29 months ago

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V-Rod Riders - You're Leaning the Wrong Way

Sea Ranch, California, United States





FortNine gives an excellent description on YouTube called
"Motorcycle Riders - You're Leaning the Wrong Way"
for most of the factors involved in leaning your bike. There is just one other factor that requires unusual leaning skills, and that's if you ride a V-Rod. The stock V-Rod has almost no ground clearance and no lean angle to speak of, so riding mostly neutral, with some counter leaning in snake shaped twisties (for what we call throwing the bike over) while the rider stays basically vertical is a necessary skill. The bikes are very heavy so you use the bikes center of gravity more than your own to compensate for center of gravity changes in a turn. It can only lean so far, and then when the suspension compresses, or there's a high crown in the roadway you can run into trouble and need to shift center of gravity quickly with your body to save you in the turn.

All the sport bike guys can stop shaking your heads for now (and I assume we all know how to counter-steer)

So I'm only going to go in depth about how to ride a V-rod based on this question I received recently from.

V-Rod Counterlean
"I am looking for clarity on leaning vs. counter leaning a V-Rod. I read your post on ESR: On a V-Rod it is necessary to counter steer and counter lean. Sounds bizarre but if you try to knee drag, or even lean in the same direction the bike will drag on the ground and you'll be on the street in an instant."

You are dead right! or just dead if there's a car coming the other way in a turn when the frame under the fuel tank hits the ground, lifts the rear tire off the asphalt, and you slide out into the oncoming lane. As the video explains you're in deep Doo-Doo with almost no way to recover. Also if the frame and foot peg at the front of the bike catches the asphalt you completely lose your turn apex from lack of controlled steering.
Before I say anything else (and because you're already thinking you've got to be crazy to ride one of these things) I spent a lot of time and money modifying the suspension on my V-Rod to raise it up to the maximum the design limitations would allow. I've tried several different tire designs, and so far have found the Pirelli Night Dragons to give me the best lean angle on the raised up suspension. Overall it was a huge improvement on lean angle, and I can now lay the bike over and lean into the turn at high speeds. just remember, this bike was originally designed to be a drag bike, and later released to be a bar hopper. It was really only designed to go in a straight line with very limited turning radius. That wasn't an option for me. I had to release the Porsche motor to do what it was born to do. High speed twisties.



Notice in the picture above the extremely wide cantilevered section just in front of the rear tire. When leaned over in a turn care must be taken not to exceed the lean angle. Unfortunately if you compress the suspension at this lean angle you're screwed, and the sub-frame lifts the tire off the asphalt. This guy is a professional rider so take note he is not exactly leaning into the turn, and somewhere between neutral and counter lean, in a full counter steer front tire position that is partly due to the extra wide 240 tire shifting the center line of the bike into an offset to the side you are turning into. In this position the bike feels more like a flat tracker in the turn, and as we all know flat tracking uses counter lean.

More later:
V-Rod Riders - You're Leaning the Wrong Way

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