Riding skills: Using the throttle to steer a bike

By Andy Downes -

Riding Skills

 06 August 2010 16:34

You steer a bike with the handlebars right?

Of course you use the handlebars to get a bike to turn but a recent tuition course at the 14 mile Nurburgring in Germany taught me just how much adjustability can be dialled into the way a bike can be turned using only the throttle too.

At a high speed course like the Nurburgring using the throttle to tighten or widen the radius of a turn is incredibly useful but it’s a technique that has applications in all riding conditions.
Tightening the radius of a turn
Most motorcycle riding techniques focus on opening the throttle as soon as the bike is balanced but if you need to tighten the radius of a turn then keeping the throttle closed will have the effect of getting the bike to turn more tightly than it would on an even throttle.

Look through the turn to where you want to end up and keep the throttle closed until you are completely sure you can make that point. Only then should you open the throttle and power out of the turn.
Opening up the radius of a turn
Using the throttle to get a bike to steer more widely works in exactly the opposite way to keeping the throttle open. Opening the throttle will get the bike to run out wide to a point that can be determined by how hard you accelerate.

This technique is more use on track and uses the fact that opening the throttle will make a bike steer out more widely than on a constant throttle.

Using this method on the road is not overly recommended unless you are totally sure the exit to the corner is clear and you are sure it won’t make you run wide into the face of oncoming traffic.