How can I Improve My Cornering Technique

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How can I Improve My Cornering Technique

Post by wilson_emma »

Hey guys! :grin:

I have been riding my KDX for a while now and I feel like I have hit a bit of a plateau with my cornering technique. I am eager to improve and get smoother through the corners, especially on tighter trails.

I have watched some videos and read articles, but I find that personal advice and tips from fellow riders are often the most helpful. So, I'm reaching out to the community here for some guidance.

Specifically, I struggle with maintaining speed through corners without losing control or feeling too jerky. Do you have any tips or exercises that have helped you improve your cornering skills?
I also read this post: seeking sand riding tiplookerryan hughes technique

And suggest any specific drills I could practice during my rides to hone this aspect of my riding?


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Re: How can I Improve My Cornering Technique

Post by SS109 »

First thing first. Bike setup is huge in how a bike handles. No amount of skill can overcome all the obstacles a poorly setup bike throws at a rider. Make sure your bike is sprung properly for your weight, shock and forks are fresh, SAG is set middle of the acceptable range, and your fork height is also within range, run a known good front tire for your area, make sure levers/controls are in an optimal position for you, etc., etc..

As for actual techniques, make sure you are forward on the bike. Keep your feet on the pegs! Get all your braking done before entering a turn and as soon as you're off the brakes starting lightly rolling on the throttle until the apex of the turn and then roll on it harder but smoothly. Also, learn trail braking in the turn (lightly dragging the front or rear brake through the turn) as it helps stabilize the bike. Practice slow and smooth to make sure you are ingraining proper turning techniques until it is second nature and the speed will come naturally.

Those were the basic skills I used to improve my cornering while practicing on a small Figure-8 turn track. I just kept doing it every time I went out to ride, for about 30 minutes, gradually building my speed and confidence.
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Re: How can I Improve My Cornering Technique

Post by MoonStomper »

SS109 nails it.

I’d add the mental note, tires are designed to brake well, accelerate well, and turn well.
They don’t do any combination together well.

For woods racing, especially in tight single track…

I’ve been working on coming off the brakes from speed into a corner so that just before corner entry I’m physically off the lever/pedal, then bending the bike down into the corner. It’s amazing how much more secure and harder you can roll into and through the corners. Over a twenty minute lap this really adds up.

Smooth and controlled acceleration out of the corner is a separate line item to perfect after gaining confidence and consistency in the first.
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Re: How can I Improve My Cornering Technique

Post by Chuck78 »

Well stated, both of you guys. That's a good read.

I also always like to add in these types of debates or discussions, that on really tight turns wrapping around trees etc, another technique is to go in really hot, jam the rear brake on and slide the back wheel into the corner while slipping the clutch and beginning to throttle it fairly hard, then letting off the brake a split second after corner entry when giving it more throttle and easing off the clutch pretty quickly as you power out hard.

This is definitely the hardest on tires, but on the really tight corners wrapping around trees in tight woods racing, this is the absolute fastest way. Anything resembling a more gradual turn than a sharp tight turn around a tree, and you should definitely follow what was said above my post.

Also, the type of terrain you have is critical in how you set up and navigate a corner. Sand in particular, which I have a feeling you might have a fair bit of? I'm still not a good sand writer, because I seldom see it, but I learned pretty quick to watch out for it and be careful of my techniques after encountering some deep sand in corners in a place that has very thin soil and a lot of sandstone rock out crops that create deep sand in some areas from erosion. The clay itself is fairly sandy, but is still clay dirt primarily. The sandy flat corners can really catch you off guard when you're blazing into them really fast. I've definitely had some quick lay downs in the blink of an eye because of several inches of sand in the corners sucking my front tire up and getting my bike all crossed up or just immediately laying it down, as I didn't expect to go from dirt to sand so quickly. Now I know to keep an eye out and read the soil type better, as well as the trail layout and conditions / rocks / obstacles.
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