Author Topic: Tipping to turn  (Read 1512 times)

jim-ratliff

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Tipping to turn
« on: July 13, 2012, 08:24:28 am »
Over the past 6 weeks or so I have come to realize that I was probably using too much rotary as part of my turns, and that I would have better control if I could tip more for my turns.  I also found that I could tip the lower half more without actually leaning my upper body with a little bit more upper body separation and that I could get my center of mass inside of the turn even though most of my weight was on my outside foot.
---  and somewhere along that process I realized how much turning a bike (as described above) sounded like --    skiing    :o

I didn't have a bike as a kid growing up, so I'm behind the curve of "long time" riders, and I've always admired how smooth Lynn looked leaning her bike way over taking a turn.
But now I'm learning how amazing it is to find that bikes (like skis) will turn themselves if you just tip them over.  You can tip them more and remain more upright (upper body / lower bike separation) and they will turn sharper. I usually support myself on the outside foot (the pedal that is down) but have my center of mass inside the turn (as I should when skiing). And so now, especially on single track, I'm trying to use less rotary of the handlebars and more tipping of the lower half.

And then Svend shared a little trick of turning left to go right (Doc Hudson to Lightning McQueen in "Cars" but that is different). More common and necessary on motorcycles it seems where rider weight is small relative to bike weight, but works on bicycles as well.  Feels very much like aggressively retracting the inside leg when skiing -- because your weight is suddenly well inside of your bike/outside ski.

I would love it if biking makes me a better skier, just by ingraining some of the feelings of movement into my simple brain.
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jbotti

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 09:29:52 pm »
Staying with the "biking is like skiiing" thread, I think you will find that just as in skiing counterbalance plays a key role in high angle turns on the bike. You can only lean in so far and hold the line, but if you lean the bike in while keeping your weight to the outside of the turn, you can substantially and safely tighten the line.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 11:02:36 pm »
YES. That us what I was trying to describe as upper body/lower bike separation.
In fact that saved my bacon last week. I came around a blind curve only to find that the radius was much tighter than I thought and I was headed right at the oncoming car on the opposite side of the road. 
Was able to push the handlebar down more and tighten the radius and get back where I belonged. A big screw up on my part, big pucker factor for me and the driver of the car.
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bushwacka

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 05:32:15 am »
most of the time while bike I tip to turn, heck sometimes I even counter steer to control the drift.

but in biking there are time where I have to point my handlebars where I need to go very much like skis. There are also time where I slide a tire(usually rear) on purpose to redirect myself. Every good to great MTBer knows this trick and how to use it to go faster. Basically every MTBer or Skier who can rally on steep imposing non groomed terrain knows how to slip a ski/bike and knows how to do it better than jsut about everyone else.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJXHCvKIU6c&feature=related watch these guys tons of tip to turn but also tons of redirecting done as well.


BTW bikers with less confidence than me will have many less turn they can just tip and turn.

Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 12:46:22 pm »
Staying with the "biking is like skiiing" thread, I think you will find that just as in skiing counterbalance plays a key role in high angle turns on the bike. You can only lean in so far and hold the line, but if you lean the bike in while keeping your weight to the outside of the turn, you can substantially and safely tighten the line.


Not true. In fact, for true high level, deep, high cornering on a bike, the exact opposite is true. If you are counter balancing in turns, it's because you haven't learned to trust how wheels really work.  Gyroscopics play a role in biking that doesn't exist in skiing.  Just as on a racing motor cycle, instead of 'counter balancing' agains the turn, lean (shoulders, hips, head, hands..all of it) along the same axis as you tip your bike into a corner, go over much farther than you think you can handle, the moment you feel you are going to fall over-pedal (a half pedal in a reasonably high gear will do...on a motor cycle, you'd give it some throttle at this point)-you'll be amazed how quickly you regain balance and get righted.  It takes some practice, some faith and confidence, but you'll corner faster and deeper than you ever though possible.  That's the result of working with the momentum of the wheels and not against them (again, think about how a gyroscope works).  Adding torque and pedal power will keep you balanced.  Trust me (or at least trust Mark Weir, the king of cornering, who taught me this).

