If You Are Slow Through Corners

I’ve noticed the same things from riders who corner slow or to be PC slower than they need to as in a criterium or even a mountain descent.

  1. They don’t lay off the wheel in front and/or brake far too late. The result is slowing through the apex when faster riders are starting to accelerate. Like sprinting, lay off the wheel a touch before the corner to give you room to keep momentum and accelerate into the wheel as you exit.

  2. They drop their inside shoulder and head to the inside of the arc. As in they seem to “lead” with the upper body or maybe they twist the upper body in the direction of the turn. It’s really weird, super unstable and always seems to result in a lost bike length at the end of the arc.

  3. Being over geared exiting the corner results in slow acceleration which results in losing the wheel which results in needless sprinting to get back on the wheel. Shift to an easier gear or two (depending on the corner) prior to the corner.

These are the main factors I notice. 1 and 3 are easy to fix but, 2 is strange and not sure how to advise…maybe focus on keeping shoulders “in line” or parallel to your bars. It’s ok to turn your head to look towards the exit but, when you drop it to the inside it pulls your shoulders with which is slow at best and potentially pavement hitting in the wet.

5 Likes

best way i learnt how to corner, was get on a DH bike and hit some trails. Id like to think my DH days gave me great bike handling skills.

Keep your weight on the outside leg, bring your bike over but your weight center and commit. I think commitment can be key when it comes to decent cornering, commit to that corner and the bike should follow.

Just like committing to a berm in DH the berm should do it’s job, but if you’re committed then there are chances it wont.

3 Likes

You will always corner slower than this:

Have a nice day. :hugs:

20 Likes

I would agree. All my mountain years definitely resulted in better handling skills. Although for me, I think it’s more due to my years ski racing. But, can’t really say for sure. I ride with a ton of mountain centric guys and I feel like they are more apt to do 1 and 3 above. Being fast is relative but, being faster than you were is absolute. To be fair, a team mate of mine won Valley of The Sun SR a number of years ago. Just an amazing talent but, so bad in the corners. So much wasted energy from doing #2 above. Another cat 1 roadie team mate does the same thing so, I’m not harping on noobs or mountain guys. I’ve seen pro riders do the same. Very rare but, it happens. One stage of ToC a couple years ago a pro was being filmed descending and it was a horrific display of cornering. There was a thread about it here…

1 Like

I did enough ski racing to learn how to read corners and it seems to have helped with cycling.

Pretty sure that was the stage descending Mt Hamilton down towards San Jose / Morgan Hill. Painful to watch.

edit: 2019 Stage 3 ToC Stockton to Morgan Hill:

1 Like

A couple of months ago, the Fast Talk podcast had an episode on cornering and it was really good. Worth looking up if you are interested.

5 Likes

is it this one?

3 Likes

It’s semi-bonkers but I learned to corner by emulating Tomba la Bomba. It did the job.

2 Likes

Do you mean to keep ALL of the weight on the outside leg? Like no weight in the saddle? I am always a bit confused. Also how far forward should you lean? I feel like a lack of weight distribution in corners is the main cause for slipping wheels.

now this is just a personal preference and I could be completely wrong…but if i am cornering at full gas.

I am in the drops, in the aero position, knee more out than normal, with majority of weight on my outside leg with my pedal in the 6 o clock position. I also tend to have my butt more over on the none cornering side

something like this https://youtu.be/u_3aJejRjPU?t=34

this is me, thanks for the tips :slight_smile:

I’m relatively slow through corners mainly because I don’t lean enough or I’ll lean with the body whilst keeping the bike plumb straight :-1: I used to be guilty of no.3 too and eventualy chasing back would break me but I tend to be in a low sprinty gear these day and not lose too much on the pack anymore.

1 Like

maybe try going on a group ride, get to the front and see if you can drop your mates on a corner. Simply by cornering quickly and smoothing.

I was at the front of a group ride the other day going FG and i got at least 2 bike lengths on the person behind simply from cornering well. Once you get that first corner dialled, it will just click.

Another thing to do is always try and hit the apex of the a corner. Before you come to the corner try and spot the apex and try and get as close as possible before either sprinting out of the corner of getting back on the gas.

If you look at motorsport, the apex is always the quickest way through the corner. Cornering well takes confidence, and you can only get that confidence by 1. knowing what you and bike are capable of, 2. decent tarmac. 3. PRACTICE.

BUT…again I am not even CAT4 so dont take my word for it. This is just my experience


actually ignore eveything i said, and just watch Julian Alaphilippe descend! He’s master at descending but he corners superbly.

The 2nd photo kinda shows what i mean, although he looks neutral over the bike, you can see that his hips look more over his outside leg.

The last photo is how i see myself cornering at full gas. In reality i probs look like mr blobby

3 Likes

Thanks. Confidence/practice is definitely the key. I tend to be on the front a lot these days which has helped somewhat develop that. It is only on really fast chain gangs where I can’t always be on the front that I have to chase back these days. General groups and fast groups I don’t get dropped any longer, in fact I do the dropping👍

1 Like

I am an intermittently poor descender/cornerer. When I am not pushing and not in a good flow state I find myself staring into the corner instead of through the corner.

The simplest thing I can do, and recommend to others, is to look at your exit and path forward. The further up your eyes are the less you will stress about the turn itself. When I do this everything else falls into place and I corner effortlessly.

All of the body position advice is valid and legitimate, but for me it is a mental limiter not a physical limiter. Keep your eyes up, don’t stare into the turn, look beyond it, the rest will (maybe, anyway) follow

5 Likes

That’s the one!!

@bbarrera that’s the one thanks! @Captain_Doughnutman Tomba was a revelation and really pushed the sport ahead for sure! I sure miss the sport…

To those wondering why we are referencing skiing with cornering…I should maybe qualify that it helped with line and being comfortable going really fast around sh!t. Technique is king but, if you start young it’s sort of innate. And letting it run in a true downhill or even SG is a fine line of technique and balls. Cycling is a little bit like that. Fast cornering on descents takes more nuts than ski racing imo and honestly sort of gets in my head a bit. Fast tight cornering in criteriums not at all. Seems like it should be the same but, I let gaps open on descents yet, run people over in crits… :man_shrugging:

1 Like

I have a boogeyman corner that I can’t convince myself to rail. Downhill. Source of gravel on the outside of the entry side. Blind. Ditches on both sides. Heavily crowned. Some guys just rail the hell out of it… and I can’t convince myself to do it.

1 Like

I was definitely faster around big downhill corners when I was younger; these days it’s a lot of “Nope.” Flat course (and smallish hill) corners are still full-on both barrels blazing. Helps a ton when you have trust in both yourself and your equipment.

1 Like

To me, the ski racing link also the concept of turning in early (the equivalent of “turn above the gate!!!” that coaches scream all their lives), keeping the turn exit more open. That also gives you more room to deal with the unknown on the exit, in particular on tight blind corners.

1 Like