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So how are you taking the curves these days? Chopping the throttle? In high gear? Drifting into the turn? Front wheel feeling so light that it's almost wobblin' back n' forth mid turn? Or worse yet, shifting mid turn, clutch in, then waiting till the bike is upright to roll on that handle? Going slow, but going wide and always running out of real estate? Lets take the MSF basics, but break them down a little more so you start thinking rather than reacting to that turn.

First, do your braking. Get that all done and out of the way before you start your turn. Still going too fast? Pull harder on that front brake. Now is where all that braking practice pays off.
Select your gear and snick the lever while you're still upright. Get the engine speed, gear, all lined up and done. No wheel hop surprises, no sudden engine braking, just one or two gears down that let you easily roll on that gas.

Now push on that bar. Your braking is done. Your gear selection is done. Your speed and engine speed are one. Only ONE thing left to do now. Roll on. Not twist on, not full on, but roll on. It takes time to develop that 'touch' to feed the throttle. Here is where throttle management starts to mean something. Support your upper carriage by pushing down with your feet on the pegs and clamping down on the tank with your legs. This frees your arms/hands to maintain a light touch on the bar.

Just why is rolling on so darn important? One word describes it-tire traction (ok, two words). Couple of things happen and if you visualize what I write it'll make some sense. Rolling on the gas makes the rear tire want to 'dig in' and push you forward. This pushing action, in an exaggerated way, also pushes the back end of he bike upward. More weight is moved forward on the front tire. It may not sound like much, but this shift creates a more stable and 'planted' feel to the front tire.

Rolling on keeps the springs, forks, compressed. It solidifies all the moving parts by holding it all together. Done any roller skating or running lately? If you've ever rolled around the curves at the skate rink what makes for a more controlled turn? Standing straight up (off throttle) and trying to turn. OR bending the knees (springs), leaning forward (front tire), digging in and kicking hard with that outside leg( back tire).

Properly turning your bike will make handling small corrections as needed without any wandering or hesitation. Steering inputs will help you keep your bike on the line you selected and give you that 'riding on rails' control to keep you in your predetermined line.

Make yourself a big figure 8 and try one or two things going back and forth in both directions. Keep your head up and eyes level with the horizon. Roll on!

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SPEEDSLUG is a frequent contributor to the Women Riders International (WRI) Forum and has generously allowed us to post his tips at here at

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