Close call today, countersteering and leaning still freaks me out.

RubyRider

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I had what felt like a close call on my way home from work today. I did not have a good line in what is probably an easy turn, going about 45-50mph. I did countersteer but neglected to lean. I was also staring at a car in the next lane. I felt myself taking too wide a turn and was gonna end up in the next lane. I did not panic brake, even though I wanted to, I did however tap the brakes. I was upright enough that it didn't cause any problems. I am frustrated by my fear and how little confidence I have. how much countersteer do I need? How can I practice "high" speed turns "safely". Part of my problem is, at least on this particular turn, I know it's coming and I freak myself out. My stomach drops everytime, and the fear response happens, which I imagine contributes to my stiffness. I have only been seriously riding for a week as I got my license last week. Too much to soon? I'd love some more experienced riders input.
 

MZ5

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Fear is definitely a problem. I can understand the frustration. Practice; low-speed, preferably in a large open (empty) parking lot. Have you taken a rider training course? If not, I highly recommend one. They give you a chance to practice, plus instruction from a live person who is watching you and can offer pointers as they watch what you're doing.

Are you by chance leaning backwards, sort of 'away from the danger' that your brain is telling you is coming? That will make the bike more squirrely and less stable.

Countersteering will naturally tip the bike in the direction you want it to turn. So, as you push the bar forward on the side you want to turn toward, can you get yourself to also lean toward that bar? A tip I've shared with riding friends is: "Kiss the mirror." If you're turning right, lean right and forward as though you're leaning in to kiss the right-hand mirror.
 

RubyRider

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Fear is definitely a problem. I can understand the frustration. Practice; low-speed, preferably in a large open (empty) parking lot. Have you taken a rider training course? If not, I highly recommend one. They give you a chance to practice, plus instruction from a live person who is watching you and can offer pointers as they watch what you're doing.

Are you by chance leaning backwards, sort of 'away from the danger' that your brain is telling you is coming? That will make the bike more squirrely and less stable.

Countersteering will naturally tip the bike in the direction you want it to turn. So, as you push the bar forward on the side you want to turn toward, can you get yourself to also lean toward that bar? A tip I've shared with riding friends is: "Kiss the mirror." If you're turning right, lean right and forward as though you're leaning in to kiss the right-hand mirror.
I have taken the course, and the instructors didn't really point out anything in particular. I can say that I dont look where I wanna go. So this probably does contribute to the backwards leaning you are talking about.
When first started riding, about a month ago, i was riding around my neighborhood and dumped the bike by leaning way to much for a low speed turn. My arm is still pink from the new skin. Perhaps its a subconcious thing I just need to train out.
 

MZ5

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That fall and hurt are probably not helping, are they?

I’m a little surprised the coaches didn’t have much to say, but I suppose every class and coach are different. I’m not a rider coach, so I don’t pretend to be good at it.

You do need to break any target-fixation habit. For me, the amount to lean and what speed is the switchover between ‘normal’ and counter-steering is a matter of feel, and of course depends on the bike, so I’m not quite sure how to communicate that.

There are, or were, some folks here who have been instructors or coaches, as I recall, so they’ll probably have better suggestions.
 

potter0o

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There should be more than one course to take. An entry level course is exactly that...entry level/learn to ride. There should be advanced courses to take. This is the only year I didn't do another course...stupid covid....
 

Griff

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I was also staring at a car in the next lane.

That was part of the cause of Your problem. If You look at something when riding, the chances are that You will gravitate towards that object. That is something we learn quickly with rocks on the trail when trail riding.

Also one other aspect of motorcycling to practice is "smoothness" in your actions on the bike as much as possible on the road.

I agree with some comments above regarding a second course with a different instructor.
 

Lukesdad14

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Hard to beat practice but you need to find/ride some back roads with minimal traffic so no one is pushing you. Confidence comes with repetition and time. Mistakes happen when we get frustrated and rushed remember to relax and let the bike work under you.
 

