Keith Code

The Fine Art Of Braking

75 posts in this topic

And by the way, practicing "No-brake" has made me smoother and increased my entry speeds by as much as 10%! A corner that I used to enter at 60 is now more like 66. I feel in total control with another 10% to spare. Not at all like I'm hanging on by a thread, right on the edge of disaster. I also just got a new set of Pilot Powers. Man o Man are these things sticky!! Thanks again Keith and all you guy's and or gals!!

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Well yes I am much smoother after doing this exercise! I used to have odd contours on my body that are now more flat and smoothed out thank you Keith Code! You'll be hearing from my attorney in the morning ....just kidding :P

but seriously this exercise did work, I found myself going faster in the corners than I previously felt comfortable going, but I guess there was a reason that I didn't feel comfortable going faster than i was going?? The road I was on was unfamiliar to me, I think that was my first mistake, I should have picked a road that I had been down 100 times so there would be no surprises! I went though a few corners with little or no brakes and yes it was very mentally intense, it really makes you pay attention to your line and body position, but then I came into a decreasing radius corner and I just didn't have any cushion to correct anything when the corner got tighter, so I ran a little wide, hit some gravel and then ate burm. I must say something about this that nobody has mentioned ....when you come into a corner using the brakes and even trail braking a bit you are in a state of compressed suspension and you are already engaged in the activity of feeling the grip of the tires so when you ease off the brakes and lean the bike over it is one smooth motion and the stresses on the bike remain somewhat constant, where as going from a completely unloaded suspension and free rolling tires it is somewhat of a harsh transition to suddenly load the suspension and tires and try to immediately find the tire feel while in the corner.....while this does not take away from the validity of the exercise, for any kind of fast riding I am always going to give that light touch on the brakes to level the suspension etc. I should also add that I may have picked a much more twisty and steep road than the author had in mind...in retrospect I remember the mention of canyon sweepers, I was on a very steep mountain with sets of 10mph corners. Anyway good luck to you all My advice if you are going to try this is to expect to crash and if you're coming into a corner and you really think you may be going too fast use the effing brakes, that's what they're for!! Take it easy and start by using just a little less brakes and do it several times on the same road so you can GRADUALLY increase the corner speed....but really there is a speed at which you're bike just will not hold the corner so keep that in mind while you try to get as close to that speed as possible! Man I feel like such a retard for not using the brake just because I wasn't *supposed* to, oh well, I'll probably try this exercise again after I heal?

 

http://www.spindox.org/~xero/retarded.JPG

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Well I guess I'm not the only one that does stupid ######! You sound experienced and I'm guessing pretty fast but, blind, unknown corners ain't the place for this one duuuude! I hope you're not to badly f-ed up. Did you break any bones? I want the details. How's your bike? Did you tell anyone or hide the evidence? ( I hid the evidence and still haven't told her that I went down in a corner at over sixty miles an hour.) I told her someone else downed it. I stayed gone from sun up to sundown for a couple of day's so she wouldn't see my pain. (Not uncommon, I'm a carpenter.) After a few days I told her I pulled my back out on the job. She hates my bike!! Scares her I guess. Any way hope you get to feelin' better.

