How to Corner in Motocross – Tips and Techniques - Risk Racing

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How to Corner in Motocross – Tips and Techniques

April 04, 2022

Motocross rider hitting a turn in the sand in risk racing ventilate v2 series gear. Sand flying from the rear tire of the motorcycle.

Building up the proper MX techniques to take a corner is vital if you want to race. A good foundation here will set you up with a solid and robust base for future racing. Races can be lost or won at the corners of a track, so practicing your cornering is essential.  

If you want to really improve your technique, or you’re just getting started, we will teach you how to traverse this obstacle and help improve your overall speed and decrease the time on the clock.


Rider in a rocky corner wearing risk racing's red/teal ventilate v2 series gear.


So, let's dive straight into how to corner in Motocross. 

Set up to Approach the Corner 

You need to choose your line before entering the corner. Be as proactive as you possibly can. Before you enter the corner, brake and stand up (if there are breaking bumps). Do not use your clutch while preparing to turn. 

After you have applied the brakes, adjust your body into the pocket of your seat by leaning forward.  

When Entering the Corner 

Add support for your body by raising your elbows. This will help add structure and to keep your body straight. Here, your inside leg needs to be out with the toe pointing inwards. Your outside foot needs to be on the peg, using the ball of your foot, adding weight to the outside of the bike. 

Keep your core engaged while entering, but make sure your arms and upper body are relaxed and loose. 

Motocross rider entering a sandy corner keeping the elbows up to stabilize the body, sticking insode foot out towards front wheel to add weight to the front end for traction and stability, and keeping the outside foot on the balls of the feet on the peg to keep weight on the outside of the foot.

While You're in the Corner 

During your time in the corner, you want to be smooth with your actions and movements. So, control your bike using the throttle, using the clutch as little as possible here to avoid issues. 

If you feel like the bike wants to step out, apply the front brake to realign your bike. Depending on how your bike performs will determine how hard or how softly you need to apply the brakes safely. 

As You Exit the Corner 

As you approach the exit, smoothly apply the gas while getting your inside leg back onto the bikes peg to get the bike under control while exiting. 

One thing that is vital when you attempt a corner is where you are looking. Your bike will follow where you are looking, so it is essential to always focus. When you set up – look at the entrance. When you enter – look at the apex. As you go through the corner – look at the exit. When you exit – look ahead of you, scanning for the next obstacle. 

Rider exiting a corner. Rider is bring the inside foot back to the peg and coming back on the throttle to exit the corner. Dirt is flying behind the rear wheel as the rider gets on the gas.

How Do You Corner in Ruts?

A rutted corner can make or break many riders. They need experience and good solid technique. Whether you love them or absolutely despise them, if you are ever going to race correctly, you need to know how to take them. 

The key to Rutted corners is what support you have on your bike. Let's have a look at the technique:  

  • Remove the rear brake and coast until you need the gas (you could as an alternative brake into the corner and apply gas on the transition)
  • Get your leg up, your foot out, and your toe in 
  • Lean the bike using the rut as support 
  • Lean your body as you lean the bike 
  • Get your elbow up 
  • Relax your arms 
  • Keep your head up, looking where you want to go 
  • When exiting, get your foot back onto the peg as soon as you can. 

With Rutted corners, there are a couple of different techniques that you could use. You may have noticed that you can choose either to coast into a corner or break into it. The thing is, different techniques work for different riders.

Some riders we've seen are masters as the coast into a corner then speed away, but they look like beginners again when trying to brake. Just find what works for you and keep at it. Even if it is hard now, you will get it with practice. 

Rider in the hook of a rut on a motocross track. The inside foot of the rider is high to prevent dragging the foot and to keep the weight over the front end of the motorcycle. Elbows and feet are on the outside peg to have a stable riding position.

How Do You Increase Corner Speed in Motocross?

Even if you are someone who has been riding for a while now, there are always improvements you can make. We all know this as everybody, even the professionals, can improve in certain areas. 

Adding more speed to your corners can win you races and titles. They can even be the difference between who succeeds and who doesn't. One of the most essential things in Motocross is the transition between braking and applying the gas again. 

When you practice this, slow at first, you will be impressed by how quickly you can take the corners. It's a simple thing we know, it's going from braking to accelerating, but we think you'll be amazed how much it'll help. 

Another way to increase your speed, almost instantly, is to think about how you set up for the corner and what line you will be taking. For example, by choosing a reasonably straight line through the corner, you force yourself to turn sharper than you would have done taking the outside line.

Young motocross rider demonstrating good form and finding the fastest line through a corner. Elbows are up, inside foot is in front of the front wheel, outside foot is on the peg. 

Why Do Dirt Bikers Stick Their Leg Out?

The main reason bikers throw their legs out to the side is your body weight is moved forward. When the leg is out to the side, the rider's hips are locked into place on the bike in the direction the rider is traveling. 

Now legs have some rules and regulations, affecting your ride and increasing riders' safety. Let's take a look at the rules:

Rule One:

Extend your leg forward, keeping it as close to the center of the bike as possible. Do not extend your leg out sideways like an outrigger. 

Rule Two:

Don't touch the ground with your foot, as this affects the counterbalance of the rider. Touching the ground with the leg changes the bike’s balance point from two points of contact to three. 

Rule Three:

Do not use your leg as a skid but as a counterbalance. No part should touch the floor in any way. If your leg comes into contact with the ground, raise it up as soon as you can. 

Rule Four: 

Don't fully extend your knee. Instead, keep it slightly bent to absorb any impact and to be able to quickly withdraw your leg if the bike were to slip and fall over.

Rule Five:

After you have gone through the corner, your foot should be back onto the peg and shouldn't dangle. 

Rule Six:

Never let your leg be drawn behind the bike; you will run yourself over, twisting the knee or make contact with the bolt at the rear. None of these is advisable. 

Rule Seven:

If the bike begins to slide and slip, you can either retract your leg and try and try to rectify using throttle and brake control, or you can stomp the leg/foot on the ground at a right angle. 

Your leg is an integral part of cornering in Motocross and should be used wisely. However, it is also important not to put your leg in danger of injury from the bike or the ground. 

rider using the inside leg to transfer weight to the front of the bike so they can keep they can keep the front end planted through the corner.

In Conclusion 

Motocross is a fantastic sport that everyone mad about dirt biking should try at least once in their lives. Knowing all the basic techniques will make your ride more enjoyable, and adrenaline-filled. 

If you can't get these techniques down right away, don't be discouraged, you will get it in time with practice. 

And we know that in no time at all, you'll be giving Roger DeCoster something to think about when you master the corner. 

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