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    Body Position The most obvious thing about any rider is their form on the bike. How do they sit and move on it? What’s their posture? Do they look comfortable or awkward, stiff or loose, Moto GP, or nervous-novice? Good body positioning isn’t just about being stylish——you can play dress-up in your older brother's or sister's cool boots but walking will be clumsy——it has a desirable result and we can define 'good body positioning'. Harmony with the bike, freedom of movement on it, precision control over it―with the minimum necessary effort. Survival Reactions Play a Role The bike itself can force poor riding posture. A shift lever positioned a ¼ inch too high or too low manipulates the rider into awkward and uncomfortable poses, limiting his control over it. Even with perfect control positioning, good form on the bike has its difficulties. Achieving it may look and even feel like it’s reserved for the young and flexible. This may be true to a degree but many of its problems are actually brought on by our own Survival Reactions, our SRs. For example, a rider who instinctively levels the horizon by tilting his head in corners, creates unnecessary tension in his body. Basics Apply Good form is difficult for riders who struggle with basics: uncertainty with basics has a physical manifestation. Just as joy or anger are obvious in someone, these uncertainties manifest themselves in awkward and unsuitable body positions. For example: poor throttle control prompts riders to rely on slash and burn hard drives out of the turns. Their 'ready-for-action', rigid body language telegraphs their intention. That tense anticipation of the drive off the turns loses them the handling benefits of being relaxed mid-corner. The Stages of Body Positioning There are three stages to body positioning: Poor form + poor riding = ripple-effect, snowballing errors. Good riding + poor form = good but limited range of control. Good form + good technical riding skills = riding that is both fluid and efficient. Number 3 is the goal of any rider training. The Ingredients Body Positioning has five distinct ingredients. The bike and how it is configured——its controls, seat, pegs and bar positioning. The rider's understanding of body positioning——how to properly position himself on the bike and why. Our Survival Reactions——how they create unwanted and often unconscious tension and positioning problems. Lack of riding basics——has or hasn't mastered the core technical skills needed to ride well. The rider's own physical limitations——height, weight, flexibility, conditioning. With those five points under control, specific techniques can be employed to achieve positive benefits in bike control. Form, Function and Technique GP body position does not address or improve 90% of the most basic and vital components of riding: Our sense of traction, speed, lean angle, braking, and line, to name a few, are not directly dependent upon or necessarily improved by stylish form. Clearly, body positioning isn't the universal panacea some think it is, but it has its place. For example, holding the body upright, counter to the bike’s lean while cornering has several negative effects. Among these, is the fact that it positions the rider so he can’t fully relax. This can be quickly corrected and solves the functional problem of tension from cramped and restrictive joint alignment: a key element in allowing any rider to relax. A bike related example would be too high or too low brake or clutch lever. It puts the rider's wrist into misalignment and restricts fluid movement. The Rules of Technique Here are my guidelines for technique. Any riding technique is only as good as: The validity of the principles it rests on. Example: The benefits of hanging off follow physics and engineering principles. The access it provides to the technology with which the bike is designed and constructed. Are the potentials of chassis, suspension and power able to be utilized as intended? Does the technique embrace them? The consistency with which it can be applied. Does it work in all similar situations? The degree of control it provides for the rider. Can the rider either solve problems or make improvements, or both, by using it? The ease with which it can be understood and coached. Does it take extraordinary experience or skill to apply it, or, can it be broken down into bite sized pieces for any rider to master? Which brings us to my first law of body positioning. Stability Comes in Pairs. Bike and rider stability are always paired―rider instability transfers directly to the bike. Body Positioning has but one overriding guideline: Rider stability. How a rider connects to the bike can bring about harmony and control and fluid movement or turn into an uncoordinated wrestling match. Ideal Stability Having stability AND fluidity of movement sounds conflicting; when something is stable it’s expected to stay put, unmoving, like the foundation of your house or the roots of a tree. But the opposite is true for riding. Comfort And Stability What works well on a paddock-stand doesn't always transfer to real riding. Aftermarket rearsets, which can be adjusted (or which are manufactured) too far up, back, forward or down is an example. In the paddock they feel racy; on the road or track they can fatigue the rider. The fatigue comes from the rider's core not being correctly supported. This causes him to be off balance. Off-balance generates extra effort from muscle tension and poor joint alignment which in turn hampers accurate control manipulations. Awkward looking body position is what you see. Riders often accept or try and work around this, without realizing its negative impact on their riding. Simply Complicated Through research and coaching of tens of thousands of riders of all skill levels, 58 separate elements which influence our body positioning have surfaced. Seemingly simple things such as too tight a pair of gloves or leathers can affect all the other elements. Once the 58 are corrected and integrated, the rider has many more options; opening doors to a wide range of fun, efficient and, you might say, elegant techniques. All of our coaches have been thoroughly drilled on what each of the 58 are and how to correct them. © 2014 Keith Code, all rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in any form without the author's consent.
