Body position(s): Transitions and movement.

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Feeling rushed into corners, panicking under brakes, nervous/twitchy tip-in, unstable/vague bike feel - hell, even inconsistent lines can be attributed to simply how and when you move on the bike.

n.b. This is the 2nd article in a comprehensive start to finish guide on how to get your knee down by riding faster, smoother and safer.

Even though this article will stand alone, it's recommended that you read the previous article - 'Body Position(s): Static' - before this one.

Your job on the bike - other than the obvious - is to offer our suspension and tyres the best possible chance of finding grip. You do that best when when you're relaxed - and you'll relax when you're prepared.

How and when you move on the bike is the key.

Watch the fast guys. Their lower body movements are so quick and well timed that they're barely noticeable. They set up for the corner very early and let the bike run through and drive out of the corner without getting in the way.

In comparison, a common mistake is to move around at critical and dangerous points of the turn. Moving from the middle of the seat to hanging off too late (usually at tip in) and climbing back up too early on drive out - right when the tyres are already being asked for so much.

Transitions

I use the word 'transitions' to refer to the two main movements you'll make on the bike:

Corner entry describes the transition from your body position on the straight to in mid-corner.

Corner exit describes the transition from your body position in mid-corner to on the straight.

Corner entry

Your job on corner entry is to set the speed and trajectory for the corner.

You have a lot to do and you'll be asking a lot from the front tyre as you brake and turn into the corner.

Set yourself up early and it'll make the corner feel longer, you'll feel more prepared, the bike will be more stable and you'll be able to go faster - and safer - as a result.

Ass

Long before you reach your braking marker, get your ass off the seat. Leave everything else where it is: head behind the screen, arms tucked in and knees into the tank.

Your ass won't move from this position until you're exiting the corner - and to be honest, on track in the real world, its likely it won't even move then - you'll find out why later in this article.

Brake

Just before you arrive at your braking marker, prepare your lower body. Use your legs (while leaving your ass where it is) and core muscles to hold as much of your weight back as possible. Use both legs if you have to - your knee slider isn't going to touch the tarmac until the bike is leant over, so you might as well put it to work stabilising your body for now.

When you arrive at your marker, brake a split second before sitting up from behind the screen into the wind.

Keep your head in line with the centre of the bike and hold the remaining weight of your upper body with palms of your hands and slightly bent arms. Your fingers should be loose and free to feel any feedback from the bike.

Commit

As you scrub off speed on your approach to your tip in marker, you'll no longer need the support from your inside leg, so open your hips and stick your knee out whenever possible - ideally before you tip in, though.

When you arrive at your tip in marker, simultaneously relax your arms and commit to the corner with your head and upper body - you should now be in your mid-corner body position.

I want to emphasis again how great it feels to commit to the corner with your head. Almost forget about your bike, it'll follow you.

Corner exit

Your job on corner exit is to accelerate out of the corner as fast as grip levels will allow.

The bike is in a very precarious position as you accelerate hard out of a corner. The front wheel goes light and gets very sensitive/nervous, while the rear wheel desperately tries to find grip.

How and when you move your body here is just as important as it is on corner entry - yet it's often overlooked.

Push

As you pass the apex and begin to pick up the throttle to drive out of the corner, try to stand the bike up - it almost feels like you're pushing it up and away from you.

Concentrate almost solely on the available grip levels as you accelerate towards your drive out marker.

As the bike stands a bit more upright, move your head back up and into the middle of the bike - do not yank on the bars, they're still very sensitive/nervous. Use your core strength.

Leave your ass where it is. Continue to feel the grip and develop the throttle.

Ass

When the bike is upright and settled, pull your ass up and onto the seat with your outside leg - again, do not use the bars.

Waiting longer than you need to is the lesser of two evils. As a rule of thumb, I wait until after my second gear change.

Movement

Thankfully circuits aren't comprised of corners that are sandwiched between two straights.

However, it does mean you're going to have to think carefully about your movements when stringing together multiple corners.

Luckily, there are some simple rules to follow - and they involve being lazy:

Side to side

When you move your ass, do so only when the bike is upright and your head is in the centre of the bike - this is the safest and only time you will need to move your ass.

Don't drag yourself across the seat by tugging on the bars - lighten yourself by standing on the pegs and use your outside leg to pull yourself from one side of the seat to the other.

Don't disconnect from the bike at any point. You should always have at least one knee in the tank.

Move less

Cadwell Park - Ass positions

Your ass should be off one side of the seat or the other at all times - the only exception being the long straights.

There is no need to move your ass at all if you're taking multiple corners of the same direction.

If the corners are separated by a short straight - since your upper body can move freely - you can move your head behind the screen while leaving your ass off.

Conclusion

Do you feel rushed into corners? Does your bike feel twitchy at tip in? Do you hesitate accelerating out of corners? - who's at fault, you or the bike?

Film yourself next time out and watch your movements - it's surprising how much unnecessary movements you spot in hindsight.

In the next article I'll talk about lines and reference markers.