Team R-002 completes Two-Day Tyre Test

Test Day 1
The R-002 rolled out in windy but dry conditions on a new pair of Serfas Seca Sport tyres. Initial pressures for the 700x28mm set were placed at 82R/74F. What I immediately  noticed was how smooth they rolled, it was like gaining a bit of free speed. Now considering that the Ultra Sport 2s have become my personal Benchmark for performance, the Seca Sports were impressive right out of the gate.
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Billed as a training/performance tire, the Hard/Medium Soft intermediate tread and carcass design utilizes multiple silica and rubber compounds for both durability and performance. The center of the tyre is rated at a hardness of 65h for longer wear and puncture resistance while the edges are at a medium-soft 58h, which gives it plenty of ‘stick’ when flicking it or railing through the corners.

Left @ Dunham II

On the first run, the Seca Sports encountered lumpy and bumpy roads from smooth new pavement to weathered worn tarmac, sidewalks and bumpy park paths. The tires handled every surface with ease, providing solid feedback and inspiring confidence at every turn. The main focal point of today’s run was to test low to moderate speed corner entry and exit, hard braking as well as lower speed trail braking.

Bump compliance was another main consideration as there was very minimal ‘slippage’ off of debris, small rocks and pavement irregularities. The Seca Sport tires soaked up obstacles just enough to keep bike and rider planted, while still maintaining a good amount traction and control. Which means that  in ‘loose’ sections, the Seca Sports negotiate less than perfect surfaces and transmit a real ‘feel’ back to a rider in order to respond accordingly.

The tires were predictable yet precise, edge grip and stability were both top notch. Though smooth rolling they are not vague either. Allowing a rider to feel the road surfaces and all of its subtleties. As you can see from the whitish lines on the post-ride photos, I pushed right to the edge of both front and rear without so much as a whimper from the Seca Sports.

2017-09-20 17.13.50

Having never ridden on Serfas tires prior, they were performing a bit better than expected. Initial feeling at lower to moderate speeds were not too different from my usual stalwarts, the Conti Ultra Sport 2s. Even tipping the scales at 35 grams less than the Conti 2s. So now looking ahead, day 2 will attempt to push the limits of higher speed cornering and find the limits of high-speed braking performance.

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Test Day 2 (official)
Once again weather was hot with dry roads, so right to it then. Pressures were set at 85 rear and 74 front. At about mile 5, I increased the pace and started to push on. Right from the get go stability at turn-in and under braking at higher speeds provided good feel at the onset and all through the range of  turning and braking.

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I blasted down Quill Penn, then headed towards the curves of Ferguson Rd where the tyres just kept biting and biting. Then it was on to the Top of the World a fast and bumpy sweeping descent. (had the pleasure of stealing the KOM while I was at it!) I also managed to clip 42 mph with not so much as a hint of protest from the Seca Sports. Again, bump compliance was spot on, soaking up the uneven and torn up pavement. The Seca Sports are very stable and very confidence inspiring indeed.

ferguson left

Through cul-de-sac hairpins and Mtn Park Circuit, direction changes at speed were also very good. (through chicanes, hairpins and short esses). The tire profile, though not ‘sharp’ still lends itself to quick but precise steering and easy transitions from side-to-side as well.

mtn pk right

Even while trail braking into the hairpin corner feedback and ‘feel’ was very solid. If you may be wondering, without question, there is a direct correlation to tire and braking effectiveness, something worth considering when choosing tyres. The final few miles had me bombing Somerville Rd, touching 42 mph again. I wanted to go faster, but just did not have the leg power today.

