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Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Donuts, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Hi all,

    New rider (Got Ls) and new user here :grin: . Been reading here for a long time (about a year before I even went for my learners :oops: :p ).

    Just wondering if you guys have any tips for roundabouts? There's a roundabout I have to go through to go pretty much anywhere (small town) and, to make things simple let's say it's a big one with 5 entry/exit points, and I'm entering at the 1st and exiting at the 5th (so essentially right next to the 1st, but I have to traverse the whole roundabout to get to it).

    I've found going through it, and some others (particularly the new ones they're doing (re)down here in Victoria that are completely off center :evil: ), i have to slow right down (i'd estimate i'm going less than 20 but i've never really looked at the speedo, it's hard enough as it is), which is pretty nerve racking because it seems as if I'm holding cars up (not that I care but you know how some of them get).

    Any tips for a new rider? I've found that sometimes I feel scarily close to the edge gutter, which inevitably causes me to focus on it which is obviously bad (and I'm pretty good at looking where I want to head). Maybe it's because I look to the left to watch the car at 'entry 4' to make sure they keep giving way, when i want to be going right?

    Any tips appreciated guys :). I did a search before signing up and didn't see anyone else bring this up, hope it's not just me!
  2. I'm no expert, but try using counter steering to tip the bike quickly. it may help to think of it like snow skiing (keep your body a little more upright & flex below your waist with the bike) sounds dumb, but might help you lean quicker & be a little more stable.

    I am prepared to be told I am an idot by someone who knows better :)
  3. I'm a nub myself but I'll throw my 2 cents in. Open to correction. First post too.

    Picking the right gear is probably the most important part - try it with a low gear first and then go up until you feel comfortable. Once that's sorted you can concentrate on snapping your neck by looking deep into the corner and at the cages waiting to kill you at each entry. Now you can keep a decent speed although be prepared to straighten up and brake if a cager jumps out.

    Whoever invented roundabouts probably hated motorcyclist. Look at the wheels, they never lie. Also keep an eye out for rainbow stains in the wet and dark oily looking patches in the dry - diesel is more common than you think on bends/corners/roundabouts, especially where trucks/semi's frequent.

    Edit: your small town sounds like Gympie, QLD. There's that one right in the middle of town, hills and all. Good times :p
  4. Mate it sounds like you just need to get out and ride some more. Roundabouts make city roads fun when you figure them out.

    Don't worry about holding cars up behind you, as a Learner they will expect that. Just practice looking through the corner, glancing at the front wheel of the car on the nearest entrance. Just work on being smooth and relaxed, the more you ride the more comfortable you will become with roundabouts.
  5. Thanks for your replies guys.

    What do you mean by that? Watch the wheel of the cars who may enter to know if they're going to take off?

    Yeah, I definitely need to spend more time (only ridden a few times), probably is I don't have my own bike yet so can only borrow a mates rarely. I'd like to get my own soon though :).

    I'm not so worried about holding the cars up as I am about ending up TOO close to the gutter :(
  6. Look at the wheels because whether or not it looks like the driver is paying attention, the wheels will tell you what the car is actually doing. This doesn't just apply at roundabouts... at intersections the bloke in the oncoming who you swore looked at you can turn into your lane like *that*.

    As far as roundabouts themselves go, I prefer sitting in the inside lane if possible (the one that hugs the roundabout) and follow the curb fairly closely. I use 2nd or 3rd depending on how busy it is etc, but at the end of the day there is no trophy or sponsorship deal on the line, take things at a pace comfortable to you.
  7. The front wheels will tell you where if the car is moving and where it's going. Drivers could be looking anywhere while the car is doing the exact opposite so you can't rely upon them. Same goes for indicators, nothing stopping someone from indicating right and going left.

    Yeah, this is what looking into corners and leading with your chin will fix up. Point your head and the bike will follow. You can steal a glance to the side with just your eye balls for the cars but as long as your head stays pointed in the direction you want to go then all should follow through.

    Also be aware of target fixation - you see a pothole, don't stare at it, look beside it where you want to go. Better yet, keep your eyes moving and don't fixate on any one thing for too long.

    After a while you can start using your peripheral vision to give you greater situational awareness. Like how far are you leaned over, how close is that gutter... freeing up your main vision for what's in front. Don't worry too much about it while learning though - information overload etc.
  8. Hey Donuts, welcome to the forum.

    I've been riding for about 4 weeks now, so I'm a noob as well. However, I went through the same problem as you.

    I had major issues turning right and going right or u-turning on the roundabout. This made me approach and maintain quite a slow speed, which in turn made it nerve racking as I always thought I was going too close to the actual roundabout, or the gutters on the outside.

