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Rolling On While Increasing Lean


FieryRobot
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Everyone's favorite topic!

 

First a bit of history: I was away from motorcycles for years. This year I finally decided to start riding again. Thankfully, my friend had found out about TOTW2 and it really helped the both of us. I am a completely different rider than I used to be. But I'm still a noob.

 

This Sunday, we finally got to do Level 1 at SOWS. Awesome. But I was called off for throttling on while increasing lean. I got the message and quite frankly was surprised I was doing it. I later told my friend about this and how it can lead to slides and as it turned out, this exact thing happened to him not that long ago on the street while he was riding a loaner bike (oops). When he reminded me of that it was like a giant light bulb. We had been wondering why he wiped out. Now we knew!

 

But to my real question: what do you do in these two situations:

  1. Slow going corner. Can you keep the throttle steady on entry and roll on a bit to maintain speed through it? This would be on the street. I'd imagine you'd roll back off a bit after the corner.
  2. Fast moving back and forth, such as 3-4-5 at SOWS. Do you roll of a bit in between as you flip the bike over the other way? I can't imagine you'd want to get back down to off, but rather roll off nice and easy a bit. That's what I was attempting to do while there. Wanted to know if that was correct.

Thanks in advance!

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If you know that (1) leaning the bike over compromises traction (because the suspension has to work harder at higher lean angles), and (2) getting on the gas increases the load on the rear tire... does it seem like a good idea to do both simultaneously?

 

The big problem with adding lean angle AND throttle at the same time, is that you can overload the rear tire so rapidly that you don't get much (if any) warning that it is about to slide. However, if the lean angle is constant or the bike is coming UP as you are getting on the gas, you have more opportunity to feel the back tire if it is starting to get loose. (There is also a drill in Level 2 that can help with preventing/recovering a rear wheel slide.)

 

So, on to your real question:

1) Ideally, you would turn the bike into the corner and then apply good throttle control throughout the corner. (Do you remember throttle control #1?) If you only turn the bike once (which would be the correct approach!) your lean angle would not change and thus you are never adding throttle AND lean simultaneously.

 

2) Whether you roll off entirely, dip the throttle, or hold it flat at the turn points in a series of transitions will depend on the type of corners and on the characteristics of your bike. If the corners are each progressively faster (like 4, 5, 6 at Streets) it may not be necessary to roll off the throttle completely to get the bike turned adequately, especially if you ride a lightweight, low horsepower bike like a Ninja 250. However it is generally easier to get a good effective quickturn if you roll off entirely or at LEAST dip the throttle, since the weight shift to the front compresses the front suspension and steepens the steering angle. What you would NOT want to do is INCREASE throttle (roll ON) WHILE you are steering it (leaning it over) because that WOULD be adding throttle and lean angle simultaneously, and could make the rear tire slide or make the bike wheelie as it comes up from one side and over to the other (wheelies are not so great when you are trying to steer! :) )

 

If each corner was SLOWER (tighter) then the one before, you would of course have to roll off or possibly brake to set the proper entry speed to make the corners.

 

Does that make sense?

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I do totally get that we shouldn't add lean and throttle at the same time.

 

I guess my question for #1 is this—can I enter a turn (let's not call it a corner here) with constant throttle, lean the bike, and then add throttle through the turn. I'm just trying to apply this to more relaxed street riding. So assume I'm traveling at a speed where I can enter the corner without slowing down. Can I just leave it where it is, lean the bike, and then roll on? I think from your answer to #2 the answer would be yes.

 

I think the confusion comes over the fact that we are told to get off the gas before a turn. But I think that's in the cases where you really need to slow down to a sane entry speed for a turn.

 

Bottom line: we don't need to roll off just to make a turn if your entry speed is OK, right? Just don't roll on until the bike is pointed in the right direction?

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I do totally get that we shouldn't add lean and throttle at the same time.

 

I guess my question for #1 is this—can I enter a turn (let's not call it a corner here) with constant throttle, lean the bike, and then add throttle through the turn. I'm just trying to apply this to more relaxed street riding. So assume I'm traveling at a speed where I can enter the corner without slowing down. Can I just leave it where it is, lean the bike, and then roll on? I think from your answer to #2 the answer would be yes.

