Riding Tips - Bend Lines

I have always kept training stuff out of the website, mainly because of the problems involved in learning a practical skill from the written word, but as a result of feedback asking for some, here we go.

Most of us, even without advanced training, know that for a right hand bend we get over to the left and move to the right for a left hand bend. Sounds simple enough but if only it was.

Lets take a right hand bend. The key to getting the bend spot on is assessing it as early as possible. As soon as you can see it's there, you need to be on the correct line. This is where most go wrong. If you are still trying to get on line as you go into the bend, its already gone wrong. Get your machine on the most accurate line that you can, and once there focus on looking through the corner.
What most newcomers say after a demo ride is "I can't get the bike that close to the side of the road" Like most things its practice that makes it slot into place. The reason you feel uncomfortable is obvious: It's the thought of hitting the kerb. Done correctly I promise it won't happen! Firstly, we need to do all of this on the straight approaching the corner. Get the bike as close to the verge/kerb as you feel comfortable. Once there you must look where you want the bike to go, i.e. to the right; the bike will always follow your eyes; look at the exit of the bend and it will come off line to the right. Simple! Well no, don't expect all this to slot into place after two corners. The thing that makes me laugh about new riders now, is that they want to be so good so quickly. Give yourself time to become fluent. Once you have this accurate line, make sure that you are always riding at the view, it easy to stay on line too long and find yourself riding all the way round the outer edge of the curve. Not the right way at all.

Bends should link together with a flow from one line to the next. If you find yourself wrestling the bike to get it on line early enough then you have done it wrong. People have fewer problems with the line for left-handers. Riding in the middle of the road is easy. There's not much around you so you feel safer. We often get asked how far to the right can I go? Well yes if you rode in the offside gutter you could see further round the corner. But the drag is in this country is not all the roads are one way! .

You may know why you are on the wrong side of the road but what about the guy coming the other way? You are putting a lot of trust into a guy you have never met! Yes he may do nothing but he could swerve to your side of the road. It can at least look tacky, at worst be dangerous. Rapid's policy is; go as far as the hazard line but don't cross it simply to increase the view. This doesn't mean you can't straighten out bends where appropriate, because there you already have the view.

Remember bend lines are meant to be flexible. Compromise your line and your speed for situations that you see. Don't ride through potholes in the gutter or close to oncoming traffic.

There is more to bends that I could ever hope to cover here but remember, the more you practice the better you get!

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