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Steer In Opposite Direction Prior To Turn?


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Lee Parks, who gives props to Keith all the time, recommends the following in his book: In approaching a turn, begin hanging off and weighting the inside peg prior to your turn point. Now, if you're going into a left-hander, put a little pressure on the right grip, to counterbalance your body mass, which is already hanging off the left side. This keeps the bike upright until you reach the turning point, at which you push left to initiate your turn. I've not seen this in ToTW2. Is this a bad technique?

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I'm interested in a response as well. I will say having done Lvl I and II. I wish my memory was better, but you'll forgive what age has done to me.

 

I've used this approach to break down the corner entry into discrete steps. No point to do them all at once and screw up until I can do them well serially. Especially at the end of a long straight, I find the turn in point I'm going to use, I get off the gas (which is technically braking), then move the body, then hit the brakes, then two-step, off the brakes right before the turn in (brakes are heavy then progressively lighter), on the gas, and off I go into the turning steps. I've done the slow-mo on some MotoGP and AMA races and find that sometimes you'll see a similar progression and then other times not. I think there is a track (turn to turn function) that comes into play. If you are dealing in a compressed environment to begin with at some speed you don't have the luxury of that much extra time to force the serial application of the turn in steps. If you don't get the body position early - pre-braking - when are you going to do it? Under braking? I can hold back the mass of flesh with my legs so as not to introduce unwanted forces into the steering without getting my legs wedged into the tank. No different than moving after rolling off the gas in a way. Which means, I'm not moving under braking unless the braking is mild enough to let me move the mass over. If you also assume that braking should be harder at the biginning and lighter as you hit the turn in point, then you have the option of moving under heavy braking or light, but light is right before the turn in, which IMHO not a great time to start messing with the way the bike is weighted.

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Whenever possible, if you get the body in position, one major action is out of the way. There is quite a bit to moving in series of turns, so let's just look at one turn, with ample room before. Can you move, and then do all the other business from the hung off position--brake, downshift, etc. For sure! You can see this often with the top riders.

 

This can take a little getting used to, but for sure less work right during that busy time of turn entry.

 

CF

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Whenever possible, if you get the body in position, one major action is out of the way. There is quite a bit to moving in series of turns, so let's just look at one turn, with ample room before. Can you move, and then do all the other business from the hung off position--brake, downshift, etc. For sure! You can see this often with the top riders.

 

This can take a little getting used to, but for sure less work right during that busy time of turn entry.

 

CF

 

So Cobie, specifically, you're ok with pressuring the outside bar to keep the bike upright during this process?

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Hey ikonoklass,

 

Specifically speaking...why would you need to pressure the bar to keep the bike upright during the process of adjusting your body position prior to the turn point?

 

racer

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Hey ikonoklass,

 

Specifically speaking...why would you need to pressure the bar to keep the bike upright during the process of adjusting your body position prior to the turn point?

 

racer

 

I haven't done Level III yet, so I'm no expert, but it seems to me that moving one's body off the center line toward the inside of the corner involves holding onto the bars and that unwanted, extraneous bar inputs could cause the bike to begin turning in before the turn point. Perhaps if you're able to get off the bike using your core muscles without any kind of bar pressure, this wouldn't happen, and the bike would merely lean toward the inside of the curve, without actually turning.

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Hey ikonoklass,

 

I try to use my leg muscles and keep my weight on my feet (like standing on the pegs) when shifting my body position for the reasons you mentioned. I never "hang" on the bars or use them for leverage even under heavy braking if I can possibly avoid it. This takes a conscious effort for me and I sometimes get lazy about it late in a race if I am fatigued.

 

As for needing to counterbalance your body mass or the bike leaning without turning, etc...I would suggest you experiment and see for yourself.

 

Let us know how it goes.

 

Cheers,

racer

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  • 4 weeks later...

<<Lee Parks, who gives props to Keith all the time, recommends the following in his book: In approaching a turn, begin hanging off and weighting the inside peg prior to your turn point. Now, if you're going into a left-hander, put a little pressure on the right grip, to counterbalance your body mass, which is already hanging off the left side. This keeps the bike upright until you reach the turning point, at which you push left to initiate your turn. I've not seen this in ToTW2. Is this a bad technique?>>

 

If you are hung off the left side of the bike in preparation for a left turn, and you are not putting any pressure on the handlebars, the bike will have a tendency to fall to the left ever so gradually. All he's saying is, add a slight countersteering force (by pushing forward gently on the right grip) to counteract this tendency so the bike will keep going straight until you are ready to turn in. If you don't already fully understand countersteering and how it works and why it works, then that last scentence is probably going to sound real strange.

