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turning and leaning

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ok I know your supposed to let the bike lean under you in a turn but is there a limit to how far you should lean or are you supposed to lean as far as you can

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Go to DirtRider.com or RacerXill.com or any MX/Dirtbike publication and scope some pics of race coverage, bike tests, shootouts...you'll get the picture (ok, that pun was intended...)

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good point I looked at them and I see they only lean so far right?? seems that way to me any how

also how do they lean the bike over so far on flat turns the bike looks like its almost on its side but they make it through the turn

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It's how a motorcycle turns.

You countersteer, the bike leans over, and you turn. If you need to make the turn tighter, push the bars even harder and the turn will tighten... until you reach the limit of traction, which is usually about twice the lean angle you think it would be.

On a street bike, the footpegs/floorboards are the warning that you're leaning too far.... without gravel or oil in the turn, you can lean until they are scraping the pavement... even on a big cruiser like my Vulcan 1600.

It's fun to scrape the floorboards.

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basically my question was should I stay stright up and down or should I eventually lean a little with the bike just much less than the bike??

I think the answer is the latter of the 2

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You should have your body as upright as possible, weight on the outside peg, with the bike leaning underneath you.

Check out some of the threads on 'standing vs. sitting', they contain a lot of good info on riding position, bike movement vs. body movement, etc. A good read and valuable information...

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Your body position all depends on what you need the bike to do.

Normally, you'll let the bike lean under you. This provides the best weight balance in most cases offroad.

In street classes this is referred to as counterweighting, and is needed for low-speed maneuvering.... particularly turning a 900 pound Rune around in a parking lot :thumbsup:

One advanteg of this is that it puts the bike at the most extreme lean angle possible for the speed and turn radius. In some cases, you may wish to reduce the lean angle (say you are about to smack your footpeg on a rock).

By shifting your body weight INTO the turn, the lean angle of the bike will reduce to maintain balance. This is VERY common on the street... dragging the floorboards on a cruiser is fun, but sometimes the riders get spooked and they slow down, or yank their body AWAY from the turn... this will bury the floorboard/footpeg.

By always turning with the bike at maximum lean angle, you can ALWAYS straigten it up if need be.

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I find useing my knee to lean the bike in works well... I find that whenever i am turning hard my outside knee is right against the tank, butt on the outside edge of the seat... usually works. Idk... I don't think about what i'm doing much, but i thow my XR250 side to side pretty easy, so i must be doing something right... i hope

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counter-steering is used only at high speeds.

You probably do it w/o knowing, but basically you start a right turn by breifly steering left to drop the bike into a lean, then steer right to complete the turn.

Like I said you probably do it already.

The level that a rider understands what he is doing and why he is doing it is the biggest difference between Joe Rider and Joe Speed.

As far as lean, I try to minimize lean to keep the major tread on the ground. The edge of the tire is never as good as the center. I try to keep the top of the tire on the ground as long as possible. That's what determines lean.

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basically my question was should I stay stright up and down or should I eventually lean a little with the bike just much less than the bike??

guys that know how to ride and teach how to ride tell me that your body should be pretty close to perpendicular to the ground. the bike does almost all the leaning. the mx guys lean more because they are on bermed turns, so they're still perpendicular-ish to the berm.

one good reason for this is that when the bike slides, it slides under you so are still getting plenty of weight on the tires for traction. if you lean the same amount as the bike, a very small amount of sliding will have the bike no longer underneath you, so you will get no traction, so you will fall over.

as far as counter-steering, i would pretty much ignore that for dirtbiking purposes. you should be mostly steering through the footpegs anyway.

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I just lean till i feel like it is right. throw the leg out. unless in a really rocky section. and give it some gas to get that back end to go out a little bit.

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counter-steering is used only at high speeds.

10mph is high speed?

You probably do it w/o knowing, but basically you start a right turn by breifly steering left to drop the bike into a lean, then steer right to complete the turn.

If you mean you steer right to bring the bike out of the lean and exit the turn, yes. If you mean you turn left to initiate the turn and then right to maintain the turn, you don't.

It's hard to tell offroad because turns are quick and short, but on the highway it becomes apparent. When rolling a curve with a decreasing radius, it's a process of gradually pushing harder and harder on the inside grip. Releasing pressure or pressing on the opposite grip will immediately bring the bike upright.

