Twist of the Wrist Vol II: Notes & Summary on Motorcycling Better

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“I hope you enjoy the Twist of the Wrist video,” read a note written by my friend Melissa of California, who is also now a proud owner of a Buell Blast. “I thought it was very good, but my abilities aren’t even close to being as good as the ‘bumbling’ riders at the beginning.”

It took me a couple months, but I finally got around to watching the DVD Melissa sent me along with the note. And she was right—the video was very good, assuming you can get past the horrible, cheesy acting and the abrasive voice of the British-accented narrator. It was so packed with information about how to corner on your motorcycle with the deftness of a Superbike racer that I found my finger hitting the rewind and pause buttons several times.

The most important handling tips that stuck in my head were:

  • Always counter-steer to turn: Push (down/forward) on the right handlebar grip to turn right, and on the left handlebar grip to turn left. This will instigate a lean and a turn.
  • Good throttle control is vital through a turn. Once throttle is cracked opened, it is rolled on evenly, smoothly and constantly throughout remainder of turn.
  • Don’t ride with a death grip. Also, keep arms relaxed.
  • When pushing the limits, riders usually turn in too soon. Best to stay on the outside, then look through the corner without actually turning, and then start turning once the apex and best line through it can be seen.

Below are additional notes I took while watching the Twist of the Wrist, Vol. II.

Notes

All two-wheeled vehicles steer differently from
three- and four-wheeled vehicles

  • For tricycles and bikes with training wheels, you
    turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go
    • Raise the training wheels and this no longer
      works.  Turning the handlebars right and the bike leans left.
    • Training wheels therefore not a good method to teach
      a kid?
  • Countersteer instead with bar pressure.  Push
    inside bar to lean and turn more
    • body steering and putting pressure on pegs do very
      little to
    • lean steering is a myth of riding

Survival Reactions (SR’s) ruin rider’s hope of
being confident and in control

  1. body steering instead of counter-steering so starts
    out wide
  2. chopping the gas mid-turn from panic
  3. tightening on the bars
  4. counterleaning: increases bike lean but doesn’t
    tighten up turn as much as he had hope
  5. since bike is still running wide, tightens grip
    on the handlebars
  6. visual panic:
  7. target locks on the very thing he doesn’t want
    to hit
  8. frozen on the bars
  9. brakes because he can’t turn

Throttle control

  • want to put more weight on rear by increasing
    throttle
  • suspension sweet spot is at mid-stroke.  Can only
    be put in sweet spot with good throttle control
  • Throttle control Rule #1: Once throttle is cracked
    opened, it is rolled on evenly, smoothly and constantly throughout remainder of
    turn
    • any sudden changes in throttle will reduced
      cornering grip
    • can violate throttle control rule once bike is
      nearly upright.  Then can suddenly increase roll-on.
    • also can violate with traction control
    • good throttle control allows suspension to work
      properly with optimum traction
    • rolling off the throttle or braking causes the bike
      to stand up and makes bike run wide
    • rolling on the throttle too slowly also causes the
      bike to stand up
    • In bad traction conditions, less lean angle the
      better
  • Rule #2: Get back on gas as soon as possible once
    steering is completed.  Doesn’t mean at apex or any part of the turn, but as
    soon as possible
    • If get back on gas too soon, to correct, roll off
      the throttle and repoint bike and roll back on
    • putting more lean and increasing throttle is common
      cause of creashes
  • Charging the turn (too much throttle and brake
    going into the turn) cause of loss of speed and chopping gas

Riding in control

  • Excess rider input causes instability and tires out
    the rider
    • amplifies bumps and wobbles by holding on to
      tightly
    • best to lighten up on the legs
    • ride loose when windy is best
    • limber and loose is smooth
  • “Hanging off”
    • don’t do so right at turn in (too late)
    • rule of thumb: preposition hips right before
      roll-off.  Hang off early
    • too much as awkward and does more harm than good
    • one cheek off is enough
    • hanging off allows less lean, thus more throttle
      and better drive
    • use legs to move to avoid unwanted handolebar input
  • Sport bike design
    • high back seat helps brace rider without having to
      hang on handlebars so much
    • high tank helps brace elbows and upper body
    • rear-set footpegs more stable perch for moving
      around
  • common reasons for front end slide
    • overbraking into turns
    • overloading front tire (pushing front end)
    • solution is to get back on gas
    • slippery surfaces
  • take control by doing nothing.
    • be loose on bars
    • use tank to hold on, not bars
  • taking good line is most important
    • Three tools for taking good line
      1. where you begin turn
      2. how quickly tip bike over
      3. how far you lean it
    • How to find good line
      • find reference point
      • then trial and error method
  • riders usually turn in too early

11 things affected by turn in point

  1. where brakes go on
  2. where brakes go off
  3. where the throttle comes back on
  4. where the bike is pointed once fully leaned over
  5. where you will finish the turn
  6. where you will downshift
  7. how much lean angle you will use
  8. how much steering corrections you will make
  9. how much sterring corrections
  10. how quickly slowly you will steer the bike
  11. how much speed you can approach the turn with
  12. how quickly or slowly throttle may be applied

how quickly you need to turn

  • lazy steering (slower flick) requires you to lean
    over more and longer
  • as speed increases, so much flick rate
  • being lower allows pushing horizontal rotation of
    bars

don’t quick flick in these conditions

  • pavement is slippery
  • on cold tires
  • with handful of brake
  • with tires not broken in
  • with worn out tires
  • when not needing to turn quickly

double apex

  • hook turn technique
    • Keith Code actually teaches the “Hook
      Turn” as a technique to tighten the turn. This is his term for lowering and displacing the body CG inside by dropping the upper body. This can be done pretty smoothly compared to sliding further off the seat.
  • pivot steer (power steering)
    • brace leg opposite to which arm pushes

Look before turning: use “2-step technique”

  • Target fixation: we tend to turn where we look
  • Use “2-step technique”
    1. estimate turn-in point, establish reference
    2. look and wait for good line/apex before turning
      (stay wide)

braking

  • goal is to get entry speed best
  • best to be hard on braking towards end of braking
  • sudden braking in emergency: straighten up bike
    best
  • cold tire on cold day may feel like has 25% of its
    normal grip
A Twist of the Wrist: Vol. II is a thorough DVD on how to handle your motorcycle like a Superbike rider.
Some photos on this page may be subject to copyright by their creators.

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