How can I measure my lean angle? - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Being a very conservative rider I do not lean much; however, I also have no idea how far I actually do lean. So, how can I measure my lean angle? I thought of some type of an inclinometer - but the physics of how they work may prevent that ( Another site suggested an iPhone coupled with TiltmeterPro application ( This issue is far more complicated than I had originally thought it would be. Any suggestions on how 'lean angle' could be measured? Thanks.

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 06:48 PM
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I usually lean as far as I can without falling over. LOL Honestly, don't know how to measure that but what you can do is look at the videos on You Tube and see how far some of them look like they're leaning. May not be a measurement but should give you some idea.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 06:59 PM
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Above 10 mph you should lean more than the bike does, then when you hear the metal parts scraping you know you are leaning far enough.

Below 10mph counter lean and push the bike over, same thing applies to the scraping hard parts though.

If you never hear the hard parts touch then you are not leaning over all the way.


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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 07:15 PM
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You could use a bubble level.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 07:25 PM
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Yours is a good question. Even a conservative rider needs to know how far he can push things in an emergency.

I'm not sure if this applies to you but overly cautious riders have gone off the road on curves they could have handled with the appropriate lean.

Riding with a mentor who takes you slowly up the learning curve is one option. A turn and bank indicator is another option but comes with a problem. You have to take your eyes off the road to use it.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 08:10 PM
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the problem with a bubble level or other gravity operated lean angle type device, is that gravity is counter-acted by centrifugal force in the turn. This is the physics involved in turning a two-wheeled vehicle. The two forces are equal and opposite. So your lean indicator would indicate zero.

You might try to mount a camera on the bike and take a video of your lean, and then measure the resultant angle on the computer screen.

But that's the only idea I can come up with.


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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 08:12 PM
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Years ago, I'd scrape the floorboards and right the bike in panic. Now, if I don't scrape the pegs in the turns, I'm very disappointed. Lean it until you can hear it. Trust me, you'll grow to like that sound. Otherwise, there are a few clinometers on the market that should accurately measure the lean angle.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 08:17 PM
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A simple way to get some measure is to do this:

You'll need:

A small plastic protractor
Some lightweight fishing line
A fishing weight (sinker type, 'bout one ounce)
A black permanent marker (Sharpie works)
A length of wood dowel to span handlebars
Duct tape
Razor blade

Bike on center stand and level.

Cut the dowel so it will span your handlebars with the ends running about an inch over on each side in a spot that leaves the dowel sitting level. each bike is different. Tape the dowel in place.

Find the center of the dowel and mark it with the marker. Center the protractor to the mark with the straight, flat side against the dowel and tape just the ends to the dowel. So far, everything is temporarily in place.

Use the razor blade and cut open the marker. Inside will be the felt material used to flow the markers fluid. Careful, it's messy. Cut a small section appx 1" long and about 1/16" wide from it. This is your new wiper.

Take a length of fishing line and tie a knot to one end of the wiper, wrapping about 3/4" of the remainder a few times and tie another knot at the other end. You should be able to hold the line taught with the wiper in-line with the fishing line. Tie the weight about two inches down from the wiper.

The protractor has a embossed side with raised marks of graduation. Don't use this side, use the smooth side to face you as you sit on the bike. Flip it over if need be. From the center mark, position the wiper at the bottom edge of the arc so that it stays in the middle and tape the fishing line in place. A couple of wraps of the line around the dowel and protracror is a good idea before taping it down.

Now, don't move this thing around too much. Once it's in position it will mark the protractor before you start riding.

Finally, adjust the dowel so that the protracter has about 5 degrees forward (or positive)tilt, giving the bottom about 5 degrees negative (or rearward) tilt and supplying just a bit of constatnt force for the wiper to stay on the plastic. Maybe more depending on your riding style.

Go ride. When done, transfer your off-center marks into degrees of tilt for the ride you just took.

Feel free to improvise the above. Some people (ie: cheap-a$$ed racers) get pretty fancy with the basic above idea. If you plan on doing some testing, use clear celophane tape on the protractor, it'll become reusable and you put the marked tape into a logbook with notation, ...or whatever...

In a cage, some measure of g-force can be calculated using the same set-up with more accuracy than one might expect. Construction technique is key with this idea.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 08:47 PM
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As Wolfman said, with any inclinometer bubble or pendulum if it doesn't show you as being upright in a curve on a bike you've fallen down.

Advise given here is free and comes with no warranty "Caveat emptor"

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 09:03 PM
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Your tires will show you how far your leaning the bike by a wear width. You could, with the help of friends, is lean the bike over in the driveway till your at the edge of your tire wear and measure the angle your bike is at.

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