Warning: Do not use any information on this page if riding a sidecar connected to a motorcycle as a Rigid Hack. Motorcycles attached to a Sidecar as a Hack, do not lean and therefore need to be driven rather than counter steered around the corners.
Do you remember the Gyroscope at High School. If you held onto the handles and spun the bicycle wheel, it would prefer to stay upright.
The force of the rotating front wheel of a motorcycle creates the same gyroscopic effect. This is why if a rider fell off a motorcycle, the bike would continue upright for a length of time before it fell over. Motorcycles are extremely stable machines that prefer to travel upright.
When we steer a motorcycle, we are opposing this gyroscopic effect. Therefore, it requires MORE FORCE to lean the motorcycle to the left or right than it does to bring it upright.
Counter Steering or Push Steering is the safest and best method to steer and turn a motorcycle at speeds over 20km/h and is the safest method to avoid an obstacle.
As you push steer (counter-steer) by pushing on the motorcycle’s right handgrip, the motorcycle will lean to the right. Likewise, if you push on the motorcycle’s left handgrip, the motorcycle will lean to the left.
But remember, just like the gyroscope at high school, as the speed increases, the strength required to counter steer will also increase. To counter steer, push on the bar the way to want to turn.
PUSH RIGHT TO GO RIGHT, PUSH LEFT TO GO LEFT
Watch the following videos to better understand this concept.
Steering – Rake and Trail
Rake and Trail will effect how a motorcycle turns.
Rake: the angle between the telescopic forks and a vertical line drawn through the front wheel hub.
Trail: From the point of contact, the front tyre touches the road, to the point the Steering Axis of the telescopic forks touches the road, this distance is known as the Trail.
The smaller the Rake Angle, the easier to allow sharp turning and cornering, (Sports or Off Road Bike)
The greater the Trail, the better stability while travelling straight (Chopper of cruisers).
This is why the forks on a sport-bike are more vertical than those of a cruiser.
In rural and regional areas, the majority of motorcycle crashes tend to be single vehicle.
Many of these relate to misjudging cornering.
Braking and Gears
Adjust your speed coming up to a corner.
Allow for traffic and weather conditions.
Ease off the brakes gently on entering the corner.
Change down to the appropriate gear to get you into and out of corners.
Start corners wide to improve your vision of oncoming traffic.
Plan to finish in tight.
Move away from the central ‘head-on’ zone as you round the corner.
Tip: Look at where you want to finish up as you come out of the bend. Your hands and handlebars will cause you to follow that line of sight.