Turning a Corner

Cornering skills come quite naturally to a lot of people, especially those that have ridden motorbikes, but for many it is something that fills people with worry and ultimately leads them to pulling hard on the brakes at any bend in the road. This not only means you will lose speed and time to get back up to pace but could cause an accident whilst riding in a group with other riders close behind. Here are my top tips for nailing those corners:

  • Practice! If cornering worries you then head somewhere to practice, such as a closed road circuit or a quiet road. You could even use a cul-de-sac or unused car park and lay out some cones, get creative.

  • Turn your head - I often find riders staring exactly at what they don’t want to hit, usually the fence on the other side of the hairpin corner. Physically turn your head and look where you want your bike to go. As the heaviest part of your body, your head plays a huge part in cornering, get that going in the right direction, your body and your bike will follow.

  • Outside heel down - Coming from an equestrian back round, this tip comes easily to me and serves two purposes. One, it means your inside pedal is up out of harm’s way and therefore not going to clip the tarmac. Two, by pushing your weight down through your outside heel you’ll naturally bring the back into a slight lean, just enough to navigate the corner nicely.

  • Get low - It can feel counterintuitive, especially for nervous riders, but you are more stable the lower your body weight is. So tuck those elbows in and back, go down on the drops and think low. This helps to stick your wheels to the tarmac and maintain stability through the turn

  • Choose your line - Getting slightly more technical now but the aim here is to make the corner as straight as we can. To achieve that we emulate Formula 1 racing by taking a wide line in, kissing the apex and then a wide line out. This reduces the amount of cornering you actually need to do enabling you to carry more speed through it. Have a watch of some videos on the ‘racing line’ through corners to aid understanding. Obviously this is easiest on a closed road circuit but the general principles apply even when out on the road, just make sure to stay safe and on your side of the white line.

  • Be brave! - Try and keep yourself from braking through the corner itself, if you need to scrub off some speed do so before the turn. Ideally just use a little back brake to do this so that it isn’t a sudden change that may take riders around you unaware. On my local circuit I find riders coast into the hairpins from a long way out and lose so much speed and momentum, try and keep pedalling right up to the corner, brake if you need to and then turn.

Get back up to speed quickly - As soon as you feel your bike coming upright again get back on those pedals to power away, this point in the corner will be different for everyone depending on the line you took, the length of your cranks and experience.
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