Riders will often tell you it’s their bike that couldn’t handle the bend – the truth is most crashes that happen in corners happen because the rider couldn’t handle the bend. So what can you do to make sure you nail it? And how can your sixth sense help you stay in control?
Riders will often tell you it’s their bike that couldn’t handle the bend – the truth is most crashes that happen in corners happen because the rider couldn’t handle the bend. So what can you do to make sure you nail it? And how can your sixth sense help you stay in control?” First up, remember the corner doesn’t start when you reach the bend, it starts before you arrive. So make sure you’ve got your approach speed right. You should always aim to get your braking done before you enter the corner, never in it. Shed speed on the approach and wind it back on as you exit. The right approach speed is critical because it gives you time to assess and adjust your line. Turn in too early and you’ll run wide on the exit of the corner. Turn in too late and you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the white lines, off the road or heading into the oncoming traffic. Get your approach speed right, get your gear right, turn at the right point and the corner should flow naturally. Next, what sort of corner are you heading into? Is it a blind corner? Is it off camber? Is it going to tighten up on you, or open out and let you get the power down early Even if you’ve never ridden it before, one way to work out what the next corner is going to be like is to look for the vanishing point – the point where the two sides of the road meet up. Just here.” In general, if it moves away from you as you go in, it’s opening up. If it moves towards you, it’s gonna be tight. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a pretty good heads up.” Once you’re in the bend, remember to keep your head up and look through the corner to where you want to go, because that’s where the bike is going to go. Start looking short or fixating on that gum tree at the side of the road and the chances are you’re gonna be shaking the koalas out of it real soon.” And try to stay off the brakes as much as you can, it sounds wrong but if you’ve got your turning-in point and your approach speed right you’ll be in control and the bike should handle the corner no worries. Leaving you free to focus on making a smooth exit. All of these are things you can directly affect as the rider, but there are some things you simply have to deal with. The weather for instance can really mess up a corner. We all know to be wary of poor visibility and slippery roads when it rains… … but bad weather can also increase the risk of debris or standing water remaining in corners long after the event. Stay focused and try to identify issues like these early in case you need to adjust your road position or adopt a more cautious riding style. And then there’s camber… Generally, a corner with positive camber is a good thing. When a corner is higher on the outside and lower on the inside it means you can lean in less. Gravity works in your favour, forcing you and the bike towards the inside of the curve. This increases the area of your tyres that’s gripping the surface and helps to keep you on the road.” Negative camber on the other hand is a bugger – especially when it’s wet or there’s debris on the road. Because the corner is lower on the outside, you have to increase your lean angle, gravity is now working against you trying to push you to the edge of the road. To counter this effect, just take things a bit easier on the throttle and you’ll maintain grip and control. And remember, the angle of camber can change in a single bend or a series of bends, so never switch off It sounds like a lot to think about in a split second, but we all do it every day, on different types of corners and in different road and weather conditions. By developing and honing your sixth sense you can improve your cornering technique, and you and your bike will both be able to handle the bend. Authorised by the Queensland Government, Brisbane. Spoken by M. Doohan.