Taking curves correctly
However: In order to really enjoy the magic of curves, you need a minimum of practice. And some basic knowledge. Whether the laws of driving physics, turning techniques or the correct approach to a curve – with the most important “basics” I will show you how to get through every curve.
The forces in the curve
As soon as we throw ourselves into pleasure of curves, we mobilize forces we must deal with consciously. For example, driving around curves generates lateral acceleration, the so-called centrifugal force. This increases with curve radius and own speed. The centrifugal force, which acts horizontally on the outer side of the curve, is in turn joined by gravity, which acts vertically downwards on the driver and the vehicle.
The interplay of centrifugal and gravitational forces creates the so-called resulting force. This would knock the bicycle over. Only the inclined position alone counteracts this effect. Because this riding technique allows the resulting force to pass through the center of the tyre contact area and thus prevents a fall. The following applies: The wider the tyre, the more the motorcycle must be tilted in a curve.
We don’t lean enough most of the time
The lean angle is limited by the nature of the road surface, the ground clearance of the machine as well as the tread depth, rubber compound, and tyre pressure. But of course, also in the skill of the driver. Our natural lean angle limit is about 20 degrees. More extreme lean angles on the road require some training.
If a curve is tighter than expected, e.g. in a so-called drag curve or donkey curve, a successful correction by the driver is usually only possible by increasing the lean angle. The problem: without practice, the personal lean angle limit is reached much earlier than the actual lean angle of the motorcycle. With fatal consequences. This is because the unused lean angle reserve is one of the most frequent causes of accidents in curves.
THE FOUR PHASES OF TAKING CURVES
1. APPLYING THE BRAKES
2. THE TURNING POINT
3. ROLLING AT AN ANGLE
4. ACCELERATING FROM LEAN ANGLE
Rule of thumb for taking curves
The four phases can also be summarized with the following rule of thumb: “With little speed in, some speed around, and more speed out of the curve.”
WITH 3 TECHNIQUES THROUGH THE CURVE IN STYLE
Getting the curve more safely: “undercut” instead of “cut”
After explaining the basics of taking a curve, in the end it should be about how to take a curve correctly, where the curve apex is located and how the course of a curve can be passed most safely. Until the 80s, the golden rule of a round, even inclination and driving in curves was still valid, but in the meantime, the so-called “cutting” of a curve has changed to “undercutting”.
I turn in late with a relatively low cornering speed and take the curve as far as possible from the outside. This gives the driver the best possible view of the bend and oncoming traffic. Starting from the outside means close to the centre line in right-hand curves and close to the right edge of the road in left-hand curves. After that, you approach the apex of the bend. This is the point closest to the inner edge of the curve when driving through it. The further I move the vertex to the exit of the curve, the better.
Finding the appropriate speed at the entrance to a curve and turning into the curve as late as possible is unusual and costs most motorcyclists a lot of effort. Only practice and experience can help. The best way is to take part in a safety training course on the race track or special curve training.
More visibility, more safety – the advantages of undercutting:
► Earlier insight into the curve and faster visibility for oncoming traffic
► Danger of collisions with oncoming traffic and with obstacles in your own lane is reduced
► Longer braking before the curve, but you can leave the lean angle earlier and accelerate out faster
Have a good trip!
Author of the article
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