Road riding tips: California Superbike School CEO, Steve Brouggy talks about location on the road when entering a turn.
This post is part 1 of 2.
Once you’ve got your speed down pat, the next most important thing to prepare for before entering a turn, is your location on the road. The critical time to have your location correct is at the place where you steer the bike, which is often referred to as your turn-in point, or where you begin the turn. Although each and every turn is different in some way, there are some general conclusions you can draw which will help us locate where you might want to enter the turn from.
At the risk of being overly obvious…it’s common sense that you would firstly want to begin the turn from the opposite side of the road to the direction of the turn. Meaning that if it is a left hand corner, you’re going to want to enter the turn somewhere from the right hand side of the road (or from the right hand side of your lane…), and vice versa for right handers. Agreed?
The next question however is a little more difficult to nail down, and that question is…exactly where (from that side of the road) do you enter? Meaning, how close or far to or from the corner do you want to be when you initiate the steering input?
The solution to this question can probably be gained from analyzing some of your experiences when riding corners…
Turning too early is a common mistake that most riders are guilty of.
What happened the last time you tried to increase your speed through a particular turn? Where did you turn from? What about the last time you were entering an unfamiliar corner and felt that you were unsure of your entry speed?
Or when you were entering a corner that had something that concerned you, like a wet or potentially slippery surface? Where did you turn from in any of these examples?
Did you find yourself turning in too early? Chances are that is exactly what you did. Now, before you think I’m picking on you here, don’t worry. I’m not. I’m just pointing out that this is a common reaction to any of the cornering situations outlined above.
“Turning in too early is a natural, yet ultimately incorrect response to any of the above riding scenarios. Confused? Don’t be…”
As human beings we all have responses or reactions to real or imagined danger. These responses were aptly named by California Superbike School originator, and motorcycle rider training legend, Mr Keith Code in his world renowned “A Twist of the Wrist” series of books, as “Survival Reactions”. In short form, a Survival Reaction (SR) is when you respond instinctively or unconsciously to an apparent threat. This SR is effectively like your body taking over to try and survive when you are not able to cope with the situation. Is this real to you?
Have you ever experienced an SR while riding? If you’ve ridden more than once, I’m sure you have…
So, why did you go in too early? Simple. You went in too early because your SR’s decided that you didn’t really know what you were doing and you put your body in potential danger. At that moment, your body takes over and attempts to keep you safe. To survive. To your body, the inside of the corner is the safe bit. Have you ever been hurt by the inside of a corner? I doubt it. I’m pretty sure you’re more concerned about the outside of a corner! Am I right?
OK…so what your body does is takes you in earlier to the “safe” bit. Make sense? But, and here’s the kicker, what happens when you do that? Go in too early I mean.
Chances are, you ran wide at some point later in the turn didn’t you?
So your Survival Reaction of going in early, actually got you the opposite result of what you wanted! And so it is with the vast majority of SR’s.
So…how do you fix them?
Find out in part 2.
-Steve Brouggy, California Superbike School CEO.