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Help practicing counter-steering

  #1  
Old 05-15-2010, 05:09 PM
Kuroshio's Avatar
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Default Help practicing counter-steering

Ok here's my dilemma.

I ride to work every day the weather permits. Still not comfortable enough with the wet to attempt a rainy day. The route to work is nothing but cross streets, stop lights and stop signs. So I rarely get a chance to take any turns at speed.

There are a couple places where I can take a turn at something faster than from a dead or rolling stop. Those times, I'm about 75 / 25 on my turns. Most times I come out alright. Just sometimes I either start running wide and chop speed to tighten the turn. Or I underestimate the speed I need for the turn and have some wobble at the apex.

I can correct it with a little throttle. But I don't think that's a good idea. These are gentle benders which I can pussyfoot. Meaning I can take them with plenty of lean angle left over. Which also means the rear is nowhere near its traction limits. I figure if I try the same with any serious lean, I may push beyond my tires' traction limits (lowside).

So what do I do? Parking lot practice ain't gonna help. Can't simulate the necessary speeds / turns in most lots (not enought space). And I don't think the Phillies or Eagles would appreciate my sneaking into the stadium parking lots. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 05-15-2010, 10:21 PM
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Freeway clovers.

Excessive correcting in the turn, by throttle or brakes, upsets the chassis and is a huge contributor to crashing.

Visualize your EXIT point, and work backwards. We call it your EEL, or Earliest Exit Line. As you approach the turn, visualize the exit point. Think about where the clip-point or apex would have to be to make the exit point correct, then think about your turn-in point.

Initially, try to get your braking and body position set before your turn-in point - just too many things to think about at first, so we recommend to get everything done and "cruise" through the turn. Ignore your rear brake, don't need it on a sportbike. (As you gain more experience, and it takes a lot of time, you can brake all the way to the apex). Brake, then maintenance throttle to carry the bike through the corner to the apex. Never coast in neutral or with the clutch pulled. That also changes geometry. Gentle throttle will widen the turn, lean angle/countersteering to tighten.

When you can see you turn-in point, shift your vision (and turn your head) to see the clip-point (or apex. Not always the same). As soon as you can see the clip/apex, shift your vision to the exit point. Start accelerating very, very smoothly when you hit the clip point/apex (that's Rule #1. Throttle control). Accelerating will want to stand the bike up and make you drift outward to the exit point. Shift body position to normal when you reach the exit point.

Can't stress how important body position is. Shifting the center of gravity outwards allows you to make the turn faster with LESS lean angle. Imagine you are "kissing the mirror". Trying high-speed turns sitting upright is another invitation to crash.

You probably do not have to worry about serious lean and traction issues. It feels like you're leaning way more than you generally are.

We teach that 85% of single MC accidents in turns are due to too much perceived corner entry speed and the rider panics, stands the bike up, and ends up crashing or they tuck the front. 12% is too much throttle on the exit and either causing a highside or drifting off road.

And of course, the absoulte best place to practice is at a trackday with instructors.
 

Last edited by randyjoy; 05-15-2010 at 10:32 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-16-2010, 02:45 AM
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+111111
Look down the turn not right in front of you. stay at a steady speed, not braking in the middle of the turn. Also agree on the tires aren't going to reach the traction limits unless you hit sand or rocks unless they aren't in good condition. Randyjoy is right on key with this advise.
 
  #4  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:06 AM
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I had the same problems with counter steering and I was always chopping my throttle and turning wide. I am lucky I wasn't killed. Buy the Keith Code twist of the wrist II video. It is about 35.00 on ebay but well worth the money on getting to visualize and correct all your trouble spots.
Tom
 
  #5  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for the tip tanrush. I already have the video and both books. It's not that I don't know what to do. I just lack the practice. My weekends are funky (Sun & Mon). So the days where I can take an uninterrupted ride with light traffic is just Sunday.

randyjoy I had planned on taking a trackday this year. But the new bike set me back in both comfort and funds. The F4i is just too pretty Freeway clovers is a good idea. Of course not as controlled environment as I'd like. Body positioning I've been experimenting and practicing with already. Since we're talking street, full tucks and hanging off are out. Unless I feel like having every cop in the city stopping me every other block. It just sets off alarm bells to see someone prepped for racing. And since I don't ride in leather pants, dragging a knee would be a really bad idea

What I am doing is shifting my upper body to the inside of the turn, moving my lower body just enough so I'm not doing contortions. I just need more practice I guess. Taking the ERC on Jun 20th which will help a little. Maybe after I pay my insurance for the year I'll try to squeeze in a trackday this summer.
 
