How to Corner & Turn on a Motorcycle

Knowing how to turn and corner properly is one of the most important skills to master as a new motorcyclists.

Improper cornering is one of the main causes of single-vehicle crashes for motorcycles (i.e. the accident was cause by the rider mishandling the maneuver).

How to Corner on a Motorcycle

One of the most common approaches and techniques for cornering on your motorcycle is the one taught in the MSF basic rider course.

This is the Slow, Look, Press, Roll technique for cornering.

To go through a turn on your motorcycle, you should:

  • Slow down to a safe entry speed before entering the curve. The proper speed will depend on the road conditions and the sharpness of the curve. A good speed will allow you to maintain a good position through the entire curve without having to go wide.
  • Look by turning your head where you want the motorcycle to go. You body and bike will follow where your head is turned. If you fixate on the side of the road, you’ll be off course.
  • Press the handlebars in the direction you are turning. Since you turn a motorcycle by leaning, you need to press rather than steer.
  • Roll on the throttle as you move through the curve to retain speed and balance through it.

Some other helpful things to remember when cornering a motorcycle include:

  • Maintaining a proper riding posture with a slight lean forward.
  • Keep your grip and arms relaxed with your elbows low.
  • Keep your head up and actively looking through the curve.
  • Accelerate smoothly and gradually through the curve.

How to Turn a Motorcycle at Low Speeds

At really slow speeds, before the gyroscopic effect of the motorcycle kicks it, turning on your motorcycle is all about pro-steering with the handlebars and using the friction-zone of your clutch lever.

When you’re just starting out, an empty parking lot is a great place to practice your slow speed techniques.


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