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Newbie struggling with cornering

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by dazza139, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. Hi Guys

    Just passed my full licence on Saturday - very happy. I'm commuting daily and I would have done over 2000 km in 3 months which I reckon is a lot. I'm definitely improving in most areas. The one that I struggle with is cornering. Around the city it's not a problem but in the weekends I've been to the Blackspur a couple of times and then yesterday I took the route from Warrandyte to Kingslake. On both trips I haven't really enjoyed myself. In fact on the road to Kingslake I thought bugger this and turned around and came back. 15 km/hr marked tight corners gave me the willies.

    In general I find that corners frighten the hell out of me. I've read the theory - Twist of the Wrist etc, took part in the mentoring day here in VIC which was great, and I read every post that I can here on Netriders.

    I try and do the following
    1) set up speed early
    2) approach from the outside part of the lane
    3) look through the corner
    4) counter-steer to tip the bike in
    5) lean my body more than bike
    6) weight the outside peg
    6) maintain constant speed through the corner
    and more...

    I just can't seem it get it together. I wonder if I don't lean enough and perhaps I haven't learned to trust my bike (VTR 250) and its grip. I think my self-protective instincts might be getting in the way.

    To be honest I was disappointed with my 8 hour licensing course and test. I had hoped that there would have been some more instruction on cornering. In fact in general it was poor and I reckon I got much more out of the VIC mentoring day. At least I got the license.

    So where to next?
    - mentor ride
    - group ride
    - intermediate HART course or other course
    - ride straight lines for the rest of my life

    Any suggestions?


  2. You seem to have the theory part under control so I suggest you find a piece of road you're comfortable with and do it again and again increasing your speed (under the limit).
    The best thing you can do is look through the corner. You know that but do you do it? Do a quick scan ahead to check to see if the corner is safe then look through as far as you can.
    The second best thing is to trust your bike. If the suspension/tyres are right it will out corner you by a long way. Mentoring rides will help a lot too.

    Just remember don't be to hard on yourself as most of us don't crash going in a straight line and most of us have come off or at least dirtied out trousers in a corner at some stage.

    HART and others run skills courses which could also be an option.
  3. So far as I can see, it's all practice and experience from here on in for you. Confidence will come. You've just gotta get a good relationship with your bike happening, where it trusts you to make the right inputs and you trust it to handle those inputs.
  4. Stress!!

    Mate good on you for doing so much research but it sounds like you have taken in so much information that you are over thinking every corner. All these things you are concentrating on are things which are to improve your style. Just for a moment forget everything you have read (except for the safety stuff like checking the road ahead) and take the corner how it feels right. Then once your nearly comfortable (before you form bad habits) have a look at what you think your doing wrong. Some times you just need to relax and let it flow. I am pretty sure you dont ride in a straight line all the way to work.

    Take it easy on the corners. Dont try and get yourself leaning right over just do what ever feels comfortable and move on from there. Gradually increase your speed on the corners as you get more confident (best to be done on a windy road you are very familiar with), but dont over do it.

    Once you are comfortable with the cornering then come back and check all those points to make sure you are developing the correct style.

    At the end of the day you are there to have fun not stress about finer details. So just relax, take it easy and enjoy it.

    I may not be the most creditable advice giver but thats my two cents. Enjoy
  5. Thanks for the advice Guys.

    2 Wheels - I have been doing what you suggested. I live very close to Yarra Bend Park which has a few nice corners. I regularly go up there to practice - at least three times a week. There's no doubt that I am getting better at that particular stretch of road but perhaps that's because I can predict the next bend. In terms of improving on that particular stretch do you think it's a matter of gradually nudging up the speed a little to challenge myself (of course within the signposted speed limit :) )

    What I find difficult is when I go somewhere I don't know and then I lose all confidence.

    I definitely want to explore the range of my bike - just not the the flexibility of my bones! :grin:
  6. I'll state an obvious one, but don't try and "steer" a bike through a corner unless you are going very slow............. and look where you want to go.

    on very tight bends , you should feel as though you have gone past the bend, look way back over your shoulder at the inside of the bend and your bike will follow.

    practice practice practice.

    good luck

  7. Hi Jeff. This is an interesting post! On my little practice runs I do have a couple of hairpins which are marked 35 km/hr. I'm never quite sure where to look but have been looking to the far inside point of the curve waiting for it to open up. Is this what you mean? Or do you mean to literally look over my shoulder like you would doing a U turn? Obviously it wouldn't be that extreme! :shock:
  8. Three words Dazza: CalIfornia superbike school. Do the level 1 course.

    Failing the readies, get yourself on to the Hart or Stay Upright advanced courses.

