Tag Archives: Riding

BMW S1000XR Ride Review

BMW S1000XRRuthlessly efficient. Those two words effectively sum up the BMW. I rode this bike straight after riding the MV Agusta and the contrast between the two could not have been any more striking! Whereas the MV was all about passion and soul, the BMW just got on with it. I rode this bike with no preconceived notions about what it would be like, unbiased by internet forums and reviewers opinions. I hadn’t been particularly interested in it as I have a bias against inline four cylinder motors. I have owned three bikes with this style of motor and compared to a large capacity V-twin, they just seem… kind of “dull”. That’s not too say they aren’t powerful, they just lack the urgency of other engine formats. They sound great when they wind out to redline, but they just drone on when holding a constant speed. Even at a steady pace a V-twin sounds good! On the plus side, the engine does allow you to behave yourself when you need to – it doesn’t encourage you to constantly misbehave. Its seat height is enough to be an issue for the vertically challenged and I couldn’t really detect much difference in a bike that supposedly had the lower seat option fitted. The shape of the seat somehow encourages you to have one foot flat on the ground, but when going two feet down, I found myself to be in a similar predicament as when on the MV Agusta. There is something completely natural about riding this bike. It instantly felt familiar, inspiring confidence to push on in the corners. Fitted with the dynamic suspension, it offered a plush ride. The longer travel suspension of these bikes takes a little too get used to.  Compared to regular sports bikes, the suspension can soak up more. Unaware of any scaremongering internet forum topics, I did note how buzzy the bike was.  From around 4 to 5,500 RPM, the bike gets a fair amount of vibrations.  I have since seen that this is the major criticism of the bike, although most people complain about it most in the handlebars.  It would appear that the severity differs from bike to bike, and then how much that bothers you will be a matter of personal opinion.  To help ease the sensation of numb hands, the BMW is equiped with an excellent cruise control.  Controlling the cruise control was similar to most cars, with on/off, set/resume/cancel functionality and incremental and decremental speed adjustments all possible by buttons.  The control blocks actually featured a staggering amount of buttons.  I am not sure whether that is a good thing…  Still, it does reduce the number of times you go “diving” through menu options to get to the feature you want.  One button may work for an iPhone, but the level of user involvement required to make use of limited buttons costs the rider far too much in attention that is better spent on looking where they are going. Unlike the MV Agusta, I found adjusting the screen on the BMW while travelling an altogether more difficult proposition.  It only has two positions and no immediately obvious way to adjust it.  This led to a rather “interesting” moment where I managed to trap my thumb in the mouse-trap mechanism used to alter the screen height.  After the initial pain caused by the sudden clamping of the trap subsided, I was left with the predicament of having the glove (and hence my hand) caught.  After briefly worrying about it all going terribly pear-shaped, I managed to free myself from the dastardly contraption.  Apparently, the store had heard of similar stories where the rider had managed to engage the cruise control with the wrong hand, before freeing themselves.  Later I discovered it is possible to adjust the screen safely with one hand, by grasping the top of the screen and either pushing away or pulling it toward you.  Regardless, I didn’t really notice much difference in screen position – the wind levels seemed about the same at both levels.  When one was “motoring along” in the corners the raised position caused the top of the screen  to be right in my eye-line and somewhat distracting.   My selfies need work...

Overall, the BMW is one seriously impressive motorbike.  It handles exceptionally well and the brakes can put out a serious amount of stopping power.  The engine is happy to let you pootle along at sedate around town pace, but just as happy to tear your arms out of their sockets with the sort of ferocity that you’d expect from a Wookie losing a game of chess. Some may find the vibrations a “deal breaker” and others may call it “character”.  I would call them neither.  Really my only criticism of the bike is it felt quite soulless after riding the Turismo Veloce. It’s easy to see why the BMW riders I know stick with their bikes for years.  There’s something not quite as “whirlwind romance” about them.  More like they inspire a “lifetime partnership”.  They’re almost Honda-like…

 

Test Ride Impressions: MV Agusta Turismo Veloce

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce

Let me start by saying that the rear wheel hugger with integrated number plate and indicators does look a bit naff.  Not completely ugly, but it does have a degree of “well, we have to do something to make it road-legal”  It is a concession to the fact that someone, somewhere dragged out some technical document which stated something about having the rear wheel covered at a  certain point and declared that if you didn’t – you weren’t on a street-legal motorcycle.  There’s no way that it will look good, so this is the best compromise the MV Agusta designers could come up with.

