Doc Wong Ride Topics:
Steering Input

by Joe

The clinic was great! It was great to have the use of your facility and covering the topic was worthwhile.

To generate discussion, I spent some time a couple of nights before brainstorming the key characteristics of a proper steering input. Here's what I came up with:

  1. It's done with the handlebars. Should be obvious, but with the popularity (and abundant misunderstanding) of body steering, I wanted to remind people that you steer a motorcycle by countersteering it. We asked the group what else the handlebars were for and got the correct response: "Nothing." Well the throttle, brake and clutch happen to be attached to them, but...

  2. It should be fairly effortless. This generated more detailed conversation about correct body position and the fact that the handlebars rotate forward and slightly up, whereas riders often push down on them. We illustrated the proper arm and shoulder position to make it more natural to steer on the hadlebar's axis.

  3. It should be quick. We discussed the benefits of a quick steering input, including the facts that you can go deeper into the corner before turning and you can get through the turn with less lean angle.

  4. There should only be one steering change per corner on the vast majority of turns. After acknowledging that there may be the occasional d.r. corner that demands a correction, we emphasized that one steering input should set the line for the rest of the turn. We also noted that you should select a turn point that makes this possible.

  5. It should be the only thing the rider does at that moment. At the instant that one is steering, the rider does nothing else. Your body should already be in position, the braking and downshifting should be over with. After steering, get the throttle cracked on. Steering should not be combined with any other activity.
    John added the following:

  6. The rider should be relaxed on the bike during and after the steering change. He pointed out that "stiff-arming" the bike can violate the "one input per turn" rule, as the rider induces many small inputs as the bike hits bumps.


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