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Old 09-18-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
polarity
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Help with cornering

I've been riding for less than a week. I've taken the MSF class and it was a great introduction but definately not a 1 stop shop for everything one needs to know.

I've purchased and watched twist of the wrist II (and am going to continue watching it until I understand it all). I've been riding it to work to try and get some extra seat time (30 mile commute each way, plus I drive around to mulitple clients, so lets say an average of 90 miles for work a day). I've put close to 500 miles on the bike after my ride today.

The part I've had the most trouble with is definately turning at speed. On large interstate corners it's no problem. In town driving and normal cornering is no problem. Today I went back to a back road that is pretty twisty just hoping to take it slow and work on turning the bike. I was unfamiliar with the road so I went really slow. Even going under the speed limit I lost it once (didn't lay it down I was able to stand it up in the corner and brake which was something we practiced in MSF). It was 3 turns back to back first turn went down hill and left and without much throttle I picked up speed pretty quickly just trying to give it a little gas through the turn. The second turn went up hill and to the right close to 80 degrees I'd say, and once you hit the top of the hill it went back down and immediately left. On the last turn I couldn't complete the turn, knew I was going to dump it and the only thing we had practiced in MSF for this was to try and get the bike verticle and brake if there was room, which is what I did. Didn't drop the bike, no damage, no harm.

The long story was for this question though, how and where to you practice safely. Am I on the right track in just going out to empty areas and trying to do it slowly until I learn it or is there a better way? I should I be doing parking lot figure 8s or out on the road learning.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:55 PM   #2
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You're right the MSF course only really teaches the basics of the bike itself. As a new rider the best thing you can do is find a parking lot and practice. You'd be amazed how it will help. You are right in areas that you are not well familiar with you should take it slow.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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So if I go back to parking lot practice doing slow figure 8s, u turns, wide turns with accelleration basically the same drills we did in MSF it should help?

I live less than a mile from our local MDOT office, they have the little parking lot setup for the road test for bikes, I can always practice there too.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
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id say it dosnt hurt but wont give you the feeling for hills and things you just cant learn from a parking lot. do both , just keep it as slow as you need to ovb . one thing i always kept in the back of my mind while being a new rider, is that the bike can turn and do so much more then i think it can. and when it goes through your mind you dont have a chance through a corner you probably do. id assume the fact that you could stand it up and brake in time means it was a doable corner.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:05 PM   #5
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The corner is definately doable, I actually did fine when I turned around a came back through it on the way home. Just didn't know the roads and didn't have the skill. I'm sure without me the bike would go through that twice as fast without blinking.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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i did the same thing one time my first year riding, stood it up and nearly hit the gaurd rail. not quite but was close. later that year came to another corner to hot, it was a changing radius corner and if i tried to stand it up and stop i would have crashed forsure, mabe at half the speed but i would have. i made the decision to just turn or lowside trying and it gave me a whole new outlook on what a bike can do.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:56 PM   #7
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I'm trying hard to get a feeling for the bike leaning and trusting it when it does, right now it's scarey as hell haha
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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1+ to the empty parking lot practice.

Try finding a few close experienced rider friends that you can actually talk to in person that will help you out. Get them to come to said parking lot with you.

Also, once you get a few miles under your belt and feel relatively comfortable on the bike, try out a track day or 5. I learned so much about cornering on my first TD it's unreal.

Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #9
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Get some seat time and practice in a parking lot. The cornering exercise from your second day in the Msf course is a good. Also look into the MSF advanced riders course (ARC) or BRC2 (your bike mostly the same drills). It will help hone those skills. Just remember to wear your gear and take it slow at first.


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Old 09-18-2012, 10:12 PM   #10
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First thing you need to do is practice looking where you WANT to go. More than anything else, it is THE most important aspect of riding, especially in the beginning. You HAVE to learn that.

Second, learn and understand countersteering. It is NOT a myth.

