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

dduelin

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Not long after I started riding again I picked out a mall parking lot nearby that had these 'islands" with a light pole surrounded by a few bushes. I would go there on weekend mornings very early and ride figure eights between two of these islands. They were far enough apart I could get up to about 40 mph and shift gears a couple of times then downshift and set up the turn to come back. At the same time I was devouring books like Lee Parks Total Control and Nick Ienatsch Sport Riding Techniques and both books contain a variety of parking lot drills to integrate the simultaneous steering, throttle, and braking inputs that a turn requires. Riding a motorcycle well is a complex thing to do and until most of these inputs become subconscious they must be practiced in a safe environment.
 

DirtFlier

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Perhaps you can find a section of curvy roads and practice, backwards and forwards, on a Sunday morning when traffic is nil. Stay at the speed limit and make it a goal to keep your bike in the center of the lane in each curve while always looking as far into each curve as possible.

Later on you can work on early apex or late apex techniques but for now just keep your bike in the middle of your lane. :)
 
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Wedders

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Many years ago a police motorcyclist told me to relax by dropping my shoulders and losing the tension in my arms and body. I know this is not a cornering technique but certainly helps a lot with general riding. I think having just started riding hitting apexes and the like is just going to get you into trouble, learn the basics and take some courses the more the better.
 

LeeInMpls

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until most of these inputs become subconscious they must be practiced in a safe environment.


I've noticed on Youtube, with the head on crashes on curves, that it looks like folks, rather than doing what is instinctual all the way back to our bicycle riding days and counter steering, the rider "thinks", "Turn away from the danger", and goes right into it. They override what their body knows.
 

RubyRider

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I’d just add one more thought. We have all been where you are. We understand what you are experiencing. It does get easier; confidence grows with experience, practice and training.
Thank you for that. I will say I took a break for a day and went back today with all the advice and a little more confidence, I took it a little slower and had no issues. I was in a wierd state of mind that day
 

Peter D

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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.
Looking where you want to go is hugely important. I wouldn’t over think the counter steering too much. That seems to happen naturally as you tip it into the turn. Just keep looking at your destination on the other side of the apex and the bike will follow your eyes. Generally if there’s an obstacle you need to miss like a pot hole don’t let yourself look at it but rather look where you need to ride to miss it. And if you feel like you’re under steering just keep leaning. You’ll be surprised at how much you can lean especially if you’re a newer rider.
 

RubyRider

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Looking where you want to go is hugely important. I wouldn’t over think the counter steering too much. That seems to happen naturally as you tip it into the turn. Just keep looking at your destination on the other side of the apex and the bike will follow your eyes. Generally if there’s an obstacle you need to miss like a pot hole don’t let yourself look at it but rather look where you need to ride to miss it. And if you feel like you’re under steering just keep leaning. You’ll be surprised at how much you can lean especially if you’re a newer rider.
Its actually been a few weeks since I posted this. I have made several long trips and have taken much more severe turns at a higher speed since then. Needless to say, this turn doesn't bother me anymore. I am much more capable now. Every weekend me and a buddy hit the tecas hill country. I have learned a lot, and will contiue to learn.
 

Peter D

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Its actually been a few weeks since I posted this. I have made several long trips and have taken much more severe turns at a higher speed since then. Needless to say, this turn doesn't bother me anymore. I am much more capable now. Every weekend me and a buddy hit the tecas hill country. I have learned a lot, and will contiue to learn.
come out to Australia some time and we’ll ride the Oxley Hwy. there’s 40 k of corners one after the other. It’s a great school for cornering.
 

ST13Fred

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Madison Sully above said it. Target fixation is deadly. When a danger suddenly appears you must put your eyes on the road surface ahead to be sure you maintain traction to stay upright.
Your periphery will still see the danger. You go where your eyes go; getting them off the danger is vital.

I've got 55+ years on cycles; have gone through this luckily, only a few times. Keep things Smooth; no herky jerky is also critical.
Nascars' Richard Petty said one time when I kept smoothness in my mind, lap times improved. Good luck.
 
