Jump to content

Fear Of Lowsiding?


Recommended Posts

Hi folks

 

Exiting a corner I am more than happy with. Totally confident, no problems and as smooth as can be.

 

Mid corner I get a bit apprehensive. I get to ride 'round northern Spain on my Triumph Sprint ST a few times a year and those corners seem to go on and on. Some do tighten up but I do have the gas on. But at times am reluctant to open the throttle as I should because I can't see your way out of the corner. I have a habit of looking closer to the bike, just to check that there is no rubbish on the road - go where you look... I was out in Spain once with 3 lads who would charge into blind corners, not knowing what was 40 yards in front of them. I didn't want to be the one piling into the back of the mess.

 

Entering into a corner is not really any bother. I go in slower than most, I plan my reference points and use them. Brakes and gear changes, body position, turn etc. I sorta imagine a line painted on the tarmac which dictates my line and am very aware of 'ride the corner that you see' rather than the one I think is there.

 

My body position is OK. I lock in the outside knee, I lead with my chin (a bit more than kissing the mirror) and turn my shoulders into the turn. Bum back, relaxed on the bars.

 

Mentally, I am sorta anticipating the corner to get 'really tight' and for me to be 'really too fast' and therefore running out of road. Experience tells me that dropping a bike can be expensive, painful or both. That line I imagine disappears when I glance down and there isn't really the time to find a new one because my 10 bucks have gone. As the corner opens up and I can see my exit then I start to gas it and move on out.

 

As the mid section of the corner becomes the exit, I'm saying "I could have done that better/faster" and am now becoming fast on the straights and slower in the corners.

 

The same thing can happen in roundabouts where I hesitate with the gas and don't really lean into the corner enough. Hazardous things, here in England. Other road users and the odd patch of diesel.

 

So the question is, "where is it starting to go wrong?' Have I answered my own question? Corners are becoming clunky.

 

All advice is gratefully received

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi folks

 

Exiting a corner I am more than happy with. Totally confident, no problems and as smooth as can be.

 

Mid corner I get a bit apprehensive. I get to ride 'round northern Spain on my Triumph Sprint ST a few times a year and those corners seem to go on and on. Some do tighten up but I do have the gas on. But at times am reluctant to open the throttle as I should because I can't see your way out of the corner. I have a habit of looking closer to the bike, just to check that there is no rubbish on the road - go where you look... I was out in Spain once with 3 lads who would charge into blind corners, not knowing what was 40 yards in front of them. I didn't want to be the one piling into the back of the mess.

 

Entering into a corner is not really any bother. I go in slower than most, I plan my reference points and use them. Brakes and gear changes, body position, turn etc. I sorta imagine a line painted on the tarmac which dictates my line and am very aware of 'ride the corner that you see' rather than the one I think is there.

 

My body position is OK. I lock in the outside knee, I lead with my chin (a bit more than kissing the mirror) and turn my shoulders into the turn. Bum back, relaxed on the bars.

 

Mentally, I am sorta anticipating the corner to get 'really tight' and for me to be 'really too fast' and therefore running out of road. Experience tells me that dropping a bike can be expensive, painful or both. That line I imagine disappears when I glance down and there isn't really the time to find a new one because my 10 bucks have gone. As the corner opens up and I can see my exit then I start to gas it and move on out.

 

As the mid section of the corner becomes the exit, I'm saying "I could have done that better/faster" and am now becoming fast on the straights and slower in the corners.

 

The same thing can happen in roundabouts where I hesitate with the gas and don't really lean into the corner enough. Hazardous things, here in England. Other road users and the odd patch of diesel.

 

So the question is, "where is it starting to go wrong?' Have I answered my own question? Corners are becoming clunky.

 

All advice is gratefully received

 

David

 

 

Are you aware of the vanishing point, and how that can be used to indicate whether a corner is tightening or opening up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vanishing point, yes. But there are a couple of issues.

 

The apex's in Spain go on for ages. You're normally on a hill too so you're either going up and down. I remember one flat hairpin where I surveyed the whole corner on the way in - left hander. Planned my way around it and pretty much forgot that the bike was there. Went in and came out in 3rd gear with my front wheel leaving the tarmac. I know you shouldn't treat the roads as your own private race track but the tarmac is sooooo good. But it's not consistent.

 

It's making me think that i'm not looking far enough into the corner and allowing my concentration to get closer to the front of the bike when I should be forgetting about the bike and looking to where I want to go.

