What is a Motorcycle Knee Down?

What is a Motorcycle Knee Down?

You might see professional riders or motorbike racers touch their knees during racing. But have you ever wondered what a motorcycle knee down is? And why do they do it? 

Motorcycle knee down is the technique that most professional riders and racers do when taking turns. It helps the rider to take sharp turns easily by shifting the center of gravity. Knee down also helps the riders to create friction and slow the motorbike.

However, knee down is not so safe, especially for beginners.  

Let’s look at what it means for you and what you can do about it.

While writing this post, I leave no stone unturned so you can get essential knowledge about knee down. 

What is a Motorcycle Knee Down? 

You must see the professional motorbike races to touch their knees when taking sharp turns. 

Basically, this is called a motorbike knee down. 

Motorbike knee down is the process in which professional riders touch their knees to the ground when taking sharp turns at high speed. 

Knee down helps the rider to slow down the motorbike bit and shift the center of gravity. 

I’ve mentioned why riders do knee down in the later section in this post. 

Can Beginners Do Motorcycle Knee Down? 

Motorbike knee down looks so impressive, and thus beginners love the knee down. But have you ever wondered can beginners do a motorbike knee down? 

Experts usually don’t recommend doing such things for beginners. It’s because doing a motorbike knee down takes a lot of practice, and any mistake could rupture knee ligaments or break knee joints. Also, experts always recommend wearing riding pants and knee sliders while practicing knee down. 

Motorbike knee down isn’t suitable for beginners, and that’s why instructors in MSF(Motorcycle Foundation Course) don’t teach knee down to beginners. 

Click here to see some courses offered by MSF.

So if you’re a beginner, then it’s better to avoid knee down. 

Why Do Bikers Put their Knee Down?

Till now, you’ve learned why motorbike knee down isn’t suitable for beginners but have you wondered what the point of knee down is? 

Although there are many reasons for knee down and some are mentioned below. 

Usually, professional riders do knee down while taking sharp turns to slow their motorbike by maintaining aerodynamic drag while taking sharp turns. Also, knee down helps the rider move their center of gravity towards the sharp end, which ultimately causes them to quickly take sharp turns at high speed. 

Worries not, I’ve explained all points below. 

Why do professional racers knee down? Reasons
Shifting center of gravity. Shifting the center of gravity outwards helps the rider to take sharp turns. 
Lowering the speed of the motorbike.Racers use knee down as a trick to lower down motorbike speed when taking sharp turns. 
Give confidence. Knee down ensures that their knee is beneath them and offers some support while taking sharp turns. 
Using the knee as a protractor. Knee down helps racers to know where the edge is and how far they should lean their motorbike. 

Shifting the Centre of Gravity:

The most crucial reason riders knee down while taking sharp turns is to shift the center of gravity. 

Shifting the center of gravity outwards helps the rider to take sharp turns. It also facilitates riders to complete one revolution at the same speed without lowering motorbike speed unnecessarily. 

Lowering Speed of Motorbike:

Shifting the center of gravity couldn’t help the rider take sharp turns, and thus riders have to lower the motorbike speed. 

Lowering the motorbike speed alone by pressing the brake lever at high speed may cause the rider to fall from the motorbike. 

And thus, most of the riders use their knees down as a trick to lower down motorbike speed when taking a sharp turn. 

Give Confidence:

You won’t believe that lowering the knee, boosts the rider’s confidence while taking sharp turns at high speed. 

Knee down ensures that their knee is beneath them and offers some support while taking sharp turns. 

Using knee as protractor:

Many riders use their knees as protractors while doing knee down. This technique helps racers to know where the edge is and how far they should lean their motorbike. 

What to Wear While Doing Knee Down?

So far, you learned what the motorbike knee down is and why professional racers do this. But have you wondered what they wear on their knees while knee down? 

Some professional riders and racers prefer to wear a motorbike knee slider on thick riding pants. Wearing this set helps them protect their knee from unnecessary friction, which no rider probably wants when doing a motorbike knee down.  