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    Riding a curved on-ramp at the speed limit with a cop behind you.
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    it's all relative. Maintenance throttle in turn 8 at willow Springs on a SV650 is 100%
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    I think I read that in TotW and/or from Level 1 training. Aim for a weight distribution of 60/40 Rear/Front bc our rear tire has more rubber on the road. Something got me thinking about that today and I'm now having trouble making sense of it. I think I've heard about people using setup to get *more* not less weight on the front to improve turning. I thought the logic there was that more weight on the front tire generates more heat and also gets a bigger contact patch. Why would we use throttle to reduce both of those things on the smaller front tire? It seems to me like doing so would simultaneously increase the risk of a high side as well as a low side. There's probably a lot of nuance and subtlety there but I'd rather ask for clarification than assume I figured it out on my own and then risk doing something inadvisable on an indirect route to the hospital.
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    Oh I like it! The "riders prayer". We should write a cool one a post it up.
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    Cool story. Read this: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-bicycle-problem-that-nearly-broke-mathematics/#
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    I second that, I was there, too and I really enjoyed the track, I liked the chicanes and that long right hand fast sweeper! I also got a lot of practice figuring out how to find a line on an unfamiliar, blind turn where you can't see the exit. Glad to hear you liked the facility. Did you bring your own bike or ride a school bike?
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    Art, Yes, tire warmers put heat into the tire, so you don't have to on the first couple of laps. Other than that there is nothing magical about them. They don't change the rubber compound from bad to good. Now lets tackle the issue of HEAT CYCLES. Heat cycling of the tire is a very confusing and misunderstood area. I will say that I have heard that other brands are well known for "going off" or "heat cycling" and I will leave that conversation to another thread another day. For now I'm going to stick with Dunlop's, as that is what I know. Do tires heat cycle? Yes Is this the most important factor in tires? NO! in fact it is not very significant, and very over emphasized. Certainly making a tire go from 250 deg to negative 10 deg over and over is not the best thing you can do to a tire, but consider that placing it on a warmer, at 190 deg, for 8 hours is not any better. Both extremes are not the best for the tire. We all hear about "Heat Cycle", but almost never do we hear talk about the thickness of the tire, or tread depth/wear. Fact: The thicker the tread rubber, the more grip. The thinner the tread rubber, the less grip. So as you ride on the tire, session after session, the rubber is getting thinner and there is less and less grip. Often this is mistaken for "heat cycle", and the rider now places his attention on his warmers and not on the real important factor of how much tread rubber is left on his tire. Odd rituals start to crop up regarding tire warmers: Riders come back to the pits and RUSH to put their warmers on and crank them up to full, all in an attempt to "stop the heat cycle!". When buying used tires, riders rate the tire by how many heat cycles it has, not the tread depth. It is a mistake to emphasize heat cycling over tread depth, with Dunlops. So lets get real, which tire would you want to buy: 1) A tire with 10 laps and never had warmers? 2) A tire with 8 sessions and was on the warmers all day (8 hours) and never cooled down? 3) A new tire that was on a warmer for 8 hours only and never used? I personally would pick #3 because it has the thickest tread, and #1 would be my second pick because it has less laps and probably more tread than #2. Notice how the heat cycles does not play into my personal choice in this matter, but the tread thickness does. You can use a D211GPA or any other Dunlop tire without warmers and have no problems. ( Make sure you do heat the tire up for the first couple laps before you get with it.) You might have a very small decrease in grip or life, but that would be very small and most likely not noticeable over the 1-5 track days you will get out of the tires. You would be spliting hairs on the performance level and tire life with/without warmers. Even if you were to do back to back tests, you would find that if in just 1 session in the life of the tire, you went 5 seconds faster, that would make more of a difference than heat cycling because you used more tread rubber in that session. Heat cycles are not a total myth, but they do not make as big a difference as the internet would lead you to believe. Tire warmers are good thing to have if you want to get going right out of the pits. They are not a requirement. Note that our recommendation for track day warmers has you putting the warmers on after a session and not plugging them in right away. This is so you don't needlessly force heat into the tire continuously for no reason. http://www.dunloprac...com/Warmers.pdf Ever notice that the chatter about heat cycles started about the time tire warmers became cheaper and more readily available? Do you think there could be an urban legend that started because of this increased supply?