 

But anyway, I think most poeple will naturally do what he's talking about, so maybe it's not worth overanalyzing unless you are actually having a problem with approaching your turns. The most important piece of advice in that is to go ahead and get into your hangoff position prior to the turn.

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If you are hung off the left side of the bike in preparation for a left turn, and you are not putting any pressure on the handlebars, the bike will have a tendency to fall to the left ever so gradually.

 

How do you know?

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If you are hung off the left side of the bike in preparation for a left turn, and you are not putting any pressure on the handlebars, the bike will have a tendency to fall to the left ever so gradually.

 

How do you know?

 

How could you not know?

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If you are hung off the left side of the bike in preparation for a left turn, and you are not putting any pressure on the handlebars, the bike will have a tendency to fall to the left ever so gradually.

 

How do you know?

 

How could you not know?

 

...well experience for one. I have marveled at how stable the bike is when I stay off the seat between two turns that are in the same direction. CSS Coach John Robshaw told me that I was wasting time and energy getting back on the seat when I took the School at Pocono a few years ago and suggested staying off between corners; I have used that technique ever since at every track I had ridden and the bike does not "fall in" until I push/pull on the bars. If it did, then it would be Body Steering and my experience on the No B.S. Bike convinced me that body steering does not work.

 

Kevin

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If you are hung off the left side of the bike in preparation for a left turn, and you are not putting any pressure on the handlebars, the bike will have a tendency to fall to the left ever so gradually.

 

How do you know?

 

How could you not know?

 

...well experience for one. I have marveled at how stable the bike is when I stay off the seat between two turns that are in the same direction. CSS Coach John Robshaw told me that I was wasting time and energy getting back on the seat when I took the School at Pocono a few years ago and suggested staying off between corners; I have used that technique ever since at every track I had ridden and the bike does not "fall in" until I push/pull on the bars. If it did, then it would be Body Steering and my experience on the No B.S. Bike convinced me that body steering does not work.

 

Kevin

 

Just go out and ride your own bike. Get into the hang-off position and then let go of the handlebars. The bike will change it's lean angle GRADUALLY towards the direction you are hanging off. The faster you are going the more gradual it will be. You have to hang off with both your butt and shoulders, not just your butt, else it will be less obvious.

 

Acknowledging the above behavior does not mean that I am pushing the idea of body steering. The only way to quickly and accurately change the lean angle of a bike is countersteering. I have also ridden the no B.S. bike. The point of it is not that there is no effect whatsoever of moving your weight around on the bike, but that the effect is too subtle and too inaccurate to be of much use.

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Just go out and ride your own bike. Get into the hang-off position and then let go of the handlebars.

 

 

Why not let go of the handlebars first...... then get into the hang off position?

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Just go out and ride your own bike. Get into the hang-off position and then let go of the handlebars.

 

 

Why not let go of the handlebars first...... then get into the hang off position?

 

I don't see that it really make much difference. But the suggestion I made was a test to isolate a specific cuase for a specific effect. The test that I suggested exactly as I suggested it demonstrates that being in the hang off position with the bike close to upright will cause the bike to lean gradually in that direction. If you let go of the handlebars first, then move into the hang off position, it introduces the possibility of a different cause to the effect - that possibly the motion of you moving from one position to another is the cause of the lean. I wanted to demonstrate that being in a steady hang off position with no presure on the handlebars will cause the bike to lean gradually in that direction.

 

I just watched the video on this site where no B.S. bike is ridden along the track and the rider moves around on the bike to show how little affect it has when the hands are not on the handlebars that are attached to the forks.

 

http://superbikeschool.com/multi-media/machinery-videos.php (Click on the NO B.S. video)

 

The bike clearly moves back and forth across the track somewhat even when his hands are on the upper handlebars. It's subtle, but it's definitely there. I'm not saying the effect is useful, actually I think it's more of a nuisance, but it is there, and it has to be counteracted when approaching a turn in a hung off position if you want to maintain a straight line.

