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EricG

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Everything posted by EricG

  1. Oh, and would I love to be the guy in the still, pulling a 60 degree lean dragging my knee and elbow at insane speeds? You betcha!!?!?! ;-)
  2. I used to street race cars in my misspent youth... ;-) that was all about adrenaline and swagger. I learned about corner entry, grip, using throttle and gear to load suspension by watching others mistakes and successes and trying to apply it myself. This was on Mulholland Drive in the mid to late '70s, mostly at night. I ride bikes for the sheer fun of it. Don't race and mostly ride alone. Yes, I've got a genetic need for speed. Can't shake it. But I didn't go to training just for speed, nor for control, or risk for that matter. I went to get a better handle on how to ride safely, not just for me, but for those I share the road with. I wanted to learn how to control this beast, to ride properly, and yes, to go faster as the result of greater confidence in my ability and that of my bike. But I see this as decreasing risk, or at least managing it. Risk is a fact of life. We deal with it every waking moment. Managing risk effectively takes skill, acquired with experience, based on training, whether formal or not. Managing risk increases enjoyment by decreasing fear. This is gained by being able to assess situations quickly, figure a solution and its expected outcome, and implementing it with as little drama as possible. When I ride, I'm free. In the moment, enjoying all the sensations that come with this obsession of ours. The more I can decrease fear by managing risk, the more I can relax and enjoy what I'm doing, reveling in my confidence and at ease with my environment. For me, that's what it's all about.
  3. Well, it seemed I was cutting down on lean and getting the bike pointed where I wanted faster. At least, that was the idea. The sharp cuts seemed to decrease the amount of time I had to turn, but I realize now hat was mostly illusion. Sacrificing stability for a perceived gain in stability just doesn't work. There were very good reasons it was a bit scary. Thanks to the steering drill, and the quick turn drills, I've learned not to be 'too' aggressive with the counter steer and let the bike 'do its thing' once I got things going. You don't need to muscle the bike to get a good flick. In fact, it really doesn't take much to get a good fast flick, and it works much better with a bit of 'touch' to it. Ah, the benefit of technique! Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast, as the Rangers say. ;-)
  4. And HotFoot, you are 100% right. Don't know if you were at Thunderbolt late last August, but I was the guy in the black size 54 school AGV leathers riding one of your S bikes with a eating grin all day long. Yeah, black leathers in NJ in August, lost 10# of water that day. The steering drill, along with the 2-step, throttle control, quick turn and other drills I learned that day changed my riding for the better. I ride faster, safer, more in control and with massively better confidence now. I'm combining that with NJMSF advanced courses for my slow speed technique as much as I can. The insurance discount for the latter helps a lot too with the Minister of Finance ;-) Don't get a lot of track time as all available tracks are over 100 miles away (in NJ that means more like 1000) and little spare time. So everything I've learned I've applied to my street and highway riding. I hope to do level 2 soon, but looks like it'll be early next Spring.
  5. Essentially I was counter steering way to much, way too hard, way too fast. I'm a pretty strong guy (think Warren Sapp just white & 10 years older) so it's not hard for me to muscle my bike around. Plough would probably not be the technically correct term, as I think I'm turning the tire in the other direction. But it was highly aggressive while simultaneously leaning in hard. All at fairly low speed (20-40 mph range) Bike was very unstable, but I thought at the time that was the point. Destabilize e bike to get it to change direction faster by effectively pivoting on the front tire. I understand now how that would have probably ended up high siding me at speed as the bike tried to recover from what I had just done, but at the time I knew just enough to be dangerous. Sill there, just not nearly as much ;-)
  6. Mazur, that's kind of the issue. I don't know enough to understand the feedback I'm getting, at least not at low speeds. High speed feedback I'm just starting to 'understand' as its like learning to speak a sign language... ;-) The foot test is just a warning indicator to me to the effect of "this far, no further". And I know my foot position is bad, the coaches at Level 1 told me I had 'dead foot', which in that tiny S Ike I'm sure I did. Here is a pictur of the hiking boot & my Puma riding boot, both are right foot.
  7. Mazur, that's kind of the issue. I don't know enough to understand the feedback I'm getting, at least not at low speeds. High speed feedback I'm just starting to 'understand' as its like learning to speak a sign language... ;-) The foot test is just a warning indicator to me to the effect of "this far, no further". And I know my foot position is bad, the coaches at Level 1 told me I had 'dead foot', which in that tiny S Ike I'm sure I did. Here is a pictur of the hiking boot & my Puma riding boot, both are right foot.
