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veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...(10 posts)

veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...smokey422
May 20, 2001 7:25 PM
i just bought a new Lemond Poprad and love the bike except for a couple of things; i cannot get used to the twitchy steering of this machine. it seems like the tiniest movement will put the machine in a weave or in the other lane(or both). i watched the machine being set up and the problem is not the headset. i'm a long-time motorcycle service technician and am familiar with setting up neck bearings on a cycle. i did even try tightening them a bit, but it did no good so i returned them to the original setting. tires are the stock bontrager cyclocross tires and i have tried pressures from 45-80#(the recommended range). it's so bad that i'm reluctant to take my hand from the bars to signal other traffic. i also am having a hard time getting used to the bar-end shifters. this seems like the clumsiest place they could put them. also can cause knee interference(i'm 6'4").
are the steering problems due to the fact that i have ridden motorcycles of all kinds for 29 years and am used to heavier, more stable steering? the service manager at the shop where i bought the bike has a Poprad, too, and changed the shifters back to the normal style. i may end up having him do that to mine, too, if i keep having problems adapting to the bar-end shifters. any ideas would be GREATLY
re: veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...Old Mototcycler Too
May 20, 2001 7:57 PM
Grasshopper,alot of it will pass with more saddle time. Think that bike is squirrley,try a real road bike with agressive geometry,and skinnier,higher pressuer tyres..You have to learn the skills.You have been too long on the lead sled.Most of my bikes have barends. One thing that helps is to shorten the end of the bars by 3/4 to 1" and reinstall.
re: veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...Alpine
May 20, 2001 8:17 PM
I ride a BMW R1100S and have had many other motorbikes over the years. I also have six bicycles that are worth over $20,000. A motorcycle is enormously different when it comes to steering. Mostly due to the weight of everything you are turning but also because of a much larger contact patch and at speed all wheels resist being turned. Your bicycle will hardly get up to speeds that will automatically produce felt resistance in turning. Your motorcycles are probably traveling at these speeds most of the time you are riding them.
I'm guessing that you need to get out and ride the bicycle more and relax while doing so. Undoubtedly you can just sit on the bike without moving the bars from side to side at all. That's what it takes to ride in a straight line. Also don't lean the bike to steer it. It will steer that way but probably more than you want. Again, relax and move the bar in very small amounts. It is you that is causing the bike to weave, not the bike.
Also, I'm wondering if the bike is large enough for you if the bar-end shifters are striking your knees. I have two bikes with these shifters and the are also the overall choice for long distance touring cyclist. Give yourself a chance to get used to them. They are low maintenance and convenient once you instinctively know where they are.
Congrats on your new wheels and enjoy!
re: veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...dustin73
May 20, 2001 10:05 PM
the first bike i ever wanted was an 1100RS...then i was introduced to the YZF-R6. that's my dream bike...well, actually, a Hayabusa is, but i'd settle for an R6. instead, i got an allez...
mcycle stuffAlpine
May 20, 2001 10:53 PM
I own a mcycle for canyon carving and the words I've read about the R11S have said more than once that nothing stock can leave this bike behind in typical canyon situations. Some say it's the best bike ever made for such riding and these are words coming from the mags that typically don't ever give BMWs a second look.
That's why I own one. I couldn't be happier with my choice. The BMW suspension is unlike anything you'll see on another bike. Heated grips are a nice addition too.
mcycle stuffdustin73
May 21, 2001 1:05 AM
i'm more into the 189HP of the Hayabusa...oooooooohhhh man, i want a motorcycle.

*now collecting donations for the Help Dustin Get The M-Cycle of His Dreams charity fund:)
mcycle stuffkeith m.
May 21, 2001 7:44 AM
I used to road race motorcycles in the early 90's (ARRA at Willow Springs raceway mostly) and I had more fun riding my FZR400 on a canyon road than I ever had riding my Yoshimura prepared GSXR1100. I even turned quicker lap times at Willow on the 400. But nothing wheelied at 100 plus mph like the yoshie gixer.
re: veteran motorcyclist having trouble with bicycle steering...mon t
May 21, 2001 7:09 AM
i am a motorcycle rider, and a bike rider also. you do not steer a bicycle like a m-cycle. the best way for you to learn the difference would be on a set of rollers. if you input at the bars on rollers you will be on the floor in a second. you realy just rest your hands on the bars, and lean and steer from your body on a bike. it is hard to describe.....try the rollers, when you can spin along on those(no handed!) you will have arrived.
You'd be happier on my cruiser ...Humma Hah
May 21, 2001 8:29 AM
... I know what you mean. I've ridden Schwinn cruisers all my life and motorcycles for years, loved the stability, and never found either reluctant to turn. But most other bicycles I find to be twitchy. You and I like a more extended steering geometry, more rake and trail.

I can say, from experience, that you do eventually get used to it.

If you've been countersteering motorcycles (true full push-to-turn countersteering) that rarely works on bicycles because they're rarely going fast enough (tho' my cruiser will countersteer on fast downhills). Either use leaning exclusively or lean combined with a little countersteering push when at intermediate speeds, and gingerly use a tricycle steer when nearly stopped.

I also find it may help to either keep your butt firmly attached to the seat, or press one or both legs against the top tube when coasting fast -- these seem to improve stability.
remember what MSF saysgeezer
May 21, 2001 3:44 PM
I've been a motorcyclist and bicyclist for many years. If I ride my motorcycle (Honda VFR750) a few times consecutively without riding my bicycle, I'm always surprised at how sensitive the bicycle feels compared to the motorcycle.

I think the key to remember is what the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) teaches in their rider training courses: "Your eyes are your first input to steering." Relax and look where you want to go. Don't try to man-handle the bars to get there. Just look at your intended line and your instincts will take over. With practice, you'll be able to switch quite comfortably between motorcycles and bicycles.

Oh, and counter-steering works just as well with bicycles as it does with motorcycles. Some folks wondering what counter-steering is? Counter-steering is the technique for using the handlebars to steer. When counter-steering, you push the bar on the side you want to turn towards. Want to initiate a turn to the right? Push on the right side of the bar with your right hand until you achieve your desired lean angle, then stop pushing. Want to stand the bike back up from its now right lean? Push on the left side of the bar with the left hand and the bike will stand back up out of its lean. "Push right to go right...push left to go left." Any doubters out there....just give it a try (its easier to get a feel for counter-steering with your hands on the drops instead of the hoods.)

I still remember some of the statistics that the MSF instructors showed us about the number of motorcyclists in accidents who had steered the bike directly into the car or other obstacle they were trying to avoid. Why? Two reasons: 1) they had their eyes fixated on the thing they were trying to avoid--the bike will go where you look and 2) they tried to use the bars to steer away from the obstacle by actually turning the bars away--wrong direction. If you have a car trying to hit you from the right and you want to turn left to avoid, you want to turn the bar to the right by pushing with your left hand. That left-hand push will intiate a left turn. The harder you push, the quicker the turn will commence. That's counter-steering and its extremely effective. However, it also takes intentional practice. Its counter-intuitive, but it works. Its the most direct application of the physics of two-wheeled vehicles in motion and making them go exactly where you want them to go.

However, lesson #1 is to relax and look where you want to go.