Lean Angle

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RhadamYgg
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Lean Angle

#1 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:03 pm

OK. So, I think I still have a problem leaning my bike. Obviously, it isn't a problem with the bike.

The quick version is I'd like to know the range of angles a bike can lean to find a lean indicator with an appropriate range.

Fear is definitely a factor and I'd like to resolve this with knowledge.

There are these indicator that can be purchased and I'm sure a way could be found to mount it on a bike - which shows your tilt.

I was looking at these. Something that I could glance at while leaning in a turn and see just how far I've leaned.

But having a lean indicator is only half the information necessary to make this useful.

What I was planning on doing was (since my bike has crash protectors on it and maybe some rags on those so I don't scratch them or a mat or something to put it down on) after installing whatever tilt indicator, easing the bike down to the ground and marking the indicator(s) with where my max lean is.

Of course, picking my bike up is a huge PITA.

Then when riding I could lean in to a turn and if I felt I needed to go deeper, instead of easing off the throttle lean deeper.

I've read posts... I know. Lean as far as you can, then lean further. It just isn't working that well for me. I have done it a few times. Knowing how much lean I've got is important to me.

So, anyway, these tilt indicators have ranges of lean angle they will record and back to the beginning - I need to know the range of angles that a bike leans to get something that will read an appropriate range.

Any thoughts? I'd recognize I'm proceeding with this differently than most people.

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#2 Unread post by JC Viper » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:35 pm

Proficient Motorcycling has something in there about this. To get more ground clearance for leaning you accelerate a bit which raises the bike. Most bikes today can lean pretty far thanks to better tires. Also I think that's what the feelers on the pegs are for. I have to find my copy of the book somewhere.

If I can lean a Vulcan 500 to the point of pushing the foot peg up chances are your bike can do the same or go further. Even a GoldWing can go pretty low.
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#3 Unread post by Wrider » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:58 pm

Dude you worry too much about this stuff. You can lean as far as you want on that bike without hitting your pegs in all probability. You can lean until you hit the pegs, then a little more. Don't worry about it because chances are just daily riding you'll never hit them.
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#4 Unread post by mbrudolph » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:08 pm

Practice, practice, practice!

From your riding experience it could be a problem with the bike in that you obviously have some experience and have not yet adjusted to this particular bike.

I don’t think it’s a very good idea to try to be glancing at instrumentation while in a turn. You should always be looking as forward as possible into the turn. You have much more important things to be doing to control the bike in a turn. Chances are you won’t have enough time to read an instrument and respond to make what you think are the necessary changes to your angle. You will be relying on the gauge to set the proper angle. This means that you’ll be reading the gauge through the turn. Not a smart thing to do.

Experiencing a fear factor in turns is a definite indication that you are not yet comfortable with riding the bike. That said, please don’t attempt to carry a passenger until you have the bike totally under control.

The best and only instrumentation you need is your body. You mention this yourself when you used the word “feel”. You must have experienced this “feel” with the other bike you have owned, or have you always had problems in turns?

You can’t rely on a gauge such as you suggest. Wind, weather, wet road, gravel, sand, pavement, potholes, luggage, traffic conditions, daylight, night time, intersections, and speed are just some of the many factors that will determine your angle. A gauge can’t address these variables. The other problem with a gauge is that it may indicate more lean is required and if you attempt it and are not comfortable (it doesn’t feel right) you will likely go down. It has to feel right.

It’s becoming one with the bike. Try to get this resolved before you hit the highways or open road. Start out slow, eventually you and the bike will respond as one.

Best of luck and stay safe.

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#5 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:28 pm

Funny, I gave away my copies of Proficient Motorcycling. It is funny, but I really know I've got a sense that I have a problem leaning from watching the races.

On TV you can see these guys are leaning hard... In person, seeing them leaning those bikes all the way down - I understand that I have a problem with leaning.

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#6 Unread post by BuzZz » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:45 pm

I'm with Wrider..... you worry to much about some of this stuff sometimes. :wink: Numbers are groovy and all, but riding is best enjoyed from the gut, IMHO.

About those lean angle gauges..... aside from all the variables mentioned above, basic centrifugal force in a hard corner will negate any accuracy in the instrument. Not to mention, if your leaning hard enough to make yourself nervous, do you really want to look down at that thing in the middle of a corner?

Find some nice, safe corners you can repeat (make a circuit out of them, new subdivisions under construction are great if you can find one) and ride them over and over, pushing your comfort level more and more. When you fall, that would be the point to remember as 'too far'. :lol:

The only sure way to know where the edge is, is to go past it every now and then.
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#7 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:08 am

Wrider wrote:Dude you worry too much about this stuff. You can lean as far as you want on that bike without hitting your pegs in all probability. You can lean until you hit the pegs, then a little more. Don't worry about it because chances are just daily riding you'll never hit them.
My suspicion is that in fact the bike can lean far more than I'll ever need to. Especially if it can lean as far as those race bikes.

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#8 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:23 am

mbrudolph wrote:Practice, practice, practice!

