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Easing Into The Corner


Crash106
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I know that the rule for turning is one time, as quickly as possible, but ... it scares me!

 


  •  
  • I don't feel I know the lean angle I'll need before I get into the turn.
  • I don't like to THROW the bike at the ground.
  • It feels like I have to SPLIT my attention to turn fast (very internal) and watch where I'm going (very external).
  • I am VERY afraid of running out of road and crashing, and
  • I DO know how fast the bike can turn, and as clumsy as I am, it scares the snot out of me!
     

Soo, what to do?

 

Lately, I've been thinking of turns as two steps (not the CSS Two Step visual drill): setting up the turn, then actually turning.

 

In the first step, I pick a turn point and ease the bike over so I'm on a line that will probably take me around the outside of the curve even if I do nothing else. Ah! Suddenly I feel like I'm not going to run out of road and that half the "leaning" has been done and LOOK MA, I didn't fall down!

 

Then I look deeper into the turn and find the apex or exit. If, at that point, I feel like I can use more lean angle or NEED more lean angle to make the apex, then I'll actually "make my turn."

 

I'm not sure I'm expressing this very well, but you might know what I mean. It feels like I am:

 

1) Setting up my track position to make the turn, then

2) Actually turning more, if necessary.

 

So, I feel more comfortable. I'm not running out of road before I turn. I'm not entering turns very slowly (a big problem for me in the past). I'm not running wide or having to add more lean angle at the exit. I'm not drifting in, slowing to a crawl and flopping the bike over for a quick apex and hard acceleration.

 

I think that perhaps I am just turning as quickly as necessary (which for street riding is not very fast), but I wonder if I am getting into a bad habit.

 

What do you think?

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The YouTube video link below is not me, but besides riding at a pace that allowed him to ride a great line (something a lot of people can't do), Chabiment also shows how MUCH time there is to lean the bike when riding at a fair clip, but not an outright race pace.

 

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Some situations on the street don't allow one to make just one steering change, that's true. Not alwasy possible to run the bike deep enough to get one quick steering change done.

 

That being said, lets look at what turns the bike: countersteering. Any question on this, come and ride the NO B/S bike. If we agree on that for a moment, the entire time the bike is being steered (direction changes) then the bike is in tension. Being relaxed on the bars has been discussed in detail here and in Keith's material. Taking a while to steer the bike is a minus from that point.

 

Another point (also made in the book) is the extra unneed lean angle that is used. This took me a little bit to fully understand it (it's also covered in the book), but bottom line, slow steering uses more lean angle than is needed, and in some cases this can be severe.

 

Missing objects: cars, potholes, debris, SUV's, etc. As a safety skill, being able to turn quickly could rank higher than being able to brake well (that might be a whole thread there).

 

Scary, yep. This is covered in pretty full detail at the schools, and education is really the first step, so one knows ALL the parts of this, and there are a few, only touched lightly on part of them here.

 

All that being said, Crash may in fact have been steering it as quickly as needed for the situation---but, and this is a real but--you are way SAFER if you can steer it quickly, even if it's rough as hell, than slow and smooth.

 

There is more to this, but I'll pause for a moment, see what you guys think of that.

 

CF

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Interesting video, and as you say when you ride gently you can take wide, smooth archs. Engine sounds very abrupt getting back on the throttle, though, with noticeable play in the driveline. But that's off topic :P

 

 

I think most people automatically adjust their riding style to the conditions, be that the road or the speed or the bike - or all of the above. Few will oversteer, because it will demand correcting your line, often repeatedly. Not very comfortable. But even going slow you can, unless the corner is very long, still quick-flick the bike - if you want to. It's good if visibility is poor - you can stay out longer to maximize your vision ahead/around the bend before turning in rapidly. On more open bends, you can enjoy the comfort of making smooth, constant archs.

 

Other than that, I actually envy you. On another forum, I set up a poll to learn how many road (not track or off road) accidents people have had that required medical attention of some sort. Apparently, if you ride 4000 miles per year, even if you're 57 times more likely to get killed or injured riding vs driving, you can drive for 130 years before getting killed or injured. Statistically speaking.