As far as hauling the bike down, under threshold braking, (just a micro moment before lockup) the Seca Sports braking-traction [not to be confused with breaking traction! 😀] yielded good ‘assist’ in slowing and stopping the bike from higher speeds, this is undoubtedly due to the grippy compound. Now whether or not that means a quick life-span, remains to be seen…

Conclusions
After a total of 3 days, two of which were very hard riding stints and one easy tour I racked up a total of 80 miles. No, it isn’t a long-term test by any means, but, it was enough in most all riding aspects, flat, uphill, downhill, slow semi-technical corners and fast sweeping turns on a variety of surfaces to draw a solid evaluation. In my many years of riding experience both on motorcycles and bicycles, I can safely say after a modest yet thorough analysis, the Seca Sport Tyres bridge the gap between very good training tires and all-out racing rubber.

Tested & Ridden: Quick review of the Duro Hypersonic Tyre

Testing Duro Hypersonic 25mm tyres.

duro
The word Duro is of a Latin, Asturian and Galician origin. Duro, as is durable, as in durometer…

From dūrus (hard)

As the 2017 R002 iterations continue, I have been experimenting with different tyre widths and brands on the rear Ekay 23mm wide wheel. I have gone through the Conti Ultrasport II 28mm, which winds up being 30mm on a 23mm rim, which was too wide for the chain stays.

Then I fitted the Ultrasport II 25mm, which measured in at 26.75mm and that was fine for clearance. There is no questioning the performance of the Ultrapsort II, but I wanted a true 28mm on the rear. Next I went with a Vee Rubber V055 28mm, which measured in at a true 28mm on the wheel. But after initial evaluation, as I put more speed and lean angle into it, I did not like the ‘feel’.

So the next lucky contestant was a Duro Hypersonic 25mm wire bead (Bought for $15 usd on Amazon). The 25mm measures in at 26.5 mm on the 23mm wide wheels. No, still not what I am looking in for in terms of width, but the performance of this tyre is amazing. Really. Duro? Never herd of them you may say… Duro is a company out of Taiwan and has been around for a long time and their products are expanding and their quality consistently improving.

duro 25mm

Billed a ‘training’ tyre, the Duro is what I refer to as an intermediate (both tread and compound ) or,designed with a semi-slick type tread. It has a 120 rated TPI casing, weighs 205g, with a 60A durometer compound. (50A being the softest and 70A being the hardest of bicycle tyres) The tread/surface design is very utilitarian (also very cool looking imo) and provides excellent grip both on the edge of the tyre and under braking. The only downside with the tire is its inability to soak up small pebbles and rocks. They slip just slightly off slight ripples, bumps and very small rocks/debris.

A nice round profile, with more ‘slick’ surface than treaded surface, which I believe is the Hypersonics advantage. It has just enough tread for damp/wet and cool conditions while in normal conditions is a stellar performer in my humble opinion below… (Note: 38 mph apex speed on Kitchell and 35mph apex speed on Fairfield)

Ride Into the South Wood-Lands…of LBR 0.5km 13m 51s Apr 2, 2017
Ride Kitchell Süd Kurve 0.5km 22m 41s Apr 2, 2017
Ride [F]-Airfield (cleared for takeoff!) 0.4km 8m 33s Apr 2, 2017
 Allen Rd Descent 1.6km -5% AVG MAX
Speed 60.2km/h 68.8km/h

Now I’ve been thinking about so-called Training Tyres or Tires…which ever you might prefer! If a tyre is good enough to train on…meaning your training, typically starting off easy but wind up with a rider pushing very hard as their goals get closer. So are riders not riding similar to race or competition conditions as they progress? I find that hard to buy. In fact, I don’t buy it. So that aspect imo, is hog wash. Now, as far as weight goes, okay, so a ‘race’ or premium tire will be lighter, no questioning that.

