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Old 09-08-13, 08:27 PM   #1
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How to practice lean-in (i.e. fast turning)

Hi.

I'm wondering how best to practice good lean-in while turning. Whenever I turn fast, I can't seem to lean my body in far enough compared to my bike, apparently for fear that I may fall if I lean too far in. I want to overcome that fear, but I just can't think of any way to do that. Could anyone help me out with ideas and suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-08-13, 08:51 PM   #2
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Hi,

Car park and figures of eight, you'll soon get bored with not leaning enough ...
Turning is a lot easier by leaning than trying to steer ...

Do the smallest eight you can do pedaling all the time, then go to the
smallest eight you can do, pedaling in the middle but not on the turns.

rgds, sreten.

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Old 09-08-13, 09:00 PM   #3
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Car park and figures of eight, you'll soon get bored with not leaning enough ...
Turning is a lot easier by leaning than trying to steer ...

Do the smallest eight you can do pedaling all the time, then go to the
smallest eight you can do, pedaling in the middle but not on the turns.
Thanks, sreten! That sounds like a great way to start.
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Old 09-09-13, 05:41 PM   #4
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Hi,

Also try 8's and 0's, using half 8's to change the direction of the 0's.
Also try going faster and faster within the limits of a rectangle.
A four walled court is good for the latter.
Also generally look at where you want your wheels to
go, not where you think the bike will end up, as it will.

rgds, sreten.

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Old 09-09-13, 06:09 PM   #5
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Try not to get dizzy tho!

But yeah, practice makes perfect.

I need to work on this as well, every since I almost wiped out going around a corner, I've been way more cautious than normal. I've found riding in a fast pack of riders helps, when everyone is going around a corner at 25mph, you forget about falling over and just go with the flow. (Try to be on the outside though, just in case.)
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Old 09-09-13, 06:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
I'm wondering how best to practice good lean-in while turning. Whenever I turn fast, I can't seem to lean my body in far enough compared to my bike, apparently for fear that I may fall if I lean too far in. I want to overcome that fear, but I just can't think of any way to do that.
1st things 1st, Relax.

Understand that "Countersteering is the technique used by single-track vehicle operators, such as cyclists and motorcyclists, to initiate a turn toward a given direction by momentarily steering counter to the desired direction."

Read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering

Of particular importance to your query: "This process often requires little or no physical effort, because the geometry of the steering system of most bikes is designed in such a way that the front wheel has a strong tendency to steer in the direction of a lean."

Yep, and the bike will follow your eyes. Look where you want to be.

Find a nice big grassy area and gradually increase speed doing L/R turns, shifting weight, applying F&R brakes and generally messing about.
Your position should have bent elbows and a relaxed but firm hand on the controls.

Mild Cyclo-Cross is the best way to improve bike handling skills while the inevitable mis-judgment crash has far less consequence than any pavement sortie.

Look through the turn, relax and let the bike ride itself.

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Old 09-09-13, 06:19 PM   #7
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(Try to be on the outside though, just in case.)
Sorry, get Inside for the apex.
Wrecks slide Out not In. Don't be a 9 pin.

Go into corners wide carrying speed and come in/out tight on the apex exiting wide with the speed carried through the turn.
When the inevitable wreck happens on the apex tightening a line on the inside allows slipping under while those outside have no maneuvering options.

-Bandera
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Old 09-09-13, 07:18 PM   #8
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I learned 30+ years ago by reading books but now there is video....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTunW-3uW24
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Old 09-09-13, 08:10 PM   #9
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Also generally look at where you want your wheels to
go, not where you think the bike will end up, as it will.
+1. Your bike will naturally go where you're looking - look at the exit of the turn, not at the tree you think you might hit because if you stare at the tree, you'll hit the tree.

Don't over think it either. You'll be crashing in no time if you start trying to work out why countersteering works in the middle of a turn. Just do it.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:22 PM   #10
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I learned 30+ years ago by reading books but now there is video....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTunW-3uW24
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+1. Your bike will naturally go where you're looking - look at the exit of the turn, not at the tree you think you might hit because if you stare at the tree, you'll hit the tree.

Don't over think it either. You'll be crashing in no time if you start trying to work out why countersteering works in the middle of a turn. Just do it.
Thanks for the video. It mentions countersteering, just like TrojanHorse did. Is it the same countersteering that applies to cars, where you steer the car out during cornering so you can "drift" out of a corner?

Another question is, how much should I lean in? In motorcycle racing, I usually see riders lean closer to the road than their motorbikes, with their inside knees almost touching the road. Is that the same principle that I should try to learn? Or does it work differently for bicycles?