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    When tire is very worn and the rubber is thin it is much harder to heat up the tire and keep it warm, that is the biggest thing I notice on a very worn race tire, or in some cases the tire profile is changed through wear which can change handling.
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    All of my experience over the last ten years has been on the track. I can tell you that braking smoothly whether forcefully or not is very important. Analyzing the physics of the action can be fun but the act of braking doesn't need to be over complicated. Coming in hot and abruptly releasing the throttle to stab the brakes can produce negative inputs. I have a perfect example: I was racing at Sonoma trying to get a podium position getting as much drive between turn 6 and the very beginning of the carousel. I came over the top to the entry on the brakes so hard that I had the rear wheel up off the ground a good foot. I made a mistake stabbing the brakes. This action totally screwed my entry and line. I have become quite good at braking late so this was a little embarrassing. The way I like to do it, which might be different for others, is to release the throttle from my grip allowing the throttle to spring back shut. I use a two finger touch on the brake lever so I relieve pressure on the throttle, pulling in on the brake lever as I reapply pressure on the bar. I had much rather have a smooth, concise, controlled rhythm to corner entry than chaos. We can achieve the white knuckle pressure to the front brakes but in a way that helps the rider and the mechanics of the suspension stay in control, apply the g force to the body smoothly, controllably so that my inputs do not negatively effect entry and corner speed. Once we get a little out of control on braking at corner entry we lose sight of what we need to do at mid corner and corner exit. The eyes should be up, the head turned and looking through the exit once we know we have successfully entered the corner. This is hard to do when we are not completely in control. A little less theoretical and little more pit talk. Sorry if I'm a little off intended topic but reading this thread brought this to mind. Cheers!
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    I respectfully disagree. Josh Herrin was clearly at fault. It appeared that Josh was going to beat Tony into the corner but he was out braked by Elias. Look at the replay again. A rule I try to live by in racing is to show the other rider a front wheel. If you can show a wheel, then you have the position. Josh Herrin's front wheel never got in front of Tony's right foot peg. In fact it was Herrin's front wheel hitting Elias's right peg that caused Herrin to crash. Another indication was Herrin getting up and immediately going over to Elias apologizing. If I am racing into a corner and I can't see you, or any part of you bike, I have the position.
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    This sounded a little odd to me so I watched the video. Here is what jumped out at me: The title of the video is: Ninja 300 shock causes tire wear. The first thing he says is that the bike has a stock shock, and that he is suggested this riding change as a way to compensate for that stock shock. My interpretation of that is that you could manage the problem temporarily by adjusting your riding but what you should REALLY do is check your suspension settings (or possibly the geometry) to FIX the problem, by setting it up so that the tire is not so unloaded or bouncing at corner entries. I'd also verify your tire pressure, as I suspect that tire pressure too high could aggravate the problem. I'm not a suspension expert and you should ask someone who is - but from what Dave Moss said, it sounded like the shock was not keeping the tire planted so maybe slower rebound, and possibly softer on compression, might help to keep the rear tire from bouncing up and down. Have you had the sag set properly on your bike for your weight? Have you checked the spring rate to see if your weight is within the recommended range for it? It seems like a better plan to fix the mechanical issue rather than changing your riding style to compensate - unless, of course, you are just trying to get through a race or practice day like the rider in the video. Also... there is a WORLD of difference between throttle at 30% on a Ninja 300 and throttle at 30% on an S1000rr! 40hp versus 200hp and the BMW only weights about 60 lbs more than the Ninja. I don't think I'd assume that piece of advice would apply the same from that bike to yours, you might get a different effect. For the sake of discussion, what sort of effects do you think you would notice on your bike's handling if you put the throttle on 30% entering a turn?
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    Have you tried working with a coach or friend, or looking at photos, to compare your left vs right body position to see what you are doing differently? Or is there a strength issue on that side? In the absence of any other info I'd look at how you are holding the throttle, as rolling on the gas as the biggest difference between lefts and rights. Are you doing something awkward with your arm, shoulder, or body to give yourself room to twist the throttle? Have you tried the "screwdriver" grip on the throttle to help prevent your wrist getting bound up when trying to roll on hard?