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haha, well I haven't told my mom about it, but it's no big secret everyone at work was asking why I was limping heh, I pretty much stayed on my ass in my room for a day after but then I had to go to work and deliver some pizza, man stairs suck, damn apartments! But really it wasn't that bad, no broken bones just some swollen joints, it took me some thinking to figure out how I managed to scrape up the inside of my left boot and left knee and the outside of my left shoulder and left torso at the same time?!? Then I remembered about the curb so while my jacket was grinding the road my leg was pressed up against the curb....man if that curb hadn't come outta nowhere I would been fine. OK so in a little more detail I came into the corner quite fast hangin off and leaned over and then I realized it was a decreasing radius so I was like "oh F##k that" and started applying pressure to both brakes as I decreased the lean angle and started running a little wide(at this point my plan was just to stop and run off the road into the dirt a little, no biggie right? so I hit the gravel on the side of the road and for half a second I'm fine just sliding but still upright (I had practiced riding my street bike in the dirt several times for just such an emergency!) but then just my luck caltrans had decided this was the perfect spot to change the road from having a dirt shoulder to having a curb, so my front wheel hits the beginning of the curb (lucky I didn't taco my rim!!) which throws the bike down on it's left side with me under it, my back made a good frame slider for the rear, but the front end was grinding all over the curb as was my leg. My jacket had ridden up a bit on the side and I was expecting to see a bloody mess because that's what it felt like, but it's relatively minor, worst was the knee as I was wearing jeans and not leather pants, but that's healing pretty good though my pants were stuck to my knee this morning when i woke up (3 days later!) slowly peeling clothes off body parts isn't something I ever really thought I'd have a chance to experience. My bike is fine for the most part, needs a new fairing and maybe a new clutch lever? I was planning on getting a new fiberglass tyga spark fairing and headlight before the crash anyway. I got up after the crash and walked around in a couple circles doing some deep breathing till the pain wasn't severe then I checked myself out and picked up my bike because I was smelling gas. I walked around picking up pieces of my bike and putting them in my pockets, then I got on and noticed the handle bars would only turn one direction, I figured out it was the gauge cluster that was pushed into the triple clamp so I pushed on it with my leg a bit till the mount bent back straight and started coasting down the hill. when I got to the stop sign I kicked it into 1st and popped the clutch but nothing happened so I checked for broken wires and fuel line and no problems, so I kicked it over sever times with no luck (yes my bike has a kick start heh!) but then I started coasting down another hill with more speed this time and kicked it into 2nd and let it roll for a while in gear after a few seconds of that it fired and I was able to drive it home! I hit a bump on the way and windscreen came loose but I grabbed it before it flew away and carried it a while, when I got to the next stoplight I stuck it inside my jacket and zipped it up (chest protector! heh) rather than go home or to the hospital I drove straight to the mall and grabbed a veggie corndog and a burrito and limped into wilsons leather to ask them if my warranty covered road rash (favorite jacket too man). As for your comments about me being experienced and fast, well actually I still have my permit hahaha, only been riding less than 2 months! I don't consider myself fast at all but I pass other bikes constantly and have never been passed so?? I think they're just going too slow? I am very fast and experienced in a car which carries over a lot as far as finding the right line through the corner and getting the shifting down and all that. Oh I forgot to mention something else that makes me really stupid for trying this exercise, the tires I have on my bike are like over 5 years old maybe more and they are all dried up and hard and cracked, I purposely left them on my bike because they have reduced traction, because I figured if I get used to riding with my bike sliding around in every corner I'll be that much more solid when I get the michelins, they were bad when I first started riding and I'd get the tail drifing in all the fast corners, but I have burned most of the hard stuff off now so they actually do have some grip now, but still, hard tires, unknown road, gravel all over the sides, blind corner, no brakes , faster than I was comfortable with, I may as well have just crashed it on purpose you know!!?! That's the first thing I thought to myself when I got up "how the hell did I think I wasn't going to crash right there?" Oh well, chalk it up to experience, remember, if you do it on purpose it's not an " accident", it's a "crash" heh. here's the link to the pictures if you missed them in my last post, take it easy. Oh the bike is an NSR250 if you were wondering (2 stroke)

 

http://www.spindox.org/~xero/retarded.JPG

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by the way superdave, I love your signature :lol:

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I don't think the drill is to use NO brakes exactly, but to use them as little as possible. Yeah, get new tires...

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No...it is to use NO brakes; but applied with some common sense. If running into another rider or off the track is what will happen if you do not use your brakes, then you use them but beyond that - it is NO brakes.

 

This drill is at the heart of the School's Cornering Curriculum and is the first drill of every day, regardless of Level. If you want to maximize your School experience, follow their program. BTW, if you don't, you will be called into course control for a "chat".

 

Kevin

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This hill however was much too steep and twisty for no brakes though, you just pick up too much speed and must slow down or crash after a couple corners, also my bike is small and light and does not noticably lose speed simply by turning. My leg is almost completly healed by the way, all the scabs are off...my ankle is just a tiny bit swollen still.

