Searching For The Limits Of Cornering A Road Bike | GCN Doesn’t Do Science

Searching For The Limits Of Cornering A Road Bike | GCN Doesn’t Do Science


We’re going to show you how fast you can go around a corner on a bike before your tyres lose grip. As you’ll see though, there are no GCN does science glasses here, and it turns out that losing it is harder than we thought, But, well, you’ll see…

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Of course, Every corner out on the open road is different, but we thought right here on an actual race track, Castle Combe here in the UK, we’d work out just how far you can push it in perfect conditions. Riding this corner faster and faster and faster, until eventually the tyres give out.

We’ve got a fair bit of experience of riding bikes, and so we think we’ve got a pretty good idea of how fast we can go, so this is going to be a bit unnerving to push past that point of no return.

How far can you lean? Let us know! 👇

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Music:Suffer City – Lost And Blind (Instrumental Version)
Tigerblood Jewel – Razor Sharp
Friends with animals – Rotations
Anders Bothén – Wasted Education 2

Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto /

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100 Comments on "Searching For The Limits Of Cornering A Road Bike | GCN Doesn’t Do Science"


  1. What happened to this channel,,,,..?????it used to be very informative ,,,, now a bad comedy ,,,,,😞😞😞😞😞 try going down a hill like in the tour, la vuelta, or giro…..
    Wait a bloody minute,,,, this a race track ,, all corners are smooth like A red wine…. plus there are no hills in England…….ciao fratello

    Reply

  2. 5:07 it's not the centripetal force that gets too big for the coef of friction, it's the tangentiel acceleration that's too big for the centripetal force. The centripetal force is equal to the static friction.

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  3. Maximum lean angle at peak friction force in radians from vertical = tan^-1(v^2/(rg))
    v = velocity of bike
    r = radius of corner
    g = gravitational force

    coefficient of friction of tires is not important because the tire friction effects friction force and side force similarly.
    the speed a bike can travel through a corner before tire grip is lost is when friction force = side force.

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  4. Wait, was the track actually wet when you did this test? If so, whats the point? there are no "Wet KOMs"

    It's gotta be pretty tough to legitimately go out trying to max your lean angle knowing you are going to crash, in light of this, I'm not sure this test can be performed accurately with a sober test rider.

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  5. Was this just some weird paid ad for the GP5K? This was an awful video with no solid info in it… dude basically jumped off the bike.

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  6. Ughhh!….friction….is when the surfaces slide. Adhesion is what generates the centripetal force. Just think about what school teaches you: friction is not dependent of contact area. We all know that wider tires (or larger contact patches) allow us to turn faster, thus you can't talk about friction. And in car tire tests (well, it's easier to test than bikes, motorized or not), the turning happens when you still have full adhesion but friction starts to appear (in other words: when you just start to slip).
    And one more thing: friction creates heat, adhesion not (at least it's negligible compared to friction).

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  7. This demonstration was a total joke tbh. The fall looked like it was faked.
    Now gcn if you can’t properly do a video showing how far you can push the limits without falling into the corner, which involves scientific calculation of speed, angle, centre of gravity, body position etc etc please don’t post such videos, it’s a waste of time.

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  8. A very helpful topic. Only if it were not a bit held back. Come on, guys. You could do better than that. I love the last scene though. I felt pity for the bike too. Regards from Philippines. 👍

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  9. How about instead of increasing speed you increase the angle at the same decent speed.. so we can see how far he's able to lean in a sharp corner.

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  10. I can understand why people are upset by this video being a spoof… But at least they didn't con us into watching a 25min video. I had a good chuckle when they brought the stunt man out.
    In any case, it's in the title: "GCN doesn't do science"!
    It was obviously a scripted gag from the very beginning, lighten up.

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  11. Crash footage was not approved by Continental. Competitors would use the footage to make a side-by-side comparison of their products lean angle in ideal conditions, and use said footage for a basis of competition. This should have been disclosed by GCN. (Continental is not to blame in this case. If I were their marketing manager, I would not want that shown either)

    Reply

  12. I've done this for real. Back in the 80s. Car turns without signaling causing me to turn quickly at 40kph. The tubular tyre in the front comes off the rim sending me face first in the tarmac sliding 10 meters until my face hits the sidewalk. I still remember the feeling of the bone under my right eye pressing harder and harder against the edge.