 

I think the confusion comes over the fact that we are told to get off the gas before a turn. But I think that's in the cases where you really need to slow down to a sane entry speed for a turn.

 

Bottom line: we don't need to roll off just to make a turn if your entry speed is OK, right? Just don't roll on until the bike is pointed in the right direction?

 

I think you are asking me to agree with something you already know for yourself, from doing it on the street. :) Can you do it? Yes of course you can and no doubt you have done it successfully. Would it be possible or ideal on the racetrack or at maximum speed? Probably not, but that is not the question you asked. :)

 

Just for the sake of thinking it through, if you were to approach the corner at a HIGHER entry speed (let's say a 90 degree right hand turn coming off an off-ramp of the freeway), and you chose to hold the the throttle steady at your turn point instead of rolling off, how could that affect your quick-turn? What about your line?

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I think that at that speed being on the throttle would make it very hard to quick-turn. As I recall, it was important to give the bike a bit of 'instability' (roll-off, etc.) in order to be able to get the bike over. This means I'd probably not be able to turn quickly and I'd be in the left lane of the highway before you know it.

 

Thanks for asking these questions, it's really making me think it all through!

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Great! It is ideal when you can think it through and really understand it. :)

 

How does the bike feel different to you when you turn it with the throttle steady versus when you roll off to turn it? What is your purpose in keeping the throttle flat through a turn instead of rolling it off, what makes you want to do that?

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The last several posts are really pointing out the difference between street lazy and track crisp... Street riding at a conservative pace people get away with lots of riding errors without any real consequence.

 

Sure you can get away with alot of things at more relaxed speeds, that doesn't make them ideal. It also will not help you when the pace is not so relaxed as you will have a "habit" of no doing it completely correct.

 

Many of the local roads here are posted as adisory speeds 35-45 mph, now all day long we run about 70-75 even through these sweeping turns barely changing speed or throttle except when reaching road changes/stop signs. It certainly isn't ideal for quick turn or the pick up drill etc... but one can still exercise good throttle control and use good reference points etc... Of course those reference points are different for a more relaxed turn in than a crisp turn in as the time and distance it takes you to get to the desired lean/line is slower.

There are also several 1 1/2 lane roads (barely 16' wide and no centerline) I frequent where often the turns are not marked at all, if they were they likely would be 15-25mph as the advisory speed. These roads off the gas quick flick and rolling on the gas through the turn are far more important, could you ride these successfully without praticing good skills- sure people do it all the time, right until they get caught out and can't recover.

Many street riders go a lifetime without ever needing good skills to avoid a bad situation-dumb luck is really the skill they rely on, many have a lack of these essential skills bite them in the ass regularly or one time and it is over.

Would you rather be well practiced and adept with good skills and never "need" them or need them someday and not have that to rely on, making an OSHIT moment a non issue.

Deliberately praticing all the skills is essential IMO, and often to do that you need to attend a track.

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Yes, I think that while I was pretty pedantic about following the rules originally, clearly my use of the skills atrophied over time and I found out at Streets that I was doing something bad. Thankfully, I found out the easy way—being told by my coach! Since that moment I've been really focused on trying to go right back to square one and retraining myself. Since the class, my turning has gotten significantly better on the street.

 

I try to make every ride a practice, even at low speeds (I'm no speed demon). Every ride I practice trying to do things like one steering input, rolling on/off appropriately, riding relaxed, looking ahead, etc.

 

I think the answers above have answered all my questions, and confirmed some suspicions. Thanks!

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Well done on figuring this out.

 

Now, you brought up an interesting topic, which I think is worth more exploration! Many street riders keep the throttle steady while turning the bike, instead of rolling off as they initiate the turn. I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?

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Well done on figuring this out.

 

Now, you brought up an interesting topic, which I think is worth more exploration! Many street riders keep the throttle steady while turning the bike, instead of rolling off as they initiate the turn. I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?

 

I keep the throttle flat because I want to be able to catch the front in case I flip the bike too quickly ....when I'm completey off the gas there's this little gap (motor and chain-related) ... never really seen anything wrong with it (well, at least until maybe 2 minutes ago ;-) ) ...

