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Thread: Factors contributing to good low-speed maneuverability?

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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! phendric's Avatar
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    Factors contributing to good low-speed maneuverability?

    So, the title says it all. Surprisingly, a Google search on this hasn't turned much up for me - what are the factors that give a motorcycle good low-speed maneuverability? A couple things come to mind right off the bat:

    • Wheelbase: A shorter axle-to-axle difference means the bike can make tighter turns.
    • CoG: I don't know this, but I'd guess a low center of gravity means the bike doesn't want to tip over nearly as much at low speeds.
    • Tire pressure?
    • Characteristics of engine power delivery?
    • Bike weight?
    • Angle of front wheel/tire at full lock?
    • Steering geometry (rake/trail)?
    • Suspension characteristics?
    • What else?


    As you can see, I have ideas of things that affect maneuverability, but don't necessarily know how they do.
    Current bike: 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

    Previous bikes: 2000 Honda VFR800, 2006 Kawasaki ZX-10R, 2001 Triumph Sprint ST, 2001 Suzuki GS500

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    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! ds5160's Avatar
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    Handlbar style

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    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! mudarra's Avatar
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    Rider skill.
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    Current Bike(s) - 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650 'Guacamole', 04 Yamaha XT225
    Previous Bikes - 06 Yamaha FJR1300, 08 Kawasaki Versys, 05 Honda 919, 04 Kawasaki ZZR600, 04 Yamaha V-Star 650

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    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... twizted1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudarra View Post
    Rider skill.
    THIS!

    A good rider on a "bad" handling bike will outperform a bad rider on a "good" handling bike most any day of the week.
    Rain or Shine 7 - May 22-24, 2015 - Monterey, TN

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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! phendric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twizted1 View Post
    THIS!

    A good rider on a "bad" handling bike will outperform a bad rider on a "good" handling bike most any day of the week.
    Okay, point taken. But what if you have the same rider evaluating two different bikes? What factors/specs will make one bike perform better than the other in parking lot maneuvers?
    Current bike: 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

    Previous bikes: 2000 Honda VFR800, 2006 Kawasaki ZX-10R, 2001 Triumph Sprint ST, 2001 Suzuki GS500

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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! phendric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds5160 View Post
    Handlbar style
    I assume that by this, you mean that a wider bar allows more fine-tuned steering inputs than a narrow bar?

    I'm hoping, too, that people will fill in all of the points I left question marks on (i.e., does lower or higher tire pressure lead to better handling?).
    Current bike: 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

    Previous bikes: 2000 Honda VFR800, 2006 Kawasaki ZX-10R, 2001 Triumph Sprint ST, 2001 Suzuki GS500

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    Flirting With The Redline 4000 Posts! Trials's Avatar
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    If we are talking what makes one bike handle stellar and another handle like a turd, the title slightly missed the mark

    I think the formula for making a bike handle well makes little difference if it is high speed or low speed considerations. Good handling hopefully refers to how the bike responds to changes in direction, not stability only in a smooth, straight line.

    Lightweight but extremely rigid frame construction combined with quality suspension is critical to a good handling motorcycle, fast or slow.

    Short wheelbase is good but even more important; you need a long swingarm,
    ...and the closer the swingarm pivot point is to the countershaft sprocket, the less you need to worry about chain tension changes.

    When it gets bumpy; low unsprung weight is important because the suspension has less inertia to deal with.

    Rear suspension components that feature external nitrogen gas reservoirs have a distinct advantage in heavy use, as the internal generated heat in lesser units renders them useless.

    ...there's lots more but I gotta go ride now

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    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phendric View Post
    So, the title says it all. Surprisingly, a Google search on this hasn't turned much up for me - what are the factors that give a motorcycle good low-speed maneuverability? A couple things come to mind right off the bat:

    • Wheelbase: A shorter axle-to-axle difference means the bike can make tighter turns.
    • CoG: I don't know this, but I'd guess a low center of gravity means the bike doesn't want to tip over nearly as much at low speeds.
    • Tire pressure?
    • Characteristics of engine power delivery?
    • Bike weight?
    • Angle of front wheel/tire at full lock?
    • Steering geometry (rake/trail)?
    • Suspension characteristics?
    • What else?


    As you can see, I have ideas of things that affect maneuverability, but don't necessarily know how they do.
    • Tire pressure: More specifically, tire contact patch. Narrow high pressure tires let the tire roll around better, to initiate the lean required. One reason why front tires are narrower than rear tires, and why skinny dirtbike tires outmaneuver fat cruiser tires.
    • Characteristics of engine power delivery: Ideally the motor is just small enough to make the bike go. Like Trial's bike, very low inertia from the motor to overcome, vs the big spinning flywheel of a big twin. OTOH the larger motor has the gyroscopic effect to keep it moving slowly in a straight line.
    • Bike weight: Obviously the lighter bike wins here.
    • Angle of front wheel/tire at full lock: A vertical steering axis would turn the wheel instantly in the direction of steering. Anything off vertical would tip the tire and rely on the lean and combination of rake/trail to turn.
    • Steering geometry (rake/trail): Short rakes and trails are more reponsive than huge rakes and trails - which effectively lengthen wheelbase and slow transitions.
    • Suspension characteristics: Obviously, light unsprung mass (brakes, wheels, tires) make turning the handlebars easier and more responsive than heavier components. Moreso when those bits are spinning, acting as a gyroscope.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle...cycle_geometry

    The same characteristics that make a motorcycle maneuverable at low speeds, however, also make it more nervous at high speeds; where you want the opposite for stability. To that end, sportbike manufacturers put things like steering dampers on to effectively dampen the oscillations at high speeds. Without them you would get the feared head shake or death wobble. (think wonky shopping cart wheel)
    When life throws you curves, aim for the apex

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    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! mudarra's Avatar
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    Define what you mean be "handle better".

    Do you mean - tighter turning radius? ease of slow speed maneuvers? of what?????

    Riding slow is hard to do. And riders that do it well, can do it well on ANY bike. I watched LDS do a circle around me (repeatably) at a gas stop on our way to branson. On his harley, which has a long wheelbase, and is a fairly heavy bike. I couldn't do what he did on ANY bike. Rider skill will determine how tight a turn a bike can make before it falls over. Some riders can counter-lean a certain bike farther than other riders on that same bike. So once again. It's the rider.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Larry

    Current Bike(s) - 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650 'Guacamole', 04 Yamaha XT225
    Previous Bikes - 06 Yamaha FJR1300, 08 Kawasaki Versys, 05 Honda 919, 04 Kawasaki ZZR600, 04 Yamaha V-Star 650

  10. #10
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    The question of what makes a good handling bike is infinitly more complex than your list. Ideally it's a combination of low speed maneuverability and high speed stablity. A nimble canyon carver does not necessarily make the most comfortable cruiser or vice versa. You need to talk to riders and the internet to find what is or is not a good handling bike.

    The Honda Hawk GT650, for example, is a good handling bike. But you could probably write a thesis as to why.
    When life throws you curves, aim for the apex

    06 Thruxton 900 "Crumpet" \ 08 Spyder RS SM5 "big Bird" \ 12 S'TtripleR "stripper"
    Sold: 97 Ninja 500R / 03 SV650N / 01 Ducati 750SS / 73 CB350-Four / 03 BMWF650GS / 08 Gixxer600 / 09 KLX250S "Gumby" / 91 VFR750 /03 Gixxer6 the bass boat
    my Facebook, SpeedShotsPhotography
    MITGC #22

    "I have seen fat kids on Segways go through corners faster."

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