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Negotiating turns(18 posts)

Negotiating turnsBrian T
May 6, 2002 1:57 PM
I started thinking on my last ride, I always shift my weight in the opposite direction of my turn; if I'm turning right, I'll place my weight on my left hip and vice versa. I don't know where I picked this up, but, is this correct?
While I'm at it, any tips for carving turns at high speeds?
re: Negotiating turnsgtx
May 6, 2002 2:04 PM
there have been some good threads on this in the past. Here's one:

RSB "Cornering advice" 3/17/02 5:57am

Also, try typing "countersteering" into the search
try "backing it in" like Valentino Rossimwood
May 6, 2002 2:50 PM
on his GP motorcycle!
While descending, get on the front brake so hard that the back end gets light, keep the back wheel just at the edge of lock up and then let it slide out just enough to point you in towards the apex...good for lots of grins and keeps the local medical centers busy!
On the other hand, what you said sounds good to me: outside pedal down, weight biased to the outside foot and bar pressure in the counter direction (if that makes sense)to keep the tires well planted as you lean.
High speeds, IMHO, require vision well down the road (not focussed in tight), a relaxed body and a committment to the "racing" line w/correctly spotted and hit apexes.
try "backing it in" like Valentino Rossiatpjunkie
May 6, 2002 3:21 PM
outside foot down and apply pressure, inside knee pontooned towards the ground, slight (very slight) countersteer. The harder you lean over the more you'll want to move your upper body "away" from the turn. Try to keep the shoulders square as you really lean over. It gets creepy over 40 but you'll get used to it. Learn slowly as mistakes are painful.
I was with you until...jtolleson
May 6, 2002 6:02 PM
you proposed "inner knee pontooned towards the ground."

I thought the conventional wisdom had that motorcycle racing method as a "no-no"... my inside thigh stays pretty tight on the TT.
Please elaborateScot_Gore
May 6, 2002 6:24 PM
I'm no racer and have no formal training on the bike. I feel so much smoother through faster turns if I let the inside thigh go a little bit into the curve.
Could you please explain a little more about what makes this a "no-no". This is something I picked up circa 1974, so it may be too late for good advice, but I'm sincere about trying to learn.

Please elaboratejtolleson
May 6, 2002 6:39 PM
I'm not the best source, but I think if you do a search on countersteering, cornering, they'll tell you that the "knee into the corner" is for motorcycles not bikes.

I'm no whiz at the biomechanics, but it does help me to keep my weight over that outside pedal, and the thighs can even help steer a bit.

Maybe it is what one is "raised with." SOMEWHERE there is a good Davis Phinney description of good cornering technique, and I think a link to it has been posted here.

Please elaboratemwood
May 6, 2002 7:46 PM
It is kind of interesting, prior to the later '70s, you didn't see motorcycle racers with the "knee into the corner" or "hanging off" body positioning. Early riders were very centered on the seat and cornered much like bicyclists do today.
I'm not sure if it was advances in tire construction which led to more triangular profiles (as opposed to square or "flatter" profiles)and greater contact patches when leaned over or it was a change in the weight distribution of race bikes with the weight being moved forward and lower which precipitated the change in style to "knee into corner" or "hanging off".
I think on a bicycle, hanging off to the inside of a turn (the extreme of the "knee into corner" body positioning)
takes the tire too far towards the edges of the contact patch by increasing lean angle to a point where you "fall off" the edge of the tire, losing adhesion (I'm talking about 20 or 23 road tires). Keeping the weight more to the center (inside knee against the tt) to outside (weighting the outside pedal) tends to drive your weight more to the middle of the tire's surface for a given amount of lean...? Maybe..? I think?
Weighting pedalBreakfast
May 7, 2002 7:37 AM
If you think about it, what you are doing is applying pressure to the outside pedal, not weight. As you turn your center of gravity moves in the direction of the turn, that is the majority of your weight.

I mention this not as a negative point to argue, rather as another way to think of turning in terms of center of gravity, and lean angle.
Motorcyclists stick their knee out to judge lean angle.Quack
May 7, 2002 10:05 AM
I'm not an actual racer but have been on the track a few times. Hanging off seems to give you better leverage for getting the bike to lean at high speeds. By pulling on the tank or seat with the outside leg, you can get the bike tipped quicker than through bar input alone. By hanging your knee out and touching down through corners, you can keep your lean angle in check so you don't go off the edge of the tire and so that parts don't shoot sparks on the guy behind you.
May 7, 2002 11:43 AM
The reason a motorcycle racer hangs off is that the more he hangs off the less the bike needs to lean.

The faster you go on a two wheeled cyle (bi-, or motor) the more lean required to turn.

