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motorcyle techniques that work for cycling..

diydiy Posts: 6,473
edited October 2009 in MTB beginners
I don't know if this has been covered, but here are some basics motorbiking techniques that get covered with new riders that will help newbies riding at speed.

Target fixation

Google it and you'll find lots of links to motorcycling, but the principle is the same.. If you look at the tree at the end of the bend you will collide with the tree at the end of the bend. Look where you want to go and you will avoid getting fixated on the hazard. Also don't look at the rider in front, if he crashes so will you.

Grip & body

When going fast or over rough terrain, relax your grip, keep your shoulders loose and bend your elbows. You'll find your body complements the suspension rather than resiting it.

Look, Lean, Roll - (or Pedal)

When approaching a tight fast, bend, look through the bend, lean your body in and pedel to drive around the exit.

Slow in fast out

Brake on the entrance to the turn and power through the turn and you'll be able to come out faster, than if you go in fast and brake on the bend (which will compromise turning ability).
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Posts

  • joec1joec1 Posts: 494
    Dont forget Lifesaver checks......
    www.settingascene.com - MTBing in Wilts and the southwest, join up for info and ride details.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    diy wrote:
    Look, Lean, Roll - (or Pedal)

    When approaching a tight fast, bend, look through the bend, lean your body in and pedel to drive around the exit.

    Not convinced about that on a mountain bike. If it's a fast, and tight bend, then you'll be leaning over pretty far, and there's a good chance you'll catch your pedals if you try to power out before exiting the bend.

    One really useful thing that motorcycling teaches you is how to use your brakes effectively.
    It was so refreshing to bring my biker mate on his first MTB ride, and find that he was completely happy with the 203mm saint brakes on the front. Most newcomers moan about "going over the bars" :roll:
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    My motorcycle-bred tips.

    There is often more grip than you think. If you are in danger of running wide on a fast turn then try to crank the bike over a little more and tighten your turn, rather than grab a handful of brake - braking makes your bike stand up, and will certainly put you in the trees.

    Squeeze don't pull/snatch the brake lever. Even on a pushbike it helps to load the front before you apply maximum braking force.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Keep it smooth and flowing, grabbing at brakes and wrong lines will give you a slower average than pedaling like a maniac between points.
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Red = Stop
    Amber = Dump the clutch and give it plenty
    Green = There's a green???
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  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    diy wrote:
    motorcyle techniques that work for cycling..
    By the same token, there are MTB skills that work for motorbikes. I find those 'oh sh*t' moments on an MTB occur at a much lower speed than on a bike and it has done a lot to suppress my panic reaction.

    I kid myself that the dirt is softer than tarmac :wink:
  • Another one I've been trying recently is counter-steering (or at least I think that's what it's called)... basically as you're going round a corner, apply pressure to the outer grip (as if you wanted to turn the other way)... it's a less dramatic version of the speedway corners, but it really does sharpen up your turns if you're going quick enough!
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    edited September 2009
    diy wrote:
    Look, Lean, Roll - (or Pedal)

    When approaching a tight fast, bend, look through the bend, lean your body in and pedel to drive around the exit.

    Not convinced about that on a mountain bike. If it's a fast, and tight bend, then you'll be leaning over pretty far, and there's a good chance you'll catch your pedals if you try to power out before exiting the bend:

    your right - the look lean bit applies though..

    Probably the recommended braking process does too or at least one that learners learn. e.g. 90% of brakes on the front for dry 10% on the rear 50/50 in the wet. Advanced techniques probably don't apply as well as they are very specific to the mass and CoG.

    I'm not convinced countersteering techniques transfer either - I've tried dozens of times to countersteer a cycle without any useful benefit. I again I think its a mass thing.

    i.e. a motorcycle is typically 2-3 x the mass of the rider, a rider is typically 3-4 times the mass of a cycle.
    .blitz wrote:
    diy wrote:
    motorcyle techniques that work for cycling..
    By the same token, there are MTB skills that work for motorbikes. I find those 'oh sh*t' moments on an MTB occur at a much lower speed than on a bike and it has done a lot to suppress my panic reaction.

    I kid myself that the dirt is softer than tarmac :wink:

    I'm not convinced... I'd rather be sliding down the tarmac at 40mph, wearing leathers than bouncing down a flint track at 20mph in my shorts.

    When negative thing that I bring to cycling from motorcycling is my tolerance to speed. I am quite happy at almost any speed on a cycle, because it feels "slow".
  • SloperSloper Posts: 141
    The thing with counter-steering is that you do it anyway, you're just not conscious of it. That is how you change direction You can exaggerate the effect by doing it consciously of course.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    OK to clarify - I mean the active process of "push" steering to initiate a lean. your right passive countersteering happens anyway. But its not something that is a technique as such.
  • you can't turn a bike without countersteer... sheldon brown discussed it.
  • SloperSloper Posts: 141
    diy wrote:
    OK to clarify - I mean the active process of "push" steering to initiate a lean. your right passive countersteering happens anyway. But its not something that is a technique as such.

    Is it not a technique, whether or not you do it consciously?
    On a motorcycle, if you do it consciously, deliberately and often enough, it becomes second nature anyway. It's something you learn with experience.
    There's a very fast (on a motorcycle) series of S-bends near where I live. The only way to make those fast flip-flop turns at speed, is to counter-steer very strongly, as you have the mass of the bike and the gyroscopic effect of the wheels to overcome. Obviously, on a pushbike, you don't really have those problems; I'd guess you're right in saying there's no benefit to consciously counter-steering.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    diy wrote:
    I'd rather be sliding down the tarmac at 40mph, wearing leathers than bouncing down a flint track at 20mph in my shorts.
    Not so sure about that :lol:

    Even so, the sensation of the front end starting to fold or finding out where the rear tyre starts to drift is much easier to practice on an MTB than it is on a motorbike.
  • RichMTBRichMTB Posts: 599
    My motorcycle-bred tips.

