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The cart before the horse

There have been a few videos lately about cornering technique. Is it better to push the bike under, or stay with it? If you're a member of the Guild, you know what we prefer in most situations. In at least one of the videos the presenter goes into a concise explanation behind the physics of cornering on a motorcycle. They explain that the motorcycle has to lean into the corner so it can balance the forces and not flip over towards the outside of the turn. It's a strange statement. It implies that you have to get the lean angle just right to maintain your balance around a corner. They're putting the cart before the horse. (For those of you thinking about a high-side, that's a completely different scenario and it doesn't apply here.) Motorcycles are single track vehicles sprinkled with a bit of magic. When single track vehicles arc through a turn, all the cornering forces go straight from the centre of gravity to the contact patch. They also self-stabilize once the rider has stopped their input. That's the magic. A good amount of why this happens is understood, but it's still being actively studied. For now, we'll call it magic. Let's move this to a big empty parking lot. You're riding along at 40, and you push forward on the right grip. The bike leans to the right, and you're now riding in a big circle. If you speed up to 45, and you're now riding in a bigger circle.


If you push on the left grip a little, you're riding in an even bigger circle.


You decide the speed and lean angle, physics determines how big the circle is.

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