In other words, the combined center of mass of the rider and the bike must be at a fixed position inside of the curve (a position which defines the lean angle) in order to balance gravity's pull of you toward the ground, and the centripetal acceleration (felt as the force trying to throw you out of the curve). You know this is true because when you are leaned over at a fixed speed, the bike neither falls on over to the ground, or stands up and runs off the road -- the center of mass is located right on the line which defines the balance between falling and rising up out of the turn.

If you are cornering so fast that you are starting to drag hard parts of the bike on the ground, you are at the maximum speed you can go on that corner on that motorcycle -- UNLESS you can somehow play around with the bike's and the rider's centers of mass, without altering the combined bike/rider center of mass position.

If in the middle of this spark-generating, bike dragging turn you slide your butt to the inside of the bike ("hang off"), your center of mass goes inside and lower -- that permits the bike's center of mass to go higher (i.e, the bike can lean less) to offset your shift while keeping the combined center of mass in about the same place. Because the bike is no longer leaned over so far that you are dragging bits, you can either maintain that speed to complete the corner without the possibility of the dragging bits hitting something hard and flipping you off the road, or you can go faster, until the bike once again is leaned over far enough to start dragging hard parts again. So, racers hang off because it permits them to obtain the maximum possible speed around the turn by keeping the bike up off the ground for as long as possible.

Any application for hanging off on the street? A couple.

First, you can do it on a twisty road to impress your friends with your killer riding skillz -- all while looking like an idiot because your bike is leaned over all of about 20 degrees. On the other hand, if you really are going so fast on the street that you *need* to hang off while you show off to your friends, you are a total f'n idiot, and hopefully your imminent removal from the gene pool will not involve devestating harm to innocent people.

Second, if you know how to hang off and you've been foolish enough to find yourself in the position of hopelessly overcooking a turn, there's a fantastically-slim chance that when you're suddently dragging hard, you might be able to quickly hang off to the inside and reduce the dragging just enough to make the corner -- highly doubtful, though, as if you're in this situation in the first place the suction from the pucker on the seat will probably have locked you in place while you target fixate, staring at the guard rail or tree you're about to hit, instead of continuing to look through the curve to the safe exit.

You might note that between the sarcasm above two primary nuggets: (i) never ride fast into a turn you can't see through unless you're really willing to run off the road at that moment, and (ii) NEVER look at what you are afraid you are going to hit -- because YOU WILL. You WILL go *exactly* where you are looking, everytime. It takes a HUGE amount of training and self-discipline to not follow the human survival instinct (eyes lock on the big pain threat), but instead to ALWAYS look at the turn exit. If you look where you want to go, the bike will almost magically go there (and you'll be surprised how much more it can lean than you think it can).

As for leaning outward (another way of saying keep your body vertical, i.e, perpendicular to the pavement), the only place for this is in *very* slow parking lot maneuvers -- again, the "why" tells you whether and when to do so: On a motorcycle, the further a round-profile motorcycle tire leans, the more its contact patch with the ground moves up toward the wheel's axle -- the further up the tire, the smaller the effective rotation radius of the wheel. What has this got to do with anything?? At low speed, the farther over the bike leans, the smaller the effective radius of the wheels, and the tighter the turn the bike can do.

Search the web for some of the police motorcycle rodeo videos and note their body position as they execute various radius turns -- the tighter the turn, the more they are letting the bike fall over under them while they keep their bodies upright. Interestingly, they are applying the same principles as the hanging off racers -- for any given turn, for a given speed around the turn, the center of mass must be leaned over toward the center of the turn by a fixed amount. The racers move their center of mass inward so the bike's center of mass can be farther outward (i.e., more upright) -- all the while the combined center of mass stays at the same place, as required for that speed around the turn. In very tight low speed turns, for a desired speed aound the turn, the combined center of mass must be at a corresponding fixed lean angle. If the rider moves his/her center of mass *outward* (staying vertical as the bike leans), then the bike's center of mass must move inward to maintain the combined center of mass at the correct location for the desired turning speed -- and that increased lean makes the tire's effective radius smaller and thereby allows the bike to go through the turn much tighter than if the rider stayed aligned with the bike.

HTH!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, thanks for the responses.

That is a great article but almost to technical for me.

I don't have any trouble with sweeping corners or regular riding.

My question had more to do with going faster thru the twisties.

Do you lean more with the bike or let the bike lean and try to stay more upright?