So, is 50 to 60 grams +/- a tyre really worth somewhere around $100 or more dollars? LMAO! I suppose if you have money to burn…okay, but it’s not only weight you say…it’s rolling resistance! Ah ha! Perhaps, I reply… perhaps, a few watts here and there ( btw, you do know that tire companies test RR on a drum in perfect conditions, right? ) Insert laughing emoji…

Folks, it’s mostly ALL marketing rhetoric, yes, there are some discernible differences from a race tire to a training tire, but mostly negligible for us mere mortals. Except for the best of the best riders, the differences are not going to be that noticeable or provide any real world gains. here’s an idea…drop a pound or two off of your body or not… chances are, you’re not going to be making the Movistar or Astana or Trek squad… 😛

Also, wider is faster… (WHAT? Uh huh. It’s been proven…so forget the 23mm at 120 to 140 psi… they are actually slower…than a 25mm or 28mm at lower volume pressures. How can this be???!!! Well, it’s contact patch my friends! The more the rubber that stays in contact with the surface, the less speed you forsake…a narrow high pressure tire on real roads (not velodromes) will bounce and you will lose speed as compared to a wider tyre with lower pressure.

So, my $15 to $20 training tyres allow me to exploit fast corners and fast downhill speeds. They LAST, they are more puncture resistant and save me money! It’s a win-win imo. I have never paid more than $25 for a tire or $50 for a set. I try to stay in the $15-$20 range per tyre and have only once experienced any issues in 13 years and that was on a CST tire. (Maxxis second tier line. A real shit load of a tyre imo). It should also be noted that many tyre companies utilize the SAME compound on their lower models but don’t tell you that! So, you get the same level of performance-  grip wise in a slightly heavier BUT more reliable tyre…. Bingo! Yahtzee!

In conclusion, the Duro Hypersonic is a great tyre now matter what the price is. I’m now searching for a value priced 28mm Duro as we speak… and I just ordered a Schwalbe Lugano 28mm for $12 bucks off of eBay. Stay tuned…

BRUMOTTI IN MANILA

Another brilliant video by Signor Brumotti! Tutti Brumotti!

Which leads me into yet another rant… anyone happen to catch the Red hook highlights from Brooklyn? Oh there was some good racing as always with Red hook
but there also massive pileups in both the men’s and women’s races… which is easily explained: POOR bike handling skills. Period. Now I’m not saying a rider needs to be like Brumotti, MacAskill or Ashton (was) to be a good racer, BUT, a rider does NEED to have good bike handling skills.

Unfortunately, the majority of racers don’t have the required skills. Why? Well from what I can surmise, it is something not given a lot of thought or attention to. Both for the seasoned vet and the newbie. The focus is always on getting faster or gaining more endurance, which is great, which is fine. But becoming fit and really fit it should be secondary to acquiring good bike handling skills first and foremost. Handling a bike is the crux of riding. Without good handling skills, a rider will not have proper avoidance skills nor be safe in a group, etc. etc. Want to improve your road bike skills? Ride a mountain bike or a cross bike to help with getting a ‘feel’ for a bike moving around and finding its limits of traction.

Vision. Body position. Steering. Awareness. These are some of the critical sub-skills that make up most of what is referred to as bike handling abilities. Visual Perception, with the ability to (ARR) Anticipate, Recognize and React to any and all situations is something every single rider and racer should be working on. It should NOT be an afterthought. Sadly, for many it is. That is why it is crucial to practice and understand what makes for a”good” bike rider. It’s not just power and speed. It is ‘feel’ it is awareness and it is deliberate action for avoidance or maneuvering.

Okay rant over…for now! 😀

MOTOGP RIDERS COMMENTS ON JEREZ TESTS

As much as I LOVE cycling, this is the pinnacle of two-wheeled sports…sorry my push-bike friends…
There is NOTHING like twisting a throttle, tipping into a corner and dragging a knee. Your BEST corner on your favorite descent can’t even compare, trust me. I have done both and it’s no contest! lol

“Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi focused on his bike’s set-up during the Jerez test and posted his fastest time of the whole weekend.”

BikeGP

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi focused on his bike’s set-up during the Jerez test and posted his fastest time of the whole weekend.

Rossi also made progress as he focused on improving his setting compared to yesterday. Though he was satisfied with his third place in the race, the Doctor is always looking for improvement and spent most of today‘s session testing small details of the set-up he hadn‘t been able to try during last weekend. He ended the day in second place with a fastest lap of 1‘38,550, 0,042s off his teammate‘s time.

