Technique: Cornering at speed

Six top tips for the bendy bits

There’s nothing more satisfying than nailing the perfect line and speed through a corner. Coach Andy Cook has six top tips for the bendy bits

Hey good looking: Check around you on the approach for other riders and traffic. Keep your head up throughout the corner, looking ahead through the apex to where you want to be on the exit. This isn’t the time for checking out the scenery, because bikes tend to head where you’re looking.

Know your lines: Try to take the straightest possible line through the corner. If you’re happy you’ve got the road to yourself, move out to the middle of your lane on the approach. This will give you more margin for error once you’re in the corner and let you run wide on the exit without riding in the gutter or across the white line. 

Planning a sharp exit: Don’t start pedalling again until you’re through the corner and the bike is upright. If you’re on top of your game you should have changed into the right gear for powering out of the corner well before you turned into it. Once clear, start looking for the next corner and repeat the process.

Body form for you: Your shoulders should be relaxed and your elbows bent – stiffening up will make you over-correct, over-brake and less able to deal with mid-corner problems. For the lowest centre of gravity and best weight distribution, corner with your hands on the drops. That way, you’ll easily cover the brake levers with one or two fingers too.

Early brakes: Cover the brakes throughout the corner, but aim to do all your braking before you turn in. Freewheeling round the corner will make you faster and smoother, since the tyres only have to deal with cornering forces and not braking forces as well. Over-braking during the turn is likely to make your bike slide out, with potentially painful consequences.

Weight for it: Just before you turn in, lift your inside foot so the pedal is at 12 O’clock. As well as avoiding grounding the pedal as you lean the bike over in the corner, this will help you transfer weight to the foot on your outside pedal. It will also lower your centre of gravity on the bike and help it grip onto the road. You don’t want to put too much weight on your hands, but applying a little more pressure on your inside hand will help your bike turn in and track round the corner well.

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