• Pete

    I’m not totally convinced by a few parts of this. Firstly, they say to get into the drops, partially to transfer weight to the front wheels. Then, they say not to brake in the corner. It seems that braking would do the same thing as leaning forward: i.e. transfer weight to the front. Indeed, some believe it’s fine to brake in a corner [1].

    The other thing they say is to lower your centre of gravity. I’m not convinced that this is necessary. In a four wheeled vehicle, such as a car, lowering the centre of gravity is useful to prevent the car toppling over. However, you lean when riding a bike, and hence the centre of gravity shifts to prevent you toppling. I’ve tried to search for more information about this, but it’s a bit elusive. Certainly, moving your mass closer to the point where your tires contact the floor will reduce the moment of inertia around this pivot point. This will essentially mean you can lean more quickly, which may or may not be important. I’m not sure if there are other factors it might affect.

    [1] http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/descending.html

    • Stavros

      Shut up and go ride your bike Pete

    • http://www.cyclingTipsBlog.com cyclingTips

      Hi Pete,

      I can vouch for what they’re saying. With regards to leaning forward, this creates more downforce on the front wheel, thus more traction. Breaking creates a more immediate need for traction and therefore slippage when traction is lost. Never brake through a corner.

      Regarding lowering your center of gravity, this allows you to lean more. Leaning is how you steer the bike and center your weight. This is taught in motorcycle training as well (something I believe every cyclist should take!)

      • velocite

        I’m with Pete here, in that I can’t see how lowering your center of gravity helps. It could help you to lean more quickly, but not to lean more. I think the motorcycle comparison is a redherring. Those (motorbike) tyres have such incredible grip the rider does everything he can to reduce the lean of the bike so it doesn’t scrape. Push bikes don’t have that issue, which is why we don’t move our body weight off the saddle and into the centre of the turn – it wouldn’t help. In fact we do the opposite, we lean the bike and sit on top of it. Don’t we?

        • a different ben

          I’m confused by this lean-the-bike v lean-the-rider thing, especially considering some comments of motorcyclists who’ve made the jump to pushies. A friend who’s a motorcyclist ‘teacher’ says to shift your weight off the bike a bit (bit hard to actually shift off the saddle) by moving your shoulders into the corner, and sticking your knee out. Maybe it’s just force of habit?

          Other motorcyclists comment that they think bicycle racers aren’t so good at cornering, especially noticeable in crits. I think it was Shannon Johnson who made some observation like this at the Phillip Island round of the Tour of Gippsland?

          • velocite

            Racing motorcyclists get themselves right off the seat and down beside the bike, to the inside of the corner. We might stick our knee into the corner, but we don’t move our weight in, not even our shoulders. The chap in the picture at the top of this article is demonstrating perfectly: he’s leaning the bike more than he is, his head and shoulders are outside the plane of the frame. IMHO all we have to learn from car and motor bike racers is the racing line.