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Technique tips to get you around the corners quickly and safely

GCN have published a new video showing you how to improve your cornering with tips that are relevant to all road riders. The right technique is vital if you want to corner quickly and safely.

The video advises you to do all your braking before the corner where possible. If you have to brake while you’re in a corner, your speed through the corner will need to be slower.

The video also advises you to go into fast corners with your hands on the drops because this is a stable position and it helps add a bit more weight to the front end. It also keeps your centre of gravity low, helping you to corner more quickly.

In sharper corners you should drop your outside pedal and put your weight onto that leg. That’ll help push the tyres into the road and provide more clearance for your inside pedal.

In more gentle corners you can sometimes keep pedalling, but only if you’re sure you’re not going to ground  the inside pedal.

The video also goes into the best line to take if you want to get around quickly, advising you to choose entry and exit paths that smooth out the corner as much as possible. If it’s safe to do so, use the full width of the road that’s available to you to carry more speed through the corner and out the other side.

See the Racesmart video series for advice on how to corner in a bunch.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

10 comments

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miles_from_anywhere [36 posts] 2 years ago
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Apart from the basics covered here (breaking before a bend and foot down) the most valuable advice I have ever learned was from Chris Boardman when discussing descending alpine roads in 2012's TdF . Always look where you want to go and NOT where you don't want to go. Look around the bend.

Try it, it is almost spooky when you choose to get it wrong!

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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I have found from experience, keep loose and don't tighten up also look where you want to go, follow the line you're aiming for with your eyes.... the bike will follow your lead. Works everytime for me.

Also imagine your flowing down the road with a nice smooth line. Feels brilliant when your in the groove  1

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Notsofast [126 posts] 2 years ago
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outer foot down, inner knee pointing out motor cycle style, keeps pressure loaded on the tyres and CoG as far as possible inboard of the contact point.

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gr3g0ree [67 posts] 2 years ago
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Anybody else here thinking that descending is not about the speed but the grip????
Always make sure that you have enough grip to perform whatever line you want to take, even braking in the corner if its starts smooth and the end is sharp. Use common sense and practice.
Also if the inside line - apex drops sharp, don't go there, use the middle of the road or even the outside line if it doesn't drop or even better it curves inwards - you will be able to lean inwards more and brake all the way in, just take a slightly bigger turn inwards coming out of the turn.

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manmachine [102 posts] 1 year ago
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The underlying technique in 'look where you want to go' is actually counter steering. Your hands will follow your eyes. The physiology behind it is complex. Your brain is sending signals and synapses to nerves in your and arms and hands. That's the short version. But the end result is your turn your bars and lean your body.

Though, those who lean and only subconsciously turn their bars will not be as efficient or precise as those who consciously counter steer.
Counter steering is an absolute for safe and efficient high speed descending.

Unless you want to miss apex after apex and run wide and run off the road or worse. Another misnomer is you HAVE to be in the drops. BS. It's a preference.
Lower cg? BS. Better control? BS. Closer to the brakes? Maybe, but you can adjust your brake levers.

MTB'ers corner as good and better than most road riders with flat bars. It's not about bar position- it's about body position and counter steering, plain and simple.

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manmachine [102 posts] 1 year ago
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You partially on to something. Traction and the limits of traction do dictate speed relative to the amount of available traction to a certain degree. Traction is simply friction and it is one of the main 'forces' acting on a bicycle. It is Physics.

Exceeding the limits of the coefficient of traction- I.E. the loss of friction between the tire compound and the road surface will result in understeer (affected by the slip angle) (and yes, understeer also affects single track vehicles) Enough understeer and the complete loss of adhesion will be the end result.

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crikey [1252 posts] 1 year ago
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Never hit the apex of a corner until you can see the exit, and riding in the drops, far from being BS, helps to distribute your weight correctly.
[svenness] Drops are for descending [/svenness]

Pretty much all bicycle turning is done by counter steering, so trying to counter steer is counter productive.

As well as looking where you want to go, try pointing your willy in the same direction; it sets up the turn by setting your hip position.
Grip on a bicycle tyre is a combination of the physical forces acting on the tyre and the biggest force is downward pressure from the weight of the rider; that's what makes the tyre stick to the road, so press on.

If you do run out of talent, and you have enough time or presence of mind, it's almost always better to lean more rather than try to brake. Braking will stand the bike up and send you straight on, leaning more will at worst dump you on your side.

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manmachine [102 posts] 1 year ago
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Hmmm, you might be a bit confused on the subject of single track, two-wheeled steered vehicles.

First off, "Never hit the apex of a corner until you can see the exit-" is not exactly a correct statement. A corner could potential have several apexes. Clipping or hitting the apex will be partially determined by ones entry point of the turn.

The turn in point (tip) is the optimal point of entry and will depend on the type of corner. I.E. constant radii, decreasing or increasing and-or single/double/triple apex type corners. Also a rider should have his or her eyes and head pointed at the exit of the corner once they enter the turn- even if the rider cannot see the exit.

"Drops are for descending" well, this is an absolute opinion. Fostered by a conditioned thought brought about by many pontificating blowhards who are either anointed or proclaimed experts in the field. Completely false.

One actually has more leverage in the hoods than in the drops. As far as weight distribution, going into the drops actually shifts your body weight forward- away from the center of mass.

"Pretty much all bicycle turning is done by counter steering, so trying to counter steer is counter productive. "
Not exactly sure what you're trying to convey here, but turning a bike requires counter steering or steer torque, whether it is subtle or firm, whether it is a conscious thought or a subconscious thought. Please point out where I stated that steering a bike is done with anything but counter steering.

"Grip on a bicycle tyre is a combination of the physical forces acting on the tyre and the biggest force is downward pressure from the weight of the rider; that's what makes the tyre stick to the road-"

Well pushing down on the bars is not what makes a tire 'stick' to the road. While it accounts for a portion of it and can increase traction, it certainly does not solely create traction. Gravity is at work. Frictional forces. As well as reaction forces. This is a very in-depth and complex subject, it is not something you can simply explain after reading some unreliable internet sources and pages...

Well of course pushing harder on the bar in the direction you want to turn is how you negotiate a tight turn or if you are running out of tarmac. Braking only 'stands' the bike up and reduces the available traction/friction on the front wheel.

So, basically your previous post statements are either false or partially false. Not sure where you obtained your info, but the source(s) seem to be unreliable.

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crikey [1252 posts] 1 year ago
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You obviously think it's your specialist subject...  41

...and haven't done much actual riding...  3

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manmachine [102 posts] 1 year ago
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LMAO!  24 24 24

Silly sonny boy, I have over 8 seasons of roadracing (including two years in the WERA National GP series, where I finished 5th overall in 1994) and an additional 11 years of road cycling... with many kom's on descents.

And I guarantee that I could wipe the floor with you on any descent or corner or any race track at any time.

Before you flap your uninformed gums, you should know a bit about what you speak of...and you obviously know very little...so if I were you I'd quite while you are not too embarrassed...  21