David
 

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While in the Air Force many years ago we were shown how all of this works with a bicycle wheel. While sitting in a chair that can spin, holding the wheel by the axle have someone spin it up (the faster the better), take your feet off of the ground so the chair will spin and try to tilt the tire from side to side and the chair will spin. The tire is, for lack of a better term, HAPPY while spinning and going straight. When you turn or lean, it applies torque trying to get back to that happy state. By pushing on the left grip and turning the wheel out to the right the bike leans left, the push has to be maintained or the bike will attempt to correct itself. Stay in your normal seated position while cornering. Start slow practicing this, build up your skills and you will be diving into turns like a pro in no time.
 

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dthogey said:
Wow, thanks for the responses.

That is a great article but almost to technical for me.

I don't have any trouble with sweeping corners or regular riding.

My question had more to do with going faster thru the twisties.

Do you lean more with the bike or let the bike lean and try to stay more upright?

David
Until you are scraping hard parts on the ground, you don't need to lean further in -- concentrate on your line, predicting and identifying potential hazards around the corner, smooth operation of the throttle and brakes -- and most importantly, looking through the curve to the exit and beyond.

Once you start going fast enough to reach your bike's cornering limits, then you *definitely* lean to the insode (hang off inside) to go faster -- if you lean outward, the bike must counter your lead out by leaning farther it -- putting hard bits into the pavenment even sooner.
 

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Lafirecapt said:
While in the Air Force many years ago we were shown how all of this works with a bicycle wheel. While sitting in a chair that can spin, holding the wheel by the axle have someone spin it up (the faster the better), take your feet off of the ground so the chair will spin and try to tilt the tire from side to side and the chair will spin. The tire is, for lack of a better term, HAPPY while spinning and going straight. When you turn or lean, it applies torque trying to get back to that happy state. By pushing on the left grip and turning the wheel out to the right the bike leans left, the push has to be maintained or the bike will attempt to correct itself. Stay in your normal seated position while cornering. Start slow practicing this, build up your skills and you will be diving into turns like a pro in no time.
That's good advice for learning countersteering, but that's not what he's asking about. He's asking for info on the best way to lean to go faster around a corner -- apparently he already knows how to countersteer to get into the corner in the first place. :thumb:
 

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I have the peg lowering kit on my ride and it is quite easy to drag in the corners. The best advice is to look through the corners to where you want the bike to end up. NEVER EVER EVER look t the guard rail, tree, rock, cliff, etc that you are trying to NOT hit. You will hit it every time.

There is really no reason, short of racing, that requires you to maximize cornering performance. If you are having trouble keeping up with your buds, don't worry about it. If you can't stop worrying about it, find new buds!

If you are looking to improve your skills "just in case" then find a stretch of curvy road to practice on and try the techniques listed above to gradually increase your speed. Once the techniques start to work for you, then move on to another stretch. The idea is to stay comfortable and not to scare the bejeebers out of yourself. You will be amazed at how far over it can go without upsetting.

LOOK THROUGH THE CURVE WHERE YOU WANT TO END UP NOT AT THE ROAD IN FRONT OF THE BIKE OR AT THE OBSTACLE YOU ARE TRYING TO AVOID!!!!!!

I'll try to sum this up:

"When cornering, it is better to go in slow and come out fast than to go in fast and come out dead." Stirling Moss

Loren
 

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I think everyone has covered most items. The line you pick will also be helpful. If you go into a left hand curve I will move the bike to the far right of my lane and try and hit the far left part of my lane at the top of the curve and then sometimes come back over to the far right on exit unless I am going into a right hand curve.

So here is what I do, first I slow down using the engine revs, get the bike were I want it to set up my line, I then come into the curve looking were I want to exit, at the top of the curve I most likely am turning the throttle to gain speed coming out of the turn. I find by coming in slow and twisting the throttle out of the curve I get a better line thru the turn and feel more in control.

I have had the bike all the way over in a S turn and scrapped every peg and part of the bike. The only thing that helped me was I stayed calm, gave it a bit of throttle and looked were I wanted to go. After I learned that I will never take the bike to that level again and I need to watch my speed going into S turns.

So it is good you want to work on your skills and I think many of the others have told you all the things to do. Good luck and keep practicing. Another item to do is take the Advanced rider course and you will learn a ton from that.
 

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ltdavey said:
Great question!
I so don't get the whole "counter steering" technique in my head.
I am a visual learner, maybe @ the CCR somebody can show me on a bike?.
I think one of the easiest ways to get counter steering onto your head is to imagine when turning right you're pushing the right side of the bike down...left turn pushing left side of bike down.................

