Archive for the ‘Two Wheels and a Motor’ Category

The weather has been beautiful for riding all winter here in the Phoenix area.  However, I’ve been reading more and more posts on Facebook about friends starting to take their bikes out up north.  So, I thought this would be a great time to post the article about ‘Countersteering’  by Team Arizona.  It’s a great reminder of one of the basics.

Enjoy!

TEAM Arizona Riding Tips: Countersteering

countersteering

Riders who attend the Basic RiderCourse are introduced, often for the very first time, the understanding that there are two different types of techniques for turning a motorcycle.  Which technique gets used depends upon several variables; however, to simplify matters, we can break it down to this:

  • To Turn a Motorcycle below roughly 12 mph, use COUNTERWEIGHTING
  • To Turn a Motorcycle above roughly 12 mph, use COUNTERSTEERING

This month we’re going to explore a high speed turning technique more formally known as countersteering.

WHAT IS COUNTERSTEERING?

Simply, countersteering is pressing FORWARD on the handlebar in the direction you want to go above 12mph.  If you want to go right, press forward on the right handlebar to go right.  We press on the handlebar to cause the motorcycle to lean in the direction we want to go.

In general, we say countersteering is best used above 12mph.  Actually, a motorcycle can be countersteered at any speed, but the effects of countersteering begin to be more noticeable and more advantageous to us as a rider around 12mph.  Different types of motorcycles have different factors that may change the actual “transition” speed (ie, weight, geometry, tire size, etc), but in general we can say roughly 12 mph.  We say 12 mph because the bike is becoming vastly more

stable.

WHY COUNTERSTEERING?

It is the most efficient, effective way to corner a motorcycle above 12mph.  We countersteer to create instability.  By pressing forward on the handgrip, the front wheel out-tracks away from the corner, creates instability and causes the bike to lean in the direction we are pressing.  Take a look at the diagrams below:

Countersteering-pic

290px-Inoutrak

PRACTICE MAKES PROFICIENT

How can you be better at countersteering?  Practice!  First, try the countersteering technique in a straight line at roughly 20mph.  CAUTION:  An aggressive press forward on the handle bar may result in an IMMEDIATE change of direction.  We recommend starting with a gentle press in a straight line.  After getting a feel for how the bike handles with each subsequent press, try pressing harder and harder at a steady speed.  Next, try elevating your speed in small increments of say, five miles per hour.  Find a corner on a road less traveled and implement your new countersteering technique.  Of course, to be most safe, a local track may be the best alternative.  Either way, wash, rinse, and repeat; reads like hours of fun to us!

I know it’s only September, but it’s probably getting cold for many of you up north. So, I thought I’d repost this”rider tip of the month” from ‘Team Arizona’.

Wintertime brings about challenges for motorcyclists.  As traction managers, we need to understand the effects a cold surface and cold tires can have on the performance of our motorcycles.

 

If you’ve been around a racetrack, you know immediately that as the track cools, lap times slow down.  The available amount of traction decreases due to a physical change in the surface.  The surface just doesn’t afford us the same level of traction at 40 degrees as it does at 90 degrees.  However, this loss in traction due to the surface pales in comparison to what is transpiring with our tires.

 

In cold temps, tires are colder and will take longer time to warm up.  A tire warms up through the flexing of its carcass and having the tread blocks squirm when riding.  Due to colder weather, it takes a tire longer to warm up.  How much time depends on several factors, including but not limited to, tire compounds, tire pressure, tire construction, tire wear, surface temperature, and ambient temperature.  In some cases, it can take your tire up to 30 minutes to warm up within operating range.  In a severe case (below freezing), as with a super sticky sport tire, it may never reach the optimum operating range.

 

Here are our recommendations for riding with cold tires on a cold surface:

  • Make sure tires pressure is adjusted to motorcycle manufacturer’s spec.   Consider trying different tire pressures to see what affords you the most traction (within certain confines – 10% of manufacturer recommendation).
  • Allow yourself, the motorcycle, and the tires extra time to warm up before adding lean angle.
  • Give yourself additional time and space.  Why not consider a 3 or 4 second following distance?
  • Practice riding on a cold surface in an area where you learn how the motorcycle is performing with the temperature changes.  (Hint: taking a TEAM Arizona ridercourse is a great place to practice!)