 

Hhmmm...

 

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vanishing point, yes. But there are a couple of issues.

 

The apex's in Spain go on for ages. You're normally on a hill too so you're either going up and down. I remember one flat hairpin where I surveyed the whole corner on the way in - left hander. Planned my way around it and pretty much forgot that the bike was there. Went in and came out in 3rd gear with my front wheel leaving the tarmac. I know you shouldn't treat the roads as your own private race track but the tarmac is sooooo good. But it's not consistent.

 

It's making me think that i'm not looking far enough into the corner and allowing my concentration to get closer to the front of the bike when I should be forgetting about the bike and looking to where I want to go.

 

Hhmmm...

 

 

David

 

 

Just answered your own question i'd say :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A fellow biker once told me there are two kinds of riders. Those that have fallen and those that will fall. So, I would not worry about low siding if I were you. Rather concentrate on improving your skills. From new

riders I have learned that fear of falling comes as an inner voice resulting from the cooking in turns beyond there abilities. So my advice, slow down and take your turns smoother and remember your throttle control!

 

Ride safe Riq

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re. vanishing point, this is useful on the road when you can't see right through the bend, so you should be using it on your never-ending bends. You don't need it where you can see right through, or on a track where you've figured out your line, because it's a redundant piece of info. It's totally useful in the situation you describe because it's looking a little bit into the future.

 

Yep get your head up. Have you read any of TOTW? Check out the 2-step. It talks about references points (whch is good) but the poin tis that you go from your first to second RP when the first is no longer useful i.e. don't be looking at your turn-in point for ever or you'll miss your apex. Or to put it another way, look ahead.

 

To be honest you can't ride knee-down on the road and live for long, it's frustrating but if you wanna go for it, it's not the place, because as you say, you can't see round a bend or know what's on a roundabout, plus the tarmac can be pretty ropey, the roundabouts in Sheffield are as smooth as billiard balls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi gang

 

Yes i've read TOTW and TOWT2 and 'the soft science' as well. And I've been in a classroom with good old Andy Ibbott at Silverstone.

 

Where the fear of low siding comes from, I don't know. Maybe starting my riding on too big a bike? I dunno.

 

Just spent a few days in Dorset and the roads there are fab. My pillion's comment was that she thought she was going to be really scared but that I'm pretty smooth and quick. Which is nice, I suppose.

 

After much thinking, it's when you can't see what's around the corner that bothers me. Last year in Spain, the guys I was with were racing 'round corners and if there was going to be a problem then there was no way that they had a decent time or distance to stop in. I didn't want to be the fourth one into the pile up! Many a time I saw them ending up on the wrong side of the road - good job the roads there are quiet.

 

Suspension is cool. Recently serviced, new Ohlins springs, Motul oil and a revalve. Sag set and rebound done too - nothing else to adjust on a Sprint! Tyres are good - Roadsmarts on Triumph Sprints work really well and they're set at 32/40 which is a little softer than recommended but they grip well, give good feedback, they're consistent and they're predictable.

 

I don't have any problems with the bike and I don't chop the throttle mid corner. I move about to get my shoulders into the turn etc. I'm nice and loose on the bars but I do like to see where I'm going. A blind second apex on a track is one thing to race for but when I can't see a corner unfold as I'd like... Then I see it open up and I wish I was in 3rd not 4th, if you know what I mean.

 

I don't tend to ride with other people either so I don't know how I rate nationally. Having said that, I would like to be better than I am - wouldn't we all?

 

Thanks all

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like you are doing a lot of things right. My guess is you are only doing one thing wrong-- over riding you site line. If you only feel the fear when rushing into blind corners, your fear may be wiser than your pride. :-)

 

Let the other guys rush into the blind corners and run wide into the opposite lane. The game on the street is to keep it in your lane. If a tire touches a painted line, declare yourself dead and slow down!

 

One of the fastest street riders in these parts plays it even MORE conservatively--he runs a "racing line," but only lets his MIRRORS "touch" the painted lines. It keeps him off the gravel and away from the truck grills. He also looks WAY ahead. Through the trees. Through car windshields. Under the truck bodies. Why? He needs to KNOW when to slow down.

 

IMHO, if you can't stop the bike in the distance you can see, you are riding too fast. Slow down and enjoy the ride.

