RACE LINE?

Fast Bikes - - RIDING -

A There is a lot of talk in the mags and on telly when watch­ing rac­ing about rider’s lines. My ques­tion is what makes a good line and how do you know it’s a good line? When watch­ing the rac­ing you see a dif­fer­ence be­tween rid­ers’ lines in the same cor­ner and it’s a much greater dif­fer­ence when on a track day. Q There is no such thing as an ideal line through a turn, but a rider can have a good line. Rid­ers can con­sider them­selves to have had a good line if they steered the bike just once, were able to ap­ply good throt­tle con­trol through the turn, and they made the turn as straight as pos­si­ble (so they will have used the min­i­mum amount of lean nec­es­sary for the speed they were trav­el­ling at).

On the road, we need to be as close to the kerb as pos­si­ble (on a right turn) or as close to the cen­tre white line (on a left turn) with­out putting our­selves in dan­ger from on­com­ing traf­fic so that we can see into the turn and de­ter­mine how tight or open it is. This will then de­ter­mine where we will steer the bike.

If we steer in a good place, we will have a good line. If we steer in a bad place, we will have a bad line (steer­ing corrections, throt­tle er­rors, more lean than re­quired for our speed). Rac­ers will still have to de­cide where to steer the bike, but their de­ci­sions will be based upon whether it’s qual­i­fy­ing (in which case they will use all the track) or the race it­self (they may have to de­fend their race po­si­tion and steer the bike on the inside of the turn at its en­trance).

Their de­ci­sions will also be based on whether they have de­cided to over­take the rider in front, in which case they may turn later or deeper, run a tighter or wider line, or do what­ever they need in order to ex­e­cute the over­take, or in­deed avoid be­ing over­taken them­selves. There’s a lot of vari­ables!

Pick a line!

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