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Leaning in (is it called carving?) or banking. how much is too much?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Leaning in (is it called carving?) or banking. how much is too much?

Old 08-26-15, 03:53 PM
  #1  
bananabacon
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Leaning in (is it called carving?) or banking. how much is too much?

Leaning is another thing that I have been trying to get down. Knowing when to lean, and how much and if it was necessary to even lean.

But is there any go to way to know when you going in to far? Today as I was leaning in I had that oh **** moment and kinda crapped a little. Oh also what should you be looking out for? Sand and dirt seems like a no brainer. But I also dodge man hole covers around turns. Some covers have a straight up slick surface.

Thank you all
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Old 08-26-15, 04:39 PM
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Pretty much all of your turning is going to be from leaning on the bike, especially over 15 mph. You would be surprised with how far you can take lateral g-force on a bike. I think it's possible to be able to pull over 1 g-force, it's really as far as you want to take it. If you try and brake while heavily leaning, you are going to fall.

Lateral g-force is much higher than you would expect it to be. Most times for the bike to be put down at speed it caused by gravel/dirt, pedal striking the ground, or mainly trying to brake in a heavy lean.
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Old 08-26-15, 04:42 PM
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Are we talking about tilting the bike or leaning into the turns trying to keep the bike as vertical as possible? I do the latter at speed if I'm still pedaling.
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Old 08-26-15, 04:50 PM
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Yes, you have to lean the bike to turn it. Most corners you'll be able to pedal through. Others, you'll have to keep the inside pedal up. The day you strike a pedal, you'll learn exactly how far you can lean.

And yes, some surfaces are slicker than others: manhole covers, traffic marking paint, sand, leaves, mud, etc. Also take care on Botts Dots.
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Old 08-26-15, 05:14 PM
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At the risk of stating the obvious or stuff you already know: leaning on a bicycle is much different from leaning on a motorcycle. You want to lean the bike but pretty much keep your body mass up and even to the outside of the turn as opposed to on a motorcycle where you lean to the ground inside the turn. That may be why you got that oh no feeling. The video I watched he said if you lean like you do on a motorcycle that means you are about to wipe out. Leaning properly allows you to make much tighter turns.

As mentioned above inside foot up or as I think about it, outside foot down. This not only prevents pedal strike but if you have the bike leaned in on a turn but your body weight is straight up this puts you standing on your outside pedal down. You can practice slowly in a parking lot to see how far you can lay the bike down while standing on the outside pedal. To the extreme your other foot wont even be near the inside pedal. If you were doing tricks your inside foot would be closer to the seat with the bike laying on the ground and you standing over the whole thing.

What blows my mind is the magic foot. You got a little bit of lean, nothing major, you can further increase your turn sharpness by pivoting your outside foot into the turn. This is really to get you to turn with your whole body or mid section as opposed to turning with your arms first and then forcing your body to follow. Much like a skier who in bad form makes jarring energy consuming forced turns (which actually do come from the hips). You can imagine twisting the hips right and then forcing them left to make a left turn. That's bad. Like you wind up and then pitch. You should not cock your hips and then twist. It should flow from the feet and move smoothly and seamlessly on the whole body or something like that. That's the magic foot. The ball from the big toe twists and turns in to guide/ lead the turn.

Last edited by TheLibrarian; 08-26-15 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 08-26-15, 08:03 PM
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I learned pretty quick how much was too much (on a slippery surface). I'm still nursing my broken wrist...
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Old 08-26-15, 08:30 PM
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Look up counter steering. The simple explanation is that as you lean into a turn, you put slight pressure on the inside handlebar and effectively straighten the front wheel. Doing this will feel weird at first, but it will help you to carve turns like you wouldn't believe. As mentioned above, you need to keep your weight above the bike and it helps to extend the inside knee. Start out at slower speeds and see what it feels like. Do it enough and it will become second nature.
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Old 08-26-15, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bananabacon View Post
Oh also what should you be looking out for? Sand and dirt seems like a no brainer. But I also dodge man hole covers around turns. l
Watch out for painted lines on wet days when cornering.
Clipping a pedal through a corner will get your attention, often causing your back wheel to skip, along with your heart.
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Old 08-26-15, 10:44 PM
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How much is too much lean seems to depend mostly on the rider, less so on the conditions, and very little on a theoretical limit. One of my former riding buddies was a strong rider, but he bailed on turns at 1/4 the speed anyone else in the group did. He would brake for turns going uphill regularly. He would say "wow, just couldn't make that turn" when he no perceptible lean at all. But the guy could hang otherwise.

