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  1. #1
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    leaning in turns

    I was riding yesterday and my friends pointed out the fact that I don't lean as much as I should. I knew I did this, but I didn't realize how much it was slowing me down untill now. I have the bad habit of turning the handlebars in turns vs leaning like I should. Are there any of you that used to do this? I'm gusssing once I properly lean into turns I'll be much faster on the trails.

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    Future= Your Boss evanatorx's Avatar
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    I used to suck at turning, but i just have to remember the keep my belly button over the bottom bracket and i'm fine! i find it quicker.

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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjsca07
    I was riding yesterday and my friends pointed out the fact that I don't lean as much as I should. I knew I did this, but I didn't realize how much it was slowing me down untill now. I have the bad habit of turning the handlebars in turns vs leaning like I should. Are there any of you that used to do this? I'm gusssing once I properly lean into turns I'll be much faster on the trails.
    i just do whatever the situation and/or terrain calls for. some places you shouldn't lean. (ie tree inside turn)

    i think you should tell your friend to stuff it

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    Banned. Jason222's Avatar
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    Practice.

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    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Cornering is an art form. Just wait until you get lean enough to scrape the pedal body of SPDs on the ground...or worse, the sole of your shoe.
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjsca07
    I was riding yesterday and my friends pointed out the fact that I don't lean as much as I should. I knew I did this, but I didn't realize how much it was slowing me down untill now. I have the bad habit of turning the handlebars in turns vs leaning like I should. Are there any of you that used to do this? I'm gusssing once I properly lean into turns I'll be much faster on the trails.
    As with all things mountain bike, there is no one way of doing anything. In some situations, you may want to lean hard over for a curve and in others you might not. You have to be the judge of when to do it and when it's better to steer with the bars.

    I have the feeling, however, that you may be using the bars to steer too much which is why you get the comments. Watch your buddies as they go into corners and try to emulate their moves. For example, when you come to a relatively flat, fast corner where is you outside leg relative to the curve? Your outside leg should be at the bottom of the stroke and- here's the real key - you should be pushing down hard with your outside leg! By pushing on the pedal, you are loading the tires and making them stick to the ground better. Drop your inner shoulder a little and push on the outer bar (it helps put even more force on the tires). Now you are carving the curve instead of just turning.

    I'd suggest trying to find a nice wide, relatively flat, open trail where you can practice going fast without having to concentrate on obstacles. Go into the corner wide then carve down towards the apex of the curve and then come out of the corner wide again. Try to do all of your braking before you hit the corner and then zoom through.

    Practice lots, then go school your friends
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    Push your limits ...

    Quote Originally Posted by mjsca07
    I was riding yesterday and my friends pointed out the fact that I don't lean as much as I should. I knew I did this, but I didn't realize how much it was slowing me down untill now. I have the bad habit of turning the handlebars in turns vs leaning like I should. Are there any of you that used to do this? I'm gusssing once I properly lean into turns I'll be much faster on the trails.
    You will have to progressively push your limits more and more. This is the only way to learn. Expect that you will crash occasionally.

    My leans in turns tend to be VERY abrupt. There is usually just that "special place" where the leans will get you around. If you're friend is more experienced, I would suggest following him around on the trail. Try to replicate his movements and his lines.

    Monkey see, Monkey try, sometimes Monkey Crash. If Monkey afraid of crashing, Monkey never learn anything new.


    One more tip. There is also a technique for sharp turns where you lean your BODY into the turn but lean the BIKE away from the turn. Obviously this must be done from a standing position. What it accomplishes is getting your body through the turn while keep the tire relatively upright where they have the most traction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599
    i just do whatever the situation and/or terrain calls for. some places you shouldn't lean. (ie tree inside turn)

    i think you should tell your friend to stuff it
    Sure you should. You should lean such that your head misses the tree by a couple inches. Try riding a wider line for a little more lean.