Valentino Rossi:

“This testing day was positive. We didn‘t have many things to try, just some small detail of set up. We focused on improving the bike compared to yesterday and I am very happy because we could also improve the time we did in qualifying. I was happy with the podium in Jerez, it was a…

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13 in ’14 (Freewheel Burning)

“Look before you leap- has never been the way to keep, our road that’s Free”

 

Ride with GPS Segment Leaderboard for 2014


Man+Machine (The Antagonist)

Top Descent Segments – 2014

Schooleys Sweeping Swoop  – 1.2 Avg Spd. 39.1 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Descenso Caliente Combs  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 25.9 Ranked #1 with 3 efforts
Spencer Sweepers  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 26.9 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
The Pond Hill Esses  – 0.3 Avg Spd. 29.7 Ranked #1 with 8 efforts
Blacksmith Descent  – 1.3 Avg Spd. 29.3 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
Wertman Plunge  – 1.0 Avg Spd. 22.1 Ranked #1 with 2 efforts
Union Mills – 0.4 Avg Spd. 32.1 Ranked #1 with 20 efforts
King George Drop  – 0.6 Avg Spd. 39 Ranked #1 with 11 efforts
Willow Bridge Bends  – 0.5 Avg Spd. 28.6 Ranked #1 with 28 efforts
Hunter-Killer (Blood in the Water) 0.7 Avg Spd. 32 Ranked #1 with 8 efforts
Alstede-Gristmill 1K – 0.6 Avg Spd. 35.2 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Mill Rd Mambo  – 0.6 Avg Spd. 29.5 Ranked #1 with 4 efforts
Somerville Downs  – 0.7 Avg Spd. 36.4 Ranked #1 with 16 efforts

A Climber too slow, a Sprinter no not so-

But give me a descent- where the road twists and bends
Man, I’ll slice every curve in sight and go head long into any dare…

 

There was a point earlier in the year, somewhere in the June-July period where (for which I have no real tangible explanation) I started to lose my nerve on quick descents. That edge, my one strength, ‘my thing’ as it were on the road was slipping away…I was being cautious, too hesitant.

I had started to have doubts and allowed my fears to dictate my decisions. So, rather than just give in I forced myself to plunge into fast, technical descents, I would watch clips of Grand Tour Descents, the TT and the Ulster GP on YouTube, which provided inspriation and gradually my confidence returned.

Like Chopper say’s sometimes you just gotta…Harden the Fuck up 😉

 

In my view, we are living in an age with anti-liberty statists who consider “danger” and “risk” to be a pejorative. To that I say aye, fook ’em all. We are still relatively free men and women (but who knows for how long). How dare anyone else decide what is safe and what is not for the rest of us- if it’s a clear cut choice.

After all choice is, the crux of Freedom. And Risk, like Fear is no more or no less than that of our own perceptions. Some may have more aversion to risk than others, which is fine. But I would tell those who are trying to ‘save me from myself’ don’t dare decide the amount of risk that is deemed ‘acceptable’ for me, based on your own fears, your own limitations.

Taking risks is a part of life, mostly because we can, well, at least for the moment.
It is Passion, it is drive and the challenge that light the spark.

The quest for speed and excitement becomes a marked determination for some, those moments to test skill and suppress the always present mind-killer, fear. The elements of risk and danger versus the desire to push our own abilities, our own Mortal limitations….

To me, there is nothing like pressing the boundaries of risk and fear, to make one feel alive. Passion, Ferocity, Risk and Fear are part of the essence of ones spark…the spark that is the very essence of life

Addio 2014…addio

 

Tested & Ridden | Vittoria pro Slick Tyre Test

The following is an opinion (or review) of my first-hand experiences riding Vittoria’s Zaffiro Pro Slick Tires.

Keep in mind, that the review takes into account, the bike, the terrain and the rider/riding style.

