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Dragging Pegs
Are a safety feature

By: James R. Davis

When your bike is leaned over at a 45 degree angle in a curve you are putting exactly 1g of lateral force on your tires (and about 40% more weight.) But you have seen that motorcycle racers lean their bikes about 50 degrees in virtually every curve they encounter on the track. You are GOOD and wonder why the damn motorcycle manufactures design their bikes with such low pegs making it almost impossible for you to lean farther than 45 degrees without ending up low-siding the bike.

The only thing keeping your tires from sliding out from under you is traction. Street legal tires, if warmed up (but not too hot), will lose traction when a lateral force of 1.1 g's, or LESS, is applied to them. Cold tires or overly hot ones don't have even that much traction potential.

Racers use bikes that allow them to lean at least 50 degrees before any part of the bike other than the tires can touch the ground. At a 50 degree lean angle their tires are contending with 1.2 g's of lateral force. YOUR tires would have lost traction before that happened.

Motorcycle racing tires are built with special compounds designed to provide upwards of 1.3 g's of traction capability. [Formula One Race car tires can handle as much as 4.0 g's - yes, THEY can make a tighter turn than any motorcycle.]

When you hear your pegs screaming at you because they are dragging they are telling you that any more lean and you will be testing the abrasion resistance of your riding gear.

This is good, no?

Think long and hard before jacking up the suspension of your bike or of using non-standard tire profiles so you can avoid dragging your pegs in those corners. Better, unless you are on a race track, stay away from 45 degree leans altogether.

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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