Leaning through corners

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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby il padrone » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:04 pm

bradman wrote:
JustJames wrote:Show some real commitment to your cornering!

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Commitment? He's on the brakes... :lol:

Posed shot. :roll: This guy is static.... balanced on his knee (see the rock or pad under his knee?), brakes on to hold the bike.

Hence the 'counter-steer' - you cannot counter steer through a turn, unless you're doing a rear wheel drift. Counter steer works to initiate a turn, not to execute it. Especially relevant for heavy motos. Much less relevant for a light bicycle with a proportionately lighter rider aboard. I can wheel my bike along and make it turn simply by leaning it to one side. On the road, for much of the cornering at speed that you do, the lean is initiated bodily by the rider. Pedal down, weight the pedal , look into the corner and lean with the bike. Think about what happens should you ride 'no hands'. You can still execute turns, no countersteering involved at all here.

[await flames]
Last edited by il padrone on Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:18 pm

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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:18 pm

jimboss wrote:
jasonc wrote:
jimboss wrote:I have a question - what the hell is counter steering?


the picture above actually shows counter-steering. the front wheel is pointed slightly to the right when going left


I see. But with that photo, who knows what's actually going on. It's a photo!

Still, I'm trying to stay with you. The article on Sheldon's site seems to say that the only way to steer is via counter steering - that's what's really got me.

If I actively try and steer the other way, I turn the other way. Even while leaning to turn - I mean, I you always lean to turn!

I've been riding bikes for a long, long time but new to roadies, so I'm just a little confused.

Above walking pace a bike must be counter-steered to turn it. You cannot lean the bike, what you doing, consiously or not is counter-steering. Once you understand this, you can make the bike turn much harder consiously counter-steering.

To make the bike lean to the left, you must steer to the right - it's as simple as that.

Since high school physics taught us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, the action of putting a pedal down and pushing on it will produce a counter-steering action.

So go out and practice counter-steering, and find out just how hard your bike can turn. A lot harder than you think, I'll be sure.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby boss » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:32 pm

RonK wrote:
jimboss wrote:
jasonc wrote:
the picture above actually shows counter-steering. the front wheel is pointed slightly to the right when going left


I see. But with that photo, who knows what's actually going on. It's a photo!

Still, I'm trying to stay with you. The article on Sheldon's site seems to say that the only way to steer is via counter steering - that's what's really got me.

If I actively try and steer the other way, I turn the other way. Even while leaning to turn - I mean, I you always lean to turn!

I've been riding bikes for a long, long time but new to roadies, so I'm just a little confused.

Above walking pace a bike must be counter-steered to turn it. You cannot lean the bike, what you doing, consiously or not is counter-steering. Once you understand this, you can make the bike turn much harder consiously counter-steering.

To make the bike lean to the left, you must steer to the right - it's as simple as that.

Since high school physics taught us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, the action of putting a pedal down and pushing on it will produce a counter-steering action.

So go out and practice counter-steering, and find out just how hard your bike can turn. A lot harder than you think, I'll be sure.


I do get it now, the description on Sheldon's site was a bit vague and then when that picture was used as an example I definitely didn't understand it.

Depending on what bike I'm riding (and how comfortable) I definitely counter steer pretty hard when turning. I don't think I do it quite as wildly on my roadie but I'm just starting to feel comfortable cornering at decent speeds (had a really good run this morning), so I'll pay attention to how I use counter steering to turn in next time I do a good descent.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Lukeyboy » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:45 pm

Being a cyclist and a motorbike rider I tend to do it out of force of habbit. Just got to remember the brakes aren't the same quality on a 3km 15 degree decent into hairpins :P
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:03 pm

Lukeyboy wrote:Being a cyclist and a motorbike rider I tend to do it out of force of habbit. Just got to remember the brakes aren't the same quality on a 3km 15 degree decent into hairpins :P

Quite so - you need to learn this stuff to survive.
Last edited by RonK on Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Lukeyboy » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:27 pm

RonK wrote:
Lukeyboy wrote:Being a cyclist and a motorbike rider I tend to do it out of force of habbit. Just got to remember the brakes aren't the same quality on a 3km 15 degree decent into hairpins :P

Quite so - you need to learn this stuff yo suvive.


Pretty much. Still don't know how people ride mopeds though. There isn't anything to grab on to haha.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Xplora » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:51 pm

If you want to learn to corner, watch motorcyclists do it... preferably MotoGP. Knee out, drop your butt alongside the saddle to the inside, let centrifugal force push you out of the corner (really important to pick your apex!).
Problem - your cleats don't let you rotate your leg properly, and you can't squeeze an accelerator to do this well... so there you go. Pushing on the outside pedal is really good but good luck finding me do that on a high speed corner... would rather do the other things.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Lukeyboy » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:57 pm

Just don't lean as much as those MotoGP riders otherwise you'll be finding the ground very quickly.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby DoogleDave » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:31 pm

Jump on YouTube and watch some speed ice skaters go around the track (particularly on the bends).
Once they get up to speed, all their weight goes onto their outside leg and they lean in towards the turn at the required angle to counteract the centrifugal force trying to slide them off the track.
The faster they turn and the more they weigh the more they need to lean over to counteract.
I would imagine its the same on a bike.

