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Riding is Awesome (but how do I turn)

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Hey Gals,

I've only been riding bike for a couple of months, but I feel pretty confident doing almost everything but turning tight. I've gone over fallen trees and up and down very rocky trails, even streams with muddy/rocky inclines on the other side, I just can't seem to turn very well. I ride a CRF 230 and for the most part I am extremely happy with it (I've tried a 150 but it seems so little and underpowered) But I'm only 5'4'' and 110 lbs and I've dumped my bike so many times because I turn it and get off balance and if I can't touch the ground the bike goes down and I go with it. Yesterday we were twenty miles from the truck and I went to turn around on a slight hill and what do you know the bike and I biff it and my clutch lever breaks off. I jacked up my shoulder, but it's my poor bike that's taking the beating with scratches on her everywhere. So what do you guys suggest I should do? I would love to hear from Thumper Talks finest so that's why I wrote in the thumpette forum.

Shawna :excuseme:

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Stay on the gas....as soon as you come off the throttle the bike will tip over. The natural response is to "go slow" and stop. In reality that is the worst thing. You don't have to go fast, just keep the throttle on...and you will get better with time. I had a really hard time with tight right handers on my street bike and kept dropping her (R6). Fortunately both times were on the grass, but I reallized I was 1) not counter balancing and 2) totally chopping (letting off) the throttle. No gas and leaning into the "turn" equaled me and the bike in a pile on the ground.

Just chant your mantra..stay on the gas, stay on the gas, stay on the gas....You'll get it! :excuseme: Just remember on the gas is not wide open!!! You'll go through a tight one a little "too fast" and find out it works great and start going faster....it's all practice!

Good luck!

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Stay on the gas....as soon as you come off the throttle the bike will tip over...

...but I reallized I was 1) not counter balancing and 2) totally chopping (letting off) the throttle. No gas and leaning into the "turn" equaled me and the bike in a pile on the ground.

:bonk:

you suggest to replace (counter-)balancing with momentum

:excuseme:

MSF teaches counterbalance from exercise 10 on

pivot turns are not part of the besic schedule

Shawna, my 2 ct:

find someone to teach you how to counterbalance correctly

not a motocrosser, because they tend to take their feet off the pegs

and not move their butt

and then

practice, practice, practice

figure 8s until you are dizzy

the only way to become a good and save rider is proper riding technique and saddletime

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Thanks for the input!

My husband is an awesome teacher and a great cheerleader, but when it comes to turns he just doesn't understand my problem. He's 6'4'' so he never has to deal with uneven ground or a heavy bike (comparatively). Anyway, I'm still a little confused. I love turning as tight as I can in the sand and making circles all over. I guess I'm sorta counterbalancing there but it's easy there because 1) I can touch the ground and 2) The sand slows the bike down. The hardest turns I have on on hillsides, either up or down. Where if the bike does start to tip I don't know how to save it because it's a ways down before my foot can touch.

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The hardest turns I have on on hillsides, either up or down. Where if the bike does start to tip I don't know how to save it because it's a ways down before my foot can touch.

not sure if it's contributing to your problem or not, but a common problem, and one i constantly fight against (and i'm a competitive A/expert dezert and enduro racer) is not looking where i want to go. it's real easy to find yourself looking at your front tire, and what it's doing, and at the outside of the turn. if you look out the exit of the turn, to where you want to be, the bike will tend to go that way.

i would recommend doing some drills. take some traffic cones, or branches, or boxes, or small children, and place them 30-40' apart (maybe further if needed), and do figure-8 turns between them. i like to set them up far enough apart that i can get into 2nd gear between them, so i can practice shifting while entering and exiting the corner too, but you may want to try it a few times w/o shifting. if you can get awesome great cheerleader husband to sit there with a beer in his hand and encourage you, and constantly remind you to look through the turn (basically look back towards the other traffic cone or child that you're turning around) when you forget, that will be helpful.

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Thanks to everyone for pointing out my shortcomings :excuseme:

Really though thanks! This has been very helpful, because I do let off the throttle instead of keeping it steady, and yes I do occasionally fixate on my front tire (but I am getting better at that), and sometimes I get too nervous to counterbalance my weight (which isn't much to begin with). These are all problems I had but hopefully now that I know they are contributing to the problem I can work on them.

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The biggest thing I would say is to just practice with cones in uneven areas. You will get the hang of it I am sure and you will be figuring out another issue. I believe everyone has a hard time at something and they work on it and then find something else.

As for the broken lever, my wife did the same thing last week. We ride close to the truck so I don't carry it on the bike, but I have a few extra levers in the tool box, but then again I think she may have done this on purpose to get a new set of levers installed... :excuseme: She got a set of the MSR's and they are the 2-3 finger type which will make it a little more difficult to break because they are shorter than the stock levers.

