90-deg turn

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by hdrocks, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. hdrocks

    hdrocks Active Member

    as a newbie, need advice from you experts. if you were going let's say 50, and you are getting ready to make a 90-deg turn at a light, what do you do?
    I brake and start shifting down. close to the light, I brake and really slow down and as I am leaning to turn, I speed up.. but if i slow down too much, afraid of the car behind me.
  2. 66cruiser

    66cruiser Active Member

    Maybe throw in a turn signal somewhere?
  3. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    You may be over analyzing things a bit. A 90 degree turn is a 90 degree turn whether it's at a light or out in the middle of nowhere. Depending on the condition of the pavement, it can be negotiated at the same speed regardless of where it is. You are correct - always slow down before the turn with a combination of downshifting and brakes. This puts you in the correct gear to accelerate out of the turn when it's safe to get on the throttle.

    Now, having said all that, you are smart to consider all the other factors of making this turn in city conditions and traffic. Always watch behind you when you are slowing or stopping. Always assume something will happen to mess up your planned line through the turn - in other words, don't take it at a speed that only leaves you one line and no other options. None of these change the actual physics involved in making the turn but MUST be accounted for.

    Here's the most important thing - if this maneuver makes you uncomfortable, you need to find a very low traffic area and practice it over and over until you feel OK with it.
  4. 03classic

    03classic Junior Member

    Practice,Practice,Practice.It all comes with expierence.
  5. hdrocks

    hdrocks Active Member

    you are so correct. missed the most important :)
  6. hdrocks

    hdrocks Active Member

    Yap, practice and experience. Also what Dr. prescribed, no over-thinking! i think i feel ok making these turns after couple of incidents when i felt was making turns too fast so i make sure i am at a comfortable speed before making a turn and then accelerate out of it. if just that if i slow down too much, it's the car behind me that concerning. thanks all for the advice.
  7. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    Let's see... 90 degree corner... Ok.. Calculate your braking distance for your speed. Check your braking distance markers. Brake as late as possible, keeping your monentum up. No trail braking for a 90, if you have braked as late as possible. Look for the apex. Clean up your body position. Lean and put the knee down as far as possible. This allows for more corner speed and better traction. Nail the apex, and hit the power. Ride it hard out of the turn. Look for you next corner.

    Oh shoot! Sorry my mind is still at the track..

    Ok your doing 50. I'm assuming you will not be stopping at the light. Best slow down. Gauge you speed based on the other factors around you. Cross traffic, traffic ahead of you and the corner itself. Notice I did not say behind you. If you think the guy behind you does not see you, make a lane position change. Just enough to get this attention. The human eye is drawn to movement. So move from the left side of the lane to the middle and back to the left before setting up for your turn.

    If it's a right hander, be in the right lane (opposite for left turn). Position yourself in the left side of the lane. This will help protect your lane in case someone is turning right from the lane next to you (double right/left turn lanes). Since you have positioned yourself in the left part of the lane, this gives you more room if you need to tighten up the turn. It also leaves you with an escape route if the goofball in the turn lane to your left comes into your lane, or something happens in front of you. The entire lane is yours, use it!

    Be at the speed you are going to make the turn at before starting the turn. Keep your speed steady. Try not to let off the throttle in the turn. Letting off the throttle can upset the bikes suspension make it feel loose.

    HEAD UP AND LOOK THRU THE TURN. Look at were you want to be. Not what is 5 feet in front of you. The bike will go were you are looking. If you are looking at the curb, that's were your heading. If you are looking thru exit of the corner, that were the bike goes!

    Once in the corner, accelerate lightly. This will settle the bike's suspension and give the bike a planted feel.

    Stay in your lane. Do not drift. If you feel like your going drift wide. Give the hand grip a little more of a push and lean more! Don't give up on the machine! The bike will lean more then you think. Getting addition lean is easier if you push the hand grip of the direction of the turn. Right turn, push right hand grip. Left turn, push left hand grip.

    Moving your weight helps also, but it's the leverage of the hand grips that gets the bike moving in the direction you want.

    But this is all practice. The easiest way top get comfortable with turns of any type is to pratice in an empty parking lot. When praticing, you want to get the bike to lean. In order to be in control, you must know what you bike will do. If you are afraid of dropping it, you'll never know just what you can do on it. If you afraid of turning, or making the bike turn, best only ride in parking lots until you have more confidence.

    All of this will become natural once you have praticed. (On the Soap Box) And while you're praticing, make some emergency stop and lane changes. If you pratice this stuff on a regular basis, it will be available to you when you need it. (Off Soap Box).
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  8. Skratch

    Skratch Active Member

    Ok, here's the scenario...

    I'm heading into a 90 deg turn at a reasonable speed. In negotiating the turn I see a patch of gravel (color blended with road) that I can no longer avoid.

    I commit to turning with no throttle/no brake (15-20 mph?). The bike slid on both tires thru the gravel but maintained its footing. It was an uncomfortable experience at best.

    My wife commented that she freaked out a little when we hit the gravel and I felt her tense up.

    When you encounter something on the road

    1. Don't panic
    2. Maintain control
    3. Commit to your manuever

    The best you can do is practice all sorts of turns, jukes and other aggressive moves because you are going to need them at some point. But you can't practice surprise. Its really about maintaining control in every situation. Not panicking is the most important thing you can do.

    Someone said it earlier...a bike will turn/lean more than you think it will.

    The biggest thing I learned...no...trusted, is that its true that you go where you look. I've always known it but it wasn't until I TRUSTED it that it really made a difference.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Going thru the mechanics of a 50mph...TO...90 deg turn is like describing tying your shoelaces...is as Sled Dog correctly describes...!

    In practice it means simply adjust your speed to road and traffic conditions that is commensurate with your abilities, signal, gear down with smooth, steady controlled braking/throttle control (balances attitude of the bike suspension), keep head and eyes up looking thru the turn and roll on the throttle to straighten bike just after the apex of the turn is past.

    Do this on clear open roads, you will know when you get it right by the way the bike handles, and listening to the engine RPMS, should not hear big changes in RPM if the throttle and speed are setup properly, without big engine lugging or sputtering and when the bike stands up just right when throttling up when out of the turn.

    Depending on the speed you take that turn will determine if you have to "counter-lean" the bike so you do not drag hard parts, so take it easy until the turns feel natural then step it back a notch...you need safety margin as roads are never perfect and anti-freeze/oil or gravel would make such a turn treacherous.
  10. paulmack

    paulmack Active Member

    All excellant advice. The main thing is to practice until you have confidence in ypurself and your bike.