Lean Angle

Lean Angle

What is the purpose of a lean angle?

Other than having nice photos to show off to friends and family. How can I increase my lean angle to help me put my knee down? These are all questions I’ve been asked over the years and I have to say people underestimate the power of a lean angle!

In basic terms, the purpose of a lean angle is to increase your speed through a corner. It ultimately allows for the shortest/quickest time through a corner. The more upright you are, the slower your speed will have to be through a corner.

The more your lean angle increases, the more speed you can carry through a corner. Think of it this way. You can’t attempt to put your knee down around a corner if you are traveling at a slow pace. You will most probably just want to fall over the whole time.

If you travel at a too high speed into a corner, without the correct lean angle, you will run wide and basically run out of road. But before you can focus on your lean angle, it’s important to understand the basics of a corner.

The most important points of a corner to remember is the Entrance, the Apex and the Exit. Some people claim a corner has over 40 points to it, but I guarantee you that this is mostly for highly advanced riding techniques. These 3 points are enough to keep you busy for a while.

Let’s look at what you need to do with the entrance, apex and exit points


The entrance point is where you will need to ensure that you are traveling at the right speed (not too fast), you must be in the right gear and you will need to slow down by rolling off your accelerator or braking or use all of the above. Always enter a corner at the speed you can manage.


This is what I like to call the safe part of a corner. The Apex is the inside of the turn and the part that you should get closest too (almost touching) as you are traveling on your way to the exit. This is also normally the cleanest part of the road because most people will use this and push the dirt to the outside to of the apex. Ideally you need to be completely off the brake by the time you reach the apex so that you can focus on the next step.

Trail braking gets used a lot by experts. This means you are still on the brake while turning into the corner. But as you are increasing your lean angle, you have to start releasing the brake to avoid too much pressure on the front wheel. Sometimes to take pressure off the front wheel, you can even start accelerating a bit.


From the apex to the exit you will be able to accelerate again. The amount of petrol that you can use is dependent on how open the corner is and if you can actually see your exit. Always consider how far ahead you can see through the corner. Once you reach the exit it means you’ve completed the corner. If you miss one of these points there is a good chance you will not reach the exit.

Why do some riders use their knee when in full lean angle?

For some riders the knee serves the purpose of a 3rd wheel. In some cases it’s a confidence element as well. It helps you to lift the motorcycle more upright while going through a corner, or bring it down by just adjusting your knee. Some riders use the handle bars and some both. It’s also a great indication of how close or far from the ground you are while riding at a full lean angle.

A rider who can adjust their lean angle to the type of corner (wide open or tighter corners), will have to adjust their speed (amount of throttle control) to go along with this. It’s important to remember that you can’t just go into a corner the same speed as an expert thinking that you will have the same good result if you have not learned to adjust to the speed.

Adjusting to the speed and the lean angle, means that your eyes must also adjust to the speed. Your brain and reflexes will have to be able to adjust to the speed as well. Otherwise you may panic and do the wrong thing that can end up causing you to miss the exit point.

In short, always ride a speed that you and your body along with your experience, can actually manage. Never pressure yourself to ride at the level of other riders with more experience, take time to learn the skill in order to apply it with the speed adjustments
Learning the art of cornering is an ongoing process.

Every corner is different and requires a different lean angle. Each rider’s ability is also different and this is why it’s so important to always remain responsible and only ride the speed you are comfortable with when entering or exiting a corner!

# Learn, Love and Ride Safe

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