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  13. Couple of issues with your physics guys Greater surface area of wider tyres does not change the friction (bit counterintuitive that I know). Wider tyres allow you to run lower pressures which allows the tyre to deform more into the road surface thus creating more friction. Also as you back over centripetal (inward force) does not increase but decrease, hence you slide out. Just saying!

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  14. why can motorcycles lean as much as they want but bikes doint even touch and they fall over?

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  15. EXCUSE ME… How long were those Conti's aged? Seems they were slapped on straight out of the box. Shame on you, GCN!

    Reply

  16. I was leaning around a corner and my rear wheel got onto the paint stripe and slipped out. Paint stripes are slippery; just thought I'd share.

    Also, it took all the skin off the calf I ended up sliding on.

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  17. I didn't learn much from this. Put the guy in downhill pads under the leathers and a full-face helmet, then hitting the deck at bicycle speed won't be so scary, especially a low-side slid-out crash. Then maybe we could see effects of weight distribution, tire pressure, and upper body angle. Hire a mountain bike pro to push the limits. This was weak but shoulda coulda been better.

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  18. I am a (very very) experienced motorcyclist…1975+ despatch rider (UK) etc
    When the front wheel losses grip you fall.
    If only the back wheel does you can save it – by straightening out ie going wider on corner exit, or stamping yr foot down (ouch)…suddenly standing the bike up more into yr thigh as you hang off more sometimes re-establishes more back wheel grip…
    (Careful with fast left handers-UK) – yr run off is oncoming traffic not the hedge!)
    So..
    Run a grippier front tire – either by compound or lower psi (bigger contact patch and hotter(deg C) tire)
    That way the rear tire will always loose grip first, a safer index to how close to the the limit you are. …as the rear wheel starts to step out or slide you can feel when to bail out of the lean a little….if this starts with the front tire , its all too fast and Bang youre off.!
    Yr stunt rider, lol , came off cos his front went – look at the slow mo.

    …hopefully – lol – sometimes the front goes first especially when starting to lean under braking….keep the front wheel happy on corners!…miss bumps , drain covers, painted lines, kerb debris etc!

    PS look up the "Canard" airplane set up – its in reverse [to bikes] re front and back – but a Canard can never catastrophically-stall [crash] because the smaller front wing is angled to stall first before the main rear wing does, (this lowers the nose and stops a big stall).
    It's the "lesser end" protecting the "important end"…
    ((Canard is french for duck – I suppose cos how they look))

    So a grippier front tire is no guarantee like the no-stall Canard – but it should help.
    How optimum that tire set up is for TT etc averages is someting idk.

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  19. @5:25 that was definitely not at 50 kph but rather 20 kph or even less.

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  20. When I used to push a bike really hard I went to a lot of effort with my wheel build quality, ie true to +/- 2 thou, maximum spoke tension giving maximum stiffness (the best bike wheels aren't very stiff), tyres and pressure.
    I usually use a slightly bigger rear tyre than the front, 36 spoke rear wheel etc
    Part of the skill is to push the rear harder than the front so that when the back starts to step out I counter steer. Move weight forward and hold it up on the front brake.
    If caught by surprise this is much harder to do
    Try to "float" on the bike rather than hard on the seat.
    Lots of small things.
    BE CAREFUL, THOROUGH and PRACTICE!

    Reply

  21. Can i have that bike? What's another man's trash is another man's treasure, right? I can be that another man.
    Just kidding… Not really, or am i?

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  22. I used to love putting my shoulder into corners and every day managed to take a sharp corner at a decent speed with a good lean until one day my bike just gave out from under me unexpectedly and I absolutely ate road… There must’ve been oil in the road or something. But yes, it has annihilated my confidence for taking sharp corners at speed, something I used to enjoy about my riding.

