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MCN  says:

You ask/You answer: Does getting your knee down improve your riding?

I passed my bike test a couple of years ago and ride a GSX-R750, which I love to bits. I've recently done a few track days and I'm amazed by how many people get their knees down. Does sliding your knee really make you a better rider, or is it just showing off? Hailwood never did it… Your advice could help. Leave...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (24 July 2012 18:04)

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Feb 09

Posts: 4769

philehidiot says:


I was doing some advanced training and he was (pointlessly) going through counter-steering. I said I understood it but he carried on patronising me and acting like I was an idiot and he was superior.

Anyway we got to a roundabout I rode every day and I couldn't behave any more - I was on a supermoto with borderline track tyres and knew exactly how far I could push it just before the pegs got down, full throttle, very fun, rather silly. Flicking it right then left on the exit. Basically it was a chicane.

Anyhoos, on the exit I found the guy on this BMW 1200 GS was right up my chuff having kept up with me... I still have no idea how anyone on a bike like that can keep up with a supermoto ridden right to its limit (whilst I'm sure a better rider could have squeezed a little more out of my bike, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be much as it was a 400). Very impressive stuff from him and I'm amazed at just how flickable those big BMWs really are.

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Jul 09

Posts: 309

RogerRSV says:


yes. The process of knee down encompasses reading what's ahead, preparing effectively, body positioning, correct speed and gear - it's a science and certainly offers confidence and understanding. Although my own knee down time is limited, my overall riding has become far more enjoyable as eatcs01 sums up well 'it will help in the corners'. As far as bikes, I have a TuonoR and it has to be the easiest for my frame - fair play to GS riders - once did a track day and saw some guy bolt sliders onto the bottom of his cylinders heads - he owned Oulton Park that day!

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Jan 04

Posts: 152

venturer says:

staying as upright as you can

i thought the whole idea was the keep the bike as upright as you can, but also go faster then the other guy, i've been on bike runs following people thus going at the same speed, no knee down from me, we stop, i've not even got close to the edge of my tyre and have plenty more lean angle if i need it and other people have shredded and torn the edges of their tyres. There is one thing i laugh at, it's people riding with the balls of their feet on the footpegs ( i can see the reasons why on a track but on the road, come on), they can't even use the rear brake or change gear mid corner without moving their feet, it's like so funny, but they normally have their knee hanging out.

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Aug 09

Posts: 2721

MarcusMarsh says:

Knee down

On a track maybe it has some relevance / benefit.  I did read a while back that some racers use it as a guage as to how much lean angle they have left. 

There is no place for it on the road and the relentless pursuit of it as the Holy Grail of riding skills often compromises rider safety.   

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May 09

Posts: 269

JustBe says:


Ignore what every one says here and watch a film called Twist of the Wrist 2, then you'll have ur answer.

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Sep 10

Posts: 188

CameronLeeds says:

Knee Down?

Does it improve your riding? Who cares - it's a buzz.

Isn't that why we ride bikes?  :-)


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Apr 12

Posts: 24

momomomo says:

not to nitpick but...

In normal riding condition you wouldn't want to change gear in the middle of a corner. You'd probably upset the bike and end up on the floor. Speed comes from lines. As smooth as possible. Do your braking and down shifting before and open the gas from midcorner. Maybe that is why your riding mates manage to reach the edge of the tyres? As to the knees out there was an actual study carried out as to whether is of any benefit and it was proven that it has none. Now, don't confuse it with the shifting of the body weight which is essential, the knee out pioneered by Valentino in the braking zone nor the fact that as it has been mentioned some use it a a gage of the lean angle. You have to admit though that it is bloody good fun.

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Oct 11

Posts: 2640

Piglet2010 says:

Rear Brake?

I ignore the rear brake on the track (CBR600F4i), as I get enough rear wheel braking from engine compression, and locking the rear going into a corner is a good way to high-side. And yes, get the shifting done before the corner, so you can have the balls of your feet on the pegs. (No advice to those doing a track day on a bike with floorboards.)

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Aug 02

Posts: 31

mgivogue says:

wow - lots of conflicting info

My answer is:

No - getting your knee down does not make you a better rider

Practicing all techniques and paying attention will make you a better rider

Getting your knee down will make you faster in the corners as it forces you to shift your body weight to the inside which forces the bike upright a bit more which allows you more lean angle on a given turn radius at a given speed...better way to do this is - bend the inside arm till the outside arm rests against your tank (this shifts the upper body weight), slide your ass half off the inside of the seat, push down on the outside foot peg).

For corner exit speed try to push the bike up earlier (weight on footpeg and pushing the handlebars) which will give more contact on the rear tire which allows you to accelerate sooner and harder.

Don't forget one advantage to knee down and pushing on the pegs...if you low side there is a VERY small chance that you can push on your knee that is in contact with the ground to try and not fall - never worked for me so far but i have seen it done.

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Jan 04

Posts: 152

venturer says:

we are talking about road riding here, i think the measure of a good road riding (and bike) is one that can maintain good pace on roads that you have never seen before, in these instances you might have to do a lot more than just hang off your bike. If we a talking about road riding on a 60 mile circuit for your house to a bike haunt and back, that you do say 50 times each year, where you know the radius and camber of each corner, then that is something very very different.

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