The following is provided for information only. Driving or riding can be a dangerous activity, what you do on your own time with your own vehicle is up to you. Always drive / ride safe and never do anything that would endanger pedestrians or other motorists. The roads belong to everyone; make sure that you, and everyone you pass, makes it home safely. By using this site you agree to release from any liability resulting from your actions.

For those of you who haven't visited the Definitions page, an apex is the point at which you get closest to the inside of corner. In the car world, apexing is usually only dealt with on the track. If you are attempting to hit the apex on a mountain road then you are on the wrong side of the double yellow which is not the safest practice.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, are considerably narrower that the lanes they occupy which gives them the advantage of finding their best "line", even on back-country roads. Since motorcycles can ride on either side of the lane, by starting a corner on the inside of the lane a rider can hit the apex at the outside of the lane in the middle of the corner, and finish back on inside portion of the lane. This gives the rider the straightest possible path through the corner, which is the fastest way through.

There are 3 basic ways to apex a corner, early, normal, and late. While all will get you around the corner, they will not all provide the same level of safety or exit speed. Understanding the basic concept behind all three will allow you to apply this information when riding your favorite road.

In the examples below, the dashed red-line shows the path of travel for a motorcycle where the rider is starting and ending the turn from the outside wheel-track. This example deals with an "outside" corner, where the rider is in the lane with the longest radius and will approach the center of the road (usually a double-yellow line) while apexing.

An early apex is where the rider "turns-in" to the corner early. This places the motorcycle closest to the inside of the turn early, and forces a sharper turn near the end of the corner to straighten out. This type of apex will give a rider the lowest exit speed, and is also dangerous in blind corners as illustrated in the examples below.

A normal apex is where the turn-in point and the end of the turn are equally distant from the center of the corner. When viewing the corner from above, as in these examples, this is the cleanest looking method with both the entry and exit from the corner forming a consistent arc. For normal, relaxed riding this is a common method for navigating corners.

A late apes is the most aggressive way to navigate a curve and will provide the highest entry speed. By turning-in late the rider must have a slower entry speed but will be rewarded with a fairly straight shot through the corner resulting in the highest exit speed possible. This method of apexing is also the safest, as it allows a rider to see farther through the corner before turning in while also avoiding oncoming traffic (see below).

- Back to top

When riders talk about late-apexing a corner, they are usually discussing ways to keep their speed up and ride more aggressively. While this can certainly be great fun, there is a more practical reason for delaying your turn-in point.

The examples below show a situation where a motorcycle and car are both approaching a corner at the same time, with the car on the inside of the corner and the bike on the outside. For this example we will assume that the car has failed to reduce its speed enough to safely navigate the corner.

When a vehicle enters an inside corner too fast, as in this example, it will typically run across the double-yellow towards the end of the corner. This section is highlighted in the examples below with the orange cross-hatch.

If the rider had started the corner from the inside wheel-track, they would have passed right through the "danger zone". By entering a corner from the outside wheel-track and late-apexing, however, the rider remains clear of the danger zone and avoids a possible accident. Starting from the outside also allows the rider to see farther through a blind corner, also increasing safety and minimizing the chance of an accident.

For Inside Corner apexing, click here.

- Back to top

While the diagrams above show an ideal line through a corner, it is important to remember that the real world is far from ideal.

A primary difference between cars and motorcycles is that bikes lean, and while that is the whole point of riding a bike it can have significant consequences if forgotten in a corner. For outside corners this means leaving some room between the center of the road (usually a double-yellow line) and the bike.

When riding on a favorite twisty back-road it is not uncommon to want to push harder and go faster. Wanting to perform your best is not a bad thing, but it is important to remember to share the road with others. While the perfect apex has the bike just touching the double-yellow line, riders must remember that the bike and their upper bodies are leaning farther over that the wheels touch. If the bike's tires are up against the yellow lines this means the rider will be leaning into the lane for oncoming traffic. Encountering an oncoming vehicle while in this position won't end well for either party.

While the tires are still within the proper lane, the rider's body is in danger of being struck by an oncoming vehicle. Always remember to stay entirely within your lane.

- Back to top

- Back to Tips