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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 2/5/2006 12:47 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Check out the track at this website: http://www.usainternationalraceway.com/MainPage.html
It should be a perfect track for the course I have in mind.
Oh, the course mentioned in Motorcycle Consumer News (an EXCELLANT magazine by the way) is "Streetmasters",
featured in the April 2005 issue. Details can be found at: mcnews.com

The Road America track is great and exciting, but big, with high speeds possible. The track I plan to use is 11-turns in one mile, with a 1000 foot straight, and both banked and off comber turns, dips and humps. I feel it may be the perfect setting for a course focused on cornering, and not speed. In fact, the highest speed ever recorded on the track was 85mph during either a go-kart or supermotard race.

I plan to be at Road America in June. But I may be working in the pits on a cycle team with friend who is managing a new upcoming dirt-track/supermotard rider. Depending how that schedule works out I'll be working in the pits one day and corner working the next. See you two there!
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 2/5/2006 1:35 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
All the responses here make excellant suggestions on how to attain the critical leaning skills (good input Data Dan). Very strong and active visual control is probably the most important factor, aside from learning the control inputs and trusting the bike, conditions and yourself. But, trying to learn these techniques in traffic is iffy at best (thanks Pickles) and better done in a secluded empty parking lot if you can find one. Late Sunday afternoons at local tech schools are a best bet. Find a parking lot with lots of runoff room, at minimum 50 feet to any hard obstacle or curb. Check out the surface first, walk all over it to check for debris and fluids, clean off what you can. Look for any surface conditions like cracks, tar snakes, grooves, paint lines, grade or slope.

Start off slow, in a straight line at 20mph, second gear. At some point you select (don't slow, brake or downshift, just steady speed), look to your left or right (your chin should come close to your shoulder), and press against the handgrip in that direction to initiate the lean. Hold the press, keep the throttle steady, keep looking through to an "exit" of the turn, and go back to the start position. Use all of the parking lot for the turn if you need to. Those who have taken the MSF course should recognize this exercise. Keep doing this in both directions until you are getting good feedback from the bike, and your confidence builds.

Now, select your stronger direction, some like right turns better than left. Doesn't matter which, but pick your stronger side. Again 20mph in second gear. Initiate the turn with the look, press and steady throttle. While in your lean, SLOWLY and steadily increase the press in the direction of the turn (remember, press right, go right, press left, go left) and feel how the bike increases the lean angle, but do not back off the throttle, just keep it steady. Try this a number of times in each direction to again get the feel of the lean and the bike. But do it slowly! It takes a smooth controlled press to make the bike lean in a progressive manner that gives you a chance to learn what is happening. If the bike feels twitchy or unsteady, its because YOUR input was to strong or inconsistent, or you didn't apply a steady or SLIGHTLY increasing throttle.

Steady and smooth are your goals here. Use as much of the parking lot as you can until you feel and recognize what the bike and you are doing. Then, and only then, you can add speed to say 25mph, and try the practice over again. When you actually feel what is happening you can make smooth slight adjustments, such as increasing press through the entire turn. What you'll likely find is the bike will make more of a 270 degree turn than just 180 degrees. With the higher speed the control input effort gets higher and it may feel easier to do. But don't think you're suddenly ready to try it at 40 or 45mph. Keep your speed down because proper technique is far more important than speed. When the comfort level is there after more practice, the increased press will increase your lean angle.

IF you do lean enough to touch a peg, floorboard or boot heel/edge, KEEP YOUR THROTTLE AND PRESS STEADY. The worst thing you can do is suddenly chop off the throttle or touch the brakes. That may be enough to break traction or unload the rear tire. Also, suddenly chopping the throttle will also suddenly decrease your ground clearance, actually making the touchdown WORSE. Steady and smooth. The bike will stick. Keep your feet in place on the pegs, right over the controls, don't let them hang off or dangle, because as your lean angle increases your feet get closer to the ground also. No need for you to "hang off" racer style either, that's not what this is about. Keep your body central to the bike, lean with it but keep your head level to the horizon. Practice until you really feel what the bike is doing. When you are done (and don't puch yourself here), get off your bike and look at the scuffing on the tires. You'll probably see that you have leaned further over than you thought you were. Trust it, learn from it, and enjoy it. Don't brag about it though. Be honest with yourself about what you have learned, cause bragging leads to going beyond learning.

