Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, i have been on my 250r for about 9 months and logged around 5k miles.

Recently i noticed my leaning confidence is not so great when taking large ~180degree looping turns like many on ramps for freeways have in NorCal.

I keep both knees very tight to my tank and so my body is centered over the bikes tank when i lean. I feel nervous as hell though and seem to take the turn much slower than i should. I feel like im going to lowside mostly. I see riders who can take these turns much smoother and faster and their technique appears different. They drop the inside knee and position their body off the center of the tank and hang... im not talking about super track riding, but more mildly. Recently, i was merging onto a large freeway and about the middle of the turn i got nervous of a lowside but i needed to continue leaning in order to stay inside my lane and complete the full turn... well i applied throttle smoothly but my turning arc had expanded so much that i was literally on top of the dividing line for the next lane! Very bad and i was lucky no cars were in that adjacent lane!

1) is my 250r simply not capable of leaning as far due to the skinny tires?
2) Is it just me?
3) If its me, what can i do and focus on to maintain speed and just overall become better at taking these sharper turns?
 

·
The Indifference Engine
Joined
·
6,150 Posts
It's just you, look further through the corner, tip your upper body into the turn and look through the corner. It sounds like you're looking FAR to close and are staring at what you're scared of. Going off the road.

The 250 should be capable of scraping hard parts before the tires let loose. A lowside usually happens when you hit something or aren't smooth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
It could be where you are looking? As in you are not looking far enough around the corner (as mentioned)

It could be you are too tense-when you are tense it is very difficult to turn. (because your body is rigid)

It could be you are not rotating your upper body (hips and shoulders should both rotate in the direction you are turning and your head should be turned well ahead of you to make seeing alot easier)

It could just be your perception of what an appropriate speed is, at 9 months and 5000 miles I highly doubt you have conquered all the skills and instincts needed to be proficient. Although with practice and the proper guidance you shold have.

Practice being smooth, practice holding one particular wheel track through entire turns and with this practice and confidence in succeeding you can begin to add more speed. Over time you will become very proficient and at ease with cornering and all other aspects of riding
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
770 Posts

I've scraped parts on my 250 and it was fine and my tires were crap.

You need to look where you want to go. Very important.

Also, hanging off may feel weird but it does help an immense amount. Try to get your top half off the bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I agree with the looking comments. I noticed as well and have been reminding myself to look farther into the turn... it has helped.

I was just wondering if i should still be directly over my tank or if by moving my center of gravity to the right. As in, moving over to the right side of the seat makes turning easier. I almost feel like by doing that you might not have to lean the bike as far?

EDIT... wow thanks for the video. this is exactly what im talking about! Great video... i need to try this first thing tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
It's just you, look further through the corner, tip your upper body into the turn and look through the corner. It sounds like you're looking FAR to close and are staring at what you're scared of. Going off the road.

The 250 should be capable of scraping hard parts before the tires let loose. A lowside usually happens when you hit something or aren't smooth.
This look further though out the turn!
 

·
That Fighter Guy
Joined
·
15,175 Posts
Put your ass crack on the edge of the seat, so basically one cheek on, one off. You'll be surprised how easy leaning can be when you shift the center of gravity off the middle of the bike. You should be able to lean pretty aggressively with only one hand on the bike if you have your center of gravity right. There should be no bar input at that point.

Biggest thing you need to do is practice and DO NOT try to push out of your comfort zone too eagerly. You can try a big open parking lot to learn how far that bike will lean and practice positioning your ass and upper body off the bike. You don't need to tuck in real tight like the pro's do, but mainly get your body weight off of the center of the bike, turn your head, and look through the turn. Your body will put the bike where you're looking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
Don't forget you only use maintenance throttle through the corner, then power out at the exit. You probably pushed wide because you got on the gas too soon.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
769 Posts
Watch "Twist the wrist 2". It helped me and pointed out that leaning has very LITTLE impact to turning. Leaning too much can prevent you from being able to stay loose on the handlebars which will prevent you from applying the correct steering input. Half a cheek should be all you need while still holding yourself up with your leg on the tank. Even then, leaning like that shouldn't be necessary until you reach track speeds. Turning is all about counter-steering. Slow down before the turn, counter-steer (push more/less on handlebar that's inside the turn as needed), then accellerate smoothly through it. I had the same problem as you but i'm learning to grip the tank with my knees to hold myself up while keeping my arms loose. This allows me to simply push the handlebars more as I need to tighten a turn. I was so tense and stiff-armed before, one arm was preventing the other from pushing the handlebar any more. The MSF course helped me a little with this as well, especially with looking through the turn, but Twist The Wrist 2 helped me better understand it all.

My bike also has a steering stabilizer, which was set to the hardest setting at the dealership. I hadn't realized it for a while, but when I did (thanks to this forum), and adjusted it to the recommended (softest) setting, turning became much easier.

Good luck with it! Ride safe, even if that means going slow until you have more confidence.
 

·
That Fighter Guy
Joined
·
15,175 Posts
Leaning has very little to do with turning? So you think you should put a death grip on the tank with your legs and muscle the bars in order to turn? Wrong. When you move the center of gravity lower (by leaning off) there should be very little steering input into the bars. If you're muscling the bars in a turn, then you are upright too much and have the potential to lose control.

OP, go find a large parking lot. Do some circles with your body over the center of the tank, then make the turns tighter and tighter. You'll notice the bars kinda fighting you as you do so. Next lean your upper body and one ass cheek off and do the same thing. You'll notice the bike is more stable and the bars won't be pushing back at you.