People have all sorts of theories about cornering technique, many of which contradict the laws of physics, but on today's high trail, short wheelbase, feather light racing bikes, they at least give riders the feeling they can go faster, so they do.
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Old 08-26-15, 10:49 PM
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If you're busy thinking about it while you're riding, you're probably going to have trouble.

I'll pass along some sage advice I got as a young man learning to ride a motorcycle, and it's saved my bacon many times. Maybe it can save your bananabacon too.

Look where you want to go. That's it.

Don't look at obstructions, don't look at the sand, don't look at traffic - look where you want your bike to go and it will go there. It can probably take much more than you think it can, unless you screw it up by looking at something you don't want to hit.
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Old 08-26-15, 11:43 PM
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+1, don't look at things you're trying to miss.

Also, super slippery stuff includes antifreeze and gasoline.

I instantly dropped one of my sport bikes in a slow corner when the wheels contacted the arc of gasoline left on the ground by a car with a missing gas cap.
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Old 08-27-15, 12:42 AM
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Lean as much as you are capable. Just make sure you're looking at the end of the turn and not at your feet otherwise you'll get target fixation
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Old 08-27-15, 01:32 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by TheLibrarian View Post
At the risk of stating the obvious or stuff you already know: leaning on a bicycle is much different from leaning on a motorcycle. You want to lean the bike but pretty much keep your body mass up and even to the outside of the turn as opposed to on a motorcycle where you lean to the ground inside the turn. That may be why you got that oh no feeling. The video I watched he said if you lean like you do on a motorcycle that means you are about to wipe out. Leaning properly allows you to make much tighter turns.
This is wrong. There are times on a cycle where you want to lean like you do on a motorocycle (meaning the wheels, bike, and your body form a straight line), there are other times where you want to try to keep the bike up and your body leaning (more slippery conditions). However, saying one is incorrect is absolutely wrong.
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Old 08-27-15, 02:05 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
This is wrong. There are times on a cycle where you want to lean like you do on a motorocycle (meaning the wheels, bike, and your body form a straight line), there are other times where you want to try to keep the bike up and your body leaning (more slippery conditions). However, saying one is incorrect is absolutely wrong.
For really slow riding - lean the bike, stay upright.

Faster riding:
Offroad - sometimes you stay up straight, leaning just the bike, sometimes lean with the bike.
Pavement - lean with the bike.

Never hang off inside the turn, motorcycle style. Just lean as much as the bike is leaned, in a straight line with the bike. Make sure your elbows are bent, relaxed, make sure you're putting some weight on the front wheel and put the outer pedal down, weighing it.
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Old 08-27-15, 02:48 AM
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The left hand turn in the middle of this felt about as hard as I could possibly turn and I was over about 45 degrees maybe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go-mof2pVZ4 It may not seem like it but the corner was very sharp and came out of nowhere so I was as hard as I could on the brakes and leaning over as much as I could and just about made it round.

This is my position when leaning. I like to think I'm good at cornering.

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Old 08-27-15, 03:46 AM
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Carving is when the cyclist takes a smooth, fluid line through a turn, carrying good speed.

As for leaning, its something the bike and rider do as one in road cycling conditions. That is, the rider and bike have the same angle, the angle being largely described by how fast you're going through the turn.

If you're doing it right-- again, speaking road bike on road; MTB is different-- I can't really think of a circumstance during cornering when one would put their body in a different plane, off-center of the bicycle.

Put your weight low and forward (in the drops), get the outside leg down weighting the pedal, and lean the bike into the turn as much as your speed requires. If you're overcoking it a bit, splaying the inside knee a bit toward the apex can help tighten the line.

But as has been said upthread, this is largely intuitive and automatic once you realize there is no effective, alternate way to get through turns. Pushing the limit is scary, though the limit is usually further out there than you think. It's certainly unforgiving, though, and once the front tire slips, it's game over. Therefore, bike cornering is really about facing down your personal fear, and having the courage to trust your technique and equipment.

I lost the front wheel in a turn once, and it sucks, but I've also overrun the line and wound up on the outside curb, which was way scarier; if I'm going down, give me the open road, and not the signs, ditches, cars, and other variously square-edged, sharp, pointy, hard, things found off the road. When you realize stuff like that, you'll be a leanin' assed b*tch like me, just scared to do anything but!
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Old 08-27-15, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
If you're busy thinking about it while you're riding, you're probably going to have trouble.

I'll pass along some sage advice I got as a young man learning to ride a motorcycle, and it's saved my bacon many times. Maybe it can save your bananabacon too.

Look where you want to go. That's it.

