The process of going through a curve consists of the following factors: the approach, entering, braking, the line, drifting wide, straddling the center line, throttling and exiting. All these factors happen in a matter of seconds.
Going through curves at a racer’s pace makes for a very risky day. Although it looks cool to see a racer on TV with his leg down on the pavement, the racer does not have to worry about a dirty road, deer, gravel or other obstacles that may be waiting on him. The racer also does not have to worry about oncoming traffic, shoulders or guard rails.
So let’s break it down. Many riding schools and drivers’ manuals will tell you to SLOW, LOOK, LEAN and ROLL. As you approach the curve you will want to SLOW down by decreasing your speed to get you through the curve. Roll off the throttle and brake slightly before you get into the curve at a safe speed. You will want to do this while still in an upright position.
LOOK. Before getting into the curve you need to pay attention to the landscape and signs. If you see a 20 mph sign you are in a tight curve. I use my GPS in mountainous areas because I can zoom in and see oncoming curves in detail. This gives me a good reference of what is ahead. Be sure to look through the curve and see any hazard ahead that may be in your way. Do not look at the road where your tires are — look at where you want to go.
LEAN and ROLL. Once you are in the curve, ROLL on the throttle and keep your speed nice and steady. With a smooth speed established LEAN. There are many techniques to get a good lean. Try the different ways to find a way that is comfortable for you and your bike. You can push pressure on the foot peg; shift your weight over the seat, apply pressure on the hand grips, knees against the tank or forcing your shoulder to the opposite hand grip. Once you find your technique, practice and prefect it. If you find yourself going too wide then lean harder.
If you have to brake while in the curve, be mindful of your balance and do not allow your bike to spin out or drift in or out of your lane. As you come out of the curve and you have a clear view of the road ahead you can increase your speed again.
There are four things you can do to improve your riding technique: Be mentally prepared for the curve. Learn everything you can about driving through curves. Know the landscape; know your limits. Never drive beyond 80 percent of your ability; practice, practice and more practice. And finally, keep your space.
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