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Old 10-17-2020, 12:06 PM   #16
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It all depends on how much of a beginner you are dealing with.

Have them practice riding slow in a straight line using their clutch and/or rear brake to control speed. Once they can do that, have them start out at that pace and then make it into a U-turn. The next focus after controlling their speed should be making sure they have a good head turn and maintaining it.

After that is mastered, you can work on shifting weight, but I'd just start with moving the shoulders to the outside of the bike as a start. If you start talking about weighting pegs or sliding their butt, it's too much to pile on top of the U-turn itself.
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Old 11-11-2020, 09:27 PM   #17

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What works for me for slow, parking lot turn-arounds, or maybe a U-turn in the street, is to push the bike down, into the turn, staying off the front brake (or use it with finesse), staying up on top of the bike, kind of an off-road type thing maybe. I think of it like, the usual way we turn, at speed, is to lean into the turn, leaning with the bike or leaning off of it. But without the speed, when turning around slow, stay up on the bike and lean it in, staying seated.

For dual sport stuff, off road, maneuvering around stuff, a BMW performance instructor taught me how you can stand, and for a left turn, for example, kind of get up on the bike, toward the front some, pushing it down some, and put your right knee against the tank. You kind of turn your body a little toward the turn. I think you would be weighting the outside peg more when doing this. You can turn really slow, with a lot of balance and control. Takes a little practice, but then it starts to feel natural. Do the opposite for the right turn.

When we run Wolf Pen Gap in GA (part of Highway 180), there is this one turn that is really a sharp switch-back. You have to slow way down for it and gear way down, and for a long time I could never feel good about going through it, and I always felt like I was just too slow in it. Finally one day I realized that I could use that technique of leaning the bike down, staying up over it, and I could control it with confidence and I started getting through it faster and pulling out of it harder. But that is the only turn in Wolf Pen Gap where I would use that technique.

Smoothness, of course, is always important.


Last edited by blakduc1; 11-11-2020 at 09:33 PM..
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Old 11-14-2020, 06:52 PM   #18
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If you want to do a u-turn quickly and with confidence, stick your inside leg out. There’s a super weird thing in the motorcycle world where everyone thinks it’s a sign of failure to put a foot down in a u-turn. You’ll be safer, faster, and more confident if you ignore that stigma and stick your damned foot out.
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Old 11-14-2020, 08:34 PM   #19
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This topic has always interested me. While the input from experienced riders is great, I'd love to see answers that are more science-based. Some of my own impressions are:

1. Countersteering is always a requirement for turning or at least for initiating a turn, except from a dead stop. Sometimes this looks like a "dip" followed by steering into the turn, and if you end up pulling the inside bar (or pushing the outside) that's to keep from falling over.

2. If you need to go fast, lean into the turn. If traction is a problem and you don't care how fast you turn, then you counter-balance. Counter-balancing can also give you a shorter turning radius because the bike leans more.

3. Putting a foot out probably works better with a dirt bike than with a street bike. I'm not so sure on that one though.
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Old 11-14-2020, 09:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by motomania2007 View Post
Turn head before turning bike
Keep head turned all the way through the turn
Keep eyes up, looking through the exit of the turn, not down at the ground
Shift shoulders to the outside before turning the bike
Feather the clutch to control the speed
Keep throttle steady
Apply a little rear brake
This, a million times this. And put some pressure on the outside footrest.

Originally Posted by Gary856 View Post
It's natural for experienced mountain bikers and dirt riders to stand on pegs. The ergos of those bikes facilitate that.

Heavy street bikes (especially cruisers that aren't set up for standing) and new rider - I don't think so. It's too much a balancing act, and you're better off just focusing on throttle control and vision. You can still counter-weight be sitting on the outside edge of the seat during a u-turn.
This is good too, you should stay seated. I find that novices struggle with shifting their butt to the outside of the seat and they are more successful counter weighting with foot pressure instead.
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Old 11-14-2020, 09:18 PM   #21
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Turning your head and not looking down or in front of the bike are key.
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