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Leaning vs bike falling over in a corner

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Myke, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Just a question and potentially silly one to the experience riders. Assuming a corner is in good condition, no camber etc, how do you know (or is it possible) if you are leaning too much and that the bike will just fall over during a corner? Assuming you are travelling at above 40kph.

    Reason why I ask this is people sometimes say, "Oh, you''' sc**** the pegs before you run out of tire (I'm guessing they mean the edge of the tire)".

    The above assumes friction holds - I know there is a balance between lean angle, friction and speed...

    The reason why I ask is in the event that you're in a corner and realise that you stuffed the entry up/entered too fast for your skill level, and one of the option left(perhaps best option) is to lean the bike more... is it possible for the bike to just fall over/what should be done? Not talking about U-turns here.

  2. I feel your question is best answered with a picture. This answer it for you?

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  3. haha thanks I saw a similar pic of stoner in the other thread. I don't intend on dragging my elbows let alone knees yet and I don't have low profile slicks either :) Pretty sure my cbr250 will be scrapping along its side down the road if a remote attempt like that was even thought of
  4. Lean angle is dependant upon corner speed, all other factors being equal.

    So, to take a corner faster, you need to lean more. If you come into a corner too fast, relax, lean more. Chances are you'll make it through, if not, you'll run out of traction & lowside.

    But it won't just fall over.

    Do, or do not, there is no try.
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  5. #5 jag131990, Mar 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Losing traction and low siding is what he means by falling over. I often wonder about this sort of thing too.. having come from riding dirt my whole life the concept of leaning a bike in a corner and just trusting friction to get you around alive is something I struggle with all the time.
  6. I can't remember who said it but "you don't know the limit of available traction until find it"
    Not really a useful tip, more just have faith and lean off the bike to reduce the angle of lean of the bike.
  7. I lowsided the other night leaning a little too much!

    It's just one of those things that are hard to answer because even if someone told you how would you go about measuring this etc when you come to a corner?

    The best thing to do is just don't go into a corner too hot but obviously its easier said than done.

    If you need to tighten up at risk of going wide then your only real option is to do exactly that. Counter-steer hard, use your inside foot peg to get balance so you don't death grip the handle bars (and run wider), increase the throttle a bit (cause leaning more makes you slow down which will put more weight on the front wheel and cause you to go wider) and then just keep things smooth and accelerate away.

    Obviously the hardest part is overcoming the natural reaction to want to brake and let off the throttle (both of which shift weight forward and make you go even wider).

    If you lose traction then a low-side was your best option anyway but chances are your bike has more grip than you think (unless you hit an oil slick, got dodgy tyres etc) and your entry speed probably wasn't too fast at all for the bike but rather too fast for your own sense of self-preservation. There is a fine line between riding with confidence and over-stepping your limits but riding with complete fear is also very dangerous because your natural reactions to fear do nothing but hinder your ability to actually deal with the problem.
    Stupid brain.

    Anyway, going wide is very dangerous, at least on the low-side you'll hopefully just slide to a stop vs going wide into something you don't want to go wide into.
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  8. Do you mean to say the corollary? Ie The faster you go the more you can lean?

    That makes sense, which is why u-turns are so hard and require you to counter-lean to a certain extent because you're going so slow there is no centrifugal force to keep the bike upright.

    Try and get your hands on a copy of the Cornering Bible by Keith Code. Very very useful.
  9. you only learn how far your bike will lean when a logging truck cuts the corner

    in an emergency as you describe the alternatives to leaning are usually running into something such as the scenery or oncoming traffic. if you do come off from leaning it will be a low side, which if you have to crash is the best one. more likely you will stuff something else up and do something dramatic and spectacular. look up survival reactions.
  10. Always love looking at that pic spruce....

    As long as surface is clean, etc as you said, someone said to me a while ago when I was starting off that your tyres are way more advanced than you are so trust your tyres..

    Had a few times where I'm saying "I trust my tyres... I trust my tyres... I trust my tyres..."
    Trust was well warranted!
    The alternative was that big tree I wasn't too keen on..... :LOL:

    Cheers, keep riding...

    I trust my tyres...
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  11. You've got to 'feel' what the tyre is doing. Some tyres give more feedback than others (through the bars, pegs, frame, seat).

    If it starts to feel loose or kinda light, you are running out of grip. If it gets 'squirmy' you are on the edge of the tyre.

    Unfortunately, some poor quality tyres just let go.
  12. Exactly right, all things being equal.
  13. Thanks guys all the above replies helped.

    To clarify I wasn't talking so much of loosing traction and sliding, but the bike simply falling on its side. But I guess you can't really keep traction out of it.

    This question came to me as once I got too close to the centre line for comfort, it was a tight, not quite a hairpin but close, up hill turn heavily banked (in favour of the rider). The kind that would seem the perfect 'smile' turn but for a newbie the uphill + tight turn and banking increased the 'G' forces felt in the turn. And I got really close to the centre.

