Approaching Corners Efficiently

Proper braking is a must.  There’s no way to get around it.  If you watch the pros, they don’t brake much, but when and where they do, it counts.  I did an article on braking already, so have a look at that to get an idea of a solid foundation for this.  Now, it’s time to take things a little bit further.  You have the basics down, now you just need to apply it and add a little bit more.

When you get comfortable with the approach, cornering becomes your best friend.As I said before, a balanced braking technique is a guideline.  This can be used when you are approaching a corner that you can keep your momentum, but slow down and shift down a gear at the most.  However, when you start getting into situations where you might have to shift down twice or even three times, things start to get a little tricky.

One thing that helps me a lot is to find a marker; it can be anything from a rock, the first braking bump or flagger.  This gives me something to see and judge when I need to start braking.  Again, you want to have enough speed and momentum, but not stop completely.  If you feel that this marker is too far away, then try to hold the throttle on a little longer.  If it is too close to the corner, tell yourself to let off when you see the marker.

Another thing that helps is to wait until you are past the braking bumps and then shift down, if needed.  This keeps the suspension from binding up and rebounding too much when you are in the higher RPMs.  Plus, you keep your momentum a lot more and you carry the speed throughout the corner.  If things get a little messy and you start to swap, remember to grip with your knees, but drag your rear brake as well.  This loads the rear shock and keeps it down on the ground, providing you with a smoother ride and more traction for your rear tire to grab.

You have the fundamentals, now you just need to find a marker and go from there.  Finding a good balance between your front and rear brake is good because you don’t want to rely on just one.  You need to be able to use both, but still know how to use each one efficiently.  Waiting to shift takes a little getting used to but when you do, it makes a big difference in the approach of the upcoming corner.

Posted on Oct 07 2009, under Riding Techniques | No Comments »

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