Also, bush's point on turning the bars and pointing the wheels (and drifting the tires) is well-stated, in more technical terrain, or tight terrain at any kind of speed, mere tipping won't be enough, there's a reason headsets's spin 360 degrees.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 02:00:35 pm »
Liam:
Not really arguing, but I have found often that the corner is sharper than the speed I am riding, and artificially leaning the bike while I stay more upright for balance allows the bike to match the angle of the corner. Your example sounds like a way to corner even faster if you trust your bike? I don't think I am there yet.
So what you are generating is a bit of throttle oversteer which gets the rear wheels pushing in the new direction? Is this  similar to Bushwacka sliding his rear wheel to redirect the bike?


Also, John comes from a road bike racing background. I have a feeling that would be different from mountain biking in this respect?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 03:05:55 pm by jim-ratliff »
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jbotti

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 04:42:13 pm »
We should probably clarify betwen mountain biking (where the tires will hold on a serious lean in) and a road bike where too much weight on the inside will make the thin tires skid. I will say that with road biking counterbalancing is still an essential part of holding turns on tight lines.

Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 11:28:27 am »
No, road bikes will respond equally well to this technique.  Road bike tires and asphalt  make for a much more predictable, tenacious, grip than the best mountain tires and loose dirt and rocks can ever hope to (which is why even unskilled roadies can handle 50+ mph descents routinely while few mountain bikers, even very skilled riders, ever see the north side of 40mph)

The key is to not over-lean beyond the angle of the bike--keep your center of mass in line with the tipping axis and be prepared to CALMLY (and yes, the emphasis is important) apply pedal power at the points your feel your balanced is being compromised. And of course, observe the tried and true position of raising the inside pedal to keep more weight on the outside pedal (puts more downward forces to the tires in the belly of the turn...hey, that's pretty similar to skiing).

Yes, this is more of a racing technique, and yes it allows for sharper, deeper turns at greater speeds, and if that is not what you are after, than don't pursue this technique.

But for those of you who profess that love of 'hip inches off the snow carving', I thought you might want a  little tip on how to produce similar sensations on a bicycle.


This is a nice article of the limits and techniques of high speed road bike cornering.  It discusses the differences in mountain bike/ road bike tires, maximum angles possible and talks to what I said that staying centered and in line with the lean of the bike (as opposed to leaning beyond it or router balancing against it) is poor technique and actually limits control and traction in cornering situations:

http://www.bicyclesource.com/descending_and_cornering

The one point on which this article and I disagree is whether or not, like in motorcycles, you can apply power (through pedaling) in a deep corner.  I say with a high enough gear a half turn gives you what you need to right a sinking ship, this article contends that in really deep corners the problem of pedal strike is too risky to do this and all turns should be coasted.   In either case, we agree on the body positioning and the technique.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 11:38:47 am by Liam »

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 12:20:03 pm »



I will say that one of my thoughts, when you were saying 1/2 turn, was the pedal strike issue, and that may be a bigger deal on road than mountain bike depending on the mtb surface at the moment.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 02:09:29 pm by jim-ratliff »
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Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 01:14:19 pm »
Nice video of Cancellara on a long twisty descent.  He's pushing it to catch the peloton, which he does, but you have to love those great lean angles (at points he even drops his should/ butt deeper into the turn than the midline), and he even does the old-school point the inside knee into the turns (which technical mavens will denounce as unnecessary, but every great descender I know still does it!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxXqQqAc2pA&feature=related


