Friday, June 5, 2009

Cornering

With the new digital TV, I was able to watch the Giro. I noticed slideouts occurring on corners with dry pavement. Watching the riders go down, it was apparent what went wrong: Not enough weight on the front wheel.

If you watch carefully, just prior to the front wheel slipping, the rider's weight is back on the saddle. One can find all kinds of information on how to corner, the majority of course good advice, but I have yet to see emphasis on, or to keep awareness of the weight balance between your wheels. I do have personal experiences as well (e.g. a crit in michigan in 1993? second to last corner my front wheel start sliding. In hindsight I am pretty sure I was pedaling/pushing so hard that I also pushed back into the saddle. I did stay upright, but scared the guy behind me .)

With a tweaked front geometry and by coming out of the saddle a little on corners, I have found I can corner better, and have hit nearly 60 mph on roads in west hills here in portland ( only possible if you stay in a full tuck, don't touch brakes in corners, and of course weigh as much as me...)
From BLOG Pictures

If you take a motorcycle training class, quite a bit of emphasis is put on cornering. One key point is that in most situations if you lean the bike over (done by an initial countersteer) and look into the corner, the bike will turn. And that speed (within reason) is not the issue, if you lean it, it will stick. (Assume dry pavement...I am always wary of wet roads ! )

The same with a bicycle. If you lean it, look into the corner, you will stick. But that assumes you have the front wheel properly loaded. It is easy to transfer weight to the front wheel, come out of saddle and put weight on the pedals. Inside pedal, outside pedal doesn't really matter, likewise, what is happening to your weight side-to-side, or up-down doesn't really matter compared to your fore-aft weight. Weight on the pedals means most of your weight vector is now at the bottom bracket which is nearer the center of the bike, and viola, with the rest of your weight on the handlebars, your front wheel will be sufficiently loaded with weight and slideouts should not occur. (on dry pavement and assume no pedal clip.)

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