Now that I have stated that caveat, let me state: I think that MV Agustas have to be amongst the prettiest motorcycles ever made.  The Turismo Veloce is no exception.  Whatever angle you view it at, it is just gorgeous.  I was lucky enough to spend a bit over an hour on the bike, hooning around the local hills and backroads, plus a bit of time in regular Saturday morning traffic. So, I took off from the store, down the road – quick U Turn and back past the shop and straight into my first false neutral!  This is the first bike I’ve ever ridden with a quick-shifter. Twenty years of muscle memory argued with computer controlled fuelling and ignition – the result of which was a short, noisey and embarrassing argument as the engine shot to redline and I clunked the bike into the next gear.  After that momentary faux-pas and wondering how many people had seen/heard the commotion, I noticed how much of my jacket sleeves I was looking at in the mirrors.  Much to my amazement, despite how close the mirrors are to your hands, it is possible to get a reasonable rear-view out of them.

I try and ride bikes on a test-ride, the way I would ride them if I owned them.  This can be summarised as: “sedately – most of the time.”  It took me half an hour or more on the MV, before I discovered it could be ridden sedately!  The engine is such a hoot – it just encourages you to behave badly on it!  The acceleration is instant and the throttle response is “precise”.  Fuel injection has come along way since my model VFR…

There were a couple of little things that weren’t the way I would like them to be.  These may have been characteristics of the particular demo model I rode.  Firstly, there was a lot of rear-brake lever travel before you got any real response.  I trail-brake using the rear brake a lot – especially in slow commuting or car park manoeuvres.  It didn’t bother me at other times and it may just be that the demo required a brake bleed, but I noted it at the time.  The other thing was with the switch gear:  The mode selector has the same motion as the indicators. In both cases, you can push them left-right, or “in”.  (i.e. the “cancel” motion on the indicator, is the same as the “OK” motion for the mode selector)  These feel natural to reach with the left thumb and despite their proximity, I didn’t confuse the two.  But, neither the “OK” nor the indicator cancel gave any real haptic feedback.  The OK selection didn’t appear to work terribly well and was too distracting to really bother with on  a test ride of an unfamiliar bike.  Back in the shop, I tried the indicators on a Brutale model and was surprised by how much more feedback it gave.  (I was also surprised by the fact it had different switch gear! )   There was evidence that the demo model sat out in the rain, so maybe a quick squirt of WD40 on the switch gear would improve matters.

I have seen various discussions on the web, wondering if the seat height is too tall.  For the record, I’m 178cm (according to my driver’s licence) and have a measured in-seam of 88cm when wearing my bike boots. When stopped, I could comfortably have both feet “two-thirds” on the ground, with just the heels not touching.  If I went for *ahem* an “uncomfortably forward and upright stance in close proximity with the fuel-tank”, both feet were flat on the ground.  Given the light weight and wide bars of the bike, I didn’t once feel in danger of an embarrassing car-park style tumble…

At first, I positioned myself a long way forward on the bike.  Seated like this, I found my knees were too low, gripping the tubular frame of the bike, rather than the tank.  This was uncomfortable for me.  Once I settled down, I was seated slightly further back and the whole seating position made a lot more sense.  The tank was easy to grip with my knees, the reach to the ‘bars felt natural and the view in the mirrors was good (and not of me!)  It was superbly comfortable –

I could easily imagine riding for hours in this posture without tiring. The more I rode this bike, the more excited I was about it.  So what if it doesn’t have 150 rear-wheel horse power?  The power and torque were such that it just got on with it…  Make no mistake – it is not slow!  It would do small controlled power-wheelies out of the traffic lights and would overtake traffic with just a quick blat on the throttle.  It left me cackling like the wicked witch and my helmet was only just strong enough to contain the ludicrous grin the bike gave me.  The brakes were superb and it would change direction with just the slightest input on the bars.  The long-travel suspension dealt with the worst of crappy back-road bumps and delivered a clear indication of the grip levels you had available to you.

Where I live, the authorities take such a dim view of people who dare to speed, it makes sense to have a bike that’s more capable on back-roads away from public scrutiny.  This bike definitely ticks all the boxes there. Niceties such as cruise-control and up-right seating position  meant that the unavoidable straight-line drone that riding in Australia entails would be handled with a minimum of fuss.

