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Old 08-21-2009, 05:58 AM   #16
LuciferMutt
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I'm no road-racer but some things that have helped me considerably are the following:

-Inside elbow should be below/level (depends on seating/bar layout) with your inside wrist
-Lead into the turn with your inside shoulder -- these two things force you to put some body weight to the inside of the turn as well as applying proper countersteering pressure to the inside bar. Remember that the more you lean the less the bike has to which means more traction. I've heard the term "kiss the mirror" thrown around and it works.
-As mentioned already multiple times, look as far through the turn as you can. Start outside, aim for a late apex, then swing outside again.
-Put body weight on the inside butt cheek
-RELAX. If you are tense, and stiff, so is the bike.
-Trust your bike. It's not going to randomly tip over and explode
-Accelerate or maintain speed through the entire corner. This actually causes the bike to lift up on the suspension giving you more cornering clearance as well as settling the chassis. Basically, if you are letting OFF the throttle while leaned over you are doing something wrong. You should be maintaining or increasing throttle all the way through. The bike feels SO much more right when you do this. Here is a caveat that applies to fast driving as well as riding -- don't get on the throttle in a corner until you are SURE you won't have to get off it again until after the corner is over!

What does that mean? Number one -- always enter a corner at a speed that can be increased during the corner. You can always speed up through a turn but slowing down through a turn is tricky. Number two -- basically, unless you know the corner well enough to know that you can accelerate through it safely, don't EVER enter a corner you are not familiar with with so much speed you can't react to the unexpected.

Have fun!

EDIT I should add that it is helpful to try suggestions one at a time. This makes it MUCH easier to see what is or isn't working for you and you can pick and choose methods that help you the most.

Also, the stuff I just posted is based on Hough's book, advice from instructors and personal experience. I do NOT ride by getting my butt off the seat -- it's not my style. I have no idea how to best do that but the same principles apply. I tend to follow "the pace" ideas. Google it.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:16 AM   #17
JDLuke
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I probably need not bother chiming in, as you've already received very good advice here.

I do want to point out one benefit (Hough talks about this) to starting your turn from the outside: You can see (and be seen from) farther down the road.

Picture entering a blind right hander. If you're on the left edge of your lane, you have an extra 10, 20, 30 yards of road surface and marking visible to you as compared with being on the right edge.

Motorcycling is a game of sight. Look where you want to go, and your body will magically take you there. That's a two-edged sword, because we're conditioned to look at danger to keep an eye on things. One must overcome this element of human nature.

One other point: Your motorcycle will turn based on how much weight is right of center vs. how much weight is left of center. You can get a small amount of turn just from shifting over on your seat and leaning your upper body over that way. Now add that effect to a properly initiated turn and you'll find that you are using less (read less scary) lean angle for a given turn/speed. That's why racers 'hang off', and that's why you should (at the least) be leaning with the bike rather than trying to remain upright during a turn. That is, at a minimum your spine should be in alignment with your bike, and it's better if you've actually got the spine leaned over farther. And keep your eyes LEVEL with the horizon at all times. This really helps one sense and control the path of the machine.
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JDLuke screwed with this post 08-21-2009 at 07:37 AM
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:35 AM   #18
jfurf
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I read "Total Control" by Lee Parks and he has another handy counter-steering tip:

Focus on countersteering ONLY with your inside hand. In other words, for a right hander, push firmly and quickly with your right hand while just barely touching the left bar (or take it off completely for a moment). Basically, he talks about how most of us subconsciously "fight" the countersteer with (in this case) our left hand.

I've found it to be a very useful tip. eventually you stop thinking about it completely and your turns become much smoother and quicker.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:14 AM   #19
VFR_firefly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfurf
I read "Total Control" by Lee Parks and he has another handy counter-steering tip:

Focus on countersteering ONLY with your inside hand. In other words, for a right hander, push firmly and quickly with your right hand while just barely touching the left bar (or take it off completely for a moment). Basically, he talks about how most of us subconsciously "fight" the countersteer with (in this case) our left hand.

I've found it to be a very useful tip. eventually you stop thinking about it completely and your turns become much smoother and quicker.
This "inside hand only" steering sounds stupid to me. I guess learning to ride off-road for 10 years before really doing much street teaches you different lessons.

It just sounds retarded to me. But perhaps many street-only riders ARE retarded...
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:16 AM   #20
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Good advice

You've gotten some good advice, so far.

A few things I'd like to point out that haven't been emphasized enough.

For me, going faster on curves is about one thing - ME.

It's all upstairs. You have to BELIEVE that your tires will hold the road, BELIEVE that you can go just as fast as 'that guy' in front of you that blows you away in the twisties. Why? Because it's true. Unless the guy is backing it in or dragging his knee through each corner, you can go just as fast with practice.

Once you master your own confidence in your machine and capabilities you will loosen up and speed up.

Spend time in the saddle without the pressure of a group to keep up with.

Later, try to find someone to ride with that's just a bit faster than you. Watch his lines, his body position. Match his speed, if you can. If he's on the same type of bike with the same type of tires, YOU can go just as fast as HE can.

Having said that, here's something else to consider.

My buddy, Troy, has been riding for years longer than I. He got tired of me and my VFR running away from him on his Electra Glide, so he bought an SV1000 to ride 'like me'. After low-siding on his first outing on the brand new SV, we tried again many times. Each time he said 'You ride like a freakin' maniac!!' I tried to explain to him that I ride within my comfort zone and he should, too. As he improved, his confidence increased until he was more comfortable in the twisties, but he never really 'bonded' with the SV.

