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Tip: Don't panic whilst cornering

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by hornet, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Here's some words of real wisdom from Reg Pridmore, in his day the racer of the fastest BMWs going, and modern-day racing school instructor and guru.

    Sooner or later, it hits even the best rider -- the sudden realization that your approach speed is much too fast for the corner rapidly filling your faceshield. It doesn't matter if you're a commuter cruising home from work or a racer who just suffered a lapse of attention at speed; riding out of this mess gracefully demands attention, skill and mental preparedness. Let's take the problem a stage at a time.

    DECIDE TO MAKE IT: Your first emotion should be a firm determination to "ride through the corner". You have to stay mentally strong and supress any doubts, which can quickly explode into panic, and can overwhelm your ability to take charge of the situation. Too often a rider panics and locks the rear brake, losing his ability to control the situation. He then slides off a corner that he could have made if he simply had been resolved to do so.

    Some riders simply freeze, and never make any control inputs at all. It's more common for a rider to crash when he panics entering a corner that he could have completed than it is for a rider to fall trying to corner too hard. Learn to relax and maintain your body position and motorcycle control in these high-pressure circumstances.

    LEAD WITH YOUR EYES: You go where you look, so LOOK UP THE ROAD AND THROUGH THE CORNER where you want to go. Don't let you eyes begin searching for a place to crash. Part of overcoming panic is wrenching your eyes away from the ditch or railing or even the open field looming ahead and putting them where you want to turn. It's also the first step in actually turning that way.

    BRAKE DEEP, LEAN HARD: If there's ever a moment when your braking practice pays off, it's now. As long as you have some significant pavement ahead, there is room to brake. The slower you go, the tighter an arc you can ride through the corner. Of course, the closer you come to the edge of the lane, the tighter an arc you NEED to stay there. Given sufficient room and hard enough braking, at some point your speed drops below the point at which you can safely lean it over and drive through the corner. That speed is probably higher than you realize, however, unless you have spent some time on a racetrack exploring the outer edges of your bike's performance abilities. The only way you will learn how much your bike has left and how to use it fully is to practice.

    LEARN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE: A close call should reinforce your confidence if you handle it successfully, reminding you that you have a reserve to tap. It should also remind you of your limitations. In other words, either know your road, or slow down.
  2. Good one Paul!

    I think we can't get enough of these reminders about cornering/situational awareness.

    If your like me, it took ages to break the natural reaction and look away from the danger and towards the escape.

    We tend to want to keep an eye on the rock/pothole/wombat and that leads to "target fixation" it takes practise to make us look toward sthe way we need to go.

  3. Yes, i know my natural reaction is; Panic = Brakes (usually the front ones :( )

    I could have also done with a trust your tyres and lean hard, push-push-push on those handle bars...
  4. Extremely valid words of wisdom Hornet.. too often a brief moment of doubt in ability can result in an off.

    When faced with exactly that situation in the past ie going in too hot to a corner I remembered those words passed to me by someone else early on. So I pushed harder on the bar looked through the corner and got through it unscathed. Upside of this cornering confidence increased out of sight

    Very few of us actually ride their bikes to the limit handling wise so whilst you may feel its too hot probably 9 times out of 10 the bike would do it its just up to the rider focus.. dont panic
  5. Looking where you want to go is so important :!:

    I mangaged to hit some gravel coming too hot around a blind bend and almost got flipped off. I manged to bring it all under-control only to end up running into the ditch and almost dropping it anyway....Doh!

    This only happened because I was so shaken after the high-side that I ended up looking at the side of the road which is never a good idea :p
  6. Thats exactly what I didn't do and should have when I stacked between Whitfield and Mansfield on the switch back.
  7. i've been riding 3 months now so still new.

    few weeks ago i scared myself by going faster than what i was comfortable with. lucky since the speed that i go is slow anyway, leaning harder into the corner paid off and i was left this a great feeling of fright/relieved!

    i was just wanting to know about how far a bike can lean over? do most people when riding hard scrape their pegs? is that the limit? and is that why people put the knee down so that it won't go past the pegs?

    unfortunately with my cb250 the front doesn't instill much confidence so i'm very reluctant to push it. my friend's rvf400 on the other hand was soooo planted it wanted me to push it harder! great stuff!
  8. i was just wanting to know about how far a bike can lean over?
    Depends on so many things, the type of road surface, the temp of the track (sorry, road) the tyres (temp, condition, pressure) and of course on the bike itself (don't expect any elbow action on a CB250).