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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    Sure you should. You should lean such that your head misses the tree by a couple inches. Try riding a wider line for a little more lean.
    i was refering to handlebars clipping trees between narrow obstacles...have fun!

  10. #10
    ...is my hero! DylanTremblay's Avatar
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    I don't want to steal your thread or anything...but can someone explain how to take a burm going down hill properly? Whenever I take one I got the lean down right but are you supposed to be leaning over the seat? That’s what I always seem to do.

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    Eat. Lift. Ride. Drink. Sinfield's Avatar
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    try countersteering through the corners. As you load up your weight to the inside, then throw a smidge of countersteering in, the bike will really rail over through the corners. It also helps to load up the pedals as you rip through.

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    one thing to remember in a corner..
    when you hit your brakes you have a higher chance of crashing.
    if your wheels are rolling you have traction... for the most part

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    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599
    i just do whatever the situation and/or terrain calls for. some places you shouldn't lean. (ie tree inside turn)

    i think you should tell your friend to stuff it
    Hahaha...leaning into a tree is rough...very rough.

  14. #14
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DylanTremblay
    I don't want to steal your thread or anything...but can someone explain how to take a burm going down hill properly? Whenever I take one I got the lean down right but are you supposed to be leaning over the seat? That’s what I always seem to do.
    Varries on the berm and the exit. Traditionally I ride the berm high and lean the bike so it is 90degrees to the face of the berm, however sometimes it is faster to ride into the berm and really drive the rear end into the face and pull out fast.

    Practice all sorts of techniques so you can adapt to a situation. That way if you mess up your entrance you won't panic and use the berm as a jump. For body position I try to see balanced to the centre of the bike. When I panic, I lean back, but as my mx buddies yell at me constantly for it, I need to focus on throwing my body forward.

  15. #15
    ...is my hero! DylanTremblay's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice Maelstrom...I'm heading out to our local freeride park so I'll try and work on what you suggested. Thanks again!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinfield
    try countersteering through the corners. As you load up your weight to the inside, then throw a smidge of countersteering in, the bike will really rail over through the corners. It also helps to load up the pedals as you rip through.
    *DING* To really get your lean on, you should try this. Make sure you have speed and push left to go left, and vice-versa.

    http://homepage.mac.com/bicycle_driv...toAlbum19.html

    It's pretty ballsy, but there's no other way (for me) to get a lean. Just make sure you have speed. Speed = Stability. Good luck.

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono
    *DING* To really get your lean on, you should try this. Make sure you have speed and push left to go left, and vice-versa.

    http://homepage.mac.com/bicycle_driv...toAlbum19.html

    It's pretty ballsy, but there's no other way (for me) to get a lean. Just make sure you have speed. Speed = Stability. Good luck.
    Much, too much, is made of counter steering. Here's what Sheldon Brown has to say about it

    Countersteering
    When a bicycle turns, it must lean into the direction of the turn so that the tilt of the bicycle and rider counterbalances the "centrifugal force" created by the act of turning.

    In order to turn left, you start by turning the handlebars to the right for a moment. This moves the front wheel out to the right of the center of gravity, so the bike will start to fall to the left. This is immediately follwed by turning the handlebars to the left to cause the bike to remain in balance, which also creates the desired left turn. "Countersteering" refers to the momentary motion of the handlebars in the opposite direction of the desired turn.

    Some people, particularly motorcyclists, make a big deal out of this as if countersteering is some special advanced riding technique that you must learn to become an expert bike handler. It isn't. It's just a fancy sounding name for the normal process by which any two-wheeler (or even a unicycle) is controlled.


    (Note that he does have it wrong about "centrifugal force". It doesn't exist. The proper term is centripital force which is the force being expressed on the wheels to keep them in a curve.)

    Countersteering is rather subtle and only done at the start of the turn.