Speaking of such, I didn’t spend any time sitting at length on the open-road speed limit, so can’t really comment much on the wind/weather protection the adjustable screen affords – either up or down.  I can tell you, it’s beautifully easy to adjust while you’re going along. Overall, I loved this bike.  Despite being a “sports-tourer” it feels vastly different from bikes I have previously owned.  I find it difficult to express, but it would take me some time to feel truly comfortable riding it at speed.  Maybe it did everything I asked of it so easily, I felt like I was wobbling around on it?  It didn’t do anything untoward and put up with any ham-fisted gear shifts and dodgy lines in corners that I threw at it.  I’m sure with more time, or in more competent hands it would be an amazing bike.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce
The biggest problem I would have if I owned this bike is: “Would I ever get out of the garage, or would I just get stuck admiring it?”  In the red/silver combination, it is just so gorgeous to look at… even with a naff rear hugger…

Airhawk

I recently completed my latest motorcycle touring holiday. I travelled more than 4000 kilometres (2500 miles) over the course of two weeks and two days, to attend the Philip Island MotoGP. The VFR800 is definitely a more comfortable touring bike than the CBR929 Fireblade that I made the trip on last time, but it is some way short of a Goldwing in terms of touring comfort. Fortuitously, a friend of mine lent me his Airhawk seat for the journey.

I am always sceptical of miracle motorcycle products. I have seen instances where some one’s praise of a product is little more than them trying to justify the purchase price of whatever product they are expousing the virtues of. In the past I have purchased and used sheep-skin seat covers for some of my motorcycles. To claim they make no difference, would be doing them an injustice. But, when you are riding a motorcycle for long periods of time, multiple days in a row, their improved comfort is short lived.

My suspicions that the Airhawk would be no different were proven to be wrong. I was more than a little amazed by the improvement in comfort the seat provided. Small interlinked air-pockets help evenly distribute the pressure. Because the pockets are interlinked, air is free to move between the various pockets. An unexpected benefit is the extra shock-absorbtion the seat provides. Hit a big pothole and you don’t get the proverbial boot up the backside. On an extended ride, this fact alone makes for a more pleasant journey.

I did eventually feel discomfort on the bike, riding up the Hume Highway on my return home. I don’t know if it was due to the boredom of the ride, but (rather unscientifically) I feel that some of the discomfort was caused by a lack of movement needed to ride in a straight line. Riding the Hume, is largely about sitting still and holding on. Not needing to perform gear changes or large steering input meant I was stuck in the one position for long periods of time.

Like all good (and many not-so-good) web reviews, I should really summarise my experience with the Airhawk seat with a pros and cons list.

Pros

  • shock absorbtion
  • greatly improved comfort
  • adjustable inflation to allow for different rider weights
  • weatherproof and quick drying time when compared to sheepskins

Cons

  • reduces the rider's feel for grip levels in corners
  • over and under inflation limits the effectiveness and improved comfort

In an unusual "neutral" category:

  • it changes the rider geometry on the bike

For me, the change in geometry was not substantial enough to be problematic. I was concerned about the increased weight placed on my wrists made by effectively raising the seat height. It is only a small change in geometry, but even small changes alter how the bike feels. For vertically challenged riders, it may also make the reach to the ground just a little more unnerving. Of course, not being a journalist and trying a formal review, I missed the obvious action of measuring just how much height was gained by using the seat. At a guess, I would say between 15-25 mm of increased seat height can be expected.

Given that I lent the seat, I will not give a subjective value-for-money opinion on the product. However, if I don't find one in my Christmas stocking this year, it will go on the list of things to purchase for myself!

Off Road

I have an admission to make.  I have been riding motorcycles for over sixteen years and (at a rough guess) around a quarter of a million kilometres.  I have ridden many different bikes and also raced motorcycles at a club level.  My admission is, until the last few days I had never ridden a dirt bike.  Thanks to my brother-in-laws, this is now something I can add to my riding experiences.

Unlike some other road-riders, I was under no false-illusion as to what I would be like on dirt.  Apart from knowing what controls did what, my experience counted for little when it came to riding dirt.  These days I try to avoid taking road bikes on dirt roads.  I have got all the excuses under the sun as to why, such as: A lot of modern bikes have become too “single-purpose” to do dirt roads well / The big wide tyres of a road bike tend to skate around on a dirt surface / It takes ages to clean them afterward.  Basically, I would rather just try and avoid it.

