Spaghetti

Lowering the body

27 posts in this topic

So I was looking at this picture and wondering how it possible to lower your upper body as much throughout a race or even just a trackdays session: 

Lowering my body more consistently  is one of the areas I need to improve. I had some better results using the tank for chest support but I can't imagine keeping that position on every corner for a full race.

I don't think it's just a core muscles problem?

 

 

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From my own perspective, riding sports bikes on the road predominantly for the majority of my riding journey, body positioning wise i was always right up on the tank.

Then getting into doing track days and having help from instructors and youtube haha, when you actually get your body into the correct position for hanging off, it feels totally exaggerated and foreign and yes quite uncomfortable for a long time.

For me, i definitely wasn't flexible enough so i stretch religiously now, having a crash and breaking my pelvis in 2013 didn't help and its been tough i have to admit, particularly for me getting me hips turned into the corner so it's a work in progress.

And it still feels foreign at the moment.

These pros don't really ride on the road and i would think they started when they were kids and have been shown the proper position right from the start so it's just second nature to them whereas for me it's not.

Just my 2c!

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It's true, the modern evolution of racing pretty much demands the benefits from getting the body lowered.  Real world street riding, is it even needed?  Would it even come close to outweighing the minus of less ability to see?  Who thinks what on this?  I know I don't get that low when I street ride...

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I do it on occasion when I street ride.  It mainly is just to make me feel good inside (small dose of vanity)...chasing the mental image of a guy I saw years ago get stupid low around a 90 degree corner.

I don't see any downside from doing it EXCEPT the perception that you're hotdogging....and hanging-off for some reason causes the right wrist to roll on that thingy on the handlebar.  You are committed to making the turn- there's no last instant change because a bozo is coming at you, must have that worked out beforehand.

When I have a junior rider following me, I move over into position to signal to them that a turn is coming and I'm going that way and this much. 

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One can also just lower the upper body, leave the lower in place...covered in detail in Level 3.

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Cobie- I realize now that this was one of the tell-tale signals that told you that I had a steering problem and you sent me over to do the steering drill.  In retrospect, I think I wore myself out hanging off when not needed.

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Sorry for the tardy response, been gone doing schools--and i hate typing on a phone.

Hanging off too much really is a lot of work, and in many cases not worth it.  What is not often understood is that the really core techniques can work so well, and are actually more important than a lot of body off the bike.

Here is one sample: a few years back, senior coach following a junior coach, same bike.  Rider in front had a knee down in every turn.  Riding in back was sitting on top of the bike, no hang off to be seen with the lower body.  A good overall body position, but also good turning skills (using less lean angle), good approach to the turn and maximizing them (in Level 3), and good throttle control, giving the bike even more ground clearance (Level 1 of course).  This isn't a sales pitch, just where the skills are taught.

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14 hours ago, Cobie Fair said:

Sorry for the tardy response, been gone doing schools--and i hate typing on a phone.

Hanging off too much really is a lot of work, and in many cases not worth it.  What is not often understood is that the really core techniques can work so well, and are actually more important than a lot of body off the bike.

Here is one sample: a few years back, senior coach following a junior coach, same bike.  Rider in front had a knee down in every turn.  Riding in back was sitting on top of the bike, no hang off to be seen with the lower body.  A good overall body position, but also good turning skills (using less lean angle), good approach to the turn and maximizing them (in Level 3), and good throttle control, giving the bike even more ground clearance (Level 1 of course).  This isn't a sales pitch, just where the skills are taught.

There was an old bull and a young bull at the top of the hill watching some cows.  The young bull said to the old bull........

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Body position is form vs function and accomplishes one thing really.  It reduces lean angle which in turn puts you on the best part of the contact patch to maximize traction. 

Even on the street a reduction of lean angle can be helpful in certain situations.  It can put you on the best part of the contact patch on tires that may be questionably warm especially around the edges.  While a lot of street riders "hang off" just to be cool others use it to maximize traction and to give themselves an extra margin of safety. 

There's lots of opinions about perfect body position.  The harsh reality is we are all shaped differently and have different physical issues involved that makes it difficult for some of us to get into certain positions.  Ultimately you have to try a lot of different techniques and see which one works the best for you. 

I have to admit it makes me cringe a bit when I see a rider who knows better not hanging off in aggressive cornering situation.  It might save a bit of energy not to have to move their body but, it does use a lot more lean angle and reduces overall traction.  Get it wrong and the physics will punish you with a not so friendly crash.  Is it really worth the risk?  That's of course up to you decide. 

Funny story actually.  As riders we look at our tires a lot.  I went through a time period where I had been improving my body position and speed out on track but my tires started developing gigantic chicken strips on them.  Needless to say I was confused until I realized that I was going faster using less of my available lean angle because of my body position.  When I got my speed up even more they went away.  It's fun to see though because it's a visual representation of what body position can really do to reduce lean angle. 