[EDIT] Just read up on bicycle countersteering here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering#Bicycles

Looks like I just have to practice first like you said without thinking too much about it. The Wiki entry is probably right. To me (an untrained), it sounds counter-intuitive!
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Old 09-09-13, 08:36 PM   #11
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Sorry, get Inside for the apex.
Wrecks slide Out not In. Don't be a 9 pin.

Go into corners wide carrying speed and come in/out tight on the apex exiting wide with the speed carried through the turn.
When the inevitable wreck happens on the apex tightening a line on the inside allows slipping under while those outside have no maneuvering options.

-Bandera
Sorry, I should have been more descriptive with that. Your advice is far better. I was implying that as a noob, being on the outside of a turn, following the pack, will allow you to watch what others are doing through the turn and allow you to hit the brakes and take the turn slower if your comfort level drops...as opposed to being on the inside where there might not be the option of slowing down.

Perhaps I should just shut up and not give advice since I'm no expert and still learning myself. I just find that its easier for me and my comfort level to be near the outside/back of the pack so I can slow down through a turn if I need to. Right now I'm trying to work on my comfort levels on the inside/front but there are times when the speed is just too much and that feeling of the rear tire slipping starts popping up in my head.
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Old 09-09-13, 08:41 PM   #12
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Perhaps I should just shut up and not give advice since I'm no expert and still learning myself. I just find that its easier for me and my comfort level to be near the outside/back of the pack so I can slow down through a turn if I need to. Right now I'm trying to work on my comfort levels on the inside/front but there are times when the speed is just too much and that feeling of the rear tire slipping starts popping up in my head.
No need to shut up! We all have things to learn. I'm probably a lot less experienced than you are. You certainly learnt something here by trying to help me out. I learnt a lot here as well. All good, isn't it.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
Thanks for the video. It mentions countersteering, just like TrojanHorse did. Is it the same countersteering that applies to cars, where you steer the car out during cornering so you can "drift" out of a corner?

Another question is, how much should I lean in? In motorcycle racing, I usually see riders lean closer to the road than their motorbikes, with their inside knees almost touching the road. Is that the same principle that I should try to learn? Or does it work differently for bicycles?

[EDIT] Just read up on bicycle countersteering here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering#Bicycles

Looks like I just have to practice first like you said without thinking too much about it. The Wiki entry is probably right. To me (an untrained), it sounds counter-intuitive!
Countersteering is necessary to intiate the turn but you do that naturally. No real need to worry about it. Motorcycles have to use countersteer to over come the thrust of the tires on a turn. The tires want to slide out on a corner because the motorcycles can power through the corner while bikes really can't. You just don't have enough power to slide the wheel.

The best way to learn how to corner is to practice. You'll find the way that works best for you. One thing to realized is that you can't lean over too far on a bicycle, certainly not as far as you could on a motorcycle. A bike has a high center of gravity...you...and if you lean over too far, your tires will slide out from under you. Look at a bicycle in a video vs a motorcycle and you should notice that the motorcyclist can lean at a much greater angle. The motor keeps their center of gravity lower.

To help in corners, make sure the outside pedal is down and the inside pedal is up. You want to push down hard on the outside pedal. The idea is to push the tire into the ground to keep the tire from sliding. You can throw your inner knee out to help with balance.
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Old 09-09-13, 09:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
Thanks for the video. It mentions countersteering, just like TrojanHorse did. Is it the same countersteering that applies to cars, where you steer the car out during cornering so you can "drift" out of a corner?

Another question is, how much should I lean in? In motorcycle racing, I usually see riders lean closer to the road than their motorbikes, with their inside knees almost touching the road. Is that the same principle that I should try to learn? Or does it work differently for bicycles?

[EDIT] Just read up on bicycle countersteering here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering#Bicycles

Looks like I just have to practice first like you said without thinking too much about it. The Wiki entry is probably right. To me (an untrained), it sounds counter-intuitive!
Counter steering sounds counter intuitive and in fact it IS counter intuitive... so don't think about it, just do it. I assure you that you already do it or you'd be crashing every time you turned.

As for lean... well. motorcycle tires have much more grip on the edges of the tire to begin with, but it's still better in the center of the tread and by sliding over on the seat and dragging a knee, you're also lowering the center of gravity. I don't suggest doing it on your bike. Just stay centered on your frame, don't do the "death grip" on your bars and look through the turn. And for Pete's sake if you find yourself in a bind and starting to panic do NOT grab a huge handful of brakes. Just trust your bike and look where you want to go.

