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Downhill technique: Flairing one's knee

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Downhill technique: Flairing one's knee

Old 03-11-20, 09:44 AM
  #76  
DaveSSS
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
I don't agree. When riding a bicycle we're basically "falling" constantly on one side or the other. What we do to avoid hitting the ground is using the handlebar to constantly put the bicycle under us. For example: if you fall to the left, you turn left to put the bike again under you. You have to mantain this equilibrium to avoid falling off the bike. This is why it's so difficult to do a track stand (because you can't constantly steer the bike under your). This means that it's impossible to ride a bicycle in a real straight line (it can be really narrow, but not fully straight).

When you enter a right turn you first countersteer to move the bike that sits under you to the left (which means you start falling to the right, since you moved the bike left, but your body kept going straight because of inertia). As you start the turn, your mass will pull you outwards, so what you do to avoid kissing the ground is use the handlebars to keep the bike in a delicate equilibrium that equals the centrifugal force that's pulling you outwards while you turn, with the gravity that's pulling you to the ground. As you exit the turn, you just steer harder to the right until the bike is under you again.

This means that it's impossible to counter steer the whole turn unless your rear tire is partially skidding. In a tight turn, you probably countersteer only to enter the turn, while on a wide one it's possible to countersteer partially through it, but not during the whole turn.
Written by someone who hasn't ridden thousands of miles of winding mountain descents on both bike and motorcycle. If you had, you'd know better.
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Old 03-11-20, 10:48 AM
  #77  
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Herein lies the answer: Gyroscopic Precession Steering.
Who can explain it though?
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Old 03-11-20, 10:50 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
All the talk of what road racing motorcycle drivers do is irrelevant.
Then why do you keep bringing it up?
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Old 03-11-20, 11:05 AM
  #79  
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I was out practicing flaring a knee but forgot which side was supposed to flare. So I alternated.
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Old 03-11-20, 11:20 AM
  #80  
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Old 03-11-20, 11:32 AM
  #81  
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Has anyone said stem Christie yet?
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Old 03-11-20, 11:46 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
This - if you look at racing motorcyclists cornering hard, they don't just drop their inside knee, they shift their whole body over, so their ass is hanging off the seat on the inside. By shifting their center of gravity to the inside, that can keep the bike as upright as possible and maintain maximum grip in the corner. Cyclists can't do that - if the outside pedal is down and their outside leg is at close to full stretch, they couldn't shift off the saddle even if they wanted to, but their inside knee drops and I imagine they shift as much body weight to the inside as possible to achieve the same thing - move the COG of the rider/bike combination to the inside, so that the bike can be held as upright as possible to maximize grip.
No. Maximum lean provides maximum grip because motorcycle tires are designed that way - the tire contact patch is bigger when leaned over. On motorcycles you shift your weight off to the side after you've leaned the bike to its max and still need more weight offset.
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Old 03-11-20, 12:11 PM
  #83  
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By shifting their center of gravity to the inside, that can keep the bike as upright as possible and maintain maximum grip in the corner.
I've used that technique (on a bicycle) going around corners where traction is suspect. Let your body do all the leaning while you keep the tires as upright as possible. Works good on wet cobbles.

But where traction is good, I agree that leaning increases the contact patch, and will get you around a corner fastest and safest.
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Old 03-11-20, 01:11 PM
  #84  
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Some motorcycle tires used to have a triangular cross section, I don't know of any now. All the bicycle tires I've ever used had a circular cross section. I'm not sure how you think a tire leaned over has a larger contact patch?
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Old 03-11-20, 01:51 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Written by someone who hasn't ridden thousands of miles of winding mountain descents on both bike and motorcycle. If you had, you'd know better.
Written by someone who knows more about my life than myself, apparently.