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    Certainly the race tire will have more grip and be better for the track. Using a 400 mile worn street tire is not a good option for the track. I would use the Race Tire on the track and then go back to your street Q3 for the street.
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    The problem is that we are comparing things that are very different in nature: Steering geometry modification and throttle control. Steering geometry modification: Motorcycle steering has some built-in dynamic stability, just like the front wheels of a shopping cart. The front wheel steers around an axis that is always ahead of its point of contact with the pavement (distance that is named trail), which naturally straightens the steering up to follow a straight line, especially when the tire is disturbed by a road bump. Bigger trail makes the bike harder to deviate from a straight line, especially at high speeds, and vice-versa. Riders who prefer a lighter-quicker steering modify the geometry of the suspension in order to reduce that trail distance, while sacrificing some natural stability. When doing so by reducing the caster or rake angle in a few degrees, there is slight re-distribution of the weight over the tires, which is very small (about 5% of the total weight moves towards the front suspension for a reduction of rake angle of 3 degrees). Throttle control: By opening your throttle more or less, you have the dynamic ability of loading the front suspension and the smaller front contact patch with any weight magnitude between 0% and 50% of the total weight of the bike and rider, which makes a big difference respect to the fixed weight transfer discussed above (5%). Even more, by accelerating and braking hard you are simultaneously modifying the pitch attitude of the frame and that rake angle, and consequently making the steering heavier (accelerating: tail down-nose up) or lighter (barking: nose down-tail up). When you are turning at a fast rate and with a lot of lean angle, what of the two following extreme situations will keep your tires farther from a possible slide and crash: on the front brake or on the gas? And why? Chapter #3 explains the link between throttle control, suspension and traction. The rules of throttle control not only put the proper percentage of weight on the front tire, but put the front suspension to work in the more beneficial range and keep the pitch and height of the chassis as it should for stability and ground clearance.
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    S1000RR only 160# lighter. Must have titanium front forks, magnisium frame, ECU that takes on the fly verbal commands, 3" narrower seat, with 1 1/4" less padding, cornering headlamps, self heating elements on axles to feed heat lined carbon wheels (eliminates need for tiee warmers by heating the wheel and tire casing from the inside), red, white and blue everything, and a voice activated digital readout to talk to riders or students behind you.
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    There is no more weight transfer once the bike does a wheelie or a stoppie: it is 100% of the total weight on the tire in contact with the surface; no more, no less. The wheelie and the stoppie are beyond the transient state of initiating braking that we are discussing. That is the state during which the bike pivots around its center of mass or axis of pitch (just like a seesaw or teeter-totter), progressively pressing more on the front suspension and front tire (which is the reason for which the nose dives and the tail rises up simultaneously). This link explains it better than I could: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_dynamics#Braking_according_to_ground_conditions Again, with good rubber and on dry track, you can get away with suddenly stabbing the brake lever: the weight transfer will happen during the time dictated by the rotational inertia, but it will not make a difference, the contact patch will fiercely grip. Doing the same on public dirty greasy roads, right after start raining, will lock the tire and you will go down very quickly, unless you are quicker releasing that pressure on the lever: that is the whole point behind bikes equipped with ABS brakes. With no ABS brakes, you may be surprised of how hard you can brake in those conditions if you apply increasing pressure on the front brake lever in proportion to the rate of weight transfer.
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    I think the simplest solution would be for you to go ride and try it and see what actual results you get. It shouldn't take a lot of muscle effort to just sit on the bike, but when braking hard or trying to hang off it will take more. During the braking and hanging off times, try doing it with abs slack, and then try tightening your whole core and see what gives you better support and less stress and muscle fatigue on your back. If you want to get really serious about getting strong, flexible, and comfortable on the bike, get into yoga. I coached a guy recently on body position - he was 2-3x older than everyone else in the group with him and way more flexible and strong on the bike. I mentioned it and he said he started doing yoga and was astonished at the difference it made. I've heard this enough times to take it quite seriously, it definitely seems to work.
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    So here is how I take it: the rule says "calculate the roll-off as carefully as you would a roll-on" and I take that to mean, make a plan on how you want to do it. I don't think it means it always has to be slow, and maybe in certain circumstances (good traction, straight up and down) it might not even need to be smooth, but it does need to be considered. If it is too slow, it could delay braking, and if it is too fast it could upset the chassis. I learned the hard way that just snapping the throttle off is not always a good idea; when riding in the rain, going fast, I rolled off abruptly (as I had often done in the same exact place) but the sudden slowing and slick conditions made the back end come around. OOPS, not what I wanted to have happen! I also found out at COTA in the rain that BMW actually accounts for this in the traction control, in Rain mode. If you abruptly go from full throttle to off throttle and decelerate too fast for conditions the bike will feed some power back to the rear wheel to regain traction. A little shocking to experience that but it's a good lesson in the importance of calculating your roll off, instead of getting in the habit of just snapping it off every time.
