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Can rider error cause Tank Slappers?


Misti

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I've heard people talk about tank slappers, giving tips on what to do if one happens to occur. But what actually causes a tank slapper or speed wobble? Are there things that riders do that increase the chances of experiencing a tank slapper?

 

Misti

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ShovelStrokeEd

Misti,

I think the question needs to be more precise. Having been the victim of a speed wobble, which lead to a tank slapper, which lead to a trip to the hospital with two broken ankles (I bailed off at about 60) I have some experience in the matter. Being of an analytical bent, I set about determining the causes of such things. BTW, this was my first attempt at building my own drag race chassis and I made some mistakes.

 

Some defenitions and reasons:

 

Speed Wobble - As the name implies, it is a speed induced, or speed sensitve oscillation in the chassis. Most often happens when travelling in a straight line and under acceleration. Usual cause is a mis-alignment between the front and rear wheels. This can be either vertical (axles not parallel to each other) or angular (rear wheel pointing in a different direction than the front). The reasons are myriad, from a tweaked chassis to a poor chain adjustment. The effect, as felt by the rider, is usually a slow weave that feels like the rear wheel is steering the bike from side to side. As speed increases, both the amplitude and frequency increase. The situation can be exacerbated by the rider if he/she attempts to apply corrective steering inputs or tightens up their arms in an attempt to "hold" the bars and stop the oscillation. The solution lies in correcting the root cause by chassis alignment/repair. The immediate choices, should you encounter this, are speed up or slow down. A change in speed will often cause this to go away. Either form of acceleration can also worsen the problem as chassis geometry changes bring their own dynamics into the situation. Every chassis has its own natural frequency as well and their are certain speeds at which destabilizing forces induced by the wheels can excite the chassis and bring about the onset of the wobble and make it far worse very quickly.

 

Head Shake - A wiggle, sometimes violent, felt in the bars. Usually happens under acceleration when leaving a bumpy corner. The front wheel, which is still at an angle to the ground at this point, is kicked to the side by one or more of the bumps. Spacing of the bumps and speed of the bike play a part here as well. At its worst, this can lead into a tank slapper, about which, more later. The root cause of this is usually chassis geometry. Modern sport bikes have some pretty extreme geometries to help them to turn quicker. Tires play a big part as well as the traction offered by these marvels of rubber engineering is almost magical. Trouble is, as that grippy rubber grabs the side of a bump it tends to put a lot of twisting force into the forks. That gets translated into the steering head and the chassis gets upset. The geometry of the front end is there to correct for this but, rake and trail numbers have changed a good deal from the stable 28 degrees of rake and 4" of trail we used to enjoy. It is more like 23 degrees and 3" now leading to much less self centering ability. Head shake will usually go away by itself as those self centering forces take over and the bumps depart. A properly adjusted steering damper can be a big help in this situation as well as it spreads the forces out over time and tends to resist violent oscillations. Again, a rider stiffening up their arms is probably not a good idea. I don't have any direct knowledge of this, but I have heard/read that you can ride through this by accelerating hard to lighten the front end as the bike straightens up or even wheelie your way out of it. The few times it has happened to me, it was really gone before I could do much about it. Probably a good thing.

 

Tank Slapper - A very violent, large amplitude oscillation of the bars, usually a result of one of the first two things being allowed to carry on to extremes. The name comes from its effect where the bars actually force the riders hands into the tank or go from steering stop to stop. Real ones are pretty rare and usually result in total loss of directional control as well. The tire, at this point, no longer has directional traction and is skidding. Good time to look for a soft spot to land and plan the slide. You see these a lot after a near high side, rear tire loses traction and then regains, bike is all crossed up with momentum in one direction and steering in quite another as a result of the rear slide. Bars are yanked out of the rider's hands and all heck breaks loose.

 

There is yet a another instability that is really caused by a combination of aerodynamics and weight distribution. Rider mounts a big top box and bags on the bike and loads them to unreasonable levels. The result is to move the center of aerodyamic pressure rearward as the panniers and top box act as sails to catch the air passing over the bike/rider combination. This can result in yaw instability and feels like an insipiant speed wobble. Slow oscillation at first which increases in amplitude with speed. The shift in c.g. of the weight of the luggage and its shear mass can turn this oscillation into something pretty difficult to manage. To a lesser extent, at least at reasonable street speeds, a mis-mounted fairing or windscreen can do something similar.

