Traversing Flat Corners

One of the great things about a worn down track is the help from ruts and berms.  Sure they can make things difficult, but they essentially help us keep our speed up in the corners.  Just like in NASCAR, the angled surface allows the bike to lean over and still find plenty of traction.  However, there are situations where you don’t always have this luxury and you must bring out your inner flat tracker.

Since you don’t have any help with your leaning, the entrance needs to be a little bit different.  When approaching the corner, take a wider approach than you normally would.  If you have ever watched any kind road racing, drives use wide lines that are smooth arcs.  Traction is very important here, so you want to get all of your braking done before you start to lean in.  When you are upright, the tires have the most bite for better braking.  Just like normal turns, you want to be in the attack position and keep looking ahead.

When it comes time to sit down, remember that this is one, fluid motion: get off the brakes, sit up on the gas cap, leg out and apply the throttle.  The smoother you are, the easier the corner will be.  Sitting up close to the gas cap will put as much weight on the front wheel as possible for optimal traction which will give you some confidence when you lean in.  The best way to sit is on the outside edge of the seat.  This keeps your weight centered and straight down, rather than out and away.

The basics really play a big role in this situation.  That outside elbow better be up and the outside peg should be weight.  Again, this puts more emphasis on traction.  If you feel that the rear wants to drift out still, you can drag the rear brake to weight the back end down.  This is a great technique to use on the exit when power is put to the ground.  However, if you have a steady throttle hand, you won’t need to use this as often.

Drifting out too wide can leave the door open for a pass.  Keeping your elbow up and weight on the outside peg gives you the traction to power through the turn and avoid drifting out.  Unlike riding through a wide arc, squaring up flat turns robs momentum and drive.  It is time consuming and a waste of energy.  Once you find that balance between leaning and twisting the throttle, these corners become excellent passing opportunities.

Posted on Jul 15 2011, under Riding Techniques | No Comments »

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