I had a handful of questions on Late Apex vs Early Apex Cornering after the Yeti SB130 review earlier this week. Lets go over some of the advantages of late apex, or “squaring” the corner when pleasure riding your MTB.
The image below illustrates Late Apex vs Early Apex cornering lines. The green line represents the late apex while orange is early apex.
Line of Sight
This is the most notable improvement in the late apex corner for pleasure riders. Running on the outside of the corner as long as possible drastically improves what you can see in and around that corner.
Taking the late apex line you can see the bike down on trail significantly sooner providing much more time to react as required. It’s pretty much that simple. Seeing further down the trail increases the options at your disposal for any situation. Rock. Hole. Sasquatch. You know, whatever.
Another advantage Late Apex cornering has dealing with the unexpected is bike positioning and line choice.
Bike Positioning and Performance
When cornering a two wheel vehicle speed has a substantial influence on the available radius of your turn.
Performance Issues with Early Apex
In the Early Apex corner you are committed to the majority of the direction change at the last bit of the turn. This makes it easy to over cook, come in too fast, and simply run out of real estate to make the corner. Every rider has seen those tire marks. In fact that’s one of the reasons I picked the corner in the image above – if you can’t make that turn it has some consequence to you…
If there’s an obstacle in the outer line you will be hard pressed to shorten the radius (heading back inside the corner) due to momentum. By the time you may see an issue you’re committed to a direction change, leaning the bike over, which is a rough time to grab a handful of brake.
Gains with Late Apex
The sight lines are a huge advantage and frankly why we posted this. The sooner you can take in data the better you are apt to react to it. But there are other advantages too.
Since more of the direction change is prior to the apex the bike is “standing” back up sooner. This provides you a better emergency braking platform.
Late Apex cornering tends to provide a much wider range of exit lines as well. You’re not as committed to the outside line or nothing so to speak.
The combination of visual sight line as well as exit line choices allow greater corner entry speeds with confidence.
Other Tid Bits
Always ride at or below 70% of your threshold. You will improve your skills faster when you don’t ride on the ragged edge.
Expect to be surprised. (see you thought it was going to be expect the unexpected huh! point made.)
Smile, you’re outside having fun. Remember if you have an unexpected experience its likely to kick start your adrenaline. Take a deep breath. Sure the daisy chain of hippies holding hands walking up trail five wide was unexpected. And annoying. But it is what it is and if you’re riding in control taking lines to minimize surprises you can slow down. Smile and roll your eyes. Rather than launching into an F-bomb tirade…
See you on the trails.