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Observation About Turn Point


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One day, the lightbulb went off. I realized that somewhere I got the wrong idea about WHERE to mark my turn in point for the corner. I tend to turn-in way too deep. To make this work, I have to slow more than I should. So I had been thinking about this for a week.


While I was getting caught up on the racing I had on the DVR, I was watching the Nurburgring WSBK race and they had a rider POV shot of Carlos Checa going down the staight and approaching the turn. He turned in waaaaay before I would have turned in, confirming my suspicion. The announcer said that it was a flat-out 5th gear (right) turn.


So where can I go to get some good information on where to reposition my turn points? I can pretty consistently hit the points I select, I just select the wrong points.

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So where can I go to get some good information on where to reposition my turn points? I can pretty consistently hit the points I select, I just select the wrong points.

First off, I think you're in a luxury position - most people that I know of turns in too early (including myself) :D


You could, of course, just go out and try turning a half or a full bike length earlier than you do now, and see what that does to your line. If you liked what it did to your line, back out another half a bike length next lap. Repeat until you turn too early and you're done.


But we're on the CSS forum, so we want to do better than that, right? ;-)


First you have to ask yourself what makes a good turning point?

My explanation (which may or may not be consistent with the TOWT books) is that the turn point sets the beginning or starting point of the line you take through the turn. Since the line is an arc, we need at least two more points to define the arc: the apex point and an "exit point" (surely Keith never called it that!). If the line you take allows you to obey TC rule #1, then it's a good line. But there is more than that to a good or 'best' line:

The "best" line also allows you to carry the least amount of lean angle - and for the shortest amount of time. If you go too deep before turning, you are forced to lean more and quicker than you otherwise would have to (since you have less tarmac to complete the turn in). And a big lean angle can keep you from getting back on the gas and "pin it" to quote the friendly UK coaches.


Now, a turn point for a particular turn will still vary quite a bit, depending on the speed you're travelling with, track conditions, bike type (think 125cc 2stroke vs liter-bike), and how quickly you can flick the bike to full lean. "Your Milage May Vary" as the saying goes.


If you have the option, try walking around the track in the morning or evening when there's no traffic and try to pick out turn points, apexes etc. Otherwise, you're really back to the experimentation that I started out with. But know you at least have a gauge to determine if the new turn point was better or worse than what you had previously.





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  • 2 weeks later...

A very good question--how do you know when you are doing it right. Here is one approach.


  • If you turn in and never get near the apex, you were way too deep.
  • If you turn in and never swing out enough to be somewhere near your exit point, you were still too deep but not so bad.
  • If you turn in, hit the apex and swing out pretty close to your turn point, you are almost there.
  • If you turn in, hit your apex and accelerate out to your exit point, you are on a nice line and can start looking for ways to maximize exit speed.


Just remember that outside-inside-outside is a racing line and won't always work on the street. You can't count on being able to make that line work when outside can mean gravel, inside can put your head over the center line, and outside again might include a liitle girl on a tricycle. Street lines are often around the outside of the turn till you can see the way is clear, then roll in and roll on the throttle. Never ride faster than you can see, is a good moto for road riding.

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