Tuesday Tip:
Handling Tricky Sweeping Turns

We get all kinds of questions from readers checking out www.transworldmx.com. This one, however, seemed likely to be on the minds of a lot of riders out there…

I know you’ve covered ruts in the past, which is great, but my problem is big, rutted 180 degree sweepers. I have all sorts of problems: front wheel over/out to early & sometimes even low sidin’ from trying to turn in too much. I race at club level in the UK and I’m a decent rider (usually top 10 in my under 35 class). I also see a lot of poeple who seem to have the same problem in my races on local sand/wet tracks. It’s definitely my biggest downfall. I imagine it has to do with looking towards the end of the rut, but everything I try doesn’t quite cut it. It would be a real help if you could cover this topic in one of your tips! Please TransWorld, help me defeat my rut demon!
Clark Brady

Well Clark, you have already touched on a main keypoint to remember; looking ahead, but let’s review the keys to handling tricky corners. Keep in mind, it’s the basics that will help you get through tricky turns with ease.

1. Set your sag…
For some of you, a reminder to set your sag seems like old news, but the bottom line is your bike will never turn as good as it can if your sag is not set properly. Set it when you get your bike, and check it often. If you haven’t done this, check out the past Tuesday Tip on setting race sag linked under “Related” on the right side of this page.

2. Look ahead…
As Swap covered in Tuesday Tip a couple weeks ago (see related links), looking ahead on the track is always important, but especially in corners. One of the most common mistakes riders make is to look at the rut directly in front of them. So remember to spot ahead of you on the track. Once you settle into the turn you should already be looking down the track to the next obstacle.

3. Keep your weight on the outside…
Just like any turn, by keeping your weight on the outside foot peg, and your butt on the outside edge of the seat, you allow the bike to lay over and therefore carry more speed. Plus, once you do this the right way, you will find that the turn just feels better, even though it may sound awkward at first.

While you have your weight on the outside, remember to put your inside foot out in front of you. The pros don’t just do this to look cool. If you begin to lay it over too far and feel like you are going to fall, you can dab your foot on the ground to maintain balance. Be careful when doing this as you can hurt your knee if you’re not careful. This is one of many good reasons to wear proper knee braces.

4. Stay on the gas…
A common mistake is to not use enough of the bike’s power through a corner. You should do your breaking ahead of the corner, then roll on the power through the turn. How do you think all those breaking bumps show up on the National tracks?

If you are not on the gas, your bike is not going to have the traction necessary to hold on through the turn.

5. Trust your bike…
Modern motocross bikes–especially four strokes–put power to the ground with great traction, giving them excellent cornering ability. If you have set your sag properly, and use the basic techniques we’ve described, your bike should be able to get you through even the trickiest sweepers with ease.