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    There is another physical point, more for the older guys...(I'm 56). I find that if I don't really, really stay hydrated, my neck gets tight, and just doesn't want to move. A chiropractor I like once told me that the disks dehydrate like anything else, and spinal fluid is pretty thick, about like molasses. Another reason to hydrate.
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    There's an aviation version for Student Pilots: "...and if I have an equipment failure, Dear Lord, please let it be the Hobbs meter" :-) Hobbs Meter- A device that counts the amount of time the aircraft is in operation; billing is proportional to the Hobbs meter.
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    Aliki just reminded me of a time when I was supposed to goto a girlfriends house. I never made it. I nearly got swiped by a drunk driver that I "sensed" behind me and to my left, passing me. I watched the car fishtail a few feet in front and pinball off the guardrails. I decided to go back home after that experience. Ever hear: God takes care of babies and fools?...I haven't been a baby in a long time. My pre-ride prayer "...that I make good decisions and those around me make good decisions (and the rest is left up to The All Knowing)" has worked up to this point. I'm now reading "Proficient Motorcycling" so that I can do better at keeping up my end of the bargain (good decisions).
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    Oh this is a very cool topic! I follow my instincts closely and also believe that sometimes the universe is telling you things. If its a God or a spirit or just the the "universe" it doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is that I cope better under tension knowing that there is greater force out there with some sort of intent. For example, if I get a strong feeling that I should not be riding, I likely won't go out that session, or at least I won't push it hard. I've had many instances where my instincts were right (Ie mechanical failure during a race). Also if something does happen like my bike going for a slide or the engine blowing, I usually feel that it was meant to happen for a reason. This lowers my stress levels, allows me to accept the situation as it is and make steps to move forward without all that wasted energy on blaming myself, others, etc. I also feel more confident at times, knowing that I've got some sort of guardian angels watching over me. I think religion helps us with tuning in a little closer to our bodies, to our instincts. It takes a lot of the stress of life off of our hands and puts it in the hands of a higher power. It is a powerful coping mechanism. It is humbling and liberating to know there is some greater stuff out there that we don't understand and that we don't have to try to take full control over everything. To top it off, I think whatever someone believes about themselves and their capabilities...is true.
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    My take on a good coach: Someone that has a good understanding of the psychology of people and can tune their coaching to their specific needs. Along with that comes a need to be very patient, have the ability to listen to the students questions and specifically answer them in a language they understand (ie visual aids or hand actions for those who are more visual learners, simpler language). From my previous coaching experience in similar fields, I'd say that a lot of what I did involved the psychology of making someone feel comfortable and at ease with their learning experience. Once they relax they can actually practice things they have learned. If they are tense and nervous they won't get much out of what was taught to them and could pose a safety hazard to themselves or those around them. I'd say it's also important to be able to accurately assess any safety hazards or riders that could pose a safety concern and deal with it in a responsible professional manner. I think this is an attribute that coaches in other venues don't necessarily need but is so important in our sport.
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    I feel like I accomplished something by finishing that story. (if you read the story you'd understand- LoL)
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    The total amount of momentum in a closed system (bike + rider) is constant. You push the bike away from you and the bike pushes you away from itself. Besides the inertia of the mass of the bike, we have to overcome the inertia or resistance to lean that the gyroscopic effect of both wheels have. In order to precisely and quickly push the bike to lean (rotate around its CG) and subsequently turn, you need a fixed point out of that closed system. That fixed point (fulcrum) is the surface of the track, on which we support our muscular effort via handlebar (lever), front end and contact patch of the front tire.