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Well, I've been practicing the 'No Brakes" discipline and it really does work. My corner speeds are up. I'm much more in control and It feels great. Going in too fast will always be "Going in too fast" but, most of the time your not going in too fast you just think you are. I didn't make the track day like I said but, that will change Monday August the 8th at The Motorsport Ranch in Texas. I've paid the registration fee and barring something freakish' I'll be there. I can't wait to see how slow I am. I mean how fast these things will corner with a real pro in the saddle. If they can go do it, I can do it! I hope to learn alot. Never looked forward to having my ass handed to me so much. I'll post some pics and a play by play for critique See ya'.

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" No...it is to use NO brakes; but applied with some common sense."

 

Oh... sorry... I thought that's what I said. My bad.

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Well, I did the track day! It was GRAND AND GLORIOUS!! Something FREAKISH did happen though. I came down with a freak Staphaloccous infection in my right knee!! It didn't enter through a cut or anything like that either so, I don't know....?? Very painful and potentially, the kind I had, deadly. Let's see, track day was the 8th so, it started on the 5th. It felt like I had knocked the hell out of my knee but, I couldn't remember doing it. The first thing all my friends sai was "What'd you get drunk?" No!? I don't drink much anymore so that wasn't it. Anyway, it got worse and worse. By the 7th I could barely walk so, I went to see the Doc. He gave me some super potent antibiotics with possible, terrifying, side effects and told me to "Stay off that leg"! Well, I couldn't miss my first track day! I got there, after a painful ride, and realized I had forgotten just one thing......Pain killers! We rode around the track real slow, for 20 minutes, in the first session. They cut us loose in the second session and silly me.......Almost wadded her up on the first lap. Blind decreasing radius. In too hot, already approaching max lean when I realized I wasn't going to make it, so... I stood the bike up and ran through the grass. And let me tell ya', these things don't handle worth a ###### in the dirt doin' 5o or so. It kinda went like this "Oh ###### too fast! Not gonna make it! Stand her up and run through the grass? O.K. sounds good. Hit the grass and "Oh ###### too fast! May still crash and burn! Whew! Made it!" Like hitting ice. So I made it and went on to whoop everyone in the begginer class!! I was scared to pass at first. I've never been on a race track before and I didn't want to f-up and get someone hurt but, they were going too slow for me. I finally started making passes and ended up passing the whole group twice in that one twenty minute session on a 1.7 mile course. No one was keeping time so I don't know what kind of laps I was turning but, they were faster than anyone else on the track. I'm not tootin' my own horn but, hey! I'll stay with the beginner class for a while though because, after all, I am a beginner, on road courses anyway. I may sign on with the intermediate class just to see what fast really is. I know those guys would humble me quick! Not to mention the expert class. I have alot to learn but, I catch on quick. The track photographer didn't get any good shots of me and the pics I did buy were mailed to me like a regular photograph, not on a disc so, I don't know how to go about posting them. I'll write him and ask but, there's not much to look at. I was hoping to be critiqued on my body positioning and stuff. Hell I don't even know what I look like! Can't get my wife to take pics. She hates the bike! So I guess that's enough long windedness for now. Hopin' to be at Texas World Aug.29th!

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most of the time your not going in too fast you just think you are.

What's that about only thinking you're going in too fast dave?? What you did souds about like what happened to me, only when I stood it up I didn't have a nice run out, I hit curb.

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Wow, after reading this article and practising the technique on a test day i found myself beating my personal best lap times by just over 2 seconds at each track. My overall race time came down by 23 seconds over 10 laps!! and managed to gain a 10th place in the nationals...!

I race an SV650 in the UK and it is one bike that relys on corner speed and accuracy. I found myself able to be calmer and more controlled into the corner and better able to judge my turn in points and apex's.

I will definatly be trying to get out on a CSS day as soon as possible in the UK.

Thanks a million, its all started to make sense!

 

Sarah

:)

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Keith -- Your last "no brakes" article made me a true bliever in your school strategies, enough so that I just signed up for your December classes at Sears Point and Legua Seca.

