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How Do I Go About Changing My Riding Style?


Thielert
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After reading some of the threads on this forum I've come to the conclusion maybe it's time to adjust my style of riding. As background, I am fairly new to the sport riding scene, having ridden them six years and and a little over 60,000 miles and currently own an '11 ZX-10R, '09 ZX-6R, '07 CBR1000RR and an '06 ZX-14.

 

I am certainly no cornering guru but seem to have learned enough over the years to be able to keep pace with the faster guys on our road rides. All of my riding is road, no track or racing experience to date.

 

My style of riding is conventional, I'm not afraid of deep lean angles or fast sweepers but I do not hang off much at all. I stay fairly centered on the bike, moving my bum over tho the edge of the seat a bit but I'm not a mirror kisser and like to keep my knees tucked in even when cranking the bike way over.

 

I guess my question, is it worth it now to change to a more hang off the bike style if I'm not going to be doing any track? I've started trying to change things up but it's messing with my head as it seems strange. Riding fast and smooth is all about confidence and I feel like I'm starting to learn to ride all over again.:unsure:

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According to German magazine MOTORRAD, hanging off have these major effects:

1. Takes more energy (pushing the bike down takes the least amount of effort followed by sitting still and upright) since you must move your body constantly

2. Takes longer to change direction (when already leaned well over)

3. Reduce sight due to head position (unless the corner is wide open)

4. Possible to keep a higher cornering speed

5. Enhance stability

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Thanks Eirik, for street and backroad riding, the negative aspects of developing a hang off the side style may outweigh the positives. Roadracing is a different animal altogether.

 

+1

 

For me I slowed down because trying to ride at the same speed with a different body position just wont work. Level 3 will help, if you havent done it yet try getting your bike on stands and trying different body positions maybe use a video camera to have a look at each position have 3 or so, your normal and then a couple of adjusted positions, I know its not the same as riding. When you get on the track have a camera at the rear, a mate behind you, use the track photographer and/or the track coach. each session try one of the positions and see which feels good and check out the footage. Find the best body position and gradually increase your speed until it becomes your normal body psoition and off you go!! O try some tech spec or stomp grip to help sliding around the tank, reduce the fatigue of the legs and arms.

 

Might help might not :)

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IMHO, if you NEED to hang off on the street, you are going too fast.

However, as ktk_ace said, it is a technique worth having in your back pocket.

I don't hang off on my street bike, but if I raced on a well-known-close-course, I most certainly WOULD hang off.

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From my understanding the only major thing that hanging off correctly does for you is increase your cornering ground clearance. The motorcycle doesn't need to be leaned over quite as far to achieve the same given turning radius while your leaning off. Otherwise the tires have the same amount of grip that they always do and the bikes stability is decided by throttle control. Good body position will not make up for poor throttle control and charging turns.

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However, good body position will help with unexpected things happening on bikes. It all has to do with changing the Center of Gravity.

 

For example, with proper body position, you can make sharper turns without changing steering input (hook turns, for example).

 

And it can also help in the case of slides. If you are crossed up on the bike, a minor slide can be harder to correct than when in proper body position.

 

Proper body position makes it easier to turn the bike, as your arms are parallel to the ground, meaning that all the effort to steer is occurring horizontally, rather than other angles.

 

It also keeps you loose on the bars, providing less input into steering.

 

And being locked in makes the bike more stable.

 

Proper body position makes it easier to have better throttle control as you are less likely to give inadvertent throttle controls input due to bumps in the road, as your weight is off the bars.

 

Hanging off is not required, but upper body movements, such as moving your upper body to the inside of turns, can help considerably.

 

In my street riding, I try to practice being proper on the bike, but I don't hang off. I do move my upper body with the turn. On the track, I am hanging off (quite well on my left side... my right is another story).

 

T

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You have less chance of saving a potential highside if you're hanging off. The best position to be in to save a highside would actually be to lean out a bit because you have better leverage and you can also counter the forces by throwing yourself inward, in the opposite direction of where the bike is heading. Finally, if you do highside, you will fly shorter and lower from a leaning out position compared to a racing hanging off position.

 

On the road, if you want to practice race track skill, save hanging off to the corners were visibility is perfect. Around low speed (20-30 mph) blind corners you're better off leaning out to enhance your vision ahead. Personally, I think road riding require a rider that want to move briskly yet safely to vary techniques and attitude far more than on what's needed in the controlled environment of a race track.

