My First Twisties
August 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm #3352EliasParticipant
Well, in my absence from BBM, I have been riding the bloody hell out of my SV. I hit my first section of real good twisties yesterday, and found it fun and challenging. One thing that bothered me is how slow I felt I was going through them. I think I have determined that I don’t feel very comfortable leaning farther than 35 degrees or so. I never crossed a solid yellow, but I did find myself letting off the throttle mid-turn on a few hairpins that caught me by surprise. This bothers me a lot since decelerating in a turn is a big no-no. I guess the comfort level will increase with experience, but did anyone else find themselves going slow 25-35 through twisties? I’m definitely not holding up any traffic thoAugust 28, 2009 at 2:41 am #21973briderdtParticipant
…there are only two corners that I feel comfortable taking at anything close to what I feel is an aggressive pace. And both of them are turns within the compound I work at (private property). So I commute on them every day (almost).
The supposed “proper” way to adjust in the corner is to press harder on the inside handlebar. But I’ve done the same — chopped the throttle mid-turn. So far I haven’t dumped it. But there’s nothing wrong with being cautious, especially in unfamiliar roads. Knee blasting just isn’t warranted on public streets.August 28, 2009 at 3:23 am #21974eonParticipant
Don’t sweat it, it will come with practice. I was the exact same way. I used to get really mad at myself for rolling off the throttle mid corner as I knew that was completely the wrong thing to do. Then I would get really mad as I was going so slow I could do the wrong thing and there was no consequences. I’m glad I never crashed but it meant I was losing my bottle at very slow speeds ()
I gradually got better and pushed myself faster into corners until one day I gave myself a scare which made me stop and think. Since then I’ve lost that urge to take corners faster and faster. Instead I focus on taking them smoothly, rolling on the throttle all the way through and picking the perfect line. As well as being safer it is actually more satisfying. This revelation only came to me a few months ago so maybe you can save your 10 months of frights and get on the right track sooner than I did.
As briderdt says, the correct way is to press harder and even give it more throttle. That takes a lot of belief and goes against all instincts. I still have to fight the urge to chop the throttle when I misjudge but leaning more really does work. Just scares the crap out of you :>August 28, 2009 at 4:02 am #21977
I’m struggling with the same thing on turns and braking. The only thing I can say, is more practice.
BTW, does anyone use a double apex on their turns? I have a curive in my neighborhood that has too large a radius to be called a hairpin, but where the road nearly doubles up on itself. That seems like the only way to take that turn that might make sense…August 28, 2009 at 5:05 am #21982eternal05Participant
Usually a “double-apex” is really just two turns. In racing, you’ll sometimes make a double-apex out of a single turn for the sake of going faster. On the street, as far as I’ve ever encountered, there’s not much use for a forced double-apex. The reason you might make a double-apex out of a turn like turn #2:
is because if you take it as a single-radius, you spend way too much time leaned over, you carry less speed through, and you get onto the straight too late. Motorcycles accelerate REALLY fast, so especially with bigger-displacement sportbikes, it’s a lot more about getting the bike pointed out towards the straight as early as possible and getting on the gas than it is about carrying corner speed (as it would be in the 125cc GP class, for instance).
In short, there’s no reason to do this on the street (that I can see) since making the turn comfortably at any reasonably safe speed is never an issue once you’re confident in your skills. You’re not looking to go that 0.1 seconds faster. That’s not to say it’s bad, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
============ THE “MORE THAN ANYBODY WANTS TO KNOW LINE” ======
Put more articulately, when you’re racing, you’re looking to get the bike straight up and down and headed out of the corner as quickly as you can. The reason for wanting the bike upright is twofold. First, if you’re leaned, you decrease the size of your tires’ contact patches, and you’re “wasting” some of your tires’ traction on turning. If you stand the bike up, the contact patch increases dramatically and you can spend 100% of that increased traction on accelerating. The second reason is that, as you lean, the radius of the tire gets smaller, meaning that for a given number of RPM, the bike goes slower than it would straight up and down.
