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Hi again,

After being off a bike a for a few years, I'm finding that i'm hesitating a bit when dealing with curves, and im wondering how I can improve so I don't hesitate and feel unsure about my riding.

I guess I feel like my turns (at medium to high speed) are not as solid/smooth as they should be. I find myself going into the turn, control my speed, but then get worried and start to roll off the throttle.

Any videos, or tricks anyone can recommend? I'm planning on doing an advanced training class next spring.
 

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after being off a bike for more years than i care to mention, returning i had the same issues.

practice, practice, practice. oh, and then practice. ride a lot, a bunch, a ton. you will build your confidence quickly.

P.
 

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Are you used to bikes with a 17" front wheels? The V-strom has a 19"... When I first got my Wee... I quickly learned it was/is no sport bike... So because of it's 19" front wheel it takes more to set it and keep it in the turns. Be careful if you are used to sport bikes...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are you used to bikes with a 17" front wheels? The V-strom has a 19"... When I first got my Wee... I quickly learned it was/is no sport bike... So because of it's 19" front wheel it takes more to set it and keep it in the turns. Be careful if you are used to sport bikes...
no, only been on cruisers. never had a sports bike.

im looking at the Ride Like a Pro dvd series
 

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Probably the two most important points are to keep your eyes where you want to go and to build confidence in how countersteering works. Every change in line is two handlebar moves, one counter to lean and one back to equilibrium. You'll do it naturally if your conscious mind doesn't interfere. The trick is to practice a swerve each direction until it is unconscious. First, do it in a parking lot. With some comfort built, you can practice avoiding manhole covers, potholes, shadows or anything else available you choose.

Once your body is better used to steering inputs, it will direct the bike very well to follow your sight line. The trick is to look where you want to go, not at the curb, shoulder, pothole, deer or whatever danger your eyes normally want to pick up. Following a car about three seconds ahead with your eyes is helpful practice for when the car isn't there to figure where your eyes should be looking. In a really tight U turn, your head ought to be at right angles to the length of the bike looking over your inside shoulder. Also look well ahead. Those who look down at the road just ahead of the bike often find their bodies there.
 

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Total Control by Lee Parks (
Amazon link) is a great book with lots of info, photos, and exercises about confidence and cornering technique. There is also a Total Control class you can take: Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic
I haven't taken the class yet, but practicing the exercises from the book helped me a lot.
 

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Slow down to a suitable entry speed before the curve. If you're finding yourself rolling off the throttle in the curve (and you don't want to be doing that), you didn't get down to a suitable entry speed. Look to the exit of the curve (or as far as you can look) and don't let your speed exceed your forward vision or reaction time. Slightly roll on the throttle and maintain a steady or slightly increasing throttle as you go through the curve.

Start slower than necessary and work up to a comfortable speed. And, if you're riding with others, always make sure it is your comfortable speed, not theirs.
 

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Same way you get to Carnegie Hall
Except when you hit a bad note when blowing hard, you don't end up with a tenor saxophone lodged in your esophagus.

.........but yeah, what they all said.

When I started riding again after a multi-decade sabbatical, some grizzled geezer suggested I start to hang off the bike on the approach to the turn and then to pull the bike down to me while looking as far into the turn as possible. It helped me.
 

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...you can practice avoiding manhole covers...
That was the cause of my second noobie crash! Who knew they were slippery? :headbang:


For me it was riding. Lots of riding, getting 1% better on a particular line or set of curves that I knew well to build up confidence in how far the tires would take me before I attacked unknown quantities.
 

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Greywolf really said it all, but another thing I would add is to lean your body into the curve with the bike; don't rely on leaning the bike and maintaining an upright posture.

I've been practicing forced effort to roll my weight to the inside of the curve by basically rolling onto the appropriate butt cheek (TMI??) and initiating countersteering at the same time. This helps keep the bike more upright while still negotiating the curve. It also gives you the ability to further lean your body and bike if you are too hot through the curve.

Since starting this forced effort, taking curves is much easier and I've gained a lot of confidence (but not overly so).

Of course, I'm not talking about hanging off the bike or dragging a knee, but simply shifting your body weight to help the bike through.

And to recap the most important thing greywolf said; "LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO", cause that is where you'll wind up. Target fixation on that tree, road shoulder, or cager will likely result in impact with same...that's just the way the mind/body works. Train yourself to look where you want to go.
 