Ultimately, we want to arrive safely at our destination.  By taking these few suggestions into consideration, we will increase the probability of a safe ride home and a warm reception upon our arrival.

by TEAM Arizona Riding

Have you spent much time thinking about throttle control?  Better yet, have you spent much time actually practicing throttle control on your motorcycle?  If you’ve been around motorcycling long enough, you’re probably thinking, “I have it down pat.”  Are you sure?

Most motorcyclists can roll onto the throttle really well; just ask the general public and they’ll confirm that we’re effective at making tons of noise with our throttle hand.   The part of our throttle control we’re concerned about in this article is the roll off.  A vast majority of motorcyclists, when they’re coming to a stop or preparing to enter a corner, slam the throttle shut versus slowly, gradually rolling the throttle off.  Why does this matter?

Slamming the throttle shut upsets the motorcycle’s suspension.  Weight transfers forward causing the front suspension to collapse.  Too much sudden weight transfer to the front tire reduces the tire’s ability to provide traction for braking, complicates steering, and prevents the suspension from properly soaking up bumps.  We greatly reduce our options by sloppily rolling off the throttle.  Lucky for us, the fix requires no money, just a little time and your attention.

To improve your throttle control, one can easily practice this today in a very low risk manner.  In neutral, starting at idle, slowly and precisely roll onto the throttle to rev the engine up to 40% of its rpm range and then slowly roll off back to idle.  Can you gradually and precisely control the throttle at all parts of the rpm range?  Can you stop the throttle anywhere in the rpm range you choose in a precise manner?  Do you have this level of control when you ride?  Why not?

Simply practicing the slow, gradual, and precise roll on and roll off of your motorcycle’s throttle will make you a better rider.  The best part is that we can practice as we roll off down the highway on our next adventure.

Dealing with Holiday Shoppers in Traffic

***repost from e-mail message from T.E.A.M. Arizona***

We’re sure if you polled motorcycle riders everywhere, at the bottom of the list of fun things to do on two wheels would be navigate Holiday traffic.  Lucky for you we’ve prepared a list of items to consider before heading out to mix it up with the distracted mall wanderers of America.
Be visible:
* Remember, especially at intersections where big box chain stores are prevalent, that motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles and reacting in time.
*Make sure your headlight works and is on day and night.  We have to compete against the holiday lights creating distractions for drivers.
* Use reflective strips or decals on your clothing and on your motorcycle.
* Stay out of blind spots, especially when you see drivers and passengers actively searching for stores and their driveways.
* Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.Dress for safety:
* Wear a quality helmet and eye protection.
* Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet.
* Wear leather or other thick, protective clothing.
* Choose long sleeves and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
* Remember – the only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.Apply effective mental strategies:
* Constantly search the road for changing conditions. Use MSF’s Search, Evaluate, Execute strategy (S.E.E.) to increase time and space safety margins.
* Give yourself space and time to respond to other motorists’ actions.
* Give other motorists time and space to respond to you.
* Use lane positioning to be seen; ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.
* Be clear with your intentions; signal your next move well in advance.
* Pretend you’re invisible, and ride extra defensively.
* Don’t ride when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.Know your bike and how to use it:
* Practice. Develop your riding techniques before going into heavy traffic. Know how to handle your bike in conditions such as wet or sandy roads, high winds, and uneven surfaces.
* Get formal training and take refresher courses.

We hope this mental refresher has you better prepared to enjoy the Holiday Season the best way possible . . . ON TWO WHEELS

1. Hold in Select Button

2. Turn Ignition on.

3. Wait for a couple of seconds until the first option appears.

4.  The first option is to set the shift light brightness.

5. Release Select Button.

6. Keep pushing the Select Button until you get to the rpm setting.

7.  Use the Reset Button to change it.

8. You can set the rpms from 7000 to 15000, in increments of 500.

9.  If you miss the setting you want, keep pressing the Reset Button until you pass 15000, then it starts over again.

Good luck.