The key in good turning is to pick the right entering speed, turn your head, look through the turn, and get some weight off the center of the bike. Even if your ass stays planted in the middle of the seat, get your upper body off center. You'll notice turning will be much easier.
 

·
Get off of my lawn Dammit
Joined
·
45,123 Posts
OP, you are getting a lot thrown at you in this thread. Lean here, look there, hold on here. Most of it is good advice but you can’t possibly digest it all at once. In my humble opinion, the best thing for you to do at this stage is to focus on looking through the turn. Just by moving your head in the direction you are turning will make a noticeable difference. Stay relaxed, don’t white-knuckle the bars. Look through the turn, your bike will follow your eyes and head. As you become more comfortable with this concept you can start applying other techniques mentioned here. Just my $.02. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
That youtube video on body positioning helped tremendously! I also watched a counter-steering video last night and FINALLY understand it.

I feel i insta-leveled up my motorcycling skills after watching these videos. I got to practice it this morning on my way to work and it was already night and day.

previously, on sharp turns i was not counter steering AND i was keeping both my hips and my upper body centered over the tank so i was in-line with it through the turn. THIS was biggest problem.

As soon as i moved my upper body off the center-line of the bike and towards the mirror (like the professional mentions in the video, and others in this thread) i was instantly more stable and able to maintain my turning track without any doubt or problems. This gave me confidence and in turn i naturally look much farther through the turn also aiding me. I agree, you dont even have to move your ass-cheeks unless its a really aggressive turn but the upper body alone is definitely the key.

I also practiced the counter steering just to avoid objects and it was working very well. I can see how this would help quick turns as well.

The one question i have now, would be where to apply my "weight" at? In the video, and from some in this thread it seems i should have my feet back so my toes are on the pegs. Is this where i want to apply my weight mostly and relax my upper body? Right now i would say im fairly distributed... through feet and hands, so when i move my body off-center and into the turn i am applying pressure to the inside handle bar. Is this wrong?

thank you very much!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21 Posts
That youtube video on body positioning helped tremendously! I also watched a counter-steering video last night and FINALLY understand it.

I feel i insta-leveled up my motorcycling skills after watching these videos. I got to practice it this morning on my way to work and it was already night and day.

previously, on sharp turns i was not counter steering AND i was keeping both my hips and my upper body centered over the tank so i was in-line with it through the turn. THIS was biggest problem.

As soon as i moved my upper body off the center-line of the bike and towards the mirror (like the professional mentions in the video, and others in this thread) i was instantly more stable and able to maintain my turning track without any doubt or problems. This gave me confidence and in turn i naturally look much farther through the turn also aiding me. I agree, you dont even have to move your ass-cheeks unless its a really aggressive turn but the upper body alone is definitely the key.

I also practiced the counter steering just to avoid objects and it was working very well. I can see how this would help quick turns as well.

The one question i have now, would be where to apply my "weight" at? In the video, and from some in this thread it seems i should have my feet back so my toes are on the pegs. Is this where i want to apply my weight mostly and relax my upper body? Right now i would say im fairly distributed... through feet and hands, so when i move my body off-center and into the turn i am applying pressure to the inside handle bar. Is this wrong?

thank you very much!
Wow!, You made it 9000 miles w/o ever countersteering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,672 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
As for counter steering, it was a combination of not really realizing what i was doing and not really understanding the need to. As mentioned, i was simply leaning my bike over for everything... im a pretty strong guy and am fairly large for the 250r so i can easily whip it left/right with my hips/legs even to quickly avoid objects or to turn...

which in some ways, might have been a bad habbit that i wasnt even aware of. More just due to the bike being so light/small?

I believe thats the reason i started this habbit of staying in-line with the bike through all turns. It was b/c i was so confident i could move the bike, i thought thats all which was needed to take sharp turns. I realize now that the body positioning can allow my bike to remain more up-right while still taking the same sharp turn.

Even with counter steering, if you remain in-line with your bike (as in, centered over the tank both hips/upper body) you will not be able to turn as sharply at moving speeds (prolly 20+ mph). Would you agree?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21 Posts
As for counter steering, it was a combination of not really realizing what i was doing and not really understanding the need to. As mentioned, i was simply leaning my bike over for everything... im a pretty strong guy and am fairly large for the 250r so i can easily whip it left/right with my hips/legs even to quickly avoid objects or to turn...

which in some ways, might have been a bad habbit that i wasnt even aware of. More just due to the bike being so light/small?

I believe thats the reason i started this habbit of staying in-line with the bike through all turns. It was b/c i was so confident i could move the bike, i thought thats all which was needed to take sharp turns. I realize now that the body positioning can allow my bike to remain more up-right while still taking the same sharp turn.

Even with counter steering, if you remain in-line with your bike (as in, centered over the tank both hips/upper body) you will not be able to turn as sharply at moving speeds (prolly 20+ mph). Would you agree?
Gotcha, Glad to hear you got it figured out. Do you mean w/o leaning? Your question?
 

·
Strat - the Asian edition
Joined
·
13,060 Posts
Best advice is the simplest

Take it to a track and take the beginner course, which is usually free. The trackday isn't free but even if you take that course just once, it will set you up with the fundamentals.

Best thing is to learn it right the first time. Undoing bad habits including improper body positioning is hard and there's no way you know if your body positioning is right while you're on the bike. Even experienced riders need someone with a trained eye to be able to tell them what they're doing wrong.

Riding agressively with the wrong body positioning and technique can make you more unstable on the bike.
As I've learned while doing track this year, getting body positioning right is hard and usually takes practice, and definitely requires a trained eye to correct you a few times until you get it right at which point you need to learn to be consistent, which still needs a trained eye because you may slip backwards.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top