Fast forward a couple of years. My buddy sells his SV and buys an Ultra Classic. We seldom ride together, but he has found his bike and his pace. It's a different bike and a different pace than mine, but that's OK.

The point: perhaps you are on the wrong machine and / or riding with the wrong guys.

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Old 08-21-2009, 09:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
(On the plus side, my bike's never been down. )
Something to be said for that.

Don't over think it and to quote Caddyshack, "be the road".
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:31 AM   #22
doylejj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
People who have watched me say I stay too close to the inside of the turn, instead of starting at the outside edge and moving to the inside as I progress through the turn. There's also apparently a technique involving shifting my weight on the bike which I am not doing right, either. And finally, I'm not sure about what gear to be in on a ride through the twisties: Do you shift up on the straights and down before a turn, or just stay in a low gear the whole way?

I have read books, watched videos, and talked to other riders about this and I still suck. What can I do to get better?
DevilNinjaDog gave one of the best summaries I've yet read. I'd add get your line down first (start on the outside of the turn) to the point you no longer have to think about it, your body lean into the turn next til you no longer have to think about it, shifting next, and anything else, one at a time, after that.

As for shifting, you want to be in the gear that enables you to accellerate at the apex. Some turns I downshift before the turn to slow down, some I might not disengage the clutch til the apex (especially if I need to go down more than one gear), some I just stay in a lower gear for short stretches or linked turns. One of my bikes has high torque and surprisingly little engine braking, and I use only the brake to slow before a turn. After exiting the turn, shift to whatever gear you want to cruise in until you need to set up for the next turn.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:32 AM   #23
Fajita Dave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfurf
I read "Total Control" by Lee Parks and he has another handy counter-steering tip:

Focus on countersteering ONLY with your inside hand. In other words, for a right hander, push firmly and quickly with your right hand while just barely touching the left bar (or take it off completely for a moment). Basically, he talks about how most of us subconsciously "fight" the countersteer with (in this case) our left hand.
+1 I don't know what your riding but it still makes this quote a lot easier. Make sure you hold your weight up with your outside leg against the fuel tank. If you try to hold you weight up on the handlebars you will be "fighting" the counter steer like mentioned above. Aside from putting pressure on the inside bar to turn you should pretty much act like your riding with no hands on the bars.

Once the bike and you are leaned into the turn you shouldn't need ANY (at least very little) pressure on the handlebars at all and the bike should maintain about the same lean angle. I didn't want to add to much more to this confusion with all of the information everyone else has put out, however, staying light on the bars is very important.

I wanted to keep this post simple but that didn't seem to happen . Its impossible to pay attention to the tips everyone said so focus on one at a time. The single most important thing to focus on is the visual aspect. Like everyone else said look for the exit of the corner. When you look for the exit of the corner you can see exactly how much you can accelerate without going wide or better yet see if you're going to wide way before you get there so you can fix it.

If you live within 4 hours of a track that does track days I would seriously consider going. Its so much easier to learn all of this on a wide open track then it is on a road full of trees, roadkill, and guard rails. There are schools that can teach you all of this and more. California Superbike School is one of them and you can even rent a ZX6 to use for the track day(s).
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:46 AM   #24
rbrsddn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VFR_firefly
This "inside hand only" steering sounds stupid to me. I guess learning to ride off-road for 10 years before really doing much street teaches you different lessons.

It just sounds retarded to me. But perhaps many street-only riders ARE retarded...
What do you do? I've got wide bars on the S3, and push, and pull to lever the bike over. I guess the old crank the bars to initiate a powerslide method stays with you!
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #25
dwoodward
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The books referenced are good, but I suspect you might start with David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling" and then "More Proficient Motorcycling". Get the basics down, then you can think about trying some of the more advanced techniques in books others have mentioned.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:56 AM   #26
MidMo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLuke
keep your eyes LEVEL with the horizon at all times.
I was having problems until I recently discovered this. It definately helps when leaning in a corner.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:10 AM   #27
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Based on what you've posted, I would def. recommend you get a copy of Total Control. Check out the section on delayed turn entry - my guess is you are turning way too soon, restricting your line and forcing yourself wide on the corner exit. Also, Parks advises to make sure your body "center line" is to the inside of the bike's "center line" when cornering - ie shift your weight.

Everything else posted here is good advice - you just need to get your mind around it now!
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:33 AM   #28
ShaftEd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VFR_firefly
This "inside hand only" steering sounds stupid to me. I guess learning to ride off-road for 10 years before really doing much street teaches you different lessons.

It just sounds retarded to me. But perhaps many street-only riders ARE retarded...

Push left to go left, push right to go right. It's basic street bike counter steering 101. I don't make up the rules. I just follow them.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:41 AM   #29
JDLuke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaftEd
Push left to go left, push right to go right. It's basic street bike counter steering 101. I don't make up the rules. I just follow them.
*shrug* I simultaneously pull with one hand while pushing with the other, and get immediate, snappy response to my steering inputs. I'm not planning on giving up a portion of that any time soon.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:54 AM   #30
ShaftEd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLuke
*shrug* I simultaneously pull with one hand while pushing with the other, and get immediate, snappy response to my steering inputs. I'm not planning on giving up a portion of that any time soon.
Nothing wrong with that. I'm just talking basics here and it's easier for newer street riders to remember "push left go left, push right go right.
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