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How Much Pressure On 'bars To Initiate A Turn?


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I had always gently let the bike take me into corners with a little prodding at the bar. During the quick flick lesson during Level 1 we were told that more pressure on the bar, rather than a quicker application, would initiate the turn quicker. When we went out on track to try it my turn-ins got MUCH faster, but I am now working much harder than I ever have, getting off track with tired arms. I really feel like I'm wrestling the bike and I watch other riders and don't see the same force. I really have to PUSH the bar to turn the bike in. My bike, btw, is an EX500 set up for racing with steep rake than stock.

 

Should I be fighting the bike like this? Is it normal to feel arm fatigue?

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I had always gently let the bike take me into corners with a little prodding at the bar. During the quick flick lesson during Level 1 we were told that more pressure on the bar, rather than a quicker application, would initiate the turn quicker. When we went out on track to try it my turn-ins got MUCH faster, but I am now working much harder than I ever have, getting off track with tired arms. I really feel like I'm wrestling the bike and I watch other riders and don't see the same force. I really have to PUSH the bar to turn the bike in. My bike, btw, is an EX500 set up for racing with steep rake than stock.

 

Should I be fighting the bike like this? Is it normal to feel arm fatigue?

 

I wonder if maybe you aren't pushing at (roughly) a 90 degree angle to your head (steerer tube) assembly. If you are then your bars should act as a lever and I think it'd be pretty easy. The other (more likely?) possibility, and it may seem too obvious, is that when you are pushing with your "inside" hand to initiate the turn, you are also pushing with your outside hand and "fighting" yourself.

Remember your "rider input" drill from level 1? That may help, along with pushing the bar at the correct angle.

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I had always gently let the bike take me into corners with a little prodding at the bar. During the quick flick lesson during Level 1 we were told that more pressure on the bar, rather than a quicker application, would initiate the turn quicker. When we went out on track to try it my turn-ins got MUCH faster, but I am now working much harder than I ever have, getting off track with tired arms. I really feel like I'm wrestling the bike and I watch other riders and don't see the same force. I really have to PUSH the bar to turn the bike in. My bike, btw, is an EX500 set up for racing with steep rake than stock.

 

Should I be fighting the bike like this? Is it normal to feel arm fatigue?

This is still my weak point, but let me ask whether you're pushing out or down on the bars. I've found that I tend to push down, and it makes the bike less reactive. I've fixed it pretty easily, but I have to constantly work at it. I did Firebird West, which is very left heavy, and before my last trackday a couple weeks ago, I had a VERY tired left arm, and my hand was numb from riding West for up to a weak. This time: nothing.

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I had always gently let the bike take me into corners with a little prodding at the bar. During the quick flick lesson during Level 1 we were told that more pressure on the bar, rather than a quicker application, would initiate the turn quicker. When we went out on track to try it my turn-ins got MUCH faster, but I am now working much harder than I ever have, getting off track with tired arms. I really feel like I'm wrestling the bike and I watch other riders and don't see the same force. I really have to PUSH the bar to turn the bike in. My bike, btw, is an EX500 set up for racing with steep rake than stock.

 

Should I be fighting the bike like this? Is it normal to feel arm fatigue?

This is still my weak point, but let me ask whether you're pushing out or down on the bars. I've found that I tend to push down, and it makes the bike less reactive. I've fixed it pretty easily, but I have to constantly work at it. I did Firebird West, which is very left heavy, and before my last trackday a couple weeks ago, I had a VERY tired left arm, and my hand was numb from riding West for up to a weak. This time: nothing.

 

+1, I think we're saying the same thing. When you push down or at a downward angle you are pushing in the direction of compressing your suspension but when you push "out" or "forward" you are getting closer to the optimum 90 degree angle in relation to your steering angle... or you could still just be putting your own weight on the bar and counteracting your own efforts (drill #4, steering input).

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Before the quick flick drill I was careful to push 90 degrees (or so) to the bar, and parallel to the track. With my attention on the press and release (which I have to focus on pretty closely as it's a new and strange move) I'm not thinking about those other things. I guess I could be not getting the best leverage on the bars now.

 

So I shouldn't be working that hard, then, eh?

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Before the quick flick drill I was careful to push 90 degrees (or so) to the bar, and parallel to the track. With my attention on the press and release (which I have to focus on pretty closely as it's a new and strange move) I'm not thinking about those other things. I guess I could be not getting the best leverage on the bars now.