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have I overshot turns? Yes. Often? No. But once is once too many if you meet a truck at the wrong time. So protect your fear and nurture it into common sense. Riding scared is not good, riding while using sound judgement is great. I wish I had that sort of common sense because it would have saved me from a lot of grief. Luckily, my oldest son is far more sensible (to the level that it annoys me at times, which shows how screwed I am) and so far the youngest seems to be careful as well. The weird thing is that when they ride pillion with me they often complain things are slow at a pace WELL above what they manage when they sit at the controls themselves :blink:

 

(As to trying to keep up with your mates; I've had two fresh riders - two in their mid-20s the other about 40 when they began riding - that simply figured that if the rider in front of them could do it, so could they. Blind faith. The young blokes overshot a lot of corners, but always managed to avoid crashing. Usually because there were no oncoming traffic. They only rode a couple of seasons each, which probably was a good idea. The older bloke rode surprisingly well at first without many obvious mistakes, but lost a bit of his nerve with time, perhaps because of a couple of slides and a few near misses. And then lost all confidence when he lowsided on a cattle grid and just barely managed to avoid splatting himself on a mountain wall. Now he's very, very careful. Which is OK, but the lack of confidence is not good. He just have to slowly get it back.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Crash106 on this one. Vision is the single most important part of your riding. If you can't see where you and the bike are about to end up around the corner than how can you make the correct adjustments? If there happens to be a hazard in the road and you're riding to fast to avoid it than you wreck.... simple as that (unless you get very lucky). You can see about how tight the corner is going to be just by looking at the scenery around the corner like Johnny Rod mentioned but you still can't see if the road surface itself is safe.

 

Personally I think out riding your sight lines slightly is O.K. At that pace if something does go wrong and for whatever reason you can't avoid it than at least it will be a minor inconvenience instead of a life threatening accident. It all comes down to how much risk that you are personally willing to take on public roads when your riding at a track oriented pace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coo! Get you and your Pirelli's!!!

 

Anyway, last night I had a learning moment. A moment of clarity. You know when the penny drops and you say to yourself "Oh, yeah..." One of those moments?

 

The clue was in TOWT2 and I was reading about the 2 step, which I'm cool with but it causes me problems in the throttle department. Why? Because a few pages later, I'm reading about how charging corners slows you up. Add the two together. The significant bit is that when I plot my turning point and start changing down the gears, i've closed the throttle. Why, I wonder...

 

Vanity? Habit? Because it makes me sound faster than I really am? Because that's how they seem to do it when your watching WSS? I'm not matching engine speed to throttle position on the way down but the sound of a triumph triple popping through the exhaust is addictive. So I do it. Quite juvenile really (am I after all, 46) but the thing is that as I start my turn, I am engaging the throttle from a fully closed position when the engine speed warrants a bit more. I've freewheeled the last 10 to 100 yards of road and now i'm turning knowing that as soon as i've turned, it's throttle on. So there's some lag whilst the throttle is trying to catch up to the engine speed and then a sort of a jolt as I pass it. Mid corner to the way out it feels like I should have been down a gear. 3rd instead of 4th because i'm getting 'gas greedy' and thinking that I should have been higher up the revs. I'm smooth with it but the transfer of weight from front to back is happening at the same time. And all the time i'm chanting "keep the bike stable..."

 

Now my concentration is supposed to be focusing on vanishing points and apex's, my peripheral vision is trying to stay on my turning point and all of a sudden, I get a demand from the throttle department - in triplicate - saying "need some attention down here" so my 10 bucks is suddenly being re-arranged and now my focus comes right in tight to the front of the bike.

 

Does this make sense to you? Makes sense to me.

 

Damn, I'm good.

 

David

 

So minimise the coasting period, match the throttle to the engine speed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done.

To your last paragraph I wonder about appending the question "why do these things?"

Strikes me as it did OzBlade that your careful analysis yields your own answers

All of which being the long way round to ask:

 

how coast /throttle /speed relate to your observation on weight transfer midcorner?

 

Ago

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, *$&% me! As we say in Blighty.

 

Or "do to me things that you shouldn't do with your sister".

 

So I've been out on a twisty road hereabouts and it became a 'no brakes' ride. Really taking my time setting up for a corner and being on the throttle even before the turn. By which I mean that the throttle was engaged, not closed. Smooth? You betcha.

 

It actually felt like I was riding slower but I seemed to always be in the right gear, at the right revs, at the right place, at the right time. And as for shooting out of the corners - I glanced at the clocks and was at times 20 mph faster than normal. A very different sensation.

 

Things I learnt today.

