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Zero means going straight, 90+ degrees is probably impossible.

So what is the maximum steering angle needed to ride safely?

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  • This will be hard to answer and yield a lot of opinion answers, it greatly depends on the type of bike and what type of riding is to be done, look at lowrider style chopper bicycles for example many have a very extreme angle but they are only used for slow cruising or show more than anything, but would hardly be functional for commuting. Possible reason for the down vote.
    – Nate W
    Sep 29, 2017 at 14:47
  • Do you mean the maximum lean angle?
    – Rider_X
    Sep 29, 2017 at 16:40
  • I am considering the installation of a wheel stabilizer to prevent front wheel flop (keep front wheel pointing forward when lifting the bike; prevent bike falling when parked leaned on a street post, etc.) Wheel stabilizers probably limit the maximum steering angle. Can be annoying when walking the bike, but then, lifting the front wheel is a viable option. Was familiar with the 40% estimate, apparently derived from automotive engineering. I suppose that a 5M radius is reasonably sharp. Wanted to doublecheck rather than find out while losing control. ;) Sep 29, 2017 at 17:21
  • Depends totally on speed. If stopped I can turn the front wheel over 90 degrees and end up scooting backward a little while turning. Handy in confined space like a garage or hallway.
    – Criggie
    Sep 29, 2017 at 20:15

1 Answer 1

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This is complicated, because bikes steer by turning the fork and by leaning. At very low speeds, we steer mostly by turning, not leaning.

Wikipedia gives the formula for figuring this out, although you need to transpose some terms, you need to know the bike's dimensions, and you need to decide the radius of your turn.

Based on that formula, and assuming a bike with a head angle of 72°, a wheelbase of 1000 mm, and a desired turning radius of 5 meters, you get about 37°. A longer wheelbase will increase that angle slightly; a steeper head angle will increase that angle more; a tighter turning radius will increase it yet again.

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