 

Like to hear more!

 

Uli

 

edit: just went for a little testride, what I do is I actually (unknowingly) roll back the throttle a tiny little bit before the steering impuls so that there is still some drag on the chain but no acceleration. (is "drag" the right word? not sure) so that as soon as I reach my lean angle I can roll on the gas smoothly ...

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This topic came up during a discussion and the suggestions as to how to avoid that 'slack' were to either make sure your throttle play is adjusted properly or try playing with your idle adjustment. I have definitely noticed this on other bikes (Tiger 800, e.g.) but not so much on my S1K (unless I'm in too high a gear).


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Well done on figuring this out.

 

Now, you brought up an interesting topic, which I think is worth more exploration! Many street riders keep the throttle steady while turning the bike, instead of rolling off as they initiate the turn. I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?

 

I keep the throttle flat because I want to be able to catch the front in case I flip the bike too quickly ....when I'm completey off the gas there's this little gap (motor and chain-related) ... never really seen anything wrong with it (well, at least until maybe 2 minutes ago ;-) ) ...

 

Like to hear more!

 

Uli

 

edit: just went for a little testride, what I do is I actually (unknowingly) roll back the throttle a tiny little bit before the steering impuls so that there is still some drag on the chain but no acceleration. (is "drag" the right word? not sure) so that as soon as I reach my lean angle I can roll on the gas smoothly ...

 

 

IMHO its deceleration you mentioned.~ (engine braking and wind drag)

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IMHO its deceleration you mentioned.~ (engine braking and wind drag)

 

Maybe I didn't use the word "drag" correctly, what I meant is that I don't roll off the gas completely in order to AVOID both engine braking and load alteration ........ .. sorry about my english.

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OK, great discussion - a couple of interesting points have come up here!

 

In regards to keeping some tension on the chain to facilitate a smooth roll on, that does make sense, as some bikes do tend to jerk a bit when transitioning from off-the-gas to the roll-on. FieryRobot brought up some good potential solutions for that, turning up the idle a bit and checking throttle slack, also on a bike with a Power Commander you can play with the settings to smooth that out some.

 

Another thing we see commonly at the school (especially in the very first session) is riders approaching a turn, coasting with the throttle off, and getting into a low-speed turn at a speed so slow that the bike feels like it will fall over when they turn it. These riders often roll on the throttle before turning the bike, to make it feel more stable as they turn. I'm sure this habit develops on the street, where the rider uses that early (before and during steering the bike) throttle to stabilize the bike through low speed turns, which helps them compensate for steering errors generated by stiff arms, or lack of understanding of counter steering, and too-low entry speed (the bike feels tippy).

 

Unfortunately this can become a habit, and it creates a false barrier to entry speed - the rider's entry speed is already too low, but since the bike is harder to turn with the throttle on, it doesn't feel like he can enter the turn any faster. Usually the quick turn technique handles this problem, by giving the rider a tool to handle a higher entry speed with confidence, so the rider is able to roll off, turn the bike, and then roll on AFTER steering is completed.

 

Stroker asked if countersteering the bike with the gas on can cause headshake - the answer is yes, it certainly can. However that typically happens when you are on the gas hard enough that the front end gets light. Any pressure on the bars under heavy acceleration can cause headshake. If the throttle is on mildly (the bike still slowing down) there is enough weight on the front that you wouldn't normally experience headshake. So, a rider that enters a turn, slowing down, with some throttle on, probably wouldn't get headshake, but a rider that is driving out of a turn that tries to steer the bike (into a transition, for example) while hard on the gas could definitely get headshake.

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Too low an entry speed was definitely a problem I had. I'd come into a corner, slow down, and turn and then shake my head wondering why the heck I did that because then I was going too slow and the bike felt wonky. Not smooth at all. You just always have this fear that you're going to run wide. And on a canyon-type road, there's some real consequences involved if that happens. So you tend to err on the side of caution.

