Skip to content

Ask an Expert Fear of leaning / cornering problems Riding Skills

You are in... Forums > Ask an Expert > Riding Skills > Fear of leaning / cornering problems

Got something to say?

Got something to say?

Go to most recent reply

K1mzzz

Joined:

Dec 12

Posts: 4

K1mzzz says:

Fear of leaning / cornering problems

Hi all,

Firstly, hi - I am new here and new to biking, so please go easy on me! I have searched the forum, however, couldn't find anything like this :-(

I have completed my CBT and theory tests, and am soon to start training for a proper license. I am new to bikes and have been riding for just over 2 months, however, I have a problem that was confirmed by the instructor assessing me - cornering!

I seem to stiffen up when cornering and do not have the confidence to lean - I keep thinking the bike will slip over or I'll completely lose the rear. This wasn't helped by an actual slip (but luckily I didn't come off!) when it was frosty/icy yesterday! This means that I slow down ridiculously (10mph - ish for tight right-handers!) and have very iffy lines sometimes. I have to resist the urge to squeeze the front brake too!

I can't seem to bring myself to loosen up/relax when cornering or lean with the bike for the constant fear of the bike slipping over. This means the lines I take through the corners are awful and I slow down something ridiculous!

Has anyone got any tips / helpful hints that would help me conquer this fear and not become one of the many nuisances on the road? (particularly when wet, as it has been the last few days!)

Much appreciated and many thanks,

K

Reply to this Topic  
  • Posted 2 years ago (14 December 2012 22:25)

Post a message in Riding Skills

Fields marked with an asterisk * are required

   

Please note. You cannot submit more than 4000 characters as a message.

Upload image(s) from your computer (up to 3 images)

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  

Terms of use

Use of our community areas and forums is subject to important terms of use. By joining our community and using the features you agree to be bound by these terms. See terms of use below. 

Cancel
MarcusMarsh

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 2707

MarcusMarsh says:

Confidence

I know where you are coming from.  My RD slipped out from under me in the late 70's (Tyres didn't grip in those days) and that incident left me with a fear of pushing a bike in bends.  For me it was cured by a track day.  Having discussed my problem with the instructor he advised me just to follow him real close for a few laps and just trust that if he made it round a corner so would I.  It worked!  Fobia cured!

Do you have any more experienced mates that you could ride with that might be able to help?  Alternatively you could invest in a days tuition from a riding school.     

Reply to this Topic
Steveyman

Joined:

Jan 08

Posts: 616

Steveyman says:

K1

Good news is you are not alone mate,

You are learning at the wrong time of the year, but that is also a good thing, if you can learn to ride in the winter on cold and slippery roads you will find dry roads much easier.

You need to break it down to the root cause and understand what causes you to lose confidence what exactly makes the bike lose control.

It can be a number of things;

Your mental state, because you don't have confidence you will be tense and stiff, this will not help with cornering. You must allow the bike to do what it is designed to do, you must try and relax.

So how do you relax?

You must have confidence in what you are doing, a positive attitude. Are the tyres on your bike good, are they cold or warm. Cold tyres are basically crap, they need to be warm and soft to get reasonable grip, so in the winter grip is reduced. The road surface you are riding on is very important, if it is smooth grip is reduced, if it's rough you will get more grip.

The combination between tyre and road surface varies, in theory a smooth surface you get a bigger footprint, more rubber on the road surface which is a good thing, only if tyres are warm and the surface is dry and not greasy, a rough surface is better in the wet, the water soaks away and the tyre grips the rogh edges.

Road camber is another issue, left hand bends generally feel easier than right hand bends, that is because the tyres are pushing into the road surface where as with a right hander the road surface falls away from you are the rear tyre feels like its going to slip away.

So when you are aware of what is going on with all these things, you will improve your confidence and know when you really should back it off a bit.

I have been riding for a few years now, I have done track days, off road riding and I still have the same problem as you, Recently twice I got caught out, losing the front end on a road that I use every day (mostly in a car).

One was when I knew that a section of road was muddy and knew where to back it off, because I passed it on the way to work in the morning, what I didn't know was that during the day a tractor had dumped mud right on the exit of a right hand bend, it was dark I didn't see it and the front slipped away, but saved it.

The other was again in the dark on a right hand bend, again losing the front end middle of the turn. When looked at the same spot in daylight it was a small ripple in the road surface, because it was dark I didn't take the line I usually would and it caught me out.

Both of these moments knocked my confidence, but it is going back and having a look at the cause. The solution? back it off and take it steady in the dark, its not my riding, but the hidden dangers that I can't see that caught me out, a bit slower and at least I know I won't end up in a ditch.

A bit long winded I know but I hope you understand what I am saying.