 

As to things the rider can do to induce any of the above, I can't think of much in terms of control inputs. Tight on the bars at the exit to a turn might be the worst thing, inviting head shake. It is all too easy to get that right arm tight as you wind on the throttle. The bike really doesn't care which bar, tight is tight.

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It happen to me every time I went up hill on my FJR after putting the now infamous IRC tires on it.

 

It happen on my track bike because I had the front suspension set too high and the back too low.

 

It happens when the windshield (CB +2 x +2) is too high on the FJR near top speed.(Ask Mama Hoon)

 

 

So to answer your question I think it has a lot to do with the weight distribution and a poorly set up bike.

 

So I think I could create a tank slapper with my ZRX. I'm not sure I could do it of the FJR without those IRC tires.

 

 

What can you do about it?

 

In 1983 we had this problem with a Vision 550 during warm up laps at Texas World Speedway. One of the "Old Timers" told me to remove my left hand from the grip on the straight away and lean forward resting my hand on the front fork tube. I thought he was kidding, but it worked like magic.

 

Not feasible in traffic goin down the highway

 

 

 

Whip

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CoarsegoldKid
I wonder what he did wrong? crazy.gif

 

He launched the bike into the air off a rise in the road. Everyone else did too, but he landed hard on the front end which caused the begining of the end. If he didn't hurt himself I'm sure he had to change his shorts.

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I wonder what he did wrong?

 

My guess is that he 1.) missed a shift or shifted into the wrong gear or 2.) a combination of a bad shift and hitting a small bump in the road (the bike seems to nose up a bit right at the beginning of the video and as he comes around the curve).

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CoarsegoldKid

My only experience with a tank slapper came aboard a '65 Yamaha 250 Big Bear Scrambler on a drag run in the Los Angeles river bed. I thought my 16 year old life was toast. Fright caused me to release the bars. It straightened right out just inches away from the drink. ---There is water in the LA river.

Anyway I must concur that releasing tension on the bars does seem to avert disaster.

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My one and only experience with this was a 1979 Harley Low Rider (NB: this is NOT HD bashing as I happen to be a fan so please save it).

 

First, for anyone familiar with HD suspension characteristics of the day, these bikes had all the handling subtlety of a Mack truck. While "spirited" is not a term one would associate with big twin riding back then, the exuberence of youth coupled with an equal lack of brakes could, at times, fool you into believing you were maneuvering the beast at speed. The truth was, cornering was achieved using an effort something like what was required to parallel park your grandmother's Oldsmobile when the power steering belt broke.

 

On the evening in question I accelerated up a hill at a speed that was not rocket-like but would have required a visit to a constable nontheless, had I been stopped. As the suspension unloaded at the crest of the hill an odd shudder occurred that quickly intensified to a near tank slapper (my guess is I was 60 to 65 percent full lock). The bars flew back and forth with a violence that made holding on quite difficult. Ignoring the soiled sections of my clothing I did manage to hold on without making things worse and the situation righted itself in what I would estimate to be a period of 5 to 8 seconds. During the "encounter" I avoided braking or attempting to muscle the osciilations to a stop. In point of fact it happened so quickly I probably wouldn't have reacted in time anyway. I did have the distinct "feeling" that braking at the particular moment would not have been a good idea. Fortunately the road was straight for a quarter mile or so after the crest so I rode things out without the added burden of figuring out where best to point the bike.

 

The odd part was during 20+ years of ownership of this bike that was the only time I felt the least tendency for this to occur. My best guess is that I managed to align just the right circumstances to initiate the behavior. I will say it's a feeling and an experience I hope to never repeat. Just watch Mitch's video if you need clarification on which part of my clothing was soiled. grin.gif

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I have a video from the moto GP that shows a case of head shake/high speed wobble that would get your attention and ruin your lap times in a hurry. So even the best set up can be set adrift under the right circumstances. My RZ350 Yamaha wobbled like a sunuvagun coming over the rise on the back straight at Road Atlanta. Sliding my butt back (or was it forward?) on the seat helped reduce the amplitude.

The video JoeFriday posted is from the Isle of Mann. I understand the rider did not survive the accident.

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And for anyone wondering exactly what a tankslapper is or why it might be a problem, click here. I wonder what he did wrong? crazy.gif

 

Holy cow! eek.gif When I see that it makes me want to just go in the truck... eek.gifeek.gif

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And for anyone wondering exactly what a tankslapper is or why it might be a problem, click here. I wonder what he did wrong? crazy.gif

 

Holy cow! eek.gif When I see that it makes me want to just go in the truck... eek.gifeek.gif

 

You aren't alone

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What can you do about it?