  8. A bit late to this party, but... The tearing sound some are alluding to is quite real. At my level 1 class I was taken out on one of the drills where one counter steers from side to side in a kind of 'S' pattern. Can't remember the drill name for the life of me. Anyway, I was corrected by the coach for my tendency to plow the front as I turned in. Each time I did this, I heard the same sounds as the rubber was gripping and adjusting (deforming) to the force being applied to it. Made for a nice snappy turn in, but the coach spent quite a bit of time correcting it, making my side to sides much more fluid, albeit much more boring and predictable. You can make the same sounds with good basketball sneakers on poor pavement by grinding your toes into the pavement as you put weight on it quickly.
  9. >> Because gravity combined with centripetal force will always act directly down the lean Well, no, I don't think that's quite right. Centripetal force would actually be trying to stand the bike up, and hanging off simply counters that force thus pushing the bike (rather the tires) 'into' the ground and thus stabilizing the bike even more. Gravity will help the hanger (?? ;-) by pulling his weight down and forward momentum will provide a bit of a force multiplier the farther to the inside the hanger hangs.
  10. Not senior enough to give any serious advice, but hope this helps... When I first got my K, I threw on my hiking boots and headed out to the local Sears parking lot to try things out. Kept going through the same circuit over & over, leaning in more each time & increasing speed a bit. Each time thinking "oh, ... Any second the tires will go..." And each time they didn't. It came down to not really knowing just how much lean angle the tire can handle. I mean really knowing how far they can go as a real number & squaring that with my own perceptions of where I was. Long story short... After several rounds, I cut in quick and leaned over as far as my cojones would let me. Felt my left foot dragging a bit & stopped leaning there. After finishing that circuit & going home, I examined my boot. These were High Tech brand hiking boots with a good inch+ of sole on them. In that couple of fleeting seconds I had ground off most of the sole from my last 3 toes, and had about 1mm left before I'd drag meat. Needless to say, I bought boots with toe sliders the next day! Examining the tire, I found I had started 'decapitating the elephant' (Melzter M3 Sportec) on either side & had maybe 3mm to go before running over the edge. I've been using the "toe test" ever since. Gives me positive feedback that I'm about as far as I dare go. Last note... The other day it was some 95 degrees & after a 35 mile ride on highways home from work I checked my tires by placing my booted foot on it & pressing. The friggin boot stuck to the tire like Velcro! Couldn't believe it. Have since started trusting them more and more.
  11. Points very well made on suspension adjustments. And I should also add that riding the S felt like a Grat Dane riding a Poodle (visual intended). The K fits me like a glove. And the duolever/paralever suspension probably does have a lot to do with it, I'm sure... Though I have tried it in "comfort" settings while the S was on race setting, IIRC.
  12. Well, yes, weight does matter but I'd suggest not in the way most posts consider. Being 6'4" and 290, I know this one first hand. I've been riding for 7 years now, first on a Honda Fury, which is a factory chopper that actually handles well (dude, it's a Honda! ;-) that weighed 675 lbs. Traded that in for a BMW K1300s a year and a half ago, and took the level 1 class on the s1000rr at Thunderbolt in NJ just about a year ago. My K bike is 575 lbs & 64.5" wheelbase. the s1000rr is around 450 or so with a 56.4" wheelbase. OK, now to the meat of it. And this is all based on my perceptions while riding these bikes, not scientifically. That said... Rider weight affects COG of the bike and its geometry. All bikes are 'meant' to handle riders of certain height/weight whether they are intended to or not. So, my weight as a proportion of the bike is well over 50% (64.5%) for the s1000rr while being right around 50% (50.43%) on the K1300s. Riding the S, I feel very top heavy. Bike flicks in too aggressively, minor shifts of weight make the bike react and feel less stable. Leaning in on turns (haven't figured out how to knee drag yet so I'm very locked in) feels like the bike wants to low side. Riding my K is exactly the opposite. Bike feels planted, leaning in I can go much harder on the lean and not feel out of kilter at all. I can get pretty solid lean angles with solid traction, and flick the bike at will. And I've taken this bike up to about 150 and felt solid and planted. The S on a track running at most 120? I was very uncomfortable going any faster and could not handle hard turning or lean. Especially in the 'octopus', the bane of my existence! So my next class I'll be riding my K. Now, to verify this, I asked my son (6'4", 165) to ride my bike, while I rode his FZ6R, which is more a commuter bike with upright sitting position. His feedback is that my bike left sluggish and hard to turn in, couldn't get good lean angles no matter how hard he tried, and was just a brute on acceleration pretty much everywhere. His 420 pound bike felt very wierd indeed! No power, very skittish, wanted to low side, etc. So, the net result of this very unscientific experiment? Seems bikes are meant to carry about 50% of their weight in meat when ridden aggressively. Anything above/below that changes the geometry and balance and makes the bike feel out of sorts. Longer wheelbases can help mitigate this a bit, but only a bit. Best to stick to the 50% marker as much as possible.
