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What I Learned Today


faffi
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1. Running out of fuel 2.5 miles from the nearest petrol station makes for an excellent cardiovascular workout :unsure:

2. Working on making just one steering input per corner and then relax fully on the handlebars reduce the amount of lean required by a surprising amount!. I have practiced it before, but today I did it around tighter, familar corners and were stunned how litle lean I needed for the speed I carried.

3. Getting on the throttle early isn't as scary as I thought. And seems to reduce the need for lean as well. Today, I started getting on the throttle at places where I would usually still be on the brakes, trailing off and adding lean. I didn't brake earlier, I didn't adjust my entrance speed, I simply open the throttle the moment I reached maximum lean. You do not get much power from a 48 hp 500 running in the midrange and hence not much in the way of acceleration, but it still seemed to help the cornering attitude,

4. I practice applying the rear brake moments before the front brake from today on. Like one-input-per-turn-and-relax, I guess I remember between 80 and 90% of the time.

 

#2 is nothing new, but I am now working hard to let it become second nature. One input per turn is something I've done all my years, but not consitently by any means. And relaxing on the bars? Neve - until I joined this forum. But I still have 30+ years of bad habits to get rid of, so it will take time to become automatic.

 

#3 for me is the most daring, the thing that require guts. When the brain says to rely on my crutch, the front brake, it takes will-power to open the throttle almost fully. It will take lots of practice to do this consistently.

 

Note that I do not practice any of these techniques in order to go faster, but to ride safer. I no longer take daft chances on the road, instead slowing down when I cannot see. And I want to keep a decent pace without using all cornering clearance, opposite to before when throwing sparks was a goal in itself.

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I guess you have nice roads over at your place.

 

 

 

 

My area requires me to be "ready" at the bars les some random pothole/ uneven surface pops up ... I do one input at a turnpint of my choosing and then go into "semi relax mode " :lol:

 

 

 

 

throttle is easy for me as my scooter only has like what... 11 HP at the crank? :D

 

 

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Lots of cattle guards embedded in the road, frost heaves, gravel, dirt, turd etc. litter the roads I like to travel, which at times demand a second (or more) steering input to dodge. However, now that I finally have come to my senses and ride no(t much) faster than I can see, one steering input per corner usually works just fine.

 

It has also been a revelation to see that in cases when the input seems a little weak, that the bike will run wide, simply doing nothing will usually see the bike follow through nonetheless. Perhaps I make some tiny, tiny adjustments without knowing it that helps the bike, but it's far from the jerkiness that comes from a firm grip and multiple steering inputs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds good Eirik! Always a great feeling when you try those techniques & do some self-experimentation and see the results firsthand.

 

On the subject of earlier throttle opening, I'd say that concentrating on the feel of traction at the wheels (particularly the rear wheel) would be of more benefit than judging it by how much you're opening the throttle. For instance if you're concentrating on traction you will know whether you need more/less throttle. However if you're using your concentration on throttle position/throttle use, you could be caught out. Being able to open the throttle almost fully would probably not be a good guide if there was some lack of adhesion condition. At least that's how I see it - that working from bottom up (traction determines throttle use), is more ideal than working from the top down (operating the throttle and seeing what results at the rear wheel). If that makes sense...

 

ktk_ace - do you think that having a relaxed grip on the 'bars would lessen your ability to be ready? How do you usually make a steering input - do you tighten your grip on the 'bars before pushing on the inside 'bar? Do you think it's possible to maintain a relaxed grip, yet still be able to respond to any road hazards? If so, how could a constantly relaxed grip benefit your riding?

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Muggets' points about feeling the traction at the tyres is a very good point. But getting a feeling for when the tyre starts to slip is a different matter for me at least.

 

Being relaxed on the bars doesn't mean that you are not ready to take action! You have to be relaxed in order to let the handlebars "talk" to you through vibrations/shimmies, bumps from the road etc - if you hold a "death grip" you are making your handles less sensitive and suppressing those first signs of something is not quite right.

But you still need to maintain a minimum level of grip on the bars. What is this minimum level?

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Sweet, Eirik. Nice work, nice write-up - thanks.

 

And I agree about getting on the throttle early - I can still tend to find it annoyingly :angry: counter-instinctive, especially if I've not been riding for a while. But ride a few familiar bends, FEELING for the rear wheel traction as mugget says, and the correct reflex starts to take over ... :rolleyes: . And then it's just all fun!

 

Craig

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I agree on grip focus, Mugget, but I'm way off using the grip at my disposal - I leave room for bumps and dirt that could appear on road. I don't focus at all on how much I twist the throttle, however, I just stated it to indicate I don't just whack it open. Instead of throttle position, I listen to the engine and notice/listen to how quickly revs raise to tell me if I'm well safe or starting to push things beyond comfort for road use.

 

BTW; I sometimes notice that the bike runs wide, especially getting out of roundabouts. I fail to find a reason for this - I know accelerating too early can cause this - but I have been thinking that maybe I'm not relaxed on the bars like I should when this happens. Could being a little tense on the bars make it run wide when moving towards the exit while accelerating?

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But you still need to maintain a minimum level of grip on the bars. What is this minimum level?

 

I once read a quote on this subject, I'm still not sure who was supposed to have said it... it was attributed to "A wise scruffy looking Irishman who you'd think would have lost his accent years ago."

 

Imagine the grips are a little bird, you have to hold on tight enough to stop it flying away but not so tight that you hurt the little fella.

 

That pretty much sums it up for me.

 

BTW; I sometimes notice that the bike runs wide, especially getting out of roundabouts. I fail to find a reason for this - I know accelerating too early can cause this - but I have been thinking that maybe I'm not relaxed on the bars like I should when this happens. Could being a little tense on the bars make it run wide when moving towards the exit while accelerating?

 

If you tighten your grip on the bars mid-corner, do you think the tendency would be to maintain the same turning radius? Or, if you tighten your grip, would it be likely that your arms would also tighten, straightening the bars?

 

I think you've got the right idea - even being a little bit tight on the bars could have a definite unwanted effect. I'd be interested to see what you find if you try imagining that the grips are little birdies... wink.gif

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You must remember that I have been clenching the bars tight for 30+ years; it takes time to de-program my brain. So I need to focus on being relaxed. Once I stop that and just ride, or if things become hectic, I tighten the grip automatically. So I'm not debating the benefits of being relaxed anymore, just my ability to stay so.

 

BTW, I like the way you described the actions, mugget B)

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