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Discussion Starter #1
I went for a ride in the mountains this past weekend as it was beautiful here in Colorado. I went up Golden Gate Canyon which is a fairly popular mountain drive/ride in this part of the state. On the way up I was following a few cars and a brand new Ducati monoposto sportclassic was directly in front of me. It was good though, as I don't have a lot of experience in the twisties. It was confidence and technique building for sure. Head/eyes up, look through the corner, roll on the throttle, etc, etc...

As I turned around to come back home (I had to be somewhere and needed to get back) I wasn't following anybody. I caught myself going a bit quicker than I had on the way up and slowed myself down. I came to a left then right S-turn I remembered from the way up the canyon. I took the first half okay, a bit quick, but didn't set up the next corner well enough or quick enough. As I leaned into I just knew I was coming in way too hot...tilted the bike straight up, looked for oncoming traffic, and crossed the oncoming lane into a very convienant dirt driveway as I was squeezing the brakes (thanks, MSF). As my back tire hit the dirt/gravel, it started to skid and the bike tipped to the right as I ran off of it. It just kind of plopped down and probably slid a foot on the gravel at the most. I didn't fall, but definitely was running as my feet hit the ground. I picked her up and saw a bit of scratching on the upper fairing and the exhaust and the mirror. No structural damage at all, just cosmetic. But, now it matches the left side from when the previous owner dropped it in his garage.

I learned that if it hadn't been for the MSF course, I would grabbed a fist full of brakes while leaning and being a lot more pissed off about the crash.

No damage to me or signicant damage to the bike. And I will get to the same corner this weekend and do it right this time...

Any suggestions/comments as to what I should do better next time??
 

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yes, go slower ;)

Good thing you kept a cool head through this and remembered what your MSF class taught you.

Glad there are only scratches and lessons learned out of this :)
 

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DUDE!

I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH YOU

You're in Colorado right ???

--- Ok anyway I'm going to be kind of a fart-knocker right now about this because this is a REALLY dangerous thing to do out here, and I know of people that have been KILLED because of it, so sorry for being an anus :)

Rule number 1) if you are going too fast on a turn, DO NOT PUT THE BIKE UPRIGHT

What will happen is the bike will veer off in some direction (which it did), you will naturally look at the double yellow that you DONT want to cross (which you did) and you will go into a really ugly Subaru outback listening to whatever stupid music like Phish they were listening to, which is the worst thing to hear before death or injury.

The goal is that when you have a curve you want to lean into it with one big motion, so that you lean, take it, bring it up.
As opposed to : lean, Oh HAI I cAN go FAsTer, oh wait I have to lean again cause i'm too straight and wont make the turn, Oh HAi I CAn GO FASTEr,e tc.

If you are on the twisties on a road you haven't been on, it's always a good idea to assume that a) there is always a Panzer Division accross the double yellow waiting to kill you b) the road could fall apart after the curve. b) is meant more as a "expect the unexpected"

Anyway sorry to hear it - sucks dropping the bike, but fortunately its only your ego that really got bruised.

Lastly, you may want to experiment with weight shifting, getting off the seat a little on your turns, see if that helps - but you may want to research this concept more before trying it.

One more thing - the best guys I ride with in the moutains, I never see their brake light. It's perfectly okay to take turns at 6-7k rpm if you need to down shift to hug the turn where you want to -- using the engine as your primary braking system, maximizes your maneuverability, and it feels a lot better.

Good luck bud :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
SoarAndEnvision said:
DUDE!

I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH YOU

You're in Colorado right ???

--- Ok anyway I'm going to be kind of a fart-knocker right now about this because this is a REALLY dangerous thing to do out here, and I know of people that have been KILLED because of it, so sorry for being an anus :)

Rule number 1) if you are going too fast on a turn, DO NOT PUT THE BIKE UPRIGHT

What will happen is the bike will veer off in some direction (which it did), you will naturally look at the double yellow that you DONT want to cross (which you did) and you will go into a really ugly Subaru outback listening to whatever stupid music like Phish they were listening to, which is the worst thing to hear before death or injury.

The goal is that when you have a curve you want to lean into it with one big motion, so that you lean, take it, bring it up.
As opposed to : lean, Oh HAI I cAN go FAsTer, oh wait I have to lean again cause i'm too straight and wont make the turn, Oh HAi I CAn GO FASTEr,e tc.

If you are on the twisties on a road you haven't been on, it's always a good idea to assume that a) there is always a Panzer Division accross the double yellow waiting to kill you b) the road could fall apart after the curve. b) is meant more as a "expect the unexpected"

Anyway sorry to hear it - sucks dropping the bike, but fortunately its only your ego that really got bruised.

Lastly, you may want to experiment with weight shifting, getting off the seat a little on your turns, see if that helps - but you may want to research this concept more before trying it.