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  23. Was there not any actual footage of any of the cornering at all ? Jeez these GCN videos are frustrating, its like they do a great video and then decide in editig to remove the most inetersting 20%, the actual stuff you want to see and know…. They are really just glorified click bait and adverts for conti I guess.
    ' Lets compare …… ' BUt we'll make sure we don't do any direct comparisons in case we prove some new tech to be bollox.
    ' The truth about…everything ' – if everything is a very small subjective issue that we will casually talk about
    'How to…..' assuming XYZ… and discounting …. and actually not taking into account…….
    ggrrrrrrrrr !

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  24. Do it again with some input from someone with a physics background and lots of padding.

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  25. Not much help because no two corners are the same. Force, friction, tire-release point determined by multiple factors: flat or descent and how steep. How tight the corner, humidity, condition of tires, degree or lack of bank in turn, etc. It's always a "calculated" risk; i.e. what feels ok.

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  26. Flipped the bike going about 35km, was gunna crash and just turned the tire, big mistake sent me flying LOL won’t be making that mistake again

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  27. Wearing expensive helmets in all video's has to make a crash, brings out the 2002 bell helmet hahah

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  28. It's an odd little video with a couple funny moments and no science ("GCN doesn't do science"). Dont watch if you take these kinds of things seriously.

    Reply

  29. too fake to entertain, I have the same tires and haven't had more fun at cornering ever than with these ones, I'm no pro athlete, but commuting to work I added tow unnecessary turns to my route at the parking lot just to enjoy the leaning and the speed at the corners. I'm probably 20kg heavier than the culprit in the video and rushing into 90 degree corner at 35kph is quite fun – I'm learning my limits

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  30. Once i banked my mountain bike on a road way more than that…

    … i mean, i fell on the corner, but still.

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  31. You know you've got good leaning skills when your shoes and pedals are scuffed on the bottom outside sole from road contact while peddling through corners.
    …and if you get that low when peddling you can always get a little lower by leveling the pedals and coasting though the apex.
    By on guard for the dreaded back wheel spin out though cause that can happen to anyone…particularly on that pure tar coating you sometimes see all over the God damn road.

    Reply

  32. The thing is that corner wasn't tight enough that even with the max speed you could achieve on a road bike it would ever be necessary to lean to an extent where you could skid and fall. You need to slam the bike into a super tight corner and also not turn the handle bars just lean as far as possible.

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  33. Why am I the only one that sees the thing most wrong with this video!? If you know that you're going to spill, YOU DON'T DO IT ON A RIGHT TURN! YOU DON'T FALL ON THE DERAILLEUR!

    Reply

  34. Just wanted to remind my friends here that the size of your contact patch does not increase friction, it only increases your chance of achieving grip. On a dry normal road, you can corner just as fast on 18c as on 28c, given the compound is the same. The difference is in poor conditions, where having a larger contact patch means you are more likely to have part of your tire in contact with a high grip surface. I'll admit, while I understand the math, the idea boggles my mind.

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  35. Amazing how far you can lean the bike. Yet, there is another skill to learn regarding turning. The advantage is smaller lean angle while turning.
    So, what about faster turn in?

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  36. I had a pair of 'Ummagumma' tires on my Trek in the early 90's and I could take some very sharp corners with confidence. They did have a higher drag but I didn't notice it too much. This is one project I wouldn't sign up for, good video though.

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  37. …Not as much as a recumbent bike. Don't you wedgies ever try to stay with a bent banking a hard curve. I can bury it through corners. You wedgies will catch a pedal and eat it. Plus I'm exotic and charismatic too, and more comfortable.

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  38. I think the TWO biggest influences on grip are tire pressure, and surface quality, i.e., wet, sandy, etc. But if normal surface conditions,exist, it's the tire pressure. Get any tire on your car and lower the pressure to nearly flat. Your car wont go fast, but it'll be hard to dislodge it around a corner.

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  39. I just learned too far while riding through clemsons campus the other day and my tires just lost it and I ate it in the middle of an intersection

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  40. This would have been really interesting if you had used an accelerometer to measure the actual G that can be pulled in a corner.

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  41. GCM comedy . Get one of your pals to crash at high speed " for science " OMG that's too damn funny. What about protective gear ? Well , if you want..but then imply that would be a pussy move . XD . You guys should really start some comedy skits that was hilarious XD .

    Reply

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