    In hindsight, yes my speed was too fast for me, but given the situation I was already in its good to know what can be done next time. And in that situation I think the safest option was to lean more, but I didn't for fear of the bike falling over, so I was very close to the centre... and was lucky. very lucky

    Btw This is one of the earlier turns heading north from Stanwell tops at the Royal National Park in sydney
  14. A funny but good question this one.
    Lots of good answers here. All pointing to the one thing.
    "Righting motion"...... Gyroscopic effect..... How a freeken bike stays up.
    The simple Julias Sumner Miller example is to spin a coin. Oh look it stays up till it's rotation becomes too slow and ineffective.
    @ anything over 40k's an hour it's pretty dam hard to ride a bike into the ground. You can do it, but you have to try pretty hard.
    Now all you knobs. How many of you have said WTF do I have to do fig 8's for? Where am I legally going to be able to do a fig 8 on the road?
    Or you can get so good at them you can do the 5m ones one handed scraping the pegs.
    Or enlarge that to a ten meter fig 8. And instead of counterbalancing and rear brake throttle....Artificial gyroscopic effect. And start hanging off the inside. Start scraping a knee.
    This exercise shows you how far you can lean a bike. If you do it right. And if you don't the damage and pain is a hell of a lot less than @ a buck twenty or more.
    It shows you how a bike works with the righting motion. It teaches you when to assist the bike in it's turn or counterbalance the bike to aid its turn.
    Basically it teaches you what the bikes needs and how to move your body around the bike without upsetting it or your balance.
    It gives you the confidence you will need at the track to take the corners with enough speed to get a knee down in its natural environment :)

    Oh ps OP.
    When the shoite hits the fan in a corner like you mentioned with having to go harder than intended.
    I don't think about the bike leaning. (But I am pretty comfy with a bike doing that) My only thought or intention is to hold my mark. My mark being where I want to be right now. I do not look anywhere else. And I push the bar till the bike is pointing there and heading that way.
    Your natural instinct will be to sit up and brake. If your riding skills are not great that's not such a bad thing. It will reduce the damage and pain. but most times you will come to a sudden stop.
    Riding out of trouble is always a preferred option. I like to win lotto too. Sometimes it's not that easy to override natural instinct
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  15. Thanks bretto61.

    Yes and that turn was where I discovered target fixation as well. I didn't hit the break but saw the line and went "Oh no double line!! must not cross! what if a car comes around!" So I ended following the line up riding very close to the line for fear of leaning and cross it. Eventually I managed to pull my eyes away and look upwards towards the exit.

    I thought people just did figure of eights so they have no strips lol. Seriously though, that's a good suggestion
  16. ...most likely you will chicken out before the tyres do...so if in doubt, lean more (this obviously does not apply to people who already are scraping knees/pegs without chicken strips and know their max lean angle).

    Out on the road, I don't lean the bike as far as it can majority of the time, so during hairy situations I can lean a bit further which could make a hell of a difference.
  17. This. You can trust your tyres as much as you want but if you're already at the limit of your tyres and it tightens up more than you thought.... Also means anything on the road is far more likely to upset the bike. Run over a twig while fully leaned over could end in tears whereas it's a lot less likely if you're only 80% over or so.
  18. No. Your bike won't just fall over. It can't unless you are going very very slowly.

    You CAN lean too much and lose traction and crash. How much lean will depend on the quality and design brief of the tyres. Each have limitations.
  19. First off you are in the best stead with dirt experience, because you will know how to deal with any crappy surfaces better than non offroaders, and how to deal with tyres breaking loose (sometimes).

    But, turning on the tarmac is entirely different (as is body positioning)
    the tyres will basically grip as much as you want them to unless you are really pro or your bike will spin the wheels.

    the only thing that might unexpectedly change your lean angle (other than shitty surface) is speed, say you pull in the clutch, select wrong gear or run out of fuel but this is rare.

    First thing, try to set your speed before you turn because once you're there you only have two options: sit up straight and brake OR lean in harder. (or both very softly)

    As you learn your bike you will learn the tyres, and chances are they will grip further down than you are willing to go.

    The bike is more likely to tip at low speeds, say you accidentally get neutral
  20. just think 'when in doubt throttle out', 'start wide finish tight',

    seriously reading twist of the wrist 2 has helped me immensely, i would read a chapter then go out in the twisties & put each component into practice, i seriously have not had a major run wide moment i could not handle for a long time, plus i always keep 20-25% in reserve from what i know i have done on the track

    the other great step up for me was going from the 250RR to a modern 600....having enough power to pick the bike up out of a corner has really taught me a lot about riding & throttle control

    the most important thing for me is setting up the correct entry speed for the corner & aiming to plan the corner rolling on the throttle through out the entire corner with out ever cutting it, starting wide & finishing tight setting up the next corner.....

    look up the pace type riding, you basically ride with absolute minimal use of the brakes setting up the correct entry speed through engine braking alone, really helpful

    learning all this has made me a faster safer rider, I do not require full lean on the road & if there is an emergency at least i have something in reserve if i really have to....

    I think the track is better suited for exploring these limits, & in my case its ended a couple of times now with obvious results

    ....just my 2cts