Late Apex Idiocy

I am passionate about motorcycle riding skills, and devote my time to coaching.  It makes me crazy when I identify a bad habit, and the student tells me that he or she learned this from some motorcycle school.  There may be differences of opinion on certain techniques.  But there is also objectively WRONG advice out there.  It is making you slower and less safe.

The very worst technique taught by some schools is to go for a “late apex at all cost.”  That is, to drive deeper into the turn, then make a more violent tip in, shooting for a very late apex.  Sure, there are track situations when the true apex is more than halfway through the turn.  But habitually following this line is not necessarily the best line on a track, and can be deadly on the highway.

I spend too much coaching time teaching that the “late apex at all cost” concept is wrong, and breaking the bad habits based on bad advice.  In a right turn on a road with oncoming traffic (or a potential of oncoming traffic around a blind turn), it is unsafe to go to (or over) the center line just to make a late entry into the turn.  It can be deadly.  If you think you need to drop in so late to make a reduced radius turn, you are certainly over the speed limit, and probably over a safe speed.

On the track, focus on the fastest line through the entire course.  The best line for a particular turn necessarily depends on what follows.  A “late” apex may be OK if it sets up one or two turns down the track.  Building total track awareness takes time and focus.  Professional coaching will identify bad habits and techniques, and will greatly reduce the time a rider needs to build speed and safety.

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Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

6 replies
  1. George
    George says:

    I am not clear on your point.

    Are you saying a late apex is bad?

    What do you think is a good line through the turn in the figure illustrated?

    Reply
    • Headcoach
      Headcoach says:

      Not generally.
      A late apex is needed for ‘what comes next’. A late apex gives you resources on the exit… if needed!
      I would set 2 apexes. One where the red line enters the turn- and one where the green exits the turn. So its pretty much combining it where red and green crossing- to a smooth arc by adjusting mid turn speed to it.
      Does that makes sense?
      Coach

      Reply
  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Ok, I’ll bite.

    So the green “late apex” line that gives you better vision into the turn and minimizes your time at the very edge of the tire is bad in your opinion. Would you expand on this or does someone have to take your class?

    Reply
    • Headcoach
      Headcoach says:

      :) Sure Matt, I’ll expand this a little. But please note that the full insight would be way to much to describe here. This is something i teach in detail in Cornering School Day 1. Here are some (not all) of the arguments (which are all demonstrated in my classes):

      Generally… yes i am buying the “better vision” argument- but you give up on too much:
      1) You are very wrong with “minimizes your time at the very edge of the tire”, because this line actually DOES MAXIMIZE riding throughout the entire turn whit more leaning.
      2) NO line is a guarantee for seeing/going without hitting on issues through a turn… also not the late apex. When you look at the green line… where to go when there is really something to react to?!
      3) Upcoming cars which are cutting turns are a dangerous factor when doing late apexes.
      4) riders are not using the actual potential of a late apex anyway, because most of them never make it close enough to it, so that they are riding the entire turn on the outside and messing up the next one already. Their riding goes entirely into a sweeping mode, which buries more risks they even don’t know.
      and so on, and so on, and so on…

      Again, all of this and way more is part of a training day you should not miss out Matt. There are way more thing to clear up.

      Best,
      Coach

      Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      :) true… and it’s also a good example for riders having that ‘late apex syndrome. 99% of the riders I’ve seen on track days at Laguna Seca on turn 2 are aiming for a late apex and are going in a heck of a leaning outside the turn and wasting momentum, speed and safety actually

      Reply

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