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................................ I am fairly new to the sport riding scene, having ridden them six years and and a little over 60,000 miles .................I guess my question, is it worth it now to change to a more hang off the bike style if I'm not going to be doing any track? I've started trying to change things up but it's messing with my head as it seems strange. Riding fast and smooth is all about confidence and I feel like I'm starting to learn to ride all over again.:unsure:

 

If your style works for you, why change it?

 

You can learn it just as a safety margin for unexpected surprises in the street.

 

If trying the hang off while turning takes you out of your comfort zone, you can practice with the bike going straight until it feels natural.

 

Because it is a balance act, forces on your body and bike feel the same either turning or moving straight.

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If you were going to the track, I'd say work on it. The benefits outweigh the non-benefits. If you're staying on the street and already have a good, comfortable pace, my question is why would you change it?

This, by the way, is why we start getting newer track riders to hang off earlier rather than later. They'll incorporate it into their repertoire and get comfortable real quick.

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Hey Centurion, you've got alot of bikes! biggrin.gif

 

I've got to ask the same question others have - why do you feel you need to 'adjust' your BP? I have this same view towards other areas in life - if something is working well for you, the worst thing you can do is change it. People often seem to be looking for 'something better' and will change something that is working well, just for the sake of it, without really understanding what they hope to gain, or considering if there even is anything to be gained. But - if you want to change your style as a means to add to your skillset, or increase your safety margin - then I'd say yes they are good reasons to do so.

 

I started out by just riding along straight bits of road and shifting around in the seat (doing so without making the bike move around beneath you is a skill in itself), just working up to one cheek off the seat. Most people agree that one cheek is about right, anything more is excessive (even for the track). You should probably start out bit by bit in the corners as well. Just remember to setup your body position well before the turn point, and don't forget to lean your upper body towards the inside of the corner as you're turning in (you don't want to end up mid-corner with your head centred on the bike and your backside off the side of the seat, that would defeat the purpose). You might want to slow down a fair bit at the start and go at a pace where you don't need to use the brakes. For me, braking while off the side of the seat & setup for the corner was one of the strangest sensations to get used to. But now it all feels completely normal and I hang off almost everywhere, especially tight corners. I just let my inside knee hang out (not pushing it out to try and get it down), depending on the corner I sometimes keep it in against the tank as well - whatever feels natural.

 

I don't understand why so many people are 'anti-leaning-off' on the street?? Don't confuse 'leaning off' with 'knee down'... no one is talking about wanting to buy a set of WIZ sparkies to show off on the streets with, this is just about good body position and maximising the safety margin. And surely the street of all places, is where you want to maximise your safety margin.

 

You have less chance of saving a potential highside if you're hanging off. The best position to be in to save a highside would actually be to lean out a bit because you have better leverage and you can also counter the forces by throwing yourself inward, in the opposite direction of where the bike is heading. Finally, if you do highside, you will fly shorter and lower from a leaning out position compared to a racing hanging off position.

 

On the road, if you want to practice race track skill, save hanging off to the corners were visibility is perfect. Around low speed (20-30 mph) blind corners you're better off leaning out to enhance your vision ahead. Personally, I think road riding require a rider that want to move briskly yet safely to vary techniques and attitude far more than on what's needed in the controlled environment of a race track.

 

I disagree with your first paragraph there. If you're sitting in-line with the bike, your body will go with the bike when the rear steps out - this is likely to throw you out of the seat. The bike will stop sliding when the tyre grips again - but what stops your body from it's new direction of travel? If you're hanging off, it's more likely that your body will keep the same position relative to the road, while the rear of the bike steps sideways. You mentioned about countering the forces by throwing yourself towards the inside of the corner - if you're hanging off, you'd already be there.

 

I was playing around on the local mountain road once back when I had a GSX-R600, I was testing out a set of Bridgestone 002's. In the rain. Being as I was younger (and probably sillier), I figured that since the tight hairpins were uphill and fairly slow that it would be a good chance to see if I could drift. Well I was very impressed by the 002's and ended up having seriously provoke them into letting go. Good thing I was hanging off because let go it did, coming out of one hairpin the rear instantly stepped sideways about 50-60cm. Nope I didn't crash, not close. I think what really saved me there was that I was also weighting the outside peg very heavily - when the rear let go I had almost zero weight on the seat, so my body didn't get launched into orbit. All that happened was my outside leg went along with the bike, the rear gripped again and next thing I know the bike is back in line and I continued on my way (minus any further drifting attempts).

