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I'm having trouble making the rather tight turns on one of the tracks I ride on. I am already leaning inward while I'm turning, but very often either I still can't turn sharply enough, or I lean too far and end up wiping out, especially when I'm turning at high speeds.

So my question is, are there any riding techniques that I can use to help me achieve a tighter turning radius?

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The geometry of the bike has a lot to do with it. A road bike inherently will have a larger turning radius than a mountain bike or short track bike. You can improve the radius somewhat by leaning your body in while keeping the bike more upright, –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 13 '13 at 2:10
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Leaning the body is a good technique. Also, have you looked into counter-steering? By the way, I've found that really tight, slow turns are nigh unachievable while pedaling, as my tires scrape my shoes. As @DanielRHicks said, depends on the geometry of the bike. –  Matt Jul 13 '13 at 5:06
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You can also try to follow the turn apex/racing line which basically makes the turn less tight, and allows you to keep more speed through the turn. –  Kibbee Jul 13 '13 at 10:52

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Some tips:

  1. Look at where you want to go (the exit of the turn) and not ahead or at your front wheel.
  2. Slightly turn your hips and waist to point to where you want to go (the exit of the turn). Also, thinking that you want to point your belly button there helps achieve this movement.
  3. Outside foot down (pressing the bike down), inside foot up.
  4. Outside hand pulls, inside hand pushes.
  5. Lean the bike slightly more than your body.
  6. Lean your body less than your bike. Try to keep your head horizontal to the ground though.
  7. Trust the tyres and commit to the turn.
  8. Don't touch the brakes.
  9. Make sure you don't loose the front wheel. If it washes out then you are done. You ensure that by maintaining pressure on the handlebars. So keep your weight in the center of the bike (don't crouch back to the saddle).

Also, it is obvious that new tyres help.

Lastly, when you approach the exit of the turn start pedaling again to gain what you've lost while cornering.

Note that the above tips is what I do on mountain biking. There is a possibility that tip #4 doesn't apply to road or track bikes, but I am not sure.

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Thanks for the great advice! Just one more question, though--what, if anything, should I do differently if I want to keep pedaling through the turn? –  Gwenn Jul 14 '13 at 15:13
    
Then do not lean the bike too much. Because if the inside pedal touches the ground you'll probably fall. –  cherouvim Jul 14 '13 at 16:32
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Outside foot down (pressing the bike down), inside foot up. -- Also probably a good idea to keep the inside foot unclipped so that you can do a foot tap if the rear end starts to slip out. Not a bad idea to practice this before you need it. –  sixtyfootersdude Jul 15 '13 at 22:26

Also a very good pro tip is to do a little flick to in the "wrong" direction right before you turn in.

say, you are approching a right turn, you've placed yourself on the left side of the road. Just before you start leaning to the right, yor make a small flick/turn to the left without leaning your body that way. This will tilt the bike to the right, making it alot easier to make the lean into the apex of the corner.

On a track this would probably be the best and easiest way to ret a tighter turning radius, since the "leaning into the corner"-part is so important

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Yes, that's a well-known pothole avoidance maneuver -- you actually aim towards the pothole briefly or a little to the "wrong" side of it, then cut the other way. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 17 '13 at 11:46
    
Coming into this one late: the wrong way flick is only good if you're on your own, and at lowish speeds at that. If you are riding in a pack, this will drag everyone else down on top of you! Ouch! Having said that, it is a basic technique that has it's place. –  andy256 Oct 14 '13 at 12:30
    
If you are in a experienced pack, it won't matter. Even less experienced riders should leave space for such maneuvers when cornering. –  Belicosus Oct 15 '13 at 6:23

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