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Been there. Done that.

Since no one else has suggested it - bark busters protect clutch levers and hands. Practice is a good thing as others have said. It sounds like you and your husband ride together and you may be riding terrain that you are not ready for. Since he is a good teacher you may want to have him show you how he does it on a section you are having trouble with, have him watch you try the same section, and work on it that way.

I liked Velosaipens comment too: "i would recommend doing some drills. take some traffic cones, or branches, or boxes, or small children"!

.

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:bonk:

you suggest to replace (counter-)balancing with momentum

:excuseme:

MSF teaches counterbalance from exercise 10 on

pivot turns are not part of the besic schedule

Actually I suggest you re-read my post. I said because I did NOT counter balance.....

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Been there. Done that.

Since no one else has suggested it - bark busters protect clutch levers and hands. Practice is a good thing as others have said. It sounds like you and your husband ride together and you may be riding terrain that you are not ready for. Since he is a good teacher you may want to have him show you how he does it on a section you are having trouble with, have him watch you try the same section, and work on it that way.

.

Funny thing... My husbands friend that we were riding with suggested we purchase some that day. Looks like we'll be picking some up along with the new lever.

As far as the terrain we ride, I usually get over the tough stuff it's just the easy turning around on the trail that I really struggle with. You can imagine how frustrated my husband gets when I get up a tough hill climb with roots and rock ledges just to dump the bike at the top trying to turn around.

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This has been very helpful, because I do let off the throttle instead of keeping it steady

letting off the throttle in a corner (especially on a 4-stroke) is a recipe for a washout for sure for a variety of reasons. practice practice practice. in harder terrain it seems to work for me to use gentle and increasing front brake up to the apex of a corner, then get on the gas as soon as i can see the exit. in sand, it seems to work better to do any necessary slowing while the bike is still upright, and get on the gas as the bike is leaned into the corner. this can be tricky because you can't always tell what's around the corner, so when you see something, you let off the gas and poof, there goes the front tire.

mw

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Buy this book and read it cover to cover: "Gary Semics MX and Off Road Pro Riding Techniques"

find it most cyclegears or other well stocked dirt bike stores. Get his training DVD's as well.

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As far as the terrain we ride, I usually get over the tough stuff it's just the easy turning around on the trail that I really struggle with. You can imagine how frustrated my husband gets when I get up a tough hill climb with roots and rock ledges just to dump the bike at the top trying to turn around.

Completely understandable! Sometimes the easy stuff is the hardest...Sounds like you are doing GREAT! Hubby is one lucky guy.

.

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Buy this book and read it cover to cover: "Gary Semics MX and Off Road Pro Riding Techniques"

find it most cyclegears or other well stocked dirt bike stores. Get his training DVD's as well.

Is that the same book as "Pro Motocross and off road Riding Techniques" by Donny Bales with Gary Semics 3rd edition? The one I should have read before my last visit to Forest Hill?

.

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yeah same book, keeps me alive and well

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One thing that really helped my wife was when we took a motocycle safety course to get our cycle endorsements. Having someone other than me giving her constructive criticism helped out lots. Also, we had learn figure eights and slow maneuvers in a parking lot...which, weirdly enough, translated well to offroad.

:excuseme:

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Because the 230 is a bit heavy, it will go down really easy if the momentum isn't kept up. Also, if your 5'4", you shouldn't ever really have a problem touching the ground on that bike. I would suggest checking the sag on the rear shock and make sure it's set right for your rider weight. If getting sag right is difficult, you might want to think about a different weight shock spring. I had a 230 once when I started riding and I recall that the suspension was super stiff from the factory, if I had kept it I most likely would have put a softer spring on it. Between the proper bike set up and a little more speed/momentum you'll master the turns in no time!

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My husband set up the sag for me about 2 weeks after riding. I don't have a problem touching on even ground, only when we get on hillsides or washed out trails.

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like in previous threads throttle control dont chop it keep it steady, stay off the front brake in the turn, try and do your braking before the turn and if you need to slight braking with the rear is best. the rest is body position and balance. wieghting the outside foot on the peg keeps things on the ground, when you are about to exit the turn gas it and roost the guy behind you, lots of fun. to practice find a berm you are comfortable with and keep hitting it a little faster each time try it from both sides so you dont become a 1 turn rider. good luck and keep it up.

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Just a thought, cause your on the petite side..... have you ever thought of having your seat shaved. My husband rides a CRF450R, and even though he's a great rider, he had his seat shaved so he'd feel a little more comfortable in the gnarly stuff. Lot's of the riders around here have it done. He took about an inch off the height and wow what a difference... and you don't lose any suspension like with a link... or comfort...

I can now confidently ride my husbands bike, which I was teetering on before. :excuseme:

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