Advanced Riding

What to do if you enter a corner too quickly

Hitting your favourite set of bends on a bike is part of what makes riding exciting. But if you get it wrong and go too quickly, what can you do to prevent a crash?

The “Oh shit” moment

We’ve all done it at least once in our riding career – the bum-clenching feeling of entering a corner faster than we wanted or misjudging the radius of the corner. It’s a horrible feeling but it isn’t the end of the world/ride/bike. Stay calm and there are still some things you can do to keep you out of that ditch!

Focus

First off you need to focus on the exit point of the bend. Looking at the exit will prevent you from focussing on things like kerbs, trees, sheep or lampposts – all the things you don’t want to hit! With the corner exit now the only thing in your view you need to believe you can make it, regardless of how badly you overshot.

Most modern bikes with decent(ish) tyres have more grip than any of us will ever need, the real danger is you could underestimate the level of adhesion available and not lean the bike enough.

Perspective

The other benefit of looking to the exit is your head will naturally level off, meaning your eyeline will tend to be level with the horizon. The plus here is that your brain can now better calculate the amount of lean angle you’re carrying and figure out if you can squeeze a few more precious degrees of it. If you do need some more lean, don’t just chuck the bike on its ear and hope it’ll stick. Move your bum off the seat until you are hanging off the side of the bike, this’ll help move your centre of gravity away from the bikes centre line and put less energy through the bike’s tyres.

Stay calm

The last thing you need in this situation is a brain full of adrenalin, keep calm and make small smooth adjustments to the bike controls if you need it. The natural reaction is to grab a handful of front brake although this could be a bad move. Pulling hard on the front brake will make the bike want to sit up and go straight on, that’s if you don’t lock the front and drop off the low-side first. Either way, a trip to A&E or the repair centre is a very real possibility!

To brake or not to brake?

If you absolutely have to brake, it’s best to steer clear of the front. For one thing, locking the front and dropping the bike is a risk but it could also unsettle the bike causing you to run wider. When in a corner the front and rear wheels are not running to the same radius, the front is normally wider than the rear due to the trail and tyre widths. You’re better off dabbing the rear brake gently, this’ll pull the bike around the corner slightly, scrubbing off some speed at the same time.

What can I do to prevent this happening?

Forward planning is the best thing! Always have a safety net in place, especially if you don’t know the road you’re on. Get most of your braking done in a straight line and enter the corner on a steady throttle. As soon as the exit comes into view, get on the gas and fire it out. It’ll feel much nicer than scrabbling around the outside of the corner in a flap!

Comments

Nathan Snappda Burnett's picture

Good advice

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