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#982574 - 03/20/17 11:56 AM Let's Talk About Lines
Kinsley Offline
Member

Registered: 09/02/02
Posts: 1924
Loc: ATL and to the Right
All riders have at least one thing in common...We choose to take on the Acceptable Risk of riding a motorcycle.
It's inherently more dangerous than almost any other form of transportation and we don't do it out of necessity, it's a choice. After making the choice it's in our best interest to learn how to avoid any kind of accident, so we may learn from friends, read books, or take instructional riding courses. All of these forms of information can help in your endeavor to keep the rubber side down, except possibly the advice from an occasional friend smile

There are two main points to consider when riding paved roads.
1: How to control the motorcycle
2: Where to put the motorcycle

Of course, the most immediate concern is How to control the motorcycle. How can you choose Where to be if you can't control it?
On BMWSportTouring.com we've had RideSmart, which explains body position and control of the motorcycle, offered for free from our generous members.
There are many track courses offered and one I highly recommend is Keith Code's California Superbike School where you can ride your own bike or rent a BMW S1000RR. Track schools are really good for showing you How to control the motorcycle, but it's not a real world experience where you might encounter unexpected off camber roads, decreasing radiuses, gravel, dogs, oncoming traffic, etc.

The aspect of riding where I think many people fall short on is Where to put the motorcycle. I believe many crashes could be avoided if proper lines were followed, allowing for the best vision and the most time to react to possible hazards.
I've read David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling books as well as Lee Park's Total Control.
I took a street course from Larry Grodsky, one of the safest riders I've ever met. He wrote Stayin' Safe articles for Rider Magazine as well as his book by the same name. His course mostly emphasized hazard avoidance, he assumed you knew How to ride. He had two way communications so he could give you real time instruction on what to look for. He would draw corners on the pavement with chalk and discuss where to be given different circumstances.
Sadly, Larry died by a deer strike in 2006. He had said the one thing he could not anticipate was a deer strike.

So, what lines are best/safest? Where do we put the motorcycle to give us the best chance to avoid ending our day (or worse) early?
I've combined my experience with what I've learned from previously mentioned instructors to come up with a methodology I use that has now become habit over the last few years. I've shared my thoughts with some other members of this Board and people I ride with, but I thought I would share them more broadly.

I don't have a catchy name for it, so it's a description: Out-In-In
Generally speaking, you would position yourself on the outside of the upcoming curve, shoot for a delayed apex, but stay on that inside line instead of going out.
So, follow me on this. When we ride our curvy roads most Left corners are followed by a Right and visa versa. Using a Left hander as an example, we would set up on the right side of the lane giving us the best vision of what's to come, looking at the Vanishing Point (the point where you can no longer see the road ahead) and trying to discern the Apex. In most cases, once the Apex has been exposed to us, we should delay our turn-in and make a delayed apex for several reasons. If we turn-in and apex too soon we expose ourselves to oncoming traffic where they would most likely be going wide in their Right hander. We would also see less of the road ahead because we are physically lower and we would naturally run to the outside of the curve on the exit, an Out-In-Out method. In my mind, planning to go to the outside on the exit is bad for several reasons. You could be entering a decreasing radius with no margin for error in your plan and you're now on the wrong side of the road for the probable Right hand corner coming up. By going Out-In-In, you build room for unforeseen hazards and you're automatically set up for the probable next corner, your "In" from the previous turn puts you in the "Out" position for the next. If it happens to be two Lefts or Rights back to back, you just drift over.

I have drawn an imperfect example to illustrate the lines I take. Your thoughts are welcome.

Ken

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"Ride fast enough that you can't take your mind off riding, but not fast enough to worry about crashing"

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#982581 - 03/20/17 01:00 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: Kinsley]
lkraus Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 1034
Loc: Central Ohio
Those are the principles of line choice that Streetmasters taught in a short workshop I attended at last year's MOA rally. One of the other attendees was new to riding and as we waited for our turn on the course she said she was having some trouble deciding where to begin her turn. I came up with a way of looking at things that seemed to help.

Imagine virtual walls along each side of your lane. One wall is on the center stripe, which you avoid to keep from "hitting your helmet" (keeping you from leaning into oncoming traffic). The other wall can be at the road edge or just onto the berm. On your helmet you have a laser beam projecting straight ahead. (To go with my Photon Blasters and StarGate button (garage door opener) wink )

Your goal is to maximize the distance the beam travels down the road before it hits a wall. Achieving the goal puts you on the outside of a turn until you see the exit, while encouraging a head turn to look where you want to go, rather than looking at the road directly in front of you.


Edited by lkraus (03/20/17 01:02 PM)
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2006 R1200RT

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#982584 - 03/20/17 01:38 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: lkraus]
Kinsley Offline
Member

Registered: 09/02/02
Posts: 1924
Loc: ATL and to the Right
Hi Larry,

That was a great way of getting the point across, I like it.

