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How does motorcycle length affect handling?

One can endlessly repeat that a motorcycle is such a unique creation of engineering thought that its characteristics depend on hundreds of conditions and indicators. One of these conditions affecting handling is the length of the motorcycle.

Someone who is not far-sighted may ask, they say, what’s the difference, is a motorcycle longer by 5 centimeters or by 20? If my engine gives out what kind of power, then even with a long barge I can overtake any short man from a traffic light.

In a straight line, maybe.

The length of the motorcycle primarily affects the steering angle. It should not be confused with cars, where even among ancient submarine-sized mastodons one could find an extremely tempting radius, from which passengers literally turned gray before your eyes when you entered sharp turns, because they could not even imagine that your car was on This is capable of (I have tried it myself, I had a Mercedes E230 in the 123 body, a huge brick, Vysotsky and Brezhnev also drove such). A motorcycle has only 2 wheels and whether you like it or not, the rear will always follow the front, so with a long length, it is extremely difficult to achieve a good radius. Shorter bikes have much less wheel spacing, which allows the rear wheel to corner faster with shallower angles.

Another undoubted plus of short motorcycles is the movement in a rut. If you have traveled enough along the roads of our vast homeland, you may have found yourself in a situation where there is a clear track on the road. Shorter bikes move easier in them simply because of their good handling. With long motorcycles in a rut, it’s just a problem when the front wheel has already left the turn, and the rear wheel has not even entered, and this happens if the turn is sharp or the rut knocks you off the trajectory.

Stability depends on the length of the motorcycle. The longer the bike, the harder it is to maneuver, but the more confident it is on the track. And vice versa.

What is the length of a motorcycle?

Thinking a motorcycle long just “because” is silly. She’s made up of something, right? Any person at a glance at the geometry of the unit will be able to visually assess its approximate characteristics. In the motorcycle industry, geometry is shaped, oddly enough, by suspensions. Making the frame long makes no sense, neither practical nor logical. The frame is nothing more than a support for the engine, all fundamental components and passengers. But the angle at which the front fork is located and the length of the swingarm or gearbox complete the silhouette of the motorcycle with the dimension of the wheelbase.

Long forks reduce the ability to turn the steering wheel quickly, no harsh and nimble maneuvers, just a wide handlebar and rounded trajectories. A long fork will save the bike from wobbling because it is not easy to swing it. And by the way, here an important position is occupied by the concept of “TRAIL”, which we will discuss in detail in a separate article. Let me remind you briefly that this indicator is the sum of the geometry of the fork angle and the position of the contact patch, the longer the fork, the larger the Trail size, therefore the motorcycle is less obedient to maneuvers.

The second way to make the bike long is to lengthen the swingarm. The elongated version of the cardan is a rarity, but the pendulum is easier to make. For the city, this is not the best solution, its undoubted advantage will be the opposition of Willie. The motorcycle simply cannot physically jump onto the rear wheel with such geometry!

The advantages of a long pendulum are known to people who practice outside city traffic, who love speed and skidding. The swingarm is as long as a freight train makes the bike stable enough to make some interesting features, but on public roads, they are unlikely to be cranked. Although, of course, such a design attracts more than attention.

General conclusion

To get a first impression of the behavior of the motorcycle on the road, it is enough to evaluate its geometry, length and suspension extensions. Short bikes with a modest front fork angle will be easy to maneuver, but are likely to be extremely unstable and prone to wobling fits. Most likely, such models will even have to be classified as aggressive if their engine has a lot of power.

When you have a motorcycle with a long base in front of you, in the city there are elongated forks, just an elongated shape and less often a long swingarm, you can imagine how your unit will be stubborn when entering corners, it will become difficult to lay sharp corners, but stability will be excellent.

These grains of a cursory inspection will already be enough to understand how to start an introductory motorcycle ride. Because it is up to you to choose speed based on the responsiveness of the technique in maneuvering. Especially when it comes to heavy traffic.

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