Drive down the road and give a very slight push forward on the right bar, then do the same to the left. You will see the bike goes opposite of the direction you are steering. Now at the same speed and with the same force, pull the right bar to you, then the left. Pushing and pulling can be combined to control how fast the bike turns. I usually push to enter a turn and pull to come out, as well as application of throttle.

Stay the f*ck out of parking lots, you dont ride to work through parking lots. The bike is a LOT harder to control at parking lot speeds, that will not help you on the road. Find a nice stretch of road that has little to know traffic, and that you are familiar with. Industrial parks are usually empty after work, and they have plenty of road for you to practice on.

Make sure to build confidence.

What you experienced was not almost a crash, it was a lack of experience and confidence.

I will also suggest for you to pick up the Twist of the Wrist book, as well as the DVD. It has stuff that is not on the DVD. It has a VERY good vision drill that helps a LOT.

Also keep in mind the bike cant do anything on its own. It takes a rider to make that bike do anything, so by saying the bike could have made the turn, you are wrong. The bike can only sit there on the kickstand. YOU need to learn how to make that bike make the turn. A more experienced rider could have made that turn, twice as fast, on your bike. You need to become that rider.

Do NOT make excuses for ANYTHING!!! it only covers your ability to learn from your mistakes. Gravel doesnt make people crash, it's what THEY do on the gravel that makes them crash. I ride over gravel all the time, in corners, in parking lots, and just going straight, I have never crashed because of it, (just using gravel as an example.) because I know what to do in the event that I experience gravel on the road.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:25 PM   #11
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^ couldnt have said it better
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:36 PM   #12
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^ couldnt have said it better



Perfect answer from 1/4. Listen to this guy. It's all true. Especially the look through the turns at where you WANT to go part. Took me a minute to get it and once you do, that alone gives you much more confidence. These bikes can do amazing things... Ride safe, not scared. Trust the bike a little bit at a time and be careful out there...
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/4milecrazy View Post
First thing you need to do is practice looking where you WANT to go. More than anything else, it is THE most important aspect of riding, especially in the beginning. You HAVE to learn that.

Second, learn and understand countersteering. It is NOT a myth.

Drive down the road and give a very slight push forward on the right bar, then do the same to the left. You will see the bike goes opposite of the direction you are steering. Now at the same speed and with the same force, pull the right bar to you, then the left. Pushing and pulling can be combined to control how fast the bike turns. I usually push to enter a turn and pull to come out, as well as application of throttle.

Stay the f*ck out of parking lots, you dont ride to work through parking lots. The bike is a LOT harder to control at parking lot speeds, that will not help you on the road. Find a nice stretch of road that has little to know traffic, and that you are familiar with. Industrial parks are usually empty after work, and they have plenty of road for you to practice on.

Make sure to build confidence.

What you experienced was not almost a crash, it was a lack of experience and confidence.

I will also suggest for you to pick up the Twist of the Wrist book, as well as the DVD. It has stuff that is not on the DVD. It has a VERY good vision drill that helps a LOT.

Also keep in mind the bike cant do anything on its own. It takes a rider to make that bike do anything, so by saying the bike could have made the turn, you are wrong. The bike can only sit there on the kickstand. YOU need to learn how to make that bike make the turn. A more experienced rider could have made that turn, twice as fast, on your bike. You need to become that rider.

Do NOT make excuses for ANYTHING!!! it only covers your ability to learn from your mistakes. Gravel doesnt make people crash, it's what THEY do on the gravel that makes them crash. I ride over gravel all the time, in corners, in parking lots, and just going straight, I have never crashed because of it, (just using gravel as an example.) because I know what to do in the event that I experience gravel on the road.
1/4, While I usually agree with most of your advise, I have to say that sometimes you are a bit closed minded. You CAN learn in parking lot. It is a tool in the tool box, one wrench can't do everything. You just have to use it for what you can.