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    Hey Nic. Missed this one. Glad to hear you turned things around! Let us know when you hit the grid for the first time! To answer Will's question. Nic had an accident during the school due to a rather aggressive approach that he's now started to reconsider. To protect other riders course control asked Nic not to ride anymore which was completely reasonable considering the circumstances. It's their job to protect the learning environment at the track for all the riders. Nic and I have chatted on and off since his incident which has been very helpful for both of us. We both have a diametrically opposed approach to riding. I was on the overly conservative end (which I have reconsidered due to conversations with Nic) and he's at the other end of the spectrum. Both of us have learned a lot from "the opposite point of view". I have ventured out of my safe and completely predictable style and Nic has learned some of the "slow is fast" mindset which ultimately will help him in the long run. A respectful dissonance can be quite helpful to anyone. Questioning ideas but also listening to them allows you to question your own thoughts on the matter and you can learn something in the process. You just have to listen and think about things. On the flip side of that. Conversations with someone with the same problems can be quite helpful as well. I have had some conversations with a track day coach that's had some of the same issues that I have suffered from over the years. Hearing the solutions to the problems gives me some ideas on how to approach solving them myself. Perhaps I'll ultimately solve them in different way but it's super helpful to have a bit more understanding.
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    Brake/Down Changing Gears Like a Pro Barriers Open Doors To make real improvement there must first exist a real barrier to overcome or a real result to achieve. These are always based on the rider's own desires: to go faster; be more in control; have fewer panic situations; put it all together into a smooth flow or simply remove doubts and questions they have relating to those goals: when do the tires slide, how hard can I brake, how far can I lean the bike and so on. When you look at it you'll see that there is very little difference, if any, between a riding barrier and a riding goal; they both have the same stumbling blocks. They both have an end result to achieve. They both have some fear or uncertainty or distraction attached to them. There is always a barrier. The Braking & Downshifting Barrier An example of a common barrier would be the complications that arise from the hurried and slightly frantic control operations that stem from not learning to smoothly and simultaneously brake and downshift for traffic lights, obstructions and, of course, corners. Doesn't sound like a life or death threatening situation but when inspected closely you see what impact it really has on a rider's attention and how they are spending it. Check it out, if the rider can't do braking and downshifting, simultaneously and smoothly, they are forced into one or more of the following attention draining scenarios: 1. Slowly letting out the clutch to make the downshift smoothly. This requires attention to be spent and is the most common way uneducated riders handle it. 2. Having to change gears once the bike is stopped. When the bike is stopped even the best transmissions can be sticky. Gears change more easily and more positively when the bike is moving. It causes less wear on the gearbox to change the gears while you are moving. 3. Having to change the gears after the braking is completed for a turn. That means doing it in the curve. This is distracting and can upset the bike, to say nothing of the rider. 4. Alternately going from the brake to the gas to match revs for the downshifts. This has the bike pogoing at the front. It does not get the bike slowed down quickly in an efficient manner. This is very busy riding. 5. Downshift before braking. This is fine for very relaxed riding situations at slow speeds but is hazardous to the engine if the rider is in "spirited cornering" mode as it provides the opportunity to over-rev the motor and bypass the rev limiter that protects it. Could be very expensive. In an emergency situation you don't have time to do this because you should be on the brakes right away. Not only that but some emergencies require you to brake and then get on the gas right away for accelerating hard to avoid things like cars running a light on you. In this case the rider would not have the time to get it done. 6. Forget it entirely and just go through the corner. This forces downshift(s) to be done at the corner's exit thus losing the drive out and complicating the whole thing by having to make a gear change when they should be rolling on the throttle. This is distracting and not smooth at all. Coordination And Concentration It is true that if a rider was uncoordinated and attempts simultaneous braking and downshifting it could be dangerous. For example having the front brake on along with the power can make your front wheel lock up. On our panic-stop training bike I have seen it many times: the rider aggressively squeezes the brake and unconsciously rolls the throttle on at the same time. It's spooky to watch. So yes, practice and coordination are necessary, you will have to practice. More importantly, you have to make a decision. Are the 6 potential distractions above likely to get you into trouble? They do break the rider's concentration even if