View Full Version : Riding tips

10-07-2007, 04:02 PM
Some riding tips i found on my harddrive. I found them very usefull, probly someone else will also do... please note (c) Nathaniel Burney

RIDING TIPS ? OUTLINE Nathaniel Burney
2001 SV650 NY# ?YEHAAA?
(Just focusing on skills, not tactics or strategies)

I. Don?t Panic pg 1
II. Steering pg 3
III. Throttle pg 11
IV. Body control pg 16
V. Vision pg 20
VI. Braking pg 22
VII. Stunts pg 31

I. DON?T PANIC: Everything about riding a motorcycle is counterintuitive.
A. Your natural instincts serve you well in ordinary situations, but the physics of motorcycles is anything but ordinary.
1. As a result, your natural instinct is almost always wrong.
a. If you do what comes naturally, you will probably make a bad situation worse.
B. When you panic, even the tiniest bit, you automatically react by instinct, without thinking.
1. For example, while going around a curve, you feel an unexpected bump or slide, and automatically cut back on the throttle and stiffen your body. It only happened in a split-second, but you just made things worse.
C. So to prevent yourself from reacting instinctively, the best thing to do is to not let yourself get in a panic situation to begin with.
1. How can you prevent panic? It?s a reaction to the unforeseen, right?
a. Actually, no.
b. Panic is what you do when your mind is already completely occupied, and you can?t give any extra attention to a new situation.
i If you are riding near (or beyond) the limit of your abilities, then your attention is completely used up.
? ANYTHING new is going to make you panic a little.
ii If you are riding faster than you can see (i.e., your roadspeed is such that you cannot react to unexpected road conditions in time, once you see them), then your attention is completely used up by things happening faster than you can react to them.
? ANYTHING new is going to make you panic at this point.
2. The solution is to never ride at more than 75% of your ability.
a. Less is even better.
b. When you?re surprised, you have plenty of attention in reserve to give to the new situation, and you will react properly instead of instinctively.
c. When conditions suddenly require additional skill ? such as a car cutting you off, or a curve in the road that suddenly gets even tighter ? you will have that ability available to you, and you won?t panic.
3. When riding with others, still don?t ride past your limits.
a. Riding faster than you?re comfortable going is exciting, but stupid. You give up your safety margin by riding close to or past your limits.
i You can learn a lot from keeping up with a better rider, but make sure you?re really following someone who you can learn from.
ii Don?t try to keep up if you can?t do it comfortably. Catch up later.
iii Likewise, keep an eye out for less-experienced riders you might be outpacing.
b. Maybe you don?t want to lose face, maybe you don?t want to get lost, but there is a strong temptation to keep up with riders who go faster than you can comfortably go. Don?t give in to the temptation.
D. Now that you can overcome your natural instincts, you need to know what the proper responses actually are.