The one warning I continually got about riding dirt bikes was that you just can’t grab the front brakes to stop.  This well may be true, but used correctly, the front brake is very useful.  Maybe some road riders tend to be more boisterous with front brake application than I am, because after some time I became more relaxed with using the front brake.

As for my actual riding on the dirt, I was predictably crap to start off with.  My road-riding bias meant I was unable to comprehend how the long travelling suspension of the bike could handle the deep ruts in the track as well as they could.  I had a couple of low speed “step-offs” when dealing with steep and rutted four-wheel drive tracks (both uphill and down) In retrospect, it was my lack of speed that got me in trouble far more than going too quickly.  I don’t think I have ever had the attitude of being ten foot tall and bullet-proof and going faster in a situation where I didn’t feel in control was the furthest thing from my mind.

I did see noticeable improvement in my riding as the day wore on and finished the day with some descents and a hill climb that I was proud of – whilst still being acutely aware of how remarkably simple they would be to someone with more riding experience.   Despite slowing them down, my riding companions patiently waited for me and offered encouragement.  I would have loved a few more riding tips, but they probably did the right thing by not overloading me with information to try and apply.

My faithful bike for the day was a Suzuki DRZ400 – complete with electric start. (A feature I was quite thankful for!) The torque of the 400 single cylinder meant it would chug along quite happily when I left it in a gear that was too high for the situation.  More accomplished dirt riders may have found some fault with the bike, but to me it seemed just about perfect!

I doubt my single day’s ride has made me a better road rider.  I don’t think I reached any great levels of competence from my day in the saddle, but it was great fun and a real eye-opener for me.  Whilst I am not about to rush out and buy a trail bike for myself, it has gone on that list of things I want to do again some time.  When “some time” arises, hopefully I will have remembered what little skills I have gained and forgotten how stiff and sore my legs were the next couple of days after the ride!

Avoiding becoming a “wobbler”

Gone are the days where I ride every day.  Although I hate to admit it, these days I am just a weekend warrior.   Sometimes, times between rides stretches longer than that.  Somehow, you just seem to end up with less spare time the older you get.

I notice a real drop off in my riding ability, if I am not on the bike often enough.  The old adage of “time on bike” makes a big difference to my skill levels.  I marvel at how testing bans in MotoGP do not seem to affect the top riders in the sport.  At their level, I guess, they are simply not as prone to decreasing performance as us mere mortals.

It does not take too long to get back into the groove of riding well again. (The term “well” is of course, highly subjective…)  I had noticed definite “wobbler” habits that I form when I am not riding well.  Typically in corners, I will turn in too early, giving me a shallow entry and risk me running wide on exit.  Knowing that this would be the case, it would seem obvious that I would know how to correct the problem.  But, I discovered this was merely the symptom and not the cause of the problem.

When learning to ride a motorbike, rider trainers always make a big deal of looking through the corner.  “You go where you look”, is a common enough statement.  There in-lies my real issue.  Without the familiarity of riding regularly, I lose the confidence to look further through the corner.  That something so simple makes such a difference to my own riding is staggering.  Sticking with the basics is all that is required.

This is probably what makes “refresher” courses in rider training so effective for many riders.  They may only reinforce the good habits previously learned, but that can make a substantial difference to your everyday riding.

A New Year’s Resolution

I am not one for challenging New Year’s resolutions.  Changing long formed habits is difficult and the motivation has to be strong to do so.  But, the notion of having a goal to achieve something and making that a New Year’s resolution has a certain appeal to it.

Last year, my goal was to keep a weekly-updated blog.  I didn’t achieve a one-hundred percent strike-rate with that goal, but came close enough for me to think of it as “fairly successful”.  (Note that my definition for “success” has nothing to do with readership!)

This year, I’m using my blog to publically announcing my goal / NYR: At some point in 2009 I shall be doing a track-day.  (I told you I went for non-challenging goals!)  The last track-day I did was near on five years ago and for me, that was about four and a half years too long ago!  I can tell you now that I am out of practice and will be enrolling in the “slow” group. 

Track days are simply the best way to get the most out of a performance motorcycle.  Unless you are regularly riding them, I cannot believe that you would be getting close to pushing the “performance envelope” of any modern sports-bike.  Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile, or know me personally, will realise that I currently ride a Honda VFR 800.  This bike is not what anyone would call a “modern sports-bike”.  Scour the forums and you can see that people do use this bike for track-days, but it is not ideal.

