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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After riding my custom now for 1 month, I am becoming more at ease with the handling, but cornering has always been my weakest part.

I have been stiff and upright when entering corners. But, just tonight on the way home I begun to shift my body weight into the same side of the corner just before I actually enter the corner and I suddenly felt much more confident and at ease of cornering.

I will try it again tomorrow, and I ask of you is this the correct technique of cornering? If not, what is?


Romper
 

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Look up countersteering. It looks all wrong....until you try it. It basically interrupts the physics of a spinning wheel trying to stay upright. There are lots of youtube videos on the technique. As I said it seems counter-intuitive, but once you try it you'll never go back.
Another tip for slow corners (e.g. U turns) is to look at where you are going not at your wheel.
Thirdly it all gets easier with practice. Don't go out of your comfort zone just to keep up with your mates. Best be safe then sorry.
 

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Get Twist of the Wrist 2 book and or DVD. I think the video may also be on you tube around 90 min long. Keith Code goes through all the techniques for cornering and explains the science behind them. Information applies to street and track riding.

Ride like a pro DVD or class teaches low speed turns. Making a u turn in under 24 ft wide is harder than you think. I took the class in Atlanta GA, the instructor does classes in Austrailia each winter their summer. Classes for down under should be showing up on his web site soon. http://ridelikeaproatlanta.com/videos

A word about advice. Best advise comes from those who have actually done what you want. Everyone has an opinion. Opinions are not advice. Check out some of the cornering video clips on here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ride-Like-A-Pro-Atlanta/106448392747096

Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Empty parking lots are a much beter place to practice than busy streets. Emergency manouvers are a good thing to practice in a parking lot. See what it is like to lock up brakes, swerve to avoid items etc. Better in a controlled environment with a cool head than a panic situation.

I recently had to make a sudden stop, my back Wheel locked up and I instinctively remembered when your back wheel locks up ride it out (if you release it too much you may flip to the high side). Front brake is totally different you want to release and re apply. Point is practice will help you become a better safer rider, memory muscle from practice will kick in and help keep you safe.
 

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After riding my custom now for 1 month, I am becoming more at ease with the handling, but cornering has always been my weakest part.

I have been stiff and upright when entering corners. But, just tonight on the way home I begun to shift my body weight into the same side of the corner just before I actually enter the corner and I suddenly felt much more confident and at ease of cornering.

I will try it again tomorrow, and I ask of you is this the correct technique of cornering? If not, what is?


Romper
I would suggest taking the MSF class if you haven't yet.
 

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Romper,

For me (while normal riding, IE not racing) I have no body movement, all done through countersteering. Press right to go right, press left to go left. Check it out as there's lot of info out on the web and youtube on countersteering.
 

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Romper,
Your speed and radius of the turn need to be considered.

You're a fairly new rider on a foot forward cruiser, so....

Turning the bike at speeds over 15-20 mph; all you need to do is countersteer.
The best way to learn countersteering; is to let the bike teach you.
Get on a nice straight road moving at about 45mph.
Let go with your left hand and move the handlebars SLIGHTLY (.5 in) left and then right with your right hand.
When you push the bars (turn them left) your bike will lean and move right.
This works as well at higher speed tight radius turns as it does with relaxed lane changes.
Positioning your body can tighten the radius of your turn; but you should gain some more experience before taking curves that fast.

Tighter radius turns under about 15mph is where the real challenge is.
Road surface, camber, incline, wind etc. can all affect your turn.
The basic skill is to turn the wheel and lean the bike into the turn; while keeping your body perpendicular or leaning to the outside.
You need to use the friction zone of the clutch and smooth throttle.
As speed increases the bike will try to stand up resulting in a wider radius; and as speed decreases the bike will lean further tightening the radius.

Scott
 

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Thanks muchly!

Why does the bike lean and move right when the bars are pushed (turn them left) - after i remove my left hand from the bars?

Romper
I have heard a couple of reasons.

1. Gyroscopic effect of the front wheel.
2. The inertia of the rest of the bike while the front wheel changes direction.

Number two make the most sense to me.
(this also accounts for high-siding your bike when grabbing too much front brake at slow speeds with your bars turned---Oh yeah, if you don't know already--Don't do that!)

  • You turn your bars and wheel left.
  • Your wheel tries to go left.
  • The rest of your bike tries to go straight; resulting in it leaning to the right.
  • Leaning right make your bike go right.

