Some say cornering a bike is an art and that’s a universal truth. Master the cornering techniques on a motorcycle and you can defy the rule of physics. It takes years to learn the right approach to lean and take the right lines, and that can only happen with continued practice along with the right guidance. You don’t need a racing track to learn the right cornering techniques, all you need is a bike and banked corners.
There are quite a few thing you need to take care of if you want to learn the right approach to a corner. The first and one of the most critical thing you can learn is counter steering.
What is counter steering?
In simple words, counter steering is the force that leans a bike effectively. Without counter steering, a perfect corner is technically very hard to do. If you are already a rider, it is certain that you do counter steer subconsciously before diving into a corner. Counter steering is the force you apply in the opposite direction of the desired direction to make the right approach angle to the corner entry. For example, if you want to take a right corner, you will apply weight on the left handlebar lean a little and then dive into the right. This is all physics and counter steering is the only effective way to steer a motorcycle without working your muscles on it. For better understanding here is a video reference explaining what counter steering on a motorcycle is all about. This video explains the significance of counter steering vs other turning techniques such as body steering and weighing the pegs.
Choosing the correct cornering line, Apex:
There are a thousand theories regarding late apex lines and racing lines. The late apex is the line that allows the rider to turn in and brake late into a corner, and also pick up the bike much sooner. Since it doesn’t allow the bike to lean as much as in the case of the racing line, hence is safer. While the racing line (apex) allows the rider to turn in advance and lean for a longer interval of time. This line is faster but risky when compare to the latter while the other one is slower and safer.
Body and arms position:
Make sure to keep the bike’s tank gripped with you inner thighs when trying to lean on and do not try to push it under you just go with the bike. If you are pushing it under you like the motocross riders do, you are leaning the bike way more than it is supposed to be leaned, hence more risk and slow speed. While if you stick your upper body closer to the tank and swing into the direction of the corner, it will make going much easier and natural. Also, the thing that makes this position ideal is that when you are close to the tank your arms are parallel to the road which makes the act of turning easy which is not the same in the other case as arms are not anywhere close to parallel.
Slow entry fast exit:
It is the golden rule of cornering. Make sure your entry speed is not high or otherwise chances are you will end up going really wide around the corner. The correct entry speed helps in sticking with the racing lines and don’t forget to throttle the bike when the corner is in the process as momentum is necessary that will keep you from falling. But as soon as the corner is finished you can crack the throttle open and make a fast exit.