Corners and How to tackle them like a Pro – 5 Simple Tips
The view of many motorcycling enthusiasts is that corners are the most exhilarating part of the motorcycle experience. In line with the above we’d like to share a few tips that will make you faster, more confident and increase the safety factor while attacking corners.
After talking about how to get the perfect start in a drag race on your motorcycle, in this article we will talk about some important tips that will help you master the art of cornering.
The most critical and basic part of cornering is vision. The ground rules – look as far as possible through any corner (helps you identify oncoming traffic and gives you an idea how much to brake, well in advance) and while in the corner look where you want to go, you’ll be surprised how well this works, the machine finds its way and does exactly what you want it to do.
Also, keep your eye out for damp patches (this usually occurs when it rains and the shade of trees prevents the road from drying in certain patches), wet roads, slush, and slicks of oil and diesel, more often than not these factors cause traction to break and ends in a crash, best way is to avoid leaning too much and slow down considerably in such conditions, one can also negotiate around such patches and avoid them completely.
In the event you encounter any of the above, happen to ride over them by mistake, transfer maximum weight to the opposite side foot peg immediately and press down (Right peg for a left corner and vice versa), maintain presence of mind and be prepared for the front/back wheels to skid, once this happens be prepared to kick the bike up, one can also stick a leg out like a motocross rider.
Once you sort out the vision part of the equation and want to go a little faster we urge experimenting with braking and gear selection. Once you have gauged a corner with vision, decide on a braking point, this has to be before the point you lean in the bike.
Once identified, shift down the gear box and blip the throttle for each downshift (this is done to prevent the back wheel from locking up) remember selecting the right gear is critical, you do not want the bike to over-rev mid corner or not rev during exit. Go hard on the front brake (with experience and feel, you can pump it almost till the point the wheel locks and release), the rear wheel brake can be used 30% as you have already achieved slowing down the rear wheel with engine braking.
Tip – All slowing down is to be done before you start leaning, only exception is when you find the bike running wide, then a quick dab of the brakes and looking at where you want to go will bring the bike back in line.
You’ve braked and entered the corner, well now the key is smooth throttle control, let the momentum carry you till the apex of the corner or use 20 to 30% of throttle (depends on courage), start opening the throttle slowly at the apex and as the bike straightens you can open the throttle flat out and up-shift in a rapid fashion.
At an amateur track day one may find that despite getting a knee down, a rider who does none of that is faster. In simple words, the rider who is not doing a kneed down, and is still faster is taking the corners in perfect fashion. Not all corners require a knee down.
Last, but not the least
Do not brake mid-way in a corner, this reduces ground clearance as the suspension dives and sometimes causes the stand or chassis to catch the tarmac, this can also unsettle the bike.
Also, Never shift, use the clutch when the bike is slanted, you might lose traction, unsettle the bike and run wide.
Be gradual and smooth with throttle action as possible, except when the bike is almost upright.
Always follow traffic norms, and wear full riding / safety gear. The more you practice, the better you are. Happy cornering!