II. Steering
A. If you do nothing else, steer with your eyes.
1. If you look there, you go there.
2. Remember the kid-eating tree. When dad was teaching us (and all the kids on the block) how to ride bicycles in the back yard, every single one of us managed to ride smack into the one tree there. Because we were all looking at it, instead of where we wanted to go.
3. You will automatically steer towards whatever you are looking at. This is equally true for someone who has never sat on a bike before as for someone who has been riding his whole life (as illustrated by the bike-eating tree).
4. Don?t look at the obstacle. Look where you want to go. And you will go there.
B. Countersteering ? if you ride, you?re already doing this anyway, because there is no other way to steer a bike that?s moving faster than 5 mph. Better to do it on purpose rather than by accident, however.
1. To turn left, you push on the left handlebar. To turn right, you push on the right handlebar.
a. This is because of a combination of physical forces.
i Gyroscopic Force
? When a sideways force is applied to a gyroscope, the gyro will lean into it.
? Pushing on the left handlebar tries to turn the wheel to the right. In effect, there is a force pushing on the front wheel from the left side.
? If the front wheel is spinning, it is a gyro, and it will actually lean over to the left as a result.
? The harder you push on the handlebar, the farther over it leans.
ii Steering Geometry
? When you turn the handlebars, the front fork rotates along an axis. This axis is at an angle to the ground (its ?rake?).
? The contact patch of the front wheel is directly beneath the center of the wheel. The front fork ends at the center of the wheel. But if you extended its axis of rotation all the way down to the ground, it would touch the ground some distance in front of the contact patch, because of the ?rake.?
? The distance between the contact patch and this imaginary extension of the fork?s axis is called the ?trail.?
? When you apply pressure on the left handlebar, the wheel does in fact turn to the right. But because of this ?trail,? the wheel wants to fall over to the left.
? The more you push on the handlebar, the more the wheel wants to fall over.
? Turning the wheel to the left, for example, steers the contact patch out from underneath the motorcycle?s center of gravity. The tire will bank over to the right (and because it is connected to the forks, it will take the rest of the bike with it).
ii Once you are leaned over, the front end only stabilizes the bike. Steering is done by the Rear end.
? As a result, the front end only carries about 1/3 of the cornering load.
? This cornering load is still important. You want that weight on the front wheel, in order to be able to lean and to change the lean angle.
2. A common panic reaction is when you want to swerve around an obstacle, or turn suddenly, and you FAIL TO COUNTERSTEER.
a. You wanted to go right, and turned the wheel to the right.
b. The bike will start to go left. That?s not what you want to happen, and you try to go right even harder.
c. What happens is, you ?lowside? the bike.
i The bike falls all the way down with you sliding along behind it.
ii When you hear someone say ?That truck pulled in front of me, and I had to lay the bike down,? what they?re really saying is the failed to countersteer and they lowsided the bike. Nobody drops their bike on purpose.
3. Don?t steer by pushing the bike beneath yourself.
a. Yes, you can steer the bike using just your body. But it is very inefficient.
i Essentially, body steering means you are pushing on the frame of the bike. This effort is transferred to the forks and is translated as a steering input.
? It is impossible to body-steer, or do any kind of steering at all, if the handlebars are immobilized.
ii It takes significantly longer for body steering to take effect. Not a good idea when you need to maneuver Now.
iii It takes a lot more effort than pushing on the handlebars.
? No matter how much force you apply to the frame of the bike, no matter how hard you try to lean it with your body, the slightest pressure on the handlebars the other way will turn you the other way.
iv It is not as easy to control.
v When the bike actually does get around to turning, you wind up using more lean angle than you needed.
vi It makes you fight the bike.
? Don?t fight the bike. Lean with it.
b. To help yourself stay with the bike, put more weight on the outside footpeg while you?re leaning the bike over.
i This keeps your body?s center of gravity closer to that of the bike.
ii It?s the same thing as shifting your weight to the outside of a slow tight turn. This lets the bike pivot more quickly, with less effort.
4. Don?t steer by pushing down. Push forward.
a. The handlebars do not move up and down. They rotate forward and back.
i Any downward force you apply is wasted effort.
ii Pushing straight down achieves nothing. Pushing down at an angle applies some force forward, which is used, and some force down, which is wasted. Pushing straight forward achieves everything with no wasted effort.
b. For maximum ease and efficiency keep your elbows down and your forearms horizontal.
i This puts all of your energy into the actual steering, so you hardly need to use any muscle at all.
ii Pushing down on the bars hurts your wrists.
iii Pushing down on the bars leads to stiff-arming the bike. Don?t stiff-arm it, stay loose. (see Body Control, below)
B. NOT FOR STREET RIDING ? One way to steer a tighter curve without leaning as much, is to hang off the bike.
1. This is when racers put their knee down.
a. What happens is, you shift your body towards the inside of the curve. This shift in the center of gravity makes the bike turn more quickly with less lean.
i You lower your center of gravity without having to lean as much.
b. This way, you keep more traction, more upright stability, and more lean angle in reserve in case you need it.
c. On a sportbike, it also puts your center of gravity over the bike?s wide tire footprint.
d. You probably should never need to do this on the street. Just on the racetrack. Still, it can be a useful skill to have.
2. Never steer the bike while your butt is off the seat.
a. What happens is, your handlebars become the bike?s primary pivot point, instead of your center of gravity.
b. As a result, your bike will wobble unsteadily all over the place. This is never good, but especially not when the bike is leaned over hard!
3. The technique is pretty straightforward.
a. While you?re going straight, stand up on the pegs. (Don?t slow down yet.)
i Of course, you should be on your toes. You should only ride on the balls of your feet, never on your arches.
ii This gives you more control, makes the ride smoother, and upsets the suspension less.
b. Standing on the pegs now, you shift your weight to the inside of the turn. (Don?t slow down yet.)
c. Set one butt cheek down on the seat. (Don?t slow down yet.)
i Don?t wiggle the front wheel while you?re doing this!
d. Okay, NOW you can roll off the gas and start to brake.
e. Get comfortable. You don?t want to shift around during the turn.
f. Grip the tank with your outside leg and your body.
g. Lean the bike over into the turn.
h. To shift your weight even more, put your knee out (not down).
