Cornering (using clutch)
  • Ryan_crf250
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    Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:44 am

    Cornering (using clutch)

    by Ryan_crf250 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:11 am

    Hi all,
    bit of background info: this is my first summer of track riding and I seem to be having a problem cornering on tight turns (I am riding a crf250r). I can't help but notice that mostly everyone on the track corners much faster than me. I tried holding speed in 2nd gear and screaming through a corner but it doesn't seem to be as fast as the other guys, so I tried cornering in third and if the revs were high enough I was way too fast around the corners (and usually went off the side!) or more often the revs were too low and the bike stalls on me. So the next logical conclusion was to use the clutch around the corner to keep the bike running... so I seem to be able to scream up to the corner, pull in the clutch and brake-slide through it, and let the clutch out near the apex and this allows me to corner much faster and keep up with some of the more experienced people out there. (Not exactly sure if they are doing the same thing, I try to sit beside the track but it all happens so fast I can't quite see their techniques)
    I guess my question is: Is this a normal practice (on a crf250r) or is there a better way to corner quickly? Will all of this "corner-clutching" cause damage to my wonderful new Honda?
    Any info would be great! Just trying to close the gap because it sure if funner when you're running with the faster guys!
    I have more questions about jumping but I feel a bit safer getting fast around the corners first :)
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    by motosicko » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:52 am

    Hey Ryan, You sure do have your thinking straight, learn those corners first and then onto the jumping techniques. The fastest riders are corner "specialists", not me by far, but I have taken classes by Donnie Hansen and know a little about the techniques involved. It's a hard thing to change bad habits that have set in over years of cornering the wrong way, so if you are new to MX and have a chance to do a Motocross Academy class with a pro rider, it's well worth the time and money. You watch these pros and it is so natural for them it seems effortless, but there is a lot going on each corner. Body position, up on the tank. crack of your behind on the outer corner of seat, outside foot weighting the peg, putting pressure down to allow tire edges to bite, inside foot out, gliding above, but not on the ground, for balance, elbows up, right finger lightly dragging front brake,to keep front tire weighted, throttle 1/2 cracked or more, left finger slipping clutch to keep the power tame and keep you in the corner, head up and looking ahead to the next obstacle. All this happening in a fraction of a second is hard for the brain to calculate, so it has to become second nature, without even thinking. Only way for that to happen is practice, practice, practice. Find sections and practice only corners, for 80% of time you are at the track, while your buddies are out flying jumps, and soon it will be natural, and you will be railing corners like Bubba. Ok, thats a little far out there, but who knows. And to answer your question about damaging your "wonderful new Honda" , It won't damage your bike, but if you do corner aggressively you will need to service your clutch plates more frequently and may require upgraded clutch components to withstand the heat of slipping it at high speeds. National Pro racers get new clutches installed each moto. Local Pros go through them every 3 to 4 races. I run a Rekluse clutch in mine and get a full season out of it , but like I stated, I'm far from a corner "specialist", but I can jump with the best of the local Pros. That doesn't win races though. :oops:
    "There are old racers
    and there are bold racers,
    but there are no old, bold racers who don't walk funny."
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    by mikey526 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:10 am

    Corners are where races are won and lost, period. It is good to see your more worried about corners more than jumps =D> =D> . Anyways, they do take a while to really figure out. We could sit here and tell you step by step, or you could read a how to on a site. Truth be told, however, nothing we can do will have as much of an impact as you getting out there, experimenting, and getting more comfortable on the bike on the track.

    That being said, there are many different ways to tackle corners. They all vary for muddy, sandy, dry/hardpacked, flat (no berm), bermed, loose dirt on top, slick, etc.

    A basic way I tackle corners is to down shift before you are into the turn. Then you aren't trying to do too many things at once. I have been experimenting with standing up going into the corner, sitting down at the apex (actually angle part of it) and stay sitting or stand up (depending on conditions, jumps, etc) coming out of the corner. It helps tremendously, however, it can feel a little scary at first because you have less surface area on the bike, therefore less control. However, it is the proper way to do it.

    As for clutch and throttle control, you should go in with a steady throttle and ALWAYS keep a finger or two on the clutch, ready to use it if you get squirley or anything. In fact, on a 125, you have to use the clutch in all corners, just because of the way the power is delivered. You should use it on a four stroke too. The only time I can think you might not need to use it is on a very, very wide, sweeping turn. Even then, you should have your fingers on the clutch.

    Things to remember:
    1) Look ahead, not at your front fender. You will go where you look, and your body will handle not hitting the huge rock with out you looking at it (as long as you saw it..))


    3) Balls of your feet on pegs. The foot pegs are the lowest part on the bike, so you don't want to get your knee or hip screwed up by having your foot ripped off.

    4) Elbows up, like your doing a push up on the bars, to maintain maximum control.

    5)Stay loose and try to flow. With more experience you will be more assertive, and it will be amazing how far you can push the bike around a corner before you fall if you carry enough speed.

    6) The throttle is your friend. If you get in a tight situation, gas it (Even if you fall, its better than falling over cause you were stopped, right? ) ;)

    7) You need to be as far forward on the bike as you can. Almost like you are sitting on the gas tank. Watch the pros, its how they ride and its how you are supposed to.

    8)A finger on the front brake, and be prepared to pres the rear brake as well.

    9) Remember, stand on the way in if the space before the turn is rough or choppy. Sit down after the apex, or stay seated throughout the turn if it is smooth.

    10) Roll on the throttle and let out the clutch to optimize power.

    Good luck!


    Edit: Wow, I was typing all that and hadn't seen Nick's post yet, so I'm sorry Nick; I basically said some of the same things you did without realizing it. :oops: :D Great minds think alike ;) . I forgot about the weighing the outside peg and the pressure on the front brake is new to me. Cool!

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