Motorcycle Cornering Guide
If you’re thinking about getting a street bike, take a look at this motorcycle cornering guide before you get on the road. Riding a motorcycle can be very fun, but it takes a lot of time to learn to do so properly. For many new riders, turning a motorcycle is one of the most difficult parts of learning to ride. The information below, though, can help you in knowing what to do when you encounter your first few turns.
- Know the physics of a turn. The smoothest line through a curve is determined by its entry point. On a motorcycle, this means that you want to begin your lean at the spot most comfortable for you. Beginning riders find that an early entry point allows for less lean, and therefore makes taking the turn on a bike smoother and easier.
- When you’re approaching the curve, do so at the right speed. Safely taking a curve on a motorcycle, believe it or not, often does not require braking on the actual turn. The general recommendation among experienced motorcyclists is to approach the turn at a speed which doesn’t necessitate braking on entry. This speed, of course, is variable according to how sharp the curve is. You’ll learn to find it quickly, though, especially if you’ve driven a car.
- Visualize and pick a line. A “line” in motorcycling terms is basically the path you see your bike going in the road ahead. Most riders pick their line in relation to the line painted on roads. Aggressive riders turn at a more acute angle, whereas newer and more conservative motorcyclists pick a line more parallel to the road’s.
- Remember constant cornering, or accelerating through a turn. The same physics of driving a car apply to driving a motorcycle. The most stable way to take a turn is to enter into it at an appropriate speed, and stay moderately on the throttle throughout the entire turn. This keeps the centrifugal force up, balancing the lean you take and making it smoother.
- If you lean too far into a curve, know how to recover. Motorcycle riders, especially new ones, often find themselves in a situation where they’re leaning too far in a turn. To correct this, you’ll have to react against your intuition. Accelerate slightly, use the handlebars to steer away from the side you’re leaning on, and shift your body weight towards (yes, towards) the excessive lean. This will get the bike up again.