Learning Lock-to-Lock Turns - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 37 Old 04-02-2019, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Learning Lock-to-Lock Turns

I have taken several riding courses and they have all improved my proficiency, but one thing I always come up short on and something I want to challenge myself to learn is being able to do lock-to-lock turns, figure 8's, tight serpentines, etc.

I know the basics mentally: 1) Body position 2) Head turn 3) Bike turn, and that it just takes practice and building confidence, but it's not going well. I try to follow the formula, but it seems I tend to mess up one part of it and I keep feeling the bike is going to fall and get these "mini panic attacks" and bail out of the maneuver. I'm looking for some advice and encouragement from people who have successfully taught themselves how to do this.

I have a 2104 DL 650 ADV and I probably only have 12,000 miles riding experience. I'm pretty good with all other aspects of riding.

Self-medicating two-wheel therapist...
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post #2 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 12:17 AM
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Practice on a bike you can drop.
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post #3 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 12:19 AM
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Can't think of a good reason you need that skill unless you're doing stunt shows or parades or something. I've been riding a long time and I can't do it, I've actually never tried and never needed to but if you want to learn maybe someone will give you pointers.
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post #4 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 12:21 AM
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Put a small amout of drag on the rear .these are heavy bikes with good footing
You will learn to trust the bike with a bit..just a bit of throttle and rear brake
Gotta be smooth on the throttle..covering and sometimes slipping the clutch..
Practice practice practice.
Good luck n ride smart

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post #5 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 02:07 AM
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I can't post pics yet, so maybe somebody can help post this video of a guy at a V-strom rally in Montose, CO doing some full lock turns on a Montrose PD V-Strom.


Put the 'e' on the end of youtube in the text above.
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post #6 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Gekko View Post
I can't post pics yet, so maybe somebody can help post this video of a guy at a V-strom rally in Montose, CO doing some full lock turns on a Montrose PD V-Strom.


Put the 'e' on the end of youtube in the text above.
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post #7 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gorddl1000 View Post
Put a small amout of drag on the rear.
In the Netherlands, where a motorcycle endorsement on your license is mandatory, this is exactly what I was taught. First gear, speed up to about 1500 rpm and then use the rear brake to reduce to 1200 or so - at least that was on the 4-cylinder 600cc learner bike we used. With that rear brake dragging it became a lot easier to do tight maneuvers.

With the handlebars in full lock, you can't use the handlebars anymore to maintain your balance. But you can use power - but you do not want to use the engine controls for that as they're a bit too crude. So you use the rear brake while keeping engine power constant. If you think you're falling into the turn, release the brake just a tad. You will speed up ever so slightly and that will get you upright. And if you're falling out of the turn, apply the rear brake just a tad more.

It sounds complicated but after a few tries (and a few falls - these learner bikes had well-used crash bars) it feels really natural.
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Last edited by BackPacker; 04-03-2019 at 06:37 AM.
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post #8 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 08:34 AM
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It definitely feels sketchy at first. I spent a lot of time going around in circles in grass/dirt to get the hang of it.
I think Backpacker gave a great explanation of how to do it.

Start with just a full lock U-Turn. (The only real practical use I have found for full lock maneuvering on pavement.) Once you can hit those comfortably, work on one 360 at a time. Then a couple, then a dozen..... Now go the other direction....ARGHHH it feels weird again!
Once you get comfortable in both directions, start linking them into the figure 8.
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post #9 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 09:00 AM
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These instructions/techniques may help >>>

Good Luck
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"There comes a time in the affairs of men, when we must take the bull by the tail and face the situation."
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post #10 of 37 Old 04-03-2019, 10:11 AM
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JMF there is a lot going on prior to and during a 'lock to lock' turn and it generally takes quite a bit of practice to feel comfortable. It's a fine blend of proper clutch use(must master the GREY area), throttle, balance/body position(counter leaning), head and eyes and either dragging the rear brake or no brake at all. Generally it is not a true lock to lock, but during the circle you will hit the steering stops, come slightly off, then a constant minute adjustment of steering at or near the stops to maintain balance while leaned over.

I really recommend taking one of the rider courses that mimic or teach the slow speed police training method like MotoMark1(Who is near you) or Ride like a Pro, ProRider MC, etc. The instructors are usually retired motormen and are very skilled at teaching these maneuvers.

There is a huge practical application for the slow speed skill set especially off pavement. Most riders on big bikes get into trouble when faced with obstacles like boulders and ledges while on dirt or gravel and are forced into a tight space like in switchbacks that are common everywhere. Momentum is almost always our friend, and when climbing it is an absolute must. During a figure 8, momentum is needed and necessary, but it simply won't work when you have to pick your way through technical places that require you to bring the bike to the slowest speed possible, but maintain headway.

Yes, dragging the rear brake in a tight turn has it's advantages and generally helps those learning. But, lock to lock circles and an entire motor course laid out with cones and be ridden using NO brakes. We actually taught and practiced no brake slow maneuvers because it forces the rider to acquire better balance and clutch control. It makes the ride smooth, no wasting time and energy slowing down just to have to throttle back up to make up for that loss and it finely hones the other skills. Many West coast police training teaches their students from day one without using any brakes on their course.

The GREY area.....this is where most of "it" is happening. It is also where most students struggle. A clutch is neither on or off...there is a huge variable contact patch in there between on and off and it is where a rider in slow maneuvers lives. Mastering the grey area is the only way to ride the courses with no brake.....simply cannot be done without it. Whenever doing a lock to lock circle, the clutch is never all the way out or all the way in, it is feathered slightly someplace in-between constantly adding or subtracting speed.

The concepts by themselves are relatively easy if you look at them one by one[clutch/throttle/position/head&eyes/brake]. It is the process of doing them all at the exact same time to different degrees that take time and practice. Some students struggle from the get go and just never are able to master it, very few take too it like a Lab to water. The rest of us like me kept trying until that little light bulb went off in my pea brain and it was like the heavens opened up and a beam of light bounced off my forehead....ahhhh-HA! Anyway, the stuff you learn doing this type of riding will make you and overall better rider, same thing for off road training, track days, etc.

If you are going to practice/self teach please take someone with you to the parking lot. Keep your feet on the pegs as it's better to fall over then to snap an ankle or blow a knee out as the bike goes down on an outstretched leg. Keep doing figure 8's using something on the ground as a reference, try and tighten your circles up as confidence builds, swivel your head like you are an owl...where the head and eyes go, the bike follows.

Sorry for the long winded response, but it is a subject I am passionate about......

Last edited by Motor7; 04-03-2019 at 10:15 AM.
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