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Motocross Cornering Tips

Motocross Cornering Tips

Cornering can make all the difference between a race lost and a race won. While new dirt bikers may be eager to nail down jumps and tricks, mastering the art of cornering should be one of their first priorities. If a rider can’t effectively corner, they won’t be able to pull a win—other riders will have the advantage of those few seconds on corners. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or someone just starting out, there are several things to keep in mind when taking on corners. Here are a few helpful tips on learning how to master cornering so you can improve your skill and win more races.

  1. Which Line?: To get a leg up on other racers, you need to choose a line and stick with it. Depending on your skill, there are different angles you can approach this. Many suggest running the main line, which is usually the middle-to-inside entry. Maybe you’d rather choose the inside line, which is the shortest path around a corner. It’s fast, but the exit will be slower. If you’re more comfortable moving wider, do so if you can manage the speed required to not lose time. Whichever line you end up choosing, it’s important to not change midrace. Be confident in your decision and press on with purpose. You’ll begin to feel more and more at ease when you incorporate these body movements listed below.

  2. Keep Your Head Up: As you approach a corner, how your head is positioned is important. When you’re coming into the corner, your head and eyes should already be turning in the direction you need to go. You need all the time you can get to see what’s coming up next and looking down won’t help you do this. The bike will always go in the direction your head is pointed in.

  3. Perfect Arm Positioning: Your arms will play a role in successful, fast cornering. As you ride, make yourself keep your arms up and square. This will give you superior control over the bike, so when you’re entering and exiting a corner, you can make the bike move as needed. You want a firm, but not extremely tight grip on the bars. Doing this can quickly fatigue your forearms, weakening your grip altogether.

  4. Squeeze your Knees: Your knees should always be tightly gripped against the bike to help create that important rider/bike connection. You want the bike to move with you through every corner, jump, straightaway, uphill, and every other type of track situation. Squeezing your knees will allow you to control the bike without the need to have a death grip on the bars.

  5. Smooth Throttling: Cornering is not the time for aggressive throttling. Coming into a corner too quickly will force you to hesitate or stop so as to not crash. This will result in lost time, and thus, a lost race. To effectively enter and exit a corner, you’ll need to develop a flow. This can be done with smooth and consistent power, which is much more calculated than erratic movements. This will allow you to link corners together for a better flow around the track, helping you maneuver around and past other riders. Another key point here is that every time you hit the gas, be sure to get your foot back on the peg quickly. With it hanging off, the balance of the bike is at risk.

  6. Practice Makes Perfect!: This is probably a no-brainer but practicing these maneuvers and body queues will help you master cornering before race time comes. Remember, corners can make or break your race. If you have access to a turn track, sharpen your skills there until you feel confident when approaching a corner, rolling through, and exiting. If not this type of track, simply practice where you normally would to get the most training in. With these tips in place, you’re bound to see faster track times.

As they say in the motocross community, “jumps for show, corners for dough.” When cornering is something you feel comfortable with, then you can progress on to learning more of the tricks and jumps that you’ve been waiting for. In fact, you’ll be able to hit these better when coming out of corners and an obstacle ahead requires a bit of skill to master a jump or other hurdles. While it’s awesome to hit those moves, corners will be what sets you apart from your fellow rivals. After all, winning is the reason you’re at the race!