Motocross Riding tips - How to corner

Best Tips & Techniques on How To Corner in Motocross

Are you struggling when it comes to cornering on your motocross bike?

We’re here to help you to fix this. You might not reach Eli Tomac level right off the bat. But give it some time and practice and you’ll at least see some progress.

To help you in the best possible way we have searched YouTube looking for the best tips and techniques videos. Since we haven’t produced any of our own just yet we feel this is the best way for you to learn.

And we have found some really good advice. So sit back and absorb.

What we’ll cover in this article (table of contents):

Why corners matter so much in Motocross & Dirt Bikes Riding

You don’t have to be a master at riding mx to turn the throttle and go fast in a straight line (well there is some technique there, but we won’t’ go into that here).

But to turn and take a corner at speed, well that’s something else. There is definitely an art to master cornering.

A race can be won or lost in the corners. That is a known fact!

And I think you know this already. Try to follow a better rider than yourself around a track and one of the areas were you lose most time will be in the corners.

So let’s improve that bit of your riding!

The Basics of Motocross Cornering

Here will go into the basics of cornering. If you nail this then you’ll have a good foundation to build on.

Let’s take a look at a couple of really good instruction videos:

That’s a good foundation right there. Some basic cornering tips from Kris Keefer and Rocky Mountain ATVMC.

We really like AJ Catanzaro here at Mx-Gear.com. And this cornering video is steak sauce!

It’s mostly focused on berms and rutted corners but still very good basic techniques. Really pay attention.

The legend Ryan “Ryno” Hughes is also a good teacher and coach.

So if we take all of those videos, summarize and make it a bit easier for you guys to use, then it might look something like this…

Summary:

  • Set up for the turn early.
  • Let go of the rear brake before entering the corner.
  • Get your body position on point.
  • Always look ahead, through the corner.
  • Inside foot out and weight the outside peg.
  • Be smooth, both with your body and throttle.
  • Grip the bike with your outside knee and inside leg.
  • Be smooth on the throttle when you exit and accelerate.

How To do Rutted Corners

A rutted corner is a corner with a rut (obviously) or berm of some sort. What it comes down to is you have some kind of support (somewhat vertical support) for your tires, bike, and weight.

Let’s look at some videos with good advice:

(make sure to read our summary because there are two types of advice/techniques here)

If you have played all videos you’ll be somewhat confused. Didn’t they conflict with each other?

And you’re right, they did!

The bit about braking in the turn or coasting (rolling) in the turn. But here’s the thing. Not all advice work for all different riders. Some might prefer one technique over another. You need to try and see what works for you.

And one technique might work better in one type of corner, and vice versa.

Summary:

  • Get off the rear brake before the turn and coast until you get on the gas.
  • Or: Brake into the corner and get on the gas at the transition.
  • Leg up, foot out and toe in.
  • Lean the bike and use the support from the rut.
  • Lean your body with the bike.
  • Elbows up.
  • Relax arms.
  • Head up and look where you want to go.
  • Foot back on the peg as soon as possible when exiting.

How To do Flat Corners

Flat corners, where you don’t have any berm or rut to use as support, is a very tricky one to master.

Keeping traction is the most difficult part here. Getting the edges of your tires to hook up.

Let’s take a look at these different videos and see if we can learn anything:

The above video goes into body position and this is very important when it comes to slick flat turns.

Summary

  • Set up – go from outside to inside.
  • Lean the bike but not your body.
  • But on edge of the seat.
  • Weight your outside footpeg.
  • Keep traction with throttle control.
  • Head up.
  • Leg out.

How To do Sand Turns

Riding in sand is a whole other ball game. A deep sand track, and we mean deep, can make a pretty good hardpack rider look like a rookie.

To give you some advice on how to corner and ride sand, these tips from the sand master Stefan Everts is worth looking into:

Then we have a more clickbaity 5 tips video. But these are good tips.

I don’t think the riding clips in the video are from a proper sand track though. At least not if you come from Europe…

Summary

  • Look for the smoothest line.
  • Stand up as much as possible.
  • Keep your weight more centered (sometimes even back).
  • Use your clutch and rear brake simultaneously.
  • Balls of your feet on the footpegs.
  • Keep momentum and maybe even upshift before turn.

Cornering Mistakes to Avoid

We all make mistakes and have bad habits that are hard to overcome. Here are some of the ones we see riders make all the time.

So take a look and see if you’re one of the riders making em.

Ok, maybe the video production isn’t really on par here. But, Gary Semics knows his stuff and is a good person to follow for riding advice.

Here are some pretty basic mistakes from the guys over at The Mx Factory:

Time to Practice – Cornering Drills

Now it’s time to take all this learning to the track.

Here are a couple of different drills you can use to help you improve and rails those corners.

Remeber: When you’re practicing the idea isn’t to go as fast as possible. Instead go a bit slower and really focus on your cornering technique.

And try to focus on one bit at the time!

The 5 Main Takeaways

So to wrap it up and make it easier for you to take something from this article and improve your riding.

If you’ve made it this far, good on you, here are the 5 main takeaways you should focus on:

  1. Set up for the turn

    Be proactive and choose your line way before the corner.

    Get your braking done before you enter and stand up if there are braking bumps coming in. Don’t use your clutch when braking.

    After the braking is done get your body forward into the pocket of the seat. Just behind the lift.

  2. Coming into the corner

    Get your elbows up for support and to keep your body straight.

    Inside leg out, as high as possible with your toes pointing in. Outside foot weighting the peg on the balls of the foot.

    Engage core but keep your upper body and arms loose.

  3. In the corner

    Be smooth. Control your bike with your throttle and try to use the clutch as little as possible.

    If you feel that the bike is stepping out, use the front brake to get it back.

  4. Exiting the corner

    Get on the gas, but do it smoothly.

    Get your inside leg and foot back on the peg as soon as possible to get better bike control.

  5. Head up & Look ahead

    This one is so important. Keep your head up and in line with your upper body.

    Look ahead. Not on your front fender. The bike will follow where you look. In the setup, look at the entrance. When you come into the corner look into the apex. Going through the corner, look at the exit. And when exiting, look ahead to see where the next obstacle is.

Ok, so hopefully you’ll be able to learn and improve on your dirt bike cornering after this.

But remember to take it step by step. And go slow to be able to go fast!

About the Author Tobi

Hey there, I've been riding Moto for almost all of my life and gone through my fair share of gear sets & products. Hopefully, this experience will come in handy for you when you read our recommendations here at mx-gear.com :)