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target fixation....do you really want to go there?????

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by jeffatav, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. I had another great day acting as TEC for another learners run.

    What does worry me is on each of the runs we have for the learners, we always seem to lose at least one and they are all from running off the road on right hand bends.

    It is not a good sight to come around a bend to a gaggle of bikes surrounding a fallen rider/bike !!!

    From what I have gathered, each time (and only the rider can be 100% sure on this and sometimes they want to kid themselves which helps no one) it has been a result of excess speed coming into the corner resulting in STRARING AT YOU DROP ZONE!!!

    At the road warriors stop yesterday after the off, Paul announced such and all was well for the rest of the day through some pretty fast (and some slow) twisties through the Putty road etc.

    If in doubt concerntrate on your exit line and apply the gas!!!

    It is really amazing how far you bike can lean and keep the line.

    The worst that can happen is you can lose grip and a gentler low side will result......compared to going off the road into unknown traction and holes/cliffs and then lowsiding into sh1t or being catapuled into what ever is waiting to claim both you and your bike.

    Quotes from another thread regarding an eperienced rider that used this exact theory to get himself out of trouble.

    Something for everyone!!!!

  2. Yep...it's something that we all need to be reminded of...does'nt matter if you are experienced or not. At the moment of realization that you are too hot into a corner and possibly won't make it, it is very hard NOT to tighten up on the bars and brake, while fixating on the thing you are going to hit...
    Done it myself my fair share of times ijn the past!.. :shock:

    Unless you can stop...(unlikely)...your only course of action is to consciously countersteer and look through the turn to where you want to go - keep a light grip on the bars and put your shoulder into the turn...
    If you still come off, then at least you've given yourself the best chance you can, for making it.
  3. I agree. I went too hot into a corner, instead of looking where I wanted to go and leaning over further I looked to where I thought I would run off and crash and did just that. Looking back I could have saved it if I just looked were I wanted to go and not target fixate on the edge of the road were I thought I was going to run off.
  4. Could not agree more; my New Year's Eve drop, I am increasingly sure, was due to looking at the stick on the road and thinking "I ought to be avoiding that, or I might crash!"

    Maybe on a Learner's Ride we should set up some target fixation exercises.
  5. I must admit as a newbie I know that the best thing is to look as a far though the corner as possible and roll on the gas, but its bloody difficult when you're convinced your time has come. Quite often I find myself yelling not look at that tree that I'm convinced I'm going to hit.

    Are there any shortcuts to getting it right other than practice?
  6. Copied from:


  7. Mm, I've had this too when I was starting off. Entered a highspeed sweeping righthand bend at a speed I felt was WAY too hot. At 100kph, no chance to slow down for it without running off. And at this point in my riding career I was still quite afraid of leaning the bike right over.

    "Lean!", I shouted, and pushed the right handlebar gingerly, buttcheeks clenching. Still not enough to make the turn properly.
    "LEAN!", and a harder push, putting the bike well past what I felt was a safe lean angle at the time. Still not enough.
    "LEAN MORE!!! *profanity!* LEAN!!!" *SHOVE!*

    And lo, my bike made the turn, even if it took all the willpower in the world.

    "If your entry speed's in doubt - just SHOUT!" ;)
    "Leaning - There's always room for more!" (conditions apply)
  8. Unless your tyres are old/cold/worn...
  9. Shh. That's part of the fine print.
  10. Hey Rob that pointing with the chin tip is GOLD. Works a treat. I'll be using that when I'm teaching riders in the future. Thanks :wink:
  11. So am we saying the the secret to cornering is to point and shout, That should be easy as a Brit thats how we speak all foreign languages too.
  12. Can I just also point out that in my (somewhat limited) experience, this doesn't always work. If you are shitting yourself and tense and fighting the lean, all the chin pointing in the world doesn't seem to help :oops: :oops:
  13. I try to practise what I focus on any time there is slightly less than ideal to ride over - even when it doesn't really matter. For example, on my way home from work I do a left turn, using a slip-lane and there's a pedestrian crossing in the lane, displayed by the big fat white stripes on the road. Rather than focusing on avoiding the stripes (coz they can be slippery in the wet), I focus on the black stripes (no paint) "Wow - look at those black grippy stripes!" :grin: I practise dry or wet to get good habits.

