Cornering techniques

I would like to know from the experts out there if the following is anywhere close to proper conering technique.

WHAT I WAS DOING: Simply approch corner standing let off throttle and use the engine to break, I would then kick the leg forward as I sat down as far forward as possible and gradually give throttle until exit.

WHAT I Tried TODAY: Approch corner as fast as I could standing up as I enter the corner I would sit down apply slight front brake and milk the clutch keeping the revs up. As I was at the apex I would use the clutch to control exit speed.

It seemed to work well but if I am doing somthing fundementaly wrong would like you feedback. Corner was burmed about 4 foot and about 15 feet from entry to exit fairly sharp, dirt is hard pack dirt.

Thanks :)

It all depends. There is a different technique for every corner. There is a million things you can do. How sharp is it in degrees (roughly)? A picture could help here but ill give you an idea . And also what obstacles are after and before it? If you can explan the corner a little more i can tell you what the fastest way is.

Anyway, what your doing seems fine. Its not the fastest way but its a safe way. Just practice and gradually work on moving through the entire corner faster and you speed should improve.

I dont think it is really necessary to use the clutch to control your exit on a four stroke. You should be standing coming into a corner and utillizing the engine braking to get deep into the corner. When you sit down you should have your inside foot/leg forward to add weight to the front end. You should also be weighting the outside peg to help the tires bite. I dont think you need to be way up on the tank but it all depends on the type of corner. You should start to roll the throttle on as this is basically the exact same thing you are doing by slipping the clutch. If you have tires that are correct for the conditions and suspension sprung and valved correctly it really helps. Make sure to look ahead to the exit of the turn and not right in front of your wheel...Practice Practice Practice!!

Good Luck!!!

I think he's pulling a tall gear out of the corner and easing the clutch out to keep on the power/prevent it from stalling.

I'll Try to clarify,

Now I'm a novice learning the finer points.

This particular set of corners is about a 75 meter oval. I practice making loops. The two corners are 180 deg and the corner that I was useing the clutch is about a 7 foot radius. I started with first gear all the way around using the engine to break as discibed above.

As this went on I started to do it in second using the clutch and front brake. It seemed to me that it was smoother with a higher exit speed. The approch has small bumps not even big enough to call whoops.

Just wanted to know if anybody uses the front brake and clutch to regulate speed and traction during cornering or is this a bad habit to get into and to try something else.


[ July 02, 2002: Message edited by: Ranger_426F ]

i heard it on here and have adapted it as a motto

"Clutch use is clutch abuse"

if the clutch is needed because you're going so slow you're gonna stall it, then by all means use the clutch. but these machines will make power without the clutch, just roll it on instead of feathering the clutch.

It all depends if it is a tight corner requiring the rider to slow way down like into first / low second gear you need to pull the clutch to keep your thumper from stalling. This is the only place I have found the use of a clutch fanning is necessary. If you can carry any amount of speed your use of the clutch wouldnt be needed and would be considered abuse since you use the throttle on a thumper to control the motor more than on a 2 stroke. On a 2 stroke you need to use the clutch to keep the bike on the pipe, well at least on 125s but the thumper turning is totally different since you are using the front end to turn unlike a 2 stroke where you use the rear to turn along with throttle and clutch input.


Cornering is a corner-by-corner issue; Hootna stated correctly that all corners are not alike so style and position is different.

I think you have the correct method for testing what will work for you, but the Clutch Abuse I cant handle that one :)

Instead of using the clutch short shift or keep the bike in the same gear as you went in. Gradually accelerating out of the corner is the proper method.

On a thumper, the inertia of the bike will cause the front to dive and the back to skip around (Compression Breaking) so getting used to that and using it to your advantage is a goal I would look for in practice.

Try setting up the corners as a F1 / Indy cars do in the apex, Meaning look at the corner and try and make the straightest path through, the shortest distance is always the straightest.

Keep practicing though that’s the key, to developing your style on your bike...

One last thing, I always say this to questions like these, Go to the local track and just sit at the corners, watch the fast guy's and how they handle the differant corners, Listen for when they shut off and bang the throttle.

You learn alott for watching

Good luck

[ July 03, 2002: Message edited by: E.G.O.**** ]

Should you ever use the back break going into a tight corner? I have used it a few times intentionally locking up the back wheel and allowing it to slide around the front. Is this bad technique?

The only bad technuiqe is when you land on your butt :)

I dont think it is bad, I lock the rear up alot to swing the bike around in tight stuff. Normally the compression breaking does this form me so I am more adept to using the comp break to spin the butt.

in my abouve statement in locking it up to spin the butt in tight stuff, Keep in mind I am also using the clutch so the bike dont stall

Mateb according to what the top teachers say, it is a bad habit if you lock your rear wheel and square up every corner. As everyone has mentioned it depends a lot on the corner. But the sweeping corners, it's like flat tracking, you use a combination of brake sliding and power sliding to get through the some of the corners where you need to get your bike turned abruptly. By this I mean you slightly lock your rear wheel to get it into a slide. While simultaneously controlling the rear wheel with the "clutch" (Not the throttle) and continuing out of the corner in a power slide.

