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Old 05-21-2014, 07:47 AM   #1
wadenelson OP
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Leaning Me versus Leaning just the Bike

When I was a new rider I failed to lean into corners sufficiently. This didn't become a problem until I moved up to a powerful bike, an older Ninja, which simply wouldn't go around corners upright at any decent speed.

I learned two DIFFERENT ways to lean the bike, and I'm still not 100% sure when to use each.

Imagine making a right hand sweeper turn.

Method one, I would scoot my butt to the LEFT (opposite) side of the saddle, and pull myself up towards the LEFT handlebar. (Shortening my left arm, extending my right arm, pushing the handlebars to the right) Essentially I stayed upright but leaned the bike to the right, "pushing" it down.

This seems to be how I see guys riding in the dirt, leaning a motocross bike hard over but staying upright themselves.

When I rode with another rider who couldn't corner for crap, either having to slow down for every corner or else going wide into the other lane I taught him the "pull yourself up to the opposite bar" technique and 5 minutes later he was doing great.

Method two, I keep my butt centered on the seat, but lean my whole body to the right, into the turn. Perhaps extend my right knee out. This is more like
the guys you see racing on TV, getting body AND bike leaned over.

It seems you can corner a lot harder leaning both bike AND rider, but at the speeds I ride, both techniques seem to work equally well.

As for method two, I'm not quite sure what else I should be doing? Should I move to the right of the seat while approaching a curve? Should I be trying to shift my weight, say, front to back as I go through the curve? Or strictly leaning to the side?

I read somewhere the reason that method #1 works is because the MC is so much heavier than the rider that leaning it alone is sufficient to make it turn which is NOT true of bicycles, where the rider outweighs the bike.

Honestly, I've tried reading Code & other books on proper cornering technique and simply can't "grasp" what they're saying. I'd probably have to go to these guys riding camps and talk to them in person to understand what they're saying.

I'm a fairly experienced rider at this point; I go around corners at the same speeds as everyone else does (comfortably) or even a bit faster and am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I'm still not 100% clear on correct cornering technique
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:53 AM   #2
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:03 AM   #3
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While both methods will get you around a corner, on the street, it's generally preferable for the rider to lean into the turn.

The reason is that getting the rider's body weight to the inside of the turn reduces the lean angle required of the motorcycle itself to go around a given turn at a given speed.

The bike being more upright does two things for you:

- More ground clearance. This is probably the more important benefit, since dragging hard parts can quickly turn into a loss of traction when a muffler, footpeg, centerstand, etc., levers one or both wheels off the pavement. Not good.

- Better suspension function. Being more upright allows the bike's suspension to work more effectively at absorbing the bumps, dips, holes, and other road imperfections you ride over, letting the tires stay more planted and reducing the chance of a loss of traction.

That's for riding on the street. The guys on the dirtbikes you see pushing the bike down and "counter-leaning" are using a perfectly good technique for dirt riding. Not having a ton of experience there, all I can say is that it's supposed to make the bike easier to control when the wheels start sliding. On the pavement, you generally try to avoid sliding around, so leaning with the bike is the preferred method.

Of course, then there's low-speed maneuvering to consider, where counter-leaning actually is a legitimate method...
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:04 AM   #4
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The "correct" technique varies with conditions, and can change while in a turn. There is no one perfect always right technique.

In a simplified nut shell, you and the bike lean over until your combined center of mass balances the centrifugal force. If one of you is leaned over more, the other needs to be leaned over less.

Sitting upright on the bike and throwing it down is a common technique for newer riders, as it feels safer. It's actually not, but at the speeds most newish riders are traveling, the world doesn't end.

Leaning yourself over and having the bike less leaned as a result works well in races where hard parts touching down lift tires off the ground, and when encountering slippery stuff that otherwise can lead to a washout.

Greatly simplified for quick reading.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:42 AM   #5
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This info will help my wife who has similar questions. The answers can be way overthought. Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:15 AM   #6
billmags
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Keith Code has videos on YouTube on turning position and throttle control.
Many years ago I remember Motorcyclist magazine posting an article about using a bicycle to sharpen your skills.
Coming from a dirt bike beginning I could ride but had to learn to do things a little differently. Riding lots of downhill sweepers, in a park, on a bicycle, was what I'd do at times. I had fun and it helped.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:29 AM   #7
High Country Herb
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I have been practicing what I've seen road racers doing:

Slide your butt toward the inside edge of the seat (racers come all the way off the seat, but that is overkill on the street). Keep your back straight, so that your shoulders are leading your body into the curve. Keep your head level to the road surface. As you begin to accelerate through the corner, it will feel as though you are being pushed through the corner by the bike, rather that riding on top of it. I have found this to produce the smoothest line through the corner, with no tendency to wobble out of the apex mid corner.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
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I'm a total noob when it comes to this stuff but I read somewhere that weighting the outside foot helps (at least I think it's the outside - someone confirm?). I've tried this and it feels, to me at least, as if it helps. Everything just feels that little bit more secure..helps with the confidence.

Anyway, imo, great question and one I've been wondering about for ages - I've always been of the opinion that the more contact the rubber has with the road, the better but I tend to do both - as in I lean with the bike with a tiny bit of arse shifting towards the inside.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:43 AM   #9
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Get to a training class, asap.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:45 AM   #10
catweasel67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scfrank View Post


Get to a training class, asap.
Not all of us have that luxury my remote, anonymous, friend.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:48 AM   #11
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Countersteering anyone?
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gripsteruser View Post
Countersteering anyone?
It goes without saying
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:10 AM   #13
catweasel67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtDuster View Post
It goes without saying
There are some universal laws...

It if can happen, it will.
1 in a million chances happen 9 times outta 10

and the bloke who says "it goes without saying" is usually wrong.

Counter-steering is, for me, an active process (I rode for years without ever doing it) and it's certainly not one that I do well, or practice enough but it's definitely a skill worth at least reading about.

Maybe it's a necessity for the track but for the road? Nah, a nice to have maybe - you'll be a better rider but then there are many many things that'll make you a better rider.
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catweasel67 screwed with this post 05-21-2014 at 10:42 AM
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:11 AM   #14
Bill Harris
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Start here:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...4662&page=1922

and start reading/viewing toward the beginning.



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Old 05-21-2014, 10:23 AM   #15
SgtDuster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
There are some universal laws...

It if can happen, it will.
1 in a million chances happen 9 times outta 10

and the bloke who says "it goes without saying" is usually wrong.
It goes without saying because you'll crash in the very first turn without counter steering. Be it a deliberate/conscious action or not.

If someone jump on a bike without this pretty basic knowledge, no matter how much he wants to argue about positioning his butt on the said bike, it has a much bigger problem than just knowing if he must weight the outside footpeg or not.

It's like trying to learn trail braking before gear shifting.
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