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Control In A Turn
Is it Balance or Trust when leaned over?

By: James R. Davis

It seems to me that even the most experienced motorcyclists believe that their sense of balance is what allows them to maintain control of their bikes, particularly in a turn. I maintain that balance is almost an insignificant aspect of controlling a motorcycle.

Regardless of where you are sitting on your seat (or off it) you can cause the bike to turn in the direction you want it to go - indeed, counter-steering is steering input that tells the bike how far to lean and how fast to adopt that posture and 'balance' is hardly a part of the equation.

The front-end design of your motorcycle allows the bike to exhibit self-correcting behaviors. Without any steering input whatever a bike that is moving faster than you can run will attempt to find vertical and drive in a straight line. When in a turn your only steering input is maintenance of pressure on the inside grip in order to continue (without any wobble at all) your course. The bike 'finds' the perfect balance point between centrifugal and gravity forces and you are merely along for the ride.

Indeed, any additional steering input from you is what accounts for 'going wide' or 'fighting' the bike. Shifting your weight to 'help' the turn invariably results in having to make additional adjustments and is fairly described as 'over-correcting.'

Rather than balance, I maintain, the proper input to support counter-steering is Trust. The only time that balance plays a significant part in the control of your motorcycle is when you are traveling at slow speeds (about as fast as you can walk.)

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