 

Well, I'm leading the statistics comfortably :rolleyes: with 6 accidents having required medical attention. Going way too fast for the conditions being the cause, the worst part being that I knew exactly the risks and still opted to take them. So I've crashed my bit for 800 years. With your common sense, I'd be 50+ broken bones in addition to various permanent muscle- and nerve tissue damage better off today. And I could have enjoyed a powerful, well handling motorcycle without going completely bonkers and likely end my life before the day had become evening.

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I know that the rule for turning is one time, as quickly as possible, but ... it scares me!

 

 

[*]I don't feel I know the lean angle I'll need before I get into the turn.

[*]I don't like to THROW the bike at the ground.

[*]It feels like I have to SPLIT my attention to turn fast (very internal) and watch where I'm going (very external).

[*]I am VERY afraid of running out of road and crashing, and

[*]I DO know how fast the bike can turn, and as clumsy as I am, it scares the snot out of me!

 

[/

 

Street riding is VERY different from track riding. Yes you can practice the skills on the street, but it is not even close to how you use them on the track. Street riding scares the heck out of me too, because there are SO many other factors involved. In response to your bullet points:

 

1. On the track you can take the same turn about 50 times in one day. You will very quickly learn the lean angle needed and how to guage said lean angle based on entry speed, quick turning, line, body position, etc. No way you can match this type of repetition on the street.

 

2. Nowhere in ATOTW I or II or any of the CSS Levels are you instructed to "THROW" the bike at the ground. But at the track, you will quickly see how effective the quick turn is versus a slower turn. It isn't a violent movement, but you'd be surprised at how quickly a bike can be turned.

 

3. This is probably the biggest difference between street and track riding - the ATTENTION. The track frees up SO much of your attention that (on the street) is spent on road conditions, other cars, animals, laws, etc. On the track, you can spend your $10 worth where it counts.

 

4. Again - street vs track; very different.

 

5. With practice on the track, it won't B) .

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My first motorcycle was a Suzuki A 100, the second was a Honda CB 100. Both came in under 200 lb soaking wet. I could toss them about as a bicycle, almost. Waiting until the last possible moment to make the corners became a habit, which again demanded a very quick, short and effective steering input if I weren't to run wide. As such, it became second nature. However, not every bike feels as comfy doing this. Cruisers with massive rake and trail give the sensation that they will push the front if direction is changed too quickly. And as if that's not enough, their often flimsy frames and long forks tend to flex enough that they will wind up significantly only to snap back rather violently, causing a pretty, hrm, interesting ride. This was the way the old heros had to ride their Superbikes, but personally I do not enjoy it very much :P Come to think of it, even my Honda Ascot is like this; if you try to force it, it will instantly start bucking. Be smooth and give it time, and it's a kitten.

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Eirik, interesting that you mention your first few bikes as being so light that it became second nature for you to run in deep and flick into the turn. My first bike was a GN400Suzuki with a wet weight of 330 pounds. To me, the bike felt so fidgety and twitchy that it became second nature to fear corners and steering inputs of any kind. :o To this day, I like a bike that feels rock steady down the straights. I want to have to INTENTIONALLY make it turn. That's why I like the Gold Wing. I won't blink and run off the road, but with those wide bar, the Big Girl can turn quickly.

 

I look forward to getting on the track and playing with the bike in a safer, less distracting and less dangerous environment. You can learn a lot about swerving by turning up the radio and dancing the bike back and forth across your lane :rolleyes: but I'm not sure it's the same learning value as 50 laps with a rider coach.

 

Thanks all for your input.

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Kick starting doesn't quite sound like you, Crash, for some reason :o A light bike (or a heavy bike) isn't automatically something you have faith in. I've had bikes I could never gel fully with, and others where I were scraping pegs and stands after literally 100 yards of riding. My brother and I talked about bikes we've owned this evening, and he mentioned the bike that gave him the most confidence was a 1986 Moto Guzzi Lario. He learned to slide the rear on that bike by dropping it down hard on its mufflers and slide the rear out of intersections in the wet :blink: He felt like he couldn't get anything wrong with that bike. For me, the most confidence inspiring bike I've owned was a 1983 Honda CB1100F, which was utterly and totally stable scraping pegs and stands around 125 mph bumpy corners.

