<style>.lazy{display:none}</style> Mastering the Art of Motorcycle Cornering
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Mastering the Art of Motorcycle Cornering

    Motorcycle Cornering

    There is something exhilarating about leaning into a curve on a motorcycle, feeling the rush of the wind on your face and the engine purring beneath you. As a rider, I have experienced the thrill and the fear that comes with navigating corners. The sense of vulnerability, knowing that nearly 40% of rider fatalities occur during corners, is a constant reminder of the importance of mastering the art of motorcycle cornering.

    Each curve presents a unique challenge, demanding split-second decisions and precise control. It is a dance between man and machine, a delicate balance of skill and intuition. And as I have learned through my own experiences, the key to mastering cornering lies in understanding the strategies and techniques that can keep us safe on the road.

    Join me on this journey as we explore the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s cornering strategy called Search-Setup-Smooth, delve into the importance of riding strategies, discover the significance of selecting the right motorcycle and gear, uncover the value of professional training and basic maneuvers, learn about maintenance and advanced techniques, understand the importance of defensive riding and situational awareness, and explore the benefits of joining motorcycle clubs and pushing our boundaries.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Motorcycle cornering is a crucial skill for riders, and a significant number of accidents occur during corners.
    • The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s cornering strategy, Search-Setup-Smooth, helps riders navigate corners safely.
    • Selecting the right motorcycle and gear is essential for safe cornering.
    • Professional training, basic maneuvers, maintenance, and advanced techniques all contribute to mastering cornering skills.
    • Defensive riding and situational awareness are crucial for staying safe on the road.

    The Importance of Riding Strategies

    Having a riding strategy is essential for every aspect of motorcycle operation, including cornering. The lack of a cornering strategy can contribute to rider fatalities during corners. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), many riders fail to implement effective strategies, increasing the risk of accidents.

    Incorporating a cornering strategy into your riding approach is crucial for enhancing rider safety and ensuring a smoother, more controlled approach to corners. By planning and gathering information about road conditions, curve radius, markings, and potential risks from other motorists, you can make informed decisions and reduce the likelihood of accidents. A well-executed cornering strategy improves rider safety and minimizes the potential for dangerous situations.

    Implementing a cornering strategy involves:

    • Searching for key variables such as road conditions, curve radius, markings, and potential risks from other motorists.
    • Setting up for the corner by determining the appropriate speed, gear, and lane position.
    • Executing the corner smoothly with gradual and precise throttle inputs to minimize suspension movement.

    By following a cornering strategy, riders can enhance their riding skills, reduce the risk of accidents, and ensure a safer and more enjoyable riding experience.


    “A well-executed cornering strategy enhances rider safety and ensures smooth and controlled cornering.”

    Selecting the Right Motorcycle and Gear

    Before mastering motorcycle cornering, it is essential to choose the right motorcycle and gear. Selecting a bike that suits your size, experience level, and intended use is crucial for an optimal riding experience. For beginners, starting with a less powerful bike that is easy to handle provides a solid foundation to develop riding skills.

    Additionally, investing in high-quality protective gear is a must to ensure safety on the road. Wearing a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants, and boots specifically designed for motorcycle riding significantly reduces the risk of injury in case of an accident. Protecting yourself with proper gear allows you to ride with confidence and peace of mind.

    Motorcycle Selection Criteria Protective Gear Checklist
    • Consider your size, weight, and strength
    • Evaluate intended use (city commuting, long-distance touring, off-roading, etc.)
    • Assess your comfort level with the bike’s weight and height
    • Research different styles (cruisers, sport bikes, adventure bikes, etc.)
    • Read online reviews and ask for recommendations from experienced riders
    • Full-face helmet with DOT or Snell certification
    • Protective jacket with CE-approved armor
    • Durable gloves with proper padding and grip
    • Abrasion-resistant riding pants with knee armor
    • Sturdy and supportive boots for ankle protection

    By selecting the right motorcycle and gear, riders can ensure their safety, comfort, and optimal performance while cornering. Remember, the right equipment is just as important as developing the necessary biking skills.

