Cornering is one of the most difficult aspects of bike riding. It’s easy enough when you’re going slow, but when up to speed cornering becomes more difficult. Add wet roads and bad surfaces into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily ex-pro rider John Ibbotson from FIT-FOR (pictured right) is on hand to give you 10 good tips to improve your cornering.
1. Brake in time: When you know a corner is approaching, brake in plenty of time. Your biggest cornering problem is approaching far too fast and locking up the brakes in a moment of panic! Take your time and brake early.
2. Cornering is often a lot easier in the drop position on your handlebars. You have easier access to your brakes, the arms become more relaxed (keep them bent) and you are more likely to shift your weight back over the back wheel.
3. As you approach the corner, just check for movement of traffic or other riders around you. Although you know what you’re doing, others around you may not.
If you are confident it’s all clear then move out towards to the middle of the road. This will dramatically improve your cornering angle and give you more width to negotiate the corner. The tighter your cornering angle the more difficult cornering becomes.
4. Change to a lower gear just before the corner. This should be a gear that you can comfortably exit the corner on. It’s no good approaching a corner on 53×14, forgetting to change gear and then stalling as you accelerate out of the corner. Think ahead.
5. As you are just coming into the corner pick your head up and look through the corner.
Don’t look down towards your front wheel. Think of car driving – you don’t stare just in front of your bonnet, you look ahead at where you want to be going. Use this same principle when cornering on your bike.
6. When you are a few metres away from the corner lift up the inside leg (the leg on the corner side!) so the pedal is at 12 o’clock. This will do two things. It will improve your balance whilst cornering and stop you from hitting your pedal on the road.
7. Distribute your weight so that it pushes down through your outside leg, this helps balance and improves tyre grip.
8. Once you are cornering try not to touch your brakes. By braking on the corner itself you will ruin your cornering line and end up with further problems. All the braking should have been done before the corner, allowing you to smoothly freewheel the full way round.
9. On the exit of the corner try not to straighten the bike up to soon. Stay in your cornering position until you have fully negotiated the corner. Don’t try to pedal too soon or you’ll simply whack your pedal on the road!
10. Accelerate! Once are out of the corner and the road straightens, then put the power down. In a race or when you’re being a bit competitive with your mates this is a great place to make those behind you suffer a bit.
- If you’re still unsure of cornering or would like some practical advice then why not come along to one of the FIT-FOR training sessions? We will be only too happy to help.
- FIT-FOR are a RCUK training advice partner. They supply advice on coaching and technique for our readers. If you have any questions for them, please send us an e-mail.