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Preema
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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,
Watching the video clip in the post
Would you take your K16 here?
and in particular the switchback cornering line / technique at the thirteen minute mark makes me wonder why that line?
I’ve had this discussion with some of the guys I ride with and one of the instructors as opinion seems quite split.
The first two corners in this clip of me riding up an undeniably wider and better road show the line and speed I take this sort of hair pin.
This image is the map of those corners.
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I was wonder what others approach to these tight, 180 degree mountain corners is? I‘m not saying my line is best, it’s just the line I ride.
 

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My approach on switchbacks, and pretty much every tight corner, is whether I can see oncoming traffic. I find that a significant percentage of motorists are incapable of driving in one lane. As such, I hug the side of the road away from oncoming traffic. It ain't a race track out there, it is combat touring. The perfect line is the one that allows you to complete the ride.
 

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Flying Dutchman
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The perfect line for me is where I have the best view all around the corner and the biggest distance to other traffic. Sometimes both wishes are not possible, then you have to find a compromise...
 

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My approach on switchbacks, and pretty much every tight corner, is whether I can see oncoming traffic. I find that a significant percentage of motorists are incapable of driving in one lane. As such, I hug the side of the road away from oncoming traffic. It ain't a race track out there, it is combat touring. The perfect line is the one that allows you to complete the ride.
Excellent advice. When riding truly challenging switchbacks and hairpins, maintaining visibility is job#1.
 

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BTW: I ride a lot of switchbacks, most with a very steep gradient. Love them. Many so steep that video of other riders show me on top of them, like a drone.
Those rare gems are the best! Tennessee's Highway 421, The Snake, comes to mind. It has several hairpin switchbacks that are darned-near impossible to negotiate without touching a peg.

This picture is of switchbacks in the Colorado National Monument. As with The Snake or The Dragon, I find myself doubling back to ride and re-ride such stretches. Like you, if I can't see what's coming from the other direction, I hug the outside line.
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This picture is of switchbacks in the Colorado National Monument. As with The Snake or The Dragon, I find myself doubling back to ride and re-ride such stretches. Like you, if I can't see what's coming from the other direction, I hug the outside line.
I knew that location before reading your post! The switchbacks there were nice. The only problem is that you're riding in a National Monument, which really limits speeds. Thankfully, the scenery there was worth the crawl.
 

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The switchbacks there were nice. The only problem is that you're riding in a National Monument, which really limits speeds.
Sometimes... sometimes not!
 

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Guys,
Watching the video clip in the post
Would you take your K16 here?
and in particular the switchback cornering line / technique at the thirteen minute mark makes me wonder why that line?

I was wonder what others approach to these tight, 180 degree mountain corners is? I‘m not saying my line is best, it’s just the line I ride.
Well, it's just a guess, but they were likely riding to conditions; no decent visibility and wet road surface. My approach (most of the time) is to stay away from the oncoming lane to the limit of available visibility. I.e., I have no issue encroaching on the other lane as long as I can see I'm not going to be kissed by someone's front bumper.
 

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When they are really sharp and particularly steep as they transition, I tend to navigate or negotiate the corner, not cruise it. It’s not about how fast I can transition from apex to exit. This is particularly true on right hand turns on right hand driven roads. I’ve had some that were basically 1st gear and the goal was to not bog the motor or require engaging the clutch. If you screw it up and have to stop there’s a good chance the road surface is too far to reach on one side to maintain an upright position. Often on the right handers, too far to the right side means an even steeper incline, so starting near the yellow line and then staying in the center of the lane through exiting is the line. I reduce the goals to maintain momentum with throttle control, maintain lane discipline, maintain vertical orientation. It’s kinda fun because you’re rewarded for your focus and there’s risk if you don’t. You get to the top quickly and the next miles of curves likely aren’t as tight. I wouldn’t enjoy hours of these turns unless there was plenty of space between them to upshift and relax a bit.
 

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OK, as for the OP, my strategy is the one which allows for better vision, meaning I go wide before each bend then cut in at the last.

As for switchbacks, there is no standard line. The nature of a switchback is that the steep grade forces road designers to make many compromises in radius, super elevation (inclination of the roadway in or out) for the entire road width, and exceed normal road grades. Thus, each switchback is unique and deserves a great deal of attention and riding adjustment.

As for the line chosen, riding in the wrong lane (left), I saw a number of different approaches. I tend to be far more consistent.
 

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Whatever you do, make sure you're in a low gear.

Joe
 
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My methodology on curves, and basically every sharp corner, is whether I can see approaching traffic. I find that a huge level of drivers are unequipped for driving in one path. Accordingly, I embrace the roadside away from approaching traffic. It ain't a race track out there, it is battle visiting. with free guilds and quests
 

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I like the comment that you're not on a race track so you have to adjust your lines for the street and the fact that someone coming the other way may be crowding the center line (or over it). The best tip for any corner is to look through it to where you want to exit and keep your vision there through the corner. On a switchback, that means you should have your head turned completely into the turn before you tip the bike in.
 
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@Donna Lots and lots of advice here, hope its not confusing. Absolutely nothing wrong with the lines you took on your corners that I can see.

In Europe some of the roads are narrow and when taking this type of hairpin, its a bit more challenging, the first thing you lose is speed and that a problem, particularly when you are on a big bike. You will also have gradient and camber against you so stopping mid corner should be avoided.


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On the Bealach na Bà the road has two tight 180 hairpins at the top, it can catch bikers out very easily.

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When doing a mountain climb you might be using most or all of the tarmac. If I see someone coming down to the corner, I will stop and let them clear it.

Some vehicles need a few goes at going up or down.

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If I have to go very, very slow I will "hold" the bike with the back brake, that gives me more control.

On these types of roads it more about control at low speed than normal corning techniques.

One other thing I learned a long time ago on the Furka pass, Switzerland. I was climbing up it and at the apex of a tight hairpin corner I met a cyclist, (the mentality and rules for cyclists in Europe is very different, particularly around Tour De France time) anyway, he and I wanted the same square foot of planet Earth at exactly the same time and I had a decision to make.

I decided I wanted it more than him and I took that square foot, I am convinced that if I had changed my line, speed or anything else I would have dropped it. So, I carry that with me today, if I commit to the hairpin, I am gonna take it.

Hope that helps.
 

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I've ridden Stelvio and other alpine passes. There was one with a cobbled surface, I was grateful it was dry that day. Get the speed right before you start the corner, don't look down - look where you want the bike to go.
 

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It’s a road not a race track I look thru the corner I am not going so fast that I am leaning near or over the divider line. Many years ago I would ride more aggressively dive bomb the corners etc but what’s the point.

Ian
 
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