The surrounding area roads in our great state of Colorado are some of the most technical in the country; so it’s with this in mind that I want to address proper cornering techniques.
Almost 50 percent of all motorcycle accidents are single vehicle crashes. Of these, a large percentage are the result of improper cornering techniques. Many of these accidents could be avoided if the rider would just simply slow down and ensure proper entry speed into the corner. However, proper technique is a must on more technical mountain roads that have decreasing radius, along with changes in elevation.
First thing is speed. You need to get all you’re braking and downshifting accomplished before entering the curve. Remember, while in a lean braking is not a good thing. Your traction pie is significantly reduced, thus could result in a loss of traction and control. A good benchmark on what’s the proper speed is simply the suggested speed sign. This sign is kind of orange/yellow color with a speed posted on it.
I prefer to enter corners with a delayed apex technique. This approach is from the outside edge of the corner and deeper into the apex before I start to lean. Now, when I say the outside edge of the corner, I DO NOT suggest allowing any part of the bike to cross over either the outside fog line (for a left-hand curve) or the center-line (for a right-hand curve). I simply mean to position the bike to the outside of the curve as you make your approach. This technique allows for the rider to see much further around the curve to spot potential hazards, i.e. oncoming traffic, cyclists, animals or rocks on the roadway. This angle also allows the rider a much deeper lean and a smoother exit of the corner.
Counter steer by pushing the grip forward in the direction of the corner. Push right, go right; push left, go left. Keep your head and shoulders level and allow the bike to lean under your body. This will give you a consistent sight picture and allow you to transition out of the lean much more quickly. Remember, as you lean the motorcycle, focus on your wheel track as far as you can see into the curve. This will allow you to keep a smooth line throughout the curve. As you start to exit the curve, smoothly roll on the throttle.
Remember, with any emergency braking you must get the bike upright out of the lean before applying combination braking.
Until next time, Ride Safe!