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Old 09-18-2012, 11:33 PM   #14
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When I got on the 600 2 years ago after spending 4 years on 125,s naturaly I wanted to be like Rossi lol, I found by trying to be quick just made things worse. A mate of mine took me out on a slightly twisty road and followed me and them gave me a set of pointers. The first thing he told me to do was slow down a touch and then he gave me a ser of steps to take with cornering. Get you bike into the possition U need to be in on the road, that is not hugging the white lines and not scrapping the kerb just slighly towards the outside of the corner. 2 stay relaxed don't be to rigid on the bike and look for your breaking point. 3 physically look for your turn in point and follow it, I personaly always looking at were I want to be.4 now U R going through the corner find your power on point whilst looking for the exit. When U have reached your power on point please please remember to be smooth with the throttle it is not an on off switch. Once U have made the turn there maybe a strait if not start from step one. This is my own advice and may differ from others if anyone want to add anything plz do as it will help next time I give advise.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnychmpo View Post
1/4, While I usually agree with most of your advise, I have to say that sometimes you are a bit closed minded. You CAN learn in parking lot. It is a tool in the tool box, one wrench can't do everything. You just have to use it for what you can.


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There is no doubt that you can learn a lot practicing low speed maneuvers, but it seems that is not the problem here. Also, low speed maneuvers in a parking lot are usually slow enough where you can put a foot down, and I dont think parking lots are the best place for practicing.

I am actually very open minded and will always be open to debate, but a lot of cases the stuff you read on the internet that is passed from one person to the next is simply just not true, and I hate to see people give bad advise.

I am not saying there is any bad advise in this thread.


Parking lots do not offer the kind of "wrenches" you need to learn how to properly operate a motorcycle on public roads. They do not have marked turns, oncoming traffic, blind corners and hills. All of that stuff is the kind of stuff you need to just go out and experience. You can learn some basic controls and skills, but honestly I feel that the OP is beyond that point, that is why I suggested staying out of parking lots. I should have been a little more clear about that.

OP:
I would also suggest California Superbike School, or something like that, once you get comfortable with the basic controls and speed taking a course with one on one training will benefit you greatly. I started riding track very late in my motorcycling "career", so when I did get on track I had a lot of bad habits that I had to unlearn, before I could learn to do things right.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:21 AM   #16
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I feel it's so difficult to give advice... but I want to try to help.

I agree with practicing at parking lots. I did that a lot too.

I just have 2 things to add when riding on the street:

1. As you approach a corner, move your head to the inside, and look thru the turn, scanning for the spot where you think you should start turning the bike, and also for the line you need to follow to exit the corner. There is no perfect turn entry point or line. These are dependent on your skill level, bike setup, speed, environment conditions, etc. It is because of these variables that you must look thru the corner. When you do, your mind should be able to calculate how much you need to slow down to turn the bike, then the amount of throttle you will need to apply to finish the corner.

2. Regarding shifting, once you are already rolling, try to minimize shifting. Our bikes can go up to 90mph in 2nd gear and upto around 120mph in 3rd. Try to keep it between these 2 gears. If you don't have to worry about shifting while cornering, you will have more attention available to spend on vision, which is what I tried to explain in the previous pargraph.

Goodluck.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:22 AM   #17
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Great advice both from 1/4 and topgd.

Parking lots can be great for practice, but only for certain things, definitely not cornering unless they are very spacious and you have the use of cones. Only then can you recreate certain corners and try practicing them. An idea I got was to use chalk, sure it is going to be tedious at first but well worth it. For emergency braking you can mark engage points and measure uyour braking distances to experiment and see if you are improving. You can draw lines for a corner and see if you can keep it between said lines at a certain speed.

It really depends on your mindset and tools. Parking lots are also obviously great for slow speed manouevring which can be very hard at first. So parking lots are what you make of them is what I am saying.

