Motorcycles can typically corner incredibly quickly (unless you own a Triumph Rocket III). But it takes a little bit of knowledge & skill to corner safely and efficiently.
Here are some basic techniques that will allow you to corner with confidence.
- Brake & reduce speed before you lean in – Motorcycles can corner incredibly quickly, but overly hard and poorly coordinated braking can upset a motorcycle’s dynamics. These antics can be especially dangerous while leaning over in a corner and when there is less traction, so brake and reduce your speed while you are upright, and before entering a curve in the road.
- Roll on the throttle – Once you have settled into a turn, roll on the throttle slightly to maintain a steady speed. This helps keep the bike stable through the turn. Rapid acceleration or deceleration in a corner can cause you to lose control of the bike.Because of that lack of traction, you must use the throttle smoothly in a corner.
- Don’t accelerate or shift during a corner – this will upset the dynamics of the motorcycle chassis. Wait until you’ve finished the turn and your bike is once again upright to accelerate. As you develop your technique and become more proficient at taking curves, you will be able to apply power slightly earlier as you exit a corner. When you do this, you make the motorcycle’s dynamics work for you: when you accelerate, you place more weight on the rear of the motorcycle, thus increasing your traction. As you become more familiar with your bike’s reactions to throttle input, you can use that increased traction as you exit a corner.
- Set up for the corner – When approaching a corner, move to the outside of the lane before entering the turn. This lets you see farther around the corner, and it also makes you visible to oncoming traffic earlier.
- Identify the ‘apex’ of the curve – As you enter the corner, look for the turn’s apex (the point in the corner where you can commence your exit).
- Accelerate out of the curve – Once you reach the apex of the curve, you can normally see the exit to the curve. At this point, accelerate smoothly to counter-steer and straighten up the bike. Ideally you want to be exiting the corner to the outside of the lane.
Ride safe and remember, practice makes perfect.
Final Safety Note: Riding alone will remove any pressure that is placed upon you by other riders in your pack. This will allow you to focus specifically on all elements of how to corner on a motorcycle without having to worry about keeping up or holding up others stuck behind you. Riding alone may also involve finding those quieter roads without other vehicles, or riding mid-week when others are at work. If this is not possible for you then try riding as the sweeper at the tail end of your group where you can practice your form at your own speed.