only slightly. In other words: if you aren't a super hero at multitasking each of the 6 is a negative in comparison with braking and downshifting simultaneously. In Control = In Communication Continuous perception of your speed is how you control it. Accurate turn entry speed is critical to good, confident cornering. If you are worried about your speed, you are distracted by it. Finding the right turn entry speed (for you) is far easier when the braking and downshifting are happening in one continuous flow of change. When compared to one that is chopped up, incomplete or creates anxiety like having to shift in the turn, it's obvious which scenario is better. Your Sense of Speed is a precious resource and is far more accurate when monitored as a steady stream with your awareness. Maintaining a continuous state of awareness of what the bike itself is doing is another of the true benefits of this technique. You always know where the engine speed is in relation to the road speed and that improves your feel for the bike. Your communication with the machine improves; no false signals or guess work; no waiting to know how the bike will respond in any of the above scenarios. You ability to maintain communication with the bike is important input. Naming It Simultaneous braking and downshifting. I'd like to shorten it to something like brake-down. Car guys call it heel and toe, which is a nice, short and simple way of saying they are simultaneously using the brake pedal with their toe and revving the motor with their heel. In some cars you just put the ball of your foot between the brake and gas pedals and rock your foot side to side to do it, it depends on the pedal arrangement. On a bike, provided the brake lever is comfortably adjusted to fit your hand, they are always in the same position for our maneuver. Alright, for now it is brake-down. It would be interesting to have a non rider hear about you executing a "breakdown" coming into a curve; sounds pretty dangerous. How about fist and fingers or palm and fingers or B&Ding? Whatever we call it, it works to simplify corner entries and puts the rider in command of and in communication with his machine to the highest possible degree. The Sequence 1. Gas goes off. 2. Brake goes on. 3. Bike slows some. 4. Clutch comes in. Maintain brake lever pressure. 5. Blip the gas rapidly on and off. (Usually no more than a quarter turn). Maintain brake lever pressure. 6. During the blip make the gear change positively and quickly. Maintain brake lever pressure. 7. Clutch comes out. Maintain brake lever pressure until desired turn entry speed is achieved. 8. Release brake smoothly. Bear this in mind: the quicker you do steps #1 through #7 the better. Brake Lever Control Expert use of the brake during this entire cycle means that you can maintain, increase or decrease the pressure as desired, without abruptly stabbing or releasing the brake lever. Number of Fingers Some riders let their finger(s) slide over the brake lever as they blip the gas. Others grab the brake lever with the tips of their finger(s) and still get a continuous lever pressure without the bike pogoing up and down. Whichever way you do it is fine. How many fingers you use for the brake is up to you: one, two, three or four, this is your choice although I recommend you try just two fingers, your index and middle ones. What's Important? Braking is important, it is life and death on the street and vital on the track. Changing gears is not. You can still make it through the corner or get the bike stopped without ever touching the gears. But, riders do have the six above scenarios to contend with if they can't do the fist/finger, down-brake, palm/finger, B&Ding technique. Learning How The fact that riders have a problem doing this technique led me to a solution. I've built a bike that trains it. We call it the Control Trainer. It takes you through the technique, step by step. The trainer's computer program talks you through the whole sequence and it points out your problems and how to correct them. The computer is hooked up on a static ZX9, you can't ride it but you do get the coordination/muscle memory necessary to do it for real. Each of the controls is monitored for: correct sequence; correct timing of the clutch and gear changes; correctly sized throttle blips and consistent brake pressure, throughout the whole process. With or without my Control Trainer, anyone can learn to do it. Start now. - Keith Code Upcoming articles: clutch-less up shifting and clutch-less downshifting. ⓒ2004, Keith Code, all rights reserved.
  29. 1 like
    I love this article, it completely captures the difference between a wonderful ride and a tedious, frightening, or disappointing ride. For me, the best ride, the perfect ride, is when I can find that joyous excitement, the special thrill of feeling the bike skimming over the pavement, and seeing the track flowing swiftly by. There is a disassociation from concerns about "how I'm riding" or who is behind me or what I should change, it's all sensation and it seems like the controlling of the bike becomes nearly effortless. For me, a really terrific fast turn feels like sledding down a steep snowbank, or swinging too high on the swingset; I've committed to the turn and now I'm just enjoying the ride, and seeing how fast I can go! There's a certain death-defying feeling to it, which makes it thrilling; and a certain perfection, when it all comes together exactly right. When I can capture that feeling, I stop being a bundle of worries, and thoughts, and wasted motions, and start really having a ride.