 

But it takes so little presure on the bar to counteract it and most riders will do it naturally anyway, so I think it is not worth getting too wrapped up in.

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Just go out and ride your own bike. Get into the hang-off position and then let go of the handlebars.

 

 

Why not let go of the handlebars first...... then get into the hang off position?

 

I don't see that it really make much difference. But the suggestion I made was a test to isolate a specific cuase for a specific effect.

 

Actually it makes a big difference as it more completely isolates the effect of hanging off. Frequently riders use the handlebars for leverage or to support their body weight when moving around on the bike and inadvertently create steering inputs

 

The test that I suggested exactly as I suggested it demonstrates that being in the hang off position with the bike close to upright will cause the bike to lean gradually in that direction. If you let go of the handlebars first, then move into the hang off position, it introduces the possibility of a different cause to the effect - that possibly the motion of you moving from one position to another is the cause of the lean. I wanted to demonstrate that being in a steady hang off position with no presure on the handlebars will cause the bike to lean gradually in that direction.

 

I agree that it is important to be smooth when moving around on the machine so as not to upset the suspension or introduce any "body steering".

 

As you agree that input to the handlebars is at least an order of magnitude more effective than "body steering" in creating steering changes, I would assume that, logically, you would also then agree that isolating the handlebars is an order of magnitude more important than isolating the risk of "body steering" by a mass "jerk" (technical physics term...no really!) to unbalance the gyroscopic forces stabilizing the bike.

 

 

I just watched the video on this site where no B.S. bike is ridden along the track and the rider moves around on the bike to show how little affect it has when the hands are not on the handlebars that are attached to the forks.

 

http://superbikeschool.com/multi-media/machinery-videos.php (Click on the NO B.S. video)

 

The bike clearly moves back and forth across the track somewhat even when his hands are on the upper handlebars. It's subtle, but it's definitely there. I'm not saying the effect is useful, actually I think it's more of a nuisance, but it is there, and it has to be counteracted when approaching a turn in a hung off position if you want to maintain a straight line.

 

But it takes so little presure on the bar to counteract it and most riders will do it naturally anyway, so I think it is not worth getting too wrapped up in.

 

 

In other words, one must throw one's body weight back and forth to create a slight unbalancing of the gyroscopic stabilization effect at even the slowest speeds.

 

Being that it takes a full body throw to create even the tiniest effect at even the lowest gyroscopic stablization speeds, one can see that in the normal course of riding and hanging off (one can clearly see from the video), that normal body motion has effectively zero effect on steering and that the perception of needing to apply pressure to the outside handlebar might be due to a rider unconsciously applying pressure to the inside handlebar.

 

Being that this is ultimately a matter of life and death .... and I take life and death very seriously .... I think it is well worth "getting wrapped up in". As wrapped up as it takes to sort out the truth of the matter. After all, at the end of the day, it might be your life that rides on knowing.

 

 

Cheers,

racer

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Well getting wrapped up in this will certainly be more fun that going back to doing real work. :D

 

I understand that riders can "inadvertently create steering inputs" if they are using the handlebars to pull themselves around on the bike. I like to say, handlebars are for steering, not for holding yourself onto the bike. And I understand the possibility of "unconsciously applying pressure to the inside handlebar." That is why I suggested removing your hands from the handelbar, as a test, in order to rule out all of these possibilities.

 

Please go out and do the test before you argue with me again. It is so obvious. You don't need a no BS bike. Just put your hands up on the mirrors or fairing or something, then hang off to the right, you'll end up headed for the ditch.

 

The effect is so slow and uncontrolable that it is basically useless. So I am not suggesting that people should steer their bikes with "body steering." But acknowledging that there is some mild effect is necessary in order to correctly answer the original post.

 

I think the effect is so mild, that most poeple just don't notice it, which is why we can't agree on it. That is why I said, in my original response, don't worry about it unless you actually notice it.

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Have you never ridden a bicycle with no hands and noted that you can steer somewhat by just leaning? Have you never just taken your hands off the handlebar of your motorcycle to stretch your arms while cruis'n on the highway or down pit lane, and just lean back and forth a bit to keep the bike going in the general direction you want it to? Have you never watched a race on TV and noticed that after the 1st racer crosses the finish line, sometimes he take his hands off the handlebar, and while waving to the crowd and participating and various celebratory hand gestures, he just leans back and forth a bit to keep the bike generally on the track? Obviously, when it is time to do a real turn you gotta reach down and turn the handlebars. But, hanging your weight off to one side of the bike does cause it to lean gradually in that direction. But you wouldn't exactly call that steering. To really steer the bike quickly and accurately, you need to countersteer.