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13 hours ago, rchase said:

I have to admit it makes me cringe a bit when I see a rider who knows better not hanging off in aggressive cornering situation.  It might save a bit of energy not to have to move their body but, it does use a lot more lean angle and reduces overall traction.  Get it wrong and the physics will punish you with a not so friendly crash.  Is it really worth the risk?  That's of course up to you decide.

Is it time to post this comparison between body positioning again?

 

KneeDown7.jpg

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Great photos.  What can hanging off do?  It can reduce the amount of lean angle.  Look at the bike's angle. 

Back in 2015 one of my photos from the photographers drove that point home to me.  I'm hanging off and obviously not really hauling butt through the corner but the bike is turning at track speeds with very little lean angle.  All I have to say is track side photographers are some brave folks.  If I had this in my viewfinder with the knowledge that the rider was still learning I might be tempted to RUN!

IMG_3617cropped.jpg

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Good photos/comparison.  Wish for one more with the riders upper body to the inside and also down lower...see how that correlates to the change in CG.  

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On 3/13/2017 at 6:56 PM, Cobie Fair said:

It's true, the modern evolution of racing pretty much demands the benefits from getting the body lowered.  Real world street riding, is it even needed?  Would it even come close to outweighing the minus of less ability to see?  Who thinks what on this?  I know I don't get that low when I street ride...

I sometimes do but not often. I actually find it completely comfortable other than the muscle knots I get in between my shoulder blades from having to crane my neck so far.

 

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On 3/11/2017 at 2:15 PM, Spaghetti said:

So I was looking at this picture and wondering how it possible to lower your upper body as much throughout a race or even just a trackdays session: 

Lowering my body more consistently  is one of the areas I need to improve. I had some better results using the tank for chest support but I can't imagine keeping that position on every corner for a full race.

I don't think it's just a core muscles problem?

 

 

I found 2 exercises made a huge difference in my ability to ride without fatigue. They're both hitting the same area so you can do either one. Romanian deadlift and back hyper-extension. You can buy a kettle bell or some dumbbells for the deadlift and do them at home. If you belong to a gym, the hyper-extension allows for greater isolation but they both work great. Start light and do 20 reps a day for a couple of weeks. I found it not only made riding easier but also improved my posture. 

I'm never tired, my wrists never hurt, my back is strong enough stay low and move side to side without issues. Interestingly, I my fitbit records my rides as cardio. :)

 

 

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On 4/2/2017 at 3:01 AM, khp said:

Is it time to post this comparison between body positioning again?

 

KneeDown7.jpg

So basically every top pro forgot to read this book. Shame.

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13 hours ago, BikeSpeedman said:

So basically every top pro forgot to read this book. Shame.

They know that lowering the CG is bad for lean angle, but they understand that less aerodynamic drag at high speeds compensates for that problem.

Also, because the upper body must pivot around our shifted-over rear end, it is difficult to extreme-hang-off keeping your head as high as possible.

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Engineers are constantly striving to move motorcycle CG lower. I'm wondering if this CG - BP issue isn't the full story.

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In practice I feel that a higher body position causes more side movements and stress on the rear tires. The air turbulence on the upper body increases the problem. Can you imaging riding a 90mph corner with that body position?

Also I'm not clear about the physics in the illustrations: in the last example I understand the center of gravity has more leverage because it's taller, but it's also farther away from the center of the tire and the bike axe. Isn't that another source of leverage that works against the bike stability? 

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On 4/8/2017 at 10:52 AM, Lnewqban said:

They know that lowering the CG is bad for lean angle, but they understand that less aerodynamic drag at high speeds compensates for that problem.

Also, because the upper body must pivot around our shifted-over rear end, it is difficult to extreme-hang-off keeping your head as high as possible.

Simply not true.

Drag is not a big concern at most corners because the speeds are not high enough and because they're limiting their acceleration to avoid over stressing the tires while leaned over (or the TC is doing it for them). That picture of MV that started this thread is not a time when drag is keeping him from going as fast as he wants.

That picture you included is not relevant to this discussion. It looks really outdated. When was it written? I'm asking because that rider ("rider crouched right down") whom I agree is not doing it correctly, is also not doing it the way the pros are doing it these days. It's easy to see the rider is not doing the same thing MV is doing. That rider has his body on top of the tank and his helmet is actually a little bit to the other side. MV's whole torso and head are all down to the side of the bike. Yes, he is "low" but if you look at the 2 pix you can tell the cg is not in the same place for both riders.

The real reason that rider's cg is in the wrong place is because it's placed in line with the bike. MV is super low but he's attached to the side of the bike and his cg is exactly where it should be.