As for the original question, everybody teacher I've went to and most of the pros I watch use the clutch and not the the throttle to control power to the ground. That's not to say you don't learn to roll the throttle coming out of some corners but you need to learn to control the power with the clutch.

A couple of examples of why. Say you are starting and your front wheel starts to come up on you. Do you let off the throttle or do you keep the throttle open and use the clutch to correct the problem.

Same with a corner, say you come out of a corner and you're rear looses traction and you need to correct it. Which method do you think would help you keep up your momentum, rolling back off the throttle or keeping the rpms up by keeping the throttle steady and using the clutch to control the power to get the bike straightened up. If there are any doubts, go out and practice it and you should see a noticeable difference.

Another scenario is going through the whoops. How do you just rely on rolling the throttle to give you the short bursts you sometimes need to keep your momentum up to skim them. Don't think it works that well and you be best served to learn and use your clutch.

Of course, all of this just like what everybody else has mentioned are opinions, take all of suggestions you've gotten and experiment to find out what works best for you. And instead of relying on what "feels" best to you, you may want to have some body timing your laps with the different techniques you try to see what consistently gets you around the track faster.

To make a point on the last post,

Controlling the slide on a bike that is breaking loose or loosing trackion one must slide the body or re-positin them selves on the bike to accomidate the wieght shift when the bike is sliding. If you watch anyone Dirt Track, MX, RR sliding the rear the butt is like a pendulum on the seat moving forward and back to accomidate the slide and shift of wieght.

Sorry frosty but I never knew a dirt tracker that used a clutch to cominsate for a slide or while in a slide, one controlls the slide by power (aka Throttle) and body position. In a soft loomy track one can drag a toe behind the peg to keep the back from loosing tracktion and so on.

Again this is experiance, comfort and what type of style you have..

You're probably right about the dirt trackers Ego. I don't watch it that much but referenced as to how to go through a corners like they do.

I do know every teacher I've went too or watched preaches that the clutch is one of the major controls on a bike. And I know I go a lot faster using the clutch to control the power in some situations. However, maybe I need to restate, I do try to use the throttle to roll the power on out of the corners and if I do it right, I don't need the clutch. However, I do have a finger on it at all times and if a problem arises, I use the clutch to correct it instead of backing out of the throttle.

Course, as you mentioned, it's whatever works best for the individual.

Hey, there is a periodic request for riding techniques on this forum. Has anybody looked setting up some kind of tip page on this website? Maybe it's a written out tips page with pix. Or even better, short videos on things such as jumping, cornering, starting, etc. I know they are starting an articles section but something with a little more substance might be better.

Not to take over Rangers post but I have a question on the topic. I see some guys enter/cut a corner tight and exit wide and others enter wide and come out on a more straight line on the same corner with the same obstacles. What's the logic behind cutting a corner close vs. going wide? Is is a matter of choice? What's the best method on a thumper?

Dhowell, they enter wide and exit straight to better line up for the next obstacle. Neither method is better or worse but each one is called for for different situations. It all depends on the obstacles ahead.

I speak only from experience watching, not doing, but I believe much of the rider's line in the corners comes from a combo of the obstacle that lies ahead along with what the rider behind/in front is doing. Block passing you obviously go to the inside and cut it sharp, leaving the other guy out to dry, and so on... (I think)

Watching a fast guy go around is really good advise if you can figure out what he's doing. I was out at Saddleback on friday after noon, and Greg Schnell and Scott Sheak were there. Amazing. They were going so fast that I couldnt even figure out what they were doing. They went by me in a set of woops so fast that I almost stepped off because I thought I was stopped. Its beyond humbling, having a pro smoke past ya. Its the essence of awesome. They were going around a slick, basically flat corner with the throttle pinned, but not spinning the tire. The same corner, I spin the tire to the point that its hard to nail the following rythem section. Its no wonder people write checks for them to ride.

To add, it may have to do with what the track is like. It could be that they are finding the smoothes lines on the track. If you watch the top pro's, I think you'll see their lines are constantly changing through out the day.

You may also want to try weighting the outside peg and keeping slight pressure on the front brake. This will help you hold your line and in turn (no pun intented) you will be a faster rider. Also, look ahead (not directly in front of you) and the line you want to take not the one you don't. Hope this helps.

I cannot stress enough how valuable you will find these videos.

Try "Cornering 2".

These are worth EVERY PENNY.

For those of you that race mx/off-road, these videos are the best IMPROVEMENT you can make to your bike.

You can buy every go-fast goodie in the book, but NOTHING will shave (more like slice) off lap times like these video's.

[ July 05, 2002: Message edited by: NH Kevin ]

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