    Some self assessment questions for you:

    Are you rrreeeaaalllyy leaning??? (every single noob on the Kew Bvd mentor day thought they were leaning more than they actually were)

    Are you reaaalllly pointing through the corner with your chin??? (Head position pulls the body into a lean position)

    Are you rrrreeeaaaallllly rolling on the throttle??? (tentative attitude tends to result in poor throttle control)

    Are you rrrrreeeaaaalllly relaxed???? (Being tight on the bars tends to make you run wide).


    Don't worry about Kinglake rd, those that frequent it often love it. Those that don't go often, get the willy's looking through a corner across an empty space, or realising going wide on some corners mean a few seconds free fall... thing is, whilst you're on the bitumen the big old empty space can't hurt you. Keep focussed on the goal and rid your risk averse primal mind of it's concerns.

    Good luck!
  9. i am so in for a group ride.

    as a new rider i cant give you much advise. but i am planning to take the advance course at hart once i ve done my P test.

    until then, i will just take in what every1 has to say and mix it with a bit of guts. hhaha.
  10. Make sure you're in the right gear so you've got enough power going. For the slower tighter stuff use 2nd gear, or even first. This will keep the bike stable compared to trying to lug it around the corner in a higher gear.

    Trust the bike and tyres, being new, you're gonna run out of talent a long way before the bike reaches its limits.

    Plus what the others said.
  11. Round-abouts are your friend.

    When teaching freinds years ago, the use of round-about's to practice entry - exit and full lean angles was exceptional.

    Choose a quite area and practice 90 - 180 - 270 etc. etc turns and exit.
  12. Thanks Rob. The California Bike School isn't something I'd heard of before. It looks great if not a little pricey! Actually I was very keen to do the Hart Intermediate course with the group booking but at that stage didn't have my full license. Do you think that skipping to the Advanced course would be OK?

    As for rrrreeallly doing what I should - it's very hard to know? I'm sure that I could do everything more - particularly leaning the bike over more - but my survival instincts get in the way.
  13. The advanced courses have a part of the course really focussed on cornering. But cornering is covered in the Hart/Stayupright intermediate levels first - Stay upright is a bit more roadcraft focussed IMO.

    Your SR's are obviously taking time to deprogram... you might need to consciously think them out through careful self observation and gradually chipping away at them taking the same corners faster and faster.

    By the way, I would take PP's suggestion with some caution. The only roundabout I know of that I'd recommend you do what was suggested is the roundabout on the Calder highway Mt Macedon exit. It's a very big flat roundabout. The rest are off camber oil covered crash traps.

    CSBS is worth the money.

    Perhaps tackle some gentler roads <suggestions folks!> and get your cornering basics sorted. Then tackle the "scary" roads.
  14. Would I feel a bit of a dork doing CSBS on my VTR 250! :LOL:
  15. Who cares? It's about improving your riding skills, not winning a popularity or beauty contest.
  16. The very extremely lovely Mrs Scumbag, did the course on her naked 250... and even though she's on a big bike now, she still can't get the smile off her face... she's now done levels 2 and 3 as well...

    It's addictive I tells ya!
  17. +1. And also +1 to doing an Advanced riding course/CSBS.

    Dazza, have you tried any twisty rds other than those you speak of above? Head over to Gippsland for some less twisty rds - many of these are great for practicing technique on. PM me if you want someone to go riding with out here. :) I can show you some rds that I've found perfect for practicing on.

    I've only been riding for a year myself so don't expect any instruction from me :) I will tell you what I've found has helped over the past 12mths though...I like to head out on a less twisty/technical rd and ride at a slower than usual pace whilst working on various aspects of my technique (not all at the same time though - it helps to focus on only one or two of these things at a time)...ie throttle control, counter-steering, looking through the corner, road position/lines, body position, grip on bars etc etc.

    Also, how's your mind whilst riding these twisty rds? Skills can mean zilch if you're mind isn't in the right place.
  18. :WStupid:
    try something gentler!
    previously people have suggested the warrandyte-yarra glen-healesville-woori-yallock run. its mainly bendies rather than twisties and 80k speed limit for most of it so you can settle in and enjoy yourself.
    the run back from castlemaine through trentham and blackwood is also OK.
  19. 6) maintain constant speed through the corner

    I maintain a constant positive throttle input through the corner, not a constant speed. TWT recommends 40/60 weight balance, to do this you must be accelerating.
  20. Only on really tight bends can you use this technique and I do not consider 35k/hr as a tight bend........more like 15-20 kmh or under.

    Just look thru the corner and trust your bike and DO NOT LOOK AT DANGER AREAS!!!!