 

1. If you're accelerating through a corner and not at the end of a corner, then you've been accellerating for longer. So you'll be going faster.

2. Momentum is a great thing

3. You don't know stable until you know throttle.

4. You can go quick on the way in or quick on the way out. Braking hard, loosing momentum, an unstable bike and not being able to accelerate is the slow way. Smoothly in and constant acceleration out is the faster way.

5. Lines are consistent and predictable when you've got the technique sorted.

6. Don't worry about minor changes of road surface immediately in front of you, that's what suspension is for.

 

What a lovely day!

 

Keep well, y'all...

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Made me thing of what actually, is 'charging a corner'?

 

I've had to redefine it because in common parlance it it racing in, being hard on the brakes, changing down quickly and loading up the front. But it's not a speed thing, it's technique thing. If that's what you do, albeit slowly, then you're charging a corner! No brakes on the street is peculiar because it takes all the aggression out of it - all the heat. Riding with 'no brakes' in your noodle slows everything down and amongst other things, opens up your vision. There's also a lot less mass on the front tyre, the engine speed is happy and the bike is stabler. Is there such a word?

 

So previously, I wouldn't have accepted that I was charging corners but now, it's pretty obvious.

 

Keep well, y'all

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find riding sans brakes makes things smoother and also less tiring in some ways, but to me it feels way faster. There is something very comforting for me to turn with the brakes on and brake deep, it's what feels natural. To ride sans brakes increase cornering speed a lot at the apex for me, which is both scary at times and also makes it that much easier to override the distance I can see to be clear in front of me. Finally, if I do need to slow or even stop for something, I will waste a huge amount of distance when I first have to apply the brakes and load the suspension compared to already being - even very gently - on the front brake. Personally, I find that if I ride sans the use of brakes, I need to ride much slower where I cannot see clearly the road ahead from a substantial distance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO after honing off all my SR's

 

my personal barrier to the fear of lowsiding was actually the suspension and time with it (u have to get used to it , took me 2 weeks and 4 mountain trial trips to familiarize)

 

also, I do cover my ride's saddle with super grippy textle (re-skin?), knowing that the seat gives you a grip under minor G loads (expected or unexpected) is a confidence booster for me too.

 

I also work on the back brake (trail braking) ,it stabilizes the bike under heavy braking before entering a corner hot on the front brakes as it gives the front more travel during the load transfer to the front during cornering.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you apply the rear brake moments before the front brake in order to squat the bike, lower the CG and hence allow harder braking with better stability?

 

Another thing I've read over and over is the importance of riding small bikes on gravel to learn smoothness and what it's like to ride when the bike feels lose and actually is sliding. Apparently, that's about the feeling you'll have when roadracing at the national level or above; tyres sliding more or less all the time. Not for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother said, years ago, "people don't spend time falling off ###### bikes anymore".

 

Didn't make sense at the time but when you think about it, if you can learn all about momentum, lean, slipperyness and throttle control on say, a 125, then riding larger engined bikes should be easier.

 

My first bike was a CBR600, then a VFR750, then a YZF thou, then a Boxercup and now a Triumph Sprint so i've never had a small or ###### bike. One fear is not knowing where the limit of traction is which puts a limit on the lean angle, the speed and the turning point. We perceive limits to be just past the edge of our comfort zone but do I want to try it on a bike that's new and cost me thousands? No - i should have done it on a piece of junk years ago, when I was a kid. Bah!

 

I was toying with the idea of getting some scrambler thing - like a BMW 450 - just so I could go out on the fields, spin the rear wheel up, practice slow throttle stuff and then pick it up and start all over again.

 

I still think i'm onto something here with charging corners though. It's not a speed issue and I don't think it's measured by speed or weight transfer - it's a technique / habit and what you (Eirik and ktk_ace) might be doing is exactly that. Either way, my riding has improved because of it. It makes me concentrate on different things at different times.

 

Doing well though!!!

 

Keep well, y'all

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you apply the rear brake moments before the front brake in order to squat the bike, lower the CG and hence allow harder braking with better stability?

 

Another thing I've read over and over is the importance of riding small bikes on gravel to learn smoothness and what it's like to ride when the bike feels lose and actually is sliding. Apparently, that's about the feeling you'll have when roadracing at the national level or above; tyres sliding more or less all the time. Not for me.

 

yup, I light up the rear brake around 0.5-2S before I CS into the turn with or without front brakes.

 

And about the gravel... I do once in a while (when my rear is near spent) go to a gravel parking lot for coaches to "power slide" around now u mention it....