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Janus

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I can remember being spooked by a couple of turns and sections of road that I cruise along regularly now. There is this oddly cambered sharp left turn on the way back from the college I used to attend. A lot of practice sorted it out.

When I started I repeated a lot of mantras. Look left, push left, go left. Both brakes, gently increasing until stopping. Blip the throttle when downshifting. Lean with the bike at high speed, lean against it at low speed.

Now I mostly remind myself to look through the turns, or at least point my nose that way while I scan the road in front of me for furniture and debris.

There's never a time to stop learning. The time you stop learning is when you stop riding, either by crashing out or retiring.
 

ST13Fred

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Negative camber turns are problematic, they aren't recognized until you're in them. Adding more lean is safer IMO than braking. Staying smooth will allow (good) tires to give a squirm warning.
I practice maintenance throttle in turns whereby the rear tire is 'neutral'; not braking, not accelerating; 100% is devoted to lateral adhesion.
 

poconochuck

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Hi, Target fixation is a major factor in accident involved riders. Single tracked vehicles go where you look. Look right lean right go right. You can not do anything about something that is 5 feet in front of you at speed . You should have seen it long before that. In the MSF basic rider course they teach 12 second visual lead(looking to a point it will take you 12 seconds to reach) for overall tracking. As well as 4 second path of travel focusing and 2 second immediate path of travel . Ya gotta keep playing that "What if" game in your head so surprises don't happen.
When traffic permits every manhole cover is a swerve practice and every stop sign a braking practice. .Even motogp racers practice. I practice every time I mount up and I have been a MSF instructor since 1989...
 

Griff

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I personally think that a session of offroad motorcycle training will very much stand to someone who tends to be a bit nervous on the road. One will tend to get accustomed to the many and various behaviours of a motorcycle on varying surfaces and how to deal with them. That in turn prepares one for unexpected issues on the road. Countersteering plays a bigger part in offroading than it actualy does on the road also imo.
 

Oldbear

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Lots of good advice here. Of Top importance, look where you WANT to go, NOT at what you’re afraid of hitting! It takes training and practice, but it is critical. The bike will go where you look-good or bad. Counter steering is the way a bike turns at speed (somewhere around 19-20 mph best I remember is where the steering “reverses“ and the gyroscopic forces cause the bike to steer in the opposite direction from the way it does at creeping speed. Back in the day folks would argue that you didn’t countersteer, but you do . Get yourself out on a 4 lane with no traffic. Run along the outside of one lane and using a touch of pressure on the bars do a lane change, get to the outside of the other lane and repeat. You’ll quickly learn how little pressure is actually required to make a turn. As your skills increase make sharper and sharper turns until you’re comfy. Good luck, stay safe, and practice, practice, practice!
 

Wedders

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Lots of good advice here. Of Top importance, look where you WANT to go, NOT at what you’re afraid of hitting! It takes training and practice, but it is critical. The bike will go where you look-good or bad. Counter steering is the way a bike turns at speed (somewhere around 19-20 mph best I remember is where the steering “reverses“ and the gyroscopic forces cause the bike to steer in the opposite direction from the way it does at creeping speed. Back in the day folks would argue that you didn’t countersteer, but you do . Get yourself out on a 4 lane with no traffic. Run along the outside of one lane and using a touch of pressure on the bars do a lane change, get to the outside of the other lane and repeat. You’ll quickly learn how little pressure is actually required to make a turn. As your skills increase make sharper and sharper turns until you’re comfy. Good luck, stay safe, and practice, practice, practice!
How does counter steering work with those stupid ape hangers. Do you pull down on the bars rather than push?
 

mnorton

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Think about slowing your need to progress and be a ’good’ motorcyclist; slow down a little, and concentrate on being smooth and slick. count your ‘mistakes’ e.g. jerkiness, wrong gear at junction etc to see how many you make in a standard commute. Get it to almost always zero. As for bends, all your work and observation should be done by the time you get to the lean, so you enter at right speed, brakes off now, looking through the bend. Don’t always choose the ‘easy’ route home, and go out in the rain to build confidence and reduce fear. You’ve got loads of time, use these early days not to have your accidents, but learning to avoid them.
 
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