 

In general, both these bikes represent anomalies for both of us; my brother like heavy steering bikes, I like light steering bikes. The Lario was rather nimble compared to his preferences, the CB took massive effort to turn.

 

Other examples? My brother felt very sure on his Daytona 900, a heavy steering beast if ever there was one, whereas it with me at the controls behaved rather uncertain and always wanted to wag its tail. Perhaps because my brother, at least back then, took the corners with the throttle cracked and I liked to trail brake very deep.

 

Why do I tell you all this nonsense? Because I think you should stop limiting yourself (can you hear the breaking glass :unsure: ) to think that you like big and solid machines and dislike light and nimble ones. Don't let the semi-custom bike from the early 80s teint your picture of motorcycles forever. When a bike fits, you will know almost instantly. It's like shoes; you know when it sits correctly on your foot (or not), but that shoe can be anything from a heavy working shoe to a air weight sneaker.

 

 

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The bottom line here, guys, is you need to get yourself off to a CSS school.

 

There is no substitute for getting some instruction on the matter.

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Yes, what DaveB said --

Hie thee to a school B) at your earliest convenience.

 

In the meantime:

In your other posts I think I see that you've been through all the TW media.

I have the sense that each of your Survival Reactions are addressed therein.

 

Perhaps another look, with an eye specifically geared to your specific concerns might turn up some things.

I know when I have a specific topic, I tend to read more effectively.

 

May I suggest a laser focus on

  1. Reference Points, and
  2. Product and Sub-Product

?

Justin

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Crash if you've not done CSS level 1 then this is very well covered there. At some point you have to have some trust in the bike, but you get this partly by learning quick turns (countersteering). The only way to really "know" how fast, how far etc. is experience so you want to ride the same bend many times. Don't try to monkey around to much*, just get the hang of a single steering input then letting the bike run around the corner at a fixed lean angle. You'll have to choose a suitable bend for this obviously, they won't all lend themselves. Then each time you come to it, make your steering input a bit quicker. You'll soon find you're turning and apexing too early, so you move your turn-in point a bit deeper. What you can't expect is to fly up to a new bend and lob it round in one go, either you're a genius if you can, or lucky, the rest of us need reference points and to get the hang of stuff. Can you turn it in too fast? Yep I guess, but it's likely to be a lot faster than you think, and if you practice good throttle control then you should be making the difference between ham-fisted steering and controlling the grip at both ends.

 

*forget setting yourself to run around the outside of the bend, just pick a normal line as a starting point. Otherwise, you're trying to maintain two lines around one bend, and it'll make it hard to get anywhere.

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One little piece to bear in mind with turning it in (and one time) is we have seen adding throttle and lean angle later in the turn as the single biggest cause of racetrack crashes. For street riding, it's a major skill in staying "safe". We have noticed that if it's not practiced, it's not a skill that someone will just automatically get good at.

 

Better fast and rough, than slow and smooth.

 

CF

 

(ps--we can smooth you out too :)).

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What you can't expect is to fly up to a new bend and lob it round in one go, either you're a genius if you can, or lucky, the rest of us need reference points and to get the hang of stuff.

 

With the clear risk of sounding painfully cocky, I can. Within my limits, at least. I can ride on a completely unfamiliar road and hit my braking points and lean the bike over until parts are grinding (not on a Gixxer, but with "normal" non-sport bikes) corner after corner. This is also my only talent. Even if I ride the same bit of road ten or 20 times, my pace will barely improve because I have these limitations I'm reluctant to push past. And I can hit them in the first attempt. Note that this is on roads where cornering speeds doesn't surpass 60 mph, preferably sitting in the 25-50 mph range. There have been times when I've been able to use all the cornering clearance going around 120 mph bends for the first time as well, but the higher the speed, the harder it is to judge just how fast I can go. One tend to keep a bit in reserve since getting it wrong at 120 will hurt a lot more than at 20. But on a track? I'd be left for dead, more so the longer the day wore on, as people got quicker and quicker against my stagnation.

