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The bike goes where you look aka “target fixation”
Although this was written for the track, this applies to riding in general.
All of us know this and this is all the more true on a track at high speeds. The bike will go where you look. As you enter a corner (even on the street) we have all faced a moment of realization where we know we are going to hit the cycle/tree/ditch. How does one know? ESP? predictions?
The answer is target fixation.
What do you do now that you know this?
The obvious : Set your eyes on where you really want to go. Its difficult but doable. This will only come with practice
All of us learnt to respect corners one way or another. On the track this is more important than ever given the speeds that you are going through in a corner.
Typically any rider attacks the corner using the “point and shoot” method. This is where you go into the corner, brake, point the bike, accelerate, brake, point and accelerate until you are out of the corner. Obviously not the right way to do this. There are folks who also shift while in a corner. Common mistakes and sometime deadly ones.
Smooth cornering :
Lets define three parts to the corner. The entrance, the Apex and the Exit.
The entrance is the point at which you start leaning into the corner, the apex is the highest point on the inside on the corner and the exit is where you are almost in a full upright position.
Lets start with a left hander.
Getting into the entrance depends on a few things. Firstly the speed you are carrying, the kind of corner it is (more about this later), your optimal braking point (or brake marker as it is called) for you to carry through that corner.
On a left hander as you are coming in, stay to the outside right and find your brake-marker, make the “shift-blip-brake” routine so that you are in the right gear at the right rpm. This is the point of starting your lean. Move your body out to aid the lean. As you find yourself hurtled into the entrance, start by looking into the turn (the most important thing in your life, you will notice this on any racing photo, where the racers head is turned further into the turn than the rest of the body). and start the counter steer. [Countersteer: The bike leans to the same side as you push on the handlebars. So a push on the left handlebar will tuck the bike into a left hander]. The further ahead you are able to look into the turn the more confidence you have.
Now you have entered the turn, you are in the right gear/rpm and you have assessed the turn and you are leaning into the turn, looking into the turn. No sudden moves now!!. At this point you have traveled from the right side of the track to the inside of the track taking the shortest route
Keep the throttle smooth through the entrance into the apex.
As you approach the apex, you are at full lean (knee dragging the ground, your ) and at the apex you are able to see parts of the exit. At this point (exiting the apex) the throttle is finely controlled to start a slow but steady acceleration.
And you are on your way out the exit of the corner. At this point you want to use the whole track to get the most benefit and as you accelerate you will find yourself drifting to the outside right of the track. As the rpm’s pick up, shift up (depending on the turn). Again remember the bike goes where you look.
All the above contributes to “finding your line”. As you go through the same corner over and over the line becomes clear, the brake markers are known, the speeds improve.
All of the above is commonly referred to as the “slow-in, fast-out” method.
The things to watch for while cornering
1. Look into the turn
3. Be smooth. (no abrupt moves/shifting/acceleration/braking). The speed will come later
4. Find your line and stick to it.
There are various corners like double apex corners, decreasing radius corners, off-camber corners etc. We will deal with them in due course.
Again this is my humble attempt of putting together what I know. There are authorities on this who will have more to say.
More questions/comments welcome!