Riding Skills: How to ride fast around S-bends

By Peter Baker -

Riding Skills

 07 August 2009 14:30

An S bend is nothing more than two corners linked together. The trick in riding an S bend is how you link them together.

I've just returned from a training day with Rapid training ltd. Rapid are a team of serving and ex police riders that run both road and track days designed to improve riding confidence. The road riding course I took part in threw up a couple of potential improvements in my riding, the most useful was how I approach an S bend.

After an hour of having my riding accessed by my instructor Andy, we pulled over and Andy took me through my good and bad riding habits. S-bends were the areas with 'most potential improvement'.

I have a habit of treating corners on an individual basis. When I arrive at a corner, even if I can see that it's about to become a series of corners, I look for the entry, apex and exit of the first corner only. Obviously I'm not completely oblivious to the fact that there is another corner coming but my priority is the first corner.

What happens next is that I get halfway through the first corner before I start thinking where the bike should be on the road to hit the entry point of the second section. Now I'm quickly trying to alter my line, brake and judge speed in order to make the next part of the bend in good shape. It may be that I'm only a couple of feet off line but the faster I go the more important it is to be in the right place on the road.

The solution is obvious. When entering the first part of an S bend think about where the ideal place on the road should be for the second part of the bend. Most importantly, this needs to happen as soon as you realise that the corners are linked. In my case this means moving my vision and imagined route through the bend further forward than I was doing previously.

By doing this you lower the mental priority of the first section but the increase in planning you're making means a much safer and faster route through the entire section.