 

 

My bikes only a 4T 125 + 12" so oh well... not the best by any margin, thou if i get extra cash, i would love to have a CB400

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DiD

 

can you help me understand:

 

I've had to redefine it because in common parlance it it racing in, being hard on the brakes, changing down quickly and loading up the front. But it's not a speed thing, it's technique thing. If that's what you do, albeit slowly, then you're charging a corner!

...

I still think i'm onto something here with charging corners though. It's not a speed issue and I don't think it's measured by speed or weight transfer - it's a technique / habit

Ago

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still think i'm onto something here with charging corners though. David

 

Of course you are! My way is not the correct way by the book, and I have moved my braking points back a lot compared to my earlier days simply because I mess up the rhytm of those I ride with if I brake very, very deep. But as I said, for me it is comfort in slowing down. Even when going slow it feels good to chop the throttle for a second if nothing else, even if it's not needed. I shouldn't do it, but it's a habit that's hard to resist more often than not.

 

You should, however, continue what you've started - especially since you're so good with it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One fear is not knowing where the limit of traction is which puts a limit on the lean angle, the speed and the turning point. We perceive limits to be just past the edge of our comfort zone but do I want to try it on a bike that's new and cost me thousands? No - i should have done it on a piece of junk years ago, when I was a kid. Bah!

 

I was going to mention that - being afraid to lean the bike is a really dangerous thing, especially on the roads (in an emergency situation). So how do you fix that? I think this is one of those things you've just got to accept, you've just got to know that the bike will lean alot more than you're comfortable with. (Maybe it will help you to realise the actual reason why we are not naturally comfortable with such high lean angles? Check the link I post below.) Personally I have simply tried to rewire my brain to accept that if I'm on the road coming into a corner too hot, there is no option other than to just turn the bike in more. That's it. In that kind of situation, trying to get on the brakes and slow down is not even an option in my mind.

 

Back to the topic of fear of lowsiding - why do you think that is? Don't you trust the tyres? Or you feel that you need to know the limit of traction so you can have absolute confidence that you're safe when riding at a moderate pace? I used to be exactly the same as far as being afraid of lowsiding (although your reasons may be different to mine). A couple of things that I found helpful: realising that I won't 'just lowside' mid-corner. The tyres won't just lose grip (assuming good road conditions, etc.) Before the tyres lose grip there will be a transition from static friction to sliding friction. Therefore imaging that the tyres will just somehow 'slide out' mid-corner is just irrational. So that idea can be discarded as nonsense. Bonus - more attention to spend on the important things! The second thing is that instead of worrying about what traction I may have, I started to look for signs that the traction was moving from static friction to sliding friction. For example - you will get a 'warning' before you run out of grip. Things like a little slide, the balance of the bike being upset etc. Even when these things happen - they're not necessarily signs that you're near the limit of traction, just that you're getting close.

 

I hope that helps. I know the feeling, it's definitely something you want to fix up as soon as possible. I previously made a post here about the 'sticking point', some more things that helped me: http://forums.superb...961

 

On the subject of riding a smaller capacity bike to play around on and test things out - I'd definitely recommend it. I'm biased towards motards. I reckon that my XR400 motard is the best fun you can have in the suburbs without going to jail. You can learn the same things on a bigger bike, just that it can be alot more nerve wracking and the stakes are alot higher...

 

Tyres - I don't agree with using better sports/track oriented tyres to increase your confidence on the road. For someone who is wondering about traction, they'll have the exact same thinking/feeling no matter what kind of tyres they use. If your regular road tyres are in good condition, then there's nothing wrong with your equipment, so no need to change it. You've just gotta get your head right. At least that's what I did - and I noticed an instant improvement in my riding (on road, track, everywhere). A couple of great book that deal with the mental side of things are Total Control by Lee Parks and Upper Half of the Motorcycle by Bernt Speigel. If you're interested in that side of things, I would start with Total Control and go onto Upper Half if you want more (it's a bit of a heavier read).

 

As to trying to keep up with your mates; I've had two fresh riders - two in their mid-20s the other about 40 when they began riding - that simply figured that if the rider in front of them could do it, so could they. Blind faith. The young blokes overshot a lot of corners, but always managed to avoid crashing. Usually because there were no oncoming traffic.

 

 

If those other riders had followed your line they would have made it through the corners just the same as you, right? Blind faith, or just not enough faith? wink.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...