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hi, i make sure to lean my turn side knee outoard. it helps sith balance and allows you to lean harder into the corner. start off with small corners and then hit the bigger corners. for me this works well.
 

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Hi again,

After being off a bike a for a few years, I'm finding that i'm hesitating a bit when dealing with curves, and im wondering how I can improve so I don't hesitate and feel unsure about my riding.

I guess I feel like my turns (at medium to high speed) are not as solid/smooth as they should be. I find myself going into the turn, control my speed, but then get worried and start to roll off the throttle.

Any videos, or tricks anyone can recommend? I'm planning on doing an advanced training class next spring.
Contact your local riding school; they should have refresher courses for returning riders.

Returning riders are the group that's most at risk of crashing, they're twice as likely to crash than a new rider. There was a good presentation on that at a human factors conference on driver training, assessment and vehicle design recently.
 

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Slow - before the corner
Look - where you want to go
Press - for your countersteer, think chin toward inside hand
Roll - on the throttle

Hmm, where have I heard that before?? lol. Lee Parks' Total Control is awesome, as are any of the books by David Hough. Have fun practicing!
 

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I did used to practice by throwing my head to the turn side to start a turn

This helps its vintage noob to watch the bike leaned over and their head bent the other way so its near straight.

Just cause;; the crown of the road makes right turns much safer as its banked the right way. Lefty is opposite. Your biggest comfort zone should be right turns up hill

Lean lean lean then lean some more
 

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1---Post the links to the motorcycle riding courses near you, and we'll look them over and make recommendations. The Lee Parks course is great, but the only one I see in Canada is in Calgary. Is Canton, NY, too far from you?

2---Buy the Lee Parks book. Buy David G. Hough's More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride. Read & re-read both.

3---Looking at the exit of the turn is essential. Keep your eyes level. I prefer to point my chin at the turn exit.

4---Position yourself to the outside of the lane at the start of the turn. Plan on riding to the inside of the turn at about the 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the turn and exit on the outside of the turn. All this is subject to pavement hazards, sight lines, etc.

5---Leaning to the inside of the turn before the turn begins is a big help. You don't need to move to the side of the seat, but it might be helpful to twist on the seat toward the inside of the turn before the turn begins. Carry your weight on the ball of the inside foot and use your outside knee against the tank to support your weight.

6---Push the inside handlebar grip to initiate the turn. Push harder to turn sharper. Lightly pull back on the inside grip to straighten up. Your outside arm should stay relaxed and not do anything.

7---Slow enough before you enter the turn so you're able to lightly apply more throttle through the turn. Braking in the turn is hazardous and an expert move. Ditto for engine braking.
 

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Hi again,

After being off a bike a for a few years, I'm finding that i'm hesitating a bit when dealing with curves, and im wondering how I can improve so I don't hesitate and feel unsure about my riding.

I guess I feel like my turns (at medium to high speed) are not as solid/smooth as they should be. I find myself going into the turn, control my speed, but then get worried and start to roll off the throttle.

Any videos, or tricks anyone can recommend? I'm planning on doing an advanced training class next spring.
I was "off the bike" for 35 years before I started riding again in 2005. Take the rider training course. It's worth two years riding experience. Well worth it.
 

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Total Control by Lee Parks (
Amazon link) is a great book with lots of info, photos, and exercises about confidence and cornering technique. There is also a Total Control class you can take: Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic
I haven't taken the class yet, but practicing the exercises from the book helped me a lot.

+1 on this. That book alone greatly improved my riding techniques even after a couple years of high mileage riding.

This little magazine clipping also helped me figure out where to position myself
 

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Books are nice, but get to a track if you can

I've taught high performance driver training for many years. One thing I've learned is that getting people off the streets and on a track is so much better for learning to drive/ride. When you take away the curbs, cars, intersections, ditches, ect, you can then put all of your concentration into pushing your limits and getting comfortable there.

I sent my ex to a school at Willow Spring 5 years ago and her riding improved an order of magnitude.

After the class even I was amazed at how much her riding had improved. She entered corners with confidence, she was looking at the corner exit and road through with much more speed than before. Most importantly she felt like she was riding under her limits instead of at her limits, even though she was going much faster.

The track isn't just a great place to learn, it's also a lot fun.
 
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