Picking Your Line


Picking Your Line
SOURCE:  TRIUMPH

Rider’s Corner with Sarah Lahalih

One of the greatest feelings achieved on a motorcycle can be through a turn or curve. However, entry speed and line selection play a huge roll on the outcome of a corner. There is a sweet science to cornering, and it consists of everything a rider does prior to the corner. If the setup to the corner is done properly, the only adjustment a rider needs to make through the turn is to accelerate.

Setup may include adjusting body position, braking, looking through the turn or choosing a line. The most common path of travel for a corner is outside-inside-outside. That is, entering a bit wide, hugging the apex in the turn and exiting wide. Rolling on the throttle at the apex stands the bike up and helps achieve an outside exit. This particular line selection is usually the fastest way around a curve. It also allows for a better visual path.

The most common cause of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents is riders going to wide in a turn or curve. This causes them to go into oncoming traffic, hit guard rails or even fall off the side of the road. An easy adjustment riders can make is to turn their heads and look further through the corner, as bikes want to follow the eyes. Another very important adjustment a rider can make to avoid exiting wide is to brake or slow to an appropriate entry speed prior to committing to the curve.

Picking a line is not always black and white. Circumstances arise while in corners that may cause riders to adjust their position, including fallen rock or other debris, slowed traffic, potholes, etc. Adjustments can be made safely by looking well ahead, so we can plan ahead.

I always recommend attending a track day, at least once a year to work on these techniques and apply them to the street. Never stop trying to become a better, smoother rider.

Sarah Lahalih is a professional motorcycle riding instructor and owner of Moto Skills, Inc., a private riding school in Los Angeles, CA. Having trained thousands of riders, including professional athletes, celebrities and military personnel, Sarah’s expertise and industry experience are only rivaled by her passion for riding.

12 Comments

  1. David Burgis says:

    Pick your line ! Dodge the pot holes and craters in some citys and provinces ! Manitoba has the Worse roads in canada I think. Track time is good to learn lines and MX riding helps ass well

  2. Don Plummer says:

    The shop where I bought my Scrarm sponsors track days. I should go. I off the search for what the requirements are.

  3. Garth says:

    Trouble I have with these explanations is there is never a diagram or something that sort of shows what they mean.

    I think I get it but then they always throw in the old “it is never always the same” line and “you should spend time at a track to hone your skills”.

    Misti Hurst does a column in Motorcycle Mojo (good mag recommend) with a lots to the same types of instruction.

  4. David Hough’s “Proficient Motorcycling” has all the diagrams and detailed explanations. I think he is the originator of the term “delayed apex turn”.

  5. Bruce says:

    For most street riding applications, the “delayed late apex” turn gives you more view of the upcoming turn and more escape options should there be obstacles in your lane. It’s what we teach/preach at Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshops in SoCA.

    • advgrrls says:

      good to know thanks!

      • Bruce says:

        FYI The “outside-inside-outside” method of negotiating a turn is best left to the track, it’s not a healthy/wise maneuver for street applications – too little room left for error.
        The next time either of you are down SoCA way, I invite you to enroll in one of our Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshops. You’ll have a LOT of fun while honing your street skills.

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