Counter-balancing and why you should give it a try
I get this question a lot; why don’t you talk about counter-balancing? Actually, I do talk about counter-balancing in my videos. In fact, I also demonstrate it in my New Ride Like a Pro video.
What I don’t do is include counter-balancing in the three techniques, which of course are, the proper use of your head and eyes, the friction zone and the rear brake.
It’s been my experience that once a rider gets comfortable with the three techniques, counter-balancing will come about naturally or instinctively. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “counter-balancing”, it simply means shifting your weight to the high side of the motorcycle when the bike is leaning. Shifting your weight to the high side gives your bike a little more lean angle before scraping the pegs or the floorboards.
For most situations while maneuvering the bike at low speeds, to counter-balance, all you need do is shift your shoulders to the high side while letting the bike lean under you. For extremely tight turns, as in police style motorcycle rodeos or when practicing 18’ turns on a heavyweight bike, you’ll find it helpful to actually shift your butt off the seat to the high side.
You can practice this technique of shifting to the extreme, even if you’re not leaning the bike to its lean limits. All you need to do is make some big figure 8’s at 10 or 15 mph and shift your butt off the seat to the right when turning left and quickly to the left side when turning to the right.
The most important thing is to TURN YOUR HEAD AND EYES to the extreme at the same time you’re shifting your weight. The tighter the turn you are trying to make, the faster and further you’ll want to turn your head and eyes.
Remember, at high speeds it’s the opposite. About 30 mph or higher, you’ll want to lean with the bike. At the same time, you must keep your head and eyes level with the horizon. If you lean your head with the bike, you’ll find yourself getting vertigo and that will cause you to quickly lose control.
If you’ve ever watched motorcycle racing, you’ve seen the riders leaning so low off the bike their knees are scraping the ground. If you’re trying to do that on a heavyweight motorcycle, you’re on the wrong bike.
In closing, give counter-balancing a try. It’s fun and it will help improve your low speed skills.
I’ll be performing my rider skills shows during the Cotee River Bike Fest in New Port Richey, October 7th, 8th and 9th. If you’re having problems making those U-turns or slow speed maneuvers, make sure to stop by and watch me and my Ride Like a Pro team in action. I’ll have all my videos and book available at my booth and any questions you have, I’ll be there to answer them for you.
Till next month, get out there and practice.
Jerry “Motorman” Palladino www.ridelikeapro.com