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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been practicing riding around in parking lots to try and improve skills that aren't street friendly (wheelies are so much fun :) ), but I've found I run into a serious mental block when getting approaching a steep lean angle. Especially when turning right.

I've seen a few videos of people dragging a knee while driving around in a circle in a parking lot, but I can't seem to force myself to get the bike leaned over very far at slower speeds. It feels like I'm fighting the bike and about to crash it if I go any further. Is this just a mental block? Or if I feel like the bike is about to lowside, then it probably is. Is the bike's max lean angle different for lower speeds?

I'm trying to improve my riding skills safely, but a lack of extra cash prevents track school and a lack of friends that ride prevent instruction. I'm already reading Sport Riding Technique and Twist of the Wrist II, I just need specific help when practicing.

Any advice or pointers would be helpful. Anybody in San Diego that want's to be a mentor for an enthusiastic new rider would receive a good amount of charity at happy hour.
 

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I don't even know if I could get a knee down in a parking lot. Slow speeds are harder than fast for steep lean angle. Best word of advice, get out of the parking lot.

i disagree..... He can practice corning and proper body position

Obviously the track is the best place to learn but if he can't get to a track a parking lot is probably his next safest option

Dragging knee at 15-20 mph is very easy
 

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If you feel the bike is getting loose then the bike is not settled and you will low side. One you prob don't have enough heat in the tires for grip, two your body position is prob all wrong, three going in circles isn't exactly the best to get a knee down.

Being able to set the bikes suspension properly going into a corner, and being able to accelerate out of the turn help also becuase your not focused on the turn your already looking down the track to the next turn or focusing on the tuck going down the straight.

You are no where near the bikes max lean angle, when you are dragging elbows then i would say you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The parking lot is pretty big, maybe 100 X 200 yards and completely empty after hours. I just don't like testing limits I haven't tested before on public roads. My problem is just that I can't determine if the what I perceive to be wrong is in my head (because I haven't leaned it over this far before) or if there is actually something unsettled. For the most part, it feels really solid and I keep the speed and throttle very constant, but the further I lean over, the more I'm fighting the handlebars and I can't tell if it's because I'm approaching a limit or if it's supposed to be that way.

I know this is hard to explain without seeing something, I'll try and record it so I can post a vid and have you all critique me.
 

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Plenty on instructionals on you tube like they say body position is crucial feeling comfy in the lean yet still in control is going to make you feel more secure about taking it to the ground , me and my boy practice early sunday mornings on the mixmaster and you can keep looking around great practice
 

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try taking he opossite hand off the bar. You are fighting yourself. Obviously you can't remove your right hand but what I mean is relax your grip to the extent that only one hand is giving the bar input.
 

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dont fell bad dude. i am in the same position as you. i am left handed. i have no problem what so ever when leaning into / or getting body positiond for left turns. now when its a right turn i start out fine and half way thru the turn i screw it all up and try to fight/force it. i am very uncomfortable when leaning to the right. but like you stated i think its just mental. there are a couple turns out here that easy right turns with medium to no lean angle required and some that a skilled rider can drag knee. i tend to start off with the easy right turns and hit them over and over again each time trying to get lean and speed better with putting myself in danger.... i dont have access to a travk here in hawaii so after hours or unoccupied roads with right turns are my only options to and get better...
 

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You are fighting yourself.
Exactly, you shouldnt have any input to the handle bars. If you are trying to steer the bike via handle bars you won't ever get over or you will wreck. Your body position should make the bike lean over.

You can find video's where are guys are on the track and they are only hanging on by one hand, becuase they have no input into the handle bars.
 

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Exactly, you shouldnt have any input to the handle bars.
This is not at all what he said. He stated to make inputs with one hand rather than two (which I still disagree with).