 

The Level 1 class helped me with that a lot in the 4th gear/no brakes round. There were times I would have normally hit the brakes, but I was like "ok, here goes nothing" and amazingly it all worked out ;-) Following an instructor always helps too because you're like "well, if they can do it..." And this weekend I did a route down some twisties both days and applied this and it has helped me immensely.

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I'm still interested in hearing more about this:

 

 

 

I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?
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I'm still interested in hearing more about this:

 

 

 

I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?

 

 

I can only think of keeping the throttle flat while steering the bike when

 

-going UPHILL

 

-engine braking to slightly load the front tire before the turn point (no brakes drill? )

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  1. Slow going corner. Can you keep the throttle steady on entry and roll on a bit to maintain speed through it? This would be on the street. I'd imagine you'd roll back off a bit after the corner.

 

I think I know what you're talking about... If you want to be able to maintain a speed through a corner, say the limit is 80km/h and you want to just rail through the corners, straights, everywhere on 80 - then yes you will need to apply throttle to maintain speed through the corner. Not only does the action of turning reduce your speed (through drag on the tyres as they're transitioning from upright to lean), but also when you're leant over on the tyre you're rolling on a smaller diameter - basically that's the same effect as a gearing change. Which is the 2nd reason why you need to increase throttle just to maintain your speed. And yes, you would need to decrease your throttle once you exit the turn and the bike is upright. A throttle input that yields 80km/h mid-corner will make you go 80+ when upright.

 

Now, you brought up an interesting topic, which I think is worth more exploration! Many street riders keep the throttle steady while turning the bike, instead of rolling off as they initiate the turn. I did, it, too, and I remember why - but let's hear it from someone else - what makes a rider want to keep the throttle flat while steering the bike, isntead of rolling off, and what false barrier can that create for a rider?

 

Ah yes, my (former) nemesis habit that I carried over to the track and it kept me speed-limited until after I'd attended CSS...

 

So to add another reason why riders want to keep the throttle flat while turning the bike (and by extension through the turn?) it makes sense to look at road design. Roads are designed (mostly) to be easy to navigate. Right? The majority are constant-radius corners, that makes it safe for road users because there aren't any surprises. But how could that make a rider want to hold a constant throttle?

 

Well it makes sense when you consider what is required in order for a motorcycle to hold a constant-radius line through a turn. Add the fact that most riders prefer to sit in the middle of their lane and it just compounds the problem. In order to hold a constant line through a turn you need to maintain throttle. Zero throttle, coasting into a turn would produce a tightening line. Adding throttle into a turn would produce a widening line.

 

Another point is that using a constant throttle seems easy and safe. An inexperienced rider may feel comforted by the knowledge that their constant throttle will produce a constant arcing line, they know exactly where they're going on that constant throttle. In comparison - decelerating or accelerating through a turn introduces a whole bunch of variables, the line changes through the turn and the change isn't necessarily consistent, it's entirely dependant on the riders input.

 

So when you look at it that way, it could be said that road design is tricking new riders and training them to develop bad habits!

 

I wonder how many other people have noticed those same reasons for holding a flat throttle?

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My bike has boxer engine. They do (as 2 V-twins) cause great effect of stopping the bike when one roll of the gas. The owners of those bikes knows that rolling of the gas is equal to braking. Sometimes for me its quite difficult to get the exact entry speed - I mean, if I get the desired speed before the reaching the entry point , I would have to apply maintenance throttle, otherwise the bike will continue decreasing the speed.

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I have been thinking about all of this for the past week and gone on some long rides and now want to ask:

 

Let's say you've slowed down for a corner, get off the throttle a bit and do your ideal one-steering-input turn. But then you realize it wasn't so idea and you are running wide. You need to correct somehow. Do you roll off a bit, lean more, and then roll on? The alternative is to hold the throttle where it is and countersteer a bit.

 

I guess I'm trying to find the line between "just a slight correction" and "catastrophic mistake".

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Hard to give a hard and fast rule, best to know the full options. Rolling off will make the bike run wide at the roll off, and reduce ground clearance. Sometimes one can get away with just pausing on the throttle and adding a bit more lean angle, but that has limits. In some instances it might be better to pick the bike up and brake hard before running off.

 

Make sense?

 

cF

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