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Recently in another forum I visit a question came up about downhill corning. This got me thinking that I don't know much about it. I actually live near the 6th highest hill in Florida at a staggering 253 feet so that really does not count.

What I'm looking for is good instructional video. All I've found so far is crash video and although you can learn from those...I would rather do it right the first time, every time. I pick up enough bad habits hanging out with this crowd! :lol:

Well it will not come in handy now it might in the future and I would hate to be somewhere in the Blue Ridge mountains going "Oh Oh".
 

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I know how you feel. I also live in flat Southern Florida. Never having rode down hill while cornering my instincts tell me to go very slow at least till I get more confidence in my style of riding.
 

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Head and eyes up , Look through the corner ! use the rear brake only if at all possible.

Using the front brake will cause the bike to stand up more vertically and change your line.

If you cannot see all the way through the corner , slow down !

Stay confident and be smooth . If you do not have any elevation to practice on , try using the on / off ramp to the freeway outside of town .
 

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I've ridden very crooked mountain roads all my life and I've never given it a second thought. As I think about it, I mostly use my front brake and just a little of the rear brake. I do slow down enough to take evasive action if there is something in or on the road in or around the curve. Gravel, a coal truck on your side and other things teach you to be careful with your speed and attention.
 

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Same for me. Cornering going downhill is like cornering any other time and requires pretty much the same techniques. Maybe it would help if you told us what the other forum was saying was different about it.
 

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Thinking about it a little more, about the only difference I can come up with is that you are usually going through the corners on a closed throttle and don't use as much throttle coming out of the corner.
 

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Conventional wisdom says;
Get your braking done before entering the corner, apply throttle as needed and come out faster.

I see folks everyday up here in the mountains, entering a blind or even not blind corner , no brake lights,
then about half way in the brake lights come on , the bike stands up , goes wide /over the double yellow lines . If they are lucky they can keep a clear head , counter steer back to a better position , but usually they end up off the road or at the very least stopped on the shoulder on the wrong side of the road.
I hear them later on telling their equally moronic buddies how they managed to save the big one , due to a dog/bird/mysterious flying object, etc getting in their way and causing the whole stupid mess.
I admit that i don't get it right every time myself, but I at least know who was at fault and why.

It's just plain , practice makes perfect, and practicing on the public road is akin to semi controlled suicide.
 

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Some rules of thought come to mind...
1. Never count on the blind portion of the corner to be clear. You could have a vehicle parked so the occupants can scatter to take pictures, rocks or sand, or even a descending radius curve.
2. Look to the exit, or as far as you can see. Your bike will follow your eyes.
3. Don't exceed the speed you can safely handle the bike within that sight distance.

You have some advantages in taking corners fast going uphill. If you get in trouble, backing off the throttle on the 400 is smooth and won't upset the balance or grip of the bike. You'll stop in a much shorter distance than if going on level ground. Going downhill presents a different issue. If you are going down a steep hill on a 400, chances are you will lose your engine braking. The brakes will hold you though even down some really steep hills. Your weight distribution is now way out of wack. The rear will be light and will lock up if you grab it hard enough. The key is to keep your speed under control following those ideas above. If you do, you won't load the front too much.

Chris
 

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Daboo said:
Some rules of thought come to mind...
1. Never count on the blind portion of the corner to be clear. You could have a vehicle parked so the occupants can scatter to take pictures, rocks or sand, or even a descending radius curve.
2. Look to the exit, or as far as you can see. Your bike will follow your eyes.
3. Don't exceed the speed you can safely handle the bike within that sight distance.

You have some advantages in taking corners fast going uphill. If you get in trouble, backing off the throttle on the 400 is smooth and won't upset the balance or grip of the bike. You'll stop in a much shorter distance than if going on level ground. Going downhill presents a different issue. If you are going down a steep hill on a 400, chances are you will lose your engine braking. The brakes will hold you though even down some really steep hills. Your weight distribution is now way out of wack. The rear will be light and will lock up if you grab it hard enough. The key is to keep your speed under control following those ideas above. If you do, you won't load the front too much.

Chris
:thumbup: :thumbup: GOOD ADVICE FOR ANYONE.....!!!!!!! +10
 

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Having learned to ride in the hills of middle Tennessee, I picked up on a lot of experience. I am almost always faster and more comfortable going up hill. Gravity might have a bit to do with it as your tires are pressing harder on an up hill incline plane as opposed to unloading on a down hill. Every ridden a roller coaster, same effect.