4. If you are not comfortable with moving around on the bike, you can try putting your knee out while remaining centered on the seat. You will slightly shift your center of mass, but also the air-brake effect of your knee on the inside of the turn will make the bike turn a bit more easily.
C. Mid-Turn Steering Correction ? a common panic error.
1. You feel you?re going too fast, or too wide, or whatever. So you change your steering while you?re in the turn.
a. Note: Little adjustments are normal, and are of course necessary. But if it?s big enough to be noticed, it?s probably wrong.
i Unless the radius of the curve itself is changing. Then you do need to make larger adjustments through the turn.
b. Mid-turn steering corrections can start a chain reaction of further errors, and you can go down.
i Usually, what you do is lean more while jerking the throttle (which itself makes everything even worse).
ii This makes you unstable.
iii So you stand the bike up to regain stability.
iv Now you start to go wide.
v So you lean over even more than before, trying to stay on the road.
vi You go down.
2. You need to have confidence that the bike will make it through the turn.
3. Most of the time, you don?t need to make mid-turn steering corrections.
a. Unless you?re making a significant change (as in a decreasing-radius turn), your corrections aren?t going to do much anyway. You?re going to wind up exiting the turn at the same place, despite your correction.
b. So why risk creating more problems if you don?t have to? Try to keep yourself to one steering input per turn.
4. Make that one steering input quickly, and you?ll corner better.
a. If you take longer to roll over into your lean angle, you need to start turning too soon.
b. The bike takes a wider line, the more gradually you lean. You can drift out of your lane.
c. You?ll be forced to make corrections, as you first go wide, then pull in tighter to make the corner. And you only want one steering input per turn.
d. Leaning over more quickly lets you make just the one input, you can get back on the throttle sooner and harder, and you accomplish your cornering faster.
5. One steering input per turn.
a. If you?re going to get this right, you have to get the right lean angle at the beginning of the turn.
b. You want as little lean angle as possible ? just enough to make the turn.
i Don?t go all the way over. You may need the extra lean if the curve gets tighter on you. If that happens and you?re scraping pegs, there?s nowhere left to go but wide.
ii Less lean angle is more stable.
iii Less lean angle gives you more traction.
iv More lean makes every bump, ripple and slippery spot more likely to cause a slide.
v More lean requires better throttle control.
vi More lean means you can?t go as fast as if you were upright.
c. How do you keep the lean angle to a minimum?
i In extreme turns, as in racing, you can get the knee down. But you should never ever need to do that on the street.
? Hanging off does let you steer more quickly, if you get your body into position and are stable before the turn. But remember, never steer while you?re in the process of hanging off. It makes the bike wiggle.
ii To keep the lean angle down, Steer More Quickly.
? Flick your bike into its lean angle faster.
? This turns your bike faster, at the same road speed, with less lean.
? This lets you get your turning done sooner.
? So you can stand it up sooner.
? You have more lean angle available in case you need it.
? The bike is more stable.
? You can go faster.
? Your traction is better.
6. Don?t be afraid to lean way over, if you need to.
a. It is so hard to drop the bike simply from leaning too far. The trick is to keep on the throttle as that contact patch gets smaller.
b. You?re in too fast for real, or the turn got tighter unexpectedly, or a truck crossed the yellow line. Whatever the reason, you need to tighten your turn. Do it. That?s why you only ride at 75%, so you have that extra room when you need it.
c. The bike can lean a lot more than you think you can, so go for it if you have to.
d. In extreme leans, you risk overloading the tires. If you overload the tires, you will go down. There are four ways to avoid this.
i Hold it where you are, don?t lean any further.
ii Stand it up ? dangerous because you will go wider now. Things like buildings, trees and oncoming traffic tend to upset the alignment of your skeleton.
iii Scrub off speed ? DON?T let off the throttle, you will go down. Keep the throttle where it is, and the tires will scrub off speed with their own friction.
iv Rear-wheel steering (a.k.a. oversteering) ? When you?re at the limit of your tires, adding throttle will overload the rear tire. It will slide. It will slide to the outside of the turn (it does this a little in all turns anyway, but this is aggravated sliding). This will pivot the bike into the corner tighter, and the front wheel will stand up a bit (which is good, because you definitely don?t want to wash out the front wheel).
D. Turning too soon is a big steering error.
1. If you start to turn too soon, then your turn is going to start out shallow. And you?re going to have to turn again (or maybe even a couple more times) to actually make it through the curve.
a. This opens you up to more steering errors, throttle errors, braking errors, vision errors, body errors, etc. Why would you do that to yourself?
b. You wind up being leaned over longer than you need to. Your traction and stability are being sacrificed that whole time. Why would you do that to yourself?
c. And it?s just plain extra work.
2. If you steer later, closer to the apex of the curve, then you?ll only have to steer once.
E. Hesitant steering can be a problem.
1. You doubt your ability to get the bike turned. Why?
a. You?re not familiar with this curve.
b. You feel like you?re going to go wide.
c. You think you?re going to have to lean too much.
d. You?re concerned about oncoming traffic.
e. You?re afraid of losing traction.
2. This causes three errors.
a. You stay on the brakes through the turn, or you coast.
i Don?t brake while leaned over!
? You?ll lose your gyro and go down.
? You?ll lock up the rear wheel and highside.
b. You steer earlier than you should.
c. You steer more slowly than you should.
i This makes you turn too soon.
ii If you didn?t turn too soon, then you?re going to go wide.
iii Either way, you?ll wait too long to get back on the gas.
iv Either way, you?re going to make mid-turn steering corrections.
v You?ll probably wind up using too much lean angle.
vi And of course all the other panic errors will follow. Stiff-arming the bars, tunnel vision, freezing up, etc.
3. Don?t hesitate. Trust yourself. Trust the bike.
a. If you think you?re entering the corner too fast, ask yourself if it?s too fast for the bike, or for you. Your bike can probably handle it.
F. Choose your turn-entry point.
1. Make this a conscious decision.
2. This is a great way to defeat entry panic.
3. It gives you an idea of where you are, where you?re going, and where you need to be.
4. It frees up your attention, so now you can think ahead.
G. Always set your speed before you even begin to lean.
1. You don?t want to have to slow down during the turn (See Throttle Control, below)
2. You don?t want to be slowing or braking while you?re in the process of leaning. That?s a recipe for disaster.
3. Do all of your slowing before you start to lean over.

