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As I sit here thinking about my cornering, which I am comfortable with my ability at the moment...I think about my mental barricade that keeps me from getting lower.

You know...that feeling you get when you think that you are over as far as you can go, yet you are still 6" from dragging...of course lots of things come into play (i.e. speed, body position, throttle control etc)...let's just focus on the lean angle for the sake of this thread.

The biggest thing that holds me back I guess in a question is,

"May/can you add lean angle at ANY point throughout turn?"


I ask this in order for the placebo effect to play a role for one of you to tell me yes and my confidence is pushed further.

I am sure a lot of you have felt this feeling...I do all the time...you feel that once you have that line and your lean set in, you need to stay right where you are throughout the turn.
 

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Dreaming of buttsecks for years...
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You're correct. Loads of variables. But, if you have more lean available, you can add it (decreasing radius turn). It's just a mental block because you don't want to hurt yourself, or damage the bike. Most modern sport bikes will drag the factory foot peg in ideal conditions. It's amazing how low they will actually go, but the lower you go the greater the risk. At 50% lean, you can hit some debris and the bike will slide a little bit and you'll recover. At full lean, that little loss in traction is the end of your day.

And I never have that feeling. Once I set in on a turn, there's usually a lot of adjustment (on the street) to avoid holes, paint, steel access panels, etc.

Try this on a stretch of road you know well. In a lane, there are basically 2 tire grooves. Start your turn on the inside groove, let it run wide to the outside, then back to the inside groove. Basically the reverse of what a racing line would be. Just to prove to yourself it can be done.
 

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Currently using pedals..
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Yes, and you should leave enough room for to be able to dip in further if you have to avoid obstacles or on coming traffic. I ride anywhere from between 20-50% of my ability in the streets because of that. Anything more belongs on the track :biggrin
 

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As I sit here thinking about my cornering, which I am comfortable with my ability at the moment...I think about my mental barricade that keeps me from getting lower.

You know...that feeling you get when you think that you are over as far as you can go, yet you are still 6" from dragging...of course lots of things come into play (i.e. speed, body position, throttle control etc)...let's just focus on the lean angle for the sake of this thread.

The biggest thing that holds me back I guess in a question is,

"May/can you add lean angle at ANY point throughout turn?"


I ask this in order for the placebo effect to play a role for one of you to tell me yes and my confidence is pushed further.

I am sure a lot of you have felt this feeling...I do all the time...you feel that once you have that line and your lean set in, you need to stay right where you are throughout the turn.
I get what you are saying also , this is about my max lean that I feel comfortable with
 

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Go to the track, start slow, learn the lines, and eventually it will come. With smooth cornering, and good body position. When you start carrying more corner speed, you will start sliding your ass off a little more, and more. That was the key for me, making sure I used my legs, and moved my ass off the seat. Moving around the seat comfortably, and having my feet in the right position. Once I started working on that, I started going a lot faster, and my knee pucks started getting used. But I cant ride like that on the street. I still have huge chicken strips on my month old tires. Not worth it to me. I ride like a total puss on the street.
 

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If it helps:

The way I discovered new possibilities with lean angle was by grossly underestimating a turn while running canyons. It came down to two choices. Hit the brake, stand it up and pray like hell there was no oncoming traffic or push that inner bar a bit harder and dip my inner shoulder.

I took the push/dip approach and it saved my bacon while also cracking that door open just a wee bit more. Obviously not the best approach and I don't suggest that anyone go out and play roulette with oncoming traffic, but it WILL motivate you to try harder. That I promise. :)
 

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As I sit here thinking about my cornering, which I am comfortable with my ability at the moment...I think about my mental barricade that keeps me from getting lower.

You know...that feeling you get when you think that you are over as far as you can go, yet you are still 6" from dragging...of course lots of things come into play (i.e. speed, body position, throttle control etc)...let's just focus on the lean angle for the sake of this thread.

The biggest thing that holds me back I guess in a question is,

"May/can you add lean angle at ANY point throughout turn?"


