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knee action

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by raven, May 29, 2008.

  1. I thought I would stick this in it's own thread, to help cast some light on the pro/cons of knee action, for anyone pondering the subject, and since I see the subject come up from time to time with newish riders, or riders haming their first forays into the finer arts of cornering

    So what's the story...should I be sticking my knee out through corners?...What's dragging a knee all about...Why do some riders do it? etc etc.

    To generalize...there is NO NEED for anyone to be sticking their knee out, UNLESS they have reached that level in their riding developement, where sticking their knee out seems to be the natural thing to do, and makes it a useful tool for them. (you'll know when it's time, as it just seems quite natural to do it)
    Try it beforehand and it will feel all wrong.

    At some stage, a rider ends up getting quick enough, that through corners, hanging a knee out is almost mandatory if the rider is to maintain the correct riding posture and technique. If you are hanging off well inside the centre line of the bike, your knee is already just "there" - sticking out. You let it fall out naturally (not over-reach). It will help keep your torso aligned correctly, and help you to maintain the correct cornering posture, that is required at the more advanced levels.

    If you are really "on it", the road will come up to meet your knee as your lean angle increases due to the higher speed you are travelling at, and as a result, your knee might drag on the road (wehoo!). A skilled rider will use his knee as a "feeler" for the road or track surface. He uses it to gauge his lean angles, and will know when he is approaching the maximum he and his bike are capable of, given his own abilities.

    A few specifics...longer legged riders have an easier time of actually putting their knee down since their knee just happens to stick out further from their legs being folded up on the pegs...shorter riders may never actually drag a knee, unless they are riding hot and hard and have the skill and tyres to do it. Those riders that "try" to get their knee down (unless exploring the feel of it, because their skills have put them there) are doing it for the wrong reasons...dragging a knee should be a result of high lean angles from high cornering speeds and not because you are reaching out for the road, and overdoing the "hang off". When you do THAT, you actually get off balance, and have less control - it can make a mess of your cornering.

    This is more or less what I have learnt from my own experience and is somewhere close to the truth of it all. Some skilled riders might like to chime in with their opinions, as I'd like to here what they have to say from their own experiences. It would be interesting.

    At the highest levels, having a knee out will actually allow you to support the bike on your leg if the front washes out. I know FLUX has experienced that, as I have once - maybe twice, on a smaller scale. And racers can sometimes use it to perfection for that purpose.

    So to sum up...hanging a knee out, is a technique used when the skill level can take advantage of it.
    Dragging a knee is something that happens because your skill level has allowed you to lean the bike over far enough, that your knee drags. (the road comes up to meet your knee)...Any other reason, besides personal practice to get used to it, is just having a bit of a play and showing off...and cool when your sliders have titanium inserts - sparks!! (Not me btw)

    And if you really really reeeeach for the road with your knee and hang off the bike excessively, then you end up looking like a complete tosser, and your cornering ability will actually be alot worse. :wink:

    Keep your knees in and use them to grip your tank, there's plenty of time later in your developement to start getting your knee out, or perhaps even down on the road occasionally. :)
  2. ...combined with correct body positioning! :p Also note that this varies between road and track - once you're scraping toe sliders, pegs, etc, as well as your knee, there are not a lot of options left if you need to tighten your line. A little chimping to use it as a lean indicator on the road can leave a wider margin.
  3. I would like to add, if you don't have race leathers you're probably going to struggle because touring leathers and cordura pants don't allow enough stretch in the groin to stick the knee out any.

    I'd like to also say, knee action ahahaaaha haha ha ehe hee hee... :wink:
  4. Thanks for the tip John :)
  5. Another good write-up/tip..

    Thanks John..
  7. WTF is chimping?
  8. +1 about needing to be a natural thing, not a forced 'trying to get the knee down'. I'm not a fast rider so the only time I've come close is around a hairpin on my 250 (read ultra light) where my knee naturally kind of just falls down into the right position, but it never connected with road.. Haven't gotten to this stage on my 650, even with the powers I'm quite a way off having a natural knee down moment.. Oggy knobs are kind of in the way.
  9. Don't know, but I meant intentionally getting off further than normal, to drag at less lean than usual. Also helpful in the wet.
  10. I've never heard of chimping before, but i can only imaging it means hanging off the bike, chimp like.
  11. Good post John.

    I'd add/reinforce that getting a knee down is a byproduct of a rider's approach to cornering. When getting the knee down is the goal (e.g. as spouted in any number of you tube guides), a rider tends to miss a lot about good cornering technique.

    Also definitely reinforce the "knee out keeps correct posture" statement. It helps keep the hips untwisted.

  12. Am I right in assuming that the type of bike you are on can also determine any ability to drag a knee? Certainly on my KLE if my knee was to come into contact with the black stuff I would probably already be flat on the ground sliding on the fairings and praying!

  13. Knee-down, first and foremost, starts with good road positioning and good lines through a corner, and improving the visual skills to a point that high angles of lean come naturally.

    As stated in John's post. Knee-down can either be a consequence of your cornering speed, or something done on purpose. For me, the moment I see anyone actually try to put a knee down they immediately get crossed up as their arse slides right off the bike to get the leg/knee down low while their upper body is angles across the tank rather than down low and in parallel to the tank.

    The upper body positioning is FAR more important to get right. Get it right and getting the knee down is actually harder but you'll be cornering much faster. When the knee starts to come down when you've got your upper body positioning/posture sorted then it'll be a long way back in your rear vision mirror to the next guy following you.

    I know that I've been working on my upper body positioning a lot in the last few months. Since then I rarely get my knee down any more.
  14. I dunno - This guy can do it! :grin:
  15. Don't knee drag on the KLE :p If you're super game then sure its possible, but don't try it Adam ;)
  16. When I did level 3, my body position changed to the point where I rarely get the knee down. Although I still find myself crossed up on occasion, it's rare and now the knee touches down as a result of the lean, speed and position, not as a result of some hyper extension.

    Using the knee as support and a depth gauge really helped me at Broadford turn one.

    Great write up Raven!
  17. Little offtopic, but is L3 where they finally touch on body positioning?
  18. If you can do it on this, then you can do it on the KLE.

    However, I have to say, this one definitely falls under the "knob" category.

  19. Why is he wearing his jacket upside-down?
    Was has he got his knee out like that?

    ...actually I'm really curious about the jacket???
  20. Very, very interesting. I highly doubt I'd ever be able to get my knee down.

    1. Too short.
    2. Too slow.
    3. Don't see the need to have my knee down.

    Also i don't think you can get your knee down on a CBR125 :? ... Haven't seen anyone do it yet.