Don't look at obstructions, don't look at the sand, don't look at traffic - look where you want your bike to go and it will go there. It can probably take much more than you think it can, unless you screw it up by looking at something you don't want to hit.
Yup.
1 thing I liked about bike racing was cornering, and moving up 10 spots past guys who aren't that good at it.
Not as easy in the higher categories.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
If you're doing it right-- again, speaking road bike on road; MTB is different-- I can't really think of a circumstance during cornering when one would put their body in a different plane, off-center of the bicycle.
Davis Phinney would disagree.

https://books.google.com/books?id=LD...nering&f=false


https://books.google.com/books?id=wb...nering&f=false


http://www.seanbujold.com/coaching/Cornering.pdf
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Old 08-27-15, 07:30 AM
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You'll find out how much is too much the first time you go down on a corner. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast amount of appropriate lean because it depends on road conditions. If there is sand, water, oil, antifreeze, ice, gravel or bad pavement you could go down while leaning at levels that are just fine on smooth, clean surfaces. It also depends on your tires. I have learned that lesson the hard way, several times, and I take corners much more conservatively now. The first time it happened, I had been cycling for 30+ years and was riding my best handling bike, a Merckx Corsa 01. After going down, I checked the road surface and could find no sand, oil or other substances on the road. I finally figured out that my bike slid out due to the tires, which I had just installed and still had some glazing on the treads. The second time, it was on wet pavement, possibly made slicker by oil.
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Old 08-27-15, 07:58 AM
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I'm probably a little more aggressive than I should be for my skill level around corners at ~18-20mph, but I haven't fallen out of a lean (yet). I'm also a little bit of a sissy and don't want to get hurt. If I see ANYTHING that could slip me, I hit the brakes before the turn. This includes, but is not limited to: stones, wet ground, manhole covers, leaves (they could be wet, and leaves are slippery), branches, small children, large insects, sink holes, etc.
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Old 08-27-15, 08:24 AM
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Just do what Peter does-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvy4s4Jn2LY

Easy, right?
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Old 08-27-15, 08:27 AM
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The line between too much and perfect is VERY thin. Sounds like you found it already. Use caution and err on the side of traction when not racing.
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Old 08-27-15, 08:40 AM
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The surface and surface conditions are the biggest things to worry about. I'm nursing an injury now from sliding out over slick paint line - and I was being careful.

For a literal answer, somewhere around 45° produces a 1G turning force on the bicycle and that's more or less the practical limit.

Regarding the question of whether we should lean the bike more and keep the body above it, or lean it less and move the body inside, that comes up quite a bit. I've been mulling it over for a few years, and ... it doesn't really matter much with respect to sliding out. Think of it analytically: the force depends on the radius of the turn, the speed of the turn and the mass. It's countered by the traction of the tires against the ground, at those two points and nowhere else.

Does the turn radius, the speed of the turn, or the mass being turned, change depending on whether you keep the body higher outside or lower inside? Not much, if any. The center of mass is slightly closer in if you're leaning the body inside, and that reduces the radius, but a small amount. I don't think it's significant, but that would mean more force in the turn.

We don't really "weight the outside pedal". That's a mental image that perhaps helps with technique, but in reality the pedal weight - either pedal - is transferred to the axle in the bottom bracket. It's the same weighting effect whether we put all of the weight on one pedal or the other, or half on each.

What happens to the shape of the contact patch while leaning is non-obvious, and dependent on the particulars of the tire construction. I think it's safe to disregard this factor in our narrow range of lean angles, since tires will be designed to hold at these lean angles.

So, I don't think it makes much difference in high-speed turning. In a low speed turn, over a very slick surface (such as layers of wet leaves over wet wood) I don't want to lean the bike at all if I can help it. But I think that's a different enough situation that it doesn't apply to high speed turns.

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Old 08-27-15, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
We don't really "weight the outside pedal". That's a mental image that perhaps helps with technique, but in reality the pedal weight - either pedal - is transferred to the axle in the bottom bracket. It's the same weighting effect whether we put all of the weight on one pedal or the other, or half on each.
all excellent points....and actually it doesn't matter where the "weight" is "transferred", since it all comes down to CofG.
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Old 08-27-15, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Does the turn radius, the speed of the turn, or the mass being turned, change depending on whether you keep the body higher outside or lower inside? Not much, if any. The center of mass is slightly closer in if you're leaning the body inside, and that reduces the radius, but a small amount. I don't think it's significant, but that would mean more force in the turn.
Yes, the laws of physics apply to bicycle cornering. For a given speed, mass and turn radius, the force at the contact patch of the tire is always the same, regardless of lean angle. Some argue that there are bike control advantages to leaning more or less than the bike, and that may be true but that's getting into the advanced class, not 101. But you can't cheat the fundamental physics of cornering by leaning a certain way.
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