    Now, let’s take a closer look at professional training and basic maneuvers that complement the selection of the right motorcycle and gear.

    Professional Training and Basic Maneuvers

    Acquiring essential riding skills through professional motorcycle training is highly recommended. These courses cover the fundamentals of bike operation, safety, and traffic laws specific to motorcycles. Instructors provide valuable feedback on riding technique, especially for new riders.

    Learning and practicing basic maneuvers, such as starting, stopping, turning, and shifting gears, are crucial for building confidence and control. It is essential to practice these maneuvers in a safe area, such as an empty parking lot, to become comfortable with the weight and feel of the bike.

    Benefits of Professional Motorcycle Training

    “Professional motorcycle training provides riders with the knowledge and skills necessary to ride confidently and safely. Instructors offer expert guidance and personalized feedback that can help riders improve their riding skills and reduce the risk of accidents.”

    Enrolling in a professional motorcycle training program offers numerous benefits:

    • Acquire a solid foundation in bike operation, safety, and traffic laws.
    • Receive expert guidance and personalized feedback on riding technique.
    • Learn from experienced instructors who can provide valuable insights and tips.
    • Boost confidence and comfort level while riding.
    • Minimize the risk of accidents through proper training and practice.

    By investing in professional motorcycle training, riders can enhance their riding skills, improve their understanding of safe riding practices, and develop the necessary confidence to navigate corners and other challenging situations on the road.

    Basic Maneuvers for Building Confidence and Control

    Learning and mastering basic maneuvers is a crucial step in becoming a skilled and confident rider. These maneuvers lay the foundation for more advanced riding techniques and help riders develop essential control over their motorcycles. Here are some important basic maneuvers to focus on:

    1. Starting: Practice starting smoothly and confidently, maintaining proper balance and control.
    2. Stopping: Learn to brake effectively, using both the front and rear brakes, while maintaining stability.
    3. Turning: Master the technique of leaning into turns, maintaining balance and control throughout the corner.
    4. Shifting Gears: Practice shifting gears smoothly and at the appropriate times, ensuring a seamless transition.

    By dedicating time and effort to mastering these basic maneuvers, riders can build the necessary skills and confidence to handle more advanced riding challenges, including cornering.

    Maintenance and Advanced Techniques

    Ensuring proper maintenance of your motorcycle is essential for a safe riding experience. Regularly checking important components such as tire pressure, tread, lights, signals, and oil and fluid levels is necessary to keep your bike in top condition. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for scheduled maintenance is also crucial to prevent issues and ensure optimal performance.

    Once you have a solid understanding of basic motorcycle maintenance, it’s time to explore advanced riding techniques that can enhance your cornering skills and overall riding experience.

    One advanced technique that every rider should master is countersteering. Countersteering involves applying a slight forward pressure on the handlebars in the opposite direction of the turn to initiate a smooth and controlled lean. This technique allows for precise control and stability while cornering.

    Another important aspect of advanced riding techniques is learning how to lean with the bike. Proper body positioning and weight distribution are crucial for maintaining balance and control while navigating corners. By leaning with the bike, you can maintain a stable and balanced ride, allowing for better control and improved cornering performance.

    Maintaining a steady throttle throughout the corner is also crucial for smooth and controlled cornering. Gradual throttle inputs help maintain stability, and it is important to avoid sudden or aggressive throttle movements that can disrupt the balance of the bike.

    Lastly, understanding proper entry and exit points in corners is essential for executing smooth and efficient turns. By choosing the right line and maintaining proper speed, you can maximize your control and minimize the risks associated with cornering.

    “Advanced riding techniques, such as countersteering, leaning, throttle control, and cornering lines, can take your riding skills to the next level.”