  #6  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Kuroshio View Post
randyjoy I had planned on taking a trackday this year. But the new bike set me back in both comfort and funds. The F4i is just too pretty Freeway clovers is a good idea. Of course not as controlled environment as I'd like. Body positioning I've been experimenting and practicing with already. Since we're talking street, full tucks and hanging off are out. Unless I feel like having every cop in the city stopping me every other block. It just sets off alarm bells to see someone prepped for racing. And since I don't ride in leather pants, dragging a knee would be a really bad idea

What I am doing is shifting my upper body to the inside of the turn, moving my lower body just enough so I'm not doing contortions. I just need more practice I guess. Taking the ERC on Jun 20th which will help a little. Maybe after I pay my insurance for the year I'll try to squeeze in a trackday this summer.
You don't have to hang off like Rossi to make body position count; move your butt over not even one cheek, don't stick your knee out (no reason if you're not in full lean...actually, there is, but we'll skip it for now), drop the upper body just a little and drop your inside elbow. That will shift the upper body just enough to make the cornering smoother. And it doesn't look like you're trying to be a MotoGP racer with the subtle position change. Important part is getting your head to the inside. Draw an imaginary line down the center of the bike from headlight to taillight; your head should be on the inside of the line.

I flat out never drag knee on the street, traction, etc just too unpredictable. Don't wear pucks, either. Look goofy to me on the street. Track is a different animal, though.

And when you do get to do a trackday, you'll love it.

By the way, in the Keith Code video, Peter Lenz is one of the kids on the minis. I pitted couple spots down from him at our first Endurance Race this year in February (he was, of course, doing minis, we were doing big bike so we didn't race togther. Nice kid, and real speedy).
 

Last edited by randyjoy; 05-16-2010 at 07:42 PM.
  #7  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:01 PM
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Riding on normal streets you should be able to sit straight up and just push right/go right or push left/go left. Used to give me the giggles riding twisties and all I'd have to do to keep up with most of the road warriors was to do basic counter steering.

Agree 100% with randyjoy ... do a trackday and that will help a lot with entry speed issues.
 
  #8  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:33 PM
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Meh, wish I had read that before I left out randy. I'll have to try the elbow thing. I've finally beaten the stiff arm, tight on the bars thing outta my system finally. Just another thing to add to the practice list

The dead annd rolling stop turns are no problem. Its just when I'm halfway down the block, coming up on my turn and the light turns green is where I sometimes have a problem. I know the turns on my route to / from work and know they can be taken way harder. Since I head out at 6 am-ish, the roads are relatively free of idiots sitting in the middle of the street right after the turrn. Its good practice when I hit the lights right but that's a rare occurance.

I figure if I can get a 90 deg turn down pat at 25-30 mph, I can handle the next step. Thing that pisses me off is I had all this down with the F3. But flawless bike worries have set me back a bit
 
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:51 PM
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You'll get it. Just takes time. Another thing we stress is increments.

Coming up to a turn that you can normally take at 30 mph and brake at 300 ft away (and feel comfortable), if I were to say "Try it next time at 70 mph and brake at 100 ft", you'd call me crazy or if you tried it, you'd crash.

But if I said, "Try it at 32 mph and brake at 290 feet" you'd be OK. Get comfortable, then try 34 mph (we're not really looking at the speedometer, we're just knowing we're going a tiny bit faster) and 280 feet (we do have a visual reference point for braking). It may take many turns, but before long, you are doing 50 and braking at 200 feet. And then soon, you're railing through at 70 and braking at 100 ft. Might have taken a week, or a month, or even longer, but you've accomplished it in increments.

Obviously, you may not get to the level I used in my example on a city street, but you'll get your desired speed, be it 35, 40, whatever.

The track advantage is that we make laps over and over, and the corner is the same everytime we go through it.
 
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:03 PM
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I'll do a track day eventually. Just for the learning experience. But going fast has never and will never be a priority for me. Smooth is my priority. It's prolly because I ride that I can recognize that some of my turns are anything but smooth. Or maybe I'm overly critical

And I also know that mastery of counter steering adds defensive depth to the playbook. If some surprise pops up in the turn, the best bet is to be able to steer around it. I'll try taking smaller steps too, randy
 

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