Corner better now
Want to know the secret of safe cornering? It’s a question of timing
Find a quiet country road with a bend in it. 45mph and 90 degrees is ideal – it keeps things simple. Now find a couple of safe places to U-turn, so you can go round the corner several times.
Warm yourself up with a few passes, and then notice how you’re getting round. Let’s say it’s a left-hander. As you approach, the vanishing point (the furthest point on the road that you can see, where the two kerbs meet) will be fairly static. That tells you it’s a fairly tight corner. And as it’s a left-hander, you will probably be making your approach on the right-hand side of your lane, near the central white lines, so that you can get a better view of what’s coming up.
Whatever, there will come a point in your approach where you decide to make the bike begin changing direction – in other words, to choose a turning-in point. Notice where that spot is, and next time try turning in before that. It’s important that you aren’t going very quickly here, because you will rapidly notice that an early turn-in throws you wide as you get further round the corner. If you were going quickly, you would drift into the path of oncoming traffic, but as you’re pottering you can just steer a bit more and sort yourself out that way. The same thing happens on righthanders, except that you generally ride into the ditch, rather than the proverbial coachload of nuns coming the other way.
Now try the opposite: delay your turn-in as late as you can. This time it’s almost impossible to run wide. You may even discover that you have taken a safer, more controlled line than the first one, because you are gathering more information about the corner before you commit to getting round it. Try delaying your turn-in on a few more corners. It’s really hard to crash, isn’t it?
Then add in some smoothness and try to carry corner speed.
Almost all the people who bail out on a bend on a country road turn in too early. They might be tired, or riding beyond their ability, or carried away riding in a group and trying to keep up with the bigger boys. But their actual mistake is not paying attention to the turn-in point.
‘Delay your turn-in and it’s very hard to run wide’
Find a quiet section of road and become a master of cornering
Learn as much as you can about the bend before committing