The MotoGP riders need to really lean over excessively as their bike weighs so much more than a bicycle and it is also travelling ALOT faster, so the angle required to counteract this is insane (along with the amazing grip levels of their tyres).

A bike, in comparison, isn't travelling that fast and certainly doesn't weigh as much so the angle needed isn't as aggressive....but if you were hurtling down a steep descent at incredible speed and you were to come across a tight turn, the angle you'd need to lean would be quite large and I imagine most riders would bail out and slow down (fearing their tyres will lose grip), or lean into the corner to find they haven't leaned enough and run wide on their exit.....or would ride like a pro and nail the turn and make a small break on the pack...LOL :lol:

At the end of the day you'll know if you have leaned over enough because you'll ride out of the corner and still be on your bike and on the road.
If you find yourself laying on the road mid-turn, off the road during your exit or losing control part-way through the turn, your NOT doing it right.

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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Xplora » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:44 pm

If you try and replicate a MotoGP bike going through a hairpin turn, you'll go down, guaranteed LOL

It's the style you need to emulate. There is a lot more motion on the saddle than simply laying it over and to stop pedalling.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby zero » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:11 am

DoogleDave wrote:Jump on YouTube and watch some speed ice skaters go around the track (particularly on the bends).
Once they get up to speed, all their weight goes onto their outside leg and they lean in towards the turn at the required angle to counteract the centrifugal force trying to slide them off the track.
The faster they turn and the more they weigh the more they need to lean over to counteract.
I would imagine its the same on a bike.

The MotoGP riders need to really lean over excessively as their bike weighs so much more than a bicycle and it is also travelling ALOT faster, so the angle required to counteract this is insane (along with the amazing grip levels of their tyres).



Actually they lean over more because a wide tire changes the "effective" angle, as does the weight distribution caused by the engines position (ie the imaginary line drawn through the contact point and the mass center is much shallower on a motorcycle. They have to lean further to even turn at the same rate/speed.

A lot of their grip advantages for the tires occur because road bike tires are generally optimised for rolling resistance. I can fairly closely approach a motorcycles lean angles on my MTB when fitted with 45psi 2in semi slicks - at least until the speed scrubs off.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:24 am

You guys talk about learning through corners as if it is a choice.

For a given cornering radius and speed you CANNOT choose you lean angle of your centre of mass!

Even 85 year old great grandmothers lean through corners on the bike!

If you corner quickly and sharply then you learn alot, if you corner slowly and gently then you don't lean much. This is simple highschool physics, it it simply unavoidable on a cornering two wheel bicycle. Sure some people choose to keep their body more upright. The centre of mass of the bike+rider combination is still at the same lean angle. By cornering like that you increasing the lateral forces on you wheels and usually reducing grip.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Baldy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:00 pm

Xplora wrote:If you want to learn to corner, watch motorcyclists do it... preferably MotoGP. Knee out, drop your butt alongside the saddle to the inside, let centrifugal force push you out of the corner (really important to pick your apex!).
Problem - your cleats don't let you rotate your leg properly, and you can't squeeze an accelerator to do this well... so there you go. Pushing on the outside pedal is really good but good luck finding me do that on a high speed corner... would rather do the other things.


Hmmm not sure where to start!

If you want to learn to corner, watch cyclists do it....preferably someone who knows what they are doing!! Most pros are pretty good. But of course there is a wide range of abilities even within the pros. Some are outstanding and considering how much time they spend on bikes some are barely more than passengers :mrgreen:

There is no need to start hanging off ya bike like you are Wayne Gardener :lol: A 10kg bicycle and a GP bike are different beasts[not that I have been on a GP bike mind you] I have some moto experience though and most of the positions on the bike during cornering are to encourage the damn thing to turn into the corner. Just poking your knee out at speed will help it turn in and poking the knee out in slow turns is more related to balance/habit.

Weighting the outside pedal is absolutely vital on a roadbike. Well if you want to go around a corner fast anyway :P Anything you can go through with your feet forward/back is not a corner, its a curve in the road!
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby rustychisel » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:01 pm

The amount of conjecture and misinformation on this thread is, quite frankly, scaring.

For instance, and only an obvious example,
RonK wrote:Above walking pace a bike must be counter-steered to turn it.