I ask this in order for the placebo effect to play a role for one of you to tell me yes and my confidence is pushed further.

I am sure a lot of you have felt this feeling...I do all the time...you feel that once you have that line and your lean set in, you need to stay right where you are throughout the turn.
There are too many variables in play here to answer a solid yes or no.

On the street, you should never push to the point where you have no room for error or escape. So in that situation, if you are riding safely on the street, then yes, you may/can add lean angle at any point through the corner.

However, once the pace picks up, the margin or error goes out the window, and you start really pushing the bike (on the track), the amount of changes you can make mid-corner get less and less. Any change, be it lean angle, speed, BP, hand/arm/leg/foot position, and you can lowside with the quickness. The idea is to be able to make small changes as smooth as possible. For example, if I am in a long corner, and need to scrub off speed (like T1 at Roebling), I will allow the bike to run wide, keeping the same lean angle, which in turn will slow me down a bit. I will also feed in a little rear brake if I need to tighten up my line mid-corner, but that is something I don't recommend anyone trying unless you are very experienced since it can lead to very bad outcomes.
 

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Ditchard the High Maintenance Squirrel
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The easy answer is that you can do anything at any time, as long as you are within the limits of traction and ground clearance. If you need more lean angle and aren't dragging hard parts, then lean the bike more. If you want more throttle and you aren't spinning, then give it more gas. If you need more brakes and you aren't locking or tucking the front, then apply more brakes. You can do anything, either while vertical or leaned over, as long as you aren't dragging hard parts or exceeding the available traction.

The biggest mental hurdle for newer riders is this idea that you can only do 1 thing at a time (brake, gas, or lean). The fact is that you can do any combination of them at any time. The only limiting factors are ground clearance and traction. But even exceeding the limits of traction isn't a big deal, it just takes a good feel and throttle/brake control to be able to stay comfortable with it.

I posted this picture in another thread, but this is an example of doing 2 things at once. All things being equal, if you aren't spinning the rear, then you can go faster. That fact holds true no matter who you are, what bike you are riding, which track you are on, so on and so forth. If you haven't exceeded the limits of traction, then you can go faster. The trick is to be able to ride right on the limits of traction, possibly even a few % over the limit of traction (as in this picture with the rear spinning and leaving rubber behind), to ensure you are going as fast as the circumstances will allow at that moment.

 

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That’s Mister Chalet To You ....
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You're getting lots of good, specific advice and wisdom in this thread but my response will focus on just your core question.

"May/can you add lean angle at ANY point throughout turn?"

If you're new enough of a rider that you're asking such a question, you're unlikely to be riding at the extreme limits of your bike / rubber so with that in mind, there's likely always lots of lean available when you think you're already going 'fast' around a turn.

Common scenario: You're in the middle of some long turn and you're going wide.... over the middle line, hopefully with no oncoming traffic.

What do you do? (Without changing throttle, BP... just riding through the turn)

  • Do nothing: Many freeze and ride straight off the other side into the ditch.
  • Grab a handful of brake and... we all know what happens next.
  • Or just lean-in more to follow the turn's line.

More advanced riders have the experience & finesse to be able to combine inputs through a turn. Your question was simply "can I lean more". So... yep :thumbup
 

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Ditchard the High Maintenance Squirrel
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That. ^
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the helpful posts, gentlemen! Really appreciate it...

AD said exactly what I have been thinking in the back of my mind, but sometimes you need to hear it from someone else more experienced to validate your assumptions. The fact that the lower you get, the more narrow the rail your ride on the tires, hence low siding becomes much easier if you are not balanced with all of your inputs...this is what has held me back the most. That fear of going lower when the capability is there both bike and rider.

But as most of you have mentioned, as you get faster, the more extreme the lean angle will become.

I just needed to make sure my thoughts/confidence are on point before I take it to physical reality and push further.
 