From your riding experience it could be a problem with the bike in that you obviously have some experience and have not yet adjusted to this particular bike.

I don’t think it’s a very good idea to try to be glancing at instrumentation while in a turn. You should always be looking as forward as possible into the turn. You have much more important things to be doing to control the bike in a turn. Chances are you won’t have enough time to read an instrument and respond to make what you think are the necessary changes to your angle. You will be relying on the gauge to set the proper angle. This means that you’ll be reading the gauge through the turn. Not a smart thing to do.

Experiencing a fear factor in turns is a definite indication that you are not yet comfortable with riding the bike. That said, please don’t attempt to carry a passenger until you have the bike totally under control.

The best and only instrumentation you need is your body. You mention this yourself when you used the word “feel”. You must have experienced this “feel” with the other bike you have owned, or have you always had problems in turns?

You can’t rely on a gauge such as you suggest. Wind, weather, wet road, gravel, sand, pavement, potholes, luggage, traffic conditions, daylight, night time, intersections, and speed are just some of the many factors that will determine your angle. A gauge can’t address these variables. The other problem with a gauge is that it may indicate more lean is required and if you attempt it and are not comfortable (it doesn’t feel right) you will likely go down. It has to feel right.

It’s becoming one with the bike. Try to get this resolved before you hit the highways or open road. Start out slow, eventually you and the bike will respond as one.

Best of luck and stay safe.
Time for practice isn't something that I really have. I get to commute on the bike when I get the chance - and this year I had a chance to put some miles on the bike going out to vacation.

Granted, how far you can lean depends on more than sheer contact distance to parts of the bike to the ground. Certainly I might physically have more lean left, but if there is sand on the road my contact patch might be too small to have enough friction to avoid lowsiding.

But, on decent road conditions, knowing precisely how much the bike can lean would conquer the fear that if I lean too far I'll bury the peg in the pavement.

Oh, I wouldn't worry about a passenger! I don't have anyone that would ride with me.

I have had a concern with putting a tilt indicator on the bike - that if I look down, I'd go down (which they said repeatedly in the MSF course), but in the course of riding - even in turns I've had to check for cars and look other directions than where I'm going - and for quick glances, this is ok. As you say, though, riding through an entire turn staring at a gauge isn't going to work.

The point in having such a gauge would be to understand that yes, I've got plenty of more lean to go, or no I don't. Not to look at the gauge through the turn and determine that I should be leaned 25 degrees and watch the gauge through the turn.

I've even had thoughts that sans tilt indicator - I could just lay the bike down (where it won't get damaged) and sit on the bike while it is on the ground. Then I could see that this is completely and fully leaned out (overleaned actually - ok, so that isn't a word). But even if I could envision in my mind that say 95% of where the bike is when it is actually in contact with the ground is max lean - I'd know when I'm riding through a turn that I've got plenty of lean to go - or I don't.

I have - actually two specific problem areas with turns and riding.

1) severely declining radius off-ramps/on-ramps to highways
2) Right turns at very slow speeds. Basically, at the end of my commute I make a right turn from a slow road to my neighborhood - where there is in fact poor road conditions (sand collects there) and I slow wayyy down before entering the turn.

I'll have to see if I can figure a new way to take video on the new bike. This way I could put the videos on Youtube to break down what my specific problems are.

Thanks for the feedback, man. Hopefully, I'll get my head around these issues.

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#9 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:26 am

Wrider wrote:Dude you worry too much about this stuff. You can lean as far as you want on that bike without hitting your pegs in all probability. You can lean until you hit the pegs, then a little more. Don't worry about it because chances are just daily riding you'll never hit them.
You know, you may be right. I do pretty well. I'll have to see if I can take video and spin my tires that shows my chicken strips. Then we can say that I am or am not leaning enough. Not sure if I can take video of high enough quality to show the chicken strips, though.

I can say this - the second line on my tires is still not gone. The first line is mostly gone.

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#10 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:27 am

There was this thing - I thought I could mount in front of my windscreen and look at briefly while going through some turns.
Thing

At least it is cheap enough that if I don't do anything with it - it wouldn't be a big issue.

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#11 Unread post by RhadamYgg » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:30 am

BuzZz wrote:I'm with Wrider..... you worry to much about some of this stuff sometimes. :wink: Numbers are groovy and all, but riding is best enjoyed from the gut, IMHO.

About those lean angle gauges..... aside from all the variables mentioned above, basic centrifugal force in a hard corner will negate any accuracy in the instrument. Not to mention, if your leaning hard enough to make yourself nervous, do you really want to look down at that thing in the middle of a corner?

Find some nice, safe corners you can repeat (make a circuit out of them, new subdivisions under construction are great if you can find one) and ride them over and over, pushing your comfort level more and more. When you fall, that would be the point to remember as 'too far'. :lol:

The only sure way to know where the edge is, is to go past it every now and then.
Actually, one of the other guys mentioned Tony's track day or something - that isn't far from my area. I might have to do that a couple times to really get secure in the certain situations that I don't like.

Bah, money, leather riding suit, but then again, it might be something I just have to do. Even if it is just to find out that I do ok, not great, but ok in turns and can work on it a little bit.