Scott
 

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Thanks muchly!

Why does the bike lean and move right when the bars are pushed (turn them left) - after i remove my left hand from the bars?

Romper
Just in case you were asking specifically about removing your hand.

Removing your hand is ONLY meant to make your steering inputs clear.

Sometimes people think they are pushing down on the bars or leaning their shoulders or other such stuff.
Doing it one handed makes your input hard to confuse.

It works just as well with two hands.

Scott
 

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We have a lot in common! I am also new to the VN, in my case after many years away from biking.

Sounds like you are going through the same thing as I have been through since buying mine.

Counter steering ? Its is an amazing thing to think deeply about, but not when you are nervously entering a corner, slightly out of control, with a lorry coming the other way. We all countersteer, all the time above about 15 mph, we just do not think about it, and thats the way to keep it until you are highly confident and able.

My process to get round bends happily has been a dificult one :-

1. Get the tyre pressures right, I have a classic wire wheel VN and have been educated to put in the pressures that give me good handling, not what the book says. For me, that is higher than the book says, I have around 32 in the front and 36 in the back. This made a huge diference, I ride on mainly curvy back lanes and I now enjoy them....
I even rode through some flour on the ground to ensure I still had a good contact patch. (Ok Ok a bit much but it keeps me happy)

2. I then read The police motorcyclist handbook from cover to cover, and realised I had lost the ability to look where I want to go, instead of at the road just in front of me. It also made me realise that unless I was in complete control, I will not have the time to be scanning for hazards.

3. Practice practice practice first gear slow handling, circle and more circles, figure of eights etc while looking where you want to go, and never touching the front brake , which will have you on the floor quicker than you can say spit. Try on a push bike first, trail the rear brake makes it easy, grab the front brake and you are on the floor.

4. Ride a carefully considered route over and over again, at quiet traffic times. Include some tricky bits and practice until you lose that "Oh where is this bike going?" feeling.

I have a long way to go to get really happy on my VN, but I am making good progress towards being comfortable. Get yourself on a course, get a book written by and for professional riders. Oh, and did I mention tyre pressures ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks guys.

I keep 40 psi in both oem stock tires.

I learnt the hard way back in April this year about applying the front brake in a turn.

On my dirt bike (KTM 300) on a dirt track, very skatey surface and i applied the front brake in a right hand turn. The 100kg bike fell on my right side locking my right leg in between the ground and the bike. Even though i had the right and tight motocross boots on, i still severely damaged my right ankle, nothing broken - but all the ligaments and tendons and muscles strained, stretch to buggery - the right foot was literally dangling from my leg...the foot was black and blue all over and swollen to buggery...2 weeks off work filled with addictive pain killers...but still feel the foot pain (mainly around the ankle) today... :-(

Long story short - I am very conscious not to apply the front brake during any turn on this even heavier road bike.

ROmper
 

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First off, I'm not an expert and don't know everything but, I've watched many good videos before and after getting my bike. Experience is the best teacher. Watching and doing are two different animals. Seems to me, each different type of bike would turn differently, such as center of gravity, length, etc. When I first started riding it seemed I was "fighting" the bike to stay in the turn. When at a higher speed you get the feeling of "blowing out" the curve. Counter steering will improve your turns! It leans the bike into the turn with little effort. It only takes a small amount of pressure. (Think of what a dirt bike looks like turning, front wheel turned right, bike leaning left and going left.) At lower speeds, as many smart people before my post has stated, look up and where you want to go, not right in-front of the tire. The bike will follow the head turn. At low speeds while turning, I noticed that if I apply a little back brake while staying on the throttle, it helps keep the bike steady. Not sure why.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
nice video. just watched it a few times.

Key take aways -

i) Countersteering does not work at speeds between 8-15mph. (hence to turn right or left in these speeds, you can push on the right or left handle grip forward respectively and the bike will turn the same direction.)

ii) At speeds above 15mph, the laws of physics kicks in and counter steering takes over naturally or forcefully (in emergency quick turns).

iii) To swerve left around an obstacle quickly at speed (and above 15mph) you push the left handlegrip forward (countersteer) which turns the wheel slightly to the right which will brake the natural outward force, which will dip the bike to the left and allow you to lean the bike to the left and allow you to turn very quickly. Visa Versa for other turn direction.

what is this natural outward force being referred to, and why/how should the bike dip left if you push the left handle grip?

Romper
 
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