Knee down.. what the big deal??

Knee down is arguably the most thrilling part of riding performance motorcycle. This gravity defying act is truly one of the most gratifying action you can performed on a sport motorcycle. It is true that you do not need to get your knee dragged to get a fast lap time – I do have friend that faster then me without getting his knee down – yet knee down is truly a pro treat that you see all the way to the MotoGP level.

But before we continue, I just want to stress that knee down should not be done in public road and without proper riding gear.

You will always remember your first knee down, mine was at Sentul GoKart track riding Suzuki Satria FU150. Just moment after that I crashed. Apparently I lean just bit too much to get my knee on the tarmac and with speed that bit too low. Even-though I crashed, for a split second I did felt my first knee down.

My first “true” knee down was at that gokart track as well. Several week after that, I did get my speed enough, lean enough, and suddenly I heard this scratching noise and some strange sensation from my knee. I did it! It was my right knee. Before the end of the day I got both knee down almost on any corner. Sweet!

Coming to the big track with Superbike and Supersport bike I did get my knee down the first with my CBR. Somehow I did not get my knee down with my Ducati superbike. But again my lap time with the Ducati was still in 2 minutes range, while with the CBR about 1 minutes fifty ish…

The following are what I think how to get a knee down, but be aware that I am neither pro rider nor racer so do take the following with the grain of salt;

1. Correct speed

This is key. You need to have enough speed so the bike’s centrifugal force during cornering able to counter the gravity pulling the bike down on its side. With enough speed you can lean the bike (that pull by gravity) in an extreme angle becuase the centrifugal force during corner will keep and push the bike outside and up, hence a balance while leaning in the corner. Obviously the faster you go the leaner you can get. As an example, from my experience at turn 1 Sentul circuit (R1) you need to have corner speed about 120kph+ to get your knee down. At speed bellow that you will not get your knee down. At turn 4 (R4) I get my knee down around 80 kph.

2. Posture

The hangging position. Proper posture shall have low center of gravity on the inside of the corner. Basically that is by getting your butt out, lowering your torso and moving your head to the inside. Your knee will drop and shall touch the tarmac. Without proper posture it will be difficult to get your knee down, also having too high centre of gravity (by extending your arm) will cause the bike to low sided easily.

3. Counter steer.

This is also important. To steer the bike you need to lean the bike. To lean the bike to an extreme angle, you need to understand and know how to counter steer. When entering the corner fast is just not enough to lean your body to make the bike lean. A lot of novice rider “out” from a corner when they try to lean the bike by leaning their body, and if the leaning is not enough they steer the bike like steering a car. Which will cause the bike to stands up and you’ll “out” the corner. With counter steer you will be able to lean the bike more and steer the bike properly, and with enough speed you will get your knee down.

Lastly you have to enjoy a knee down knee down should come “naturally” without you pushing or forcing the bike or your self to do so. And once you get your knee down, enjoy it. As for my self, I enjoy it very much, just one of the feat that no other form of motor sport is offering..

25 thoughts on “Knee down.. what the big deal??

  1. Wow.. so technical, ..can’t understand it..hehe
    I guess it’s ok to get your knee down
    as far as you don’t get all your body and your bike down…

  2. Ahh… the sensation of your first knee down. Unforgetable.
    I was on an ST2 when I did mine.

    I agree, dont do it unless your wearing full protective gear.
    But I’m sorry, I accidentally got my knee down on the road between Wangon & Tasik twisties last Saturday, while riding two up 😦 Only for a split second though. I raised my knee right away cause I didnt want to ruin my touring pants…

  3. 1) Hahahahaha I got the tips, even for a man never practicing any cornering on the circuit like me.

    2) I do love contersteering with my Mito or FXR…. But you have to explain more clearly what contersteering is about… of course with more content as the way u experience it for sometimes

  4. @ilham..

    Hmm.. yup countersteering, perhaps in future post I will write about this. Countersteering is one of the key concept in riding two wheels vehicle.. coming soon!


    Eko.. knee down in public road… without proper gear (knee puck)… and 2 up??? Alamak!! very bad..bad boy… 🙂

  5. alamak, kneedown… you guys need to teach me to do it… so that I can go faster on the corners. need to have that coz you guys definitely will leave me behind now..

  6. Everybody… Didi above is the “friend that faster then me without getting his knee down”… 🙂

    So stop being too humble!!!!

  7. Yup, didi’s lean angle is much larger than all of us. If stoner can reach 70 degrees, I’m guessingg Didi’s angle is around 60-65 degrees :-p
    He wont put his knee down because he’s wearing a much more expensive Dainese knee puck compared to our cheaper local ones. So the hesitation comes from having to replace his expensive knee puck.


  8. hehehe, i take your comments as a compliment, even though I know it is a teasing.. especially Ekowd, saying that me leaning at 60 degrees… hehehehe, I wish I could do that..

    Not trying to be too humble, or to be so cheap (does n’t want to replace the knee puck), but, to tell you the truth, I am just not able to do it.. need to learn from you guys.. seriously, I heard it is so exciting (like Rossi said)… Tried many times, but never touched the tarmac… Next practice, okay, you teach me..

  9. Mr.Didi (or internationally known as Diti),
    with all due respect…. bullsh**!!!

    Everybody knows nobody does 1:50 at Sentul without being able to get his knee down. Ask anybody. Mr.Bona got his knee down when he reached 1:54. And I got mine doing 1:56. So it’s a matter of ‘want’ not ‘can’.

  10. Ok, ok, .. I gave up telling you the truth… hehehe, trying to digest Bona’s technical advise.. and will try that on the next Sentul’s practice.. But, Ekowd, no 60 degrees lah, that’s too much hehehehe..

  11. @Didi.. just lower your knee for God sake!!! Don’t be such a pu**y.. you know you wearing full wear pack… not a skirt! hahahaha… *kabour!!!

  12. once I’ve tried knee down in cadas pangeran’s road using my P200. I lost my front end for a while, feel goose bumps.

    keep safety bro…

  13. I remembered my knee down
    back in junior high first time in road race
    that was awesommmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee words cant explain

  14. dont even think about your silly knee. just keep trying to go faster. eventually it will hit. you will get used to it. some of you will use it all the time. some will just get and idea where the road is at. and some will just let it skip around not really caring if it ever hits.

  15. lol was riding stoned, it was wet, decided to go for a kneedown or some public st for some stupid reason and just hit the ground and slid, was pretty fun, dragon jeans left my legs scratchless, just few grazes on my was decent too =)

  16. This is great tec info. It’s not to much info that you don’t get what you should be doing,

    Funny how speed gives the rider more balance, and how it at first, feels unnatural but over time feels like trust.

    “If your trying to knee down don’t, just relax and look where your going, eventually you will know the road and go quicker and lower as you get faster.”

    or crash, Cheers have a great ride,

    Adam Australia, Black Spur<3

  17. Really great info can be found in the “Twist of the Wrist Volume II”.

    It comes in book and video.

    Awesome awesome awesome.

    Remember, keep your arms loose, transfer your weight before turn (half an ass cheek off bike), push down on the handle bar you want to turn to and keep an even or increasing speed.

  18. thanks for the great info guys, are you guys Indonesian? yes totw 2 is a great book..also try read ‘sport riding technique’ by Ian ……

    I also do kneedown on my kr150..(120kg)
    I think I do it quite slowly(around 60kmH, since I only have rpm on my dashboard), but I’m having trouble doing a right hander with a kneedown.. do you guys feel the same?

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