II. Throttle Control ? A typical panic reaction is to cut the throttle.
A. Examples:
1. While you?re in a curve, a deer jumps out in front of you. You immediately chop the throttle to slow down.
2. While you?re in a curve, you feel like you?re going faster than you would like. So you let off the gas.
3. While you?re in a curve, you find yourself going too wide ? either towards the shoulder or the oncoming traffic ? so you cut the throttle.
4. While you?re in a curve, you find yourself turning faster than you want to ? you?re leaned over too much ? so you slow down by letting off the gas.
5. You find yourself starting to skid. This means your wheels are pointed the wrong way, so you cut the throttle.
6. You hit a bump in the road and it startles you. So you chop the throttle before you even register what just happened.
B. When you chop the throttle, you lose traction instantly.
1. Your bikes weight shifts forward drastically. The effect is the same as taking the weight off the rear tire and putting it on the front tire.
a. If you were in a turn, you already gave up a lot of your traction by leaning over. You can?t afford to lose any more.
i Never brake while leaned over, without standing the bike up first.
? While leaned over, losing traction, any brake will kill what little traction you have left, and you will crash.
b. Reducing the gas will overload your small front tire.
c. Your rear tire, without any weight on it, will start to skid.
i Don?t chop the throttle now, either. Chop the throttle in a slide, and your rear tire suddenly weighs nothing, and it will whip right around.
ii A skidding rear tire can make you highside. While pointed off at an angle, the wheel can start to grip again. This will pop the rear end up and throw you over the handlebars. The bike will pretty much land on top of you.
iii What do you do if the rear end starts to slide?
? You can?t chop the throttle.
? You can?t suddenly increase throttle, either.
? This suddenly adds weight and traction to the rear tire. Which by now is pointed the wrong way. You will highside.
? Instead, just keep the throttle exactly where it is.
? The bike will slowly scrub off speed and recover.
? As the bike slows, you will need to smoothly stand it up.
C. Don?t chop the throttle when you?re going too wide.
1. It feels like you?re going wide because you?re going too fast.
a. That?s right. You are going too fast... for your lean angle.
2. To tighten your turn, simply lean more.
a. Don?t let off the gas. You will actually go wider, because the bike will stand itself up.
3. This is another reason to ride at only 75%. You never know when you?ll need a little more lean angle. And if you?re already on the sidewall, you?re screwed.
D. Because you don?t want to brake or cut the throttle in a turn, you want to do all of your slowing down BEFORE you enter the turn.
1. This doesn?t mean you need to use your brakes. Most of the time, you won?t need to.
2. A common mistake is to wait until right before you lean over, and then chop the throttle.
a. This requires you to coast for a long time before you can add throttle again, because you?re going too fast into the curve. Coasting is bad (see below).
b. In a race, this will really cost you. By staying on the throttle too long, you will actually lose ground.
3. The right way is to ease off the throttle as you approach the beginning of the turn, so you are all the way slowed down before you lean over.
a. This way, you don?t coast at all. You can use the entire turn for acceleration.
b. This is what separates the winning racers from the rest of the pack.
c. Don?t gas it too soon!
i If you hit the throttle before you?re all the way into the lean, then you won?t be able to turn as rapidly, and you?ll have to stay leaned over longer.
4. Make sure you roll off smoothly.
a. This way, you maintain control.
i Your weight won?t shift forward suddenly.
ii You won?t upset the suspension.
iii You?ll maintain traction.
b. If you chop it, you?ll lose suspension, traction, and control.
E. Once you get into your lean, you should not brake or reduce throttle at all for the rest of the turn.
1. In fact, what you want to do is steadily add throttle.
a. For example, you can tell the winning racers just by listening to them in the corners. They are the ones who steadily add rpm?s all the way through. The rest of the pack goes on and off the gas, and they lose ground and wipe out.
b. On the street you want to do this as well.
i You need to get on the gas as early as possible ? not to accelerate, but to balance the bike, and stop it slowing down in the turn.
ii Getting on the gas early affects weight distribution, stability, how well the bike behaves over bumps, and what line you can take.
iii It puts weight on the rear wheel, with its larger contact patch. This helps traction and stability. Also, weight on the bigger rear tire lets you hold a more consistent line.
c. Don?t be silly with the throttle while leaned over. Be smooth.
i When upright, you can play with the throttle like an idiot, no worries.
ii When cornering, you have less grip. The tires can cope with the same amount of throttle as upright, but not if it rushes in all at once.
d. Racing tip: Don?t downshift too much before entering a turn.
i Your RPM will be too high if your gear is too low.
? As a result, you will hit redline too soon, and won?t be able to accelerate for as long as you could have.
? Plus, while you?re leaned over, the effective diameter of your tire is smaller. (The distance from the hub to the sidewall is shorter than the distance to the centerline.) This makes your RPM higher for the same speed to begin with.
ii But don?t upshift to correct this.
? Upshifting changes your suspension too much, too fast. Your bike will get unstable.
? Instead, just stand the bike up a little.
? This way, you ride on a larger circumference on your wheels, which automatically lowers your RPM for the same speed.
F. The proper thing to do is to use SMOOTH throttle control.
1. Don?t jerk the throttle.
2. Keep the g-forces low, and the weight shifting will be minimal.
a. A steady acceleration at low g is perfect while turning.
i Turning will scrub off speed all by itself, due to the extra friction on the tires.
ii So a constant throttle will let you slow a bit if you need to.
3. After entering a turn, you ease your throttle open just a bit, then gradually add gas throughout the curve.
a. Again, this means you had to have done all your slowing down before you leaned the bike over.
4. A common mistake is to wait to add gas until the curve is almost over.
a. That means you were coasting for most of the turn. Coasting is lazy and bad.
i You lose traction, because too much weight shifts to the front tire.
ii Your suspension will overreact to the road.
iii Any steering inputs will be amplified, leading to twitchiness (which can be scary, and can cause yet more panic errors).
iv Your bike will start to wander off line, to the outside.
v The bike will scrub off too much speed.
vi Your gears are not engaged while coasting ? and you only have control when the gears are engaged. If you?re coasting, you?ve given up control.
5. The right way is to add gas as soon as you have settled into your lean angle.
a. As soon as you are leaned over to where you want to be for that turn, you start to add gas smoothly.
b. Don?t bother waiting for the suspension to settle first. It will take care of itself when you add the throttle.

