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Clutching in corners?

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Hi Tyler, weclome to TT. If you get a chance, watch Gary Semics' video on Cornering. It's got some great tips and drills for helping you get the rhythm of cornering down.

The use of the clutch in corners can be a controversial subject, especially when it comes to thumpers. But especially for 2-strokes, I think that the basic idea is to overlap your rear brake with your throttle and clutch at what Gary calls the "exit dex", where you go from braking to accelerating. As you're hard on the brakes going into the corner, you'll probably pull in the clutch so that if the rear wheel locks, it won't stall the bike. Especially with a 2-stroke, you don't have much engine braking, so leaving the clutch out is a liability with little benefit. Then as you ease off the brakes and turn in the bike, you still drag a little on the rear brake as you feed in power with the throttle and clutch. Then you let off the rear brake as you really hammer your way out of the turn, controlling your direction with the throttle, clutch and rear tire.

Be sure to have most of your weight balanced on the outside peg when you do this, with your outside knee pressing hard into the tank. There are a bunch of other threads about balancing and cornering here in the MX Techniques forum, so look around some and be sure to read those threads.

Good luck, and definitely check out Gary's videos if you get a chance. -Mike- :cry:

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I had this same question. After watching Gary's cornering video (very helpful I might add!) he mentioned using the clutch going out of corners but not into corners. I have been pulling the clutch in to avoid stalling while using the rear brake (I need to work on my rear brake control vs. stomping on it). I went out yesterday and tried not using the clutch going into turns but I was bogging too much coming out of them so I felt better using the clutch throughout the turn. I'm probably in too high of a gear (3rd) too though. Speaking of which, which gear should you be in on corners typically? Anyway, I haven't been riding that long so I have a LOT to work on. But, I'm having a BLAST doing it, especially cornering. :cry:

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I went out yesterday and tried not using the clutch going into turns but I was bogging too much coming out of them so I felt better using the clutch throughout the turn. I'm probably in too high of a gear (3rd) too though. Speaking of which, which gear should you be in on corners typically?

I don't know which bike you're on, but on a CRF450, the lowest gear you use is usually 2nd for the slowest turns, and you go up from there for the faster turns. It's often best to choose a gear that is a little higher for the turn (so you would be lugging it if you rode around the turn without using the clutch and spinning up the rear). That way you don't have to shift so soon coming out of the turn. Use the clutch as you transition from braking to accelerating to get the rear spinning and stepped out to finish the turn.

BTW, since you are in Livermore, you might consider taking a couple hours of private lessons from pro Terry Bostard. He is really an excellent teacher, and you've probably seen him ride if you've ridden Club Moto or Sand Hill (he's #67 on a CRF450, and amazing to watch!). My son and I took a few hours of lessons from him several months back, and we've been working on what he taught us ever since. We're almost ready to take another set of lessons -- probably in about a month. He charges around $75/hour for the lessons, so it's not cheap. But for sure if you take a couple hours of lessons from him, you'll get answers to all your questions about cornering and such. He also gives a free group lesson on the first Saturday of each month at Club Moto. Check out his website or Club Moto's website for details.

Here's a link to a TT post that I did about Terry after our first lessons :cry:

Terry Bostard MX Lesson

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Thanks berkeman! I will DEFINITELY be giving Terry a call! I've actually never been to Club Moto. I've always been intimidated by the seemingly huge jumps so I just head out to Carnegie. Anyway, I'll definitely check it out. The GS videos have really helped a lot but I'm sure live lessons would be excellent. Again, thanks for the info!!!

Jon

ps, I'm on a YZ250F. :cry:

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After taking about 20 years off from riding, I picked up my thumper and started riding like I did when I was younger. The first thing I noticed was that EVERYONE was faster than me into and out of the corners. Even little kids on their 65's were faster than me. :cry:

I made a point to learn correct cornering techniques and I have to say, it was well worth the time spent practicing. Some days I only practice turns, making a point NOT to jump or practice hole shots, etc. I'm by no means an expert but after putting some of Gary's techniques to the test, I can safely say that I'm now roosting the kids on their 65's out of the corners. :cry: Even on the thumper, I've found using the clutch to be very instrumental in my cornering. I have gained tons of control I didn't have when not using the clutch. I always thought it was the handlebars that made the bike turn, now I know better.

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The rule of the track here is to leave the clutch out while braking so the engine helps slow you down and helps control the braking process. It’s kind of like anti lock brakes. The best stopping power is just before the rear wheel locks up and that’s just what leaving the clutch out will help you with. This is done when you’re still carrying some speed into the corner. If it’s a tight corner where you’re going to be slowing down to a slow speed in the middle of the corner and/or if you’re going to do a brake slide than you have to pull the clutch in so you don’t kill the engine.

I’ve seen this technique of leaving the clutch out while braking misused and abused by a lot of beginner riders. Every time they apply the back brake they put the clutch in. They do this because they don’t have good braking control and by stabbing the rear brake on they would stall the engine. Sometimes making it stall even easier by being in too high of a gear.

A good rider can make his bike drift slide into a corner real pretty like by leaving that low end lever out (the clutch). When a rider pulls the clutch in while braking at speed he’s taking a chance of sliding out too much, then his automatic reaction is to let up on the rear brake too much. This causes the bike to straiten up and then he hits the rear brake again and so on and so on. This is especially the case on a high speed slippery approach to a corner. Learn to feather those controls or lock them up and every thing between. It takes a fine feel to go fast.

Of course, everyone knows by now that 4 strokes have more engine braking, especially when in a lower gear for the speed you're carrying. In other words, if you’re going 3rd gear speed and you downshift into 2nd gear you’re really going to have a lot of engine braking. But many times you can go through a corner in a higher gear on a 4 stroke so you don’t have to down shift and therefore you don’t get as much engine braking. This scenario would make the engine braking effect similar to a 2 stroke because on the 2 stroke you would need to downshift for the corner. Either way this technique of leaving the clutch out while braking (as described above) is the same for both 2 and 4 strokes.

:cry:

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Im not a very fast rider but when im riding on the track i leave the clutch out onto the cotner and when im exiting the corner i'll pull the clutch and depending on my gear and the turn pop it out with the gas on or let it out a little smoother. but on my brothers 80, i usualy just pop the cluch let the wheel spin for a split sec and then it will start to fly from there. but thats if ur only really just ridin for fun. if ur racing ask gary. ps: pop the clutch in the mud infront of ur friend or brother and if u dont need a new part or anything at ur dad too.

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I "cheat" and use an autoclutch. Engine braking right down to the stall speed of the clutch, by then there isn't much engine braking left anyway. Then if RPMs are low it feathers the clutch coming out of the turn. If RPMs are up exiting the corner its all locked up just like a manual clutch. All I have to do is concentrate on smoothly rolling on the throttle. And if I do apply a little too much rear brake diving into the corner then it saves me from a race killing stall. A little less arm pump to boot. The big problem is that you get spoiled and don't want to go back to a manual clutch. I still have a manual override (i.e. clutch lever) but the only time I use it is on the start. I'm sold!

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