The one day Performance: BENDS course was introduced in 2003 when we realised that increasingly riders were interested in improving their open road riding. It has been a huge hit with recreational riders of all levels from cautious to experienced and has become one of our most popular courses.
The Performance: BENDS course offers a toolkit of theory and practical exercises designed to offer all riders a framework of skills and knowledge on which to base their riding on twisty roads, at the end of which you will have a comprehensive understanding of the core cornering skills and you’ll be cornering at a standard your riding buddies will marvel at.
Using a unique and carefully researched blend of traditional defensive riding principles from books like “Motorcycle Roadcraft”, riding techniques from sources like Keith Code’s Twist of the Wrist books and input from the Australian ‘Ride On’ safety programme, all combined with my own extensive riding experience, the course offers a new insight into riding bends based on risk assessment and risk management techniques.
We will check you have the basic braking, throttle and steering control needed to corner and ensure that you understand the basics of positioning for view whilst minimising risk from side turnings and oncoming vehicles. Then we’ll show you how to read road signs and other clues to highlight potentially hazardous corners and blind junctions, and how to use brakes positively on the approach to such a bend without destabilising the machine. We’ll demonstrate and you’ll practice using positive machine inputs to master ‘Point and Squirt’ cornering lines. We’ll go well beyond “keep your head up and look further round the corner” advice by explaining how our SLOW LOOK LEAN ROLL system for cornering uses easily identifiable reference points to ensure your make your inputs in the right place each and every time, and how knowing what to look for helps to defeat target fixation. We’ll give you a chance to see how ‘setting up’ the brakes on the approach to a bend is a more positive safety technique than relying on engine braking alone, and finally explain how using the Thames Valley Police ‘Thirds’ system cornering ensures you’re never caught out entering the next bend too quickly.
A major focus of the Performance: BENDS course is to show how correct cornering technique will avoid the classic cornering error of turning in too early and running wide on the exit. Using ‘Point and Squirt’ substitutes positive machine inputs and a late apex for lazy steering, sweeping lines and high mid-corner speed. In short, ‘Point and Squirt’ gives you options mid-corner that allow you to deal with the unexpected as wel las recover from errors. We’ll show you how to recognise them by using the throttle as a tool to monitor your cornering performance all the way through the corner. We’ll also discuss how to apply a ‘worst case scenario’ planning approach to help eliminate common cornering errors and prevent target fixation, an almost inevitable response when we find we’ve got it wrong.
You’ll look at several different areas:
– machine control – braking, steering, stability issues! Puts you in charge of the bike rather than being a passenger
– reading the bend – entry, line, exit! Knowing where you are in a bend allows you to use the machine control inputs in the right places to steer through a bend smoothly, accurately and above all safely
– risk management – where not to try to go fast! When you know that, you can choose the bends on which to enjoy yourself
At the end of the Performance: BENDS day, you’ll have a toolkit of skills that give you a big pointer towards safe AND FUN cornering.
About the course: Your course begins before you start. We’ll offer free advice on which course to choose to suit you via email or telephone. When you have booked your course, we’ll provide comprehensive briefing notes (including links to useful videos to help illustrate points in the notes) about what’s to come by email.
Each day’s practical training session lasts approximately five hours including pre-ride briefing, lunch break and post-ride debrief. We know other schools offer longer sessions but in our experience five hours is about the maximum that trainees can cope with before getting tired. Time is used constructively and intensely, and most people find that it’s actually long enough. We’re also aware that trainees have to ride to us and then get home again – in our experience longer sessions are counter-productive.
We’ll follow up the course with a comprehensive written debrief delivered via email, offering constructive help and a review of the sessions, and a suggested plan for further development. Finally and uniquely, full post course support is provided by email and via our Facebook page.
The course is suitable for all riders with a full licence including A1 and A2 licences and can be taken on any machine from a 125 upwards. It is equally suitable for geared motorcycles or automatic motorcycles and scooters.
The course is perfectly suited from newly qualified motorcyclists to experienced riders including those who have taken post-test training elsewhere. Whilst it’s always difficult to make exact comparisons, the standard of training for the course exceeds IAM test standard and significantly beats that of the DSA’s Enhanced Rider Course. There’s no test at the end of the course, although we’ll help with guidance if you want to take an external riding test.
If you’re not sure you’re up to the advanced course straight away, a introductory Confidence: BUILDER day can be added to the basic one day course, to ensure you have the basics right. Alternatively, book an inexpensive riding assessment to ensure you’re on the right course for you.
Courses run from March to November at our regular training locations in Buckinghamshire, NW London, Kent and Oxfordshire.