One more thing - the best guys I ride with in the moutains, I never see their brake light. It's perfectly okay to take turns at 6-7k rpm if you need to down shift to hug the turn where you want to -- using the engine as your primary braking system, maximizes your maneuverability, and it feels a lot better.

Good luck bud :)
Thanks for the comments and advice, I haven't taken offense to any of it, I'm learning as we type. I do have some questions though, if you don't mind...

1) Due to my inexperience I suppose, I thought that if I continued to lean through the turn I would have low-sided, slid across the yellow line (instead of being on my bike while doing it), bringing possible road rash to me and my bike. It makes sense in my head at least. Am I wrong to assume that is a possibility and/or probable?

2) I agree that crossing the double yellow is a bad idea as your "Panzer" division is waiting for me (hilarious, by the way). And I guess this goes along with question one, what else am I supposed to do if I'm too fast in a corner and know I won't make it? I guess I'm at a loss now because I thought I did somewhat the right thing in the situation, but now I'm quite unsure...

Answer = go slower, I understand that; but what would be another course of action in my situation?
 

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glad I didn't come off like a jerk :)

Your fear of low-siding was definitely not unfounded. Leaning too hard can do that for sure -- but here's what I do when I take a turn too fast:

first I let off the throttle but not all the way, you want to keep pressure and traction on the engine and the wheel so it continues to drive into the road.

a second piece of advice you can try - and do this on a slow, normal turn to where you are comfortable with it - is immediately do a clutchless downshift. It will shoot your rpm high and engine brake your bike harder than "is recommended" for your engine TECHNICALLY but if you do this less than like 50 times a year you'll be fine(seriously our engines are really well made in terms of life).
I mean if you are at this point you have consider hard strain on your engine vs. low siding or meeting German tank battalions ;)
So again you'll get a harder hug on the curve, your bike will slow down and you can get your act together and start singing "OOPS! I DID iT AGAIn" in your head :) (which may seem like that Subaru's funeral music wasn't so bad after all....)


The best advice in the twisties is stay very alert and really try to keep your throttle as even as possible.

In my opinion a really fun way (But not the only way) is to try and keep a relatively even throttle position while letting the leaning and countersteering really parallel the road. This way your throttle is adapting less and your finding the way to control the turns better by position. Over time this will lead to natural speed as you get comfy. A well engineer road should allow you to do this (Along with our bikes, which are actually very forgiving to lean).

Hope that helps!
 

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OK, I'm confused.

On other threads here people generally & seriously say not to use the rear brake (there's an article or two in a cyclist's racing book that says the contrary)... because of, well, ugly surprises.

So how is sudden downshifting & using engine braking (also rear wheel) not causing ugly surprises?

I'm a conservative rider so am unpracticed with any such maneuvers.
 

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The way I was taught was that when you hit the rear brake you can a) lock it up and it just messes up the momentum of the way the bike is moving and drags it .... when you engine brake the engine naturalyl makes it harder for the bike to speed up while also giving you the top of the power band --- its hard to explain and I sound retarded right now ---

You knwo when you take a turn, and you are in a lower gear and your bike is screaming, and it seems like you have more power but that bike will slow down faster too ? It's like that - more control.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I forgot to mention before...I despise Phish. I really don't want this to be the last thing I hear before I die.

Maybe something like Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf...

Or a montage of Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and AC/DC's Highway to Hell, just so I have my bases covered. hehe.

Thanks for the advice!

However, I guess I'm kind of confused along with Sci here; I'm not sure how changing the momentum and dynamics of the bike in a turn by ANY means (rear brake, engine braking) would assist in a turn. I can understand letting off the throttle a little, but whenever I downshift it isn't necessarily the nicest thing in the world as it compresses the front forks a bit. I agree that using the upper RPMs in a lean feels like you have more control, but I usually get there before the lean part of a turn...Maybe the key is to engine brake without causing much change to the front suspension??? But how would one accomplish this?

hmm...
 

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SoarAndEnvision: That's funny, MSF taught me to straighten the bike up before hard braking. If you come into a curve too hot, you should straighten, hit the brakes hard, release the brakes and go back in (repeat as necessary). I've done it. It's saved my butt.

Yes, your bike will engine brake harder at high rpms. Engine braking occurs because the throttle plate is (almost) closed allowing very little air to get past it. During the intake stroke, as the piston drops, it creates a vacuum that the engine has to work against, turning it into an overglorified air pump that is powered by your wheels. At high RPM, the engine is trying to draw much more air. With the throttle plate open this means more air+fuel -> more power, with the throttle plate closed this results in higher pumping losses -> more braking.

That said, braking (with drum/disk brakes or with the engine) hard with the rear wheel is not a good idea. Engine braking is much less likely to lock the wheel but you can still lose traction and thus control of the bike. I've fishtailed my bike a bit dropping from 3rd to 1st and letting the clutch out a little too fast at ~30mph.

