Riding curves on a motorcycle can be one of the most exhilarating aspects of your motorcycling experience. The thrill of leaning through curves to discover what is on the other side, the joy of rolling on the throttle to advance through a curve, and the accomplishment when the curve is overcome is one of the best parts of motorcycling. Conquering the curving roads can release natural endorphins associated with feelings of joy and even euphoria. It is motorcycling at its best. For new riders, learning to master the art of taking the curves may initially be terrifying, but once the skills are there, the fun begins. If you’re having problems with curves, follow some of the tried and true tips below.
- Slow, look, lean and roll is the proper method for getting through a curve. Slow during the approach, look to the exit, then lean and roll steadily on the throttle to get through the curve.
- Approach the curve near the center-line so you have the best view around the curve, but do not let any part of your motorcycle, including the left grip, break the plane of the center-line. Aim your direction of travel for the inside part of the right side of the lane, and exit the curve near the center of the lane. Approaching and going through a curve in this manner allows you the most visibility when entering to see any possible danger like another vehicle coming across then center, and then the most amount of room to maneuver as you go towards the right side of the lane as you ride through the curve.
- Remember to always look through the curve. Often when a rider comes up on a curve, and feels they are going to fast, they fixate on an object on the side of the road, and the bike goes in the direction of the object they are looking at. This target fixation may make it feel like you’re coming in too fast, and can cause panic. To avoid this, look well ahead to the exit point of the curve, and keep your eyes level with the horizon. Otherwise, you may get into trouble.
- Don’t turn too tight or too early. If you do, your vision may be impaired from seeing what is around the curve, and you may be forced to take the turn near the center line which can be dangerous if there is a vehicle on the other side that crosses the line.
- Leaning into the curve is really a process of counter steering. You point the wheel in the opposite direction you want to go and press on the hand grip of the direction you want to go. If you are leaning right, press down on the right hand grip; if you are leaning left, press down on the left hand grip. You can also use body steering to lean into the curve, which is a method where you press down on the peg or floorboard with on the side of the direction you want to go, and pull in with your other knee. If you are in a slow, tight curve, you can shift your weight to the opposite side of the direction you want to go to increase the turn ratio. If you’re in a slow, tight curve and feel as the bike is going to drop, a little throttle can help. Practice leaning into a curve and your method of leaning will become second nature.
- Keep a smooth, steady speed through the curve. Do not dramatically change your speed when you are leaning through a curve. This could cause the bike to lose traction. The time to accelerate is almost simultaneous with the lean, and you will gently accelerate through the curve.
These tips will help you gain the confidence to get through a curve. As a new rider, practice at recommended posted speeds or lower for the curves you are on, and you will enjoy the ride as you learn to conquer the curves.