    Looking at the pictures you linked to, there is a major problem with the turn being demonstrated. If you were to go into a turn with pedals parallel to the ground like that at a high rate of speed, you'd be on the ground quicker than you could say neosporin! Keeping the inside pedal on the top of the stroke keeps the pedal from striking the ground (a bad thing) but it also puts your weight where it needs to be which is on the outside of the curve pushing down on the bike. This 'glues' you tires to the ground and allows you to corner faster. It's analogous to skiing (I'm not a skier but I understand the concept) and weighting the uphill ski in a turn. When the tires are weighted properly, the tires 'pull' you (centripetal force) around the curve.
    Stuart Black
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Much, too much, is made of counter steering. Here's what Sheldon Brown has to say about it

    Countersteering
    When a bicycle turns, it must lean into the direction of the turn so that the tilt of the bicycle and rider counterbalances the "centrifugal force" created by the act of turning.

    In order to turn left, you start by turning the handlebars to the right for a moment. This moves the front wheel out to the right of the center of gravity, so the bike will start to fall to the left. This is immediately follwed by turning the handlebars to the left to cause the bike to remain in balance, which also creates the desired left turn. "Countersteering" refers to the momentary motion of the handlebars in the opposite direction of the desired turn.

    Some people, particularly motorcyclists, make a big deal out of this as if countersteering is some special advanced riding technique that you must learn to become an expert bike handler. It isn't. It's just a fancy sounding name for the normal process by which any two-wheeler (or even a unicycle) is controlled.


    (Note that he does have it wrong about "centrifugal force". It doesn't exist. The proper term is centripital force which is the force being expressed on the wheels to keep them in a curve.)

    Countersteering is rather subtle and only done at the start of the turn.
    As much as I respect Sheldon, it's clear he hasn't ever ridden a motorcycle above 30 mph. In this case, countersteering is not a momentary thing done at the start of a turn, it's done constantly throughout a turn.

  19. #19
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Much, too much, is made of counter steering. Here's what Sheldon Brown has to say about it




    okay, maybe i misinterpreted what S Brown was saying about motorcycles?? is he saying motorcyclists who ride bicycles make a big deal about c-steering on bicycles? or is he saying motorcyclists make a big deal about c-steering on motorcycles??

    two words for you:

    speedway racing




  20. #20
    Ride bike or bike ride? Hopper's Avatar
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    Just go into the corner, lean the bike over but try and keep your body upright. For the corner to be perfect, ideally you want to lean the bike over as far as comfortable (ideally just as you start to feel the wheels sliding). Your inside knee can bend but it is preferable to keep it tucked away, inside pedal at 12 o'clock, outside knee pushed into the frame and head directly vertical and looking at where you want to go, not what you ar etrying to miss.

    You wil be surprised how much you can lean your bike, and if you have the brakes on (even if not locked up) you will understeer compare dto free moving wheels.

    If you want to slide through a corner it is all about confidence, lean the bike as far as you can, as you feel friction starting to slip counter steer. That is all I have to say, turn until you slide, it is a very simpl econcept but not the easiest technique to master. To make the rear lose grip earlier you can either lean forward a bit (can be bad form). This is pretty much only advantageous through high speed long open corners.

    Here are a bunch of photo's of people railing berms, sometimes a little too far.

    This one is excellent technique, keeps knees in and head vertical


    Higher speeds allow for more tilt


    Scope th ecorner first, he hit hi spedal on the elevated inside! Now it is time to eat dirt


    This is an odd technique for bermed corners, but for long fast berms with little elevation drop it can be quicker


    This guy is just silly
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  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599




    okay, maybe i misinterpreted what S Brown was saying about motorcycles?? is he saying motorcyclists who ride bicycles make a big deal about c-steering on bicycles? or is he saying motorcyclists make a big deal about c-steering on motorcycles??

    two words for you:

    speedway racing
    The picture you have is showing the classic techique of turning into a slide. It's a bit extreme but it's not an example of counter steering on a bicycle or even a motorcycle ridden under normal conditions. Even people in cars that are sliding know to steer into the turn. I've drifted enough dirt roads in eastern Colorado to know how to do this maneuver.