 

Also, as an intersting aside for both you and your students, I have long practed this art of "no brakes" when touring our CA hills in a cage (e.g., your typical Japanese sports cars and family sedans, nothing really exotic). Originally, my intent of this no brakes (and sometimes, "light feathering" of the brakes) practice in the cage was purely economical: I just wanted to increase the longivity of my brake pads!

 

However, over time, it became clear to me that in the process of saving the brakes of my cage, I was ALSO improving my driving style. Together, the initial challenge of negotiating these turns at speed -- but without making use of any corrective braking -- and the resulting sense of accomplishment and music-like rythm in completing a sequence of turns under maximum exit power significantly increased my ENJOYMENT of these drives! I can't wait to now apply this techniuqe on two wheels when I participate in your school this December. -- BirdHog :)

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Keith:

 

I just completed Level 1 (1 April 06), and am finding that I'm getting more value from your articles than I could before the experience. Having a riding context to set the words in really helps.

 

This article on braking hit me particularly hard, because I was one of the students who charged hard at every point on the track. On the 90 mile drive home, trying to absorb the Level 1 experience, I realized that I would have had a very different learning outcome if I had kept to the "no brake" approach in all four riding sessions.

 

What I got most of was more confidence in throttle control, settling the bike, relaxing in turns, leaning off the bike (thanks, Tim!), and driving out of corners. I was amazed to find that at any time I remembered to check while out on the track, my pulse rate was abnormally normal. These experiences were worth way more than the price of tuition and bike rental.

 

What I gave up, in responding this way to your course, was hitting every turn-in point from the same approach vector, at a consistent speed, and right "on the money". I was carrying more speed into most corners than would let me get all these corner entry elements consistent every time at my level of skill.

 

But on the drive home, I realized that getting a few turn entrances (and even a few turn sequences) right was amazingly satisfying. In retrorespect, maybe even more satisfying than hitting progressively higher speeds at most points of the track throughout the day. So the Level 1 experience led me (even if I didn't get it in real-time) to understand the wisdom of consistency in the turn approach, and I recognize that it's up to me to summon the discipline to practice it. I'm really liking the thought of engine-off runs down Mulholland Highway at dawn this summer.

 

-Eric Bott

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I just hate when your coming into a corner and you think "I'm too hot!". You squeeze a little brakes then when your cornering you say "You dumb@$$ you could have gone in with that speed now your rpms are way too low to get a good drive out of a corner." This is where I am practicing right now if I can get this right I know I will be putting down expert times I need to shed 13 seconds to be on of the fastest and I know this is where their are at. Too much braking, lower corner speed, slower to get to next corner, do this every corner and that adds up to alot of time. I tried the no brake thing going down a mountain. It's not the same on the track canyons are more flowing the track corners com up so fast and are alot sharper.

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Keith:

 

I just completed Level 1 (1 April 06), and am finding that I'm getting more value from your articles than I could before the experience. Having a riding context to set the words in really helps.

 

This article on braking hit me particularly hard, because I was one of the students who charged hard at every point on the track. On the 90 mile drive home, trying to absorb the Level 1 experience, I realized that I would have had a very different learning outcome if I had kept to the "no brake" approach in all four riding sessions.

 

What I got most of was more confidence in throttle control, settling the bike, relaxing in turns, leaning off the bike (thanks, Tim!), and driving out of corners. I was amazed to find that at any time I remembered to check while out on the track, my pulse rate was abnormally normal. These experiences were worth way more than the price of tuition and bike rental.

 

What I gave up, in responding this way to your course, was hitting every turn-in point from the same approach vector, at a consistent speed, and right "on the money". I was carrying more speed into most corners than would let me get all these corner entry elements consistent every time at my level of skill.

 

But on the drive home, I realized that getting a few turn entrances (and even a few turn sequences) right was amazingly satisfying. In retrorespect, maybe even more satisfying than hitting progressively higher speeds at most points of the track throughout the day. So the Level 1 experience led me (even if I didn't get it in real-time) to understand the wisdom of consistency in the turn approach, and I recognize that it's up to me to summon the discipline to practice it. I'm really liking the thought of engine-off runs down Mulholland Highway at dawn this summer.