 

So I shouldn't be working that hard, then, eh?

 

I wouldn't think so, for me it's a combination of both points I mentioned. I have to be conscious of getting my elbows low enough to have good leverage, without using the bars as a "crutch" to hold myself up. If I started braking too late then it's doubly hard for me to get everything right, because I'm obviously not strong enough to hold up my weight under braking without weighting the bars, and since I didn't get it done when I should have I'm still holding myself up when I'm trying to turn. The solution for me is to SLOW DOWN while I'm trying to practice, and practice it the right way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm struggling with this a lot too. Not so much entering a corner from a straight, no problem there, but in a high speed back and forth kind of section, and after lots of hard laps, I have gotten my arms to the point where they just give out and I end up going wide because I can't flick it fast enough.

 

I agree with everyone else here about lowering the elbows and pushing forward and backward on the bars instead of up and down. Any pushing on the bars in an up and down direction is totally worthless and has no effect on the bike whatsoever. And I also think part of why I struggle has to do with technique.

 

But that being said, if going through a section where you go back and forth between full left lean and full right lean several times in a row, and at a high speed, like 70mph or more, the harder you push on the bar, the faster you can make the transitions, and the faster you can flick it the faster you can go through that section. The harder you can push on the bar the better. In that kind of section that is where the majority of my attention is at, pushing as hard as possible at the right time. So although technique could be a big part of it, in the end it takes strength, and you would always want to push as hard as you can! So it seems to me that an improvement in technique won't make it any less effort, it'd just help you flick it faster and go faster.

 

Riders who hit the track on a regular basis may not notice this so much, because they're conditioned. But for me, I get a few track days in the spring and a few in the fall usually, with lots of gap in between to lose the conditioning. I'm kindof a lightweight skinny guy too so maybe I notice this more than some generally heavier and stronger guys. I've started working out to build muscle and endurance so I can hopefully enjoy my next track days more. The faster you learn how to go the more strength you will need. It seems that most top pro racers work out, and they discuss being tired after a race, so I'm convinced that no matter how good the technique, going fast takes a lot of physical effort!

 

fwiw here's a onboard video where a guy follows me around VIR North Course for a few laps:

http://www.ncsportbikes.com/meanstrk/AdamHVIR.wmv

 

The section where I have the trouble is right at the beginning of the vid, starting at about 0:20, a right hander turning up the hill, that's turn 7, no problem there, but then left for turn 8, right for turn 9, left for turn 10, right for turn 11 (I'm really in trouble sometimes by this point), then straight up to the top of the hill for a hard right hander, turn 14, which I have no problem with, you'll see a good quick flick there, but then there's a couple more hard transitions going down the hill, left from 14 into 15, and right from 16 into 17 (I get in a little trouble here too).

 

You mentioned that it appears that others are not working hard, but when I watch this vid, it looks to me like I'm just cruis'n along in that section, not struggling at all, but I know that I was work'n my tail off on some of those transitions. But despite all the effort, in the vid some of those transitions don't look as fast as I'd like them to be.

 

You might also notice how the guy with the camera catches me easily in the braking zones several times throughout the vid. I also tend not to push the braking points much either because that also wears me out.

 

In the first 1:30 I'm on a worn rear tire and can't drive out of the right hand turns, and there's even a little bit of slippage and recovery in turn 1 (it's subtle), but you'll see I get better drive out of those turns in later laps after I got a better rear tire installed.

 

I think my technique problem has to do specifically with the left to right or right to left transitions. Straight up to turning is no problem, because I can hang off first, get locked into the bike with my legs, and get good leverage on the bars that way. But with the left to right transitions, ya gotta go from left to right hangoff position at the same time or in very close timing with the push on the bars so I'm having to push while not locked into the bike.

 

One more big point here. I realized during my last track days that one very big reason I was getting so tired is because I was forgetting to BREATH! Seriously. And I'd bet I'm not the only one! Pretty sure holding the breath is a pretty common human reaction to really intense situations. When I focused on ensuring that I was breathing it made a huge difference. At first, remembering to breath actually took up part of my $10 of attention span!

