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RogueWave

Vfr1200 In A Tight Slow Turn

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The last time I was on a bike (VFR 750) was 12 years ago. So I am pretty rusty. I took out the 1200 yesterday and today. Most of my skills have come back. But I am having trouble with tight slow turns.

I am using the the Manual Mode (Paddle Shifters, no clutch) and I am in first gear.

I come up to a right turn. I am in the middle of the lane. I lean to the right, slightly pushing the bar down (counter steering) and hit the apex close.

Now here is the result: As I come out of the apex, the bike swings wide and into the oncoming lane. :comp13: Luck for me no car was waiting to make a left or I would not be writing this right now.

This is dangerous, I could use some advice. I watched this video, but he is using the clutch friction zone to control the engine, which I don't have. He also does not mention how he positions his body and if he is pulling the bars or pushing down to steer.

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In the video he doesn't mention where he's looking. As he approaches the apex he's looking well past it. By looking farther through and with a bit of lean to the inside it's amazing what the bike will do. If you need a place to practice, school parking lots are a great place on weekends and summer months to do that. Give looking farther through (maybe further than you think you need to) the turn a try and see what happens.

Once you get more comfortable, a good skill to master is making tight U turns. I had some instruction from a motorcycle law enforcement officer who showed me how to slip the clutch with just a touch of throttle while feathering the rear brake. By doing that and looking well back over my shoulder, with practice I was able to make a U turn from a parking spot in to the adjacent one. A youtube search on 'Japanese police motorcycle' will turn up a lot of videos of them practicing tight turns- some on 5th gen VFR's!

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When you say "apex", are you meaning the point where you are closest to the side of the road or the apex of the road itself?

I try to never apex on the road as this is a racing technique to maximise speed/minimise distance/straight-line a corner. On the road, you should be keeping wide, closer to the centreline of the road so you can get a view through the corner to see any upcoming conflictions. Once you have your view and you can see it is clear, then it is fine to move your line in.

Does that make sense?

Maybe you are doing this and I've misunderstood your post.

edit: Doh....missed the "slow/tight" bit. Ignore all above.

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right,

Borrow this from your (grand)child...

Waveboard-Step-HotWheels-Lowrider.jpg

Get moving and initiate a turn while you pretty much look forward. Pretty impossibe right?

Now do the same but snap your head over your shoulder and look in the direction you want to go and KEEP looking over your shoulder as you make the turn.

Tell us how you got on...

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I think the point of the question is that there is no clutch to feather. I too am wondering about the technique, but only out of pure curiosity as I don't have a DCT bike. I imagine dragging some rear brake would help.

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I think the point of the question is that there is no clutch to feather. I too am wondering about the technique, but only out of pure curiosity as I don't have a DCT bike. I imagine dragging some rear brake would help.

Dragging rear brake helps on DCT and for 2010 VFR 1200 model get the ECU flashed (Don Guhl only one I have run across) and that throttle hesitation in 1st and 2nd will disappear. Made a big difference this spring.

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When you say "apex", are you meaning the point where you are closest to the side of the road or the apex of the road itself?

I try to never apex on the road as this is a racing technique to maximise speed/minimise distance/straight-line a corner. On the road, you should be keeping wide, closer to the centreline of the road so you can get a view through the corner to see any upcoming conflictions. Once you have your view and you can see it is clear, then it is fine to move your line in.

Does that make sense?

Maybe you are doing this and I've misunderstood your post.

edit: Doh....missed the "slow/tight" bit. Ignore all above.

Yes, it makes sense. The bike dives when I lean in at slow speed and hit the apex at it's lowest point. It was not a problem with my VFR 750, it was 150 pounds lighter and more forgiving.

So I should try going a bit wider before going into the corner and use the bars to steer rather than leaning?

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Look through the turn like others have suggested and drag some rear brake. That can make a big difference in keeping you from going too wide. I would get some cones and spend a Saturday in a school parking lot. You can work it out.

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Ride the rear brake, keep on the gas, use the rear brake to control your speed. (As well as all the look forward advice).

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Always turn your head and look where you want to go....was the best advice I've ever had.

That was my gym teacher at school!

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Look where you wanna go is tops advice, even in cages.

If you can find folks doing moto gymkhana practice and competition in or near Chicago, you might wanna go there and chat up the participants for some one on one advice, maybe even some training.

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I teach this all the time. Hold about 1500 rpm while dragging the rear brake. This takes the "slack" out of the driveline and reduces slow speed jerking. Look over the should in the direction you want to go and counterweight the bike. Counterweight means to drop the bike in while keeping your weight and body upright.

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So I should try going a bit wider before going into the corner and use the bars to steer rather than leaning?

How have you been doing? I just saw this post.

To the above, yes. But distinguish starting further left from the timing of when you start to turn. I cannot tell because I am not there, but from your description I think you are starting to turn too early.

If you read the preeminent sport bike books and watch the Keith code videos, you will see that the tendency of most people is to turn far too early. We start out thinking in terms of cars, that is hug the inside of the turn and let the engine power force us to the outside. But we as motorcyclists must take a much wider view of the turn. From the library get some of the Code, Condon, and Pridmore books and look at the turn illustrations. They show the paths the bike takes when leaning early, leaning at the right time, and leaning late. Now do the same and draw the problem turn out on paper, at least an approximation from your mind. Draw out the path you have been taking. Now draw out a path where you turn later and you will see that you approach opposing traffic much further down the road with the later turn.

This is on my mind because I have a turn like this near me and have feared it. There is always a million cars and the asphalt is very uneven, so my mind has had a hard time applying what I know. The two roads meet at less than 90°, so the turn to the right comes back towards me slightly. Thus turning early is even more dramatic in pointing me toward oncoming traffic. Then I am braking just after the apex and what a mess. Dangerous especially if there is some yuppy behind me in a powerful SUV and there always is. Their only religious belief is to stomp on the gas everywhere they go.

Once you delay the turn until the timing is right, then the look where you go and drag the rear brake, you will find a perfect path.

The next challenge is trying to do this on turns we approach for the first time. This threat keeps me respectfully fearful.

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