 

And in the No B.S. video, notice that the rider never hangs off? He moves around a lot, shakes around, but still during all of that generally keeps his weight centered over the bike. And watch that video really carefully and you can that every time he does get his weight a little off the left or right, the bike moves slightly in that direction.

 

If you attached a 500 pound weight to the side of a moving motorcycle, several fee off of its centerline, you gonna tell me it wouldn't pull that bike over? Of course it would. It would pull it over just about as fast as gravity will pull that 500 pound weight to the ground. So compare that to the rider hanging off the bike, it's less weight, and not as far off the centerline, so the effect will be a lot lot less, but it will still be there.

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I really hesitate jumping in on this. But, I just don’t have the good manners to keep my mouth shut. ;)

 

If you take your right hand off the bike is slowing. You’ve changed the geometry of the suspension, and put more weight on the front wheel. The BS bike has a throttle on the fixed bar so you never slow down. So basically in all of your examples you are adding an extra input beyond just throwing your ass off the side of the bike.

 

A bicycle isn’t a great example of this because bike tires don’t weigh enough to generate a big enough gyroscopic force to counter act a person moving around. Probably one of the reason why I fell off my freaking mountain bike – too comfortable dancing around on my motorcycle’s seat w/o upsetting it.

 

Next, a rider doesn’t weight 500lb. At least no the ones on your average GSXR or ZX. Further, our legs don’t place our mass several feet out from the bike. So absolutely if you got some 2 X 4 and made a rig to carry 500lbs 2 feet away from the bike’s centerline the bike would fall toward the weight. But I think that is such an extreme example as to not be relevant. The circumstances are a rider of average height and weight – in my case 6’ 2” weighing 210 – hanging off. I don’t get two feet away from my bike even with my long legs.

 

The rider (weighing a ‘normal’ amount for a human and being of ‘normal’ human size) also interacts with the bike via the seat, pegs and bars. The fulcrum offered by these, without causing the bars to pivot, shouldn’t be enough to overcome the gyroscopic force generated by the motorcycle’s wheels. Motorcycle wheels weigh a lot more the bicycle wheels, and they spin a lot faster. Further, at speed on a race track, those forces are going to be gynormous.

 

Also, does leaning the bike over necessarily mean the bike is going to turn? Doesn’t the front wheel need to pivot or something to cause the change in direction? Otherwise, why even have a steering neck?

 

I have not yet had the privilege to attend Keith’s class on applied physics yet, but I’m pretty sure a simple experiment can be done to kill this off. Take the no BS bike to a large parking lot, like the one use by the SCCA for nationals (its nearly a square mile of flat concrete). Get in one corner and head toward the opposite hanging off as far as possible. Stop when you get to the end of the concrete. Use a surveying scope do determine how far off the center line the bike is. If there error is more than a few % then the bike was falling toward the rider. Otherwise, it is just noise caused by the environment.

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Yes when we let go of the handlebars that means letting go of the throttle. The original post is about appraoching turns. So it is OK to be off throttle during our test.

 

The example of a bicycle is an extreme one because the bicycle is light. The motorcycle and it's wheels are much heavier yes, therefore, we can not effect is AS MUCH, but if it can be done on a bicycle, it can be done on a motorcycle, just to a lesser extent. And remember, I'm only arguing that there is a slight affect of hanging off, not a major effect.

 

The 500-pound weight is another extreme example, but if having that much weight that far off the side of the bike has such a major impact, then having less weight less far off the side of the bike will have a slight impact.

 

I just rode my bike to work this morning, so I did the test again and again and again and the result is always the same. I can remove my hands from the handlebars and still adjust the direction of the bike by leaning back and forth. Leaning off the bike in and of itself causes the bike to lean in that direction and turn in that direction. Just go out and do it yourself. At 40 mph the effect is not really all that subtle at all. I could be going straight down the road in the hang off position with my hands on the handlebars, then let go, and in seconds I'd be almost in the ditch. At 70mph is was much more subtle but still quite obvious.