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Just to add another angle on this, have you taken a look at your bike setup? I've got my bike set up a bit lower in the front and higher in the back than stock, and it is VERY easy to turn. By comparison, my husband's Ducati takes a lot more effort - but it's also more stable through the turns. I think his bike is hard to ride, he thinks mine is scary as hell. :)

 

Even set up this way, a suspension guy watched me going through a chicane, told me the bike was wallowing in the middle of the transition, made a change to keep the front more stable through the chicane, and WOW did my transition speed improve. The first time I tried it, it flicked over so much easier I nearly ate the inside curb.

 

So if you are finding it takes a lot of effort to turn or you aren't getting through transitions quick, you might try steepening your steering angle or adjusting suspension settings.

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What about your legs guys? What could you be doing with your legs to help you use less effort to get the same or more pressure to the bars?

 

Does the energy expended there make it worth the while? And if it were so, how many have the mental ability to do it the right amount (like rear braking)?

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What about your legs guys? What could you be doing with your legs to help you use less effort to get the same or more pressure to the bars?

 

Oh boy! The asking questions routine again! :rolleyes::P

 

I've read the section in TOTW II, where it talks about pushing on the pegs and other parts of the bike to get leverage on the handlebars. Obviously you can't push on the bars unless you are bracing yourself against some other part of the bike. Where I find it most difficult to implement is the full transitions from one side to the other, where ya gotta make the hang off position change nearly simultaneously with the push on the bars, hard to be locked onto the bike in that scenario.

 

I've messed with the goemetry/suspension a little here and there. So far I've never found it to make that much difference in steering feel. For the moment I'm convinced its overrated, but I've never had the help of an experienced suspension tuner. In the end it's always a compromise between one advantage and another, and no matter how light you get the steering, you'll always want to push as hard as possible to go as fast as possible in chicanes, and that will take as much physical effort as you can put into it. In other words, if your goal is to go as fast as possible, a quicker steering bike would allow you to go faster, not push less. If it were a magical setting that allows you to turn with so little effort, why are the pros tired after a race? Are they doing it wrong? Have the wrong settings? No, they're just going as fast as they can! Bike settings might make it easier at any given speed, but that then just allows you to push it to the next level, either way you've got to expend the effort.

 

All I'm say'n is, while we can make some improvements in technique and suspension settings, in the end it will take some serious physical effort to go fast.

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Haha, yes the questions Adam! I can't seem to find my book, but look up pivot steer. Level three stuff is body possition drills and what not. The body work stuff really helps in the quick transitions and helps keep you from using your arms in fast and quick transitions.

 

Jaybird, have you done Level 3 yet?

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Another thing that can cause tiredness in the arms is using them when you dont need too, are you remembering to relax after you have steered!

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Adam and Ace made good comments, for sure Level 3 gets into a lot of what you are talking about--steering and how to move on the bike.

 

There are things that do help the steering, and one is raising the ride height. On most of the Kawis over the years we have raised them, and they will steer quicker/easier. The trade-off can be stability in some cases. I raised the back of most all of my coach bike's, and my ZX-9, with a very good result, and no stability issue.

 

CF

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What about your legs guys? What could you be doing with your legs to help you use less effort to get the same or more pressure to the bars?

 

Oh boy! The asking questions routine again! :rolleyes::P

 

I've read the section in TOTW II, where it talks about pushing on the pegs and other parts of the bike to get leverage on the handlebars. Obviously you can't push on the bars unless you are bracing yourself against some other part of the bike. Where I find it most difficult to implement is the full transitions from one side to the other, where ya gotta make the hang off position change nearly simultaneously with the push on the bars, hard to be locked onto the bike in that scenario.

 

I've messed with the goemetry/suspension a little here and there. So far I've never found it to make that much difference in steering feel. For the moment I'm convinced its overrated, but I've never had the help of an experienced suspension tuner. In the end it's always a compromise between one advantage and another, and no matter how light you get the steering, you'll always want to push as hard as possible to go as fast as possible in chicanes, and that will take as much physical effort as you can put into it. In other words, if your goal is to go as fast as possible, a quicker steering bike would allow you to go faster, not push less. If it were a magical setting that allows you to turn with so little effort, why are the pros tired after a race? Are they doing it wrong? Have the wrong settings? No, they're just going as fast as they can! Bike settings might make it easier at any given speed, but that then just allows you to push it to the next level, either way you've got to expend the effort.

 

All I'm say'n is, while we can make some improvements in technique and suspension settings, in the end it will take some serious physical effort to go fast.