The knee gauges lean for the rider to know what's happening as well as a way to lower center of gravity and shift weight into turn and also provides a very small braking effect to use wind drag to slow down slightly. It can (the knee,) provide a lever or contact point to avoid going down in a very subtle way.
May 7, 2002 7:59 PM
love all this info. I'm going to have to try the grip the tube method as I was taught to hang. Always worked for me as I'm a Clydesdale and descend quite fast, but I'm an old dog not afraid of any new tricks so I'll try the other style and see.
Good AdviceScot_Gore
May 6, 2002 8:03 PM
Good advice to search the archives.
Here's a post from TIG that references the Phinney technique.

Tig "Cornering advice" 3/15/02 9:36am

Thanks again
Eureka, that's it!jtolleson
May 7, 2002 6:43 AM
And it is a great description.
Knee against top tubeFlyByWire
May 7, 2002 8:01 AM
In "The Lance Armstrong Performance Program," it states that "Lance learned the technique of pressing the inside knee against the top tube from his English teammate Sean Yates...Pressing the inside knee against the top tube allows you to keep pressure on the outside pedal through the turn..." Pages 177, 178
re: Negotiating turnsWoof the dog
May 6, 2002 7:38 PM
I always push it through the turns, always! I try to take the fastest lines, and you know what, it has cost me skin and scraped shifter and a saddle at least five times, which is a lot for me. Then I almost killed myself in Georgia where you kind of fly through all the 30mph recommended speed signs but then come up onto the 20 mph one and oh sh!t. Its so tight of a turn that you almost fly off into the pines in a ditch like 15 feet down. The roads down there are pretty cool though, you climb for 2 miles then you ride back down. So twisty, but I can't help thinking how much it would suck to slide out into the oncoming lane under some truck. I push it all the same though. I wanna know what others think about this knee in rule. My point is that trying to get your knee in to supposedly balance the bike better ain't gonna work. Is it Sheldon Brown who suggests that knee out is a motorcycle thing but not a biker thing to do? Ok, I tried it few times, going fast, through the corner, leaning hard, consiously keeping my inside knee in. The result is contrary to what I expected. It appears that when you put your inside knee to your top tube instead of sticking it out at least slightly, it will bring your body more upright than the bike, you will feel as if you keep leaning the bike into the corner more and more, until bam, you lose traction and hit the tarmac with your wrists and what not. I bet all of us did it at a really low speed on some town bike. You get on one side and see how much you can lean while yourselv staying completely upright, well same thing happens with the knee in thing, imho. At a maximum angle you can't do that. Hell, you should try to lean even more than the friggin bike cause you don't wanna lose traction, you wanna keep it as upright as possible, right? So, just keep on sticking your knee out, it definitely does help your balance. Not too much, just a little bit, but be sure its enough, ya know what I mean?

tell me what you think

Rock out with your cock out

re: Negotiating turnsLeisure
May 7, 2002 1:47 AM
I don't think these different methods get higher lateral gs per se so much as give riders a way of minimizing wobble in the handlebars when leaning hard. The rubber compound on most tires is pretty consistent across a wide range of lean angles, so if your slightly off your saddle and have your weight properly positioned between where your tires contact the ground, then nothing should interfere with your tires getting maximum static coefficient of friction. In theory at least, or so I would think.
So what seems like a bigger deal to me is swaying the handlebars one way or the other. At low speeds or wide arcs, you can get away with tossing the handlebar here or there and recover. Ultimately, that's how we stay balanced on bikes to begin with, right? But when you're at the limit of grip, small directional changes like that become hazardous. The smallest bit of excess turn in (or wobble) can cause you to lose grip. You may then automatically overcorrect, which can save you but then throw you wide. At least, that's how I've been looking at it. So, when I see all these different methods of hanging turns, I'm looking at ways that they help the rider apply forces and counterforces that help them hold a precise turn-in on the handlebars. Well, that and helping the rider lean consistently, place their CG between the tires properly, and anything else that helps the rider hold a consistent line.
I have no preferred method; sometimes I find my bike is doing all the leaning, other times my upper body is doing most of it. Sometimes I go from one to the other midturn. But what I do notice is when I don't get square and hold my handlebars strict to the line I want, I'll either swing wide or dive in too hard and then swing wide. I have no idea what my inside knee is doing because I haven't paid attention. But I know I'm not swinging it around to and fro. Just my .02.
Somethin' aint right...sprockets2
May 7, 2002 7:27 AM
The knee thing and the motorcycle lean thing doesn't-shouldn't-work on bikes because we are generally going slower, are turning sharper, have less traction, and we ain't motorcycles!!

If your knee is working, it is likely a learned behavior to accomodate your style and comfort zone. If you try to NOT do it and you fall, you are doing something wrong.