This leaves me with three options:

I can use my VFR800 and ride it within both the bike’s limitations and my own.  For those of you who aren’t aware, there aren’t many insurance policies that will cover you on a racetrack, so there is a serious possibility of the day ending up being very expensive.  Having said that, this probably is not a bad option for me. Given that I am fairly sensible (even on a track) I am unlikely to get carried away and throw the bike away.  The fact that I have not been on a track for five years also means my “limits” are going to be relatively low.  I am the sort of person who “eases into things” rather than “jumps in fully committed” – so it is unlikely to all end in tears.

I could hire a bike.  One of the local track-day organisers also have “track-day” bikes to hire.  Last time I checked these were “race-prepped” late model CBR 600s.  This is an expensive option and they also take a healthy holding deposit on your credit card in case you decide to end-over-end one of their bikes in the gavel trap at the end of the main straight…    

I could get my own track-bike.  Track bikes take their own special commitment.  Generally, you will want to do most (if not all) of your own maintenance for a track bike to help reduce the cost of ownership.  Using any motor vehicle on a racetrack is very stressful for the vehicle.  The engine tends to run at high speed for extended periods.  Cornering forces are more intense than in normal road operation.  In general, parts wear out far faster and more maintenance is required. 

So far, I have not decided which option I will take to see me meet my 2009 goal.  What path I take and happens next is a story for another time.

Pillions

One way to avoid riding with wobblers and idiots is to ride by yourself.  Sitting in a pub talking to yourself about how good the ride has been so far is not as advisable.  There is a solution to this dilemma: Carry a pillion-passenger. 

Some riders tend to react rather strangely at the concept of carrying a passenger.  It is as though carrying someone means they are no longer allowed to enjoy the experience of riding.  If you truly ride like an idiot, with not an ounce of self-preservation, then maybe you should feel this way.  Most riders are not as fast or as dangerous as they may like to think.

For me, carrying a passenger serves another purpose.  I like to introduce people to motorcycling.  I do not do this with an expectation of “converting” first time pillion passengers into becoming motorcyclists themselves.  (Although this has been known to happen!)  It is more an opportunity to help people understand why I ride.  Hopefully, this helps remove the look of fear and abject horror some people get when they discover you ride a motorbike.  It seems everyone knows someone, who knows someone else, who had a “bad” motorcycle accident.  Is there such a thing as a “good” accident?

If you have never carried a pillion before, where do you start? 

Hopefully, you will be a competent and confident rider before you consider carrying a passenger.  Remember that a pillion passenger can influence the direction the bike is travelling in.  If you can, find an experienced pillion passenger to take first.  They may be able to offer tips as to what you should be doing or asking your passengers to do. 

Trust is an important part of carrying passengers and if you can help set your passenger’s mind at ease before taking them, then that is going to be a good thing.  Three things I recommend for helping achieve this are:

Have the proper riding gear for your pillion.  I am of the school of ATGATT. Essentially, dress your passenger to the level that you are wearing.  If they see you in full Dainese racing suit and you offer them a barely-legal helmet without gloves or jacket, then they may get a little fearful.

Give them some comforting words.  An instruction such as “If you want me to slow down or stop, pat me on the back”.  They should feel as though they have an element of control in the riding experience.

Give them some simple instructions on what to do.  This can be a gradual thing.  First time pillion passengers will be overwhelmed if you rattle off an instruction list that takes five minutes to get through!  So, the solution here is to start simple and build upon the steps.

The first time someone goes pillion passenger, limit the instructions to something like:

“Ask me before you get on and off the bike”.  This gives you a chance to brace yourself for the weight change the motorcycle will undergo once the pillion passenger climbs onboard.  (Make sure both your feet have good grip on the ground, you are holding on with both hands and you have applied the front brakes to hold the motorcycle still.)  If the pillion is heavier than I am, I normally spell out to them to not get on, as they would when mounting a horse.  In other words, leave the first foot on the ground and swing the other leg over, rather than climb on the foot-peg and then swing their leg over.  The “horse” method puts their entire bodyweight onto one side of the bike, which when combined with the weight of the bike can be a good way to topple over.

