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Motorcycle lean angle, sensor and indicator explained for cornering

A group of bikers performing cornering with high motorcycle lean angle
2635 Views Sept. 15, 2020, 5:42 a.m.

While cornering or in turning, balancing the bike against factors like gravity and speed is very important for the safety of the biker. Leaning and cornering which look like an adventure act, hold much more value in terms of skill. Lean angle is the angle at which your bike is leaned at the corners or while turning. Maximum lean angle is the angle at which you are physically able to lean the bike without touching the bike parts to the ground.

Factors on which motorcycle lean angle depends

Tire conditions and pressure: Many tires are specially designed for smooth cornering and their rubber consistency, tread designs help in maintaining a strong grip while leaning the bike. Tire conditions and their pressure also ensures traction to prevent wiggling.

The surface of the road and weather: Even for experienced motorcyclists, the road surface and weather plays a significant role while leaning the bike. A wet, dirty or uneven road surface can lead to slipping of the bike tires.

Ground clearance: Leaning with the same angle on each and every bike is never the same. For example, the lean angle on a sports bike is more than that on a Harley. The first thing that usually touches the ground first is the peg. Every motorcycle has some part that first touches the ground and it varies with the motorcycle. So, it important to have a maximum lean angle based on the bike you are riding.

Tire type: The maximum lean angle does depend on the tire width but when combined with the width of the rim, it makes a significant impact on the lean angle. 

Practice, Practice and Practice!: With practice comes the confidence to smoothly handle the bike in various circumstances. How far you lean the bike and with what angle depends on how experienced you are in cornering. It takes time to learn the art of motorcycle cornering while maintaining a safe speed. Once you have hands-on controlling the cornering speed, maintaining correct body posture, braking and throttle blipping, you are ready to practice leaning the bike to a maximum lean angle without letting a bike part touch down.  The more father you keep leaning on the bike, the more is chances of achieving high corner speed.

How to measure motorcycle lean angle

Well, we were curious enough to find it for ourselves but didn’t find any affordable and locally available device but luckily found an app.

The app is actually not to measure motorcycle lean angle but to only measure the lean angle. Even at this point, we were apprehensive of the fact that acceleration and centrifugal force might not allow the correct reading through this technique but after testing on a rounded sideway, results were near to accurate. (The phone gyroscope might be a factor)

So, to measure the reading we started by installing the Angle Meter app on our Redmi Note 5 smartphone fixed to the handlebar via mobile holder.

Motorcyclist boy measuring lean angle while cornering

We needed to adjust the mobile holder a bit to get the exact 90 degrees on the app while sitting on a standing straight bike. At the turn (being part of the highway) we kept a medium speed and started tilting the bike. The max tilt we tried was of 31 degrees.

Android app image measuring lean angle at cornering

During this rounded turn acceleration at the same tilt was tried and that didn’t change the reading so it can be assumed that this gives at least near to accurate result.

Do try this technique and do let us know through our social handles if there are some discrepancies in it or any other suggestions.

lean-angle sensor indicator cornering gyroscope
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