Cornering/turning technique question - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Cornering/turning technique question

Ok, so I have a question about cornering on a motorcycle. Considering the fact that I have been riding for several years, I understand the fundamentals of leaning, accelerating through, etc. But recently, it seems I have found myself wondering something :

When you corner, and you lean, do you lean your whole body, like from the waist up? Or do you lean from the waist down, and keep you head/sightline basically parallel to the ground?

I guess the reason I am asking is because I did a no-no recently, and entered a turn on one of the freeways here in Phoenix a little fast, only to realize that it got tighter and tighter as it went around. It took me a bit by surprise. and I found myself leaning the bike from my waist down to hug the curve, but keeping the top portion of my body a little straighter. It worked for me, but got me thinking - is that the "right" way to do it?

What's your opinion/idea/experience? I'd love to hear it.


Thanks all, and safe riding

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 05:14 PM
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You can hang your whole body off .... But keep your head straight at a right angle to the ground. If you have to lean more...countersteer more, keep you head straight and looking through the turn.

Generally let your body just follow the bike...but keep your eyes level.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 05:51 PM
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Leaning 'waist down' is fine at low speeds (under 20 mph) even sliding your ass to the outside as you 'push' the bike down into the turn....but again, this is at parking lot speed. At highway speed you should be looking where you want the bike to go with eyes level to the ground..... turn your head into the turn and aim for the apex, or a little past.
also you must counter-steer to get the bike to begin leaning, your body should lean with the bike.....keeping head level. accelerate through the turn. If you find yourself in a situation where the radius is getting tighter, try not to drop the throttle....this tends to straighten the bike and put you even more to the outside...... instead turn your head more and counter-steer more..... push the inside grip to the outside more.....
I was talking to a guy at work the other day who claims he 'never leans' in turns and didn't know what I meant by 'countersteer' ...... but the reality is you have to countersteer at speed to start the lean....
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 06:19 PM
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there were some vids on youtube for countersteering, A basic rider course is helpfull as well have fun

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dariv View Post
If you find yourself in a situation where the radius is getting tighter, try not to drop the throttle....this tends to straighten the bike and put you even more to the outside...... instead turn your head more and counter-steer more..... push the inside grip to the outside more.....
Actually, chopping the throttle mid turn will increase your chances of a low side. More speed would make you run wider. You can absolutely tighten the line by reducing the throttle input. The key is that you should not use big adjustments. Tiny decreases or increases have big impacts in turns.

If you are in a turn too hot, and don't feel you can modulate the throttle, you can always "hang off" sportbike style. This involves leaning off the seat into the direction of the turn. What this does is change the center of gravity, allowing higher corner speed with less lean angle. The best way to describe what your head should do, besides keeping it vertical and looking through the turn, is "Kiss the mirror."

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knifemaker View Post
You can hang your whole body off .... But keep your head straight at a right angle to the ground. If you have to lean more...countersteer more, keep you head straight and looking through the turn.
Generally let your body just follow the bike...but keep your eyes level.KM
I agree with KM on the crotch rocket style, and want to add that a bike usually will lean and stick farther than a lot of folks think, don't panic too early, and don't hard drag the solid stuff...lol...
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 10:48 PM
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I lean from the waist down in town, and use all of my body at hiway speeds. I try to keep my head up as straight as possible, and so far it has worked for me.
I learned something a long time ago, when you get ready to do a turn, say to the right, put your hand on the end of the right side of the handlebar and push slightly and you will start to turn to the right. I thought it would cause you to go to the left, but it's opposite of that. It scared the crap out of me the first few times I did it, but it actually will help you get into a turn rather easily and quickly.
Just don't get carried away and push too hard. I learned in a parking lot at slow speeds till I got the hang of it.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 11:22 PM
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Pushing on the bar in the direction you want to turn is one way to initiate countersteering, which is the primary way you steer/lean the bike.

What you do with your own weight from there is your own business, but there are some strategies you can use. Keeping your body in line with the bike and letting the steering do all the work of establishing lines and lean angles is probably the least tiring approach in most situations. Any other approach comes down to whether you want to accomplish something specific with the lean angle of the bike, because what matters is the bike-and-rider overall CG, and if your CG moves one way, the bike's can move the other to result in the same path at the same speed, provided you steer accordingly.

A lot of people like to put body weight on the outside of the turn in low-speed maneuvers so they can lean the bike more for a given maneuver.

Going into a corner too hot, your first response should be to countersteer more, which will tighten the turn and increase your lean angle. It is possible to get to the point where you drag parts, and if you're even close to that point, you don't want to be leaning out of the turn. Leaning into the turn beyond the angle of the bike allows the bike to straighten up, gives more clearance, and allows a tighter turn before you drag parts (Traction limits, of course, still apply).

I've also been known to lean slightly into a crosswind to put the bike more upright and let the suspension operate on a more vertical axis.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 12:25 AM
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www.msgroup.org has a lot of info on the physics of steering, braking, etc. I spent a lot of time reading this site when I started riding.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 09:04 AM
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Slow sharp turning... Don't know why nor if its even good, but seems like for some reason I want to lean and make a bit of a jog in the opposite direction just before making a sharp turn, I guess just another bad habit (I have plenty of them)...lol...
Have a good one...Old Dog...

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09-xl1200 "C" Vivid Black, Cast wheels w/19" Frt., SE-Stage 1+, X14iEDs...
MicroTach +, Higher wider H-bars, GPS Mt., Mustach bar Hwy. pegs...
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