Don’t run wide!

This month we focus on the most common problem associated with judging corners right – turning in early




Every rider goes through this situation at some time or the other – turning in early, carrying too much speed and running wide. Now if it’s a left hander you are taking, you run a risk of crashing into the truck coming from the opposite direction and if it’s a right hander, you’ll either go off the road into the rough or crash into the barricades.

The cause
It’s difficult to know if you’re turning a bit too early unless you’re a seasoned rider. It’s a mistake most novice riders commit. Carrying too much speed, turning early thinking they’ll have more space and ending up running wide. The first thing one needs to understand is that the faster the speed of the bike, the longer the bike will take to turn. One should know the speeds he’s comfortable at and pick the pace up slowly with experience. By carrying too much speed, you’ll tend to brake mid-corner or roll the throttle off making the bike stand up and run wide.

The methodology
Don’t dip the bike in as soon as you see the road turning. Fix your eyes on the last visible part of the road, take position on the bike, try to go to the extreme left of the road (for a right hander) to increase the range of your vision, assess the corner properly, adjust the speed to your comfort and skill level and turn in only when you are absolutely sure of being able to carry a certain speed through the bend. Some corners are very tricky, they look as if they’ll end after a certain point, but enter them and you realize that they tighten on you even more. A cautious entry with some margin for surprises helps. Remember, for such a corner, if you’ve made a correct entry by being wide while entering it for better vision, the chances of running wide as the corner tightens are much less. For someone who entered too early, running wide is almost an eventuality. The theory of turning in too late may not be entirely correct on a racetrack where you don’t have any hazardous traffic approaching from the opposite direction. But while riding on public roads, the chances of someone going a little too wide on his side of road are quite high. Being on your side of the road, and slightly wide, gives you a good vision plus ensures that you are quick through the corner and power out of it without running wide.

Stay wide, but be on your side
While taking a left hander, use the width of the road as much as possible to ensure better visibility. Do not, however, enter the opposite lane – you may just be in for a surpise. No one expects someone barrelling down from the opposite direction in the wrong lane. While being wide before entering a bend enhances visibility, overdoing it may turn out to be hazardous, especially while taking left handers

You don’t begin taking a corner when you have dipped the bike in. In fact, it is pretty much the last stage of cornering because you have decided the speed at which you are going to go through the bend and the line which you are going to take. You make any changes to these factors and you’ll unsettle the bike. The process of going around a corner actually begins when you’re about to approach it. You go a little wide, get into position, look into the corner, decide the speed at which you’re going to go round it, decide a line, dip the bike in and go. Practise makes perfect. No wonder, those who ride extensively and are used to taking corners on hilly roads are in a much better position to approach and take these corners at the correct speeds, choosing the correct line. We also suggest that those who aren’t very used to the idea of carrying high speeds through corners, don’t push the bike beyond the limits of their skills. Going 5km/h slower on a given bend is perfectly cool rather than going 5km/h faster and ending up being shaken and stirred. The speed will come naturally as you keep practising but for starters, you should concentrate more on your approach, position and line. If you get it right, you’ll blitz through the corners and never run wide.

Late and wide turn in is the key to safety
Apart from being a hazard to the traffic coming from the opposite direction, and of course yourself, turning in too early and too narrow will make you run wide at the exit of a corner. Make sure you’re close to the edge of the road before taking right handers and turn in when you’ve seen and decided everything'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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