Good Luck
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:34 AM   #18
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Everything 1/4Milecrazy said. + in Twist II there is a chapter dealing with visual aspect. Took me some time to train my eyes (not there 100% yet) but the results can be felt immediately. Once the visual (looking through corners and not breaking concentration) is achieved, lots of other small improvements will come automatically and most of all it will boost confidence.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:57 AM   #19
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Looking through could definately be part of it. What I catch myself doing is starting out finding my entry point and getting to the speed I want in the corner, once I'm set and start the turn I move and look through the turn. This is where my bad habit starts since I don't trust myself yet I have a habit of looking away and looking at the road directly in front of me, trying to check and make sure I'm in a good spot. It could be as simple as holding my stare through the turn and trusting the bike to do what it's supposed to.

I did watch twist of the wrist II but I'll buy the book too. I really wanted to take the advanced rider course here locally but I move on Friday to Ohio. Once I'm there I will definately be looking for other riders, track days, and schools to further my skills. Winter is on it's way and I have no idea how long the "riding season" lasts there.

Thanks for all the advice, I'm open to anything I can get. I will be doing the drive to Ohio on the bike. Planning on taking 2 or 3 days, it's only about 12 hours.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/4milecrazy View Post
First thing you need to do is practice looking where you WANT to go. More than anything else, it is THE most important aspect of riding, especially in the beginning. You HAVE to learn that.

Second, learn and understand countersteering. It is NOT a myth.

Drive down the road and give a very slight push forward on the right bar, then do the same to the left. You will see the bike goes opposite of the direction you are steering. Now at the same speed and with the same force, pull the right bar to you, then the left. Pushing and pulling can be combined to control how fast the bike turns. I usually push to enter a turn and pull to come out, as well as application of throttle.

Stay the f*ck out of parking lots, you dont ride to work through parking lots. The bike is a LOT harder to control at parking lot speeds, that will not help you on the road. Find a nice stretch of road that has little to know traffic, and that you are familiar with. Industrial parks are usually empty after work, and they have plenty of road for you to practice on.

Make sure to build confidence.

What you experienced was not almost a crash, it was a lack of experience and confidence.

I will also suggest for you to pick up the Twist of the Wrist book, as well as the DVD. It has stuff that is not on the DVD. It has a VERY good vision drill that helps a LOT.

Also keep in mind the bike cant do anything on its own. It takes a rider to make that bike do anything, so by saying the bike could have made the turn, you are wrong. The bike can only sit there on the kickstand. YOU need to learn how to make that bike make the turn. A more experienced rider could have made that turn, twice as fast, on your bike. You need to become that rider.

Do NOT make excuses for ANYTHING!!! it only covers your ability to learn from your mistakes. Gravel doesnt make people crash, it's what THEY do on the gravel that makes them crash. I ride over gravel all the time, in corners, in parking lots, and just going straight, I have never crashed because of it, (just using gravel as an example.) because I know what to do in the event that I experience gravel on the road.
I agree with most of this but I have to disagree with the parking lot comments. I would hit them often and learn to ride slowly, doing u-turns, figure 8's, etc. Saying that you don't ride through parking lots on your way to work is the best reason to do it. Learn beyond what's needed to get to work.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:11 PM   #21
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Looking through could definately be part of it. What I catch myself doing is starting out finding my entry point and getting to the speed I want in the corner, once I'm set and start the turn I move and look through the turn. This is where my bad habit starts since I don't trust myself yet I have a habit of looking away and looking at the road directly in front of me, trying to check and make sure I'm in a good spot. It could be as simple as holding my stare through the turn and trusting the bike to do what it's supposed to.

I did watch twist of the wrist II but I'll buy the book too. I really wanted to take the advanced rider course here locally but I move on Friday to Ohio. Once I'm there I will definately be looking for other riders, track days, and schools to further my skills. Winter is on it's way and I have no idea how long the "riding season" lasts there.

Thanks for all the advice, I'm open to anything I can get. I will be doing the drive to Ohio on the bike. Planning on taking 2 or 3 days, it's only about 12 hours.
Looking down directly in front of yourself is bad, remember look where you want to go. Do you want to go on the ground directly in front of your bike?