    Mastering these advanced techniques requires practice and experience. It is recommended to start with a controlled environment, such as an empty parking lot or a closed course, to familiarize yourself with these techniques. Eventually, you can apply them on the road with caution and in adherence to traffic laws and safety precautions.

    Now that we have covered the importance of motorcycle maintenance and the advanced techniques that can enhance your cornering skills, let’s move on to the next section where we will explore the concept of defensive riding and situational awareness.

    Defensive Riding and Situational Awareness

    Defensive riding is an essential skill that every motorcyclist should possess to ensure their safety on the road. It involves adopting a proactive approach and maintaining situational awareness at all times. By being aware of your surroundings and anticipating potential hazards, you can effectively respond to any unexpected situations that may arise.

    Defensive riding requires:

    • Maintaining visibility to other motorists by using proper positioning in your lane and utilizing your motorcycle’s lights and signals effectively.
    • Maintaining a safe following distance to allow for ample reaction time in case the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops or changes lanes.
    • Employing evasive maneuvers when necessary, such as swerving or braking quickly, to avoid collisions with other vehicles or obstacles on the road.

    By constantly practicing situational awareness, you can stay alert to potential risks and take proactive measures to prevent accidents. It is crucial to remain calm under pressure and make quick, informed decisions to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you.

    Remember, defensive riding is not only about protecting yourself from other motorists but also about being considerate and respectful on the road. By adopting a defensive riding mindset, you contribute to creating a safer and more harmonious riding environment for everyone.

    Motorcycle safety

    Joining Motorcycle Clubs and Pushing Boundaries

    Joining a motorcycle club or group can be a transformative experience for riders. Not only does it provide a sense of camaraderie, but it also offers the opportunity to learn from experienced riders who have honed their skills on the road. By being part of a motorcycle club, riders can tap into a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can help them push their riding boundaries and become better motorcyclists.

    One of the greatest benefits of joining a motorcycle club is the access to regular group rides. These rides are not only a fantastic way to explore new routes and destinations but also a chance to develop and enhance riding skills. Riding alongside experienced bikers in a group setting allows riders to learn and observe different riding techniques, cornering strategies, and road etiquette in real-time. It’s an invaluable learning experience that can significantly improve riding skills and overall confidence.

    Pushing the limits of one’s riding abilities is an important part of the motorcycling journey. It is through pushing these limits that riders can continue to grow and evolve as motorcyclists. Exploring different types of riding, such as off-roading, long-distance touring, or even racing, can challenge riders to become more adaptable and skilled in various riding scenarios.

    However, it is crucial to prioritize safety when pushing boundaries. Riders should always ride within their capabilities and gradually expand their skills in a controlled manner. Taking advanced riding courses or seeking mentorship from experienced riders in the motorcycle club can provide the necessary guidance to safely explore new riding styles and techniques.

    Inspiration from Experienced Riders

    Joining a motorcycle club opened up a whole new world for me. I was able to ride with experienced riders who pushed their limits daily. Their passion and skill inspired me to test my own boundaries and become a better rider. Being part of a motorcycle club is not just about the camaraderie; it’s about constantly growing as a rider and pushing yourself to new heights.

    By joining motorcycle clubs, participating in group rides, and gradually pushing personal limits, riders can unlock their full potential on the road. It is through the collective knowledge, experience, and support of the motorcycle community that riders can truly excel and become confident, skilled, and safe motorcyclists.

    Benefits of Joining Motorcycle Clubs and Pushing Boundaries
    Access to experienced riders and mentors
    Opportunity to learn riding techniques in a social setting
    Development of riding skills through regular group rides
    Exploration of different types of riding for personal growth
    Enhanced confidence and adaptability on the road

    The American Supercamp Experience

    At American Supercamp, we offer a two-day course designed to teach riders the fundamentals of flat track riding. Founded by ex-GP racer Danny Walker and AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr, our program focuses on essential skills for making motorcycles slide predictably, including body positioning and cornering lines. By mastering these techniques, riders can improve their cornering ability and overall control.