 

-Eric Bott

 

Eric

 

You got it. The meaning of the article I mean. Thanks for the glowing successs story I appreciated that a lot and hope we get to continue wiht you in the fine points of the art.

 

Just pay more attetnion to what you are doing if you intend to do the coast racing thing. I'm not recommending it solely on the basis of how many guys I've seen get hurt at it. In a lot of ways just leaving the bike in one gear and riding your favorite roads is just as good and also allows you to practice your throttle control.

 

Keith

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When I did level one at Pocono last August this drill totally freaked me out :o but after doing it for the rest of that day and experimenting on the track with stabbing the brakes and using no brakes I find it helped immensely. I still find myself trying to stab the brakes in that "this is fun oh my god I'm going to die" split second on occasion, but that is becoming less and less with each ride.

 

I'm doing level 2 on May 15th at Pocono, and I can't wait to learn more. I have 3 friends that are doing level 1 on the same day. It will be fun to see them after their first session. All I've told them is first drill, no brakes. They are all looking forward to learning how it's done :D

 

 

Oh and thanks Keith I can attribute my just missing a deer a few weeks ago to attending one of your classes. It gave me the opportunity to learn what my bike and I can handle, and I still haven't been near it's limits. See you in a couple of weeks!

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I can say one of the hardest things to overcome with the "no brake" is am I going to fast? what now? Well I've been trying this theory myself not to far away from Talledaga and I noticed as I aproached the wide hairpin turn that my gut was starting to tighten. What to do? I went for it forcing any fear that may arise to stay put. I used counterstearing technic and just concentrated on staying in a drive path which I imagined going through the curve. Next thing I new I was rolling out of the curve free and happy. I hit the road a few more times that day and there was no braking!!! It was great!!!

 

Mike

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I can say one of the hardest things to overcome with the "no brake" is am I going to fast? what now? Well I've been trying this theory myself not to far away from Talledaga and I noticed as I aproached the wide hairpin turn that my gut was starting to tighten. What to do? I went for it forcing any fear that may arise to stay put. I used counterstearing technic and just concentrated on staying in a drive path which I imagined going through the curve. Next thing I new I was rolling out of the curve free and happy. I hit the road a few more times that day and there was no braking!!! It was great!!!

 

Mike

 

Whenever I get that tighteneing in my gut, I find it helps to concentrate on realxing my inside arm,and focus on getting my weight far over and low (to keep teh bike as upright as possible). Relaxing that arm (the one I countersteer with) also makes my turning input easier and smoother, and the bike makes it around no problem. I am quite inexperienced, but what I am noticing more and more is that the physical limits of trning are so bloody high that most problems are caused by the riders mental attitude rather than their bikes capabilities.

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Well yes I am much smoother after doing this exercise! I used to have odd contours on my body that are now more flat and smoothed out thank you Keith Code! You'll be hearing from my attorney in the morning ....just kidding tongue.gif

but seriously this exercise did work, I found myself going faster in the corners than I previously felt comfortable going, but I guess there was a reason that I didn't feel comfortable going faster than i was going?? The road I was on was unfamiliar to me, I think that was my first mistake, I should have picked a road that I had been down 100 times so there would be no surprises! I went though a few corners with little or no brakes and yes it was very mentally intense, it really makes you pay attention to your line and body position, but then I came into a decreasing radius corner and I just didn't have any cushion to correct anything when the corner got tighter, so I ran a little wide, hit some gravel and then ate burm. I must say something about this that nobody has mentioned ....when you come into a corner using the brakes and even trail braking a bit you are in a state of compressed suspension and you are already engaged in the activity of feeling the grip of the tires so when you ease off the brakes and lean the bike over it is one smooth motion and the stresses on the bike remain somewhat constant, where as going from a completely unloaded suspension and free rolling tires it is somewhat of a harsh transition to suddenly load the suspension and tires and try to immediately find the tire feel while in the corner.....while this does not take away from the validity of the exercise, for any kind of fast riding I am always going to give that light touch on the brakes to level the suspension etc. I should also add that I may have picked a much more twisty and steep road than the author had in mind...in retrospect I remember the mention of canyon sweepers, I was on a very steep mountain with sets of 10mph corners. Anyway good luck to you all My advice if you are going to try this is to expect to crash and if you're coming into a corner and you really think you may be going too fast use the effing brakes, that's what they're for!! Take it easy and start by using just a little less brakes and do it several times on the same road so you can GRADUALLY increase the corner speed....but really there is a speed at which you're bike just will not hold the corner so keep that in mind while you try to get as close to that speed as possible! Man I feel like such a retard for not using the brake just because I wasn't *supposed* to, oh well, I'll probably try this exercise again after I heal?