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I'm not sure about the "less contact patch while leaning" thing. let me explain. traction is finite.we can use all of it for accelerating or braking while vertical but the more we lean the more cornering forces come into play.as we enter a turn we add lean angle and progressively / proportionally release the brakes.on exits as we pick up the bike we progressively/proportionally open the throttle. so I think it has nothing or little to do with contact patch? In fact track/race tires have more contact patch at lean,right?
 

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I'm not sure about the "less contact patch while leaning" thing. let me explain. traction is finite.we can use all of it for accelerating or braking while vertical but the more we lean the more cornering forces come into play.as we enter a turn we add lean angle and progressively / proportionally release the brakes.on exits as we pick up the bike we progressively/proportionally open the throttle. so I think it has nothing or little to do with contact patch? In fact track/race tires have more contact patch at lean,right?
Contact patches are determined by the specific tire design/profile. Regardless of the size of the contact patch, each tire has a certain amount of traction available. You have the most traction available to brake/accelerate when the bike is upright. The further over you lean in a corner and the faster you go, the less traction you have available to use for braking/accelerating. This is why you do most of your braking before corner entry and can trail brake through the corner. On corner exits, you don't slam the throttle wide open, you gradually open the throttle. Throw in a wet road surface and everything becomes amplified.

Imagine you have a bag full of coins. Braking, accelerating, and cornering all take up a certain amount of couns at any given time. Once you've used all of the coins, you're either crashing you learning how to control slides.
 

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When you lean over, you have less contact patch than when you are vertical, hence less available traction.
 

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The easy answer is that you can do anything at any time, as long as you are within the limits of traction and ground clearance. If you need more lean angle and aren't dragging hard parts, then lean the bike more. If you want more throttle and you aren't spinning, then give it more gas. If you need more brakes and you aren't locking or tucking the front, then apply more brakes. You can do anything, either while vertical or leaned over, as long as you aren't dragging hard parts or exceeding the available traction.

The biggest mental hurdle for newer riders is this idea that you can only do 1 thing at a time (brake, gas, or lean). The fact is that you can do any combination of them at any time. The only limiting factors are ground clearance and traction. But even exceeding the limits of traction isn't a big deal, it just takes a good feel and throttle/brake control to be able to stay comfortable with it.

I posted this picture in another thread, but this is an example of doing 2 things at once. All things being equal, if you aren't spinning the rear, then you can go faster. That fact holds true no matter who you are, what bike you are riding, which track you are on, so on and so forth. If you haven't exceeded the limits of traction, then you can go faster. The trick is to be able to ride right on the limits of traction, possibly even a few % over the limit of traction (as in this picture with the rear spinning and leaving rubber behind), to ensure you are going as fast as the circumstances will allow at that moment.

Great post ...
 

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Lots of very good input here from some guys that KNOW how to go fast. I'm going to throw in another "must have" into the equation and give you some "homework" before you start down the journey of trying to introduce more lean angle and speed. The one thing that I will offer here is the word..........Smoothness!

Learning to be silky smooth both on and off the throttle and on and off the brakes will pay dividends in your quest to lean more and be faster (at least faster on a track). Everything that you do on a bike should equate to smooth.....transitioning from left to right on the bike, on the throttle, off the throttle, and the same with the brakes. When you watch the big boys ride, you may think that they are making that transition through a chicane just boom...boom, and they are. The thing that you don't see is that even though they are lightning fast in their transitions/braking/throttle, they are also silky smooth, nothing ham-fisted.

As a Coach with STT, I am sometimes ask about learning how to trail brake. One of the things I will do is tell the person, let me follow you for a couple of laps and then we'll talk. If I like what I see with their riding, primarily how smooth they are on and off the throttle and brakes, then we'll work on it. If they are not smooth, especially on their braking skills, I recommend to them that they concentrate on working on being smooth....until it is more of a natural process, than having to think about it.

So, hang in there, it all takes time in the saddle and lots of work to master some of the vital skills involved in cornering lower/riding faster, and being smoother.
 