Those Motorcycle safety foundation riding schools used to teach that pretty well - they'd have us lock up the rear... and just by looking straight ahead you'd keep going straight and keep your motorcycle under control. Pretty cool really.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:01 AM   #15
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One of the things I was taught was to put as much of my weight on the outside pedal when taking a turn hard and fast. In a right turn drop your left pedal down and as you go into the turn literally put as much pressure on the lowered outside pedal as you can. When you shift to a left turn lower the right pedal and place your weight on it as if you were trying to push it down. At least if you are talking a fast downhill on a road bike. Remember unless you are in the dirt you aren't really trying to lean a bike like you would a Café Racer. The tires aren't designed to run as far on the side. In the dirt you have the berm to help you no so on the pavement.
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Old 09-10-13, 04:44 AM   #16
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Countersteering is necessary to intiate the turn but you do that naturally. No real need to worry about it. Motorcycles have to use countersteer to over come the thrust of the tires on a turn. The tires want to slide out on a corner because the motorcycles can power through the corner while bikes really can't. You just don't have enough power to slide the wheel.

The best way to learn how to corner is to practice. You'll find the way that works best for you. One thing to realized is that you can't lean over too far on a bicycle, certainly not as far as you could on a motorcycle. A bike has a high center of gravity...you...and if you lean over too far, your tires will slide out from under you. Look at a bicycle in a video vs a motorcycle and you should notice that the motorcyclist can lean at a much greater angle. The motor keeps their center of gravity lower.

To help in corners, make sure the outside pedal is down and the inside pedal is up. You want to push down hard on the outside pedal. The idea is to push the tire into the ground to keep the tire from sliding. You can throw your inner knee out to help with balance.
On a bicycle I would practice countersteering by riding toward an object like a telephone pole or a trash can and turn away from it as late as I could manage. The act of turning is an effortless flick of the bars. That same action worked when I rode motorcycles, it gives you a lot of leverage whether or not the throttle is on.
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Old 09-10-13, 06:12 AM   #17
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as a noob, being on the outside of a turn, following the pack, will allow you to watch what others are doing through the turn and allow you to hit the brakes and take the turn slower if your comfort level drops...as opposed to being on the inside where there might not be the option of slowing down.
It's important to get All speed modulation done while the bike is vertical, Before initiating the lean-in.
Tire contact patches have a finite amount of traction, applying a brake can upset balance and add load that exceeds traction causing the crash the rider was hoping to avoid by braking. If you are carrying a sphincter-clenching amount of speed at the apex: Relax, look where you want to go and let the bike ride itself, odds are you'll exit w/ a big chunk of momentum.

Proper fit and a good position optimize all aspects of handling, here's a pic of some guy setting up for a corner.He's relaxed w/ bent elbows and is looking through the turn.
Good advice from all on pedal position and weighting, drop the inside shoulder point the knee and let 'er go.

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Old 09-10-13, 08:02 AM   #18
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It's important to get All speed modulation done while the bike is vertical, Before initiating the lean-in.
Tire contact patches have a finite amount of traction, applying a brake can upset balance and add load that exceeds traction causing the crash the rider was hoping to avoid by braking. If you are carrying a sphincter-clenching amount of speed at the apex: Relax, look where you want to go and let the bike ride itself, odds are you'll exit w/ a big chunk of momentum.

Proper fit and a good position optimize all aspects of handling, here's a pic of some guy setting up for a corner.He's relaxed w/ bent elbows and is looking through the turn.
Good advice from all on pedal position and weighting, drop the inside shoulder point the knee and let 'er go.

-Bandera
I guess I should HTFU and just go for it. You describe exactly what happened to me that caused fear. I was making a left through a green light that was quickly turning yellow, so I was taking the corner at speed. All of a sudden the far curb was approaching much faster than it should have been...what did I do, look at the curb and apply brake, causing the back wheel to slide. A couple of balance checks and I survived, but that feeling is always in the back of my head.