 

Funnily enough (if you can call it funny), when I traded up to my GSX-R1000 I tried the same thing the first time I rode it in the wet. Only this time I was exiting a nice big roundabout, sitting square in the middle of the seat, combined with what could only be described as a monumental brain fart (a 1000cc bike requires significantly less throttle input to achieve the same result as a 600cc bike), I was very quickly taken along for the ride, and just as quickly ejected from the seat - my first highside.

 

Having experienced the rear stepping out, while hanging off as well as sitting square in the seat - there is no way that I would want the rear stepping out while I'm sitting centred on the seat. Low traction conditions automatically throw up a red flag for me - I'll always be hanging off.

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It is not something I've come up with, that hanging off reduce your chance of saving highsides and also will throw you further up and away; it comes from people like Kenny Roberts Sr., Kevin Cameron and several others. Look at MX; they lean the bikes in and their bodies out. If it was easier to control the bike hanging off, wouldn't they do so?

 

 

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  1. You have less chance of saving a potential highside if you're hanging off. The best position to be in to save a highside would actually be to lean out a bit because you have better leverage and you can also counter the forces by throwing yourself inward, in the opposite direction of where the bike is heading. Finally, if you do highside, you will fly shorter and lower from a leaning out position compared to a racing hanging off position.
  2. It is not something I've come up with, that hanging off reduce your chance of saving highsides and also will throw you further up and away; it comes from people like Kenny Roberts Sr., Kevin Cameron and several others. Look at MX; they lean the bikes in and their bodies out. If it was easier to control the bike hanging off, wouldn't they do so?

  1. Eirik, can you help me understand #1? Esp the "counter the forces by throwing yourself inward" part ...
  2. Where can that MOTORRAD article be found?
  3. Anyone out there in radioland: I need help with #2 as well. How does this Roberts/Cameron technique relate to Twist on the drawbacks of "push-it-under" steering?

Ago

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1. If the bike is leaned way over and for whatever reason trying to highside you can - if you're leaning out to the opposite direction of the bike's original cornering position - throw yourself inward as the bike is trying to stand up and hence counter (come of) the forces. OTOH, if you're hanging onto the inside of the bike already, you have nowhere to go but up if it ends up in a proper highside. Which also generally higher and further than if you where leaning out since there will be sort of a slingshot effect.

2. In my home, at least. Do you read German? You can come over :)

3. I'm not sure they will race any different because of the high-side risk since they would always use the way most likely to win races, even if it ends up with the odd crash.

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It is not something I've come up with, that hanging off reduce your chance of saving highsides and also will throw you further up and away; it comes from people like Kenny Roberts Sr., Kevin Cameron and several others. Look at MX; they lean the bikes in and their bodies out. If it was easier to control the bike hanging off, wouldn't they do so?

 

 

 

Off-road and road riding, two very different techniques... What is the first thing that anyone would tell someone who is new to off-road riding? Not to try and grip the bike with their knees/legs, but to just let the bike move around under them. Compared with the ideal road riding technique, which is to use your knees/legs to grip onto the bike and get firmly 'locked in'. Polar opposites.

 

Also - how long do you think it takes for the usual highside to be over and done with? I'd say about one second, maybe 2 or 3. If anyone can react within that time and actually move their body to have any great effect on the highside-in-progress, I would be very surprised.

 

I've been thinking about how to demonstrate this, I think I will go out and make a short video to show what I mean.

 

In any case, given that I've personally experienced both methods, anyone would have one heck of a time trying to convince me otherwise. But if there is a better way... well let's just say that I 'never say never'.

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In MX you're lening the bike in instead of your body to get the big knobblies on the tyre sidewall into the dirt, and to make tighter turns that you can't do when sitting on the seat. Also if the bike slides (lowsiding) then it slides back under you as you've placed yourself on the outside of it. When riding hard on tarmac we're not trying to do any of these things.

 

Back to the OP (and question posed above by Lnewqban), if you can't go any faster then it's time to change your styler (or maybe overdue if it takes some un-learning then re-learning but you know what I mean). Your body weight is a major factor so if you're not using it then it's a wasted asset, even if it's just sliding back in the seat when you hit the anchors. A change in riding style will take some getting used to so you won't go faster straight away but in time it'll work. I also found that hanging off made countersteering easier for me, as I had to lock my skinny ass to the bike to hang off, thus freeing up my arms a bit more than if I'm sat in the seat as with road riding (straight arms), i.e. it's not necessarily all at odds.

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