Road Science: For machines with limited leanover clearance, hanging off can help prevent touchdowns. And even if your bike has more than adequate leanover clearance, hanging off may result in less steering effort needed to keep the bike turning.
At Right: Moving your weight in the saddle has a big effect on both cornering clearance and steering feedback.
You don’t have to hang way off the bike in every curve to achieve better cornering control. Just sliding from one side of the saddle to the other will have an effect. But if you do want to hang off more aggressively, here are some pointers:
1. Hang off early
Shift your weight before you lean the bike into the curve. Get your entire upper torso to the “turn” side of the bike centerline two or three seconds before your turn-in point. You may have to hold some pressure on the “up” grip to keep the bike from turning until you’re ready. At the turn-in point, simply relax your steering input to allow the bike to lean over.
2. Get tucked in
Wedge your “up” knee against the tank to prevent sliding off too far. Brace your “up” leg against the footpeg. Tuck your “down” toe in to prevent snagging it on the ground. You don’t want to get your foot caught between the peg and the pavement.
3. Eyes level.
Tilt your head to keep your eyes level with the horizon. Level eyes provide a more stable view of the road, and that helps you understand the shape of the curve and predict where the bike is headed.
With the bike leaned over, press the grips toward the direction you want to go. In a left turn, pressing both grips toward the left will lean the bike over farther. Or, as Total Control author Lee Parks suggests, steer with one hand. In a right-hander, steer with your right hand. In a left-hander, steer with your left hand.
Below: If you decide to add “hanging off” to your set of riding skills, learn to do it right. Cornering Control (PDF)