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Hip-Flick And Pivot-Steering Question


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Hey Cornering Artists--had my first real opportunity today to practice what I learned in Level 3, and I had a couple follow ups questions to ask.
First was around hip flicks. They make so much sense to me now in terms of getting me across the bike in a fluid movement that doesn't cause unwanted input at the bars--except when I was going downhill. Coming down a mountain road today when I switched from side to side gravity always encouraged me to put some pressure on the bars which caused a wiggle. I know this is a specific circumstance, but I also see people deal with downhill switchbacks without wiggling in the process, so any insight is appreciated.
The second was with pivot steering. I understand the concept of using my outside leg as a pivot point and getting my weight closer to the bike's center of mass. But when I tried it today it was hard for me to distinguish between engaging my leg to weight the peg and using my calf to push my knee into the tank. Since I'm pushing down on the outside peg with the ball of my foot it would seem that I'm "weighting the peg" but what I feel is my knee connecting with the tank, and I thought the point of the skill is get my weight lower. Again, any insight is appreciated.

That said, I noticed a distinct difference in my speed and confidence on the same mountain roads I road pre-CSS. Keep up the magnificent work and I'll see you again soon.
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Hello AxeManBlue,

 

Glad to hear you got to do the Level 3 course - it's pretty physical, huh? Good question about hip-flick - it is definitely challenging to keep weight off the bars going downhill. One thing you can do is to keep BOTH knees locked in on the tank while you shift your hips, and not release your inside knee until you drop your upper body into the turn. That way both knees are locked in while you are moving across the seat, and once your upper body is low and inside and you are in the turn, it will be easier to hold on with just the outside leg. It breaks the hip flick into two steps, which is something you may have seen demonstrated when the technique was first being explained.

 

Or, you may consider hanging off less or possibly even not at all, and/or keeping both knees locked in throughout the sequence of turns if they are quick back-and-forths that don't use a lot of lean angle. On the section of road you have in mind, which is more important, hanging off to reduce lean angle, or having really good steering accuracy? If it is the second, hanging off less might help you achieve a better lock in and therefore more accurate steering inputs and less weight on the bars.

 

For pivot steering, the knee connecting solidly to the tank is the primary pivot point, giving you a solid base from which to push strongly and accurately on the opposite bar. Pushing down on the peg is a way to get the leverage to push your knee into the tank. I personally can't think of any reason why it would be important to distinguish between how much you are pushing down on the peg versus how much you are pushing your knee into the tank. As long as you are seeing the result in confident, accurate steering with minimum effort and a good anchoring of the lower body to the bike, you are getting the benefits of the technique!

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Great answers, I'm really glad I asked.

 

Re: hip flick. There's two sections of road where the downhill hip-flick issue came up (one of them again today) so actually both of your suggestions apply. One of them is downhill right hander that quickly leads to a downhill decreasing radius left, and for that one hanging off/less lean is more important. Whereas the other is a series of downhill esses that are just curvy enough to be actual turns. I think your suggestion about just locking in will work nicely, as they're faster turns and precision is more important than leaning. I really appreciate you giving a thorough answer that covered both scenarios.

 

Re: pivot. I went out today to practice more on the pivot steering technique (God bless vacation time and southern california canyon roads), and I saw that part of my problem is that I was also pushing down and forward on the inside bar instead of just forward. It seems like that undoes some of the benefits of doing the pivot steering technique the pushing force wasn't "clean" across my body, if that makes sense. Funny how a little thing like that can make such a big difference. I'm going out tomorrow to practice further (again, god bless vacation time) and I'll give it another whirl. And it is helpful to know that it doesn't make a difference about peg pressure or tank pressure--it's good to have one less thing to think about.

 

And about level 3 being physical--holy understatement batman! A friend of mine did Level 3 when I was doing Level 2, and I saw him get off the track early by the fourth drill because he said he was getting tired and starting to make little mistakes. Being an "in shape" guy, I thought there's no way that would happen to me when I did level 3. And yet a couple months later guess who was ready to get off the track early by the fourth drill? ;-) When I do level 4 I'm going to request to do Attack Angles over again, because I was too tired to really get it the first time!

Thanks again for the answers, and good luck taking the CSS train back east!

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