Motorcycle Riding Tips: Getting A Knee Down
Racing season is upon us, and as street riders, one of the big challenges seems to be getting a knee down. Don’t ask me why, or what the benefits are. The biggest advantage of dragging a knee is to feel where the ground is, using a knee puck on your racing leathers. What does this have to do with the street? Nothing!
That said, here is the big secret to touching a knee.
First, back to basics. Pretend that you are looking down at a motorcycle going in a circle. The circle made by the tires will be larger than the circle made by your helmet, because you are leaning to turn. Think about this until it makes sense, and you understand it. In other words, if the motorcycle is leaning, your head in to the inside of the turn.
Now, imagine that you are riding with your arms straight out, instead of having your hands on the bars. In this theoretical position, your inside hand is going to be a lot lower than the hand on the outside of the turn.
This is the reason that you can touch a knee.
Now, adjust your position.
If you haven’t already done so, notice that in the photo above, the motorcycle is not leaning all that much. The rider can get a knee down, because the rider has shifted his butt to the inside of the motorcycle, he is using his outside leg against the tank to hold on (instead of relying on holding the bars), and he has his inside thigh pointed fairly straight down.
From this position, you don’t have to lean the motorcycle much, if any, more than you probably do now.
By the way, it helps if you are sitting a little back from the tank.
I tried this sitting in the chair in my office, and even without leaning the chair, I was able to get a matter of inches from the floor.
Notice that I do not recommend getting a knee down, and that it serves no purpose whatsoever on the street. Also notice that if you don’t have leathers and a knee puck, you stand a good chance of scraping your knee.
With this set of warnings, you can feel confident that by positioning yourself to the inside of the motorcycle you will be closer to the ground. Once you do that, add a little lean, and there you have it.
Safety first, go slowly, your mileage may vary.