III. Body Control ? Another common panic error is to stiffen up.
A. When you panic, you automatically stiffen your body (especially your arms) and tighten your grip on the bars.
1. Because it?s an automatic response, you need to make a conscious effort to loosen up.
a. Flap your elbows like a bird just before you enter a turn, to make sure you?re loose.
b. See how lightly you can hold the handlebars, especially while going around a corner.
2. If you are stiff-arming the bike, the natural vibration of the front end will get transferred to the rest of the bike.
a. Your body is part of the bike?s suspension. When you stiff-arm, it?s like replacing your front shocks with a solid rod.
b. The resulting vibration makes the bike unstable.
3. The more relaxed you are, the more stable and smooth the bike will be.
a. Stay especially loose over dirt, gravel and bumpy roads.
4. Stiff-arming also makes you go wide in a turn.
a. This happens because the front-end wobble will overcome the cornering forces.
5. Stiff-arming makes you waste energy pushing down on the bars. That accomplishes nothing.
a. When you push on the bars to steer, you push forward, not down.
b. The lower your elbows are, the more forward you are pushing. The higher up they are, the more you?re pushing down.
i You can react faster and more strongly the lower your elbows are.
ii The ideal would be to keep your forearm horizontal.
6. One cause of stiffening up is a strong wind.
a. It does make you want to hold on for dear life.
b. Instead, however, you should loosen up more, and lean your body forward over the gas tank.
i This drastically reduces the effect of the wind. Your body no longer acts like a sail, and because you?re loose the wind won?t affect your handling.
7. A related lazy habit, very common, is when riders keep their inside elbow locked, and use the weight of their upper body on that locked arm to countersteer.
a. That?s bad.
b. It prevents you from being able to make small steering corrections.
c. It limits your control of the motorcycle.
d. Any bump in the road will unsettle your upper body, and that movement will transmit directly down your locked arm into the handlebar ? unintentionally steering the bike.
e. Keep your elbows bent, and keep your weight off the bars.
B. Don?t grab the handlebars tightly.
1. Gripping the bars too hard is the most common source of motorcycle handling problems.
a. Any bumps in the road will jostle the throttle.
i This makes the bike even more jumpy, and messes with your suspension and traction.
ii It can really get bad, and of course you panic even more.
b. Smooth and even control movements are hard to do when you have a death grip on the bars.
c. Tight grip also makes your forearms get tired, and you don?t want to exhaust your forearms while riding. They are the source of power for all your braking and shifting.
2. You do want to hold onto the bike tightly ? just not with your hands.
a. Grip with your legs. Use your stomach muscles if necessary.
b. Handlebars are for steering, not for holding on to the bike.
C. Body Positioning
1. In general, keep yourself centered. Lean with the bike ? don?t lean more than the bike, don?t try to stay upright.
a. Several writers recommend to keep your head vertical while the rest of your body leans.
i They usually say it?s so you keep your eyes level with the horizon to avoid confused visual cues and upset balance.
ii I think that?s dumber than dirt. Why put a crick in your neck? Any pilot will tell you it?s easier to simply look up to look through a turn than to cock your head and then twist it. And your balance is steadier when your head is banked with the g?s than if you?re fighting them by trying to keep your head vertical.
2. A centered riding stance gives you increased confidence and control in a variety of situations.
a. Your outside knee will be in the correct position, and will help to distribute your weight properly.
3. Sometimes, a little hanging off can help you maneuver.
a. On slippery or wet roads, you can keep the tires more upright by leaning to the inside of the turn. You can use more of the tire?s traction while still turning.
4. During an emergency ?pump-pump? swerve, keep your body upright. [This is where, to swerve quickly around an obstacle, you quickly push hard on one handlebar then the other. You remain upright and keep looking where you want to go.]
a. Don?t lean with it. It?s one less thing to think about.
b. You?re not throwing your weight from side to side.
c. You actually boost your countersteering a little by pushing off your own inertia.
d. You?re going to want to be upright at the finish anyway, and the maneuver will take less than a second. Don?t bother moving your body.