Back in early May I had made the swap from Continental Ultra Sport tires to the 700×25 Vittoria Pro Slick folding tyres. The Conti’s are a 23mm width and I wanted to run 25mm’s on the 23mm wide wheels I have on the R-002. After some searching, I found an incredible deal on the Pro Slicks for 15 bucks a piece on nashbar.com. Being that they were Vittoria’s, I figured it was worth a try and a  bargain price at that mates!

 Testing the Pro Slicks:

It’s early days yet, with now about 340 miles on the Zaffiro Pro Slick tires but so far,the overall feeling is good. I still don’t know about the long-term tyre life, but I suppose I will find out over the coming months and miles.

The Pro Slick is not a true slick, but an intermediate type tyre, with narrow strips of tread surface left and right of the slick center. The tires are billed as trainers, which means they are slighter heavier than pure racing slicks and should have a bit more durability. One of the pluses is that Vittoria states their Pro Slick utilizes the same rubber compound as the more expensive Rubino Pro.

Seat-of-the-pants feel:

The Conti Ultra Sports I was previously running  have a slightly less aggressive profile, when compared to the Pro Slicks and subsequently, stability under heavy braking is not quite as solid as the Ultra Sports. I have locked the rear up three times on the road, while braking very heavily, down from fast descents. Something which had never happened while rolling on the Ultra Sports. One particular incident was on this section in the photo below, hauling down from nearly 40 mph, then 30, to zero in 0.2 of mile before entering Route 202, a very busy highway here in Morris County NJ.

Baily Bomb

When I first installed the Pro Slicks, I did mention that the profile was slightly taller, at about 1/16″ compared to the Conti’s. Now, that doesn’t seem very much at all, but under really hard braking, at speed, it is proving to be somewhat of a weakness in the construction of the Vittoria Pro Slicks. It is not something so disconcerting to me, but it is an issue none-the-less. Knowing this shortfall with the tires, means I will need to ride around the problem and recall the limits whenever I am in a hard braking situation.

On the road, the Pro Slicks feel slightly more pliable than the Ultra Sports. I would love to see a durometer reading of both brands. As far as grip goes, bite into corner entry and out of corner exit is mostly consistent and predictable. Edge grip seems to be good as well. Although I have felt the rear move around ever so slight during very hard and fast cornering on a couple of occasions. Here is one example in the photo below;

Dropping down into a fast sweeper, I could feel the rear get a bit unsettled as I was driving (pedaling) hard into  the tight left-hander. Entering at 41 mph and accelerating through the corner up to 46 mph. While that bit of pavement is not smooth as glass, it is not ripped up either. The slight movement from the rear indicated a momentary slip of the tire, but nothing too severe. For this particular test, I had about 100 psi in the rear and about 96 psi up front.

King George Drop

Since mounting them up on the Ekay Carbon Fibre wheels, I have to date, ridden them on seven occasions in all types of weather and road conditions. From cool and damp, to very warm temps and even in a downpour. On dirt and gravel, torn up macadam and smooth paved roads. My verdict is that the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks are a solid road bike tyre, especially for the cost. They roll well, have a decent amount of grip and seem to handle all the varying conditions thrown at them so far.

Although, they are decent, solid tyres, the Continental Ultrasports feel just a bit better overall. Having more a predictable feel when leaned over and under hard braking.

My hope is to get at least a thousand miles out of this set of Vittoria’s and if I do so without any issues, I will probably purchase an additional set.

zaffiroslick

Technical Specs per Vittoria:

  • Bead: kevlar
  • TPI : 60
  • Type: clincher
  • Weight: 250g
25-622 700x25c 250g 111.3ZP.18.25.111BX

How to Descend and Corner on a Road Bike

Welcome to the first article in the Braking Steering Turning (BST©) series

I had originally penned this article back in July of 2009, but I think it is one of those timeless pieces of advice. Applying to all riders, both new and old. So I am sharing my experience and skills of bike handling for a safer and more enjoyable ride!
—–

The 4th stage of the ’09 Tour de France highlighted the Team Time Trial (TTT). The TTT
requires many skills from all 9 riders in the team “train.”

