How To Negotiate Decreasing-Radius Corners

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By Evans Brasfield

Updated January 2020

Perhaps no corners strike greater fear in the hearts of motorcyclists than decreasing-radius corners. What’s a decreasing-radius corner, you ask? There are essentially three general types of corners we encounter as riders. A constant radius-corner maintains the same arc throughout the entire turn. These are the most predictable corners on the road. Even if you can’t see the exit, you can tell from the entrance exactly what speed is safe to navigate the corner all the way to the exit. An increasing-radius corner is one in which the bend gets less sharp the further into it you ride. In this type of corner, you can start rolling on the throttle much earlier because the corner is getting straighter. A decreasing-radius corner, then, would be one in which the corner gets sharper as you progress into it. So, what may have been a safe speed in the initial section of the curve could be too fast as the corner tightens up.

However, the corners themselves aren’t really the cause for the concern. It’s really the surprise of entering an unfamiliar corner, setting your speed and your line, only to suddenly have the rules change midway. Remember that, despite the surprise, if your bike isn’t dragging hard parts, you have the ground clearance to lean the bike over even more — probably more than you think.

Before we discuss the challenge of decreasing-radius corners, we should quickly review an easy one. This will make sure we have the same techniques in mind. In an idealized constant-radius corner, the rider can see from entry to exit. So, the bike’s approach would be wide at the entrance with the appropriate speed set before the turn-in point.

A rider should look through the corner, initiate the turn, and begin rolling on the throttle. Rolling on …read more

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