IV. Vision ? When you panic, you also make mistakes with your eyes.
A. You get tunnel vision, because you can?t give any attention to the peripheries.
1. As a result, you have no time to make decisions as things come into your field of view. And you panic even more.
B. You fixate on just one thing at a time, instead of scanning.
1. This uses up all your attention, and creates tunnel vision and more panic.
2. Plus, if you look there you go there. And if you?re fixating on anything, it?s probably on the hazard that?s making you panic. As a result, you ride right into it.
a. Always look where you want to go, not at the obstacle you?re trying to avoid.
C. You can only react to what you can see.
1. More accurately, you can only react to something if you see it in time.
2. This is why you?re not supposed to drive ?faster than you can see,? which means ?so fast that by the time you see a hazard, there?s not enough time to react before you hit it.?
3. ?Faster than you can see? depends not only on how bright a day it is, but also on how much of the road ahead is visible.
4. If you?re in a tight curve with trees alongside the road, then you can?t see very far at all, and you?d better not be going very fast.
5. If you?re approaching a crest in the road, and you can?t see beyond it, then you can?t see very far at all.
6. Only drive as fast as you can see.
7. Visual panic errors reduce what you can see, as well as the time and space you have for reaction.
D. You need to keep your field of vision wide open.
1. This takes practice. It does not happen on its own.
2. With a wide field of vision, you can instantly change where you?re focusing your attention, without moving your eyes around.
a. This prevents you from fixating on one thing at a time and getting tunnel vision.
E. Give yourself visual space.
1. You want to be aware of hazards in time to react to them.
a. If you aren?t, then you will panic.
2. You want to know what to do before you have to do it.
a. If you don?t, then you will panic.
3. For example, spot where you will begin a turn well before you actually get there, and look where you want to go before you start to turn.

V. Braking ? Braking errors are Slides and Skids.
A. You brake both wheels independently of each other. Your right hand brakes the front wheel, and your right foot brakes the rear wheel.
1. This requires the rider to balance the braking forces properly.
a. Take into account that the weight of the bike shifts forward when braking.
b. Slamming on either brake will overcome your traction and you will lose control
2. Concentrate on squeezing the brakes smoothly.
a. This way, you don?t upset the suspension, and you let the bike settle into its stop without overloading its traction.
b. The best way is to squeeze the front brake first, let the bike settle, then apply the rear brake.
i Do this smoothly and you will avoid locking up the rear wheel.
3. You still do it fast. Just smooth. No jerking or slamming.
B. Always use the front brake.
1. Your rear brake is relatively useless by itself.
a. During a stop, the weight of the bike shifts forward. There is less considerably less weight on the rear tire. This reduces its traction and its braking efficiency.
b. Front brakes are where all the stopping power is located. There are usually two of them rather than the single rear disc, to begin with. More importantly, most of the bike?s weight has shifted onto that front tire when you applied the brakes. That?s where all the traction and braking efficiency are focused.
c. Some people are afraid that, if they use only the front brake, then the bike will throw them over the handlebars. This is not going to happen.
i The only way you?re going to do a stoppie is if you?re trying to, or if you?re really overenthusiastic with that front brake.
ii Accident statistics show that the number of injuries from accidental stoppies is statistically insignificant ? not even worth mentioning.
iii On the other hand, accident statistics for injuries based on day-to-day reliance on the rear brake alone are overwhelming.
? What happens is, people who rely on the rear brake either lock up the rear wheel, or fail to stop in time.
? Locking up the rear wheel is easy, because there is little weight on that tire, so there is little road resistance to the braking force being applied.
? Locking up the rear wheel will make it skid. It will lose all traction and start to slide.
? Because it has lost traction, it is going faster than the front wheel, and has to move sideways to get around it.
? It will never continue to go straight. The slightest imbalance of weight or angle will throw the tire around you.
? This is when inexperienced riders let off the rear brake and it highsides (see below).
? If they don?t lock up the rear, then they fail to stop in time.
? Mentally unable or unwilling to use the front brake, they ride the rear brake all the way to impact.
d. The front brake is arguably the best safety device on any motorcycle.
i Older but oft-quoted statistics show that the front brake has about 70% of the bike?s stopping power.
ii Due to major increases in brake, tire and suspension technology in the last twenty years, this proportion has probably shifted up to about 80% or 90%.
e. Ride with two fingers resting on the front brake lever at all times.
i Reaction times are critical down to hundredths of a second. Covering the brake gives you a significant and critical reduction in your reaction time.
ii You will be startled. A pedestrian, or a deer, or a car will jump out in front of you. By the time you decide to commit to maximum braking to avoid a collision, you will have already squeezed in the front brake without realizing it.
? Essentially, your normal startle response has become a potential lifesaver.
f. Don?t cover the rear brake.
i Keep the balls of your feet on the pegs.
ii If you cover the rear brake, you?re going to hit it when you least want to.
iii Unless you?re in gravel or something like that, you?re not going to use the rear brake until you?ve already squeezed onto the front brake. So it is not critical that you hit it so soon.
2. It?s best to use both brakes ? but not equally. More aggressive braking renders the rear wheel more weightless.
a. The faster you?re going, the more front brake you use.
i In parking lots, it can be 50-50 front and rear together.
ii At 35 to 45 mph, you want to use less rear brake.
iii At highway speeds, you might want to start off with just the front brake.
iv Never use the rear brake at high speed, unless you are super good.
b. As you slow, you can add more rear brake.
c. Using both brakes together ultimately gives you your maximum braking power.
3. There are times when you use ONLY the REAR brake.
a. In gravel or deep sand. (I wish someone had told this to me before I had to drive 30 miles to the shop with warped bars and no shifting pedal)
b. Very slow speeds
c. Steep downhill
d. Tight turns
4. Don?t be afraid to brake as hard as you have to.
a. Grab as much brake as you need, quickly and smoothly.
b. In slippery conditions, you?re obviously going to be concerned about skidding out. But if you?ve got to stop, you?ve got to stop.
i Use your best judgment. If hard braking is necessary to avoid impact, you don?t have much choice. Brake hard.
ii Either you will have the traction you need or you won?t. Your best judgment will be better, though, the more attention you?ve been paying to the way your bike is handling on that road.
iii But when the chips are down, there?s no time to experiment. Do what you gotta do. If the traction is there, you?ll stop. If the traction isn?t there, you will slide out and perhaps crash.
iv Any of the alternatives, however, is better than smacking into an obstacle at full speed. Use the brakes!
v From Jack Roe: While I use my front brake only for all normal riding, the fact is that
using both brakes to stop is the fastest way to stop in the shortest
distance, so I practice using the rear brake for those emergency situations.