I'll add he's moving over 50mph through most of this and in excess of 60 in some parts..much like other 'euro-sports', people don't always appreciate the technical mastery these athletes possess in a sport that is mostly touted for it's over-the-top fitness demands.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2012, 01:40:49 pm »
Great video indeed.  And I point my knee to turn as well.  8)   Actually surprising that you can initiate an easy turn just with that motion.  But that's clearly the extent of the comparison.
However, it looks to me that he is doing it John's way, his upper body is counter balanced out over the outside handlebar even on those turns where he drops his hips inside, and that looks to be a movement that allows the leg to be nearly vertical over the pedal??
Your earlier tip would have his upper body more inside the turn in the same plane as the bike wheels, if i got it correctly?
I especially liked some of his moves getting around and through the motorcycles and traffic, with a bit of subtle drafting of the team cars in the process. And then my mind boggles at the pain and consequences of a mistake.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 02:10:47 pm by jim-ratliff »
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Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 06:31:21 am »
Yep, I've seen that poor advice in the past max...but watch an actual world class rider ( the Fabian Cancelara video I posted will do) or any downhiller, or any MXer or racing motorcyclist and you'll see that they do lean with the axis of the bike especially if they wish to maintain their speed, their smoothness and their handling.

Poke around the internet you'll find plenty of hackneyed advice (just as in skiing, how many crappy instruction links have you refuted from so called experts?).  But watch the videos of top athletes and you'll see what I'm talking about.



jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 07:26:40 am »



Liam:  I disagree with your analysis of the Cancelara video? I see a lot of what I would call counter balancing. His inside shoulder is often over the center line of the bike, especially when turning right?
BTW, at about 5:20 I see him shift his butt completely off the rear of the seat.  Is that anticipating a hard braking section and he's getting the weight back so his rear tire doesn't unload under hard braking?
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Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 09:59:47 am »


Liam:  I disagree with your analysis of the Cancelara video? I see a lot of what I would call counter balancing. His inside shoulder is often over the center line of the bike, especially when turning right?
BTW, at about 5:20 I see him shift his butt completely off the rear of the seat.  Is that anticipating a hard braking section and he's getting the weight back so his rear tire doesn't unload under hard braking?

The 5:20 is because he was getting tired and getting sloppy (notice he starts flopping his knees around as well to wake them up).  It also occurs in the flatter portion of this segment-he was getting cooked.

If you look at the 3:20-3:36 portion he really dives into those turns.  He is more committed on turns to the right than on the left (which is typical).

 I guarantee you he is not ' Leaning the bike without leaning his body (which is absurdly bad advice even for a kid learning to ride a schwin stingray!)'-he's riding the axis of the bike.  He is keeping his center of mass in the same angle as his outside pedal (a few times jumping a little inside that...he'd never do that if he wasn't chasing, however)  and he likes to lead with the old-school knee point (which, like I said before, I'm a fan of though most techno-nazis deride this affectation).

If you counter against the momentum of the bike you will exit turns slower, and be less able to carry speed through them.  The kicker is, you need to carry more speed the most are typically comfortable carrying through the turns to make this technique work. 

And of course, at some point in the turn you have to complete **** your mass and the tilt of the bike to change directions...expect to see shoulder, butts etc moving in that direction once the g's drop through the belly of the turn.

You've discovered step one, tip the bike to turn it...now move on to step two_ learn to work with the flow and momentum of spinning in line wheels and not against them.  You will flow like water through the twistiest roads (or trails).

Bicycles do not balance by countering...they balance by rolling forward...anything that disrupts the smoothness of that line or arc compromises, not improves, balance (not to mention speed and momentum).

Ok, I'm done, here...my best advice is spend a week working on what I have described and see if works for you...If not, well, most people get most of what they need on bikes through fitness and endurance alone.  But developing expert bike handling is the real bar raiser...even with road bikes.

Or don't,

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 10:13:59 am »
Liam:  Thanks for the thoughts and the links.  There is a lot of fascinating information that popped up along the way.
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bushwacka

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2012, 02:45:31 pm »
sweet pictures.

Svend

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 08:52:44 am »
More on the subject of cornering skills...

Here is a good video talking about hip flexion, turning the body and looking ahead into the turn.  Well described, with some good, clear video.

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/How-to-Hip-Flexion-Video-diamondback-2012.html

Back to Jim's original post, a small point that was not discussed, and what was the subject of an email exchange between Jim and myself, was the use of a twitch of countersteering to get the bike tipped and leaning into the turn.  This is a skill I learned when riding a road motorcycle (sport bike, way back in my early '20s), and was very helpful in achieving quick and assertive entry into a turn, as well as good transitions in a series of linked turns. 

