I've recently returned to riding after a hiatus of 25 years. Used to ride a Suzuki GSX550 in SF Bay Area. Never really gave cornering much thought then...just rode them. And I don't recall having any problems, fast or slow. Now I'm riding a BMW F800ST, and before I took delivery I took a safety course and read several well-known books on proficient riding and safety.
My problem is that I am now VERY conscious of my cornering technique, and feel like I'm "over-thinking" the line. The more I ride, the better I'm getting...so maybe it'll all fall into place over time.
But I wouldn't mind hearing how you seasoned veterans of riding developed good cornering skills.
Ride, ride, ride. I'm not being funny. It just takes time. As a MSF RiderCoach in Florida, I deal a lot with riders returning to the sport after an extended absence. You've already taken the most important steps; taking a safety course and educating yourself. Some other recommendations:
- Find someone you trust and ride with them. Ride behind them and watch their lines, and have them ride behind you. Talk about your riding with some skilled riders. Good riders are always looking to help and be helped in their skills development.
- Find/Use some safe routes that have good corners (different radii, clean pavement, no traffic, etc) and practice. Practice at different speeds and on different lines, until your corner setup starts coming naturally and you're not really thinking about it.
- Find an advanced training course. If you've never done a track day or track school, consider the latter. Once you start running corners on a track at higher speed (which factors in time compression, speed, corner lines/entry/exit, early setup, gear selection, body position, etc), everyday public street corner setups come easily. A good track school really does significantly enhance your street riding skills.
Thanks! To your point about finding a safe route with good corners, I'm blessed with a 40 mile route that is uncrowded, goes through canyons and into a mountain town (with a cafe for coffee!). Lots of corners, from long sweepers to blind, decreasing-radius turns. It's a workout, but as I said, I'm getting better. My biggest problem is apexing early on the latter turns, and staying far enough outside on the sweepers, until the exit is visible. Ride, ride, ride...that's good advice.
It is easy to get caught-up in, and confused by new info. What I try to do is apply what I've learned about cornering techniques and lines to ride as smoothly and rhythmically as possible. Any gain in pace is just an extra benefit.
I will 2nd a track day, pick an organizer that offers good training, incl classroom.
Next just work on SMOOTH, not speed, you will soon be fast, I promise.
I highly recommend CLASS with Reg Pridmore from a street riding perspective. Lots of good tips, track time, low "problem" riders, lots of instructors on track, etc. You will get passed, you will pass. I felt a bit weak & too nervous to pick up the corner speed like I wanted to, so am going to try Lee Park's Cornering clinic, then go back to CLASS. It is money well spent.
1+ to all has been said.
One of the things that I have gained from those experiences is looking and selecting line into a curve and going where I looked but by then looking beyond and going to the exit and looking beyond.
Take a class.
I've heard good things about the CLASS school as well. I've done the two-day Schwantz School, which is awesome and highly recommended. I've also done a one-day Penguin Racing school, which I was frankly less than impressed with. It was more like a regular track day with a little (very little) coaching thrown in.
I'll second Pridmore's CLASS school. I took it at Barber and found the street focus of the class to be just what I wanted for learning smooth safe lines.
The CLASS school sounds outstanding, however the location puts it probably out of my reach in terms of logistics.
[QUOTE=flyrider;809303]The CLASS school sounds outstanding, however the location puts it probably out of my reach in terms of logistics.[/QUOTE]
They aren't all in California.
Willow Springs & Streets of Willow: Rosamond, CA
Infineon Raceway: Sonoma, CA
Laguna Seca: Monterey, CA
VIR: Alton, VA
ORP: Grass Velley, OR
Schwantz School is at Road Atlanta. Great instructors and the school is affiliated with MSF. Can't recommend it highly enough!
Some good suggestions have already appeared. However, they often boil down to issues of finance and location.
Here is some advice for just experimenting in your own 'back yard.'
As [B]MSF[/B] instructors, we try to perform "a marriage ceremony" by uniting a technique ([I]Slow, Look, Press, Roll[/I]) with a path of travel ([I]Outside, Inside,[/I] [I]Outside[/I], or High/Low/High as I taught it to Motor Officers).
When a new student embraces that union, his/her movement thru curves becomes a beautiful thing, and like a marriage, hopefully stays with them for life with few modifications.
[B]Slow[/B] simply means bleed off your high speed upon approaching the curve - it's where 35-50% of motorcyclists are now dying due to carrying too much velocity into cornering. You gain it back later when you roll back on the throttle.
[B]Look[/B] as far thru the curve as possible - not just as you enter, but throughout the entire path, and beyond.
[B]Press[/B] simply means forward pressure on the handgrip to initiate a lean, and [B]roll [/B]back on the throttle to regain speed as you visualize more and more of the curve.
The High/Low/High path of travel refers to tire placement as you enter a curve, sloping down to the inside edge at the apex, and exiting high again as you roll on throttle and centrifugal force modifies your trajectory.
In the Advanced Rider Course (ARC), we further advocate delaying your apex (what you consider the middle of the curve) more and more, and watch your skill level and confidence improve.
[I]Smooth is fast[/I], so give these techniques a try next time you're "running curves."
Enjoy your rides and be safe! :wave
[QUOTE=sedanman;809335]Lee Parks Total Control.[/QUOTE]
and in the meantime, his book is available and explains his ten steps of cornering very clearly.