Everyone knows what the motorcycle racing position looks like, but its advantages aren’t often recognized. A good riding position that is properly executed in a corner ensures your safety and instils confidence, whether cruising down the highway or tearing up the track. It’s like life insurance, for both you and those you share the road with.
True, it seems a little irrational to lay that bike almost flat on a public roadway, skimming the ground with one knee. But there are a few benefits to adopting this position. You’ll want to use it wisely on winding country roads, at intersections and on highway entry and exit ramps.
It’s all about looks and smoothness
|Photo: Philippe Champoux/Moto123.com
On a motorcycle, a good cornering position helps you achieve, and stay on, the right trajectory. You’ll have a better feel for tire grip, you’ll lower the bike’s mass and, especially, you’ll reduce its angle according to your speed. This position diminishes the risks of slipping and gives you more leeway.
To experience the full benefit, simply ride along a highway ramp at a comfortable speed. Never forget that braking hard inside a corner can make you wipe out. To slow down, use the engine brake instead and apply just feather the brakes. Before leaning into the corner, gradually move your inside foot back, pressing down only the ball of your foot to transfer your weight gently onto the foot peg.
Then, throw out your knee and hip on the same side. Once engaged in the corner, the bike will be straighter and easier to guide, and you’ll have a better feel for the tire grip on the tarmac. You always want to look as far as possible in the direction you’re going.
After the apex, as soon as you’re out of the corner, counter push and transfer your weight on the opposite foot peg (the outside one), then accelerate gradually to straighten the bike. Don’t go back into the normal riding position until the bike is completely straight, and be very careful not to destabilize it when you do.
Not just a question of performance
On the track, the rider’s job is obviously to try to go faster with each lap to make up for the precious seconds lost while cornering, thus turning in ever better lap times. However, at a given speed, this advanced riding technique will also increase your safety, boost your self-confidence and, consequently, double your fun.
Whether you’re looking to improve your performance on the track or tame your machine on the road, don’t forget that practice is the key. There are other ways to increase your control in corners as well, such as shifting your torso, putting your elbow out and pointing your head in the direction of the turn, but I’ll save that for another day.
Now go out there and have some fun, you crazy kids.
|2011 Kawasaki Zx 10R (Photo: Filip Bertrand)