Among them are obviously speed, power, and endurance- which are needed to keep such a high rate of tempo for the entire TT distance.

But one of the most overlooked skill in any type of bicycle riding is; bike handling skills.
In fact of all the acquired skills of riding, handling skills are by far the most important to being a good overall bike rider (both on and off road).

During stage 9, team Bbox showed the importance of understanding, focusing and
implementing the mechanics of cornering, or lack thereof in their particular instance.

Four of their nine riders rode right off the road in a sweeping right-hander. The corner wasn’t that tight, nor was it a decreasing radius corner, It was basically a constant radius, flat turn.

Besides this instance, there have been many examples of riders riding right off the road or riding wide, missing the apex. Some of the more spectacular examples were Frank Schleck, who went right over a guardrail in the ’08 Tour De Suisse, then there was
Verbrugghe who went over a guardrail as well. Plus many, many more who have be in similar crashes, mainly due to missing a turn-in-point and subsequently, the apex of a corner.

But in the 09 TdF TTT, once the lead rider of Bbox drifted wide, missed the apex and
began to go off the road, his three other mates follwed him! Why? Simple.
Target Fixation. Besides knowing how to corner properly, a rider needs to know how to avoid following a wreck or the same path of carnage.

This is where quick and firm Countersteering comes into play.
(But more about countersteering later…)

A corner is made of three basic elements. The entry, (turn in point – “t.i.p.”) the apex,
(the middle or center) and the exit (the end of the corner).

There is a proper way and an improper way to corner efficiently, safely and quickly.
Bbox showed the world how NOT to corner, while team Saxo Bank and team Astana among others, showed how to perfect a corner.

To be somewhat fair, in a TTT, riders are riding time trial bikes- which are usually more rigid, have more rake in the front end to be aerodynamic and subsequently, are more
unstable in corners.

But that’s not to say these riders get a pass on their lack of good handling skills. These guys are in the pro Peloton are supposed to the best of the best- but surprisingly, that’s not always the case.

While some of these riders are amazing climbers, sprinters and all around good
endurance and power athletes- they are not necessarily all-around good bike riders. What makes a complete rider, is all the aforementioned, plus knowing and
understanding how to Brake, Steer and Turn a single-track, two-wheeled machine properly. Braking, Steering and Turning– are the core skills of bike handling.

cornering-apex

The entry is where turning/steering starts and the rider begins to lean into the turn.
The apex is the point where the rider reaches the furthest point on the inside of the turn and the exit is where the rider can start going upright so as to pedal and power up again.

There are 4 basic laws of physics- gravity, inertiatraction, and balance, that apply to cornering. The laws of physics dictate that when a bicycle is leaned over, the position of its center of gravity will  influence the lean angle of the bike.

cornering example

In addition to kinetic energy, a rider has two other forces working on the body and the bike- Gravity pulling you down, and Centripetal Force pulling you either left or right-
depending on which way the rider/bike is turning.

The lines in the above picture display the forces during cornering.
The illustration is designed to better understand these basic forces involved
when cornering.

The bottom line on the graph represents the road which induces frictional forces.
The horizontal line is the centripetal force and the vertical line, represents the force
of gravity.

Countersteering

In short, counter steering moves the wheels out from under the center of mass.
It involves turning the front wheel in the opposite direction you want to turn the bike, be it a motorcycle or a bicycle. Counter-steering is achieved by pushing on the inside of the handle bar in the opposite direction you actually want to go. Now, counter-Steering a bicycle versus a motorcycle is slightly different in the fact that the bicycle is much, much lighter and requires ‘less’ force or input to the bars. But, none the less, counter steering is an efficient, proper way to steer and turn on two wheels.

steer-push

Select your turn in point as you approach a turn. But before reaching your “t.i.p.” look through the turn and select a reference point (RP). When you reach the “tip”, begin to steer (countersteer). Now you can countersteer in the drops or in the hoods, which you ever you may prefer, But, you will have more control in the hoods, despite all the popular opinion and rhetoric on descending. When you are in the drops, your weight shifts farther forward and you have to ‘hold’ more of your body weight up. Steering in the hoods, gives you more control, because you have better leverage. Hunker down, and steer in the hoods, once you adapt, you have more confidence and control.

