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The Inside Line Isn't Always The Fastest, Is It?


squirrels
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Somewhere along the line (no pun intended), I feel like I got used to taking inside lines on corners. I.e. still getting a quick turn-in, but getting to the inside of the road quickly. So I think I've got a bad habit of trying to use a similar inside line for EVERY corner.

 

This is mostly tooling around back-roads...I hope to do Lvl 2 of the class sometime soon, but I've been practicing on the local back-roads...not at knee-dragger speeds or anything, just feeling out the lines and practicing good technique.

 

But I think I may be wrong in choosing a similar line for every corner. It works fine on a constant-radius turn. On increasing-radius turns, I end up getting to the inside early and having to stand the bike up a lot sooner than expected. I guess in a race-situation, this would have its benefits. (being able to get on the throttle sooner and harder).

 

However, on decreasing radius turns and the like, I find that even if I turn in late, if I hit the inside early (early apex?), the road will tighten up on me, forcing me to either double-apex if the turn is long enough, or dial in more lean angle (which could be dangerous!).

 

I guess there's no way to know for sure what line to take unless you've practiced a corner repeatedly (i.e. track situation), but am I at least on the right track to finding out why I can't seem to stick to the "one turning motion per corner" mantra?

 

Thanks

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Although all corners do share some basic characteristics, like being curved, each is a unique set of variables that requires its own plan and line.

 

While repeated "practice" of a corner can be helpful, it can also be counter-productive if one repeatedly practices the wrong line.

 

Choosing a proper line for a particular corner requires foreknowledge of that corner. Unless one is a Jedi Knight, that foreknowledge can only be gained by a physical inspection.

 

I have found that the quickest way to gain knowledge of a corner is by going slow. I like to start by walking it to see all the things I can't see when my attention is focused on what might be coming the other way and whether I am on the right side of the road to avoid hitting it or other obstacles (like potholes I don't know about because I'm not a Jedi).

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Somewhere along the line (no pun intended), I feel like I got used to taking inside lines on corners. I.e. still getting a quick turn-in, but getting to the inside of the road quickly. So I think I've got a bad habit of trying to use a similar inside line for EVERY corner.

 

This is mostly tooling around back-roads...I hope to do Lvl 2 of the class sometime soon, but I've been practicing on the local back-roads...not at knee-dragger speeds or anything, just feeling out the lines and practicing good technique.

 

But I think I may be wrong in choosing a similar line for every corner. It works fine on a constant-radius turn. On increasing-radius turns, I end up getting to the inside early and having to stand the bike up a lot sooner than expected. I guess in a race-situation, this would have its benefits. (being able to get on the throttle sooner and harder).

 

However, on decreasing radius turns and the like, I find that even if I turn in late, if I hit the inside early (early apex?), the road will tighten up on me, forcing me to either double-apex if the turn is long enough, or dial in more lean angle (which could be dangerous!).

 

I guess there's no way to know for sure what line to take unless you've practiced a corner repeatedly (i.e. track situation), but am I at least on the right track to finding out why I can't seem to stick to the "one turning motion per corner" mantra?

 

Thanks

 

 

im not qualified to answer your question, but how are you getting an early apex with a late turn in??

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Somewhere along the line (no pun intended), I feel like I got used to taking inside lines on corners. I.e. still getting a quick turn-in, but getting to the inside of the road quickly. So I think I've got a bad habit of trying to use a similar inside line for EVERY corner.

 

This is mostly tooling around back-roads...I hope to do Lvl 2 of the class sometime soon, but I've been practicing on the local back-roads...not at knee-dragger speeds or anything, just feeling out the lines and practicing good technique.

 

But I think I may be wrong in choosing a similar line for every corner. It works fine on a constant-radius turn. On increasing-radius turns, I end up getting to the inside early and having to stand the bike up a lot sooner than expected. I guess in a race-situation, this would have its benefits. (being able to get on the throttle sooner and harder).

 

However, on decreasing radius turns and the like, I find that even if I turn in late, if I hit the inside early (early apex?), the road will tighten up on me, forcing me to either double-apex if the turn is long enough, or dial in more lean angle (which could be dangerous!).

 

I guess there's no way to know for sure what line to take unless you've practiced a corner repeatedly (i.e. track situation), but am I at least on the right track to finding out why I can't seem to stick to the "one turning motion per corner" mantra?

 

Thanks

 

 

im not qualified to answer your question, but how are you getting an early apex with a late turn in??

I have seen this, but I have never discussed it with anyone as I would like to see more riders do it to try to figure it out.

 

There are two riders I ride with regularly who do this. They will go in deep into the corner and then they will turn so far that they hit the edge of the road (or their line) prior to the natural apex of the corner.

 

How they deal with this is either roll off the throttle, delay roll on, or increase their lean angle. Both riders go through two front tires for every rear, which is the opposite of what I see with most people street riding.

 

I don't know what they are thinking or feeling when they do this, but when I try to imitate it makes me uncomfortable. The only advantaged I can see is a sort of swoopy exit where you start standing the bike up sooner, but because of where you end up after the corrections you can't get it stood up, completely, as quickly.