 

http://www.spindox.org/~xero/retarded.JPG

 

And being inexperienced, you probably could have got through that corner if you had just stayed smooth and not turned to the Survival Reactons (SR's) and chopped/braked and stood up.

 

I reckon its better to stay smooth and KNOW that you were too fast for the corner than run off (at least off a public road) into God knows what obstacles and die wondering...

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And being inexperienced, you probably could have got through that corner if you had just stayed smooth and not turned to the Survival Reactons (SR's) and chopped/braked and stood up.

 

I reckon its better to stay smooth and KNOW that you were too fast for the corner than run off (at least off a public road) into God knows what obstacles and die wondering...

R Sole, I can go with that statement to a point, but the point is, there becomes a point of no return. I've had the exact same thing happen in a corner, but kept my cool because I can, but, there was a point of no return. It wasn't from not being smooth enough, I wasn't expecting the turn to decrease as much as it did and a bike can only lean so far. The 250 had no more. Down I went. The same on the track I'd rather call a spade a spade chop the throttle and stand the bike up and run off rather than some of the other little bit faster hotdog Advanced guys and go sailing off the track. I understand the SR's even though I've never taken any classes. I'm sure the KC school is one of the best you can take, but none of those instructors are gonna be there to grab your bike when you step out of your envelope, which is something you have to test IMO to become a better/faster rider. ;)

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I just read the original article posted by Keith and things began to click. A lot of the time, I ride without using the brakes. If I am in the lead, I will usually pull away from my mates without any drama, without even trying. But when I follow them, I am confused by their early braking and my ryhtm is broken and I suddenly find myself thinking this is mad - the speed seems high and erratic and I'm very uncomfortable with it all, despite knowing that I'm actually going slower than usual.

 

Another thing I've noticed is that most of my mates tend to ride much faster on the straights than me, but they lose it all by slowing - usually unneeded - for just about every corner. And high straight line speed means greater risk of getting caught by the cops.

 

For me, riding sans brakes just seemed natural. It was great to finally read that I may have done a sensible thing in my life for a change :P

 

I do, of course, use the brakes, sometimes very hard, but that is usually saved for roads with hairpins at the end of each long or short straight. But on reasonably flowing roads, I try to stay off them or just ever so gently tap them to make minor adjustments to set the entrance speed.

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That effortless quality you get from easing into a corner with no brakes is the reason I ride a maxi-scooter instead of a regular motorcycle (plus, my hands don't work very well anymore). With the automatic transmission, I don't worry about what gear I'm approaching the corner in, or what gear I'll need coming out. I can just roll in, lean over and ease on the throttle. I LIKE that smooth, swooping feeling.

 

One of my problems with cornering is that I also enjoy braking hard. I don't know why. I mean, I don't really trust my tires to grip when I'm leaned over, but I LOVE to feel them grab the road and stop hard! When I ride like that, sometimes, the darned bike just about stalls and falls over, plonk, in the middle of the curve! It is hard for my brain to sort out the hard braking forces WHILE finding the right speed for the turn.

 

In my limited experience, using the throttle (not the brakes) to set the entry speed works better for carrying speed into and through the turns. It also makes me feel more confident and makes the bike rock back and forth a lot less. Still, sometimes, I just miss using the brakes really hard!

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