LeeInMpls

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I had what felt like a close call on my way home from work today. I did not have a good line in what is probably an easy turn, going about 45-50mph. I did countersteer but neglected to lean. I was also staring at a car in the next lane. I felt myself taking too wide a turn and was gonna end up in the next lane. I did not panic brake, even though I wanted to, I did however tap the brakes. I was upright enough that it didn't cause any problems. I am frustrated by my fear and how little confidence I have. how much countersteer do I need? How can I practice "high" speed turns "safely". Part of my problem is, at least on this particular turn, I know it's coming and I freak myself out. My stomach drops everytime, and the fear response happens, which I imagine contributes to my stiffness. I have only been seriously riding for a week as I got my license last week. Too much to soon? I'd love some more experienced riders input.
Kevin's McRider site is a great resource for us new riders!

 

Madison Sully

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Target fixation combined with low skills can be deadly. Practice, practice, practice both low and high speed maneuvers. On those occasions where I feel I've gone in too hot, I have a mantra: "Steer INTO the danger!" Reasoning is, if I'm too hot in a right turning sweeper, and start drifting toward the oncoming lane, pushing the bars as if to turn INTO the left lane causes lean that results in things evening out with me in the right lane. Point is, countersteering starts the whole thing. Not leaning; you can forget that just fine, as the countersteer will FORCE you into the lean. But yeah, it works a whole lot better if you roll with it.
 

Fuzzy

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Lots of suggestions here. Bottom line for your safety and the safety of others you need to stay out of traffic until you figure it out. Even if you have to trailer your bike to get there find someplace safe to practice. Get more instruction if needed
 

GregC

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In addition to all the excellent advice, I'd emphasis the "kiss the mirror" advice by MZ5. I've learned that body mechanics reinforce countersteering and looking-where-you-want-to-turn. Body mechanics (i.e., putting some body weight on the side you are turning into) is also a must-have technique on wet roads to provide even better stability and traction. And I'm not talking about Moto GP stuff, simply sliding your butt a bit to the side of the turn and moving your head toward the mirror on the turn side -- big, big difference and it does force you to look through your turn.
 
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76Hawke

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Does the turn that makes you sweat have a "slow" time? Say early on a Sunday morning for instance?
I remember having a couple intersections, hills, turns, etc that I would repeatedly drive when traffic levels were light and I had time.
Just take that same turn repeatedly without the pressure of traffic, if someone is behind you, keep going and take the next turn, avoid pressure, turn around and try again. Once you feel frazzled, take a short ride and try again another day.
Echoing classes, proper techniques, video, etc, but informed repetition is really helpful for me.
 

Havok

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Personally take things at the speed your comfortable. It is not a race. I have dumped many a bike. Luckily no lasting injuries. I get the butterflies still so for me slow down to a comfortable speed. As you get more confident push a little harder. Fyi been riding since I was 8 and am 54 now and still skitish.
 

melensdad

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I have taken the course...

I can say that I dont look where I wanna go.
I’m surprised they didn’t emphasize looking at where you want to go to the point that it is your habit. Fixating on an object is a good way to run into that object.

On a curve you should be looking toward/or through the end of the curve or sometimes beyond that point. (It will vary by lots of factors like how tight or how widely sweeping the curve is, speed of travel, etc) But in the most general terms your bike will go where your eyes are looking. So you basically want to be looking toward where you want to end up not at a series of individual points during the curve.

I’m sure someone will explain it far better, but looking toward where you want to be is generally good advice. Looking through a curve may help you.
 
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670cc

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If you don't already have enough to digest, here is another tip. In addition to the kiss the mirror technique, I find that even after 45 years of riding, I sometimes need to remind myself to keep my head level. In the turn the bike is leaning and your body is leaning, but if you keep your head level, it improves your spatial orientation. For me anyway, it helps me judge more accurately where I am in the curve in relation to the road, and allows me to better make precision mid course corrections.
 

drdubb

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If you don't already have enough to digest, here is another tip. In addition to the kiss the mirror technique, I find that even after 45 years of riding, I sometimes need to remind myself to keep my head level. In the turn the bike is leaning and your body is leaning, but if you keep your head level, it improves your spatial orientation. For me anyway, it helps me judge more accurately where I am in the curve in relation to the road, and allows me to better make precision mid course corrections.


I was about to say the same thing. Best piece of advice I ever got. You can lean much further than you think. Most riders seldom reach the limit of their friction.
 
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