How do you turn a bike around a bend?We all learnt riding on a bicycle, so it's not to hard. Just turn the handlebars in the direction of the tun, and off you go. Or lean in the direction you want to turn. This is easily done by shifting your body weight in the direction of the turn. While this might work at lower speeds of around 39km/h, at higher speeds you need something different. You need to use counter-steering.
In fact, knowingly or unknowingly, we all use the technique of counter-steering. Knowing how counter-steering is causing your to bike to turn increases your ability to control the bike in a turn.
What is counter-steering?Counter-steering involves turning the front wheel in the opposite direction to the one you want your bike to turn. To start the lean, press forward on the grip in the direction of the turn. This is counter-steering. The front wheel will briefly point in the opposite direction of the the turn. So to so left, press left grip and lean left. Togo right, press right grip and lean right.
To become familiar with counter-steering start by being conscious off what is happening to your handlebars while in a turn. Start off by making slight counter-steering adjustments to judge the effect it has on your bike. As you build up confidence you will consciously use counter-steering can be a life-saver in an emergency situation and can help you get around a sudden obstacle on the road that otherwise may have taken you down.
But counter-steering is just one aspect of taking a corner correctly and safely. If you really want to enjoy twisty roads, remember the following points.
- Assess the corner and set your entry speed accordingly. You should have finished braking prior to entering the corner. If you have to brake, you have come in too fast.
- Use counter-steering to initiate your turn.
- Accelerate gently as you around the bend, to maintain your bike's stability and counter the effect of the turn. This causes the rear wheel to track outwards, thereby increasing the tightness of the turn and requiring that you lean the bike over less. Closing the throttle will encourage the bike to stand up and run wide.
- Keep your head up and keep your eyes focused on where you want to go. This will help you place the bike where you want ti to be. If you focus on the edge of the road, that's where you'll go.
- Keep off the brakes when cornering. If you need to reduce speed, use engine braking. Use on the rear brake in an emergency, but do so with extreme caution. Instead, lean you body toward the turn to tighten your line and reduce your lean angle.
- Keep your arms loose and your weight off the handlebars, as this will increase your control. If you press down slightly on the pegs you'll find that the steering becomes a lot lighter and the bike, more responsive.