It is important to intiate firm countersteering- to keep the right trajectory and proper line.  As the rider nears the apex (on a single apex corner) and then has the need to turn more sharply to keep from running wide or off in the turn, the rider turned-in too early.

A gradually, early turn in has the rider following a parabolic path, a wide arc at first that tightens until maximum lean or turning is reached near the apex. This is an example of “lazy” steering. This often results in a rider(s) missing the apex which causes a dramatic slow down and/or riding off the road.

Turn in slightly later but quicker and the rider follows a more circular path that requires less lean angle but reaches the apex sooner and is able to hold the arc longer.
This technique is known as “squaring off” a corner, which usually enables a rider to carry more speed/momentum through the corner.

Head, shoulder, hips

In addition to utilizing counter-steering, a riders body can also influence the trajectory and lean angle of a bike. Pivoting your hips (like a skier) in the saddle will assist in the turning of a bike. Pressing the inside leg against the top tube, weighting the outside pedal and using your shoulder or chin to ‘turn-in’ will greatly increase the ease at which a bike turns and steers.

All the while, keep your body as relaxed as possible. Light grip on the bars, keeping your body low instead of upright. This may slighty lower the center of mass. Do your best to keep the bike as upright as possible and not leaning too much. This will aid in keeping as much tire/rubber contact patch on the surface of the road.

My former days as a motorbike roadracer had taught me how to corner at very fast speeds, on many various tracks, some flowing some very technical. When I first started road cycling,
I discovered that all of the manners of a motorbike were nearly the exact same on a bicycle,
albeit on a much lighter machine. Therefore, the steering and turning techniques were nearly identical and I immediately felt right at home.

So, as speeds increase, all of these turning techniques become even more critical. As speed goes up, the ‘forces’ of physics become greater and more resistant, making
it increasingly difficult to turn and steer, especially in those fractions of seconds when descending very fast, demanding downhill roads or trails. Not too mention the ancillary factors that are acting against you and your machine; fatigue, road conditions and
the elements.

Unfortunately, there are many riders, from the pro’s to the casual cyclist who don’t bother to work on their cornering technique and when it’s crunch time- may find themselves in an unsafe situation.

Today, those 4 Bbox rides cost their team precious time– in a race against the clock,
where seconds and as it turned out, even hundredths of a second enormously count.

Though with thoughtful practice, almost any rider will be able to improve their ability to corner and descend safely, quickly, more efficiently.

Some quick tips:

  • Use counter steering (pushing on the bars) more so than leaning your bike
    (keep your bike as upright as possible)
  • Pivot your hips and shoulders to assist counter steering
  • Utilize your feet and legs to assist your turning
  • Look through the corner (keep your eyes up and looking down the road)
  • Keep light to moderate pressure on the bars

(*no death grip- easy on the bars. This allows the bike to follow its  ‘natural’ centrifugal path – by holding on too tight you prevent the front end from following its inherent course- this causes the already rigid front end to become even more unstable)

  • Use the brakes sparingly and try not too brake much when the bike is mid corner or when you are leaned over. Especially the front brake, which will cause the front to ‘wash out’ – lose traction. Apply most of your braking force before the turn in point.

Remember, a bit slower in…but almost always faster and smoother out.

(side note: these techniques work well for me, given my background and experience on two-wheels. Not every aspect or technique is suitable for everyone. By riding and experimenting, you will discover what works best for your own style and methodology- this is just a guideline)


Author is a former WERA, CCS sportbike and Grand Prix roadracer