Obviously, you don’t buy a Harley with grand delusions of whipping around curvy mountain roads like the second coming of Casey Hart.
But you need to at least be able to handle corners without laying your precious ride on the ground. This is often one of the harder skills to learn for new Harley riders.
After all, learning to trust yourself and your heavy bike while learning around a corner takes some guts.
It’s a problem that faced new rider and HD Forum member krielly66 recently. So he did the smart thing and headed to the forums for advice from our many veteran riders.
“Just got my license this summer and finally got out on the road at the end of July. Spent a lot of time in the parking lot as I was nervous about taking out my ’17 Deluxe until my starts and stops were more refined. I understand it’s common to have a weak side where cornering is concerned. For me, left corners feel much more relaxed and natural, while right corners often seem awkward. I’ve been riding as much as possible as the season here in the Northeast is coming to an end. I’d like some tips on strengthening up my right cornering. Thanks!”
Right away, Veekness mentions the best way for new riders to learn the ins and outs of riding in general. Not just cornering techniques.
“Have you taken a basic riding course? If not, do. If so, there are some other classes/DVD’s out there, such as the ‘Ride Like a Pro’ series. Otherwise, get out there on your bike and tighten up your skills. Monitoring the World Wide Web is only a partial way to the solution. To me, based on your post, you’re well on the way toward your goal.”
The OP had already taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation‘s Basic Rider Course, yet was still having some issues with weak side handling. So at this point, a ton of practice and a little awareness might help, according to nobodyknowsme.
“All or most of the above, but concentrate on the road ahead and where you need to be. The bike will follow. Getting distracted is a recipe for disaster, in sharp corners especially.”
“Keep riding, miles equal experience,” adds Screamin beagle. “I’ll give you two pieces of advice. One – look through the turn. Approaching the turn, I always do a quick sweep through it to spot anything that might be a hazard – pothole, gravel etc. Then look as far ahead as possible to where you want to go.
You’ll be amazed how well that one little thing will help. When I was teaching my wife how to ride this summer, she was hooting and laughing her *** off when she finally got that concept.
Two – I’m in the northeast too, and fall is upon on us. So watch out for fallen leaves. Once they’re wet, they’re like an oil slick and they stay wet for days after it rains. Oh, and you feel more comfortable in left hand turns because right handers have a tighter radius. It will get easier the more you ride though.”
hen again, maybe the OP’s self criticism is a little unwarranted, says 0maha.
“In the US, RH corners are always going to be tighter than LH corners. You might be doing better than you think. Get yourself to a parking lot and practice. Some basic figure-8 practice is perfect. You’ll practice turning both directions doing that. You should be able (with practice) to do the U-turn on each end of the 8 inside of the width of a couple of parking spaces or so. Head and eyes up. Look where you want to go.”
And when he’s ready to learn how the pros do it, upflying has the breakdown ready.
“During low speed full lock turns, you slip the clutch with the throttle combined with a light rear brake application to help you balance in the turn. It’s a delicate balancing act with your three extremities combined with keeping your eyes up and looking back at the horizon. Look down while turning, you go down.”
NORTY FLATZ takes cornering advice to a whole new level, however, with some highly useful tips. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering the fact that he’s a retired MSF instructor.
“Just keep practicing your RH turns. Get some tennis balls, cut them in half, take them to an empty parking lot. Set them up in the pattern you used in your range exercises. You can probably find the pattern measurements on the internet. Or set them up in a 30′ circle. Ride around (clockwise) the outside of the balls a few times. Then make the diameter 28′. Ride the outside of the balls a few times again. Speed isn’t important here. Try not to “scrape.”
Next, make the diameter 24′. Still ride the outside of the circle. No scraping now. (Scraping isn’t a goal). Get comfortable with that? Find it easy? Ok, time to dive into the circle. Ride inside the circle a couple times. Smooth throttle inputs – the less throttle change, the better. In fact, get your throttle set before you dive into the circle. Use your rear brake (ONLY) to adjust your speed. Try not to change your clutch positioning either. (But it should be somewhere within the friction zone).
So, with the throttle not changing and the clutch not changing, your only other variable to control speed is the rear brake. This helps a new rider learn to do limited space maneuvers. Reading books and watching videos are fine, but there’s no replacement for actual practice. For those in their “offseason” I do recommend those items listed by the above posters.
Don’t know how much you plan to ride before next year. But generally, we like to see 5,000 miles experience before a rider enrolls in an ARC. This helps the rider more easily absorb the info they receive. Or, paint a circle in front of your place and practice anytime. Here’s the circle I do twice a day.”