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Me again. After playing with EASING into the corners for a couple of weeks now, my feeling is that I am doing this as a tool to help me look in sooner and THAT is why it feels more comfortable.

 

I put the bike on a line I like, then look in and that feels good. Well, if I put the bike on a line I like, then kind of let my vision wander around till I finally look into the corner after I'm halfway through, that "don't not woik weewee well!" BUT if I set a line, or choose a turn point, and look in earlier, OH! Suddenly everything starts working.

 

So, is the key putting the bike on a line that makes me feel safe, or picking a turn point? I'm beginning to think both are just tools to help me look in sooner.

 

What do you think?

 

vision1.jpg

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Me again. After playing with EASING into the corners for a couple of weeks now, my feeling is that I am doing this as a tool to help me look in sooner and THAT is why it feels more comfortable.

 

I put the bike on a line I like, then look in and that feels good. Well, if I put the bike on a line I like, then kind of let my vision wander around till I finally look into the corner after I'm halfway through, that "don't not woik weewee well!" BUT if I set a line, or choose a turn point, and look in earlier, OH! Suddenly everything starts working.

 

So, is the key putting the bike on a line that makes me feel safe, or picking a turn point? I'm beginning to think both are just tools to help me look in sooner.

 

What do you think?

 

vision1.jpg

 

 

 

 

I personally think lines are much more applicable on the streets rather than turn in points, reasons is the turn in point you use might be hogged by another road user or weird stuff on the public roads (cones , leaves. whatever)

Also with lines on public roads, i do get to scan much further down the road, but thats just me.

 

 

 

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I think it depends on the bike as well as the tempo. If you are really pushing hard, you cannot let your attention drift; you need to find your braking point and your turn-in point and your neutral throttle point and your apex and your acceleration point every corner.

 

If you are going less than attack mode, the bike will often determine how much you can let your view move. For instance, on my Z400 with some suspension mods to improve handling and cornering clearance, I could throw sparks and still look around on the scenery without ever upsetting the bike or the trajectory. The bike was a nimble toy, yet it never wanted to go astray. On my Intruder 1400, I could look around in a straight line, but never when cornering, not even mild cornering - it was a headstrong bike once the road wasn't arrow straight. Not paying constant attention was asking for disaster.

 

Your Gold Wing is a huge battleship. Even though it is a very good handler for its size, it's still 1000 lb with rider that you're controlling, and keeping focused is something I can imagine to be mandatory if you want to keep clean, smooth cornering lines.

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Me again. After playing with EASING into the corners for a couple of weeks now, my feeling is that I am doing this as a tool to help me look in sooner and THAT is why it feels more comfortable.

 

I put the bike on a line I like, then look in and that feels good.

 

 

How do you choose a line that you like, without looking in to see the shape of the turn?

 

Do you lean the bike over to a lean angle that is comfortable for you, then just adjust your speed so that you can make the corner using that lean angle?

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Good question, Hotfoot. If I can see well into the corner, I can look ahead and see a nice line, turn in, apex and exit. Then, I just swoop in with a single steering input and roll on a little throttle. If I can't see far, or can't see enough to make me happy, I'll just take an outside line and turn in when the road turns in. I'll pause the throttle and turn in more if it looks safe and appropriate to do so. No turning in while rolling on.

 

So I AM looking well ahead, often all the way out to the vanishing point. It is a good way to read new corners. I try hard not to ride faster than I can see, and THAT makes me much more relaxed, comfortable and safer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On re-reading your first post, and putting it with your quoted one above, it sounds like you're hanging on to your turn-in RP too long, which is a mistake in the 2-step. As you've said yourself, when you lose the first RP and look deeper in (for the next RP/to see where you're going) then it flows better - this is doing it right. Getting it wrong means mid-corner corrections and all manner of ills, plus you'll have no confidence if you're not sure what's coming next of course.

 

The other thing you're worrying about is riding on the street like a street rider. I don't see anything wrong with this. On a track you know (learn) where the bend goes, and you know there's nothing new or untoward on the other side of it, so you try to ride it 100%. On the road we can't do this (for long), so riding around the outside will you can see through the bend is the best way. It's a different approach and style to track riding, that's all.

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