If it is your first time up or down a hill, go slow, read the road, and determine the line. If you will just be passing through, I find the posted corner speed limit signs are a good rule of thumb in the USA, they usually are conservative, and safe.

Stay off the rear brake in a down hill corner, especially most definitely and with out a doubt period . I recently entered a corner (first time on it too) way to fast, and I missed an important warning sign. It was a down hill decreasing radius left. If I had touched the brakes I would be in the hurt box. After the parts quit scraping, I pushed on full left counter steer and stayed on the road by using the tiny bit of pavement outside of the white line.

Here is a link if your are interested.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=60934

Be safe my friends.
 

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There is no substitute for practice to get you comfortable with riding downhill into corners. Almost everything I could think of has been posted - keep your eyes looking to where you want to go. NEVER look at where the bike is pointed during a corner - you'll end up going there if you do. One thing not mentioned is the attitude of your head - and I'm not talking about good or bad attitude - I'm talking about how level to the horizon your head/eyes are. If you tilt your head even to the horizon you'll take less notice of how much tilt the bike is vs level ground. Watch the MC races on TV some time. Those guys are always leveling their head/eyes with the horizon. Uphill - downhill - keep your head and eyes level when you are looking into that corner. You have to scrape the underneath parts pretty hard to upset the bike completely. And the bike is more capable of hard cornering than you might think.
 

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Fatjock said:
Getting hill riding tips from Norfolk is certainly akin to getting them from Florida.... :lol:
:lol: You forget that my country being the size of your state, means I don't have to travel far to see and ride hills and mountains! :twisted:
 

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I saw a cartoon years ago relating to this subject. It showed a biker rounding a sharp turn with a highway sign warning
"Dangerous turn ahead, speed 25 MPH". Of course the biker ignored the sign and went off the road. The next picture in the cartoon showed him at the bottom of the embankment all smashed up with a sign reading, "We told you so!"
 

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DandyDoug said:
Head and eyes up , Look through the corner ! use the rear brake only if at all possible.

Using the front brake will cause the bike to stand up more vertically and change your line.

If you cannot see all the way through the corner , slow down !

Stay confident and be smooth . If you do not have any elevation to practice on , try using the on / off ramp to the freeway outside of town .
We ride through the mountains all the time. Roll off on the throttle as you descend and the engine braking does an excellent job of slowing the bike down, even on very steep hills. There's a road outside Baker City, Oregon that drops 4000 ft in twelve miles, almost like a ski run in some places. The Duffy Lake Road in BC has a stretch that is a 17% grade, and again, just take your foot off the gas and coast down, let the bike check it's momentum. Use the rear brake to slow the bike and the front brake when stopping.

The rest is common sense. Ride within your limits. Don't overdrive a corner, i.e. don't go in any faster than you can see. Let your sightlines dictate your speed, especially on steep twisty roads. You never know what may lie ahead — big rocks, gravel, a deer, a tree, a car wreck, a sinkhole, tar snakes — anything could be there, sudden impact at speed if you're going to fast to react. Seen it happen.

SLOW DOWN when there is a sign saying SLOW DOWN. They are usually there for a reason. There is another stretch of road in Montana, a long, steep, twisty downhill and at the bottom there is a big yellow sign with an arrow pointing left that says (ahem) 5 mph. Just around the very sharp corner there is a bridge abutment rising from the center of the road with a bunch of white crosses on it. I thought 5 mph was stupid overkill until I saw the bridge.

Watch for pea gravel in the corners, especially early in the season. It's common where there is lots of snow in the winter, not a hazard you have in Florida! That crap will dump a bike quickly. Accelerate carefully through the corner without getting carried away and let the bike do the work at checking the speed as you continue downhill.

Probably the only tricky thing is learning to feather the throttle it to control when the bike downshifts, but that's more getting used to the bike. I don't use the manual shift feature. Riding in mountains is really quite easy, just like riding a Burgman.

Regards
Scott Fraser
Calgary, Alberta
 

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As I live in West Virginia, this is a big concern for me. I'm pretty much a "newbie", and my heart is in my mouth quite a bit.
 

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dsfraser said:
Probably the only tricky thing is learning to feather the throttle it to control when the bike downshifts, but that's more getting used to the bike. I don't use the manual shift feature. Riding in mountains is really quite easy, just like riding a Burgman.

Regards
Scott Fraser
Calgary, Alberta
Whilst I agree with all that you say, I do think there is more control on the mountain twisty roads using the bike's manual shift. Just got back from a 12 day trip to Spain and Portugal and I have to say the only times I used 'auto + power' was in built up street riding and only because of the slow riding control it gives
 
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