  30. 1 like
    What to Expect From Coaching One of the primary purposes of coaching and rider training is: To elevate the rider’s acceptance of previously unknown sensations and gain control over them. That’s a big statement but it pencils out. Take this idea: once a rider is willing to exceed himself he is reaching for a whole new plateau of riding. Getting to the point where he is willing to makes some commitment is often problematic. Improvement actually begins once the rider can pass those limits. Those limits have, or seem to have, barriers or else we would all be as good as we’d like to be. Barriers Each barrier a rider encounters is based on the unknown. What will it or should it feel like to go into that corner 2 mph faster than ever before and still maintain some reliable feeling of being in control? It is easy to go into agreement with barriers. Most of them are the result of a rider’s survival instincts, his responses to the unknown or to danger. What riders tend to fall into is a habit of accepting the barriers. They have happened often enough that they become “the way it is”. These tend to stack-up on a person when they continue to happen. Flinching When you break it down you see that it is more the anticipation of some imagined bad result that keeps us away from moving forward into that uncharted territory of new sensations. When we flinch (withdraw from any undertaking, from fear of pain or danger) we waver from our purpose. I can’t go that fast, I don’t trust the tires, I’m afraid of the lean angle, acceleration, braking forces, quick flicking the bike, etc., etc. Each of them has its own kind of stress and we feel the pressure from them. We even sometimes unknowingly assume they are real and agree with these barriers even when we see someone else go faster, cleaner, quicker, smoother, on better lines, passing where we can’t and so on. This puts us in a weird situation. It can be done by someone but the personal barriers prevent us from rolling the throttle on a few tenths of a second earlier, braking later, entering the corner faster and all the rest. If Only I Could… While any person can visualize what he might do, should do or could do in a situation, the process of visualization itself is quirky and unreliable--it doesn’t work for everyone and it doesn’t work all the time. Aside from the many factors involved we still must deal with the Survival Responses that slam our good intentions into the dust. Look at it like this, things really would work out if your ability to orchestrate all the elements was up to the task, so there is hope. You may be able to visualize yourself going over turn #1 at Laguna Seca at 150+mph but if your speed at present is 90mph it would be too big a gap to bridge. Your ability to organize and orchestrate it must be flawless or the right wrist will take command and go the wrong way, back to 90 mph. Not everyone is cut out to ride fast. Not everyone can. Certainly one of the parts would be the ability to let go of certain sensations in favor of others that may be more important. Worrying about or resisting extreme lean angle alone can take all of your attention, so can traction, so can speed, so can your line, so can that strange weightless sensation you get in turn #1 at Laguna as you hit the crest or the rises and dips at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Are they distracting? They certainly can be. New Tricks Someone might seek the benefits of visualization to handle the reasons why they are having problems reconfiguring actions on the bike that they already know how to do. You already know how to roll on the throttle, pull on the brake, change gears. Piecing together those known movements into a new configuration is the goal. Bringing the bike up and rolling on the throttle more aggressively than usual is an example of this. As soon as a higher exit speed is demanded by you the senses can go into overload when you attempt to reach out for indications of how it is going. Essentially you are reaching out into unknown territory with your senses. Things seem to accelerate, it’s hard to tell what is important and what is not. A couple of mph and another 1/10 G acceleration makes a world of difference. There is no trick that will get you to do it. Having a solid grounding on what is supposed to happen and sneaking up on it without becoming hysterical about it is more likely to succeed. Using Visualization So called visualization is loosely describes as the person’s ability to form mental images of some action or actions that they did or intend to perform. Visualization can be a “solution” to different things: 1) An attempt to reduce or prevent something from happening. 2) The intent to add a flow between two or more known actions towards a positive (usually that means faster/smoother) result. 3) To achieve a breakthrough of a barrier you’ve observed in order to progress towards a known or an imagined goal, usually at higher speeds and most often with a better sense of confidence and control over it. Numbers 1 & 2 seem real to most riders; number 3 is quirky. The hope in number 3 is that you’ll overwhelm the negative aspects by the visualization and it will somehow magically work out, the same as saying that practice makes perfect but it doesn’t always. When the same barriers are hitting you time after time, practice is actually the wrong solution. Your Assets The athlete who does the best with what he has often wins on the consistency factor alone. In other words, visualizing what you already are doing is real information, you did it at 90 mph, you are dreaming the 150 mph pass through the corner. The limit of your current assets are 90 mph, fine, now you know. In other words, start off with a solid idea of what you are doing and some notion of what you may be able to do. Get real. As soon as you identify a proper step, that will solve a problem area, you have given yourself a real direction towards improvement. Coaching Out The Flinches More often than not the flinch can be overcome once it is identified correctly. No one likes to waver, to give up or feel confused about something they wanted to do but it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew. Having a pro coach look at what you are doing and lead you to success keeps down the indigestion. This is why spot-on coaching is so very valuable. You can elevate your acceptance of that next level of rider confidence, speed and skill; cut down on the stress and increase your ability to get what you want out of riding. You can exceed your current ideas of what you can do. Come out to the track and take a school and I’ll show you what I mean. Sign up now. http://www.superbikeschool.com Keith Code. ⓒ 2007, Keith Code, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce without express permission from the author.