Cornering on a bike is very different from cornering in a car. If you get it wrong, the outcomes can be more serious for a rider. Use the system of motorcycle control to help you carry out the manoeuvre safely. Each phase of the system is relevant, but the information phase is especially important. Correctly assessing the severity of the bend is essential for safety.
Five key principles for safe cornering
- be in the right position on the approach
- be travelling at the right speed for the corner or bend
- have the right gear for that speed
- be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear on your own side of the road
- open the throttle enough to maintain a constant speed round the bend – maintain positive throttle.
Applying these principles to the variations in bend, traffic conditions, road surface conditions, visibility and other factors calls for judgement and planning.
Summary of factors affecting cornering
Your machine’s ability to corner depends on your input. You need to accurately assess:
- your speed
- the amount of lean you apply
- the amount of acceleration or braking
- the slope across the road surface – camber and super-elevation
- the road surface and how weather and other factors affect its grip
- the characteristics of the machine and its ground clearance
- the weight and distribution of any load you’re carrying.
How to use the limit point to help you corner
The limit point is the furthest point to which you have an uninterrupted view of the road surface. This is where the right-hand edge of the road appears to meet the left-hand edge in the distance. The more distant the limit point, the faster you can go because you have more space to stop in.
The closer the limit point, the slower you must go because you have less space to stop in.
On a left-hand bend you should ride as though the limit point is where the edge of the road meets the central white line (or the centre of the road if there is no white line) so that you can stop safely on your own side of the road.
Match your speed to the speed at which the limit point moves away from you, providing you can stop within the distance that you can see to be clear on your own side of the road.
Watching the limit point enables you to match your speed to the speed at which this point appears to move. If it is moving away from you, you may accelerate. If it is coming closer to you or standing still, you must decelerate or brake. Even when the bend is not constant, you can still match your speed to the apparent movement of the limit point, because this will vary with the curvature of the bend.
Acceleration sense is useful here!
Pic 1-3 View of the limit Point: Where the two edges of the verge meet ahead.
As it moves away from you, you see the road opens up.
Parts taken from ‘Roadcraft’: http://www.roadcraft.co.uk/uploads/pdf/motorcycle-roadcraft-chapter7.pdf