Join the one and only Niall Mackenzie as he teaches you the basics for successful road cornering
Cornering's what bikes are all about, and there are few feelings better in this world than blasting out of a corner knowing you couldn't have possibly done it faster this side of being woken up with a blow job.
But fast cornering isn't something you can just go out and do straight away. It's a precise science that takes time to perfect. And to be honest, you never stop learning. Unless you can honestly say you hit every corner perfectly on every ride, wherever in the world you might be, then you can always improve.
Starting at the beginning though, before you even think about honing your personal corner attack methods, go through the usual routine of warming your bike, tyres, suspension, body and head over a few miles and shaking out the cobwebs before really going for it and remember, like all aspects of good riding, smoothness is the key. Raggedy, rough riding, heavy last-minute braking and choppy throttle action might feel as if you're riding as fast as the bike can manage, but truth is you're not only way slower than the bloke breezing through the bend in one flowing swoop, you're an accident looking for a hedge to happen in.
Good cornering starts long before you reach the actual corner and there's a lot you need to do before you reach the bend in question so once you're upon it, the only things to concentrate on are tipping in, hitting the perfect line, and driving out the other side as fast as possible.
1. Know where the bend's going
Sounds obvious, but on the road and especially on roads you don't know well (or at all) you can't set up for a corner without an idea of how tight it is and how fast you can attack.Fortunately there are loads of signs telling you what an approaching bend is going to do, and they are:
2. Get your bike set:
And by this I mean get all your gearchanging and braking down in plenty of time so you arrive at the corner unflustered, off the brakes, at the right speed, and in the right gear so the motor's ready to pull you through the corner fast when you ask it to. And after last month's gearchanging practice, you should find you can use a lot of engine braking to slow you down and just brush the brakes as a belt and braces if you need 'em.
3. Be on the correct line:
This one's all based on vision. See, as well as the basic giveaways to how a corner will behave I've already outlined, you can open up or close down your field of vision massively depending on your road position. This may not sound very exciting, but the more you can see the faster you can go (and the safer you are too). Don't believe me? Well see how fast you can go with your eyes shut then...
The aim is to put your eyes in the best place for maximum vision and look as far and wide ahead as possible. Just by sitting up on the bike and craning your neck one way or the other you can alter your field of vision dramatically. What this means is that for maximum vision around a right hander, you want to be as far to the left side of the road as you can safely go, and for a left you'll want to be as far right as you can without risking a head on should a car appear at the last minute. Not only will positioning yourself like this open up your field of vision, it'll also put you on the right line for fastest cornering too.
And if you can see miles down the road and can see a corner coming up, don't wait until the last minute to position for it, do it as soon as you see the turn coming so it's one less thing to think about.
Continue Niall's road cornering tuition
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