    There is often more grip than you think. If you are in danger of running wide on a fast turn then try to crank the bike over a little more and tighten your turn, rather than grab a handful of brake - braking makes your bike stand up, and will certainly put you in the trees.

    Squeeze don't pull/snatch the brake lever. Even on a pushbike it helps to load the front before you apply maximum braking force.

    More often than not applies to cars as well, don't brake mid corner and make all your inputs on the controls measured and smooth.

    With any type of riding / driving smooth = fast
    Step in to my hut! - Stumpy Jumpy Pacey
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Sloper wrote:
    Is it not a technique, whether or not you do it consciously?

    I'd argue not - firstly because its hard to discuss a technique that you are not aware of - I think its probably better described as cause/effect..
    Sloper wrote:
    On a motorcycle, if you do it consciously, deliberately and often enough, it becomes second nature anyway. It's something you learn with experience.
    I agree with that, but coming as an ex advanced IAM/Bikesafe instructor (sorry as I'm an newbie on this forum - I thought I should declare that) - its still something you are conscious of, rather than part of the "balancing" process.
    Sloper wrote:
    There's a very fast (on a motorcycle) series of S-bends near where I live. The only way to make those fast flip-flop turns at speed, is to counter-steer very strongly, as you have the mass of the bike and the gyroscopic effect of the wheels to overcome.

    Countersteering has nothing to do with gyroscopic forces from the spinning wheel they are tiny compared to the forces of momentum produced by the mass moving at speed. You can apply the technique to any single track vehicle even those without wheels.
  • SloperSloper Posts: 141
    I'd say counter-steering is a technique, when you are doing it consciously. . We all do it, but I think it's a technique that you develop with experience. Not that it really matters.. my question was a rhetorical one.

    Not all riders are aware of counter-steering. Coming as a motorcyclist of very many years (yawn! :roll: ), I've known many bikers in person and on forums, who have not heard of it, and are not even aware they are doing it.

    I'm no scientist, but I know the gyroscopic forces of a spinning wheel are considerable. This is why 16" wheels were once developed in motorcycle GPs, and why they are made as light as possible.. so they can turn quicker and with less effort. Ever held a spinning pushbike wheel by the spindle in your hands, and tried to lean it?

    Anyway, I think it's been established that deliberate counter-steering is probably of no benefit in MTBing. Next subject...
  • joed05joed05 Posts: 794
    another tip derived from motorcycling - always stay on the gas
    another one - the faster you go the harder it is to fall off
    the second one may sound odd but try it, it works
    Best quote ever (pinkbike): "i've heard that Hill pees, deffecates, vomits and masturbates before each race to keep the weight down"
  • v23v23 Posts: 217
    I find making vroom vroom noises helps
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Make sure you can stop in the distance you can see is clear. Very appropriate for single track off-road
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    diy wrote:
    Make sure you can stop in the distance you can see is clear. Very appropriate for single track off-road
    Also, a very very boring way to ride. :lol:
  • If you pedal really fast in a high gear while jumping, it helps you get your inverted whips back under you...just like booting it on a crosser.
  • diy wrote:
    I'm not convinced countersteering techniques transfer either - I've tried dozens of times to countersteer a cycle without any useful benefit. I again I think its a mass thing.


    Just because you haven't found it, doesn't mean it isn't there... I've tried it a few times and the bike definitely turned in quicker than I'd expected - admittedly this was on a fireroad going reasonably quickly.

    As far as not being a technique, well if you're consciously exagerating it, then surely you're using it as a technique.

    Oddly enough, when I googled to find some more references for this, it returned a review of my bike, noting it's abilty to counter-steer as a particular trait.
  • BigJimmyBBigJimmyB Posts: 1,302
    joec1 wrote:
    Dont forget Lifesaver checks......

    This is THE ONE I've taken with me when riding on the road.

    Bloody works too!
  • rudedogrudedog Posts: 523
    diy wrote:


    I'm not convinced... I'd rather be sliding down the tarmac at 40mph, wearing leathers than bouncing down a flint track at 20mph in my shorts.


    I think you'd have a much higher chance of being killed sliding along tarmac at 40mph and hitting a solid object like a tree or a wall or a vehicle coming the other way.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    I think personally, other than brake control things aren't very transferable at all, I think in a lot of ways the similiarity was a problem for me not a help- there's similiar skills but the existing knowledge made it harder to pick up motorbike skills I think. And then vice versa when I went back to mountain biking after a long time off a pushbike. The only thing I'd say is totally comparable for me is braking. Everthing else- cornering, weight distribution, etc, all similiar enough to seem familiar yet different enough to be different.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • joed05 wrote:
    another one - the faster you go the harder it is to fall off
    the second one may sound odd but try it, it works

    depends if something/someone hits you, trust me that hurts if your going fast

    Don't try putting your knee down on a push rod either - stupid idea as I can vouge for trying to be Carl Fogarty as a kid! :P
  • Right hand - braking. Left hand - Gears. Same with feet, innit :P
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    bigmart wrote:
    Don't try putting your knee down on a push rod either - stupid idea as I can vouge for trying to be Carl Fogarty as a kid! :P

    We're getting closer :lol: I bet with the right berm it could be done.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Oh, I thought of another one- "Never try and ride off without removing your locks".

    It strikes me that road riding has a lot of parallels, as far as positioning, filtering etc are concerned. Maybe dirt bike riding and mountainbiking are closer together.
    Uncompromising extremist
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