Getting your knee down.


First off all we have to determine whether you are leaning the bike over far enough to even consider it. The easiest way to check is to go for a blast, do a few laps of your favourite roundabout and then pull into a lay by. Look at your back tyre, feel it touch it, yeah baby more more…oo er! Does it have a shiny border between the centre of the tread and the edge? There is a ridge right at the edge of most tyres where the sidewall meets the tread, this stays shiny so ignore it. If you have a shiny area wider than this join (about quarter of an inch) then you are going to have to give it a bit more speed in the corners first before you try for knee down. If you have just black sticky stuff all the way to the edge of the tyre then you are already leaning the bike over far enough.

No Shiny Bits. Lovely!

 The main technique for getting the knee down is to hang off the bike as far as possible without falling off, then stick your knee out as far as it will go. Seems simple eh? Well this is not quite the end of the story. When you are on the bike and you are lunging your knee ground wards, are you actually sticking your knee in the right direction? You see many people go round and round roundabouts thinking that they are hanging off the bike and pointing their knee straight down when what is actually happening is that they are moving their bodies so that they are twisted on the bike, which feels like hanging off but really they are hanging around rather than off. To combat this you have to examine the way you hang off. The best way to do this is with a mate and the side stand. Park your bike parallel with a wall that is taller than the bike. Park it so that when the bike is fully upright the right hand mirror nearly touches the wall. Now get on the bike while on it’s side stand, hold on to the bars and hang off a bit and stick your knee out. Can you touch the wall easily with your knee? Adjust your position until you can, I might add at this point that if you have had a hip replacement you should forget all about knee down cos you have to be pretty supple in the groin area to get you legs wide enough, you arse should be only half on the seat and the balls of both feet should be on the pegs. The top half of your body should also be leant off the bike as well otherwise you sit twisted which brings your knee in towards the bike rather than away. Get used to this position and practice moving from normal to that position without looking at your knee because if you look at your knee whilst cranked over on a roundabout you’ll be selling you bike for spares in no time. Try the new riding position when going round roundabouts, it will feel extremely odd at first but you will get used to it. Now it’s time to build up some speed and get that bike leaning. Because you are now hanging off the bike the centre of gravity for the bike has moved towards the centre of the roundabout, the result of this is that to get the same amount of lean you have to be going faster than if you were sitting upright, or to put it another way you corner faster without leaning any further which is cool eh? All you have to do now is accelerate gradually (use a high gear it’s easier to control) whilst hanging off and keep the same line round. Remember to look round the bend as far as possible and not at the bit off road right in front of you. Try to relax, if you are tense you will get nowhere. If your footpegs ground down before your knee then don’t lean any further, you are already beyond the angle required for knee down so it’s just a case of getting that knee into the right position. Keep at it. The first time is always the hardest, once that’s over it gets a lot easier until the point where you can stick your knee on the ground at will.


Then it’s time to get some sparky sliders!!!



Where should I practice?


The best places are quiet roundabouts with a nice smooth, grippy surface and very little traffic. You also want the roundabout to be large enough so you don’t get dizzy but small enough that you don’t need to do 120mph. If you see police cars, exit the roundabout at the next available opportunity and look as if you are going somewhere. Police officers are not too keen on people whizzing round and round continually so be considerate to other road users, don’t blat up the side off cars and then cut in front just cos they’ve ruined you perfect line. If the Police see you doing that they’re more likely to nick you than if you were being considerate and safe. That’s not a guarantee though, rotten apples etc.




What you do with your bike is your business. I take no responsibility for accidents resulting from following the above advice. I intend this article to be a rough guide only and cannot guarantee the activities mentioned within as either safe or lawful. Any criminal/civil prosecution resulting from such activities are the sole responsibility of the participant.

In English that means if you bin you bike or get arrested trying to get you knee down following the tips I have given don’t come crying to me. Bikes have a tendancy to fall over on occasion and the Police are known to dislike them generally. You have been  warned