If you’re planning to knee down, then you should have a set of motorbike knee sliders along with thick riding pants. Otherwise, one small mistake can rupture your knee ligaments or even fracture your knee joint. 

Steps to Doing Knee Down?

I never recommend beginner or average city riders to do knee down ever, as it can be dangerous and may injure you severely.

You should be wearing at least a knee slider, riding jacket, riding pants, motorbike boots, gloves, and helmet while doing the knee down. 

Here are the steps below, do this in the professional racer guidance only. 

How to do motorcycle knee downDetails
Grab the correct position. Before doing knee down, your knee should point outwards while your thigh should grip your motorbike tank, and your one bum should be one motorbike seat. 
Stay hanging off. Don’t acquire a normal position unless you see the straight way ahead. 
Focus on the throttle. Open throttle when taking a sharp turn can unbalance your motorbike and may cause severe accidents. 
Focus on gears. You should have close throttle when taking a sharp turn, and it also means you should select the higher gear. 

Grab the Correct Position:

Before knee down, you should learn the correct position. 

Before doing knee down, your knee should point outwards while your thigh should grip your motorbike tank, and your one bum should be on the motorbike seat. 

Your upper body should lean towards the motorbike tank, and your inner arm should be bent, and your outer arm should be straight. 

Your leg position is a crucial part that you wouldn’t want to ignore. Your inner leg should be on its toes, while your outer leg should be on the peg. 

Stay hanging Off:

It’s most common for riders to catch a seat at a normal position as knee down may cause muscle tension.

It’s useless to acquire a normal seat position just for the sake of relaxing your hamstrings and thighs. Don’t acquire a normal position unless you see straight ahead. 

Even professional racers hardly acquire a normal position unless they reach the finish line. 

Keep the temptation of hanging, and you may also do this with a lot of practice. 

Focus on Throttle:

Usually, city riders enter the curve with the open throttle, but in track, you shouldn’t use the open throttle when taking a sharp turn. 

Instead, you should always enter the curve by the close throttle and later open the throttle when you see a straight path ahead. 

It’s because open throttle when taking a sharp turn can unbalance your motorbike and may cause severe accidents. 

Focus on Gears:

You should have close throttle when taking a sharp turn, and it also means you should select the higher gear. 

If you master all the above techniques, then knee down won’t be rocket science for you. 

Remember that a knee-down motorbike won’t make your speed high; otherwise, you would use poor technique. 

You should see these YouTube videos below for a better understanding of knee down. 

Also, read my previous post where I talked about some riding gears and what to include in your motorbike gear list. Click here to read.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do riders do knee down while riding?

Knee down helps the rider to slow down the motorbike bit and shift the center of gravity. 

Can a beginner do motorcycle knee down?

Experts usually don’t recommend doing such things for beginners. It’s because doing a motorbike knee down takes a lot of practice, and any mistake could rupture knee ligaments or break knee joints

Do MSF courses teach motorcycle knee down to beginners?

Motorbike knee down isn’t suitable for beginners, and that’s why instructors in MSF(Motorcycle Foundation Course) don’t teach knee down to beginners. 

How does motorbike knee down boost riders confidence?

Knee down ensures the rider that their knee is beneath them and offers some support while taking sharp turns thus boosting their confidence.

Do motorbike knee down lowers motorbike speed?

Lowering the motorbike speed by pressing the brake at high speed may cause the rider to fall that’s why riders use their knees down as a trick to lower down motorbike speed when taking a sharp turn

Final Verdict: 

What is a motorcycle knee down? Motorcycle knee down is the technique that most professional riders and racers do when taking turns. 

Motorcycle knee down helps the rider to take sharp turns easily by shifting the center of gravity. Knee down also helps the riders to create friction and slow the motorbike.

I’ve mentioned some steps above through which you can do a motorbike knee down.