Cornering is one of the essential skills to learn to ride a motorcycle properly. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced rider, you can never do cornering right the first time you try it.
Of course, it would take just a couple of days to learn what it takes to ride a motorbike. Mastering cornering is a different ball game. It could take years of mistakes to claim to have mastered the skills.
If you have no idea how to corner a motorcycle the right way, this article discusses everything you need to know to turn around smooth and sharp corners professionally. Keep reading to learn more and acquire pro-riding skills.
Should You Brake Before or While Cornering?
It is necessary to brake before the corner to get all the time you need to assess the road ahead. No matter how well constructed, roads can have blind corners, over which you cannot see beyond. Slowing down before cornering also improves the grip in your front tire, making speed adjustment easier.
Avoid slowing while cornering. That’s because the forces of speed and cornering utilize too much tire grip that the braking forces are almost zero. Besides, entering a corner with the highest speed doesn’t guarantee that you’ll move out fast enough.
Therefore, apply brakes before cornering and accelerate as you move out. That’s called ‘slow in, fast out,’ and is the best way to gain corner exit speed. Remember, braking while cornering may delay acceleration until you’re further out of the corner.
How to Corner a Motorcycle?
Now that you know when to brake and when to accelerate when cornering a motorcycle, it is essential to learn each step involved in the process. Check out the following step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Look as Far Ahead as Possible
Before reaching the corner, you need to be sure where you’re going. So, look ahead. That doesn’t mean looking at the motorcycle’s front wheel. Instead, it is looking reasonably ahead to know where you’ll be placing your bike. As you move along the road, keep scanning the environment.
While it might seem like too much to ask for, looking far ahead makes it possible for you to negotiate a corner effortlessly. The road can have obstructions or objects you should avoid. Could you not focus on them? Focusing on obstacles can distract you and make you crash right into them. Look far away on the empty road, and it would be easier for you to take your motorcycle in the right direction.
Step 2: Apply Brakes and Shift Gears
While looking at the road ahead, you’re likely to see a clear or blind corner. Apply brakes and shift gears downward regardless of the type of corner you’re about to negotiate.
That can help you smoothly enter the intersection and avoid any unexpected obstacles lying ahead. As you approach the bend, avoid braking too early. The best time to brake and shift your gears down is before entering the corner.
Remember that braking while the motorbike remains in a higher gear is counterproductive. It might not be effective in slowing the motorcycle down to a comfortable speed. The trick is to know the optimum gear for the toned-down speed.
Step 3: Push the Inner Bars
Lean in and the handlebar on the side you wish to turn the bike. That might sound counterproductive, but it ensures that your motorcycle rides the right way, especially if your speed is substantially high. For example, if you intend to turn right, lean over and push the left handlebar. Bend over and press the right handlebar for a turn to the right.
That is called counter-steering. When negotiating corners reasonably fast, the front wheel turns, albeit minutely, opposite the turn’s direction; therefore, pushing your bike’s inner handlebar makes it possible to take a tight corner easily.
It makes it easier to negotiate a corner no matter how quickly it is. Luckily, this technique is easy to learn and takes only a few continuous practice sessions to master. You’ll find it quicker and more effective to corner a motorcycle that way.
Step 4: Stay Loose and Easy
When riding a motorcycle, make sure you remain fluid and flexible. In essence, you should be able to move your weight around the bike without being jerky. As you move around bends, transferring your weight side-to-side without unsettling the cycle is necessary. If you do, you might end up with an unexpected fall.
Keep your hand as light and as stress-free as possible. Do not lock your elbows or stiffen up your shoulders. Holding too tightly onto a motorbike renders it challenging to control and negotiate a corner.
Learning this skill may come after raking in thousands of miles for some riders. But that doesn’t make it impossible to master. Always try to loosen and lighten up at the handlebars. Pay attention to how smoothly you shift your body on the motorbike. With time, that fluidity of movements will be second-nature, and cornering a motorcycle is the easiest thing you can do.
Step 5: Line Through the Corner
When riding around a corner, choosing a line that allows you to lean in and accelerate easily as you turn is essential. Essentially, your riding position determines the perfect line. When riding within the track, aim to get through the corner as quickly as possible. Riding a motorcycle on a blind corner requires you to choose a line of optimal vision rather than one of optimal speed.
After braking and switching gears, lean in outside the corner. It would help if you had the correct speed, slightly turned on the throttle, and were in the proper gear before entering the intersection. Now you can lean in and stay outside the track.
You’ll be able to ride straight outside the road through inside the road at some point. You can do that by leaning in and accelerating out of the corner. Go through the inside of the track to the outside. With that, you’ll maintain a full view and avoid any mishaps.
Step 6: Turn the Throttle on
Now that you have reached the corner and are riding out, turn the throttle a notch higher. Instead of jerking the throttle, please turn it on little by little as you negotiate the corner. The motorbike is more stable with the throttle on and the clutch down in a leaning position.
As you start turning the corner and keeping to the outside of the track, twist the throttle gently. Once you realize you’re getting out of the corner, learn further and open the throttle further. As you accelerate out of the corner, your bike will assume the upright stance almost naturally.
How to Corner a Motorcycle in the Rain?
The best way to corner a motorcycle in the rain is to loosen up by resting hands on the handlebars without gripping too tightly. As you approach the corner, brake and change gears. Slightly turn on the throttle as you lean in and begin to negotiate the corner. After laying your eyes on the straight road ahead, turn the throttle a notch higher and cruise through unhindered.
When should you counter-steer a motorcycle?
You should counter-steer a motorcycle when cornering at high speed. When negotiating a corner at medium-to-high speed, the wheels tend to point in the direction opposite to the turning directions.
Therefore, counter-steering allows you to corner the motorcycle in the right direction. It also makes it easier for you to negotiate tighter arcs more quickly than you possibly could have done without it.
How Do I Improve My Motorcycle Cornering?
You can improve your motorcycle cornering by riding without holding too tightly on the handlebars. Lean in slightly after braking and shifting gears, and turn on the throttle slightly. It would help if you learned the place of counter-steering in helping you negotiate corners swiftly and quickly. Mastering cornering a motorcycle takes time and lots of practice. So, don’t just sit there and wait for it to happen. Start doing it now, and you’ll soon become a professional.
Why Is Turning Right Harder on a Motorcycle?
Turning right is harder on a motorcycle since the bikes have a shorter turning radius in that direction. However, the radius depends on your bike type and speed. If your bike isn’t good enough, a right turn at high speed can bring you as close to the pavement as possible. Furthermore, most people are right-handed, and their right hands are more muscular. They, therefore, naturally have it easier turning left than right.
Why do you turn left to go right on a motorcycle?
You turn left to go right because of the counter-steering effect. When negotiating a corner, the motorcycle tires tend to turn opposite the direction you intend to move. Therefore, pushing the handlebar left makes the bike turn right.
Cornering a motorcycle is one of the essential skills you should learn. It makes it easier for you to steer your bike around corners while avoiding falls and other accidents that might occur. As you approach the intersection, apply the brakes and change gears.
Lean in and turn on the throttle upon reaching the corner. Remember to counter-steer to move the bike in the correct direction. Keep going until you emerge from the corner. Now, turn on the throttle further and cruise around the corner. What else could go wrong?