Read what human909 wrote, then ride your bike, observe, evaluate and learn. DO NOT listen to people who tell you to watch MotoGP clips.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Lukeyboy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:23 pm

I think everyone knows that they're going to lean the bike into a corner but some might not know how to actually go about it or know the limits ie your body position on the bike (Body lean, foot positioning, sticking your knee out (mostly for balance), hand/arm movements - more lean angle in tighter corners means a faster corner speed due to different available lines - Lean angles shouldn't be as dramatic as motorbike riders as the front will wash out quicker due to the thinner tires/slower speeds/massive weight difference), bike positioning on the road (the line into and out of the corner), road surface types, corner radius, grade, the riders speed, tyre type (road/mtb), drop bars/flat bars, how far to lean before the front wheel loses traction and so on. Alot of which can't be taught from online forums but only learnt from the riders experience and the riders particular bike setup.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Alien27 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:25 pm

There are lots of reasons motorbike riders hang off the inside of bike. The most important one is that their tyres allow a higher speed through any given corner than the peg and fairing ground clearance allow. To use the available traction (go as fast through the corner as their tyres allow) they must shift the centre of gravity further towards the inside of the corner than their ground clearance allows. Therefore they shift their bodies off the side of the bike.

If your going fast the knee out also acts like a bit of an air brake helping to pull the bike into the corner.

Two wheeled vehicles can only change direction by having the wheels pulled out from underneath them. Popular perception of a bike leaning into a corner is that the top of the bike and riders body leans into the corner. In fact what actually happens is that the rider pulled the wheels out from under the bike by counter steering. The wheels head off in the wrong direction and the rider and top of the bike fall into the corner. To arrest this fall the rider then steers back into the corner and then juggles the balance point through the turn. To straighten up coming out of the turn the rider actually counter steers again turning harder into the turn effectively pulling the wheels back under the bike.

But all that is largely irrelevant. 99% of the time the secret to better cornering is just to relax. Relax the arms and body lets the bike do what it needs underneath you and let's you feel the feedback your bike is giving you. The rest will happen subconsciously.

All that from a guy that is just back on the bike after a 5 week layoff waiting for a broken thumb to heal after coming off at 60kmph attacking a down the hill and around a corner Strava segment. :D :lol
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby gorilla monsoon » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:35 pm

Mr Miyagi would know the answer.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:27 pm

zero wrote:
BarryTas wrote:do you?

a) lean the bike but try to keep the body upright

or

b) lean the body and try to keep the bike upright



Keep the head upright and lean the bike.


Terrible advice.

Look at what a motor-bike racer does. They look through the corner. A nervous novice will keep their head upright. I have a number of pics of myself at racetracks, and in the early ones you can see my incorrect head position. Later on it improves. Generally, on a bike we don't shift over and put our knee down, but as the pics show above, you can. Body weight should shift to the inside though, even if only subtly.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Ken Ho » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:27 pm

Double post
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:32 pm

Motorcyclists have thought this thru a lot more scientifically than most pedal cyclists. Look up some cornering techniques on the interweb. Only difference is if you want to keep pedaling when (as referred to by previous posters) frame design limitations com into the equation.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby zero » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:33 pm

Ken Ho wrote:
zero wrote:
BarryTas wrote:do you?

a) lean the bike but try to keep the body upright

or

b) lean the body and try to keep the bike upright



Keep the head upright and lean the bike.


Terrible advice.

Look at what a motor-bike racer does. They look through the corner. A nervous novice will keep their head upright. I have a number of pics of myself at racetracks, and in the early ones you can see my incorrect head position. Later on it improves. Generally, on a bike we don't shift over and put our knee down, but as the pics show above, you can. Body weight should shift to the inside though, even if only subtly.


Meh, we are talking about exactly the same thing - you can't look through the corner if you have your head at body angle.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby Bentnose » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:29 pm

Quite often when braking for corners off road I'll lock up the back momentarily and turn the front wheel in the opposite direction to the turn, this would be countersteering, or is it drifting? It all happens very quickly and I do it automatically without thinking too much, quickest way round a tight corner sometimes.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:38 pm

Drifting.

An MTB/BMX/motocross technique. Do it on the tarmac and you'll 1. tear the guts out of the tyre really quick and 2. risk an uncontrolled spin.
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Re: Leaning through corners

Postby AndrewBurns » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:55 pm

My biggest concern about high-speed descending is unexpected loss of traction around corners. Most hard high-speed corners I would go around are less than perfect country roads and I fear the momentary loss of traction I'd get when hitting a pothole or a stick or crack etc. Doesn't worry me though, I know my limits and so far I've managed to stay inside them and upright. I did have one slightly scary moment on the weekend braking into a very steep hairpin feeling like I was going to lock up my wheels and slide out before I could wash off enough speed to safely take the corner.
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