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How To: Learn to Corner Better - Rookie To Rider


Courtney S · February 21, 2020

Rookie to Rider cornering 3

Rookie to Rider Series by Courtney

The Rookie to Rider series is written by experienced rider Courtney, who first hand has faced the many challenges and fantastic experiences that two wheels has to offer. The series aims to help all riders improve their skills and get more out of life on two wheels.

The third part of the Rookie to Rider Series can be found below. Enjoy!


A lot of bikers want to feel like a MotoGP star when learning to corner on their motorcycle – and a lot of the techniques used in the GP can be applied to the road too, but in a less extreme way. The key is practice, and only pushing yourself – and your bike – as far as you feel comfortable.

Your primary concern on the road should always be safety, but you can still have a lot of fun practising your cornering. So the next time you’re riding down some quiet country lanes, take time to practise the following…

Throttle Control & Gears

Before entering a corner, you will want to slow down to a speed slow enough that you can keep on the throttle through the turn – this needs to be a speed you’re comfortable with. If you go too fast into the turn, then the bike will turn too wide.

And be sure never to brake on a turn! Slow down enough before you corner – this is vital. Selecting the right gear for the turn is equally important, so give yourself enough time to gently brake and drop down a gear if needed while still riding in a straight line. You should be cycling down your gears sequentially on your approach anyway but just remember that the gear you select is as important as your braking.

The key is to keep on the throttle in a smooth and controlled way through the turn – never accelerate during the corner.

Counter Steering

To smoothly corner on a motorcycle, you need to learn how to counter steer. It can seem a little counterintuitive (pun intended) to the new biker, but to turn left you need to push on the left handlebar and lean left. To turn right, push the right handlebar and lean right. If you spent a lot of time on the motorbike in the arcade as a kid, then this should feel familiar!

Body Positioning

Lean slightly forward on the machine but don’t hang on by the handlebars – the best positioning is controlled by your core. You can also gently squeeze the tank with your legs for a little extra grip.

It’s important to look where you want the motorcycle to go while turning – and I don’t just mean with your eyes, but with your whole head! This can feel unnatural at first but it’s essential in making sure the bike makes it through the turn.

Effective cornering should look like this:

  • Slow down
  • Select your gear before entering the corner
  • Pick your line and position on the road and look where you want to go
  • Lean the bike to steer
  • Keep smooth and steady on the throttle

Don’t forget: never brake on a turn and don’t accelerate!

It shouldn’t be about going as low as you can go while turning out on the road, but rather learning to corner in an effective, controlled and safe manner. If you want to lean like a racer, then it would be a great idea to book yourself some additional training out on a race track where you can really push your boundaries in a safe setting.

We have some awesome, twisty country roads here in the UK – so get out there when the conditions are safe, practice your cornering and enjoy them!

Read more of the Rookie to Rider Series by Courtney:

How to improve your clutch control - Rookie to Rider 1 by Courtney

How to change gears on a motorbike - Rookie to Rider 2 by Courtney

This information is given to you as a guide to support you in your choice of licence and RideTo has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided about motorcycle licence and training requirements. However, RideTo cannot guarantee the information is up to date, correct and complete and is therefore provided on an "as is" basis only. RideTo accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. We recommend that you verify the current licence and training requirements by checking the DVSA website.