Get­ting your knee to touch the Tar­mac is still the holy grail for many...

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The trick to get­ting your knee down is re­vealed...

Get­ting your knee down is still one of the defin­ing moments for most rid­ers. I’m sure we all know of rid­ers who will de­stroy a set of slid­ers in a few ses­sions on track or at their lo­cal round­about, and I’m sim­i­larly sure that we know of peo­ple that have got the an­gle grinder out or bought some used ones from eBay (the chicken strips on these rid­ers’ tyres are al­ways a very good give away for this one!).

Some rid­ers find it re­ally hard to do while oth­ers seem to be able to glide their knees on the floor with lit­tle or no trou­ble, so what’s the is­sue?

Well, in most cases it is not the bike as cur­rent and past is­sues of this fine rag will show you – peo­ple knee slid­ing on all man­ner of bikes. And in most cases it’s not the tyres or the sus­pen­sion set-up.

No, what’s needed is an ed­u­ca­tion on the cor­rect body po­si­tion and the key route to this is how sta­ble the rider can be on the bike.

You see, the rider and bike have a very sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship. We need each other. We are lost with­out each other. And the bike is a bit of a mimic – which is both good and bad. How the bike com­mu­ni­cates with us is im­por­tant for us to feel the grip we need to lean the bike over.

Think of it as hav­ing a dis­agree­ment with the mis­sus. It gets worse and worse un­til you don’t com­mu­ni­cate with each other at all. That can be you and your bike! Once the bike gets into this con­di­tion it quits lis­ten­ing to any of the in­puts that you’re giv­ing it. You both want con­trol but nei­ther of you are ‘con­nect­ing’ so the sit­u­a­tion gets worse.

Now, if we are sta­ble on the bike then the bike will gen­er­ally be sta­ble too. This is a good thing. But the same can be said if we are un­sta­ble on the bike. In this sce­nario there is a good chance the bike will mimic your stance and be­come un­sta­ble as well.

So be­cause of this we can find our­selves and the bike in var­i­ous stages of sta­bil­ity. The ideal is, of course, a sta­ble rider and there­fore a sta­ble bike. The next stage that we could have is an un­sta­ble bike but a sta­ble rider. This isn’t too bad, as guess what? Pro­vided you re­main sta­ble the bike should, and nor­mally does, fol­low suit, thus re­turn­ing us to the ideal scene of a sta­ble bike and a sta­ble rider.

Next we can have a sta­ble bike but an un­sta­ble rider. This is not so good as the bike will again mimic us and be­come un­sta­ble due to our own in­sta­bil­ity. This is the stage a lot of rid­ers get to when they are try­ing to get their knee down for the first time. Some rid­ers man­age to get their knee on

If we are sta­ble on the bike, the bike will be sta­ble too...

the ground – but it is quickly fol­lowed by their arse.

So the fi­nal stage is both an un­sta­ble rider and an un­sta­ble bike. This is as bad as it gets and the bike can get so out of hand that it can throw the rider off and then guess what hap­pens the in­stant the rider is ejected? Yup, you’ve got it, the bike be­comes sta­ble again. It’s just a shame that the rider is no longer on board to en­joy it!

So, sim­ple body po­si­tion­ing

More lean and less sta­bil­ity will only end in one way...

to get your knee down needs to be started from a sta­ble po­si­tion, the more sta­ble the bet­ter. This means us­ing your legs as your means of sup­port, not your han­dle­bars. The more you use your legs the bet­ter the up­per body can re­lax and the more your in­side leg can be loose and flex­i­ble so you can hang it out in the hope of the plas­tic touch­ing the Tar­mac.

The more un­sta­ble you are the harder it will be to do and the more chance you have of desta­bil­is­ing the bike in the cor­ner, then you feel less and less com­fort­able and start to rely on more lean an­gle to make the in­ter­face hap­pen.

Let me tell you – more lean and less sta­bil­ity is only go­ing to end in one way...

But there is so much more that can be gained from a rider be­ing in a sta­ble po­si­tion on the bike and that’s where body po­si­tion­ing tech­niques will come into play. Now, we can­not make big move­ments with the body but we can po­si­tion our body weight to in­flu­ence the bike, the ‘Hook Turn’ be­ing just one of them that Keith Code dis­cov­ered, and one that we coach at the school. Come and try it!

It’s like the Kama

Su­tra on bikes...

Andy ‘Spidey’ Peck

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