 

In 1983 we had this problem with a Vision 550 during warm up laps at Texas World Speedway. One of the "Old Timers" told me to remove my left hand from the grip on the straight away and lean forward resting my hand on the front fork tube. I thought he was kidding, but it worked like magic.

 

Whip

 

Interesting...

I've had it happen on my sidecar, but of course the geometry is totally different than a "regular" motorcycle. To stop the tankslapper is quite easy, more pressure on either grip and it immediatly stops. The nuance here is like initiating a turn. OTOH trying to try to strong arm the sensation makes tank slapping action increase.

 

but again, a fixed rig sidecar is driven and the geometry is totally different...

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And for anyone wondering exactly what a tankslapper is or why it might be a problem, click here. I wonder what he did wrong? crazy.gif

Hey, that's just how my aquaplaning episode would have looked without the wobble and crash. thumbsup.gif

 

Now I know what a tankslapper is!

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And for anyone wondering exactly what a tankslapper is or why it might be a problem, click here. I wonder what he did wrong? crazy.gif

 

Holy cow! eek.gif When I see that it makes me want to just go in the truck... eek.gifeek.gif

 

 

 

To make the Lawman feel better....take his bike instead of his pick-up.

 

Do to the funky frontend(Telelever) in his R1200RT there is virtually no chance of anything like that video happening to my friend from Joaquin.

 

 

Whip

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russell_bynum

Do to the funky frontend(Telelever) in his R1200RT there is virtually no chance of anything like that video happening to my friend from Joaquin.

 

I had a fairly violent headshake on my R1100RT (Telelever, etc) once.

 

It was totally rider-induced. I was accelerating around a corner in an intersection in 1st gear. I saw a car coming from the right that looked like he might not stop. My brain wasn't in the right place, so instead of getting on the gas a little harder smoothly, I pretty much just goosed it. The front wheel came up a tiny bit, then came back down. When it came down, I guess the bars were turned a little or something because as soon as the front tire touched the ground, it started the headshake. I applied some rear brake, which made the problem go away.

 

So...I don't know if telelever makes the bike immune to a full-on tankslapper, but it certainly doesn't prevent headshake.

 

I've never actually had a full-on tankslapper, but I've had a few headshakes at the track. It has always been rider error...usually from me being too tight on the bars, or bringing the front wheel down a little crooked after small power wheelies while the bike is leaned. I had it a few times at "Lost Hill" at Buttonwillow, but if I just focused on staying really loose and relaxed on my upper body as I crested that hill, it was no problem. The front wheel would come up and I'd just carry it down the hill a bit before I came to the top of that gear (3rd, I think) and it would come back down gently. I guess I could have used some rear brake to keep the front end down, but I was having fun carrying it a few inches off the ground. smile.gif

 

I do have a steering damper on the CBR, but it's turned all the way down. Likewise the Tuono.

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As the video depicts, a "tank slapper" is a matter of the front end steering itself from side to side rapidly. This can be caused by the front wheel catching a little air and then regaining traction with the wheel not pointed in line with the direction of travel. Trail ("castor") drags the front end back toward center, but inertia causes it to overshoot and that steers the bike to the opposite side.

 

If you run the video a few frames at a time, you'll notice that not only does the front wheel steer from side to side, the bike rolls from side to side. Since the bike is heavier than the front end, the bike and front end oscillations don't match, and the result is that the front end slides/slaps from side to side more violently.

 

In this situation, I suspect that front wheel traction initiated the wobble, the rider's actions increased the wobble, and after that there was no way he could have recovered. There are other situations where the wobble threw the rider off, and the bike then settled down and continued down the straight by itself.

 

Telescopic forks are susceptible to wobbles because there is clearance in the sliders, and because fork tubes cantelevered from one end are flexible. So, the fork will have a "natural" frequency of vibration, that can be in the same range as a bike wobble.

 

Yes, the rider can make the problem worse. The natural tendency is to attempt to push hard enough on the grips to hold the wheel straight, but that's not likely. The wild oscillations are so powerful a human isn't strong enough to stop them. Worse yet, human muscles are too slow to react, so the rider can be pushing at the wrong instants, adding to the oscillations, not damping them.

 

I don't see anything about a Telelever that would prevent a "tank slapper", other than the additional rigidity. The A arm and ball joint form a more rigid support than a triple clamp setup.