Ideally, the best way to stop quickly (on a good surface) is to apply the
the rear brake slightly before applying the front brake, then apply the
front brake with a firm squeeze, increasing the pressure on the front brake
lever as the weight of the motorcycle transfers forward. The reason for
applying the rear brake first is because it helps settle the chassis and
keeps a little more weight on the rear wheel, allowing you to use the rear
brake more effectively without locking it. Too much pressure on the rear
brake will still cause it to lock. As the weight of the motorcycle transfers
forward, ease your pressure on the rear brake to avoid lock-up, while
applying an increasing pressure on the front brake lever. This is VERY
difficult (damn near impossible) to do under "panic" conditions. Your
concentration should be on using the front brake to it's maximum
effectiveness, i.e.: just short of locking up. If you front brake does lock,
release it immediately and reapply. Unless you are a braking wizard and
lucky as hell, a locked front brake means you're goin' down. The MSF teaches
you to keep the rear brake locked if you lock it. If you are leaned over, or
in a curve, I agree. But if you are going straight, I strongly suggest
releasing the rear brake and reapplying it lightly. The reason for this is
there are many times when you will not be able to stop completely and will
have to make an emergency swerve to avoid the obstacle in your path. You
cannot make ANY steering changes with the rear wheel locked (instant crash).
So, if your rear wheel is locked, at the most critical instant, you must
remember to release the rear brake and allow the rear wheel rear to regain
traction before you swerve. That's an awful lot to remember, and do in the
split second required to save your ass. And most people fail miserably at it
and hit the tarmac. Also, it is critical to remember to release your front
brake before attempting your swerve, or again, you will go down in a
heartbeat. If this sounds like a hell of a lot of maneuvering to avoid a
crash, it sure is. The ONLY way to get it right when you need it the most is
to practice constantly until these reactions become instinctive and reactive
under duress. Hope this helps. Cheers, Jack
C. Threshold Braking ? Better than A.B.S.
1. This is the fastest way to stop.
a. MSF Course was dead wrong ? they said in emergency braking just grab all you got and skid straight.
i I did threshold braking in the course, instead of their technique, and stopped several feet short each time. They made me do it over again, swearing that I was braking too soon, but they saw that I was braking at the right place, just stopping faster than I was supposed to. Amazing, I thought this stuff was common knowledge. Guess not.
b. MSF says lock ?em up in a panic stop. But if you lock the tires, your stopping distance is actually increased. We?ve all seen accidents where a driver or rider locked up the brakes in a panic stop and slid straight into the rear of the car ahead.
i You literally burn rubber. The friction melts the tire and you slide on a patch of molten rubber. It?s like being on ice.
ii You lose traction regardless, because you?re essentially in a controlled skid, and you slide rather than stop.
iii You lose all steering control.
iv You can also put flat spots on your tire, which ruins it.
c. Conversely, if you brake too lightly, that?s no good either.
d. The fastest way to stop is to brake to the max, but keep the tires rolling.
i You retain directional control and traction.
2. Threshold braking means you apply the brakes to the point where they have their maximum ability to slow the bike, without losing traction.
a. This point is right before they lock up. The ?threshold.?
b. This requires practice and fine muscle control.
i It is critical to practice. You must know the feel of your brakes in order to be able to exert maximum stopping power without locking up the wheels.
ii You need a sensitive touch to maximize braking power without exceeding the threshold.
3. What is the braking threshold?
a. It is the point at which you have max stopping power, with the tire still rolling. Any more brake and you lock up and skid. Any less and you?re not stopping fast as you could be.
b. This point is not fixed. It depends on a variety of conditions.
i The threshold will be lower on a wet road than on a dry surface.
ii Snow and ice dramatically lower the threshold (though many drivers seem to be blissfully unaware of this, until they need to stop).
iii Some dry road surfaces have better grip than others, depending on the material used and the surface texture.
? Some roads in Long Island have a really slippery compound that makes even cars wipe out. The counties were supposed to replace it a few years ago, but some places they never got around to it.
iv Bumps and irregularities in the road surface reduce tire adhesion, and lower the braking threshold.
v Banked turns and uphill rises have good adhesion, but off-camber turns and downhill slopes lower the threshold.
vi Cold tires or a cold road also have poor adhesion.
vii Meanwhile, overheated tires can get slippery and feel greasy.
c. TECHNIQUE ? How to do threshold braking.
i Start max braking by applying the brakes quickly, but smoothly.
? Do not yank or stomp on the brake! Apply the brake.
? Accurate threshold braking requires a smooth and sensitive touch.
ii Apply the brake all the way to the point where the tire starts to lock.
iii The instant the wheel starts to lock, ease off the brake.
iv Ease back on the brake to get to the threshold.
v This all happens very fast. Easing on and off the brake feels like you?re fluttering the finest muscles in your fingertips and toes.
? You are NOT ?pumping? the brakes.
? Pumping the brakes is an error. You need fine, smooth control here. Not on-off-on-off jerking, but a smooth flutter.
? Use the tiny muscles, not the big ones. You cannot get any fine control with your thigh. You can get lots of fine control with the tips of your fingers and toes. That?s what you use.
vi How do you know if you?re doing it right?
? You will know. You?ll feel it, because you are braking with great sensitivity.
? You might be able to hear it. In proper threshold braking, the tire treads make a ?blip-blip-blip? sound. This is because, as the tire continues to roll, the treads grip and release, grip and release, grip and release.
? You will not leave any skid marks, and you will stop in a much shorter distance.
d. Practicing
i It is dangerous to practice threshold braking in traffic. At worst, you?ll skid out and hit something. At best, an inattentive car behind you might rear-end you.
? This is a skill that need to be practiced in a safe and controlled environment. Empty parking lots are good.
ii You?re working on building your sensitivity to the behavior of your bike as it approaches and exceeds its braking threshold.
? You want to be able to feel it instinctively, and react instinctively. So you have to be familiar with the feel.
iii This really doesn?t take much time at all. A little practice is all it takes.
D. Slides.
1. Don?t fight a slide. Fighting a slide is a panic error.
a. You?d think that fighting a slide is a good thing, but again your automatic response is going to be the wrong one.
2. Rear-wheel Slides.
a. When the rear tire starts sliding, do nothing at all.
i If you leave the bike alone, it will automatically stabilize itself.
? The front wheel will naturally turn into the slide, and it will go just the right amount to stabilize the bike.
ii If you fight the slide, or tighten on the bars, the bike will pivot on the front tire?s contact patch.
? If you were in a car, it would now spin out, as the rear wheels revolve around the front.
? Your bike, however, will highside.
? The bike will pivot. The front tire will be pointing forward. The rear tire will be pointing off on an angle. The rear tire will still be spinning, it will catch, and pop up into the air.
? So don?t tighten on the bars! Stay cool.
iii If you chop the throttle, the sliding rear tire will regain traction before the bike has recovered. [Chopping the throttle means letting off the gas suddenly. It can be partial or all the way off. Chopping the throttle is almost always a bad thing to do. You want to be smooth with the gas.]
? The rear wheel will regain traction, and you will highside.
? So don?t chop the throttle! Stay cool.
3. Front-wheel Slides.
a. When the front tire starts sliding, do nothing at all.
i If you leave the bike alone, it will automatically stabilize itself.
? The bike will slow, stand itself up, and get back under control.
ii If you try to straighten the front wheel, you?ll make it worse.
? The bike will wind up leaning even more, and you?ll slide worse.
? So don?t straighten out the wheel! Stay cool.
iii If you chop the throttle, all your weight shifts to the sliding front tire.
? You will lose all traction and you will go down.
? So don?t chop the throttle! Stay cool.
4. No matter which wheel is sliding, DO NOTHING.
E. Skids.
1. A skid is a braking error.
a. You?ve locked up the rear wheel.
i It is now skidding to the outside of your turn (or, if you were going straight, it is going out to the side of the bike that had more weight on it, even by a couple of ounces).
ii You have lost your gyro completely!
? You will highside.
? Keep that rear brake locked up.
iv Don?t fight the front wheel. Let it correct itself.
? In an extreme skid, you may wind up lowsiding anyway. Do it. It?s far better than the alternative.
b. You?ve locked up the front wheel.
i All your weight was up front for this to happen.
? And now you?ve lost all of your traction.
? And you?ve lost all of your steering.
ii Just let up on the front brake!
? The front tire will grip again, and you?re back in business.
? Don?t make any big steering changes before you do this, though, or you?ll wipe out big time.
2. How do you prevent a skid?
a. Don?t brake in a turn or while swerving. Brake first, then turn. Or turn first, then brake. Never do both at the same time.
i You lose your traction and suspension if you do both together.
b. You can still brake hard.
i Don?t be afraid to brake hard.
? Braking too gradually just makes you have to grab a lot of brake just as you start to turn.
? And turning with too much brake = crash.
? Braking too gradually can make you enter the turn too slow.
? Braking too gradually can make you miss your turn point.
? Braking too gradually can make you hit the obstacle in front of you.
ii Just be smooth while braking hard.
? If you grab too much brake too quickly, you?ll bottom out the front suspension.
? If you grab too much brake too quickly, the front wheel will lock and skid, and you lose your steering entirely.
c. Don?t use your rear brakes unless?
i Save your rear brake until you need it.
? Don?t risk locking up the rear wheel. It kills your gyro, skids you, and makes you totally unstable.
? In most situations, the front brake is all you?ll need.
? If you wind up needing more, by the time you apply the rear brake you?ll be out of the danger zone for skidding.
ii Do use the rear brake in slippery conditions, on gravel, on sand, etc.
iii Do use the rear brake in emergencies.
? Use the front and rear brake TOGETHER for super-fast stopping.