So, what you WANT to do, especially considering that there’s a decent patch of “straight” after turn #2, is to get a really late apex at the very end of the turn, i.e. AFTER that little dirt trail meets up with the road. You want to be wide to the right on the approach to make the straightest line out of the corner, turn in fast, and quickly stand it back up by the apex and pin the throttle. But to be wide on the right with a single apex, you’d have to have trailed the outside of the corner the entire time. You can’t tell from this aerial shot, but that’s a LONG turn, and the road is very wide. To do that would a) be slow, and b) be a greater distance by far. So the solution? Throw in a first apex somewhere above the #2 in that pic. Turns out that’s the fastest way through the turn.
And that is more than you ever wanted to know about turn #2 at Pacific Raceways.August 28, 2009 at 6:54 am #21983eonParticipant
I could swear in one of the Proficient Motorcycling books it talks about cruisers sometimes turning hairpins into V corners. Something to do with the limited lean angles available on some bikes. That might be what you are doing. I will have a look through the books tomorrow night see if I can find that article I’m thinking about.
EDIT: couldn’t wait, had to go look it up
on page 159 of More PM he mentions that if you are riding a cruiser with limited clearance “you may prefer more of a V shaped line in which you brake toward the point of the V, make a tight slow speed turn, and accelerate away from it ….. A V line really has two apexes, one early and one late. ”August 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm #21986briderdtParticipant
I used to race on that track EVERY Tuesday all summer when I was bike (bicycle) racing. Yeah, the picture doesn’t really give a perspective of just how wide the road is and how shallow that turn is.
To give any one an idea… one lap of that track is something like 2.25 miles. The road going into turn 2 is a good 3 lanes plus wide, and at least 4 wide going into turn 1.August 29, 2009 at 10:56 pm #22015
Thank you for the great discussion of when to use this technique. (btw, that is a serious and not smart-ass gratitude) I had seen something about it elsewhere and apparently didn’t really understand the context.
The short answer to my question is then “practice, practice, practice” on the twisties.August 29, 2009 at 10:59 pm #22016
That book was on my list somewhere; I’ll bump it up.
In this case though, I think the issue is just practice since the bike has plenty of lean to make the curve. The curve is just longer and deeper than I expect, but everytime I go around it, it gets a little easier.August 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm #22018MunchParticipant
I have to use this “technique” everyday. I have an exit ramp that starts pretty sharp then fades into a sweeper then suddenly turn sharp again…. none of it straight. Outside inside on the first sharp point then drift to the outside of the sweeper portion to diving inside on the last curl. Scrape the floor boards a lot of times on the last section. This exit intimidated the crap out of me when I first started on the 500 , now…. it’s a play thing on my 900.August 30, 2009 at 12:49 am #22022eternal05Participant
It all comes down to the age-old saying: “Practice makes you suck less.”August 30, 2009 at 6:48 pm #22042RabParticipant
You should always be overly cautious when riding twisties that are unfamiliar to you as you just don’t know how tight that bend is unless you can clearly see all the way through it. Even then you can be caught by surprise by the camber or accumulated gravel etc. What if it’s a blind hairpin!?
The trick of course is to brake before the bends, not in them and make speed in the straights. If you find yourself going too fast through the corner, then you didn’t slow enough prior to entry based on how much of the corner you could see prior to entry.
You can still be caught by surprise if it’s a complex bend though, so if you are into it too fast, usually the best thing to do is to lean harder (by countersteering) if you’re on a non-cruiser type bike. The bike can probably lean a heck of a lot more than you’ve had the guts to try before. Look at motorcycle racing, those guys are almost horizontal going round bends fast.
If you’re on a cruiser (with limited ground clearance), then you shouldn’t be trying to ride fast in the twisties anyway as more leaning could cause hard parts to touch the road (not good).
Personally, having done it when I was a newbie, I don’t enjoy trying to ride fast in the twisties as I don’t enjoy scaring myself (and I did scare myself on more than a few occasions). No biggie, and I don’t feel any less masculine for it
I also generally choose to ride alone (or two-up), so am not subject to peer pressure, bravado or the herd mentality (which have been the undoing of so many motorcyclists).
There are a lot of stone-dead or wheelchair-bound “fast guys”.
As they say, “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots”.
The same applies to motorcyclists. Think seriously about that…
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