 

If you are appraoching a turn off throttle, already in the hang off position, the bike will gradually change its lean towards the direction you are hanging off, unless you counteract that with a steering input on the handlebars. That is what the original post was saying and it is correct. If you have never noticed this before it's because you either do not hang off prior to turns, or you are subconsciously counteracting it. And since you are doing it subconsciously, you will of course argue that you aren't doing it at all. :D

 

The first time Keith told me in a classroom that I could turn my handlebars to the left and it would lean the bike to the right, I thought he was a nutcase, until I went out and tried it, and then it was obvious that he was right. Then he told me that I could release all presure on the handlebars in the middle of a turn and the bike would just maintain its lean angle. No, I said, for sure it will sit up and go straight. Then I tried it, and obviuosly he was right again. So we can debate this all day long or you can go out and ride your darn bikes and take your hands off the bars and lean back and forth and then you'll see.

 

I think it is very very important for people to understand countersteering and understand that it is like a 1000 times more effecting than "body steering." What we can do with our bodies alone I would hardly call "steering." But there is some effect.

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I dont have the guts to take my hands off the handle bars so the test is sorta hard for me to do :)

 

For practical purposes - as long as you get around the turn - what you did in setup doesnt matter that much to me. I just want to learn how to get 10/10th out of a bike. If doing that means some combination of body steering and counter steering: no problemo.

 

That said, give my level of experience (ie none) - whatever Kieth and his coaches say is golden. I don't have the experience to argue with them.

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That is no doubt a very good attitude to have. :D Anyone that comes on this forum probably does so because they recognize the value of the advice given by the school.

 

No one here including me has recommended a "combination of body steering and counter steering." When you want to lean, just turn the handlebar, anything else is a waiste of energy.

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Here's Will (superbike school employee) stating the obvious that I've been trying to state:

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.ph...tart=#entry1548

"No one will dispute that if you through the balance of the bike off by moving to one side it will change direction (lean)"

Aparently, there are people who will dispute it. :D lol

 

Here's Keith Code stating the obvious again:

http://www.r1-forum.com/forums/showthread....1254&page=5

"everyone can get to bike to veer off in a direction my shifting body mass."

 

Does this mean they are recommending body steering? Of course not.

 

But back to answering the original post on this thread: being in the hang off position will cause the bike to lean gradually in that direction. If you want it to stay upright and keep going straight, a simple subtle countersteer will be necessary.

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Hi harnois,

 

I don't dispute that it is possible to "*throw* a bike off-balance" as Will said, or get a bike to "veer off by *shifting* body mass" as Keith said. The key, if one reads carefully, is the "movement", the "shifting", the "throwing", the "jerking" which amplifies the orthogonal force applied at the axle. Like you noted, due to his mostly vertical position, the rider in the video only sees an effect when the inertia of his body movement is transformed or transfered to the vertical component. The action is, like you said, the equivalent of hanging a heavy weight far off the side of the bike. In any case, I would suggest everyone read the entire linked quotes carefully and consider them within their intended context. Especially noting Keith's qualifications of low speed and being off the gas with more weight on the front wheel, etc. In any case, harnois, you yourself stated that the faster the bike is moving, the less effect "body steering" will have.

 

So, I really don't see any arguments there.

 

In my experience at racetrack speeds (on the racetrack), a smooth and controlled body motion to establish a parallel body position *not* far off the side of the bike (as Keith teaches and the champions do) will not upset the balance (or the suspension). I cannot speak for your experience.

 

As for the only point I see in contention...it was apparently a disconnect in communication and/or perception.

 

Based on our mutual observations of *movement* having an amplification effect on position via inertia, and our mutual conclusion that the quality/quantity of said motion (in addition to position) being critical, my point is/was that if we wish to completely isolate the body *movement* wrt *throwing* a bike off balance to make it change direction, then, by definition, it is necessary to remove one's hands from the handlebars before you *move* the body.

 

However, to test pure *static* body position and pressure on the outside handlebar as an effect on keeping the bike straight, establishing the body position first and making certain that the bike is vertical and running straight before "letting go" of the bars would be appropriate to eliminate the factor of lateral *movement* or momentum.

 

I would suggest that performing that test at spirited riding speeds is necessary to make a final determination relevant to real riding conditons (unlike the pits, parking lot or the no BS video).

 

 

racer

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