    do most people when riding hard scrape their pegs?
    Yes, many faster and fatter riders requlaly scrap their pegs when the mood takes them.

    is that the limit?
    If any thing scrapes, then yes that is the limit...although you can of course increase clearance by moving the thing that is scraping.

    and is that why people put the knee down so that it won't go past the pegs?
    Well yes and no, in theory yes but in practice it's normally because they are showing off
  9. I always was taught by expereinced car drivers to "look where you want to go - not where you don't want to go".

    It's a sad fact that, I dare say, most car and bike riders - if they survive a crash they can remember in great detail the tree/ditch/other car very clearly!

    Probably because they stared for so long at it instead of being focused on where they should have been going?

    It's part of human instinct to "go where your eyes are looking". It is made even worse by fixating on a solid object that is a "threat".
  10. Well I remember the place and circumstances of my first 'off' and it involved exactly that.

    I was coming to the top of the hill on the Mount Ousley Road to the north of Wollongong, just opposite the road into the telecommunications tower. It was two lane highway, perfect surface, but I spotted a pothole/breakaway on the edge. I kept looking at it, and I remember thinking at the last second "I'm going to hit that!"

    And I did, spun up the road and came to a stop. I was so mad with myself because I realised even then that what the eye is looking at the front of the bike will follow........
  11. I spent 2 hours out practising cornering yesterday under an experienced riders watchful eye. Invaluable stuff. Going in too tight, not leaning to the right enough, too wide - bad lines, etc. By our final run up Mtn Highway finally felt my corners were starting to run smoothly. So I'll be back out there practising even more asap. And if I find my eyes fixed on an 'unwanted' target - I tell myself out loud to look away - knocks the brain into action quick smart. :D
  12. As an aside to this topic of cornering, where should your feet be when taking either a left or right hand turn. I have found that when taking a roundabout a little too tight, my right foot, which is sitting on the peg but hanging under the rear brake, often gets a toe scrape which scares the absolute shite out of me and i usually snap back the throttle and straighten the bike up. Probably not a good thing.

    And again on taking a left turn. Foot on peg but sitting under the gear lever. Only once have I scraped the left foot when turning left but again that scared the crap outta me.
  13. You'll get lots of different advice on this, but I stongly believe they should be at the end of your legs.

    For cornering, I prefer to move my foot back and rest my toe on the footpeg. If you need to change gear when you're hard over, you cocked it up.
  14. You dont have to leave your feet in the same position on the pegs, move them back on the pegs as you enter a turn and use the balls of your feet.

    Watch any racer closely from corner to corner, the feet positions move constantly.

    Cheers ratty
  15. I had a ride a few weeks back from Melbourne to Traralgon via lots of twisty stuff through Powell town, Noojee etc. I had a few pucker moments on not sign posted hairpins... pushing that bar and looking (in desperation) all the harder to where I wanted to go made all the difference.

    Someone posted the motorcycle bible somewhere in here - well worth the download and loooong read.

    It talks about scraping pegs and limits in it somewhere...


  16. Matt232???
    It is - am slowing making my way thro' it - then going out & putting it into practise :D just gotta remember its US - we ride on the LEFT, not the RIGHT! :p
  17. Don't get me started on foot positioning. I always have the brake pedal adjusted so my right foot rests on it (not under it) at a natural angle. Despite the fact that we use the front brakes for most braking, it still helps to have a bit of back brake through longer corners.
    But ratty is right, move them around, do what feels natural, there are no rules really (except for mark's frivolous observation, of course).
  18. Having your feet a bit back on the pegs is a usefull tactic to prevent "duck feet" which subsequently reduce your cornering clearance. Check which way your toes are pointing when you ride next time. Heaps of riders (including me) unconsciously have their toes pointing at 45 degrees from the bike.
    Definately take the opportunity at some point to get out on a track and explore corners a bit more in a safer environment.
  19. Good post, bloody good advice.
    To summarise, you have two choices panic and crash, or try the corner.
    Always have an eye on an escape clause, trust your eyes and the bike.
  20. And that's a newbie on this forum!
    I've been riding for 33 years, man and boy.