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Some simple bike questions.

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by singlemalt, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. I was a little reluctant to post this as I worried that these questions would be a bit too simple.

    But what the hell.

    I just wanted to check some basic things that I don't see anyone talk about and isn't something that is apparent with google.

    From what I understand, the wider and flatter the handlebars the easier it is to countersteer. If this is the case then why do all sportbikes have smaller handlebars? Is that to make it easier to tuck in at high speed? Is the angulation towards you compensate for this? I have been told that on the higher spec sportbikes you don't countersteer as much and rely more on body position.

    And what is the advantage of having the handlebars low?

    Seat height
    The higher the seat the higher the CoG and more maneurverable? The trade-off is holding the bike up at the lights and low speed?

    Traction control.
    Does this help (not stop) prevent high siding?

    Is there a downside to it? I know you don’t “need it”, and I don’t know of a time where you have it kick in most situations, but I can’t see a downside in an e-brake situation

  2. Good Qs SM. Certainly not too simple and I'd be surprised if there was general agreement about most of the answers.

    (Brmmm sits back to await the forum wisdom to appear)
  3. ABS downsides?

    ABS can be dangerous in "real" offroading (we're not talking simple gravel/unsealed roads). Proper offroading, like steep, rough descents on loose terrain. For gravel roads, ABS is fine.

    ABS can be confused if you try to brake hard over severe road corrugations. The instantaneous losses (and regaining) of grip can make the system 'panic' (for want of a term) and not allow the bike to slow down much until past the corrugations. I've personally experienced this three times in almost 3 years, doing ~20,000k a year on the bike.

    Psychological things like falling into a false sense of security - not leaving a safe reaction + braking distance on the assumtion that ABS can perform miracles (it can't).

    ABS won't allow the rider to perform tricks/techniques which involve forcing the rear tyre to slip; dragging a brake to "back it in" heroically, etc.

    Increased weight (+2-3kg on the Tiger 1050) and a bit more complexity.

    On the other hand, ABS can give the rider the confidence they need to use 100% of the grip available in an emergency stop. It reacts to changing surface conditions (eg: sticky asphalt to wet manhole cover to sticky asphalt) near-instantly. The difference this can make to braking distances in inclement weather and urban situations is pretty dramatic (I can cite studies and papers if you like).
  4. That's what I thought but I just wanted to check I wasn't making an incorrect presumption. Same as a car in some ways - though I wasn't aware of the issue of corrugations.

    ABS engaged makes your braking distance longer but I'm not good enough to modulate front and rear brake in an emergency.

    I have read about an ABS system linked front and back (BMW?) which seems like a good idea to me. Not a deal breaker though.

  5. The new fireblade, in ideal conditions for abs and none abs, stops far quicker WITH abs, in a straight line comparison.

    I know that for a fact, having witnessed it, at the race track in a test.
  6. Wider bars will require less energy to countersteer all other things being equal, and "generally speaking". But you have to look at the bigger picture of the geometry for a given bike. Everything is relative.

    Racing bred bikes have lower bars, and less width to facilitate the riders "racing" body position on the bike, and will be set to suit each specific rider.
    As the sportsbikes that WE ride around on are a compromise...so is the position of the bars, for our conditions.

    Racing bikes, would have generally less wide bars since they are not expected to negotiate low speed sudden changes of direction, which big wide bars facilitate.

    The height of the seat is dictated somewhat by the distance from the ground of the footpegs, which are in turn placed to provide the greatest ground clearance during cornering. For racing it is further modified to suit the riders size, leg length and general requirements for an optimal comfort vs performance balance.

    That answers some of your questions, but take note that I am "generally speaking", since there are so many factors to consider.
  7. Mmm, I'm personally unconvinced that ABS creates any real-world street-riding increase in stopping distance during dry conditions. 'specially not the newer systems. Some of the studies are quite old now (afterall, ABS has been on motorcycles for some 20 years now; systems may have improved a little over time).

    From hazy memory I do recall reading a paper indicating that a non-ABS bike could defeat an ABS-equipped bike in dry conditions, but the difference was relatively small (<10 feet out of a 100-150ft stop?). I also recall at a paper using the "best of", say, 15 runs rather than the average over 15 runs. (The same paper? I can't remember)

    By comparison, there's a host of research which indicates that a rider usually needs several attempts to achieve optimal braking even in dry conditions. (Like this one - http://www.msf-usa.org/imsc/proceedings/a-green-comparisonofstoppingdistance.pdf ) As surface grip diminishes or becomes more random (eg: manhole cover on a wet road), ABS gains even more of a lead over the unassisted rider - such as ABS stopping in 1/2 to 2/3 the distance of non-ABS when a metal roadplate was added to a wet skidpan.

