The more you lean your bike over in a corner the less grip is available from your tyres. To understand lean angle versus throttle it’s useful to imagine your rear tyre has a dollar’s worth of grip. You can spend 60 cents on the throttle, which leaves 40 cents for lean angle, or 10 cents on throttle and 90 cents on lean angle. To develop your throttle control, divide the corner exit into these stages:
• At the corner apex you are at your maximum lean angle.
• Practice picking up the throttle just before the corner apex to take up drivetrain slack and start transferring weight to the rear.
• Feed the throttle smoothly and progressively as you aim for the corner exit using the four stages of throttle application.
• This develops your degree of throttle application through muscle memory, feel and consistency.
• As you exit the corner you are progressively reducing your lean angle as you pick the bike up and increase throttle until you are at your 100 percent throttle at the exit point.
Understand the pitch
When you brake, the bike pitches forward applying load to the front tyre. When you release the brakes, weight comes off the front tyre and starts transferring to the rear. The key is to load the tyre progressively to build pressure on the contact patch. This applies to braking, acceleration and cornering. Problems arise when a rider overloads the tyre by grabbing the throttle rather than applying the input smoothly and gradually.
Anticipate a slide
Just as you feel the front tyre through your hands you feel the rear tyre through your feet and butt. Especially focus on foot pressure through the outside peg and listen to the rear tyre as your throttle on. Anticipate rolling off to control a slide rather than shutting the throttle. Experienced riders control rear slides with a steady throttle, body position movement and steering.
Think about the weight distribution of your bike. Statically, a bike and rider are around 50/50 weight distribution front to rear. When you brake it takes weight, and therefore grip away from the rear. As you apply throttle weight transfers off the front to the rear.
Throttle on from the apex
Rule of thumb is to decelerate from your turn-in point to the apex, and throttle on from apex to exit point. Road riders set up your corner speed before the corner entry. Remember, motorcycles enjoy subtle and progressive inputs and this also applies to the throttle.
If your chain is too tight it will restrict the rear suspension movement and place extra load on the rear tyre which can result in a slide. Make sure it’s tensioned to the manual.
Pay special attention to those black hoops. If you have 100psi in your tyre it won’t give you much grip! Grip is sensitive to tyre pressure, so make sure your pressure is correct.
Get a grip
Assuming the road surface is free from debris, the main contributor to grip is the weight or load on each tyre. Try sliding an eraser gently across your kitchen table. Now try the same thing pushing down hard on the eraser. You will notice the increase in grip with more vertical load. Now think about this when you ride.
Can you feel your tyres? I see a lot of bikes too stiff, both on the track and road. This is fine if you are a gun racer but restricts feel for less experienced riders. Pay attention to the correct spring rates for your weight, spring preload and damping settings. Start too soft and stiffen up the bike to get it to turn. Now instead of being confused in the middle of the settings you can work in one direction until you start to lose feel.
Get regular training
While riding tips from a reputable coach can be useful there is no substitute for regular training in a closed-circuit controlled environment to practice the skills necessary for a safe and prolonged riding life on the road or track.6