4.0 Recommendation to increase driving precision and safety:

4.1 Torso-Arms-Handlebar Recommendation 2003-05-01:

A) At standstill before starting: Lean your torso to the right or left in order to make sure that the handlebar and front wheel are oriented in the opposite direction by the Torso-Arms-Handlebar mechanism, as shown here:

B) During normal riding: Don’t steer by turning the handlebar. Keep elbows slightly flexed and steer by leaning your torso sideways and forwardly towards where you want to go. The Torso-Arms-Handlebar mechanism will automatically control the handlebar orientation.

C) Occasionally when riding: Practice a Slalom Drill consisting of stiffening and possibly straightening up the arms, and rapidly leaning right or left in order to do a tight slalom on the road (no more than 100mm – 4 inches wide). This can be done when going straight or a few seconds before going into a turn. It gives a feel of the 2-Wheeler following you, your body and even your intention of going in any direction.

4.2 How, when and where is this recommendation useful:

A) The first part of the recommendation, at standstill before starting, helps making sure that the Torso-Arms-Handlebar mechanism works normally and that the rider feels it.

B) The second part during normal riding is similar to the Countersteering technique, except that the emphasis is not placed on pushing or pulling on one side or the other of the handlebar, in order to let the rider act as he would naturally do and in order to avoid having him make a reasoning and lose time doing so in emergency situations.

C) When riding normally, it’s useful to keep arms and elbows flexible to avoid getting cramped, in order to absorb vibrations transmitted through the handlebar and absorb front wheel movements in case of sudden wobble. But too much flexibility slows down the Torso-Arms-Handlebar mechanism and acts like a loose car power steering. So occasionally when riding, a Slalom Drill is also recommended to develop increased steering precision. Such precision is required for example, when riding fast on a highway and taking an exit. The road often narrows to a single vehicle width with a concrete wall or steel fence on each side. Sometimes, it also unexpectedly turns left. Another example of such situations is when going down a steep hill with a cliff alongside a curve. Still another example is when going downhill on a mountain bicycle: The 2-Wheeler may have to be kept in a tight path less than the handlebar width in curves on gravel, while jumping up and down and avoiding side slips.

D) The simple recommended Slalom Drill also helps developing the automatic reaction of straightening and rigidifying the arms and elbows, in order to react fast and precisely in case of an emergency. An example of such an emergency is on the highway, when an object falls from a vehicle in front of a motorcycle. The automatic reaction developed will help avoid the obstacle faster and more precisely to realign the motorcycle in a side lane, without going in the wrong direction, overshooting or losing control.

E) This Slalom Drill also helps  avoiding target fixation and freezing in front of a danger. An example is when a rider has not been riding for a while. He could be getting closer to a big intimidating truck coming in the opposite direction on a narrow 2-way road. The rider could then be frightened and could freeze for a fraction of a second. If he starts thinking about countersteering, precious time may be lost thinking and a push or pull on the wrong side of the handlebar may be fatal.
The Slalom Drill helps feeling secure with 2-Wheel steering and thus helps to avoid freezing. Also, the Slalom Drill helps not to think, to avoid losing time thinking and to avoid thinking wrong. The Slalom Drill rather helps to feel and maintain the man-machine relation where the 2-Wheeler always follows the rider’s torso. Thus, if a curve and a big truck appear, the rider simply reacts fast by shifting his eyes, head, torso and body towards where he wants to go and the 2-Wheeler simply follows in the curve while avoiding the truck.

F) The Slalom Drill is further helpful on roads with grooves in the pavement or on bridges with thin steel strip decks. The grooves and strips generate disturbances. But the Slalom Drill where the arms are straightened, helps letting the rider keep his head, torso and body up-right, so that the Torso-Arms-Handlebar steering mechanism can automatically keep the motorcycle up, even though it can oscillate.

4.3 Riders should not limit themselves to this recommendation:

The recommendation made here does not exclude the need to follow motorcycle riding courses and trainings on complementary riding techniques and subjects not treated here. For example:

– At slow speed on a motorcycle in a parking lot, or on a bicycle when turning around in a tight path for instance, it is very useful for the rider to shift his buttocks towards the outside of the curve while looking towards the inside of this curve. This technique is taught in motorcycle riding courses. The Torso-Arms-Handlebar theory explains that the body side-shift lets the rider be able to turn the handlebar further to insure a tight turn. It also explains that looking towards the inside of the curve gives the rider’s eyes cues to determine if he’s falling or not, which generates torso movements followed by the 2-Wheeler, through the Torso-Arms-Handlebar steering mechanism.

– When road racing on a motorcycle or when racing on a mountain bike on gravel roads, it’s useful for the rider to shift his buttocks towards the inside or outside of the curve, as explined in section 3.12 Straighten or lean the chassis in curves to go faster.

– It’s also possible, at all speeds, to associate an additional push-pull with the elbows or wrists, as it’s taught with the Counter-steering technique. This can increase  the 2-Wheeler’s reaction speed.

4.4 Warning:

No bicycle or motorcycle club or federation has yet adopted the following recommendation. Nevertheless, this recommendation is based on over 30 years of thinking, modeling and experimenting on 2-Wheeler steering by the author. You are thus encouraged to apply this recommendation carefully, making sure that you understand what you are doing. Thus, you are also encouraged to look at the preceding and following sections that will let you understand better this recommendation.

4.5 Permission to use or publish this recommendation:

For the benefit of readers and riders, permission is hereby granted to reproduce and use the exact text of the above recommendation, provided the source is indicated. The recommendation’s title (Torso-Arms-Handlebar Recommendation 2003-05-01) should be given with the date, so that if it still evolves with reader and rider feedback to this site, it will be easy to know which one is the latest:

Go back up one level to know more about other 2-Wheeler subjects.