A. Wheelies
1. Pick a good place to practice. You want to be safe and you also don?t need to get in trouble.
a. Privately-owned parking lots are often good. Try not to practice on public roads, where cops and traffic can interfere.
b. The surface must be big enough to get up to speed and move around.
c. The surface must be flat. A cambered road can throw off your balance, and that?s the last thing you need.
2. In general
a. As soon as the front wheel comes up, your natural reaction will be to chop the throttle. Don?t panic.
i The most common fear is that you will fall backwards or loop the bike.
? Have faith in the bike. This tends to happen only to experienced folks who are trying to go too far.
? You have to really make an effort to go back past vertical.
? When you think you?re vertical, the bike is really only at about 45 degrees. That front wheel has a good couple of yards left to go before it is going to fall backwards.
ii If you feel that the wheel has come up too far, simply lean forward and ease off the throttle.
? If you panic, you?ll chop the throttle and pull the clutch in. Try not to.
? Be warned! If you panic and whack the throttle shut, the bike will drop HARD. If you?re a guy, this can be painful ? it?s like getting kicked in the nuts really hard. And you can warp the rim of your front wheel.
? Advanced riders can use the rear brake to stop a wheelie, but don?t try that until you?re competent and comfortable with the basic maneuver first.
b. Build up your confidence gradually. Don?t try to be Evel Knievel right away.
3. Power wheelies ? throttle only
a. In first gear, get up to 15 - 20 mph (or 3000 rpm, if you prefer)
b. Lean back
c. Slam the throttle all the way open
d. The front wheel will come up
e. Add gas to raise the wheel higher, ease off the gas to lower the wheel.
4. Power wheelies ? with front-loading
a. In first gear, get up to 15 - 20 mph
b. Chop the throttle to front-load the suspension
c. Slam the throttle open and lean back
d. The front wheel will come up
e. Add gas to raise the wheel, ease off the gas to lower it.
5. Clutch wheelies ? use both clutch and throttle
a. In first gear, get up to 15 - 20 mph (or 3000 rpm if you prefer)
b. Pull in the clutch (disengage)
c. Lean back
d. Yank the throttle open
e. When the revs peak, dump the clutch (engage)
f. Add gas to raise the wheel, ease off the gas to lower it.
6. Going for distance
a. Lift the wheel up to the balance point.
i This is where your center of gravity is directly over the rear tire?s footprint.
ii It will feel right. The bike will stay put with minimal effort.
b. Change gears to keep going.
i Use the clutch.
? The bike will dip momentarily when you pull in the clutch, but use the throttle to lift yourself back up.
ii You don?t really need to go beyond second gear, but you can show off by going through the whole gearbox.
c. Smoothness is the key. The more you?re chopping and waggling, the more difficult it?s going to be.
B. Stoppies
1. Stopped stoppies
a. A basic stoppie is done at a slow speed with all the braking force applied quickly. It usually lasts only a few seconds with the rear of the bike coming up quickly, all forward movement stopping, and then the rear crashing/ falling back down. As the basic stoppie is done at a very slow speed, most people feel more comfortable trying it. However because there is very little forward momentum or speed, if the front tire skids, it will usually fall out from under you to one side and result in a crash.
b. First bring the bike up to about 25mph and practice stopping quickly and smoothly while keeping the rear on the ground. Gradually try stopping as fast as you can while still keep the rear on the ground
c. Make sure not to transfer your weight from one side to the other or front to back quickly. Start off against the tank with your thighs gripping it tightly. Your arms should not be locked, but should nevertheless be stiff.
d. Now start braking quickly from about 25mph. At this point the front forks should be heavily compressed. Once you?re almost stopped (about 10mph or less) apply even more brake, quickly. The rear end should pop up fast, the bike should almost stop. Then let off the brake and the rear will fall as the bike stops completely.
e. If the rear is coming up too fast, let off the brake quickly and drop the rear. If the rear comes up so high and your STOPPED for a few seconds vertical at the balance point (straight up and down) it is better to swing the rear to the side to drop the rear than let off the brake, because the bike may fall forwards.
2. Rolling stoppies
a. A rolling stoppie is done at speed with the rear end getting up smoothly. It is then rode for a distance with the rear height being controlled by the amount of brake pressure. The rear can then be brought back down smoothly at about 10mph.
b. First bring the bike up to about 45mph and practice stopping quickly and smoothly while keeping the rear on the ground. Gradually try stopping as fast as you can while still keeping the rear on the ground.
c. Make sure not to transfer your weight from one side to the other or front to back quickly. Start off against the tank with your thighs gripping it tightly. Your arms should not be locked but stiff. This is extremely important at the beginning of a rolling stoppie while the rear end is coming up. Be smooth and keep the bike stable.
d. Start braking quickly from about 40mph minimum. For the first two or three seconds apply the front brakes hard enough to heavily compress the front forks.
e. Now increase the front brake pressure significantly and the rear end should come up. Once it's up, you have to slightly decrease the amount of brake pressure to keep the rear from continuing to rise. Then as the bike is coming to a stop slowly release the brake at about 10 mph lowering the rear, or ride it to the end and let it crash down, your choice.
f. The height of the rear end is controlled by the amount of front brake pressure you apply. You will definitely be able to feel when the rear comes off the ground. The first few times it will feel like the rear is way up in the air, but it?s probably only a foot high.
g. If the rear is coming up too fast let off the brake quickly and drop the rear.
h. If the rear is coming up and to the side, let off the brake slowly and the bike will straighten out by itself. This is due to the gyroscopic force. You can even keep the rear up and do this. Never let off the brake quickly if the rear is coming up and to the side. This will result in a tank slapper and most likely a crash. The bike's rear will most likely swing to the right because you are putting pressure and some weight on the front brake.
C. Burnouts
1. Why anyone would want to do this to a perfectly good tire is beyond me. But they sure are cool to watch.
2. Static Burnout ? staying in the same spot
a. Stand on ground, no weight on saddle
b. Full front brake
c. Gas it
d. Lots of noise and smoke.
3. Rolling Burnout ? while moving, feet-up
a. Check the surface first
i Too grippy, you?ll stress the clutch, rip the tire, and have trouble rolling.
ii Too slippy, you?ll push the front tire and you might flip it.
b. Get started (2 ways).
i Version (A)
? Start a static burnout, full front brake & throttle, no weight on saddle.
? Let the clutch out abruptly
? Ease off the brake while hopping onto the pegs
? Lift one foot onto a peg (don?t put any weight on it yet) then hop straight into a standing position OR
? Lean on the tank first, and swing both legs pegward together.
ii Version (B)
? Already riding feet up, very slowly.
? Pitch all the weight forward, as in a stoppie, and at the same time let the clutch out with a lot of throttle
? As soon as the rear wheel spins, ease off the brake
? Keep your weight as far forward as possible and ride away
c. Stance
i Keep your weight as far forward as possible.
? This makes it much easier on you, and on the bike.
ii Keep your feet on the pegs. No shifting or rear-braking, please.
d. Hands
i Left hand should cover the clutch. If anything starts to go wrong, pull the clutch in.
ii Right hand controls the brake with 2 fingers and the throttle with the rest.
e. Speed control
i More front brake = slower
ii More revs = faster rear spin = less traction = slower
iii Less revs = less rear spin = more traction = faster (maybe time to pull in the clutch)
iv The most critical thing to remember is to keep the wheel spinning and use the brake smoothly. Any harsh movement will bounce the forks and it?s over.
f. Steering
i More revs = faster rear spin = faster sliding & pivoting. (Can result in a low-side drop if you don?t pull in the clutch and put a boot down.)
ii Steer by turning the bars in the direction you want to go. Countersteer to control how fast the rear end comes around.

born to ride
25-07-2007, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the all the info, as a Novice I found it great

25-07-2007, 12:29 PM
Welcome Born To Ride !! Why not check out the pub section and introduce yourself to the family :)

born to ride
26-07-2007, 05:06 PM
Thank you, I certainly will, although I dont much like drinking,however I'll certainly will introduce myself once I have my license, thank to running bear.

27-07-2007, 09:17 AM
Thanx KEM, I have printed this out and will read it over the w-end, one is never to old to learn.

07-08-2007, 05:23 PM
Thanks, good info!