 

Setup and maintenance have a bearing on the subject. A bike with a known tendency toward wobbles may settle down with a hydraulic damper. A bike with loose or notched steering head, swing arm, or wheel bearings is more likely to encourage a wobble. Front/rear wheel misalignment leads to wobbles. A motor/rear wheel that is rubber mounted to the frame can cause wobbles. Tires with different profiles or tread patterns can allow wobbles to increase.

 

Fortunately for "street" riders, we seldom ride so aggressively that weaves or wobbles get violent. But, when encountering strange pavement oscillations, wobbles can occur. It's very important to understand when a wobble is starting, and take immediate action to control it. Changing speed is one tactic that can work. For instance, had the rider in the video cranked on enough throttle to lift the front end, and then set it down in a straight line, my guess is that it could have been controlled. I've brought impending wobbles under control by easing up on the grips and aggressively braking on the rear wheel, which not only drags the bike back toward a straight line, but also changes the frequency of oscillation.

 

pmdave

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A caution given to riders in the IoM GP/TT is NOT to cross the crown of the road on Sulby Straight, a very fast section of the course!!

 

The reason......you would likely initiate a Tankslapper!

 

Ok! Now with THAT information in your head...picture in your mind the movement of the suspension and contact patch as you cross that road crown (and it did have quite a crown!) at speed.

 

Voila!

 

I remember one comment (standing joke! grin.gif) always bantered about, was that the best way to get out of a tankslapper was to accelerate out of it eek.gif

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Hey Guys,

 

Thanks for the responses. So there have been a lot of comments about how being too tight on the bars can help create or cause a tank slapper, this I agree with.

 

While I was coaching a fast student at Reno Fernley Raceway last year I experienced my first tank slapper that was so violent it bucked me out of the seat and left massive skid marks on the track. I believe it was totally rider induced, a combo of going over some of the bumps on the track and gripping the bars too tight. I thought I was going down so I let go of the bars and prepared to eject, suddenly the bike straightened out and it was smooth sailing from then on.

 

Some people have stated that that being loose on the bars can help save you from a tank slapper.

 

What are some of the reasons why this works?

 

Cheers, Misti

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I've had several incidents (on and off-road) of what I'd call head-shake or wobble, but I can vividly recall two that would certainly fall into the "tank slapper" category.

 

The first one happened many years ago coming down (too hard) from a wheelie. Having had wobbles on dirtbikes, I instinctively cranked hard on the throttle to get the wheel back in the air. (Didn't actually go back into a wheelie, but it stopped the oscillation.

 

The second one happened only 3 or 4 years ago, when a car sideswiped me on the freeway, tearing the front fender and half of the the fairing off. I was hard on the binders at impact, and the bike went in to a slapper. Same 'fix' of rolling on the throttle solved this one as well. The bike subsequently didn't feel very stable, however. (On inspection, the forks were bent.)

 

From my experience - I'd say a slapper is caused by heavy loading of the front end, and some perturbation starting the oscillation. It would appear from experiences detailed in this thread that rider error (or input) can start it, or make it worse; but rider skill (and/or luck) can save it, as well.

 

G

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Hey Guys,

 

 

Some people have stated that that being loose on the bars can help save you from a tank slapper.

 

What are some of the reasons why this works?

 

Cheers, Misti

 

Front end geometry provides a self-centering force. In a nutshell, the front wheel tends to countersteer itself back into a (more or less) straight ahead direction.

 

During a violent wobble, the oscillations of the front end are very quick. A rider's reactions aren't quick enough. So, attempting to damp the wobble can result in the rider amplifying the wobble rather than attenuating it.

 

If the front end can stabilize, it will--left to its own reactions. So, lightening up on the grips may help the situation--even though it goes against the survival reaction.

 

Adding power can help, both by reducing traction on the front and by pushing the mass back toward a straight line. Obviously, smoking the rear tire during a wobble would not be advised.

 

The main problem with rolling on during a wobble is that your grip on the throttle imparts a steering input. However, focusing on rolling on might not be bad, and might actually damp the wobble. Rear wheel braking has the advantage of no handlebar input, but the disadvantage of shifting more weight onto the front tire.

 

I think we have to include the rider in the equation, not so much in causing the wobble to occur, but in putting the bike in a situation where it might go into a wobble--say flying over a bridge at the wrong angle.

 

Very interesting discussion.