My advice is if possible find a biker mate / relative to go with you to take you through the parts of roads that you struggle with, look for any clues that can help you get your confidence back. Start off slower and build up speed again gradually.

Take care.:biggrin:

Reply to this Topic
tc330

Joined:

Mar 11

Posts: 167

tc330 says:

Cornering problems

Don't worry you are not alone....... when instructing I find that most people who lack confidence when cornering are not actually worried about leaning as such, but tense up because they are not looking far enough ahead. When road conditions are bad - either wet or frosty - the tendency is to look at the road surface to see how bad. This means you are not looking where you are going and therefore not gathering enough information about what will happen in the next 2 seconds, so your brain panics and forces you to slow everything down. The solution is easy to say but harder to do......keep your head up, look as far ahead as you can, use the vehicle ahead as a reference point.....Don't look AT the road, look to see where it GOES . motorcyclenews:wink:


[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

Reply to this Topic
Steveyman

Joined:

Jan 08

Posts: 616

Steveyman says:

tc

I do agree with your comment..

I was an observer for the IAM and also came across the problem a lot, It is difficult sometimes to get someone to overcome a phobia of cornering.

I know a rider that had fell off on a bend in the wet and was finding it very difficult to corner properly. Take them through it step my step nice and slowly and they still shut the throttle.

 Look well ahead as you say get all the information but they still shut the throttle because they still think they will end up in a ditch.

I cannot speak from experience of getting back on the road after an accident (been very lucky) but I have always kept patient about it, always asked myself I wonder what does this rider feel like when they are approaching bends and what is the simple solution.

I came to the conclusion off road training, basically play around with the bike, braking exercises, slaloms through cones and get them to feel confident with bike under certain conditions.

I am not an icy road fan but did go out in the snow once on a GSXR 750, did about 50 miles and never dropped it, how I never know.

I do actually enjoy riding in the wet, something about it, just different?

I did some experiments a few weeks back riding in the dark, doing all the right things. Information, position, speed and gear, but when you look ahead for the limit point on a right hand bend, you see..... well nothing pitch black, the road, everything just disappears! then the auto panic mode kicks in.

The smell of diesel buggers up my riding completely, no confidence in grip what so ever.

I believe some riders do actually worry about leaning the bike over and they think that the bike will simply just slide away, a natural thing if you don't know anything about the laws of physics, and with the gyroscopic effects of the wheels, at speed the bike will not fall over.

I do agree with you but some riders take a bit more convincing than others.:smile

 

Reply to this Topic
K1mzzz

Joined:

Dec 12

Posts: 4

K1mzzz says:

Tyre temps and physics

Thanks for your responses, they have been helpful... In your post, you mentioned tyre temperature - how does one go about warming tyres up on a cold and wet day? Also, as far as the physics goes, do you have any links / pics that illustrate how the gyroscopic effect works?

Thanks again,

K

Reply to this Topic
Steveyman

Joined:

Jan 08

Posts: 616

Steveyman says:

Tyre temps

Not much of a tyre technician myself but basically road tyres are designed for specific purposes, a sport tyre is suitable for the road and occasional track use having a slightly softer compound. Touring tyres may have a harder compound for better milage and heavier weight.

Generally on a warm dry day you wouldn't need to worry about tyre temps. You wouldn't have to do anything to get tyres upto a reasonable temp, the friction of the road does that as the tyre whizzes around. The heat in tyres makes the tyre more pliable and allows the rubber ooze into the cracks of the road surface giving grip.

With colder weather you still have the road surface creating heat from road surface friction but at the same time you also have a colder road surface  / water and wind chill also cooling the tyre down, resulting with harder rubber , less grip. On a cold day forget about trying to get heat into your tyres, you have to ride with what you have got, back it off, slow down keep it safe and steady.

You have to determine which road surface gives you the best grip and ride accordingly to the circumstances at the particular time. If in doubt back it off (slow down)

Only tyres developed for cold / wet weather use would give you more grip.

Take wet race tyres for example, much better grip in the wet, but if the track dries out the tyre simply overheats and wears away in no time at all, with very poor grip.

The problem with the uk is the varied weather conditions, if you only ride in the summer buy tyres suitable for the summer. If you ride in the winter, cold and wet you may be better with a tyre more suitable for wet conditions, it can be a bit of a compromise.

As for gyroscopic effects of a wheel, have a look at you tube, there are various clips showing examples of a bicycle wheel. If the axle was supported with a piece of string at each end of the axle suspended from something above, you spin the wheel. What happens if you cut one of the strings, you would think the wheel would topple over, it doesn't it stays upright (gyroscopic effect) and in spins around the verticle axis (precession)

Laws of physics is over my head but still interesting stuff.

Also have a look at Keith Codes twist of the wrist, everything you need to know about riding a bike there.