Most of your stopping force should come from the front brake, that's what it's for and that's what's safest, especially in an emergency. Engine braking is best suited for extended periods of braking, such as down steep hills, where you are worried about overheating your brakes.
 

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You should be blipping the throttle during your down shift to match the engine speed to that of the transmission to make the downshift smoother. You can still slow the rear down too much and make it get squirley with a 3rd to 1st downshift though. If you do it right you should be able to pretty much dump the clutch with no adverse effects.
 

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The MSF course also teaches you to not approach a turn to hot....haha. But regardless. Unless you were dragging pegs you could have leaned the bike over more. Youd be suprised how tight you can turn. If you were going like 60 on something you shouldn't be going more than 40 on then ya. But i'm sure you weren't really THAT hot going into the turn. I hate to say that you should try to ride out the turn by leaning harder but it has worked for me on numerous occations. You realize that you can easily get yourself killed by standing the bike up and braking in a straight line in most situations. If I did that in any of the "I'm going faster than I want to be into a turn" situations I would have been run over. That's just my experience though. I don't even know why I bother posting on this **** because it's never going to make a difference. With my luck someone will do the same thing that worked for me and they'll die because of it.
 

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bhd1223 said:
That's just my experience though. I don't even know why I bother posting on this sh!t because it's never going to make a difference. With my luck someone will do the same thing that worked for me and they'll die because of it.
Please don't stop posting. I'm a very inexperienced rider (30miles in. that's it) reading and reading and reading hoping that one day the accumulated knowledge on this board will help to save my life. I loved my first riding today but honestly, I'm scared a little. So I'm trying to fight that by filling my head with your knowledge.

Your experience and willingness to post could save a life. Maybe mine. So don't stop.

Thanks,

Jon
 

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Seconded
 

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What I have learned, a few different times, but not realized until the most recent one, is that once you know you're screwed after going into a corner too hot, you tend to try to still make the turn, then you experience target fixation, which is what I'm going to assume happened to you. basically, your mind wants to go through the corner, but your eyes pick somethign at random, and focus on that something, so you end up going somewhere you dont want to.

my most recent one was the wakeup call too, I went into a curve WAY hot, tried using the rear brake, locked the wheel, skidded for a few feet, jumped off the road, let the brake loose in the dirt and somehow managed to keep the bike shiny side up. after that, I realized that target fixation, a reaction spawned by panic is why that happened. once you beat the fear, survival reactions and have control over such things, you're able to keep it upright better.

thankfully, you didnt have a worse experience, you're ok, the bike is too. you're learning something from it, which is the important thing.
 

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Any suggestions/comments as to what I should do better next time??

The truth probably is: you could have made the corner if you just "Turned it Harder". Any racer could probably passed you on the outside with out even blinking. This is a commeon newbe failure. Not recognizing just how really hard you can actually turn a bike and stay up. We all have done it. Practice your countersteering. That's how you "make" it go where YOU want.

FOG
 

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the general cause of most of those people who dont lean over more is because they dont know how well their tires actually can grip the road.
 

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bobthebiker said:
the general cause of most of those people who dont lean over more is because they dont know how well their tires actually can grip the road.
In other words, they don't have confidence or faith in their tire. Trust your tires and lean harder.
 

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^from what i've read, trusting your tires is the best answer. I've come into some low speed situations (under 45mph) in which i feel i cannot make the corner. all i do is look as far ahead as i can, and shift my weight as the bike requires. its a feel im just beginning to pick up on. The only bug for me is when im looking thru, what about the little pebbles, etc in the road. thats my worry.


as far as the downshift technique, wouldnt that cause the front tire to lift (even slightly) and take some weight off of it? im assuming you are holding throttle, not completely off (in which case it would lurch forward further compounding the problem)
 

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Don't downshift,don't go for the brakes;do like FOG said,lean more.You can always lean the bike over more and tighten up a turn.As far as pebbles and such,too late to miss it even if you do see it.If you do hit some trash,which-ever tire hits it will slide sideways a bit and then grab traction again.Too many bad things can happen when you stand the bike up:sailing off a cliff,head-on into a car,tree,Yeti,etc....
 

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Billbo said:
Don't downshift,don't go for the brakes;do like FOG said,lean more.You can always lean the bike over more and tighten up a turn.As far as pebbles and such,too late to miss it even if you do see it.If you do hit some trash,which-ever tire hits it will slide sideways a bit and then grab traction again.Too many bad things can happen when you stand the bike up:sailing off a cliff,head-on into a car,tree,Yeti,etc....
I've no crash experience but I also feel unconfident in the turns, even after the motorcycle course.
That comment about the bike going down sliding as preferable to tumbling makes a lot of sense & fits with FOG's recommendation to lean it more, trust the bike, when in a tighter than expected corner.
 
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