What Jim was talking about in his OP, was that the inside handlebar (the one to the inside of the upcoming turn) is given a slight but quick nudge forward.  This acts to move the front wheel in the opposite direction of the turn, but just for an instant.  The bike then tips to the inside and leans into the turn in the desired way.  It takes a bit of practice to get over the counter-intuitive nature of this, but it really works well on mountain bikes for making snappy tight turns.

During our chat, Jim was describing to me his movements in turning, and mentioned that he pushes down on the inside bar.  It occurred to me that he is probably using countersteering and didn't even know it.  (Note that I use the term countersteering in a different sense than what BW meant in one of his posts, which talked about sliding a corner).

« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 09:16:03 am by Svend »

jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 02:28:42 pm »
Given my initial focus in this thread, I'm very gratified to see someone talking about "carving" corners.  How "ski like"!
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bushwacka

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2012, 02:47:58 pm »
The Truth About Counter Steering

Instructions for Carving any Corner

like skiing you can not "carve any corner" you can carve a ton of them. but not everyone.

If you friend with Lee on facebook you see my question to him, I am guessing he is sane and will side with me.

bushwacka

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2012, 07:48:18 pm »
yeah lee rocks. I just do not like to hear "carve any turn" whether it comes to bike or skiing.

If you could carve every turn then are handle bars wouldnt need to turn.....which would be a really curious experiment, although you actually do counter steer(not what  lee says it is, but actually turning away from the turn) in some carved turns, so that would suck if we could not turn our handlebars.


Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2012, 11:41:27 am »
I think Lee's stuff is great as well.    The way he describes turning, balance, STAYING OFF THE BRAKES (!!!) leaning into a turn, going really low with your center of gravity, staying centered, leading with the head out, etc...and the picture at the very top of the chapter all speak to what I'm talking about. 

Yep, at really slow speeds, like a trials rider speed, you'll make all kinds of counter balancing moves to stay up right, but that's because the wheels aren't spinng and you have to use more static balance and not gyroscopic balance. 

I love how Lee really defines step by step flowing with the movement of the bike and not working against it at all.  A great analysis of speed and balance and body positioning.

Perfect technical description of how to really master turns.  Nice find, it is exactly what I strive for in turns (mountain AND road..I don't always pull it off, but it's what I'm after).

However, if you find a big rock in the middle of your perfect turn, you might want to eschew one's quest for purity and turn the handlebars  ;)

Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2012, 10:26:11 am »
Uh..max, that is one of the three options he describes (along with lean inside of the turn and lean exactly centered with the bike) each listed with pro's and cons. 

But to be clear, lee is NOT describing counter balancing (leaning your upper body away from the direction of the bike lean) as was advocated at the start of this thread nor is he echoing the very bad advice given earlier in this thread to 'try to lean the bike without moving or leaning your upper body'. 

In fact, as the pictures demonstrate you are leaning both your bike and your body in the SAME direction, but you are just adding a little (very little) more lean with the bike in order to weight the outside pedal.  Your mass and the bike are tilted, very actively, in the same direction-and you'll adjust those relative leans as intention and terrain demand.

But leaning into the turn is an essential cornering skill for Lee:


Lean into the Turn: " The faster and tighter the turn the more you have to lean" pg 83

LEAN TO THE RIGHT DEGREE
"To rail turns you have to fling your body inside of your tires Teasing gravity and momentum into a stalemate. The tighter and faster the turn, the more you must lean.  If you are falling to the inside, you are leaning to much.  If you blow through the turn, you aren't leaning enough." Pg88  That pretty much sums up my thoughts on cornering (that google book is a good find, max).