 

Maybe I have a basic misunderstanding on this, but is seems to me that you want to push FASTER, not harder. And intuitively, it seems like the more effort is required, the SLOWER you'd be ABLE to make the motion. Imagine trying to quickly push open a really heavy door versus a super-light one. So I think finding ways to reduce the amount of effort required would help you quicken your steering. So I think there is value in either making the bike easier to steer OR finding a way to change your body position or steering motion to require less muscle!

 

Regarding fatigue, when I am riding as fast as I can go, I get tired from holding onto the bike during braking, and from the cornering forces, but not from the steering. I don't think I've ever worn out my arms from steering, even in endurance races. I certainly do not have exceptional arm strength!

 

I found that steering got a LOT easier for me when my coach at a school worked with me on quick turns, and I learned to steer with a fast and very focused, deliberate movement, with a STOP point. One quick motion, then relax. Before that, I would push the bar and then remain very tense, stopping my arm motion by unconsciously resisting with my other arm or my shoulders, and wasting effort throughout a lot of the turn. Now, it is a much smaller movement, it has a MUCH more dramatic steering effect, and it's not tiring.

 

For sure as the entry speed comes up in a given turn, it takes more effort to turn the bike, but for me this is still a relatively minor effort compared to holding on during really hard braking, or hanging off in general!

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Sounds like you've got it right. Most pressure should go to the legs because the larger muscles can take more punishment before fatigue. The problem I've had that I corrected is that I was sort of fighting a particular corner all the way through. 210 lb's pushing against that cornering force all day is tiring. It's a 180 degree corner. I fixed it with little work: relax your arms, lock in your legs, and RP'S!!!

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Jason,

 

OK, after you do Level 1, let me know what you think about this, Keith/Dylan present the info a bit differently.

 

CF

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Jason,

 

OK, after you do Level 1, let me know what you think about this, Keith/Dylan present the info a bit differently.

 

CF

 

I'm not doing it right? It's so comfortable, and seems to work really well for me. Granted I'm going to do whatever makes me better, but I thought I had that part down. It's a double apex corner, and I was coming in tight, leaning on the front left bar, and then start pushing on the outside bars to get wide enough to make it. That was tiring. I ended up changing my one RP out a couple feet, and collecting a few to get me out there consistently.

 

I can't wait until the school. Everything I'm doing so wrong will be corrected, or at least I'll be on the path to doing it right. Give me the tools, and I'll improve.

 

I can't tell you guys how excited I am to be going. And tomorrow my wife will be Mrs. Ten Days.....

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Jason,

 

OK, after you do Level 1, let me know what you think about this, Keith/Dylan present the info a bit differently.

 

CF

 

I'm not doing it right? It's so comfortable, and seems to work really well for me. Granted I'm going to do whatever makes me better, but I thought I had that part down. It's a double apex corner, and I was coming in tight, leaning on the front left bar, and then start pushing on the outside bars to get wide enough to make it. That was tiring. I ended up changing my one RP out a couple feet, and collecting a few to get me out there consistently.

 

I can't wait until the school. Everything I'm doing so wrong will be corrected, or at least I'll be on the path to doing it right. Give me the tools, and I'll improve.

 

I can't tell you guys how excited I am to be going. And tomorrow my wife will be Mrs. Ten Days.....

 

Hay Jason, your going to love the school!

You have read the books alot, you have posted about the subjects on this forum alot, and you are always thriving to improve your riding! Enjoy your days and concentrate on the drills as much as possible, I'm looking forward to hearing about what you get out of the school most!

Oh yeah and try to get some sleep the night before!

 

Bobby

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I'm not doing it right? It's so comfortable, and seems to work really well for me. Granted I'm going to do whatever makes me better, but I thought I had that part down. It's a double apex corner, and I was coming in tight, leaning on the front left bar, and then start pushing on the outside bars to get wide enough to make it. That was tiring. I ended up changing my one RP out a couple feet, and collecting a few to get me out there consistently.

 

I can't wait until the school. Everything I'm doing so wrong will be corrected, or at least I'll be on the path to doing it right. Give me the tools, and I'll improve.

 

I can't tell you guys how excited I am to be going. And tomorrow my wife will be Mrs. Ten Days.....

 

Hey Jason, is Mrs. 10 days coming to the school with you, at least to Vegas? You may have already answered this, just don't recall off the cuff.

 

CF

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