    Other lines I use on myself...
    "What's that behind the car?" - Trying to look around a corner in the twisties and a car comes from the other direction, blocking my view.
    "Nice grippy patch to stay on" - beside the cat-eyes.
    "Awesome gap!" - between the cars I'm splitting.
    "Beautiful corner keeps going around, around, around" - don't look straight while turning.
    "Flat bit! Flat bit!" - not the pothole.
    "Nice clear lane" - to zip into in avoiding the blindly swerving idiot.
    "Good road ahead...Taking it easy & relaxed to get to the road ahead" - when going over unavoidable bumps, etc.

    I recognise the danger (ideally ahead of time), but fixate on the safer options to avoid it.
  14. No, but it helps to understand what's going on (you'll find this explained in more details in lots of other threads...)
    As a learner, you're dealing with the situation that the primitive, self-preservation part of your brain doesn't understand the complex physics of riding a motorcycle. When you encounter something that it interprets as a life-threatening situation, it tries to take over from the advanced, "thinking" part of the brain, and makes your body do things that just don't work on a motorcycle, like trying to slow down and stand the bike up, mid corner.
    This happens as an instinctive, immediate action, usually with no conscious though on your part.
    The good news, however, is that ol' reptile-brain is capable of learning how to do the right thing: you just have to convince it that your plan is going to work. That's where practise comes in. If you can, find a good, safe place repeat your cornering over and over, gradually increasing your lean angle and speed, while all the time making sure you're not tensing up etc.
    The self-preservation part of your brain then actually learns that this is the best, and safest way to get you out of trouble. From then on, it will intervene in an emergency just like it did before, only now it will make your body do the right thing, without you even thinking about it.
    Note: It's very important to do this practise in the safest environment you can find, or else you won't achieve much. A racetrack is ideal.

  15. In an emergency, forcefully pointing the chin takes major mental effort and gives you improved chances at getting through... but you're right, it's not a magic bullet - it merely improves your chances.

    However, if you have the wherewithall to point the chin, there's a chance you'll have the clarity of mind to relax, weight shift, push hard, look through, roll on and anything else you need to do "in the moment" to fix up your fluck up.

    Once you survive the incident, you bloody better well analyze what you did wrong and learn from the mistake. :idea:

    Like I said, if you're looking where you want to go, you're likely to be more relaxed than if you were looking at what you're trying to avoid. Since you're more relaxed, your steering input will be more effective. If you do happen to fall off, being more relaxed has HUGE advantages.

    OK, newbs, hang in there and read on:

    Titus is right. These automatic responses that cause your body to react in ways that works AGAINST a motorcycle's design have been termed "survival reactions". What they are should be learned, and then countered by reason, understanding and practice. Twist of the Wrist I & II (and apparently soon III) are the bibles in this area.

    Example of SR#1, rolling off the throttle.

    You come into a corner a bit hot, or the radius closes on you by surprise. You roll off the throttle without consciously deciding to do so. Sounds like a good thing to do yes? Hmmmm, maybe not.

    Now all the weight shifts forwards unsettling the bike AND you lose drive. This stands up the bike and since your survival reactions are amped, you probably stiffen up which further forces the bike to go wide. In panic, you stamp on front and rear brakes since you've crossed the white line which immediately further unsettles the bike. If this hasn't instantly thrown you off, then all you've done is transferred more weight forwards demanding even more of the suffering front tyre.

    But now you get a free bonus - the rear gets light and stops spinning -which instantly removes much of the bike's stability (stability provided by a spinning rear hoop)... The rear may step out, further destabalising the bike. You may end up in a highside... but if not, then you're still trying to turn the bike to avoid the shoulder on the other side of the road, and with a heavily loaded front tyre trying to turn and slow you, plus you being stiff plus the loss of stability from the now stopped rear... the front washes out - maybe in a low side, maybe slipping, gripping and providing a pivot for the rear which could end up in a highside. Either way, your ride is over and you're now in the hands of physics tattslotto.