    Linked brakes, I'm not well-versed in. I'm personally not a fan of Honda's old implementation (not keen on the idea of it grabbing the front brakes while I'm slowriding with the rear brake lever) and ABS doesn't need linked brakes to work and vice versa. :)
  8. I'm sure the cb 400 abs is not the newest sort but I have seen tests on abs with this bike on a course.

    Panic grab braking with abs on = longest stop

    Proper braking with abs on = medium distance

    Proper braking no abs = shortest stop.
  9. (y):popcorn: (we need a smiley with a book)
    Watching intently.

    Cheers Gents.
  10. Sweeties I'm a great believer in giving credit where credit is due, the quoted post is deliciously well observed. This little biscuit like's to personalize his steeds to fit the dynamics of riding, where applicable road or track I like my pegs high and a GP Shift...........darlings old habits died hard......I blipperty blipperty blip even with a a gorgeous Italian slipper
  11. I think many people still don't grasp what ABS is all about. It's primary function is not to stop a bike/car in the shortest distance. It is there to ensure that tyres don't lock up in heavy braking situations and thus, ensure control can be maintained. This control can be used as decreased stopping distance or for steering (or both).

    For 99% of the driving public and for the driving they do, ABS is brilliant. It allows maximumum brake application at times they weren't expecting to need it (in an emergency). On bikes even better because a big front or back lockup in an emergency stop is often not pretty. People will claim that they can "outbreak" an ABS system and they may be able to but I don't think they could do it consistenty in a variety of conditions. For those who genuinely can, that is the other 1%.

    Wide bars give you much greater low speed control hence why a lot of trailies have very wide bars as does a higher riding position (also to allow suspension travel).
  12. **Disclaimer: I've only been riding approx 2.5 years, more experienced riders may be able to correct my statements, these are more my own opinions (raven I'm looking at you buddy)**

    Leverage. We all know how it works, longer lever, less force, but more movement!. For a short arse like me, I struggle with some bikes having flat bars.

    I ride a Daytona 675 (sports bike, red one in the photo below), and whenever I jump on a street triple (virtually same bike, flat bars however), I can't do 1/5th of the cornering speed I can with my Daytona. I have stumpy short little arms and I just can't get my head around it. I've also ridden a Triumph Sprint which is a large bike with high bars, and a longer distance from seat to bars. When I jumped on it, I noticed my arms were almost at full length, parallel with the ground, but full length, as a result I struggled to really move the bike around.

    Another thing to note with sports bikes is riding body position. Have a look at this photo;


    Note how the riders have there forearms parallel to the ground, that's how a sports bike is meant to be ridden for best cornering performance. However, a lot of riders fall into a trap / lazy habit of 'sitting up' where there arms are nearly straight and they are sitting quite high, or 'sitting up'. I couldn't find a picture (quickly anyway) of someone riding a sports bike straight armed, but go to your local poser pad, lygon street in melbourne for those in Vic, and you'll see plenty. Take a rifle with you too and take some out while your there.

    The first time I rode a proper sports bike I couldn't work out how to steer the thing at low speed or any speed, and it was the simple issue that I was riding straight armed and my counter steering muscle efforts were pushing down on the bars rather then pushing the bars forward and back as needed.

    I know I sometimes fall into this trap myself when I have been commuting for a long time with no twisties action. I end up hitting the twisties straight armed and my ability to change direction quickly is quite slow (say flicking from a left to right corner etc). I usually remind myself at the start of the day, scoot bum back, drop my forearms down and instantly there is a massive improvement in my cornering ability. The bike feels far more nimble, I feel I can tip it in a LOT quicker, and I generally wind on a few more km/h also.

    But - that's just me.

    Nah more simple then that, it's to keep short arse's like me off R1200 GS's... :LOL: (890-910mm seat height)

  13. The question with ABS is not whether a skilled, alert rider can beat it once, on a dry track in controlled conditions. It is whether you, being honest with yourself, could beat it when cold, wet, tired, stressed and approaching a diesel soaked intersection in the dark and something unexpected happens ahead. Not just once, but every time.

