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Wide entry, late apex safest on-road

Wide entry, late apex safest on-road blind
Wide entry and a late apex is safest on all corners

A wide corner entry, late apex and shallow exit is the safest recipe for every corner when riding on the road. Maybe not the fastest, but the safest.

There is a lot of conjecture about the best line through a corner. We’re not talking about speed, qualifying times, overtaking, racing or track work.


This article only refers to the safest recipe for riding on the road.


At the weekend, we stationed ourselves on a complex corner of Mt Glorious to take some photographs for a road test on the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King.Wide entry, late apex safest on-road

It was perfect weather, so there were a lot of motorcycles out and about.

I was amazed to find only a few of the riders chose the safe line through the corner.

Most went in too shallow and too fast.

That meant they ran wide, some across the white dividing line, some off the edge of the road toward the armco.

Wide entry, late apex safest on-road
Over the white line

Most were still on the brakes as they exited the corner because they went in too hot and too shallow.

Wide entry is safest

The safest line through a corner is the one that provides options for escape routes if things go wrong and maximum vision of what’s coming up.

No matter whether the corner is left or right, off camber, on camber, blind, open, increasing or decreasing radius, or whatever, the entry should be wide.

Try to ride as far left for a right hander or right for a left hander as is safe. But be aware that gravel, leaf litter and other surface irregularities exist near the road edge or centre line.

Wide entry, late apex safest on-road
Wide entry avoids oncoming traffic, but watch that leaf litter by the road’s edge

Do not start tipping in across your lane until you can see the exit of the corner.

This gives you the best vision of oncoming traffic and road surface hazards to avoid.

Notice in this view how the rider entered wide and had plenty of time to adjust his line to avoid an oncoming van. (Mind you, his previous left-handed is a shocker with his head over the white line!)

The apex is the point at which you are closest to the inside of a corner. This is where you start to turn out of the bend, or at least hold your consistent arc. 

You should not be increasing counter steering once you hit the apex or you have misjudged the corner.

Wide entry, late apex safest on-road
Shallow exit means you won’t run wide into that Armco

As for the speed you take a corner, the best advice comes from world champion driver Stirling Moss:

It is better to go into a corner slow and come out fast, than to go in fast and come out dead.

  1. Great article Mark.

    Spot on, I’m wondering if this is taught at the earliest rider training.

  2. Good advice. I think the video also shows what I’ve seen too often on the roads. With the new “give cyclists 1m gap” rule, many motorists blindly cross double white lines thinking they need too without considering oncoming traffic. I think its an ill thought out rule! Double white lines are often used in locations where overtaking is dangerous so it makes no sense they you can now cross them to pass a cyclist. The motorcyclist was lucky he was vigilant. If he was a truck, there would have been a head on collision!

  3. Absolutely correct. Turning in too early is the most common rider error I see. The exception is of course when trying to pick your way around potholes, gravel, lumps, debris, and tar snakes, then you just have to go with the best surface and not the best line.

  4. For over 20 years, rider training in Australia has been teaching;

    Start wide
    Plan to finish tight
    Move away from the head-on zone

    It is amazing that in 2016 riders are still using a classic line. No wonder riders are still crashing in bends in high numbers.

    Great article, tks

  5. Ken Whitehouse is the chief instructor at HART at St.Ives (Sydney). Here is a video he made on cornering technique – ignore the fact that he’s addressing scooter riders as a corner is a corner.

    I can confirm that this is exactly what new riders are taught!

  6. Great article Mark, I have been practicing it for years and it works. In the 70’s I was a rider trainer and that is what we taught; problem is riders see other riders using race lines and that is what they do.

  7. Absolutely correct. This was driven home to me years ago in enduro competition, where we had never seen the course but had to blitz along WFO. Crashing was not an option so maximum vision entering a blind turn was had with a wide, late entry, and gave best chance for dealing with the unexpected.

    John C.

  8. Red Duck I could’nt agree more ever since those 1mtr rules became effective its only a matter of time when its the cause of a death and it won’t be the cyclist.

    I’m a newly returned rider and practise the safest line always, even when its easier to cut a tight right hander I never will as I try to keep my line in the tightest of corners to hone my skills, its not always perfect but practice does in time make it so…

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