 

I can feel more "grind" to the tires doing this, but I don't like to ride so that I am creating a "grinding" feel to the tires. I ride on the street as if my traction could be taken away from me at any split second, which can happen. Ripping on my tires leaves too much to chance and pushing traction on unpredictable back roads doesn't work for me.

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I remember re-learning to ride on the street after attending CSS having learned techniques, like quick turn in, to improve my lap times. The trick is to integrate the techniques one learns at the school to improve ones street riding skills to improve safety. It can be a subtle shift of intention...or an emotional battle of desire.

 

If I apex too soon on the racetrack (even after a deep turn in), I generally take it as a sign that I can go faster in that turn. However, some types of more complex corners, like decreasing radius, may require a more complex approach that can't be simplifed to the application of a single skill. Success in these more advanced turns still requires a firm grasp of fundamental skills which may be applied together.

 

Riding on the street my first goal is safety as opposed to extreme speed. In the case of apexing too soon I would adjust my turn in and/or speed so as to apex at an appropriate place in that turn, according to my plan, while maintaining a safe speed that doesn't leave me committed to a particular line... hanging it all out so to speak.

 

I prefer to leave my options open for changing my line to avoid unforseen obstacles that can appear around any blind corner. Even if one knows the physical character of a turn well, you can never know what obstacle might be there now that wasn't there an hour ago...sand, gravel, a parked vehicle, etc etc etc on a public road.

 

In other words, on the street, quick turn in or the ability to quickly change lean angle and line becomes another tool in my bag of tricks for staying alive. Rather than an end unto itself. And simply flicking it in everytime might not always be the best solution in and of itself. But it is definitely a fundamental skill.

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Riding on the street my first goal is safety as opposed to extreme speed. In the case of apexing too soon I would adjust my turn in and/or speed so as to apex at an appropriate place in that turn, according to my plan, while maintaining a safe speed that doesn't leave me committed to a particular line... hanging it all out so to speak.

 

 

On the street, any time you cannot stop in the distance you can see to be clear, on your own side of the road, then you are travelling too fast for safety. If you follow that rule then it is axiomatic that the fastest safe line on the street is the one that lets you see furthest, not the one that lets you travel the shortest distance. And if you draw the line that lets you see deepest into a corner without crossing the centreline on a map of the corner, for most bends it'll look very different to the line that you would take round the same corner on a racetrack. Like, stay as wide as possible for as long as it takes to see the exit of the corner, and only then quickturn to an extremely late apex.

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I response to the title of this thread I would say that the inside line is not your fastest line, the fastest line would be your line where you can turn in as late as possible and from as wide as possible (qualifying line) which are the kind of lines that you take at the school.

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Fastest or safe for street riding, seems like different topics.

 

Since the topic started with some metion of street riding...I'll chime in with what I do on roads I don't know well (got this from Keith). Run it in nice and late: more of the turn can be seen, and if the corner does tighten up, there is some hope of salvaging it.

 

Cobie

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Got to agree with Cobie and kwh. Laaate apex for street riding. Not necessarily the fastest way through the corner, but much much safer and you'll find yourself making fewer mistakes as a result of having good sighting.

There are so many unknowns with street riding that the approach must be different to track riding if you are to stay alive.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I think I've discovered what's causing this...it was me not looking far enough through the corner. Thus I was riding certain turns like what I could see was all there was, thus apexing way too early and having to pull it back in again before coming out.

The natural instinct is to turn the bike, or else we'll die(!). The brain sees a corner and thinks "got to turn, got to turn, got to turn" and then what happens? We turn and apex early.

Understanding this is crucial to imroving your cornering for both track and road.

 

With track riding it is much easier to practice different approaches to a corner, as you know what is going to be around the next corner and, riding in circles allows you to try different approaches for the same corner easily.

Road riding is a different beast, as it is often the case that you don't know what is going to happen and so forming a plan of approach is much more difficult. Because of this, your brain tends to throw a wobbly and do what it thinks is safest, head to the inside of the corner as soon as possible.

 

In effect, you need to retrain your brain and I found that the best way to do this is by thinking about sighting.

I know that my eyes are the most important part of my skill set and I also know that good vision is paramount so that I can form a plan for each corner. Knowing this, I find that my riding adjusts automatically for road or track riding.

For example, whilst road riding I will at times lean away from the bike to give myself a better view rather than to improve my ground clearance, this may even require me leaning 'the wrong way', depending on the conditions (you should never be so close to the limit so as you can't adjust your body position on the road), whilst on the track, after a few laps I will have a fair idea of where the track goes, so I can concentrate more on improving my corner speed (I'm still slow mind you, but then I am old and greying!) and so will spend less attention on getting a great view of the track and more on getting a better weight distribution on the bike. I'm still looking ahead, mind you, but just so I can see where my turn points are.

 

 

Woody

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Woody is right on the money regarding the visual skills---the rider is only as good as his visual skills. There is some data on this in Twist 2, if you haven't checked that out, take a look.

 

We had Leon Camier over (currently 2nd in the British Superbike Championship---in his rookie year. and after being the British Supersport Champ) to some schools, and he spent a lot of time working on the visual skills. We devote a lot of time on them, heck just about all of Level 2, and some of Level 1 too). OK, there's my shameless plug on the schools :)

 

Best,

Cobie

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  • 4 weeks later...

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