MV is not crossed up. His rear end is not causing his body to pivot incorrectly. And his head and vision are perfect too. I agree I get neck spasms when I get that low. But I have forward neck posture which I'm slowly correcting.

I'm no MV or anyone other pro for that matter but I'd rather strive to emulate MV than Kevin Schwantz any day. And it's not about style. When I'm really pushing hard and get way off to the inside and low (down beside the tank) the bike tells me how much happier it is. The game has moved on. Tire tech has moved on. Bikes are better, and the old style is just nostalgic and/or uninformed.

 

 

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At the end of the day it's about results. 

Did the bike turn at the speed you wanted without going wide?

Did you reduce the amount of bike lean angle? 

If you can say yes to questions like those all other concerns are secondary.  Form follows function. 

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In the photos above, the one with the rider down low, it was brought up that his head (and maybe a little of the torso) is not as far to the inside.  I think that is where diff in lean angle comes from.

As for street applicablity, I for sure don't hang off when riding on the street (w/lower body).  One reason is I'm just too lazy.  But...if one can take out some lean angle (use less), and in particular do it quickly if needed by getting the upper body more to the inside, this can be a good thing: water across the road, sand/dirt, or some other traction reducing issue.

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There is another physical point, more for the older guys...(I'm 56).  I find that if I don't really, really stay hydrated, my neck gets tight, and just doesn't want to move.  A chiropractor I like once told me that the disks dehydrate like anything else, and spinal fluid is pretty thick, about like molasses.

Another reason to hydrate.

 

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1 hour ago, Cobie Fair said:

There is another physical point, more for the older guys...(I'm 56).  I find that if I don't really, really stay hydrated, my neck gets tight, and just doesn't want to move.  A chiropractor I like once told me that the disks dehydrate like anything else, and spinal fluid is pretty thick, about like molasses.

Another reason to hydrate.

 

I'm fascinated by the flexibility of top riders. It takes so much time to make even tiny gains I can't imagine being as flexible as they are.

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I still think the benefit of hanging off is portrayed as far too beneficial in that pohot-comparison. A little time ago I posted this 

I have included the original content further below for your convenience. But what we see here is that hanging out will reduce the combined lean about 3 degrees, and hanging off will gain about 3 degrees, giving a difference of 6 degrees in bike lean between the two. So the difference in those pictures should be 6 degrees, not 16. Also worth noting is that the motard will corner equally fast with the rider leaning out and sticking a leg out as by hanging off.

The German test I refer to were done during constant cornering speeds to erase issues like turn-in that can create big variations depending on the technique used.

in other words, hanging off alone doesn't make a huge impact. It matters, but I am positive other issues carry more importantance, like quick turn-in, throttle and brake control and more. On the road, when visibility is limited, hanging off will give you a significantly reduced observation of the road ahead compared to hanging off, for instance, meaning one have to ride according to the conditions on public roads more than anything.

 

ORIGINAL POST

Slowest and fastest:

Ducati Diavel, rider pushing bike down, bike lean 41 degrees, combined lean 38, corner speed 47 kph

Marq Marques on his MotoGP bike, hanging off, bike lean 62 , combined lean 66, speed 78 kph

 

Honda Fireblade, rider sitting straight, bike and combined lean 45, speed 55 kph

Honda Fireblade, rider pushing bike down, bike lean 46, combined lean 43, speed 53 kph

Honda Fireblade, rider hanging off, bike lean 48, combined 51, speed 61 kph

Honda FIreblade, Pirelli SBK Qualifier, hanging off, bike 51, combined 53, speed 65 kph

 

Husqvarna 701 Supermoto, rider pushing bike down, bike lean 57, combined 51, speed 62 kph

Husqvarna 701 Supermoto, rider sitting straight, bike and combined lean 47, speed 57 kph

Husqvarna 701 Supermoto, rider hanging off, bike lean 46, combined 51, speed 62 kph

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    I wanted to share with you this story about a close friend who races and is a big guy. He is 6'3" and weighs 250. He was always having a problem getting his upper body down in position. He races a triumph which doesn't have the superbike or modern day body work. 

    We were talking one day about body position and he was complaining about his arms and shoulders getting in the way of getting his head and chest in position. The position of the bars and his size were stopping him from being able to get lower. He felt that if he could change the position of the bars, He could get lower and carry more corner speed. 

    When I first saw the position of the bars, I thought he was nuts. The clip ons were over 5" below the upper triple clamp. Everyone told him he was crazy and they were making jokes about it but it worked. The new bar position allowed him to get his head and chest in better position with more comfort allowing him to go faster in the corners. He is the points leader in his class and has pretty much won the championship. He is pound for pound one of the best riders I have ever raced against. 

 

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