My commute to work includes a winding mountain descent, BTW.
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Old 03-11-20, 03:51 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Then why do you keep bringing it up?
To get others like you to shut up. I've never compared racing motorcycles to bicycles.
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Old 03-11-20, 04:00 PM
  #87  
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At least the posted video finally mentions the fact that the higher the speed, the more continuous countersteering must've applied and the harder it becomes to maintain the turn. Although it may appear like the countersteering isn't continuous, anyone who has ridden a motorcycle over many winding turns knows that the countersteering must be continuous, or the bike will straighten up and quit turning. It's very tiring.
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Old 03-11-20, 04:35 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
At least the posted video finally mentions the fact that the higher the speed, the more continuous countersteering must've applied and the harder it becomes to maintain the turn. Although it may appear like the countersteering isn't continuous, anyone who has ridden a motorcycle over many winding turns knows that the countersteering must be continuous, or the bike will straighten up and quit turning. It's very tiring.
It's true.
I learned quickly after riding the Tail of the Dragon the first time.
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Old 03-11-20, 05:08 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
To get others like you to shut up. I've never compared racing motorcycles to bicycles.
My apologies. You have not, in fact, mentioned motorcycle racing in your posts. But, you do keep bringing up riding motorcycles on the road. The techniques used in those two activities are more similar to each other (due to relative weights) than they are to riding a bicycle, so if the former is irrelevant, then so is the latter.
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Old 03-11-20, 05:57 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
That is absolutely the case. Countersteering does not just initiate a turn, it maintains the turn. Quit countersteering and the bike will straighten up.
This is the essence of it. I wrote somewhere above that I thought that the bike would continue through the turn if one let go of the bars. I was wrong. it will straighten up. I thought that because the amount of bar pressure required on a bicycle is so slight that one doesn't notice it. That means that the wheels will move all by themselves until they are under you. If you push an empty bike away from you, it will stay upright. That's the magic which makes cycling possible.

That said, it is true than in a noticeably tight turn even with considerable lean at a good speed, taking a hairpin fast is a good example, the front wheel will be pointed in the direction of the turn, as graphed above. That doesn't mean that countersteering isn't taking place, because were that forward pressure on the inside bar removed, the front wheel would quickly point even more in the direction of the turn, bringing the wheels under the rider, the bike upright, and pretty quickly off the road on the outside. That is, unless the angle of lean were so great that the increased inside steering angle caused the front wheel to wash out. That's why it's so hard to change line when cornering fast.

This is quite easy to confirm by testing at a moderate lean angle, which I have done. No need to discuss it, go try. The only issue here is the definition of countersteer. It seems most practical to define it as slight forward pressure on the inside bar before and during a turn. That said, it may seem like one is only providing down pressure on that bar to increase lean angle and that can be true if the bike were to lean more, yet follow the same line. In that case, the position of the CG w/r to contact patch has not changed, only the lean angle of the frame. To change line will require forward or aft pressure on the bars (change of steering angle) to move the wheels more or less under the CG, no matter the current steering angle.

One should never corner very close to the outside edge of the pavement for this reason. If one gets too close, it'll be impossible to move the wheels to the outside (increased countersteer) enough to increase lean angle and continue to follow the road around. See Jan Ullrich.in the '01 TdF, wisely going off the road before being hitting the guardrail because he didn't countersteer early enough and then couldn't. Brilliant bit of decision making. I've seen some local folks I was following go off into the blackberries in just this manner. Except for the blood, blackberries make great barriers.
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Old 03-11-20, 06:11 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
That said, it is true than in a noticeably tight turn even with considerable lean at a good speed, taking a hairpin fast is a good example, the front wheel will be pointed in the direction of the turn, as graphed above. That doesn't mean that countersteering isn't taking place, because were that forward pressure on the inside bar removed, the front wheel would quickly point even more in the direction of the turn, bringing the wheels under the rider, the bike upright, and pretty quickly off the road on the outside.
How is it possible that people can turn while riding "no hands", if they can't apply forward pressure to the inside bar?
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Old 03-11-20, 06:31 PM
  #92  
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I would never try this myself, and have never seen anyone else do it. Seems like a very Bad Idea.
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Old 03-11-20, 06:57 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
How is it possible that people can turn while riding "no hands", if they can't apply forward pressure to the inside bar?
By leaning or moving the upper body. Same as steering a bicycle you are pushing by holding the saddle.