 

pmdave

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I've experienced violent tank slappers only twice, once on a Harley at 90mph because the steering stem nut wasn't torqued down correctly after a bearing inspection and just recently on my Ducati , while making a hard lane change doing about 75mph with a set of new Dunlop Qualifiers.

A new Ohlins steering damper has since corrected that problem. thumbsup.gif

 

Rolling off the throttle slowly and loosing up my grip on the bars took me out of the situation both times. The key to getting out of one of these is not to panic and ride it out.

On the other hand, I've talked with fellow riders about this and some of them have increased their speed when this happened and the bike started correcting the problem on it's own by doing this. It's never made sense to me but I've heard this more than once from a few people. confused.gif

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russell_bynum

On the other hand, I've talked with fellow riders about this and some of them have increased their speed when this happened and the bike started correcting the problem on it's own by doing this. It's never made sense to me but I've heard this more than once from a few people.

 

As I understand it, it's a harmonic...where multiple forces/conditions are compounding the problem. Change one of those forces, and the problem goes away. That's why speeding up fixes it...more throttle means less weight on the front end, and that's usually enough to fix the problem. Now...if you're already WFO when it happens, that's a different story. eek.gif

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During a violent wobble, the oscillations of the front end are very quick. A rider's reactions aren't quick enough. So, attempting to damp the wobble can result in the rider amplifying the wobble rather than attenuating it.pmdave

 

 

Good post, pmdave

 

And pressure is applied for too long, and not released quickly enough, resulting in input.

In theory, we should be able to dampen moderate shakes with our hands. But in practice, we can't react quickly enough at applying and releasing the <right> amount of counter-pressure. OTOH, a steering damper applies only damping, absorbing energy but without inputting any.

 

If the front end can stabilize, it will--left to its own reactions. So, lightening up on the grips may help the situation--even though it goes against the survival reaction.

 

As with downhill skiing at higher speeds over rough terrain, where skis wander slightly but re-center, or gravel riding where the bars waggle a bit. In both of these situations, fighting with a rigid stance inhibits self-centering and induces instability.

 

Be like water, my friend. (Bruce Lee) wink.gif

 

Keith Code has a great exercise for this with the flapping chicken exercise.

 

Bruno

Montreal, Canada

http://pages.videotron.com/mcrides

Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket review

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As I understand it, it's a harmonic

The word is 'resonance' not 'harmonic'.

 

Otherwise your explanation is right, I think.

 

Oscillations happen when a mechanical system has a resonant frequency, and forces are applied to the system that tend to provoke motion at that frequency. Change those forces, or damp the oscillation with a damper, and the oscillation ceases.

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russell_bynum
As I understand it, it's a harmonic

The word is 'resonance' not 'harmonic'.

 

Otherwise your explanation is right, I think.

 

Oscillations happen when a mechanical system has a resonant frequency, and forces are applied to the system that tend to provoke motion at that frequency. Change those forces, or damp the oscillation with a damper, and the oscillation ceases.

 

Thanks for the correction.

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Bruno;

 

Flapping chicken exercise???? Please explain. Pictures or stick figure drawings with arrows indicating direction may help for those like me that are slow of mind.

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Flapping chicken exercise???? Please explain.

 

smile.gif

 

I'm not sure what they call it now. But the intent is to ensure you don't have a tight grip on the bars or stiff arms. Misti can probably elaborate more as she coaches on this.

 

BTW, I find that exercise very effective. Once you've done it and understand the result, you no longer have to actually flap your arms. Just becoming aware of whether there is tension or not.

 

Another exercise is to think in terms of holding the bars as if they were litte baby chicklets. You don't want to crush a newborn chick.

 

During a track day a couple of summers ago, a friend of mine complained of how much his forearms were pumping up. I asked him if he might be holding on too tight. He didn't know. So I suggested he think of the bars as if holding newborn chicklets. He came back from the next session amazed at the difference. He hadn't realized how tightly he was holding on. This example is from Pridmore, IIRC.

 

But I prefer the flapping arm exercise because it makes sure not only that your grip is loose but that your arms are too. Again, maybe Misti will want to expand on this.

 

Bruno

Montreal, Canada

http://pages.videotron.com/mcrides

 

Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket review

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"flapping chicken" refers to waggling your elbows up and down, to help avoid stiff-arming the bars.