    But watch your front wheel as you go around a corner (without sliding it) on pavement or on dirt and you will see that you don't turn left to go right through the turn. Your wheel is pulling you to the right (for a right hand turn) throughout the turn. Your weight should be pressing down on the outside of the bike on the curve (even your picture shows that).

    For another motorcycle example (at high speeds ) look at the guys who race on pavement. They lean way over into the curves and their wheels aren't pointed out of the curve but into it. There are a whole bunch of images that demonstate this here

    Also look at the pictures that Hopper posted. In each one where the guy isn't on the ground, the wheel is pointed into the corner, not away from it.
    Stuart Black
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  22. #22
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    The picture you have is showing the classic techique of turning into a slide. It's a bit extreme but it's not an example of counter steering on a bicycle or even a motorcycle ridden under normal conditions. Even people in cars that are sliding know to steer into the turn. I've drifted enough dirt roads in eastern Colorado to know how to do this maneuver.

    if that is not c-steering, than i don't know how you're defining it. i guess i don't know what c-steering is. we'll leave it at that.

    Your weight should be pressing down on the outside of the bike on the curve (even your picture shows that).
    oh, maybe that is what i have been doing wrong. i have raced quite a few years on motorcycles, i don't need any schooling.

    For another motorcycle example (at high speeds ) look at the guys who race on pavement. They lean way over into the curves and their wheels aren't pointed out of the curve but into it. There are a whole bunch of images that demonstate this here
    those pictures suck their wheels aren't always pointing like that. please, first off it's dynamic. there are changes and corrections going on....not the capture of a 'moment in time' on film so you can tell me which way their front wheel is pointing.

    Also look at the pictures that Hopper posted. In each one where the guy isn't on the ground, the wheel is pointed into the corner, not away from it.
    cool, maybe you can copy and paste more info from S Brown's site so i can learn how to ride a motorcycle better. some of the stuff that guy says on his site rubs me the wrong way. honestly, i haven't read much useful info there. i did use his lacing pattern for assistance in my wheel build though!!

    i have learned more from you and the other knowledgeable cyclers on this forum. i just get a kick out of your posts sometimes.
    Last edited by mx_599; 07-06-06 at 09:09 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599
    cool, maybe you can copy and paste more info from S Brown's site so i can learn how to ride a motorcycle better. some of the stuff that guy says on his site rubs me the wrong way. honestly, i haven't read much useful info there. i did use his lacing pattern for assistance in my wheel build though!!
    Indeed, I was left in doubt when he said frame materials are all the same and carbon and steel vibration damping properties are a myth... my steel frame had less vibrations than my alumnium frame, it even a worse fork but the ride had less vibrations and I know it and thats not the only thing... so now I take the information on Sheldon's page open minded but I do not swear its true until I experience it first hand or I know for sure it is the truth.

    Matter of fact, first hand experience is the only way to really know.

  24. #24
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chone
    Indeed, I was left in doubt when he said frame materials are all the same and carbon and steel vibration damping properties are a myth... my steel frame had less vibrations than my alumnium frame, it even a worse fork but the ride had less vibrations and I know it and thats not the only thing... so now I take the information on Sheldon's page open minded but I do not swear its true until I experience it first hand or I know for sure it is the truth.

    Matter of fact, first hand experience is the only way to really know.
    Keep in mind sheldon is a different generation within a different type of riding. I take what he says and try to apply it to the way I ride. It worked when I was xcish and slower. But when I do my downhill his rules tend not to apply. That said I do believe he doesn't even believe downhill and freeride should exist or be so sport specific. Which might be why his rules never change.

    To all you who say counter steering...yehaw, yes its great, but it is a very difficult thing to pull off. Some people forget it is one of the most difficult things to do imo. Manualling, wheelies, bunnyhops all at speed are easier. I still can't countersteer well, especially off to one side.

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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    i don't know. S Brown reminds me of W Buffet. he, his website, and the info on his site are dated.

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