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Side Hills Continued -- Bike Angle and Peg Weighting

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In the thread about riding side hills, the consensus seemed to be to lean the bike into the side hill and weight the inside peg. I'm curious why this is the best. It seems to match most of what I've read elsewhere, but as I play around with slippery side hills, leaning the bike out and weighting the outside peg seems to work better for me (usually), including staying with the bike during the worst side-slip places.

Is the main reason for leaning the bike into the hill so that if you lose the bike it will land on its uphill side? or do you get better traction and control with the bike leaned in? It sure seems like I get more predictable traction with the bike leaned out and the middle of the knobbies on the side hill. Thanks for any advice! -Mike-

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Mike,

I took a lesson from Phil (owner of Sandhill) and he taught me to lean the bike into the hill and weight the outside peg, not the inside. By leaning the bike into the hill and weighting the outside peg you are maximizing the pressure of the knobbies into the hill. Also shift your hips and shoulders (torso) to the outside to maintain balance.

I have also found (before my lesson, that is) that leaning the bike to the outside tends to make the bike track downhill very easily, whereas leaning into the hill it is much easier to maintain your direction of travel across the hill.

I know I'm just a novice rider but this technique really does work. I've practiced it many times at Carnegie on some fairly steep hills.

Hope this helps.

Ted

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Berkman,

>> Is the main reason for leaning the bike into the hill so that if you lose the bike it will land on its uphill side? or do you get better traction and control with the bike leaned in? It sure seems like I get more predictable traction with the bike leaned out and the middle of the knobbies on the side hill. <<

I posted the original one about crossing hills. My theory, when I was trying it, was the same as yours...lean it out so that the knobby has the most "meat" on the surface. I can attest that it didn't work worth a damn though... :)

After picking up the bike after it fell on the downhill side several times, I can guarantee that I'll never ride it leaned out again should the situation arise! It seemed to double the weight of the bike!!

The other thing I discovered is that with the bike leaned outwards, a deflection of the front wheel towards uphill causes the bike to fall over very quickly to the downhill side....a lot faster than I would have imagined. Of course my advanced age, slower reflexes, and long layoff from the dirt undoubtedly had some bearing on this, it was still surprising.

When I go out this weekend, I'm going to find a slightly less intimidating hill and try the methods recommended on the other thread. Once they were explained, they do sound more logical than what I was doing. Maybe this old dog can learn new tricks... :)

Cheers,

Mac

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I thought the consensus was weight on the OUTSIDE or DOWN-HILL peg too.

This side-hill riding has it's origin in the basic turn. Let's see if I can make sense:

Generally speaking (Generally), basic turning in the dirt requires more attention to balance than relying on traction. For the basic dirt turn at slower speeds, it has always been pointed out to me and proved in my 30 years of Trials that you should tip the bike into the turn while you counter-balance it by stepping to the opposite peg. You can tip the bike over more if you open BOTH legs, lay the bike into the inside leg and then stand on the outside peg.. The Trials Training Center has some text, photos and video clips demonstrating this. They show the extreme version of this to help in grasping the concept. In your everyday use it will be more subtle than this.

In a slow serious side hill ride, you ride as if you are in a turn into the hill while you hold very slight opposite pressure on the bars to prevent the turn.

Basic Turning

The other factor in this or any side hill is the fact that your center of balance is a very thin line down the middle of your tires on flat ground. On a side hill, the contact point of the hill to your tires has shifted to the uphill side of your tire. By tipping the bike into the hill, you shift your center of balance so that it is now over the point where the tires are in contact with the ground. Does this make sense?

Another way to say it is: With the tire contact point no longer in the center of your tire, the center of your bike's balance is ALSO no longer in the center of the bike. By tipping the bike toward the tire contact point you are centering the bike's mass over that new offset point. As far as your position on the bike goes, YOU are simply stepping over on the down-hill peg to keep your own weigh centered over this new distorted balance point on the bike. And of course, as you tip the bike to one side, BOTH foot pegs move off-center too. Standing with equal pressure on both pegs would actually mean your weight is falling into the turn with the bike and now you will need centrifugal force to keep you up.. So, there goes the blip of the throttle or the foot to the ground and there goes your turn.. wider as you add the speed

There is a very slight reverse pressure on the bars to prevent the bike from turning into the hill. This stance is exactly the stance you would use in a slow flat ground turn, but you would allow the steering head of the bike to "flop" over in the direction the bike is leaning for a turn.

Sorry, this stuff is difficult to explain in one sentence. Once you feel it, it will make more sense and your dirt riding will improve. :)

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I'll try the different variations the next time I ride. Hey 2PLY, cool pics in the previous thread on side hills. That's an amazing boulder field that you were navigating! -Mike-

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I'll try the different variations the next time I ride. Hey 2PLY, cool pics in the previous thread on side hills. That's an amazing boulder field that you were navigating! -Mike-

Glad you liked them.. That's my local Trials Practice area near Seattle. That stretch of rocks is the place where I either glide through or bounce from rock to rock. And I finally know why. It's all related to that "Pucker Factor" I mentioned. If I am relaxed, centered over the bike, legs apart a little with no weight on the bars, steering with the feet, with my ankles and knees doing the suspension work, then it's a cake walk... If not, well, then it's the white knuckle version.. :):p I wish I had known this 30 years ago.. That's why I am sharing with you guys here. It works on ALL style of dirt bikes.

TIP: The "no weight on the bars" means, my hands are attached and ready, but my grip is light and my arms and elbows are loose. I *ALLOW* the bars to drop away from me, rise up to me, tip left or right with no resistance from my arms while my upper body remains centered and still and my feet are adjusting on the pegs to stay above the center of gravity while the bike moves around... as if you are balancing something on your head. If you can do this, it's what I call "Floating above the bike". You are attached to the bike, but your weight is not being deflected with the bike's weight when it bumps around.

A key to practice is: *ANYTIME* you feel pressure or pulling in your hands on the bars when you are NOT doing it on purpose, there is something wrong with your stance and your balance.. Take a break, figure out what it is and then continue. :)

I'm no master at this, but the better I get at it, the better and easier my rides are. Have fun!!

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Berkman,

>> Is the main reason for leaning the bike into the hill so that if you lose the bike it will land on its uphill side? or do you get better traction and control with the bike leaned in? <<

If you watch a trials rider, you will notice that when he turns the bike left, he leans the bike left and weights the outside (right) peg. Same applies to riding a hill side. You lean the bike in towards the hill, you weight the outside peg, and you are actually pushing the tires very slightly into the hill. That gives you better traction and control.

You would think that leaning away from the hill would be better, since that would put the bottom of the tire in more contact with the trail. But then the weight of the motorcycle is not working with you. Always weight the outside peg. Experiment on your next ride.

The good part about watching trilas riders is that they do most of their moves slowly and deliberately. That helps you learn the proper techniques.

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