 

It's more common than you might suspect for riders in aggressive situations to "stiff arm" one grip while trying to input steering with the other. IOW, the rider tries to press on the left grip to turn left, but subconsiously pushes on the right grip. The result is that it takes the left arm a LOT of muscle to get the bike turned.

 

So, one solution is to steer with one arm and flap the opposite elbow. IOW, in a right turn, steer with the right arm and flap the left elbow.

 

One reason why "body steering" helps is that it focuses on leaning the torso, and both hands just "come along for the ride." The hands really are instigating most of the leaning, but when they are cooperating it seems much easier.

 

Personally, I push both grips toward the turn. But the point is, steering shouldn't require a lot of muscle. And, hopefully, if the front end does start to waggle, a looser grip might allow it to (counter) steer itself straight again.

 

pmdave

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russell_bynum

One reason why "body steering" helps is that it focuses on leaning the torso, and both hands just "come along for the ride." The hands really are instigating most of the leaning, but when they are cooperating it seems much easier.

 

This might be worthy of a new topic, but we'll see....

 

What I like to do, is think of countersteering as the initiator of the lean. Then my goal is zero tension on the bars, so I use my body position to "trim" the bike. If I'm doing it right, I can set the throttle lock, countersteer into a turn, let go of the bars, and the bike will track the arc I selected perfectly.

(Note/caveat/small print: Don't be a dumbass and try this on some busy public road. Do it at the track or parking lot to get the feel for it.)

 

It is vital that you remove pressure from the bars as soon as the bike has reached the lean angle you desire. Otherwise, you're putting opposing pressure on the grips (what pmdave was saying) and that prevents the front end from tracking side-to-side freely. It also takes any bumps you hit, transfers them up the forks into your upper body, then back into the bars as (unwanted) steering inputs.

 

Some bikes, the K1200RS in particular, almost demand that you ride this way. I remember the first time I came up a fast turn on a K12RS. I countersteered, then kept pressure on the bars. The damn thing just didn't want to turn. I was sitting there cursing it and thinking what a sluggish pig it was. Then I remembered how to ride. dopeslap.gif The next corner, I dropped my inside shoulder and moved my upper body a bit towards the inside of the turn. Then I gave it a push-RELEASE countersteer and it just about fell over on it's side. thumbsup.gif

 

Guys who know more about motorcycle geometry than me could probably explain why the K12 is so particular about that, but I've noticed it to one degree or another on every bike I've ridden.

 

Countersteer to get the bike leaned. Then release all pressure from the bars and use body weight and throttle to hold the bike on the desired line.

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"flapping chicken" refers to waggling your elbows up and down, to help avoid stiff-arming the bars.

 

It's more common than you might suspect for riders in aggressive situations to "stiff arm" one grip while trying to input steering with the other. IOW, the rider tries to press on the left grip to turn left, but subconsiously pushes on the right grip. The result is that it takes the left arm a LOT of muscle to get the bike turned.

 

So, one solution is to steer with one arm and flap the opposite elbow. IOW, in a right turn, steer with the right arm and flap the left elbow.

 

Personally, I push both grips toward the turn. But the point is, steering shouldn't require a lot of muscle. And, hopefully, if the front end does start to waggle, a looser grip might allow it to (counter) steer itself straight again.

 

pmdave

 

Hey Gang,

 

This turned into quite the discussion, which is great! Bruno and PM Dave, you guys did a good job in explaining the "flapping chicken" exercise so no comment from me on that one.

 

PM Dave, I like your comments above about how riders often initiate the turn with one hand (push right to go right) but that they often remain stiff with the other. This is common, hense the "flapping chicken" which helps people loosen up on both bars.

 

But, I'm not sure I understand your last sentence which says that you push both grips towards the turn....how would that work? Please explain confused.gif

 

Misti

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ShovelStrokeEd

Dave,

I think you mean that you are pushing on the inside bar and pulling on the outside bar to initiate the turn. If so, it can lead to a really bad habit, which is a countering push on the outside bar to limit your angle of lean. I used to do that a bunch till I learned different one day at Barber under the tutelage of a pretty fast guy riding a green motorcycle.

 

Once I un-learned the habit, by forming a ring around the outside bar with my fingers (only works on rights), the bike became much more stable under me and my times improved.

 

Later, at a Ride Smart session, I learned how to use body position to help stabilize the bike and reduce lean angle and still further reduce the amount of force needed to steer the bike. To a point, it now takes very little effort to steer the bike, even at a pretty brisk pace, obviating the need to use both bars to apply the steering force.

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