Proper cornering technique and myth busting

road
#1

I recently watched a brief interview with road descending sensation Matej Mohorovic (as in he’s awesome at descending) and he gave a few insights:
– Press on the outside pedal and pull on the inside pedal
– Look well ahead of where you’re going as you’re cornering
– Hands in drops but sit upright. I’m not sure if I understood this correctly but I think this was his advice (this felt unintuitive as I thought bending over = lower centre of gravity)
– With proper technique you can go on wet roads almost as fast as you can on dry roads. I found this one interesting but I’m not sure I’m willing to try it
– Keep the bike in-line with your body (don’t lean it less or more than your body)

Can I please open the floor to other suggestions I’ve heard elsewhere and see what your experiences are:
– Should you push down on the outside pedal so much that your bum almost lifts from the saddle?
– Should you put weight on the inside arm?
– Do you have any thoughts on timing (entering the corner earlier vs. later; having a progressive lean up to a maximum vs. leaning the same amount throughout the corner)

Thanks in advance!

#2

I consider cornering one of my strengths…so here are my thoughts

  1. Pushing on the outside foot is big but I don’t really lift off the saddle but I am also not full weight on my saddle.
  2. Looking ahead is vital but make sure you see obstacles and steer accordingly.
  3. I don’t excessively lean over my bars cornering as it moves your center of gravity to off the middle of your bike and excessive force on the front wheel.
  4. You def corner on just about as fast on wet roads as dry as long as it has rained for a bit at first it is a bit more slick.
  5. I pull a bit on my inside arm and down on my outside arm.
  6. Make the cornering as sweeping as possible. Enter wide exit wide if possible.
  7. You lean further once you hit the apex and lean back up as you exit.

With all this said I have never had coaching on cornering but have a lot of years of crits.

#3

There is also the real world scenario where you may need to hit the brakes to slow down so you need to be able to reach your levers, that affects your hand position either towards the front on the drops or as I do on the hoods.
I use hoods most of the time but if its really bumpy then drops.

I was looking for an image of cornering lines whilst typing a reply and instead found this really good article that covers the lot so I’ll refer to instead.


Point 6 is key for me, also realising just how much speed you can actually carry through a corner is more than most realise. I thought I was cornering really quickly in a race on a car race track and making huge ground on my rivals… until the pro group came past me in a corner, by pro not just local fast riders but a number of continental and world tour pros who were “getting a few miles” in before the world road world championships.

#4

I struggled with cornering on the road forever and recently went to Albuquerque, found a 13.5-mile climb with 21-switchbacks. I rode up with a group and then when going down, tailed one of the descending aces. For the first time, I got a feel of how much force I could generate in cornering and which incinations (lean). It’s crazy and I didn’t even do it on a grippy tire. You can slice-up all these different techniques but if you don’t know how much force you can make, which is probably just over 1-lateral-G, you’ll never know if you can or should push it more.

There is a ton of stuff in there that doesn’t make sense.
– Press on the outside pedal and pull on the inside pedal
How can you “press” on a pedal when flat? All you have is your body weight at the bottom of the stroke.
– Look well ahead of where you’re going as you’re cornering
A+ tip
– Hands in drops but sit upright. I’m not sure if I understood this correctly but I think this was his advice (this felt unintuitive as I thought bending over = lower centre of gravity)
Yes and now. Higher cg gets you through the corner with less lean. More on that below
– With proper technique you can go on wet roads almost as fast as you can on dry roads. I found this one interesting but I’m not sure I’m willing to try it
100% depends upon the surface. Polished asphalt has no grip, wet concrete is probably faster than dry asphalt.
– Keep the bike in-line with your body (don’t lean it less or more than your body)
I like to get low, lean the bike over way more than my body, then get my body lower and lower as I learn the corner or until I feel cg getting too low.

Can I please open the floor to other suggestions I’ve heard elsewhere and see what your experiences are:
– Should you push down on the outside pedal so much that your bum almost lifts from the saddle?
On fast, tight, and grippy corners, I put my inside thigh on the saddle (opposite of what you do on a motorcycle)
– Should you put weight on the inside arm?
Maybe
– Do you have any thoughts on timing (entering the corner earlier vs. later; having a progressive lean up to a maximum vs. leaning the same amount throughout the corner)
Yeah, right now work on a smooth parabola, symmetrical on both sides of the apex. I have yet to find a corner where I can use enough brake force or make enough power to alter entry and apex lines much outside of a racing environment.

Pro tip: Pedaling makes front grip and makes the bike stand-up. This is huge in CX, for which nothing above crosses over, and can save your ass on the road bike.

#5

Here is a great podcast to learn proper technique for cornering. Although it is about motorcycles the same principles apply to bikes. He’s coached people at the world level of motorcycle racing and domestic.

The best and basic advice is in the first 25 or so episodes.

http://khcoaching.com/podcasts/

#6

I went to a performance driving school a number of years ago. The day started with a classroom session. This was before I started cycling but a couple decades later I still refer back to that hour in the classroom learning the basics of how tires actually work, what weight transfer is and how it affects grip and how to pick a corning line. It was about 1000x more informative than almost anything i have since heard from the cycling community. In motor sports, the various aspects of corning are 75% or more of the game so they really focus on it.

Car racers and, i presume motorcycle racers, have this stuff down (literally) to a science. There is bike specific stuff to learn but if you want the basics quickly, watch some YouTube videos of classroom lessons on how to drive a race car and specifically on cornering technique.

3 Likes