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Ditchard the High Maintenance Squirrel
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When you lean over, you have less contact patch than when you are vertical, hence less available traction.
I normally fully agree with everything you say, but I have to somewhat disagree with this, at least as it refers to the high performance tires we use.

There is actually more tire on the ground when we are leaned over, due to the round (almost oval) profile of the tire and the forces on the tire "flattening" it out. It isn't so much that we have less tire on the ground, it is more in the centripetal forces and lateral acceleration acting on the tire, while the CoG is in more of a vertical plane. The tires are literally trying to shoot out from under the motorcycle all the time...it is only the coefficient of friction that keeps them underneath us.

The announcers were talking about it recently in one of the WSS or WSBK races I watched. One of the announcers made a comment about how a rider needs to "stand the bike up on the fat part of the tire" to get on the gas (which we all know is a common saying). The other announcer corrected him and was like "technically, he is on the fat part of the tire when he is leaned over...he just needs to get the bike more vertical so the tires are directly under him rather than out to the side".

The other announcer laughed, because he knew the guy was just trying to sound smart and poking fun at him. Everyone knows what it means when we say "up on the fat part of the tire". We basically just mean to reduce the lean angle so the forces are acting directly down into the pavement, rather than going sideways.

Yes, I am this bored this morning. :D
 

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Ditchard the High Maintenance Squirrel
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Lots of very good input here from some guys that KNOW how to go fast. I'm going to throw in another "must have" into the equation and give you some "homework" before you start down the journey of trying to introduce more lean angle and speed. The one thing that I will offer here is the word..........Smoothness!

Learning to be silky smooth both on and off the throttle and on and off the brakes will pay dividends in your quest to lean more and be faster (at least faster on a track). Everything that you do on a bike should equate to smooth.....transitioning from left to right on the bike, on the throttle, off the throttle, and the same with the brakes. When you watch the big boys ride, you may think that they are making that transition through a chicane just boom...boom, and they are. The thing that you don't see is that even though they are lightning fast in their transitions/braking/throttle, they are also silky smooth, nothing ham-fisted.

As a Coach with STT, I am sometimes ask about learning how to trail brake. One of the things I will do is tell the person, let me follow you for a couple of laps and then we'll talk. If I like what I see with their riding, primarily how smooth they are on and off the throttle and brakes, then we'll work on it. If they are not smooth, especially on their braking skills, I recommend to them that they concentrate on working on being smooth....until it is more of a natural process, than having to think about it.

So, hang in there, it all takes time in the saddle and lots of work to master some of the vital skills involved in cornering lower/riding faster, and being smoother.
Very, very good point. Everyone always says smooth=fast. That is so true. But smooth also = in control. Smooth means the chassis isn't getting out of shape, the tires stay loaded and aren't being unnecessarily stressed, and you are better prepared for when things go wrong.

This is a video from a race last weekend (I am in the black/red suit). I knew the guy behind me was there and I was riding defensively, taking tighter lines. He took advantage of it and eventually gets past me (damnit, haha), but then he crashes a lap or two later.

But watch my bike/tires/body movements, etc. It almost looks like I am hardly trying, like im just riding to the store. There is no jerking, throwing, snatching, etc. The bike isn't shaking everywhere and everything seems in control, it almost looks boring. But we were running 1:33's even while battling and riding defensively (that is a pretty decent 600cc time at Barber). That is a little bit off of my personal best lap times, but it was 100deg in the paddock and track temps were 140deg, and they had recently laid new sealer. So the track was pretty greasy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADkD5vmSgDc

If you stay smooth, the chassis doesn't get out of shape and the tires maintain a better contact patch the entire time. You can see in the 4:08-4:12 mark how my rear lets go as I am driving off apex. But because I had good BP and had applied the throttle smoothly, I just stayed in the gas, rode it out, let the tire hook back up, and kept going. Had I not been smooth and just grabbed a handful of throttle, or if I had shitty BP, that would have definitely ended in a highside. Instead, it ended in a Podium. :)
 

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Good info Chris, thanks!

:thumbup
 
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