With what you have learned to "feel" about the bike and yourself, you can take those skills on the road. But here the visual part of riding is EXTREMELY important. Never ride faster than for as far as you can clearly see, especially in corners. If you can't see all the way through the corner decrease your speed until you can see the exit of the turn.
Learn from every ride and enjoy the ride!
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Arizona
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   Posted 2/16/2006 9:24 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Great post Andy and excellent input from all. Each mishap makes you a better and more mature rider. I know when I have a "moment" I analyze it a thousand times in my head afterwards and LEARN from it so as to hopefully NOT repeat it anytime soon. I ride a V-Star so don't have tons of lean angle available to me due to how the bike is built, but as mentioned above I dont have to worry about over-taxing what the tires can do, only what the various bike parts limit me to! I'm a very conservative rider and rarely push things too far - at 42 I'm beyond those crazy days I guess. I take rural twisty roads at pretty near the speed limit or maybe 10 mph over generally. Just enjoying the ride... :)


2001 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic - daily commuter 3000 miles per month

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ShawnKing
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   Posted 2/18/2006 5:28 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
But, trying to learn these techniques in traffic is iffy at best (thanks Pickles) and better done in a secluded empty parking lot if you can find one.

Andy, great post. Do you mind if I use it in a future podcast of mine? Full credit will go to you and this forums of course.


Shawn King
New Rider (12/02/05)
2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 2/19/2006 9:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Go ahead ShawnKing. But be aware I don't claim exclusive knowledge or background on these subjects. This subject and others similar to it have been written/discussed by many other authors and riders with far more knowledge than I have about the subject. I just offer my input and experience about the subject, but I am by no means an authority on the subjects listed. I suggest research on this subject by David Hough and Ken Condon, both writers for Motorcyle Consumer News, probably THE best factual and informative motorcycle magazine on the market.
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ShawnKing
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   Posted 2/19/2006 9:34 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
Go ahead ShawnKing. But be aware I don't claim exclusive knowledge or background on these subjects.
Thanks and understood. But if you were full of it, someone would have spoken up by now. :)


Andy VH said...
I suggest research on this subject by David Hough and Ken Condon, both writers for Motorcyle Consumer News, probably THE best factual and informative motorcycle magazine on the market.

I will check them and it out. Thanks!


Shawn King
New Rider (12/02/05)
2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe

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ShawnKing
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   Posted 2/19/2006 9:38 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
Go ahead ShawnKing. But be aware I don't claim exclusive knowledge or background on these subjects.

Thanks and understood. But if you were full of it, someone would have spoken up by now. :)

Andy VH said...
I suggest research on this subject by David Hough and Ken Condon, both writers for Motorcyle Consumer News, probably THE best factual and informative motorcycle magazine on the market.

I will check them and it out. Thanks!


Shawn King
New Rider (12/02/05)
2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe

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To The
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   Posted 3/24/2008 5:40 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I'm signing up for this one for my birthday present:
 
 
Only $600.00 and you get to tear up THEIR bike!!
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Jramion
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   Posted 3/28/2008 3:38 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Smitty touched on an important tip when cornering but did not really have much to say on it. I believe one important thing about cornering is knowing the corner. I know that there are times when you are on a road that you had never ridden and that is a time you need to be extra cautious of your speed in the corners. But in order to really practice your leaning technique, you need to travel on a road that you know well (or as Andy stated, practice in a parking lot). That means to travel the road many, many times at a comfortable speed and increase your speed as you learn it and feel more comfortable.
As for the leaning is corners, I would have thought that that is a given. I didn't think a bike could take a corner without leaning. I haven't ridden a street bike in over 20 years but am currently researching to buy one so I may not know what I am talking about. But even as a kid I noticed that I had to lean my bicycle in a corner to make it turn. Sometimes leaning way over. This was always a thrill for me. I used to steal my brother's Suzuki 125 when I was in high school and it was exhilarating when I could make the muffler drag while taking corner.
But I will restate, practice on a road that you know well (or parking lot). One that you know well enough to retrace in your mind while sitting at home, knowing every corner, hill, bump and dip.
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 4/22/2008 9:12 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for the input. Because I am an MSF instructor I am always looking for, listening for, input from others about riding conditions, leaning and cornering being one I especially look and listen for. I have seen many, many a rider negotiate simple turns with a MINIMUM of leaning, to the point I sense they have no confidence in the bike , their ability, or no knowledge about how to really do it. I have heard from many a rider, how their bike "didn't want to make the turn". I have read far too many crash reports in the media about a cyclist "failing to negotiate a curve" or "loosing control on a curve".

So this is a very real deficit for many riders, many of whom either never gain the confidence, or get the training, or have enough riding/seat time to develop the skill sets required to be effective at leaning and cornering. That is why training and learning are SO essential to our survival.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org

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