Cheers
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Old 03-11-20, 08:07 PM
  #94  
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Haven’t taken the time to read the whole thread, but Davis, “the cash register” Phinney has taken the time to explain why keeping your knee tucked in promotes the right hip angulation and counter steering. You can google it or do a bike forum search to see where this has been discussed ad naseum..

Given that Davis has won more races than any American, won multiple Tour De Frances stages, and was a great descender, I’ll chose to emulate his approach.
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Old 03-11-20, 10:01 PM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
At least the posted video finally mentions the fact that the higher the speed, the more continuous countersteering must've applied and the harder it becomes to maintain the turn. Although it may appear like the countersteering isn't continuous, anyone who has ridden a motorcycle over many winding turns knows that the countersteering must be continuous, or the bike will straighten up and quit turning. It's very tiring.
I don't understand this comment. How is countersteering continuous? I thought you did it only once to initiate the turn.
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Old 03-12-20, 07:37 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I don't understand this comment. How is countersteering continuous? I thought you did it only once to initiate the turn.
The mistake made in most videos is they fail to mention that countersteering pressure on the bars is required to maintain a turn. They switch to watching the direction of the front tire, which does not matter. It's the correct amount of constant pressure that matters.

The highly experienced motorcycle cop that taught my training course was very clear. Push on the right to turn right - just the opposite of slow speed turning. The bike will lean to the right and turn right. If you ever quit pushing, the bike will return to it's straight ahead path. Pushing harder or lowering speed will both tighten the turn. The angle of the bars or front tire was never mentioned because they don't matter. If you couldn't get that through your head, you'd never complete the series of turns on the training course. One of my earliest motorcycle rides was from my home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado to Idaho Springs, through the mountains. I made it through many tight turns with no problem.
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Old 03-12-20, 07:40 AM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
The mistake made in most videos is they fail to mention that countersteering pressure on the bars is required to maintain a turn. They switch to watching the direction of the front tire, which does not matter. It's the correct amount of constant pressure that matters.

The highly experienced motorcycle cop that taught my training course was very clear. Push on the right to turn right - just the opposite of slow speed turning. The bike will lean to the right and turn right. If you ever quit pushing, the bike will return to it's straight ahead path. Pushing harder or lowering speed will both tighten the turn. The angle of the bars or front tire was never mentioned because they don't matter. If you couldn't get that through your head, you'd never complete the series of turns on the training course. One of my earliest motorcycle rides was from my home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado to Idaho Springs, through the mountains. I made it through many tight turns with no problem.
I have not had a chance to try this out. When we're applying pressure on the bars to maintain countersteer on a turn to the right, what exactly are we doing? Are we only applying only additional weight to the right-side bar, or actually pushing forward? If we're on the hoods instead of the drops, does it matter?
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Old 03-12-20, 08:19 AM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
How does that improve grip? The lateral pressure on the tires should be the same regardless of how the rider leans, or am I missing something?
Yes that is correct, it is just that your sidewall or even the mostly unused side sections of the bottom of the tire (unscuffed, accumulations of dirt/oil/residue) will not have as good a grip.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:23 AM
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Been a while since we had a good old fashioned countersteering thread! Can't turn the bike without it, unless you hit something. It is super obvious if you zig zag down a street- when you change direction near the middle of the street it is very apparent what you are doing.
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Old 03-12-20, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
The mistake made in most videos is they fail to mention that countersteering pressure on the bars is required to maintain a turn. They switch to watching the direction of the front tire, which does not matter. It's the correct amount of constant pressure that matters.
It matters when you make incorrect statements about the direction of the front tire:

Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Are you stating that your bars will turned to the left during the entirety of a right hand turn?
Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
That is absolutely the case. Countersteering does not just initiate a turn, it maintains the turn. Quit countersteering and the bike will straighten up.
I'll repeat an earlier question: if constant pressure on the bars is required, how is it possible to turn a bicycle while riding "no hands"?
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