Tonight is the night I ride with the big group of fast riders. I'll be using your tips around every corner. Maybe I'll even try to hang in the front.
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Old 09-10-13, 08:07 AM   #19
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Counter steering sounds counter intuitive and in fact it IS counter intuitive...
That depends on how sophisticated your intuition is.
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Old 09-10-13, 08:15 AM   #20
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Hi.
Whenever I turn fast, I can't seem to lean my body in far enough compared to my bike, apparently for fear that I may fall if I lean too far in.
You don't lean your body as much as the bike. The bike needs to lean in to turn. On a motorcycle you see the riders leaning all the way to get there heavy bikes to lean enough for a corner. However, bicycles are so light that you don't have to (and shouldn't) go as far to get the bike to lean in for the corners.
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Old 09-10-13, 08:37 AM   #21
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On a bicycle I would practice countersteering by riding toward an object like a telephone pole or a trash can and turn away from it as late as I could manage. The act of turning is an effortless flick of the bars. That same action worked when I rode motorcycles, it gives you a lot of leverage whether or not the throttle is on.
You countersteer every time you make a turn. It's what initiates the turn. On a bicycle, however, once the turn is initiated, the countersteering is over unless you need to make a course correction during the turn. The same can't be said for motorcycles because you have to counter the thrust of the motor on the tires. Essentially, a motorcycle is always trying to slide the tire off the outside of the turn (Newton's Laws of Motion) and you have to counteract that. Bicycles are trying to do the same but they don't have the power to overcome the friction on the tire.

If you want to find out how important countersteer is to initiating a turn on a bicycle, get the wheel trapped in a rut. Before suspension forks on mountain bikes, you had to be extremely careful about ruts because once in one, you couldn't steer to get out. With suspension forks, there is enough give in the fork for it to find something to climb out of the rut...most of the time.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:03 PM   #22
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Hi,

Don't overthink it. Countersteering is IMO the favourite subject
of a motorcycle bore looking for an utterly pointless argument
about something he is right about, but most don't understand.

On a bike just go round corners. You could have a PhD in Physics
and still be not as remotely fast as someone with real confidence
who has never heard of or cares about the concepts of cornering.

Nearly all concepts related to riding a motorcycle fast do not apply to bicycles.
So ignore them, they are pointless. Sheldon Brown pointed out you fundamentally
want your body inline with the frame at all times, for consistent handling due to
the bikes geometry. Hanging off a bicycle not designed for it can be very wrong.

rgds, sreten.

I agree the best way to see what your real limits might be is on grass. Anything you can
do on grass is very safe on tarmac and might be a lot more than you expect possible.

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Old 09-10-13, 10:27 PM   #23
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I did a few corners around 26mph tonight, I was quite proud of myself. Then the rest of the group picked up the pace and I was promptly dropped. Oh well, try again next week.
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Old 09-11-13, 06:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Don't overthink it. Countersteering is IMO the favourite subject
of a motorcycle bore looking for an utterly pointless argument
about something he is right about, but most don't understand.

On a bike just go round corners. You could have a PhD in Physics
and still be not as remotely fast as someone with real confidence
who has never heard of or cares about the concepts of cornering.

Nearly all concepts related to riding a motorcycle fast do not apply to bicycles.
So ignore them, they are pointless. Sheldon Brown pointed out you fundamentally
want your body inline with the frame at all times, for consistent handling due to
the bikes geometry. Hanging off a bicycle not designed for it can be very wrong.

rgds, sreten.

I agree the best way to see what your real limits might be is on grass. Anything you can
do on grass is very safe on tarmac and might be a lot more than you expect possible.
You are mostly correct. However, having your body in-line with the frame at all times isn't correct. Take a look at the picture of a motorcycling cornering in this link. On a motorcycle the rider's center of gravity is below the center line of the motorcycle. I suspect that diahard is thinking that he should corner like this. But the center of gravity of a motorcycle system is low down between the wheels. You can lean way in on a corner and not lose traction, i.e. not crash, because that low CG.

Now look at a bicycle with a similar lean angle in this link. In particular, notice that the rider's CG is above the bicycle. The CG of the system isn't located low down but is up around mid-abdomen of the rider. If the rider were leaned over as far as the motorcycle rider, he couldn't keep traction on the tires and would slide out on the corner. Unlike a motorcycle, if you want to go fast around corners, you want to move your CG further from the corner which effectively puts the CG closer to the tires. In other words, you want to lean the bike but not the rider. Pushing on the pedal during cornering naturally puts you in that position. You do need to find a balance between leaning too far over and crashing and not leaning enough so that you go around the corner in a square.

Something else to notice about the pictures is countersteer. The motorcycle is using countersteer to correct of the thrust of the rear wheel. Basically, the rear of the motorcycle is trying to skid out from under the motorcycle and the rider has to correct by steering into that skid. His front wheel ends up pointing away from the corner.

The bicycle, on the other hand, shows no evidence of countersteering. His front wheel is pointed into the corner...subtly, of course...and it is pulling him around the corner.
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Last edited by cyccommute; 09-11-13 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 09-11-13, 06:54 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
I did a few corners around 26mph tonight, I was quite proud of myself. Then the rest of the group picked up the pace and I was promptly dropped. Oh well, try again next week.
Well done, next week indeed.

Get a coach and keep working.

-Bandera
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