The focus is down the road, but at the same time a wider view is needed for seeing hazards like movement of cars off the side of the road, your turn-in point, etc.
It's very tiring to actually focus on each side of the road and look for surface hazards, check mirrors, etc all day long, so it's more peripheral vision and looking for movement or oddities.
_________________________
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www.insleyimages.com

"Ride fast enough that you can't take your mind off riding, but not fast enough to worry about crashing"

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#982588 - 03/20/17 01:56 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: Kinsley]
lkraus Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 1034
Loc: Central Ohio
Yes, you certainly need to be aware in all directions, and prioritize accordingly. For the limited purpose of picking a line, the opaque "walls" work pretty well to narrow down the safe choices. You still need your X-Ray vision to look through the walls and see potential hazards.


Edited by lkraus (03/20/17 02:17 PM)
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Larry
2006 R1200RT

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#982591 - 03/20/17 02:53 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: lkraus]
lkraus Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/11
Posts: 1034
Loc: Central Ohio
Imagining those "walls", and trying to maximize the length of my sight line has another effect.

Much of my riding is in southeast Ohio, with lots of tight curves and short hills with abrupt crests, woods encroaching on the road, gravel washing out from driveways, horse apples, deer, and other hazards. It is very easy to start making assumptions about what is coming up next, based on visual cues like gaps in the treeline, or which way a power line goes on the other side of a hill. So maybe I see the power line along the road begin to angle to the left, over the crest of a hill. So I position myself to the right side of the lane, and leave my speed alone since it looks like a gentle turn. Except the power line is going across the road, the road curves right, and I'm headed for the ditch. Imagining a solid wall at the edges of my lane subtracts the things that lead me to those false assumptions, and leaves only the visible pavement. Being more aware of just how short my sight line actually is, I can adjust my speed to match.
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Larry
2006 R1200RT

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#982592 - 03/20/17 02:59 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: Kinsley]
Kinsley Offline
Member

Registered: 09/02/02
Posts: 1924
Loc: ATL and to the Right
Larry Grodsky lived in Ohio and he mentioned the blind hills when I took his course.
There are many times when we make assumptions and we're probably correct 98% of the time. It's the 2% that can hurt.
_________________________
www.keninsleymodel.com
www.insleyimages.com

"Ride fast enough that you can't take your mind off riding, but not fast enough to worry about crashing"

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#982632 - 03/20/17 10:36 PM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: Kinsley]
chrisolson Offline
glue
Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1746
Loc: tucson arizona
On the street, its very simple for me ... if I can't see the exit, its late apex on lefts, and early apex on rights. So given your diagram, for the path on the left I'd be turning in much earlier on the second curve. Definitely slower, but definitely more margin against the car, or bike, over the line coming at you.

If I can see the exit, then its race lines all the time.

The other factor is - run your lines all the time - slow or fast makes no difference ... always practice.
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Chris
IBA 18417
85 VF500F
95 DR 350
99 R1100S
03 FZ1

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#982638 - 03/21/17 06:13 AM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: chrisolson]
eddd Offline
Member
Member

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 5718
Loc: Hurricane, UT

I'm with Mr. Olson in that street riding with limited sight lines changes my line. I often ride much further right than would be considered an "ideal" line as a safety precaution. I live 20 miles from Zion NP, 100 from the North Rim or Bryce Canyon, and RVs, many of them rentals, are super common. Add in boaters heading to Lake Powell and you have lots of traffic on some tight twisty roads with spectacular scenery. Drivers will crowd/cross the center line for a variety of reasons: looking at scenery, fear when driving on roads with steep drop-offs, limited experience with the rig they are driving, etc.
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09 Kawasaki KLX250
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#982741 - Yesterday at 11:40 AM Re: Let's Talk About Lines [Re: Kinsley]
The Rocketman Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/14
Posts: 698
Loc: Long Island, NY
Also need to keep in mind, especially in a multiple twist-turn road is to avoid target fixation at all cost. We all know, our bikes go where our eyes go. That's why its so important to keep your head up, eyes up and focus through and after the turns, not right where you are, and not to focus too long on on-coming traffic or road hazards.

Also, never panic. Natural reaction is to grab your brakes if you go into a turn too hot, or take the wrong line. Many times, disaster can be avoided by actually accelerating rather than braking, or just slightly coming off the throttle, or increasing lean angle. That takes confidence in your bike, tires and experience just knowing that your bike knows where to go and will generally stay up as long as you keep moving.
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2009 R1200RT
2002 R1200C Montana
2005 R1200C Montauk Commemorative Model "350" Piedmont Red & Silver # 328 of 350

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