Hope this helps,

Take care.:smile

 

 

 

Reply to this Topic
K1mzzz

Joined:

Dec 12

Posts: 4

K1mzzz says:

Practice is needed then!

Thanks for your help, I will give that a read :-)

Will see if I can get into the nearby sheltered car park one of these evenings and with some legitimately obtained cones, see what I can learn :-)

All the best,

K

Reply to this Topic
zanderh

Joined:

Aug 12

Posts: 267

zanderh says:

In the same boat

I used to be very cautious with cornering but am slowly getting better. The thing for me was actually slipping off! Demonstrated exactly what happens if you have sloppy technique. I closed my throttle going round a roundabout - as I wasn't looking up enough - which meant that the weight of the bike shifted more towards the front wheel (which was trying to provide grip for cornering), which in turn meant the front wheel had to provide more grip for braking (as the weight was on it but I wasn't accelerating) than it could offer and it just slipped out, sending the bike spinning away from me.


It was only then that something in my brain went "aha" and things started to make more sense.

Since then, I've made a concious effort to *never* close the throttle down when cornering; to keep it steady and slowly increase it as I roll out of the corner. It's given me a lot more confidence than I had (but I've still got loads to learn!) and has helped me look up now instead of looking in front of my bike as I'm now aware that provided I keep the power on, the bike will stay balanced.


With regards to the physics, check out this video: http://youtu.be/LhFtg7xM1DM very simple description of the gyroscopic effect.
Generally speaking, the faster you're going, the more balanced & stable the bike is (which is why if you try going around a corner slowly but roll on the throttle on the way out, you'll feel the bike pulling itself upright again).

things to try are: accelerate out of corners to feel how the bike picks itself up; look up, not down (hard, but it makes sense); when going in a straight line, just try taking your hands off the bars for a second or two. Understand that the bike is incredibly stable when moving!

Good luck!

Reply to this Topic
Steveyman

Joined:

Jan 08

Posts: 616

Steveyman says:

cornering

Lots of good advice, but sometimes it can be misleading.

Take accelerate out of a bend, yes you do but this doesn't mean you should be slowing down go into the bend or braking mid corner and then back on the gas on the way out.,

You have got to be smooth, good throttle control.

You must get your speed right before the bend, so that you can be back on the throttle on entry to the bend. If you maintain steady throttle the cornering forces actually slow the bike down, so you want to be on the gas before the turn to get the bike pulling very slighty. weight transfer to rear wheel rather than the front. mid turn you should be rolling on the throttle very slightly to keep the weight at the rear wheel, then as the bend opens out then you can accelerate away.

So get the speed right, back on the throttle, steady, gradually roll it on just to maintain speed rather than accelerate and then rollit on some more to accelerate away from the bend as the bend open out and the bike gets more upright.

You may have heard the term slow in fast out, practice doing it slower first. Take a bend you know has a good road surface, more than likely a left hand bend with assisted camber. If you would normally go through it at say 40mph. Try approaching it at 30mph roll on the throttle to 32-33mph mid corner and then keep rolling on so you exit at 40mph. It won't seem fast but you will have the bike doing what it should be doing.

Another thing is looking where you want to go, look for the limit point, keep your head up looking well ahead into the bend, this actually gives the sensation everything slows down, as soon as you look just infront of you evrything seems really fast and the survival reactions kick in and you will cock up the turn.

All good stuff posted above, no critisms.

  

Reply to this Topic
DazLoczy

Joined:

Apr 12

Posts: 320

DazLoczy says:

Slow right handers

I've been riding for nearly 4 years but only started riding in all weathers this year (have racked up over 9k so far this year). Fairweather riding meant that I didn't develop any skills on slippery surfaces so was taking it probably a bit too cautiously in the wet or ice.


Practice helps and now I'm much more confident in all weathers. However I still find myself tensing up on occassion when performing slow right hand turns (say into a side road) when it's wet and icy. I know the problem is I end up looking at the kerb too much after doing the 'lifesaver' which obviously means I'm going to head towards the kerb rather than the direction I'm going.:wacko:

I think it comes from a near-miss when some twat decided to pull out from a side road to the right causing me to swerve and hit the kerb - luckily it was a drop kerb and there were no pedestrians there so disaster was averted.

Riding a motorcycle is as much psychology as mechanical skill so it helps to get yourself calm and collected then go out and practice the riding skills you know you need to work on. I know people who have been riding for decades and they still tell me they are always learning and picking up new tips.

Reply to this Topic

Page

Compare Insurance

Save money by comparing quotes. It's quick and easy

Motorcycles for sale

 

It's only £13.99 to advertise your motorcycle on MCN

Sell your Motorcycle

Motorcycle pricing tool

New! Find used bike prices