speed questions

Having ridden in one harescramble, I feel comfortable saying that I have no problem keeping up with anyone on a straight. The 426 pulls fine. I lose on the corners, jumps (I don't fly), and I absolutely hate the whoops.

I think I can beat the whoops with a little practice and some pucker to just hold the throttle open. I think I can learn how to fly enough to compete. That will take some practice and understanding. I also found out I don't shift to quick and abandon the clutch in 60% of my shifts in the one race I entered.

I need help on the corners. So, some of you guys that have been racing for awhile, I'd like to get some input.

I have seen turns around the outside/highside of a berm. It seems that this would almost be a better way for a 4 stroke to hit the turns and allow one to carry the most speed through the turn.

As it is now this is how I hit ANY turn:

Pick my line (adjusted for traffic) If I am going to fast I will downshift to bleed speed and dig better coming out the other side. I move up on the tank and elbows up, I push down on the handle bar to the inside. As I enter the turn I get my foot out last if needed. About 1/3rd of the way through the turn I start rolling on the throttle and try to weight the outside peg. As I exit the turn I grab any throttle I may have left and upshift unless its still digging out of the turn.

OK. Whats wrong, whats right, different turns and different methods. Any help will be appreceiated.

Thanks in advance


Are you aware of countersteer effect? A 2 wheeled vehicle is steered by actually pushing the handlebar in the OPPOSITE direction, to make it lean in and turn in the desired direction. While driving a straight line, try suddenly turning your handlebar to the right (push with your left hand and pull with your right) and your bike will quickly lean to the left and turn...When your aware of this, you can more easily control your direction without fighting your way around and be more relaxed for a better feel for traction.

How are the tires and suspension settings? Maybe try more rebound damping...Late braking and riding up the berm should help carry more speed but the straighter line is usually the fastest.

You can also turn very easy at high speeds by leaning to one side, then you dont even have to turn the handlebars :)

I work with a very talented road bike rider and he told me about counter steering. I tried to envision it happening as I ride and I couldn't. The concept intrigued me so I went on the net and read 4-5 lengthy discussions about it. For road bikes it is definitely a control method but they stated that for dirt bikes counter steering had little or no effect. I don't remember why it was different in their opinion.

If I am riding tight single track or woods, I raise my forks 12 mm in the clamps.You will loose a little high speed stability, but it is hardly noticeble if you have a steering stabilizer.You will be amazed on how much it improves the steering.

If I am riding dual sport or desert, I lower the clamps back.It only takes a couple of minutes.

You front tire has a lot to with turning as well.Make sure you have the proper tire for the conditions you are riding.I hope you are not still on the stock tire.

I didn't see anywhere in your post about changing to a YZ seat and tank combo. This will make turning a whole new ball game on your bike. Before I switched mine, the front just seemed to go away in the turns. Now I can rail in the corners.

I'd also check the condition of your tires, especially the front. If the edges are all rounded, there is no way it's going to handle like a newer, sharp edged tire.

I'd find a nice section somewhere that has some decent turns to it and keep running over and over those sections trying different lines, lean angles, braking, speeds, etc. Repetition is probably the best way to go faster through the corners.

A YZ style seat and tank will noticably improve turning for those corners where you are sitting down.

If you are riding single track, stand up through the corners. It takes some practice and if you are an ex-MXer it will seem odd not sitting up on the tank, but you will go faster overall and use less energy if you stand up all the time.

OK, I haven't tried the counter steer thing but it sounds almost like you are trying to get a power slide around going. Is that correct?

Tires. I know the stock 739 is perhaps the worst tire I could have in this situation and I will probably end up on a 756 front and rear, but, I dont think I am even pushing that 739 to it's potential yet. I do need to examine it and see how much it could be effecting my riding. I did have it push out on me in a corner.

Because this is my first race I have not take the steps to get a YZ seat and tank, nor Have I YZ timed my scoot.

Should I be paying more attention to the clutch side of this equation or is that more of a two stroke thing?

Thanks for your help and advice. Let me know what you think


Hey Race,

Are you talking aobut riding up at Berthoud? I assume that's ths HS you were in???

I'll say this-I think anywhere up there besides the main track is a nightmare for turning anyway-either powdery dusty sand, or rock hard. You will notice a difference with the 756's, and you might want to make sure both front and back suspension is set up right. You want to get it to soak up as much as you can w/out bottoming on the table tops out there. What kind of tire pressure are you running, can you drop it at all?

As for the woops, I'm just getting those figured out (well not too much yet) try this-instead of rolling on and off the throttle, try controlling your speed more with the clutch during the woops.

For some reason, I always hook up better at Watkins than I do at Berthoud-I think it's just that I've had more practice out there...

About the countersteer, I was trying to demonstrate how it works...It's how we all turn, usually without realizing it. Fact is, without doing this, it is virtually impossible to turn. I said to try it suddenly to see the responsive effect. Try it smoothly too, from one side to the other...It's how we all lean the bike to initiate a turn and being aware of this should help.


Yes, this was Berthoud. I didn't change tire pressure at all and not sure what its at right now. That could be a large part of the problem on the push. I will try feeding the power through the clutch, I never thought of that until very recently.

I have watched people hit the curves, but I keep missing how they maybe feeding the clutch through the turn. I see some lock the rear and skid around some tight turns and dump the clutch when they are headed in the right direction (steer with the rear). This last method really seems to be one that would only work with a 2 stroke power band that will yank that knobbie into a spin. Am I wrong on this? Can you use this method on a 4 stroke? Whats your opinion?


Race, I've heard both sides to this clutch idea on a 4stroke. I tend to slip my clutch a little bit coming out of really tight turns (but that may be because I don't have the skill to keep my speed up without it). Most say you should just be able to roll the throttle on when coming out of turns, but I think the hairpins and really tight ones need more clutch use (plus if you are racing, no harm in offering a little roost to those that may be close behind). :) I do see more people on 2 smokes locking up the rear and squaring off the turn than I do on 4 strokes. I've tried both ways and one thing I noticed, we have such high compresion that you have to make sure you have your clutch in if you lock it up or you'll stall it. On a 2 smoke if you stall, it generally fires back up without missing a beat once you unlock the rear. I think I run about 10-11 psi up at Berthoud, but don't go up there enough to be sure what's best. Others might be able to shed more light on that...

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