When you read the title of this article, you might have muttered, “Riders run wide because they’re going too fast for the corner, idiot.”
While your final word is certainly correct, “You’re going too fast” isn’t fine enough and flies in the face of the pointy end of our sport: competition. Track-record holders, whether at the club level or Isle of Man, by definition go faster than the competition and survive the experience so, “You’re going too fast” doesn’t work as a fix for running wide in a corner. It’s too general, and the further you get in two-wheel mastery the more clearly you see how exactly this sport must be performed and taught.
Let’s Begin In A Parking Lot
I’ve written much about the equation “Radius Equals MPH” and it’s a simple thought regarding how speed affects a motorcycle’s cornering radius. Get in a parking lot, ride in a circle at the same lean angle, and experiment with gentle acceleration, deceleration, and then deceleration plus light braking. You already inherently know this equation, but a short time in the parking lot brings it into focused clarity and moves it way up in your priorities of “how to ride great.”
This parking-lot session will help you in many ways. You will realize that if you want your bike to continue to tighten its radius, it should be slowing. That means off throttle or off throttle plus light braking, depending up on your speed and the corner’s radius, grip conditions, camber, and line of sight.
You will realize that if you’re happy with your bike’s radius, you can hold “neutral” or “maintenance” throttle, which is steady, light throttle where the bike is maintaining its speed but not yet accelerating. In some corners, you will hold neutral throttle for multiple seconds so get good at being patient with the throttle.