Best Position for Cornering On a Motorcycle
There has been a lot written about how to position correctly when cornering, but the best cornering position is one where the rider feels most comfortable.
There is an ideal position or the best cornering position if the road and situation are perfect and textbook. However in reality the road is not perfect and nor are the other factors that affect a riders decisions for the best cornering position they should adopt.
The biggest challenge a rider has when cornering is overcoming the fear of getting it wrong and falling off. It is exciting and exhilarating but in the back of most people’s minds is, they do not want to have an accident.
This is totally understandable because the fear is real, there are lots of corners to deal with and if you do get it wrong there will be consequences.
So how does it feel for you when you corner?
If you are like everyone else you will have doubts about your ability to corner at some stage in your riding career. It might be at the start of your riding journey or things get worse the quicker you start to ride. A huge problem is peer pressure and trying to keep up with the rider in front, which can of course become a dangerous thing to do.
It might be that you start to dislike cornering or slow right down to get around, with a feeling of uncertainty and a wish to be able to corner better.
If your thoughts are not addressed or you feel deflated when you ride, you will more than likely ride less frequently or worse still – pack in riding. That does not need to be the case, you just need to follow some simple rules and have a better structure in place. That means a methodical process that you use every time until you have built your confidence and skill to master cornering.
But you must remember, the best cornering position is the one where you feel happiest and safest.
A few things to consider
As you improve you will alter where you ride. Other factors then come into play and you can start working on the actual turning point and counter steering too. But first, let’s get down to the basics.
During the information stage, you should be well equipped with the correct plan to Position correctly and in good time.
A few good sayings that I always use and advise people on are:
- Position for the view but move away from any danger
- Always sacrifice road position for safety
- The correct position is not always the safest but the safest position is always correct
The best cornering position is the one where you feel most comfortable for your ability. Road position should be adopted as a result of awareness and planning. There are a number of factors as to why a certain place in the road is the best cornering position but the available road grip on the tarmac in front of you is the main reason.
Split the road into three areas
To start with, split the road into three areas, known as positions 1, 2 & 3. These positions give you a good starting point when you first start to make changes for the best cornering position.
Position 1 is to the left and is the left-hand third of the lane, not including the gutter because of debris.
You can adopt this position to maximize your view as you approach a right-hand bend if you intend to turn left or move away from oncoming vehicles if they encroach into your lane.
Position 2 is also referred to as the Neutral position, used for new rider training as it gives bigger safety margins to both sides.
This section is the middle third area of the lane in between where the wheel tracks of vehicles are located on the road surface.
Position 3 is the right-hand side of the lane. It is the right-hand third of the lane, not too close to the white line.
You should adopt this position for normal riding on a straight road where there is no other advantage to any other position.
You should move to Position 3 for the maximum view as you approach a left-hand bend, also a good position for right turns and passing near side hazards.
Slow it down to get results
Slowing it all down to practice is the best way to get results. It might feel boring and slow but that is the whole point.
Most riders dislike riding near the white line because of cats eyes and white painted lines. This is because of scare stories that have been passed down from rider to rider. The fact is, white lines are not slippery when they are dry, cats eyes do not cause you any trouble if you ride over them.
The problem is, once the old wives tales circulate and once they are stuck in your mind that you should not do something, it can be difficult to alter your opinion on what you hear all the time.
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Locate the best position
Likewise when trying to locate the best cornering position for a right-hand bend. Riders do not like riding near the kerb. They usually turn in too early or cut the corner to stay away from the kerb, in fear of hitting it or running off the road.
If you were asked to ride around the corner near the kerbside at 10 mph, you could probably do that easily. The reason you won’t do it at higher road speeds is a lack of ability and confidence in your accuracy. Most riders aim to stay on the road in their lane and that’s about as accurate as they can be!
There are ways to develop your skills to locate the best cornering position and be happy in the knowledge that you can ride there safely and comfortably. Slow your speed down and practice being accurate and precise, the speed will come back once you feel comfortable, in fact, you will probably ride quicker without even trying to.
Become more accurate
As you improve and become more accurate at putting the motorcycle exactly where you want it to go, you can become granular in selecting the best cornering position. To do this you have to dissect each of the three positions as mentioned above into smaller segments.
Each segment can be split into 5 sections. This is discussed and broken down in a future article but knowing you can be more precise will help with accuracy. The more road view you have the less likely you will need to slow down.
To start with, make changes to your riding style now by using these three positions to practise. As your ability improves you can be more precise within each section of the lane you have chosen to ride in.
The best cornering position you choose is a result of a good well-formed plan that starts very early in your methodical riding process when approaching a corner. If you know where you want the bike to go, you will have a better chance of getting there.
Remember road position is imperative to your safety.