When most riders fail to get their knee down, they’re doing something like this. A lot is wrong here. I’m way too far off the seat and my torso is twisted upright, moving my center of gravity up and away from the corner. Here’s another angle:
The problem with getting your ass too far off is that it doesn’t really move that much of your weight and it twists your hips away from the corner. Riding twisted like this is bad news.
You could also find yourself leaning your torso and head way into the corner, but still not be getting your knee down. Not as bad as twisting, but still wrong. If this is you, work on pointing your knee out at 90 degrees to the corner and feeling the corner of the seat up your butt crack. You’re probably a lot closer to having perfect body position than a twister.
Here’s something approximating good body position. My crack is resting on the edge of the seat, my torso and head are inside the bike’s center line and roughly parallel with the ground. My pelvis is pointing into the turn.
How you hold up your weight is also important. When you’re hanging off, you should be supporting a lot of your weight through your outside leg, where it’s hooked around the tank. As you start pulling real G’s in a corner and leaning way over, the cornering forces are pressing you into the seat, so this isn’t as hard as it sounds. This will leave your arms free to steer and your inside leg free to move as it hits the ground.
Shifting between appropriate body positions on straights and in corners is also important. As you approach a corner, go ahead and get off to one side as you begin to brake, that way you’ll be getting the entire bike, including the rider, prepared for the turn. Move around the bike by placing your weight on the pegs through the balls of your feet. Your arms are busy steering and opening the throttle, clutch and brake and hopping around with your weight on the seat will upset the suspension.
So, the first time you get your knee down, it’s going to go something like this. Approaching a corner, gradually squeeze the brake lever as you put your weight into the pegs and slide one butt cheek to the inside. Swivel your inside knee to point as close to 90 degrees out as possible. Move your torso and head down and to the inside, “kissing” the mirror. Feel your outside arm contact the tank and point your inside elbow at the ground. As the speed at which you’re taking corners increases, you’ll naturally drag your knee in this position. As you begin to exit the corner, push the bike upright as your torso moves further off, rolling on the throttle. If the next corner is the same direction, stay where you are. If it’s the opposite, move across the bike and start this all over again. Congratulations, you now deserve the bike you’re riding.