Taking a downhill corner with speed and conﬁdence could shave minutes off your time. Here's a few pointers to help you make the most of gravity and hit the bends like a pro.
The key with any corner on a descent is to be smooth and confident. This comes from having a bike that fits you correctly so you’re comfortable and balanced.
A reliable pair of tyres with good grip and durability such as Michelin Pro 3 Race Tyres – the choice of Team Raleigh – lets you bank the bike right into corners without that feeling that a big crash is imminent.
You’ll never get the corner right if you aren’t in the correct position for descending. When you start the descent you need to be on the drops: it’ll lower your frontal area making you more aerodynamic and faster, your elbows will be bent, acting as natural shock absorbers and keeping you stable, and it’ll lower your centre of gravity so you can corner harder.
Approaching the bend
Look far enough ahead so you can read the road. When approaching the corner, get as close to the outside of the bend as is safe. Look for the apex.
Keep your inside pedal in the 12 o’clock position. Scrub off speed so you can take a smooth line round the corner, clipping the apex.
Once you’re leaning in, keep off the front brake and just feather the back.
Once you’ve clipped the apex, look for your exit. You want to take the bend in a smooth curve, carrying as much speed as you can out of it. Remember, it’s not how about fast you go into the bend but how fast you come out.
Once you’re upright enough you can kick out of the corner to get back up to speed. Don’t do this too early, though, or you’ll catch your pedal on the ground.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.