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#12 Unread post by JC Viper » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:51 am

why don't you do a one day thing at Keith Code Superbike school. They have some classes held in NJ Speedway. You get to use their bikes and lean all you want. I would've gone if it weren't for the Rally school.
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#13 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:30 am

You can see your chicken strips without riding. Just look at the unused portion of your tires.
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#14 Unread post by sapaul » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:25 am

If I may be bold

Everytime I get some one who says they have fear of leaning, we find that the body positioning is all wrong. EVERY TIME.

Forget gadgets, get some one who knows what they are doing to follow you and help you with the body positioning, or get to a track with an instructor.

Listen to me dude, I am bullying you now. :D
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#15 Unread post by Amdonim » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:26 am

I think what he was saying is that he's not sure if his camera has the quality to show the difference between used and unused on the tire. I know mine wouldn't.

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#16 Unread post by koji52 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:48 am

I'd have to say man that I'm with Wrider and Buzz as well. You're looking too scientifically at riding. Trust in the bike and your skill, look where you're heading, maintain speed and don't grab the brake while leaned over. I scrape the pegs on my sportster and push them up frequently and can probably keep going (that's probably going a little faster than I should through a wide left turn at an intersection) but just don't have the rocks to "push it to the limit."

I understand you're trying to reduce your risks for the sake of your family, while trying to continuing to do what you love (ride) via research on gear and riding technique, but I think if you overthink everything you may be putting too much in your head. You want to just DO based on good experience, rather than think about the library of information you researched, look at the gadgets, then DO in an emergency. Don't get me wrong, more info is much better than no info and if everyone conducted half as much research on anything as you do, I think we'd probably all be a bit better off. But you don't want to read how far you can lean or rely on gadgets, and then get in a situation where you need to lean and not have the confidence to do so. Instinct is what saves all of us in those situations. It's definately saved my skin more than a few times.
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#17 Unread post by Nalian » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:17 am

I had some issues with those kinds of turns at well for a while - so I spent sometime riding around one of the highway on/off ramp clovers we have here. I don't think knowing your lean angle is going to translate into something you can do about it - you'd be better off having a friend or someone behind you with a camera recording you.

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#18 Unread post by dr_bar » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:06 pm

RhadamYgg wrote:I'll have to see if I can take video and spin my tires that shows my chicken strips.

Dude, You got chicken strips??? Then consider yourself well into a lean, personally I have eight lane highways down the sides of my tires. Don't worry about it, like Buzz says, it's all about having fun.

No offence but you remind me of an ex-member, all that he was concerned about was that he learned to drag knees. If I remember correctly he eventually dragged a bit more than that...

Go out and enjoy your bike...


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#19 Unread post by jstark47 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:52 pm

mbrudolph wrote:I don’t think it’s a very good idea to try to be glancing at instrumentation while in a turn. You should always be looking as forward as possible into the turn.
+1
RhadamYgg wrote:I'll have to see if I can take video and spin my tires that shows my chicken strips. Then we can say that I am or am not leaning enough. Not sure if I can take video of high enough quality to show the chicken strips, though.
I hope to heck you have chicken strips. If you don’t, you’re in imminent danger of crashing, you’re pushing the bike too far for the street. Keep reading…
RhadamYgg wrote:There was this thing - I thought I could mount in front of my windscreen and look at briefly while going through some turns.
If you’re doing performance cornering, you shouldn’t be looking at anything except the corner exit and beyond.
sapaul wrote:Everytime I get some one who says they have fear of leaning, we find that the body positioning is all wrong. EVERY TIME.
Ding ding ding!! We have a winner!!! Paul “get’s it” ……. :D
Nalian wrote:I had some issues with those kinds of turns at well for a while - so I spent sometime riding around one of the highway on/off ramp clovers we have here.
…… and Nalian knows how to have fun! In straight, flat, south New Jersey cloverleafs are the highpoint of my day… :twisted:

OK, Rhadam, you want to increase lean angle? Or do you want to get around turns faster and more securely? Assuming it's the second, lean angle is not the whole key. You need to learn to shift weight on the bike through the turn. This allows you to turn faster with reduced lean angle - hence you'll have chicken strips. Look at pictures of really good sport bike racers hanging off in turns - you'll notice the bike is standing up straighter with riders doing it right than with riders who are messing up positioning and "pushing the bike" down underneath them.

IMO, nothing works better at increasing corning security than weight shifting achieved through correct body positioning. This doesn't necessarily mean hanging off - you can get 75% of the benefits without dropping a knee. It means getting the entire centerline of your body mass inside the centerline of the bike, as well as correct shoulder and arm positioning, correct head position and eye discipline, etc. Get a copy of Lee Parks' book "Total Control". He covers the correct riding position, breaks it down into a 10 step process.
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#20 Unread post by Amdonim » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:26 pm

I remember a guy from way back when who used to race Isle of Man and stuff. Never dropped his knees ever, rode with his legs against the tank 100% of the time. I don't remember him sucking either, but it did look very weird.

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