That's not what's happening but helps with your head......................................................

actually if you sat your bike and someone held the front end off the ground while you pushed the handlebars, it would all become crystal clear........although where you gonna find a gorilla to help with that ??
 

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The hardest part of hard cornering aside from balance is maintaining eyesight with where you want to end up not with where you currently are you'll have a really bad day if you target lock going into a hard corner.. it takes more practice then the act itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
mneblett said:
That's good advice for learning countersteering, but that's not what he's asking about. He's asking for info on the best way to lean to go faster around a corner -- apparently he already knows how to countersteer to get into the corner in the first place. :thumb:


This is absoulutely correct. I can corner with no problem and am familiar with countersteering.

I am just curious about leaning with the bike or staying upright and leaning the bike.

For some reason I feel more comfortable keeping my body upright and leaning the bike over to go faster around the corners. I was talking to a buddy about that and he indicated that I should be leaning (somewhat like the racers) to go faster around the corners not staying upright.

Just wondered what you all thought and what your techniques are.

David.
 

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ltdavey said:
Great question!
I so don't get the whole "counter steering" technique in my head.
I am a visual learner, maybe @ the CCR somebody can show me on a bike?

This is one reason I ride so conservatively. I find myself thinking about what " line"
To make than anything else.


you already countersteer, whether you realize it or not

To see the effects, find a large, unobstructed parking lot. Get up to 15-20 mph (countersteering is a neat animal, up to about 12-15 mph your bike steers as you'd expect, after 15 mph, it's the opposite--i.e. counter-steering)

riding straight, PUSH forward on the right handlebar grip (which actually "steers" the front end left, but for the rest of this, don't use that terminology). Pushing the right grip forward will result in the bike going...RIGHT. Push on the left grip to return to straight.

Now do the same thing, pushing on the left grip. Notice that the bike goes LEFT.

Next, make a mark on the pavement (or if you have one, put a small traffic cone up). Approach the cone at say 20 mph. Wait until about 30 feet before the cone and try and finesse your way around the cone by deliberately leaning while consciously NOT giving any steering input. Notice what happens.

Now do the same thing, but 30 feet before, five a FIRM push on the right grip. Watch what happens (give an equal FIRM push on the left to return to a straight path).

Do the same thing and give your push-push quicker, simulate going around an unexpected obstacle in the middle of the road.

Do the same with LEFT-RIGHT pushes instead.

Practice getting closer and closer to the cone/mark before you push-push. Then increase speed a little and see how dramatically a push-push moves you out of the obstacle. Then, for grins, try and do the same thing at speed using only "body english" but no steering input--watch what happens.

You've been counter-steering since you were a kid, riding a bicycle. You just didn't know you were.
 

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For the original question, it's a combination of BOTH.

The LT isn't set up for "ass off the seat, drag a knee" leanings, nor is that necessary.

HOWEVER, and this will be interesting for any of you who haven't tried it, heavily "weighting" the inside footpeg when you turn/go through a curve can have a big positive effect on your cornering.

(In other words, keep yourself in the saddle, straight-up if you will, but weight the inside peg--shift your weight so you have very little on the outside, and are almost standing up from additional "pressing down" with the inside foot on the peg). This little bit of weighting, initiated as you set up for the curve, increased as you get deeper into the apex, will really have 'her' going after that corner.

Try it if you haven't...take your favorite curve as you normally do, then try it again while deliberately weighting the inside peg. (By the by, that also leads you to push forward on the inside handlebar grip, initiating counter-steering, but that's not the only reason to do it)
 

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Just a couple of observations based on the detailed explanation above.

Most people who think they are remaining vertical through the turn are not. If you relax & let the bike move under you as you ride the curve with your eyes looking through the exit point (don't fixate here either), you will be leaning you won't feel it because the centripital force and friction of the tires make you feel like you're just siting on the bike.

If you try to adjust your seat position in a curve because you are dragging hard parts, you'd better be an experienced racer or you will cause what you are trying to avoid (a crash).

Don't try to learn hanging off anywhere but at a track day where you have a qualified instructor and a bike that makes sense. (Not an LT)

The primary reason for hanging off is to maintain maximum friction (tire contact) while maximizing speed through a curve. Not only are the hard metal parts reducing the tire contact when they drag, the shape of the tire causes a reduced contact patch the farther the bike leans. I throw sparks occasionally but something seems out of place about knee pucks and hanging off on a Touring bike. ...Like Steve Urkel in a corvette, or Valentino Rossi on a Vespa... :D
 

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Always make sure you practice in a controlled environment.



 
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