Stayin’ Safe: Cornering

cornering on a motorcycle
What a rider decides when entering a corner will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing you are capable of completing the curve is a powerful thing! Photo by Kevin Wing.

A Question of Commitment: The choice you make in a corner is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Are you in or are you out? Are you going to make a move or are you going to just sit there? It’s time to commit. As in marriage, when entering into a curve, it’s best to stay committed, even when things aren’t going as planned—like when carrying too much speed into a curve. Here’s how to assure a happy ending and a lasting relationship with your bike.

Commit. Simply deciding you will complete the curve (versus deciding you are likely to crash) is a powerful determining factor in the outcome of the situation. What you decide will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Trust that you—and your bike—have the ability to complete the corner and stay committed. Don’t allow crashing to be an option.

Look to the desired future. The natural human response is to stare down an impending threat (that guardrail or ditch outside the curve). Instead, turn your eyes toward the desired exit and the bike will follow. Can’t break the stare? Try an exaggerated glance over your inside shoulder.

cornering on a motorcycle
Although the turn may be tighter than anticipated, this rider has his attention (and his eyes) focused on where he wants to be at the outcome of the curve.

Let it all out. Release all muscle tension with a big sigh and allow your body to sink down and into the corner (instead of staying rigid and upright). Clenched hands and rigid arms prohibit the bike from turning, but loose arms and a light touch enable you to
maneuver the bike through the turn. Guide the bike with increased countersteering pressure to the inside end of the handlebar.

Keep it steady. Resist the temptation to chop the throttle or reach for the brakes. That only upsets the chassis, minimizes ground clearance and encourages the rider to bail on the corner. In most instances, maintaining (or even increasing) throttle will provide greater control and lead to a better outcome. Some might even call it bliss.

Eric Trow runs the Stayin’ Safe advanced rider training program, using some of the best roads in the USA as a classroom. He can be contacted at



  1. The Professor knows this course and is steering us straight to safety. Seeing Eric ride a big bagger through a set of Esses, is a work of art.

  2. Oh yes. Why didn’t I think of it before! If I’m going too fast for a bend add throttle, bound to work isn’t it: (NOT)! The truth is that slowing down allows you to tighten the curve without leaning further. The exact opposite of adding throttle.


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