One thing I do at the track, which could probably help you on the street, is to write little notes on blue masking tape and cover my speedo with them. (probably dont want to cover your speedo on the street) That way I get little reminders of what I need to work on, in fact right now I have one that says "vision up", I also have had things like head down or whatever it is I need to work on that day/session.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:31 PM   #22
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Scanning your vision as you move through a corner is something that everyone has hinted at but not just said. Your eyes should never be fixed on any given point.


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Old 09-20-2012, 04:20 AM   #23
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The reason I look at the road right in front of the bike, is to continually scan the surface. Even though looking through the turn is extremely important, sometimes you are worried something might pop up which could cause a loss of traction. I have thought about how you can slowly work from looking right in front to looking through the turn properly. Just do it gradually, everytime you tke a corner (preferrably the same one so that you are familiar with the surface already), look further ahead than you did the last time. Continue to do so bit by bit until you are looking through the entire turn.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:08 AM   #24
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I'm still very green so i know what you're talking about. Here are some of the things that helped me

- Squeeze the bike with your legs and don't freeze on the handlebars - they are not there to hold your weight
- Look where you want to go
- Be as smooth as possible with the throttle - it's not a light switch
- Ride at your own pace

It just takes some seat time i guess till you get comfortable on the bike so take it slowly at first and next thing you know you're enjoying those corners instead of being scared of them. If there's someone tailgating you, pull over and let them pass.
You'll be fine - there is plenty of time to learn. Some of these guys here have been riding for like 50 years. You can learn a lot from them. Don't expect to become a pro overnight.

Happy riding
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:13 AM   #25
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I've been riding for less than a week. I've taken the MSF class and it was a great introduction but definately not a 1 stop shop for everything one needs to know.
Actually, in your case it is everything you need to know. Brake to entry speed before the turn. (Slower is better, you can always accelerate.) Look through the turn. Press on the inside handgrip. Crack the throttle open. That's all there is to it. It's the same technique Casey Stoner uses. He just does it faster and harder.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:14 AM   #26
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Just a quick update, rode another 220 miles yesterday and was determined to get more comfortable on the turns and I found my problem (or at least one part of it). When I watched twist of the wrist they said that when you counter steer you push on the side you want the bike to lean and that will start the lean, in the video the say the tire then turns in twords the turn. My mistake was thinking I was supposed to turn that way which was just standing me more upright, I would see I was going the wrong way and apply pressure again.

Worked on that yesterday with very good results. Also learned for sharper corners or more speed to countersteer faster for a faster turn. I've been trying to be "smooth" and give a nice easy slow push.

Still a long way to go but feeling confident in a corner is a great feeling.

thanks everyone
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:48 PM   #27
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Stop worrying about whats directly in front of you, seeing gravel in front of you and then reacting to it is probably going to make you fall faster than just riding through the gravel as if it wasnt there. Same witg pot holes, rocks, sticks and a lot of other stuff you might find under your tires. Trust in your bike and your tires. I ride over tar snakes at tbe track at full lean going about 70-80, they used to scare me, tgen i just ignored them, the bike wiggles a little bit, but its never a problem.

I understand the feeling of wanting to know what you are abiut to run over, but that is where your peripheral vision comes in. Use you line of sight to look where you want to go and use your peripheral for everything else, when you get the TWOT2 book, you will see the drill that helps with that.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:01 AM
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:35 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by brmoore View Post
Not many people use the rear brake, it's saved my ass when cornering too fast...slows rear wheel speed down and makes the bike corner sharper, you'll see them use it on gymkhana if you've seen that. Also saved me ass once loosing traction in the rain, slowed rear wheel back down and it regained grip in the road and off i went again
Careful with that rear brake. I know mine is useless as a brake for I can stand on the lever at walking speeds and it wont stop the bike, but that works for me as I can now use it to control the bike when it gets all wriggly under hard braking (sorta just smooths the bike under heavier than normal braking) without worrying that it will lock-up. Wet roads call for a slightly different approach, where being smooth and precise (only comes with more practice than I have time for right now.) counts more than anything.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:05 PM   #29
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Looking through could definately be part of it. What I catch myself doing is starting out finding my entry point and getting to the speed I want in the corner, once I'm set and start the turn I move and look through the turn. This is where my bad habit starts since I don't trust myself yet I have a habit of looking away and looking at the road directly in front of me, trying to check and make sure I'm in a good spot. It could be as simple as holding my stare through the turn and trusting the bike to do what it's supposed to.

