Riding Tip: Low Speed Motorcycle Maneuvering P3
Riding Tip: Low Speed Motorcycle Maneuvering P3
In this video, part three of four, we explore how to master low speed motorcycle maneuvering by utilizing counter weighting. When it comes to slow speed turns, like a u-turn, mastering counter weighting will be valuable.
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The way you position yourself on a motorcycle matters especially when doing low speed turns. Bill here is going to explain counter weighting and how some of us have to a do a lot less work than others.
Riders who attend the Basic RiderCourse learn about two different techniques for turning a motorcycle. In this case we are going to simplify matters and we’re going to state, in general, that if the motorcycle is traveling below 12mph, we’ll use a technique called counterweighting. For motorcycles traveling above roughly 18 mph, we’ll use a technique called countersteering.
So only the shift of our body weight will cause the bike to turn? That’s a good question Jordyn. For our low speed maneuvers, we’re going to focus on turning the handlebars in the direction that we want to go. Okay, Jordyn, so if we’re going to do a tight u-turn, we’d have to turn the handlebars in the direction we are going. So where does counter weighting come in? If we are going to need to turn tighter, leaning the motorcycle will help us turn tighter. Okay. But if we lean the bike over, what might the bike want to do? Fall over. Right. So we have to counter its weight with our weight in a technique called counter weighting. Got it!
In another example, if I were to take your hand and start falling in this direction, what would you do to prevent me from falling? I would counter your weight with my weight. Exactly right, and that’s what we’re doing with the motorcycle to make sure we’re stable at low speeds.
So for counterweighting, how do I seat myself on the motorcycle? Ah, so what we’ll want to do, especially if we’re coming up to a low speed u-turn, and we have plenty of time to prepare, we’ll want to position our body on the bike in such a way that counterweighting is easy. And the way we do that is you’ll want to rotate your hips into the turn, you’ll keep your chest tall, so that you can look back behind you in the direction that you’re going, and your knee and outside foot will be pressed against the bike.
So this feels awkward initially. Yeah, like with most skills it will take some practice getting used to that feeling. And the way we recommend practicing is to start with by doing large circles, 50-60 foot circles, as necessary, and progressively we’ll want to get them tighter and tighter. We should be practicing that counter weight where the bike is leaning beneath us and feeling where the balance between the motorcycle and ourselves lies. And don’t forget when we’re practicing, we’ll want to do left turns AND right turns, and bring forward what we learned earlier with that clutch/rear brake/throttle relationship.
So are we ready to take our new skills to the street? We are getting closer Jordyn. No we gotta make one more comment about tight turns. If we have a situation where we’re doing multiple turns and it requires transitions going left to right repeatedly, then we’re not going to be able to do the full countwerweight, we’ll just keep our upper body tall and we’ll let the bike lean beneath us. Okay, so like motor cops in their competitions. That’s exactly right. You’ll notice in their exercises they may have to go left to right really quickly and they’ll just their upper body tall as they perform their transitions in those cones. Got it.
So let me guess, back to the weaves? You got it Jordyn. We’re going to head back out to the offset weaves and we’re going to work on our counterweighting. We’re also going to be counterweighting as we manage that clutch, rear brake, throttle relationship.
Cool, so you haven’t talked much about what our vision is doing. Good catch Jordyn! With regards to our vision, we want to look where we want to go. Essentially, the way we use our vision is speed and position related. We can temporarily find where want to go and then lift our vision to the horizon to give us a feeling of stability. Got it.
Bill, it is so awesome to see these maneuvers coming together. I can’t wait to try these out on the street. We are getting so very close Jordyn. We’ve got one last technique we want to work on, refine it, and then we’ll hit the road. Awesome, let’s do it!
Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011. He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee. Have questions or comments about the article? Email him:[email protected][/md_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]