    American Supercamp

    Our training method emphasizes leaning the bike way over while remaining upright and sitting on the outside corner of the seat. This technique allows for gradual slides and reduces the risk of highside crashes. We believe in providing riders with a unique experience that not only enhances their cornering technique but also builds confidence on the track.


    “Attending American Supercamp was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a rider. The instructors were knowledgeable, patient, and provided personalized feedback. I learned invaluable skills that have greatly improved my cornering technique. Highly recommended!” – Mike S.

    Course Outline

    Day 1 Day 2
    Introduction to flat track riding Advanced cornering techniques
    Body positioning and control Slide control and throttle management
    Cornering lines and entry techniques Mastering the art of sliding
    Practical exercises and drills Race simulations and timed laps

    Our course is suitable for riders of all skill levels, from beginners looking to enhance their cornering technique to experienced riders seeking to refine their skills. Join us at American Supercamp and take your cornering skills to the next level!


    Mastering the art of motorcycle cornering requires a combination of technical knowledge, practical skills, and ongoing experience. By following a cornering strategy, selecting the right motorcycle and gear, and continuously improving riding skills through training and practice, riders can enhance their cornering ability and ensure a safer riding experience.

    It is crucial to prioritize safety and ride within one’s capabilities. Motorcyclists should always wear appropriate protective gear and actively practice defensive riding techniques to maintain situational awareness on the road. Additionally, ongoing education and training are essential to stay updated on the latest riding techniques and safety protocols.

    By approaching motorcycle cornering with patience, education, and responsible riding, riders can master this essential skill. Enhanced riding skills not only improve safety but also provide a more enjoyable and confident riding experience. So, whether you are a seasoned rider or just starting your motorcycle journey, remember to always prioritize safety and continually strive to improve your riding skills.


    What is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s cornering strategy?

    The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) cornering strategy is called Search-Setup-Smooth. It involves searching for key variables, setting up for the corner, and executing the corner smoothly.

    Why is having a cornering strategy important?

    Having a cornering strategy is important because nearly 40% of rider fatalities occur during corners or turns. Implementing an effective strategy can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

    What should I consider when selecting a motorcycle and gear for cornering?

    When selecting a motorcycle and gear, consider your size, experience level, and intended use. Choose a bike that is suitable for your skill level and invest in high-quality protective gear.

    Why is professional motorcycle training important for mastering cornering?

    Professional motorcycle training provides valuable feedback on riding technique and covers the fundamentals of bike operation, safety, and traffic laws. It is crucial for building confidence and control.

    Why is regular maintenance important for safe cornering?

    Regular maintenance ensures that your motorcycle is in optimal condition for safe cornering. Checking tire pressure, tread, lights, signals, oil, and fluid levels is essential. Following scheduled maintenance helps prevent breakdowns.

    What advanced techniques can I learn to enhance my cornering skills?

    Advanced techniques for cornering include countersteering, leaning with the bike, maintaining a steady throttle, and using proper entry and exit points in corners.

    Why is defensive riding important for cornering?

    Defensive riding involves being aware of your surroundings, anticipating hazards, and knowing how to react. It helps you maintain visibility, safe distances, and employ evasive maneuvers when necessary.

    How can joining a motorcycle club or group enhance my cornering skills?

    Joining a motorcycle club or group provides opportunities to learn from experienced riders during group rides. Exploring different types of riding can also push your limits and enhance your overall riding skills.

    What is the American Supercamp experience?

    American Supercamp offers a two-day course focused on teaching riders the basics of flat track riding. The training method emphasizes body positioning and cornering lines to improve cornering technique and control.

    How can I master the art of motorcycle cornering?

    To master the art of motorcycle cornering, follow a cornering strategy, select the right motorcycle and gear, improve riding skills through training and practice, prioritize safety and defensive riding, and push your limits gradually.

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