    1 thing that I picked up and learned a couple of weeks back was that, at slower speeds, I had to lean away from the bike to counter balance it. For example, turning right on a would mean that i would be shifting my butt and weight to the left side of the bike.

    This helped me heaps and I immediately noticed the difference. It took a little bit of practice over a day of riding, but my confidence on the road now has improved immensely.

    Other than that, your initial entry at the roundabout also helps. I found for me that if I entered in the left track of the lane, this allowed me more room to maintain a good speed and then tip the bike in for the right hand turn. Also, make sure to look out and through your exit (which I'm sure would've been hounded into you during the Pre-Learners already).

    I hope this helps you :)
  9. as said, you will get better with experience.
    dont worry about cars behind you, you're not holding anyone up.
    glance at cars wanting to enter the roundabout if you must, but try and focus on the direction you need to head - around!
    use second gear. first is usually a bit touchy, especially for a new learner.
    2nd may feel a bit slow but at least its smooth.
    use the clutch or rear brake for extra control if you need to. dont touch the front unless you really have to.
    practice, and have fun :grin:
  10. Sh|t happens at roundabouts..... Just be very careful.

    Many drivers dont expect to see motorbikes so I try and eyeball every driver and work out what they are doing before I put myself in a position where I could be hit by them.

    This is especially important when its wet. Braking distances are increased and then theres the fun associated with oil on the road as well.

    Dont expect them to see you. Just remember, being in the right is no good if your in the back of the ambulance.

    Welcome Donuts

  11. I have the same problem, ive only been riding for about a month now, and always find roudabouts and issue. The main thing for me is leaning in too much, but i found out the limits when i scraped a peg last weekend :p

    The key is dont worry about others, focus on what you need to do and go in with a clear head...
  12. Get in a carpark and learn to turn the bike whilst "feathering" the clutch. You keep the revs high and hit the choke point and play with your rear brake to manouvere.

    Get used to doing very tight turns like this in a carpark and roundabouts will become a breeze.
  13. this sounds like a poor substitute for bike/clutch control to me, anyone else of the same opinion? I ALWAYS lean with the bike, and use the clutch/power to flick myself back upright.
  14. You counter-lean the bike for slow speed stuff. You should have learned how to do it in your P's....

    Personally I wouldn't be doing it in a roundabout but if you were going slow enough and the turn was tight enough, it wouldn't do any harm.

    The reason i suggested focusing on the slow speed stuff in a carpark is because it can help him with control where the bike goes at a relatively slow pace using the revs and clutch.
  15. Hmmm.

    Depends on the desired speed and radius of the turn, I think.

    For slow-speed maneuvering where you want to turn as tightly as possible, once the steering is at full-lock the only way to turn tighter is to lean the bike itself into the turn and gain a bit more steering angle from the rake of the forks.

    And the only way to lean the bike in further at slow speeds is to counterbalance it by leaning your body the other way. Or enter the turn faster, so the bike has to lean further, natch. ;)

    Certainly once the steering is at full lock, the best way to control the bike's lean angle precisely is to adjust your speed, increasing it to stand the bike up and decreasing it to make the bike 'fall in'. Afterall, it's not like you can turn-in any tighter in order to make the bike stand up again!

    That said, for roundabouts it's rare that you'll need maximum steering lock to negotiate the turn. For roundabouts I personally lean with the bike, unless it's one of those tiny concrete-dome ones that do require almost full steering lock - in that case anything goes. :)

    (Edit: changed one word for clarity)
  16. I've never counterleaned and they dont teach that in SA. Interesting.
  17. actually, i'll clarify that. I counter lean for "cone weave" type situations, where the majority of my body actual travels directly over the cone but the bike is steered around it.... but definently NOT u-turns.
  18. Doesn't hurt to learn mate. I wouldn't have a clue how to do a tight u-turn at under 10k's without counterleaning it. Hell I have my doubts that i can u-turn the storm! :shock: :LOL: She is a big beast with many top heavy's :LOL:
  19. I used to doubt to but the key is to be quick and smooth. a tight u-turn can be done incredibly fast really, as quickly as it takes you to fall over and kiss the pavement then nurse it back up. It's a weird feeling sometimes because the way I do a tight, tight turn, if i lost power/clutch for a second i'd just ditch. I've found that most friends doing u-turns too big can happily "coast" through their turn, they dont dip below that threshold.

    But, thats not to say my way's right :p If different methods get the same outcome then bobs yer uncle
  20. I agree, there's no right or wrong as such... Just depends how fast you're going when you begin the turn. :cool: