The essence of motorcycle riding is cornering: many motorcycle riders agree with that. You may keep enhancing your cornering skills for the rest of your life, and you will probably never reach full perfection (well, maybe with the exception of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa).
What kind of mistakes are often made in corners, and what is the reason for those mistakes? What can you do about it? What is the “perfect line”, and how do you find it?
Join our Cornering Clinic where you will be taken through the training by our Enhanced Rider Trainers, teaching valuable Life-saving Skills
A rider should spend time developing and practicing sound braking technique. This is the most valuable skill to you as a road rider.
If you are approaching a red light intersection as you roll off the throttle and start to slow down you should also check your mirrors to ensure the following traffic are at a safe distance. Apply gentle “set-up” pressure to both brakes to start the weight transfer happening and then progressively “squeeze” both brake levers (front and rear) but try to apply more pressure to the front brake lever rather than the rear.
This progressively loads up the weight onto the front suspension, increasing the contact patch of the front tyre, and will bring the motorcycle to a safe stop.
The rear brake application slows the rear wheel and helps keep the back of the motorcycle in line, as well as helping to stop.
The rider should also progressively change down through the gears so that the engine provides some compression braking, and ideally when the motorcycle stops at the intersection, the rider should already be in 1st gear, ready to move off.
Very importantly the rider should always remember to check mirrors when slowing down and again as soon as the motorcycle stops.
In a “normal stopping” situation ideally, the front brake should be supplying about 70% of the braking effort and the rear brake about 30%.
If you need to stop in an emergency the “set-up” and “squeeze” technique is still applicable, however in this situation the front brake should be supplying about 90% of the braking effort and the rear brake only about 10%.
The most important aspect of riding a motorcycle is looking ahead. Being able to look ahead, being able to notice what’s important, is a vital element of motorcycle riding.
It would seem that that’s something everybody is capable of, but you will notice that there is much to learn about looking ahead.
You ride towards where you look, so to learn to corner well, you will have to look in the right direction. On traffic, you will have to “learn to notice far more” than you usually see.
Whether safety or speed appeals most to you, you will have to work on your looking skills. What’s there to see? How can you practice your capabilities?
RIDERS SHOULD NOT STAY IN THE OVERTAKING LANE
Motorcycle riders should use the driving lane (left-hand lane) and only use the overtaking lane (right-hand lane) when overtaking single vehicles or other slower moving traffic. Riders should not stay in the overtaking lane for longer than is necessary and once the single-vehicle overtake is complete, they should move back to the left-hand lane.
When moving out for overtaking single vehicles, ensure it is safe to do so with regular mirror checks to gather information behind. Indicate early and let it flash at least 5-6 times to make other vehicles aware of the intention to change lanes. When it is safe, carry out a ‘lifesaver’ to move out – cancel signal, complete the overtake and when clear of the slower vehicle, take a mirror check and ‘lifesaver’ over the left shoulder to move back in.
Key points to remember: