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Cornering Article


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I read the article below and it totally confused me. I believe that the author of the article has some points correct and others incorrect. Can anyone from the CSS explain what is what?

 

As explained in the school, sliding the rear tyre around a corner will point the front wheel to the inside of the turn and sharpen the overall turn of the bike. The author uses physics to explain what and how it happens but I really think he's got a lot of it wrong, or am I just not understanding it correctly? Even his understanding of how/why a bike turns is not 100% correct.

 

Quoted below:

So what makes bikes corner? Leaning for a start, but that isn’t the exclusive reason. What about steering; everyone knows about counter steering and how it is used to make a bike turn. Geometry? It’s true to say that changing the set-up of a bike changes the way it corners, but a bike that is badly set-up or designed still goes around corners – it just does it slower. In fact, bikes corner for all of the above reasons, and more besides, which is partly why it seems such an unapproachable subject.

 

http://www.bikesportnews.com/features-detail.cfm?featureid=160&featuretitle=Marquez-and-the-science-of-slide

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I think your gut instinct on this one is correct. That was a lot of words to say nothing I can use. My noggin hurts and it started hurting when the author talked about steering and leaning the way he did. You STEER to cause the bike to LEAN into the corner. I'm not really clear on what he was getting at on that part, perhaps it was a terminology issue. That's just the start. Parts of what he said are correct but I don't believe it's all tied together correctly. I recommend you just forget you read it and move on. There's better info on this subject in a thread called "How Fast Can You Go Around A Corner" in the Cornering section if you want to get technical.

 

In my experience, there is a lot of incomplete understanding about riding technology in MC journalism but as soon as something is in print, people tend to take it as gospel. Many of the journalists that have come through CSS have come away with a more complete understanding of the art of cornering and a changed perspective after doing so. You can even read a couple of the post-school articles on the home page here. I doubt anybody has researched the subject of cornering a motorcycle as much as Keith Code has and he's broken it all down into USEFUL information that I would prefer to spend my time reading/learning, vice the journalists (I'm not saying they're all bad). Keith's credibility in this area is well established, so if you get info that conflicts with what you have learned from Keith's writings or school, I'd go with Keith's info. Good catch on your part to sniff out that things weren't right.

 

Cheers,

Benny

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Wow, I'm with Benny on this one. I saw your post last night about 11:30pm (after just getting home from a weekend of racing) so I tried to read that article. I couldn't tell what the author was trying to communicate, but chalked that up to fatigue and went to bed. Then I tried to read it again this morning, and STILL found it to be convoluted and hard to follow. The author seems to be trying to take on some really big subjects, but deliver the explanations in just a few sentences, so he brushes over a lot; some of what he said sounded "off" to me, and like Benny, I started to wonder if there were some terminology issues. Overall it felt like someone trying to explain something by using a collection of information gleaned from multiple sources, and as far as I could tell, the ultimate message of the article is that motorcycle steering is extremely complex! That is not very useful information when you are trying to pilot a bike around a road course, and could in fact create anxiety and confusion.

 

To add to Benny's comments above, one of Keith Code's great strengths as a coach and author and speaker is that he is able to communicate useful information about how a motorcycle works in a very clear and understandable way. You can watch him explain something to a rider and SEE the expression on the rider's face as he/she comes to understanding of something that used to seem really complicated (like steering!) and all of a sudden becomes clear, attainable, and within his/her control - and then the rider can hardly wait to go out and apply that new information!

 

I'd agree that it is probably best to just set that article aside and find something that is more clearly written, I think any debate on what is right or wrong in it would eventually boil down to confusion on terminology and vague wording.

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I don't really see anything in that article that jumps out as being wrong or incorrect, but he's defiantly glossing over a lot and perhaps emphasizing some stuff more than it should be. He spent a couple of paragraphs talking about cornering without lean angle. I think its important to look at the point of the article itself, its not titled "How To Corner Like Mark Marquez", so its not trying to really teach you anything about cornering. Too me it reads more like a puffed up explanation of just how insane top levels racers are to the less initiated that don't quite grasp how impressive their riding ability truly is.

 

My advice, any time someone starts breaking out physics equations and math to talk about riding technique it's best to take it with a grain of salt as those equations only really work in simplified physics world where all sorts of outside influences and additional factors are negated. Motorcycles are far too complex to be summed up in a neat little formula.

 

 

Tyler

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To add to Benny's comments above, one of Keith Code's great strengths as a coach and author and speaker is that he is able to communicate useful information about how a motorcycle works in a very clear and understandable way. You can watch him explain something to a rider and SEE the expression on the rider's face as he/she comes to understanding of something that used to seem really complicated (like steering!) and all of a sudden becomes clear, attainable, and within his/her control - and then the rider can hardly wait to go out and apply that new information!

 

And an even greater strength of Keith's is his ability to pass that teaching ability on to the coaches. He understands as much about teaching as he does about riding (if not even more) and he ensures the coaches do as well, which is why the school is so effective... at least it has been for me.

 

Benny

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I actively avoid riding advice articles from most of the magazines. Most of them are poorly written and include a lot of bad information. Just in the TOTW videos "there's a lot of advice out there about riding".

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I have completed up to and including level 4. I would be really interested to have someone from CSS contact the author and correct their mistake. Perhaps even get them to do the school and see how much their attitude changes.

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