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I went for a 2 hour ride today up towards calistoga (northern CA) and surrounding areas. I rarely get to go out and practice and was really trying to get comfortable with faster curves and more lean angles.

One thing I have problems with is going down steep curvy grades. I am much faster going up hill then downhill, and was wondering if I am the only one.

Travis
 

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Nope, you're not the only one. I'd say that ride as much as 50% faster going uphill on the steep curvy stuff - easier to stay on the throttle and to slow down.
 

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Motorcycles handle upward or downward turns the same. The difference is in putting rider weight on the handlebars. When going uphill, it's natural to sit back and be very light on the bars (as well as getting a better feedback on acceleration/deceleration), but not so downhill. When you put weight on the bars you have to steer harder to overcome it.

The way to avoid putting weight on the bars is by hugging the tank with the thighs and holding your body upright with your back, and leaving the bars for steering purposes only. Check that you're not locking your elbows by tucking/folding your arms in from time to time. That's also a reason to brake before the turn and let go in the turn itself. Braking will move weight forward to the steering head.

BTW, engine braking has all the effects of braking, but while you can let go of the brake lever, you usually carry engine braking with you through the turn, and should therefore get in the turn slow enough so you can accelerate to overcome it.

An exercise that will convince you it's possible to ride downhill without weighing on the bars: put the side stand down, sit on the bike in riding position, fold your arms on your chest, and have someone push your back forward. Hug the tank and resist the push with your back without using your hands.
 

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Uphill is easier on you.
You will use the uphill as a speed or force decreaser,
you will have more control on using the torque/power of your bike (Monster) because the uphill is smoothing it out with is force.....
Anyway, all the other things already mentioned, uphill is easier,
downhill is a bit harder, if you let it be.... anyway it is different.
You have more force carrying you and the bike down. So you need to be more on your brakes and speed increase is faster, you will come to a corner faster.
Also with a handle bars very low, downhill with steep curves (curve with a downhill) can put a lot of pressure on your front tire. Careful to not let it slip.
You will also see that you will be riding on the wrong lane more often in a middle of a "curve in a downhill" ... I call these lucky close calls....

So you are right. But you can also go downhill very fast under control, if you practise. Unfortunately there are not many "tracks" like that, I mean closed off from nannies and grannies.... and teenage tune up maniacs.... or a milk truck.

Ride safe, ride hard.

Skier
 

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Skier, if I understand you correctly, you are in fact saying that you go faster downhill. I agree that mastering it is another issue.
 

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Yes, I think downhill is harder for everyone. Much harder to get the braking right and then power through the corner than uphill.

The area around Calistoga is full of incredible rides. Lots of challenges there. Plus Bennett Valley Rd. is one of the prettiest sections of road I know.
 

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uphill - you ride a bike with AMAZING brakes, throttle modulaion and tire traction

downhill - POOR brakes, throttle modulation and tire traction

That about sums it up for me :)
 

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...The way to avoid putting weight on the bars is by hugging the tank with the thighs and holding your body upright with your back...
How do you do that and drag a knee? ;D

Seriously though, at times I do hang off the side a bit (nothing close to dragging a knee or anything and I'm not trying to) mostly to keep the bike more upright when traction is questionable and 'cause it's fun - it would certainly be difficult to do that on a downhill section with the technique you described.
 

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How do you do that and drag a knee? ;D

Seriously though, at times I do hang off the side a bit (nothing close to dragging a knee or anything and I'm not trying to) mostly to keep the bike more upright when traction is questionable and 'cause it's fun - it would certainly be difficult to do that on a downhill section with the technique you described.
When you hang off you take weight off the handlebars. What's more, it would actually help you hang off if your elbows are loose and not applying weight on the handlebars. The best kind of roads to test this on with immediate feedback are tight descents. If you're stiff and weighing on the bars you'll have a hard time, but as soon as you start loosening your arms and support your body against the tank you'll notice quicker steering. Those descents are the best practice in handling.
 

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jeeez... and all this time I thought going down hill was harder for me cause i was afraid of heights! ::)

seriously, thanks for the tips for better downhilling
 

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Mike........ You need to to come watch the boys on Grizzley Peak, they will show you how to drag a knee. Last week when I was in Yosemite the downhills were extremly severe, I hate downhill for many reasons. When they are steeper forget it. But, I was with Kelly who is younger than me and is a excellent rider she has no issues with the knee drag and flaunts it openly. (Witch) She has been really helping me get over my downhill fear and using several of the techniques that have been mentioned. I am hoping to be in that knee dragging catagory next year, on #9 ;)
 
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Don't feel alone, I live in the land of up-and-down twisties. Uphills are just easier to control, but when you reason it out they're all just tilted flat corners. A pair of Sportecs will help, too ;D.
 

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I am just finishing up this rear tire, decided to plunk down for a super sticky Pirelli. I figure I will try it out if I like how it performs I will buy another.
 

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awesome thread! @sivan, thanks for the tutorial. makes me want to shoot up to bear mountain and try these techniques out right now (think i will).

can't wait to get a new shock in the back ands new forks up front. think that will help loads. i'm always afraid i will scrape my feet/pegs on sharp turns.
 

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I'm not much of an expert, but when you hang off, be careful where your upper body is, NOT into oncoming traffic :)
 
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