RGT Cornering

RGT cornering

I was comparing videos of RGT to a new trendy platform, looking in particular at the cornering.

The physics of cornering is the lean causes the lateral force to provide the transverse cornering acceleration (g tan θ = v²/R). To initiate the lean, you countersteer. So to steer through a sweeping corner, you have relatively constant lean through the entire corner. You initiate the lean leading into the corner.

RGT gets this right. Here’s a comparison between a random 2-year-old Youtube video of RGT and Tom Pidcock during a trip to Southern California.

The other platform does not. Riders gradually increase lean through the beginning of the turn which violates Newton’s Laws of motion.


Of course you only have constant lean angle for constant speed and constant radius. Both usually vary in real riding. On the trainer, I’m not undergoing any lateral acceleration so realistic lean angles on the screen only serve as entertainment. Lateral load on the tires increase frictional losses so that effect might be good to include in the sim.

That effect would be very low, since the lateral acceleration is well under 1G. 1G lateral acceleration occurs at a lean angle of 45 degrees but even Pidcock is well short of this. But sure, include all of the physics you can…

My point is a realistic representation of the rider allows for a greater degree of immersion into the scene, and immersion is most of the point of these games. The same is true of a more realistic representation of scenery. But when racing, I’m far less focused on the scenery. Scenery is of greater interest when just riding around, as I might on Zwift, where I’m amusing myself by trying to spot the Yeti, for example, but taking switchbacked corners on descents @ 90 kph in a super-tuck is off-putting: it doesn’t feel real. On RGT magic roads there’s basically just trees and goats, but the descent feels realistic, at least assuming a Pidcock-level of confidence, which I clearly lack.

Getting the little details right is important.

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Upright, loads on the tire are radial and tangential. On a flat road, cornering adds a lateral component, mass times the centripetal acceleration, to the vertical component (which still equals the weight on the wheel) that is considerable at higher lean angles. If it’s high enough, it leads to a slide or fall when it exceeds grip. The lateral load causes the tire to squirm sideways which is what substantially increases frictional losses when cornering.