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nostatic said:
... I can also bounce the bike around the turn .... I'm thinking that might be a bit tough on a 400lb motorcycle :p
That's why it's called "practice"... you got to work on that sort of thing ;)

2 Posts
Geez, you can countersteer into a slowspeed turn, but it's not really helpful. Counter steering works because it tips the bike in to the opposite direction you are countersteering to, true, but what really makes it effective is the factors of momentum and the balancing of centrifugal and centripital force. You don't get much of either while doing U-Turns. What you get is the pure downward force of gravity (as opposed to outward and inward towards the center if the turn arc).

For me the key is learning your bike's friction zone. Let out the clutch with virtually no, to zero throttle, and the bike will start moving forward. It's hard on some bikes that have virtually no friction zone, so practice. When executing the U-turn, start with no throttle and start letting out the clutch slowly. The bike will start to move forward, and then you can turn the handlebars in the direction that you want to turn (or you can turn them before, but when learning in a parking lot it's easier to get the bike going first). When you turn those handlebars you should be going less than 10mph (like 4 or 5). You will likely start out with faster (like 10MPH), wider turns, but eventualy you'll be able to execute slower, tighter turns.

Mind you, this will turn you slow, which is not optimal, but when you work on the next points you will eventually get faster:

2 things tend to want to happen when you do this:
1) The engine will want to die
2) The bike will want to fall into the turn.

If the engine starts to feel like it's going to stall you can either (a) pull in the clutch some, or (b) add a little throttle. I would recommend going with (a) at first and when you've practiced it a few times try with (b). In the end (b) will allow you to make faster U-Turns, but when practicing you want to get the techniques down first, then add speed.

If the bike feels like it is going to fall you also have 2 options: (a) put your foot down (either planting it on the ground in conjunction with hitting the brakes, or hitting the ground with your foot and pulling it back up like you are bouncing your foot off of the ground - it should upright the bike enough not to fall. Try it in a parking lot and you'll see what I mean) or (b) add a little throttle.

What I did was first practice working with the friction zone and balance. Ride around at around 4 mph using no throttle. Start by starting from a stop. This is easiest. You just slowly release the clutch, never twist the throttle, and let the bike move forward, and try to go as slow as possible. let the clutch in and out to get a feel. Nexstr try it from going say 15+ mph - be in 2nd, as you slow down, downshift to 1st, and as you let out that clutch from the shift, slowly ease off the throttle till you are going like 7 MPH.

Once you have that down, practice U-turns in a parking lot. Do a bunch of them. Once you think you have the U-Turns down, try practicing figure 8s. The ultimate goal here is to be able to U-turn with your handlebars at full stop (turned as far in one direction as possible). Full Stop U-Turns, and full stop figure-8s are harder than they sound. When trying to get there I put my foot down more often than not. I still rarely do full-stop U-turns, but that's just because I need to practice more.

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