Which gear should you use to enter a corner? Ask an experienced rider and they’ll usually pause and give you a blank look – and there’s a reason for that: gear selection is something most experienced riders perform without thinking. But there is a process and it’s important to get it right. Why? Because in the correct gear, you can comfortably accelerate out of the corner. That means smoother, faster riding.
Enter a corner in a gear that’s too low and your revs will be too high. This will make the throttle overly sensitive when you re-open it. A ‘screaming’ engine is also distracting in a turn and will disguise a lot of the bike’s road feedback. Also, the copious amounts of power available to the rider on a lot of modern machinery often means that the rider will be reluctant to open the throttle for fear of the rush of power when the revs are high. In addition, a lack of useable revs left means the rider will probably have to change up as the bike leaves the corner, disrupting the motion of the bike through the bend. On the flipside, enter a corner in a gear that’s too high and the engine’s revs will be too low, causing a very sluggish response when you open the throttle to exit the corner. This usually means you’ll have to downshift to another gear – not ideal in the middle of a corner.
Use your brakes to reduce your bike’s speed as you approach a turn and change down. Release your clutch the same way as you release your brake – smoothly and progressively. Ideally, you should do this before you enter the turn. In the right gear, your engine will be in its low-to-mid rev range through the turn. The right gear is the one in which you ride through the corner easily, and which allows you to accelerate out of the corner. Basically, we want to select a cog that limits the need for gear-changing through the middle of the turn, which is when the bike will be leaning most – not the ideal time for sudden braking, accelerating or gear changes that unbalance the bike. The revs you need will depend on your bike. Never look at the tacho on either bike to decide what gear is best. Decide it based on the feedback the bike is giving you.
Motorcycle Trader magazine issue 319 2017http://www.lazymotorbike.eu
Twist the throttle and enjoy the ride