I did watch twist of the wrist II but I'll buy the book too. I really wanted to take the advanced rider course here locally but I move on Friday to Ohio. Once I'm there I will definately be looking for other riders, track days, and schools to further my skills. Winter is on it's way and I have no idea how long the "riding season" lasts there.

Thanks for all the advice, I'm open to anything I can get. I will be doing the drive to Ohio on the bike. Planning on taking 2 or 3 days, it's only about 12 hours.
Lots of amazing info in the Twist DVD and books, including a great section on visuals. There is too much to take in all at once so your best bet is to choose a small section and watch/read it over and over again then go out and practice just that one skill until you feel like you really have a handle on it.

Then you should look at taking one of the CSS :) I might know a few of the instructors

Quote:
Originally Posted by polarity View Post
Just a quick update, rode another 220 miles yesterday and was determined to get more comfortable on the turns and I found my problem (or at least one part of it). When I watched twist of the wrist they said that when you counter steer you push on the side you want the bike to lean and that will start the lean, in the video the say the tire then turns in twords the turn. My mistake was thinking I was supposed to turn that way which was just standing me more upright, I would see I was going the wrong way and apply pressure again.

Worked on that yesterday with very good results. Also learned for sharper corners or more speed to countersteer faster for a faster turn. I've been trying to be "smooth" and give a nice easy slow push.

Still a long way to go but feeling confident in a corner is a great feeling.

thanks everyone
Excellent that you were able to diagnose one of your riding problems by watching the video and awesome job on going out and practicing it!

What you were doing is a very common problem, riders will counter-steer into the corner and then make corrections throughout the turn, they press the inside bar then put pressure on the outside (which begins to stand the bike up) then they correct by pressing the inside bar again and so on and so on. Makes the corner choppy, and makes it harder to hold a nice smooth line.

Once you press on the inside bar to initiate the turn, then what? What do you do when the bike is at the lean angle you want, and cornering on the line that you want?

Misti
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by misti hurst View Post
Lots of amazing info in the Twist DVD and books, including a great section on visuals. There is too much to take in all at once so your best bet is to choose a small section and watch/read it over and over again then go out and practice just that one skill until you feel like you really have a handle on it.

Then you should look at taking one of the CSS :) I might know a few of the instructors



Excellent that you were able to diagnose one of your riding problems by watching the video and awesome job on going out and practicing it!

What you were doing is a very common problem, riders will counter-steer into the corner and then make corrections throughout the turn, they press the inside bar then put pressure on the outside (which begins to stand the bike up) then they correct by pressing the inside bar again and so on and so on. Makes the corner choppy, and makes it harder to hold a nice smooth line.

Once you press on the inside bar to initiate the turn, then what? What do you do when the bike is at the lean angle you want, and cornering on the line that you want?

Misti
She's back people, Misti's back

To answer your question, once you have reached your desired lean angle, you apply 'maintenance' throttle until you see the exit and then smoothly and gradually add throttle to accelerate out of the corner.

About reaching your desired lean angle, I know that sometimes you can countersteer too much and let the front fold as a result, but how do you find out where that point is (without crashing)? I feel I'm always holding back a bit on my countersteering and using more body position because I'm worried about folding the front because of over countersteering. Is there a certain indicator, or a technique that can assure a rider that he is within a safe zone?
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