“Act like a sack of potatoes”.  Explain to them that if the bike leans, then they should lean with it.  –not more than the bike does and not less.  This can later be refined to looking over the “inside shoulder” of the rider in a corner, but at the moment, we are trying to keep things as simple as possible for them.

Work out “slow down” signals and also a signal you give them if you want them to hang on.

Smoothness of riding is the last piece of advice to give.  Gentle acceleration and braking and gear changes makes for a more enjoyable riding experience.  It also helps the passenger to relax and trust the rider.

With practise and familiarity, a competent rider and pillion passenger will be capable of riding at a decent pace.  Then, you won’t have to be mumbling to yourself in the pub at lunchtime.

Uphill vs. Downhill.

 

For most motorcyclists, enjoyment is somewhat limited by straight roads.  As such, motorcyclists head for where the roads aren’t straight.  Predominantly this means riding in the hills and mountains where road engineers are forced somewhat by the constraints of nature and have to design roads with corners.  If I had some background in psychology I could probably derive a hypothesis as to why riding on windy roads is more fun than a straight line, but it is suffice to say “it just is”.

The nature of mountain roads is that they change elevation and as such you are either going uphill or downhill.  I am sure there will be exceptions, but most motorcyclists prefer going uphill.  Here are my ideas as to why:

Uphill helps prevent too much speed. Corners can only be taken at a set speed.  This speed will vary on many factors including (but not limited to) grip levels, rider ability, corner radius, motorcycle design etc.  What happens if you enter a corner too fast?  Well… apart from an involuntary clenching of certain muscles one of two things are likely to happen.  Either you slow down, or you crash.  If you’re lucky you can substitute “crash” for “run wide” and then hope that “run wide” does not entail “meet on-coming vehicle” or “visit the scenery”.  Slowing down mid-corner is problematic.  It’s not impossible, but it is made more difficult by the fact that tyres are already closer to their maximum grip level due to forces at work in cornering. (Think of centrifugal acceleration)  When going uphill, gravity is your cautious friend.  It’s always working with you to slow the bike down.  When going downhill, gravity is more like the bad influence that used to get you in trouble when you were in school.  It’s there saying “yeah, go faster!”

Going uphill gives the bike a rearward weight bias.  As seen in Biking 101 Turning Corners, the rear wheel helps you go around corners.  Whilst the front wheel changes your direction, it is the gyroscopic forces acting upon the rear wheel that keep you turning through the corner.  Gentle mid-corner acceleration can be used to aid weight transference to the rear wheel.  It works whilst going downhill too, but it takes more acceleration to get the same effect, so you’re left in an awkward situation…  Remember the point above:  “Corners can only be taken at a set speed”. You really don’t want to be increasing this at a rapid rate when going downhill…  While I know and understand the theory behind the weight transference, I simply don’t think it is what I try and achieve when down-hilling.  Rather, the weight transference stays on the front, loading the smaller and more easily varied gyroscopic effect.  It is a lot of stress to be putting on the front tyre, but it is the same for all riders so you just have to put up with it.

Uphill corners have a natural positive camber.  Camber is the term used to describe the “banking” of the corner.  Where the outside of the corner is higher than the inside, the corner is described as having “positive camber”.  Look at a cycling velodrome, or a NASAR oval for an extreme version of a positively cambered corner.

A badly drawn image of a banked corner

Positive cambering makes people feel like heroes, because they allow for higher corner speeds.  The centrifugal acceleration that is attempting to fling you wide on the corner is partially negated by the ground.  Put another way, it’s pushing you onto the road, meaning you will be gripping it better.  Also, the lean angle (relative to the banked surface) will be less than if you are on a flat corner.  This generally means you have a bigger contact patch on the ground – again meaning more grip.  Unfortunately, there are such things as negatively cambered corners too.  Because they are banked away from the apex, they have the exact opposite affect: You have lower grip, greater lean angles, lower speed and less self admiration of your hero status.

A simple corner can be described in terms of “corner entrance, apex and exit points”.  For the purpose of this discussion, the most critical factor for a positively cambered corner is that the exit point is higher than the apex.  Conversely, a negative camber has its exit point lower than the apex.

If the road is level looking left to right, going uphill will make the road “act” like it has a positive camber.  Due to the uphill slope, the exit point will be higher than the apex.   Coming downhill has the aspects of negative camber.  The corner exit is lower than the apex. 

So, that is my explanation of why motorcyclists never tell you they are better going downhill, than up.