    The alternative (with no guarantees): You come in hot into a corner. Your vanishing point tightens up on you unexpectedly. You now instantly contort and snap your head to keep the vanishing point in view, maybe scream like a banshee to focus you on pushing hard on the inside bar, while relaxing the outer arm, shifting your weight and holding (at worst) the throttle steady.

    Chances are the road has enough traction for your tyres since you haven't unsettled the bike disasterously... however, if you truly c0cked up the entry and the required lean leaves you dragging bits, then you may be back over to physics tattslotto, but rather than spearing off, you'll be in a sliding lowside, which means that by the time you hit something, you'll have washed off some speed hopefully minimising injury.

    Pretty picture aint it.

    Welcome to motorcycling.

    That's enough community announcements from me on this topic.
  16. Just wanted to clarify Rob, I definitely wasn't trying to 'correct' you, or argue with what you have to say. I actually think your posts on this subject (and many others) are of great help to me. I think I was more trying to say to other noobs to riding that you need to let your body adjust itself the way that comes naturally, rather than fight it.

    Twice I had little instances where I ran wide on corners big time and was consciously thinking to myself to 'look where I want to go', but because I was freaking out at the time, I was looking in the right place, but every other part of my body was fighting leaning into the corner. Thankfully both of those times I was lucky (once there was a spare lane without a car in it, the other the road had a wide shoulder) - but I still need to really concentrate on letting my body do what comes naturally with the 'chin pointing' movement.

    Still working on that part :wink:

    I just wanted to say, I think it is excellent that some of you more experienced riders take the time to post tips for new riders, it's much appreciated :)
  17. Now that I had some time to think about what I did wrong. I've learned the hard way not to use brakes when cornering and just use engine to control the speed. First of all my line and cornering has improved a lot thanks to all the helpful advice from every one. What I did wrong was that I've started to turn too early, because of this I was very close to the inside edge of the corner and visibility was reduced in blind corners, I couldn't see where I was going. By the way, I hate blind corners, I had a fender bender on one before, so I'm very wary of them.

    And yes, I looked at where I'm going to crash, even though I knew better, but instinct took over. It's a hard lesson learned, but now my instinct tells me to let the brakes go when the bike wobbles. I think my body finally understand that brakes = a lot of pain :)

    I had a brown pants moment on the way back, I think maybe few of the riders might have noticed or heard some tyres squeal at an intersection. I was traveling right in the middle of a lane towards red traffic light, I started to squeeze my front brake and there was no response, I grabbed more of the front brake and nothing, suddenly there was a tyre squeal since my front has locked up and my bike started to wobble. When I've realised what has happened I let go the front brake and I've accelerated the bike into the intersection. Lucky for me it was empty, since the cars didn't start moving yet. Another lesson is not to travel in the middle of a lane at intersections.
  18. robsalvv's tutorial is very good , when you get into trouble its worth remembering.
    i learnt to ride in my 30's. now i ride 110 kms a day on mostly dirt and some bitumen, it teaches you a lot about what happens on bitumen being on hard packed dirt roads. everything moves about more and you get more feedback about whats under you.
    my important tip
    councils repairing bitumen roads out of towns are a problem (apart from ripping and grading the dirt sections making them virtually unridable) the worst bit is corners or sweeping bends on bitumen where they spread gravel over sprayed tar on the inside corner of the bend , the fine gravel is moved by cars cutting the corner and shifting the loose stuff into the driving lane.
    this is so common, its very dangerous and as soon as you see road repairs on the left of you; patches applied to the road edge, then watch every bend very carefully. i slid across the road at 100kms and kept it upright with some reverse steer, luckily no one was coming the other way.
    ride in a cars wheeltrack, avoid crossing the middle on bends, ride safe
  19. In case any of the noobs struggle with what Rob was saying, try this:

    When you have a straight bit of road, sit in the centre of the lane and turn you head left so that your chin is near your shoulder and watch what happens to the bike. Then repeat turning your head to the right.

    I tried this on the Eastern Freeway last night and sure enough the bike started to veer whichever way I turned my head.
  20. ha!
    love the thread subject.