New tech – the Leanometer

I first saw the Leanometer at the London motorcycle show (February 2012).  I spent some time talking with the guys that developed the Leanometer and was so impressed with what they told me that I purchased one.  This is just the sort of tech that is right up my alley.  Kit that was previously only available to pros or at a prohibitive cost.

I immediately thought about how good the Leanometer would be on a track day.  It displays lean angle, lateral G force, acceleration and braking.  Plenty of ammunition for bragging rights if you’re good enough.  But there’s plenty more to the Leanometer than this.

Their website is full of very useful info on what the Leanometer does and how to install and use it.  I actually read it thoroughly – strange for me to read instruction manuals – but it was well worth it.  But if you want to skip the manual for now just check out the video of the Leanometer in action, both on the road and on the track.

I can vouch that for road use it works just as shown in the video.  It’s impressive kit, but what can the Leanometer actually tell us motorcyclists.

ROAD
For road riders, the Leanometer adds metrics to what we do instinctively.  It’s about self-awareness and rider improvement, and can be a useful training aid, giving the rider instant feedback on their cornering technique.  It won’t replace proper rider education, but it can be used thereafter to assist and develop technique.  On my first use I was staggered at just how much I ride within the limits of my bike.

TRACK
For track day riders, the logging function really comes into its own. Take a moment to look at this datalog:

This is a portion of professional Superstock rider Alex Cudlin’s lap of Losail MotoGP circuit. The logging traces show cornering force, lean angle and acceleration/braking at any given point in time.  See how he’s always either on the throttle or the brakes. There’s nearly no neutral throttle – that’s why he’s fast.  Note how quickly he gets the bike from zero to full lean.  The bike’s at 55-58 degrees within a second or so.  Amateur track riders are often afraid to put the bike over so quickly, and this information can show areas for improvement.

This is an expert rider on a fast qualifying lap, and looking at the data, it shows. There isn’t really much room for improvement. With data from a slower rider, you’d be able to tell where and why they were slower – not as much lean, periods of neutral throttle, slower to lean the bike etc. Perhaps they’d be quick round some parts but consistently slower in certain sections of the track.

By way of an comparison, my first use of the Leanometer yielded a maximum frame lean of 35 degrees, with a cornering force of 0.5g, acceleration of 0.3g and 0.1g braking.  Nice and safe indeed, but I was on a public road and always obey local laws and regulations!

So if you are looking for something a little bit different from the usual motorcycle tech then it’s worth checking out the Leanometer.  Because this is something new to most of us, it may take some effort to fully appreciate its potential for improving your riding/cornering technique.  If you are a track day enthusiast then this could be the kit that most helps you to improve your lap times.

My plan is to use the Leanometer on all my rides and will also lend it to my sports-bike buddies for a couple of track days so I’ll keep you posted on how we get on for both road and track use.

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