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Also, square your shoulders and look to the inside of the turn when you lean it over. You will be surprised at how quick you turn. Practice by doing figure 8's slow and tight.

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It's hard to tell offroad because turns are quick and short, but on the highway it becomes apparent. When rolling a curve with a decreasing radius, it's a process of gradually pushing harder and harder on the inside grip. Releasing pressure or pressing on the opposite grip will immediately bring the bike upright.

Bingo.

Learned that when I was still crazy enough to ride on the streets of Atlanta...

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Sorry, but when you are coming into a high speed turn ( not 10 mph) you briefly turn the front wheel left, or away from the turn, to get the bike to get the lean necessary to make a right hand turn. Once you have the lean you need , you steer into the turn to finish the turn.

To straighten up the bike on the exit you actually turn tighter to bring the bike up to perpendicular.

At slower speeds, you have time to lean the bike more slowly and make the turn.

If you chose to muscle the bike into turns you can do that, but you can't do it that all day.

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Sorry, but when you are coming into a high speed turn ( not 10 mph) you briefly turn the front wheel left, or away from the turn, to get the bike to get the lean necessary to make a right hand turn. Once you have the lean you need , you steer into the turn to finish the turn.

To straighten up the bike on the exit you actually turn tighter to bring the bike up to perpendicular.

At slower speeds, you have time to lean the bike more slowly and make the turn.

If you chose to muscle the bike into turns you can do that, but you can't do it that all day.

I think you and WheelsUp are essentially saying the same thing in different ways...turning toward the outside, away from the curve can be accomplished by lightly pressing outward on the grip to the inside of the curve. And yes, this will pull you into the turn. (Kinda like being sucked into a black hole)

Ooohhhh, could've use better choice of wording there! :thumbsup:

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Sorry, but when you are coming into a high speed turn ( not 10 mph) you briefly turn the front wheel left, or away from the turn, to get the bike to get the lean necessary to make a right hand turn. Once you have the lean you need , you steer into the turn to finish the turn.

I don't agree with that.

It FEELS like that's what you're doing, but I ride a 60 mile commute at least once a week, and typically run 200-400 miles on the highway every weekend on a Vulcan 1600.

I am constantly holding pressure on the back of the INSIDE grip through the entire turn.

I didn't believe it either, until I tried something perhaps not recommended... righthanded sweeper at about 45mph... I completely released the left grip and OPENED my right hand so the only thing I could do was apply pressure.

There was no difference in the bike's response and feel through the turn.

As far as the speed... it depends on the bike, but it becomes effective somewhere between 6 and 13mph on EVERY bike.

http://personal.linkline.com/rlockyer/csteer.mpg

It's easy to miss.... run the video in a loop and watch the front tire.

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Steering geometry has a lot to do with it.

Most road bikes are set up for stability wheras most dirt bikes are set up for instability. For this reason dirt riders are less aware of counterstear than road riders

Raise your bike's forks as high as they go. The steering gets heavy and you experience understeer. With this geometry countersteering is very effective and indeed necesarry. Those that like stability at higher speeds use this setting.

Most dirt riders need to manoever their bikes at slower speeds and through tighter turns so they lower the forks and the steering gets light and twichy. You get very close to oversteer at slower speeds and the bike gets squirrelly at higher speeds which is why low fork seetings are no good for highway use. With the bike vertical (or near vertical) counterstearing requires VERY LITTLE pressure until the bike is quite low in the turn (through power sliding or riding quick).

Also dirt riders tend to sit on the outside of the seat in a turn wheras roadies hang everything inward. Largely because of surface grip I would imagine but once a bike starts to slide the roadie is cactus wheas the dirt rider just gets carried along for the ride. This is why I see motard riders kick the pants off the roadbikes on winding roads (because they are not afraid to slide a bit).

Meat (too scared to drift through a turn on asphalt) bomb....

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"Most dirt riders need to manoever their bikes at slower speeds and through tighter turns so they lower the forks and the steering gets light and twichy."

Good insight for me. My forks are almost all the way up now. What range of lowering the forks is usual? I'd like to lower them a bit and experiment, but I don't want to go overboard. I ride mostly woods. Thanks.

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