Oh, for those interested, be sure to read his bits on squatting low, staying centered, pumping (big skill few have) and choosing the right apex as these are all equally important in high-quality bike cornering.


jim-ratliff

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2012, 12:09:15 pm »
But to be clear, lee is NOT describing counter balancing (leaning your upper body away from the direction of the bike lean) as was advocated at the start of this thread nor is he echoing the very bad advice given earlier in this thread to 'try to lean the bike without moving or leaning your upper body'. 
Liam:
Assuming your quote above is what I said, then I would like to correct myself.  What I do is pretty much what Lee is describing for his third option, i.e. "leaning the bike more than the body." This works well for me at the speeds that I ride.

And, to quote him:
Quote from: Lee-leaning your bike more than your body
The safest default is leaning your bike more than your body. You can never go wrong with that, for these three reasons:
My bolding in the quote, because "safest" works for me.

If I said leaning "away" from the bike, what I was visualizing was leaning less than the bike and didn't phrase it well. I do, at even lower speeds, lean the bike with almost no leaning of the upper body, and that works for me as well. In my mind, that is just a degenerative case of the above -- I'm leaning the bike when my speed is so low that I don't need to lean for balance.

"Teasing gravity and momentum into a stalemate" is an excellent description, but at my speeds I often need more edge (bike lean) and have very little momentum to offset gravity, so shift mass accordingly.

And I understand that there is a big difference in our riding levels and our riding speeds.


To me, this is exactly like counter balancing in skiing. You tip your skis by "leaning" your legs more while maintaining balance with a "less leaned" upper body. (I know PMTS'ers, bad terminology).
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 12:20:34 pm by jim-ratliff »
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Liam

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2012, 10:36:04 am »
Just rediscovered this thread. 

I have to laugh a little that you deleted the posted photos from page 2-3 that supported what I said (of actual on trail cornering) and replaced it with a photo of Lee (I presume) in his driveway with an outrageously exaggerated, static position. 

But, more funny still, is that you don't seem to realize that he is NOT demonstrating cornering technique, but how to ride a switchback.  Though often used interchangeably a switch back is not a climbing/ decending turn, but a unique feature built on above grade slopes (over 15 degrees side hill) that require building raised mounds with steep exits at points of trail turns.  Not common at all in the east (out side of actual rd construction) but fairly common in the west (especially SoCal where the WPA and CCC built hundreds of them through the La Sals and beyond).  Anyway, switchback negotiating is a very specific type of 'corner' with a specific set of skills to negotiate cleanly.  And what he is showing, is a slower almost trials like move (which is why he can demonstrate it in his driveway).

There are two basic ways to ride switchbacks (oh, I should add, we are speaking specifically for negotiating DOWNHILL switchbacks)-one, as described in the page that accompanies max's photos above-and that is the more common way to be sure or 2. (and again, this is the more skilled, but also more direct way) -head right for the mid-apex of switchback calmly squeeze the front...and only the front brake (skidding on a switchback is a crime!).  Shift your weight back slightly and hitch pivot the rear wheel around and accelerate as soon as it touches down.  Trust me, if you learn this move, you'll use it all the time in switch backs, and elsewhere.

LivingProof

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Re: Tipping to turn
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2012, 07:47:47 am »
I've steered (pardon the pun) clear of this thread as I am not a mountain biker. I am a roadie and am interested in improving my turning skills, although, I ride some of the straightest, flatest roads in America.

I do agree that we need to lean into turns, and, I've been  playing with various body movements to develop more lean. What I've discovered is that using the Harbian "counter-acting" shoulder movement, that is turning my shoulders away from the direction of the turn, while remaining seated, lets me lower my inside shoulder very easily and tips my bike and body very effectively. The Harbian reference was done on purpose as ski philosophy is to develop the proper body movements to effect an outcome, which to me makes sense.

A simple test of the concept is to ride at low speed in a straight direction. Twist or pull your right shoulder backward and a little up, and, the bike will begin to turn left. Straighten out, then pull your left shoulder backward and a littleup, then the bike will begin to turn right. Using this technique going around simple 90 degree corners provides a lot of turning power and grip.

The "your mileage may vary" concept may apply to the above, but, it works for me. Again, I've almost never been on a mountain bike on terrain for which they are designed.

Thoughts?