If you are trying to steer the bike via handle bars you won't ever get over or you will wreck.
This is completely wrong. If you want to be fast you will need to learn the importance of making aggressive yet controlled handlebar inputs. Trying to steer the bike with your body position alone is MUCH slower and requires much more energy from the rider. Turning the bike should be done by firm, positive inputs to BOTH bars with BOTH hands in order to get the back down/up as quickly as physics will allow.
 

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This is not at all what he said. He stated to make inputs with one hand rather than two (which I still disagree with).



This is completely wrong. If you want to be fast you will need to learn the importance of making aggressive yet controlled handlebar inputs. Trying to steer the bike with your body position alone is MUCH slower and requires much more energy from the rider. Turning the bike should be done by firm, positive inputs to BOTH bars with BOTH hands in order to get the back down/up as quickly as physics will allow.
Well i have to disagree with you, body position is the fundamental key of riding, if your body position is wrong then you will never get anywhere. Trying to man handle the bike through the handlebars will have you off the track or sliding across the asphault.

Show me someone fast who has bad body position

Not sure if you have ever been on the track, but any good organization will preach body position until you no longer thing about it and just do it. While on the track you have minimal input on the handle bars.

Look at moto gp, SBK, ama when they ride everything is done with the body position. To make a quick left to right or vice versa, they are using the body to steer the bike.

Their elbows are bent and very light on the bars, offering minimal input via handle bars
 

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TAKE IT TO THE TRACK !!!
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You do need good body position but there are many different styles not all racers do the same thing. Trying to turn with body position ? You need those handle bars to turn for example turn 1 at Fontana if you want to be fast through there then you need to apply some serious force to the bars.
 

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I think you two are talking about the same thing differently. Yes, body positioning is important, but it should be established in most cases before steering input. It should accentuate the turning effort, not necessarily initiate it.

This is seen as riders are approaching the corner, coming down through the gears and braking with there knee out in the direction of the corner and butt to the inside of the bike, before they enter the turn.
 

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You do need good body position but there are many different styles not all racers do the same thing. Trying to turn with body position ? You need those handle bars to turn for example turn 1 at Fontana if you want to be fast through there then you need to apply some serious force to the bars.

I agree, there are many different styles. But it still begins with good body positioning.

yes you turn the bike by shifting your weight and having good body position

As you can see in the pic there is a lot more body input, then handlebar
 

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TAKE IT TO THE TRACK !!!
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i agree 100% that it is best to setup before the turn and i am a big fan of body position but try turning without holding the handle bars and let me know what kind of lean angle you are able to achieve.
 

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Well i have to disagree with you, body position is the fundamental key of riding, if your body position is wrong then you will never get anywhere.
I agree that what you do with your entire body plays a big role in going fast. I also know that there are many different unorthodox styles that work at the highest levels of the sport. The "textbook" riding style is definitely not the only way to ride. In fact, as you get faster you will adopt many different styles of riding to accommodate different situations. Using myself as an example, here are two different extremes when it comes to body position for specific situations:





One riding style is not optimal for all situations.

Show me someone fast who has bad body position




Look at moto gp, SBK, ama when they ride everything is done with the body position. To make a quick left to right or vice versa, they are using the body to steer the bike.

Their elbows are bent and very light on the bars, offering minimal input via handle bars
No one in MotoGP, AMA, or even fast club racers are steering the bike with their body position alone. To make a quick transition you MUST make a controlled, forceful input. Those guys are putting in a LOT of bar input. You can't go fast without it.

Their elbows are bent and they are light on the bars, but when it's time to make a direction change inputs must be made. You could put Ben Spies on the track at a club race and tell him not to make any bar inputs for the duration of the race and he would get dominated.

As you can see in the pic there is a lot more body input, then handlebar
You can see the amount of pressure on a handlebar from a photograph? Impressive.

As an experiment, do this for me. Next time you're on the bike and riding down a straight road, push and pull on the handlebars and observe how quickly and easily the bike begins to tip in each direction. Now, make no bar inputs at all and try to replicate that with just body weight. You will clearly see how much slower and less controlled it is to turn the bike with rider mass.
 
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