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BSA_WM20, Chris the camper., D.Bachtel, Gordon Gray, gunner, Howard Inough, Hugh Jörgen, kevin, L.A.B., MikeG, NickL, TripleTown, triton thrasher
Total Likes: 18
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Chris the camper.
Chris the camper.
A general discussion of the physics of motorcycle steering (so it applies to all Britbikes). I got especially interested in this subject when I recently started practicing (and I'm still practicing i.e novice) Motogymkhana on my Norton Commando. I now use a 500 GPz two cylinder Kwak as I'm not too concerned about dropping it on the very tight turns involved. As soon as I've fitted some suitable crash protection to the Norton I'll be using that again.

Please check out the following video for a demonstration of some tight radius cornering techniques/theory and further discussion.

Liked Replies
by Shane in Oz
Shane in Oz
4 members like this
by NickL
Just ride on until you get a wider bit of road.
Nuts to all that rider ability crap, i'm too old and never was good enough for it.
3 members like this
by BSA_WM20
[quote=Chris the camper.

You have some very strange ideas regarding motorcycle steering and what affects it. You can fit modern tyres to old bikes. Clutch cables can work very smoothly and as easily as hydraulic. For those riders who fear dropping their bike fit crash bars. You don't need somebody to make further training compulsory to take further training. If you want to improve your bike control then take as many motorcycle courses as you can and/or join a motogymkhana group. Classic bikes are as capable of performing full lock u-turns as modern bikes. You just need to practice.[/quote]

Well find me a 9" wide tyre that will fit on a WM 20 , B40, A 65 or anything else that came out of the BSA factory.
In fact simply finding a standard tyre now days is some what of a marathon event unless you want to fit a H rated tyre that will be worn illegal the first time you ride on a 30+ degree day.
Go back through the archives on this forums alone and seek out all of the threads complaining about wrist breaking clutches & how to make them lighter or even get them to lift cleanly.
Then follow up with all of the posts about how to stop them slipping under high torque situations & the riding techniques in most of the videao would put the clutches under quite a heavy load.
Hydraulic clutches are significantly lighter than mechanical ones, that is why they were invented, to allow clutches with very high clamping force to be used on a motorcycle with a relatively short lever using very little effort , with no power assistance. Otherwise they would still be fitted with cables that are a lot lot cheaper than a hydraulic clutch.
Add to that most modern clutches will respond to much less lift and do not suffer from brinelling on the drum slots because they are continually splined.

And for the heck ot it I just have come back from a ride on the M20
Managed 5 out of 8 full lock U turns without having to put the foot down ( bit of a surprise actually )
Three on bitumen and the rest on rough grass or gravel
Also noted very little lean required to do it .
I normally would not have paid attention to how much lean was needed , but this thread had the little grey wheels turning.
I did win a rider training session quite a while ago at a charity event .
Took the rigid girder M20 along and was told to go home because their advance rider course was not applicable to that type of motorcycle.
Back before Public Liability was a problem & motorcyclist could manage to have a meal without a beer we used to have regular gymkhanas or do a few gymkhana type of events at picnic & presidents days but now you can not find anywhere to host them .
Of course back then we were young fit & pristine while the bikes were old worn out and cheap so if we dropped them we would not he seriously hurt & the bikes were cheap & easy to repair.
Now days we are old worn out & cheap while the bikes are pristne expensive & almost irreplaceable

Now while I am in broad agreement with the ideolgy of you post please do not sit there and try to say that everything you can do a modern motorcyle we can do on 50+ year old motorcycles
That is tandamount to saying that there has been little no advances in motorcycle designs since 1972 ( remember this is the BSA forum ) .
2 members like this
by Rich B
Rich B
Wanna learn motorcycle steering? Of any era?

Do 2 things.....

Take a course in riding trials. Trials teaches you more about body/throttle control of a motorcycle than other discipline

Race a studded motorcycle on ice. You will learn more about bringing an out of control motorcycle back into control than you can anywhere else

Both have made me a better rider in anything else I have ever tried.....
1 member likes this
by DavidP
Lean vs counter steer? Somehow I never thought about it, I just use whatever combination points me in the right direction to get through the corner without falling over or crossing the center line. If I thought about it that much I'd probably end up in the ditch.
Maybe if I set my idle up high and rode around in parking lots with no hands on the bars it would become clear to me. At least I could get a spot in the Shriner's parade, or the circus. laughing
1 member likes this
by Hillbilly bike
Hillbilly bike
Here is me testing motorcycle theory on a old Honda last year....The theory
was to prove slow turns do not require counter steering. But some say I am counter steering.This Honda so called dirt bike is surprising clumsy at slow speed..[video]
1 member likes this
by Shane in Oz
Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by Chris the camper.
Trials, motocross or road racer are all motorcycles following a common design. They have different steering characteristics but respond to the same rider inputs. Majority of bikes are a compromise of design because they have to cope with changing track or road conditions at variable speeds. A trail bike will easily u-turn with an experienced rider onboard.
My reply got lost in the aether somewhere, but was very similar to your update.
Yep, I quite agree that practice makes quite a difference. As a former sheep/wheat farmer, I learned to ride on a trail bike as a teenager and have ridden them in all sorts of conditions ranging from droughts to floods. No amount of practice makes them any less clumsy at low speeds, but one gets used to it.

As an aside, the old ag trikes were a blast as well, but quads are as boring as hell. More practical, but boring smile

ps on the subject of clumsy, take the motogymkhana bike down to the park after rain and try a few figure 8s on the wet grass
1 member likes this
by Chris the camper.
Chris the camper.
Originally Posted by Hillbilly bike
On experience...Experience ,even at entry level trumps no experience...My opinion is directed at no one in particular, but there's a lot of experts that have never picked up a tool or raced but thanks to the keyboard and Google, we have more experts than ever...
I am an expert at nothing other than it takes near 60 rear wheel HP to get a lowered naked frame bike to hit 135 mph top speed....

You talking about experience riding a bike on the road, riding a bike around a race track or riding a bike in a straight line? All three of those qualify as racing...unless your definition of racing means a timing instrument must be involved. So if I ride my bike fast around a track on a track day but don't get a buddy to time me, that doesn't count as racing? So what, the main thing is having fun, no matter what you ride. Crashing when the rider gets injured or the bike is expensively damaged is not fun in my book. Which is the point of the thread, getting in training and practice so you don't crash, and have more fun riding your motorbike...and even doing u-turns without crashing. wink
1 member likes this
by Hillbilly bike
Hillbilly bike
And maybe that's why I don't race... Hell, just starting the bike tax's my ability...The first ride on my first bike lasted lees than a mile before I crashed into a stone wall..I'm so bad that women scream for children to take cover as I approach....It's a horror show of dead bodies ...
let's see videos of you or the bikes you have built , eh?
1 member likes this
by Mike Baker
Mike Baker
Do you race, Mr Camper? Those little balls of rubber you refer to are not from the tire shucking it's outermost skin to the edge. The balls are the hot tire picking up rubber from the track. We raced Carolina Motorsports Park in 2020 on a brand new track surface. Almost no one had been on it before our event. I had never seen such a bunch of clean tires, none that I saw had the ragged appearance one normally sees at a race. This year, things were back to normal. After a season of racing at the venue, everyone's tires looked shaggy.
1 member likes this
by Shane in Oz
Shane in Oz
It's probably a mistake to not let tis sleeping dog lie, but it's a rainy day and I got stuck on youtube.

is an example of the differences required for dirt riding.
1 member likes this
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