All the tips about how to not kill one's self are great. I benefited from this book, though much of the content was stuff I already knew - simply had never applied.
Treat every unknown, blind cornor as a decreasing radius turn. Enter as wide as safely possible; commit as late as possible to the apex. Has worked for me.
Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost
most of what everyone has already said is good advice. I would like to coment on your where to look question. when racing I was taught to look threw your turn. otherwise look where you want to go. always leave yourself a way out incase something unexpected happens. on a left turn, I try to enter the turn as close to the center of the road as possible. do not touch the center line. that paint can be slippery and can put you down. entering near the center on a left turn and to the right on right turn gives you room to adjust if you need to. be carefull....
Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle
Like many have already said, signs mean nothing, in fact I NEVER look for them and 99% of the time I don't consciously see them.
I am looking at the corner and road conditions as I approach, but before my turn in am looking as far down the road as I can see, sometimes it is even 2 or 3 corners ahead.
The big mistake most make is looking 50' ahead of the bike, looking for hazards, apexes and exit points. That is way to close, and way to late to do anything about it, in fact is you try to react at the last second, you will probably make it worse.
I learned from skiing the bumps that the brain will remember points you picked out moments before, so you always look 4 or 5 bumps ahead. For those that don't ski, think about hopping on rocks across a stream, do you look at your feet to make sure it lands on the intended place, or do you look ahead 3 or 4 or more steps ahead and pick the path and your feet magically land just where you wanted them to? Riding is the same, I am sizing up the next corner as I hit my turn in, apex, and exit points with out even thinking about it.
SMOOTH was mentioned and that IS the key to riding quick, to do this looking ahead is critical.
Personally I am a slow in fast out guy, Nick Ienatsch, Keith Code and others preach this technique, it gives you more time to react to something unexpected, and since you are usually accelerating through the corner gives you higher exit speed to get to the next corner quicker.
Also at least on the boxers when running spirited I am in the 4000+ RPM range. By being in a lower gear the only speed control you usually need is the throttle, even though I am pretty quick in technical tight stuff, I seldom use the brakes. I look at it this way, I want my brain processing as far ahead as it can so if I don't add brakes and clutch to the process, more of my gray matter CPU resources are available fo it.
BTW Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch is a good book, I can't say I learned a lot as I already practiced much of what he preached, but it reinforced what I was already doing.
And find your closest track day, you will learn more in one day than you would riding the street for a year.
As far as I'm concerned the critical factor is sight distance and braking distance. There is a huge difference in my speeds in the woods in Arkansas compared to my speeds here in the Texas Big Bend. In the woods, sight distance around/through the corner is often limited while here it is often the case that sight distance is a long way through the corner even when the geometry of the curves are the same.
The other factor is that different states, and in some states different counties apparently use more conservative or less conservative criteria is posting those advisory signs. I normally judge corners without really looking at my speedometer, but the ones that say 10 or 15 or even 20 usually cause me to check my entry speed with the speedo.
Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
the 40-45 corner advisory in a 55 zone does not result in me lowering my speed at all and more than likely results in an increased speed as i know i am getting a good sweeper. it's the slow WAY down to less than 50 percent of the avg posted speed tight turns that require more attention.
Been riding the twisties just north of Memphis, Tn., close to the Mississippi River on the Chickasaw Bluffs. Lots of short tight turns. Road surrounded by many small farms with livestock, interspersed with stands of trees and intercrossed with many small streams and creeks. Lots of debris in the roads which seems to accumulate in the turns. That combined with the short sight distance keeps my speed at a manageable pace. Really been digging it.
Living in the far west corner of NC,I have no choice,but to ride the twisties! I've always looked at posted speed signs on curves to be for cars and trucks. That said I usually run at about 10-20 miles over the sign. Every turn is different and unless it is one I regularly travel I am very cautious about how I approach each new curve. I've found out that the further back I'm on my seat,the better I can do the serious twisties around here! My favorite roads near my home are Rt 68 in TN,Rt 60 in Ga. and Rt 28 in Nc.