Top rid­ing tips

Book your­self a track day and scrape that slider Ru­pert Paul ‘You need to be ‘on it’. And if you are, it’ll hap­pen all by it­self’ Get the crack of your arse in line with the seat and lean 45°

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News -

The first thing to know about get­ting your knee down is that you don’t need to do it on the road. Ever. There is no road sit­u­a­tion (in­clud­ing try­ing to get to hos­pi­tal where your wife is giv­ing birth and you’ve some­how for­got­ten to be there) that mer­its rid­ing that hard.

That said, I may as well ad­mit that I’ve done it on the road about ten thou­sand times! This was back in the days when so-called ex­treme rid­ing pic­tures were thought to im­prove mag­a­zine sales. I must stress that this had noth­ing to do with gen­uine fast rid­ing. It was just a bik­ing equiv­a­lent of a fash­ion model’s pout for the cam­era. (In fact, when I started club rac­ing, and re­ally tried rid­ing as fast as I could, I found my knee hardly ever touched the deck).

So if you want to get your knee down, a track day is the ob­vi­ous place to try it. Use your lo­cal round­about if you want to, but I wouldn’t be­cause a) po­lice­men take a dim view and b) it’s a bit self­ish to build the nec­es­sary con­cen­tra­tion and flow on a road you share with ev­ery­one else.

At the risk of stat­ing the ob­vi­ous, you need leathers that al­low your knees to spread a yard apart. You also want to be wear­ing knee slid­ers. If you ne­glect this de­tail, ex­pect sud­den in­tense pain and litres of claret. Rea­son­able sus­pen­sion and tyres are es­sen­tial. As is the con­fi­dence to have al­ready oblit­er­ated the chicken strips on your rear tyre.

The ba­sic tech­nique is dead easy. Ride to­wards a cor­ner, get the crack of your arse in line with the edge of your seat, lean over 45 de­grees, and stick your knee out. If you are ag­ile, you can do it at about two thirds nat­u­ral knee-down speed. The bike will feel edgy, and prob­a­bly wob­ble a bit on the en­try, but you might get a tro­phy scuff on your slider. If you’d rather feel smooth and safe, you need to load up the sus­pen­sion and tyres, and op­er­ate the brake, throt­tle and steer­ing with a rea­son­able level of skill. In other words, you need to be ‘on it’. And if you are, it’ll hap­pen all by it­self. Build up your speed over a num­ber of laps and you will nat­u­rally lean over fur­ther as the pace builds. Hang off a lit­tle more - with­out go­ing mad – each lap un­til your lean an­gle and the amount you are hang­ing off bal­ance each other per­fectly and you feel that sat­is­fy­ing scrape of slider on tar­mac.

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