    Well into my third decade on bikes, I'm damn sure I couldn't. That's why I favour ABS for everyday road riding. I don't currently own an ABS equipped bike, but I probably still would if the bloke who hit my last one had had idiot-proof brakes.
  14. For the average punter ABS will stop in a shorter distance. A very skilled rider will beat an ABS equipped bike most times. But in saying this, as we get more powerful ecu's on our bikes that will change I am sure.
    If you do what you would have been trained to do to get your license you should not lock the front anyway. Practise practise practise.
    Traction control will slightly help a high side but it would have to be dialled in so far that it would take away from the riding experience. All bikes have traction control anyway. Same thing that sucks you into an apex. Same thing untrained older riders never use. The bloody back brake.
    For mine the joy of riding a bike is that you will get very hurt if you stuff up. Thats what makes it so exciting, expecially on the limit.
    Geeezus with all this shoite on a bike why not just ride a boring cruiser lol
  15. Thanks. I had to think about your post a bit because I've never been on a real racing bike so it wasn't my point of reference. I didn't think of the width of the bars being an issue with sudden low speed changes in direction. Conversely I imagine that sticking a wider bar on a sport bike would actually be dangerous at high speeds due to more instability?

    I guess this is why motards (in general - many factors) are considered more fun up a twisty mountain with many low speed turns than a sportbike?

    I tried a SV650 before the gladius are I was surprised how different it felt - and how much more pressure was on my hands. I had forgotten that I needed to have my arms parallel to the ground (Thanks Brownyy). That makes sense. I tried a Thruxton and that really threw me as the bars were even lower and angled downwards.

    Thanks. It all makes sense now. I think I've fallen into that trap with the gladius.

  16. too true Brett
    i do not want ABS... but there will come a day soon where every new bike has it manditory

    the rake of the forks and the wheelbase and the size of the rims also affects the bikes turning.

    and super sports need to be as aerodynamic as possible, that includes the rider being as streamlined tothe bike as possible... the bar set up also helps with that.
  17. super retards are extremely light and much easier to correct if you **** up your line, plus they get stupendous lean angles
  18. I just read about 22 pages on an american forum about back braking and why you shouldn't/should use it. Drove me nuts/amazing how people differ in their views.

    Practise practise practise was what I got out of it.

    The traction control issue and high siding was one of the things I was wondering about - and it seems to be a bit of a non-issue. I have almost high sided during a e-brake situation when I locked the rear and I had only been on the bike a few weeks. I keep seeing videos on youtube, of people who seem to have a lot more experience than me, high siding - so I was wondering if that would be a factor in my next bike.


  19. Some of the ducati bikes seem extraordinarily light and seems to get close to some motards. Ducati prejudices aside, it is one thing that attracts me to them.

    If only motards didn't look so ugly (to my eye)...

  20. OK. High siding is the back breaking loose when the bike is on an angle (leaning over)...then REGAINING traction. The cause of this is too much throttle too early. Does not matter about the cold tire or what eva. If its cold then its still too much bloody throttle.
    If you lock the rear and the back breaks out to the side and you quickly get off the rear brake. What do you expect the bike to do. Its going to regain traction. It will want to stand up and ride as it was meant to. And its going to punish you. Because you will not e able to get back into shape as quick as the bike and it will over balance you and toss you off.
    This is why we should all ride dirt bikes every so often. So you get use to a bike being loose and sideways and you learn how to get it all back together. At least on a dirt bike your not gunna break a lot of shoite.
    I wont go into my credentials. But i have ridden all my life and been paid to for the last half of it. As an instructor. FYI that really means shit as its so bloody easy to get an instuctors license. Oh I am 49 and nuts.
    And I hear this back brake thing all the time. Well it works. Its part of the bikes dynamics. Its called for one the gyroscopic effect. I feel like a total gumby without the rear brake.
    The back brake is how you can make a bike as stiff and upright @20km as it is @60. How you can scrape your pegs at 30kmph and not fall all the way down.
    As a traction control its only going to work if your in control. As in its not there to be stomped on. Nothing on a bike should be done erratically. Or should take much force. If you cant wobble your arms/elbows when your really up it, then your grip is too tight and the bike will not want to turn in. This is why we do not ride above our weight. Go beyond our abilities. You will just sqeeze the shoite out of the bars and the poor bike will just not be able to turn because of the monkey on its back choking it. Baby steps for longevity. :)
    Bottom line is practise. I still do all the time. Its not enough to just have the knowlege. You have to be able to use it in a panick situation. And the only way that will ever happen is you have done it so often that it becomes instinct.