  13. Recently watched the US MotoGP championship at Laguna Seca. Almost every rider did the foot dangle as they started to enter the turns, with the notable exception of Rossi and Pedrosa, the latter with a busted collar bone. The announcer, who purportedly was a retired racer, said they do it because they think it makes their CoG lower and their flick faster allowing faster entry. Sounds like a load of garbage to me, but who am I to not take him at face value. For what I can gather from DVR viewing at low frame rates, each time they did it the back end was shimmying under heavy braking due to some inconsistency in the pavement. They didn't do it - much - before coming into the corkscrew, but almost every time hitting the final curve coming out of it. Some wold even let their foot slide across the pavement for, say, 1/2 second or less before going into a knee drag. Most of the other turns as well, especially those with flat to reverse camber. My 2 cents, YMMV.
  14. In a car (long ago) Mullholand drive, for Highland to Laurel Canyon, then for Coldwater Canyon on. Sunset Bl. Coming out of UCLA toward PCH PCH north of Ventura County Various roads in the LA Crest I5 north of Castaic Various areas in Malibu. A bunch of roads outside Palmdale I can't remember the names of anymore. Griffith Park All in my young and foolish days, all in cars, and we didn't close the roads back then.
  15. They claim that the ABS on my 2013 K1300s is so good you can't beat it, and they say you can't feel it. That its much better than the one on the S1000rr. Well, I can't attest to that as I've never felt it kick in! Maybe because I don't really ever brake hard to begin with, preferring not to brake at all, so I wonder a) if it's even possible to 'defeat' ABS on the newer (2012 and up) bikes in the liter plus class? I have heard that Honda's C-ABS is not that pleasant to work with, so that may be an outlier, but the other major brands?
  16. Hotfoot, thanks for the reply. Good to know that I was getting close and now I've got a good idea where the limit is. Guess sometimes that knot in your stomach is your Guardian Angel telling you to back off ;-) I'll check the pressure as you suggest. As far as bike setup, no I haven't touched a thing. I'm 6'4" about 285 or so, my bike weighs in around 560 wet. Don't know who I can go to locally to get the bike setup validated or changed. Dealer isn't any use, and no bike shop within a reasonable distance even has a Dyno! And the BMW K series has an interesting duolever/paralever setup that can be interesting to work with, though completely electronic - no tools. And awesome to ride, Does anyone know of a reliable, reasonable place I can go in the Central NJ area, one that can work with this setup? If not, I'll check with people at the Thuderbolt class later this month.
  17. Hansi, that's awesome, man! How much does one of those things cost? I've seen them used on motoGP videos & a lot of the Ilse of Man TT stuff, bu I had no idea mere mortals can ge them too! Any chance these apps are available for cell phones? They've got all the hardware: gyroscopes, accelerometers, GPS tracking...
  18. I'm glad I came across this thread! Personally, I don't use the brakes alot, relying more on throttle control than anything else. Which is why I get over 50,000 miles on my car without neededing brake shoes. Funny thing is, based on the other articles I've read on braking and downshifting before the turns, I've actually been trying to teach myself to do that, as counter intuitive as it may seem. Maybe I'm taking the hard engine braking endemic to my K1300s as a crutch in its own right, and that other sport bikes my not decelerate as quickly without braking, but i's the way I was taught to road race cars 30 yrs ago, and it's the way I drive to this day. Never been to a track, so I'm looking forward to the Level 1 class at Tunderbolt on 8/26 to see if I can indeed do this "when it counts" and see if I'm doing things right. Mr. Code, your articles, book and Video have already changed my riding for the better. My confidence is increasing every time I ride. I no longer get that tightness in the stomach at highway speeds, and even approaching triple digits. I can hardly wait for class.
  19. Actually, along these lines, I've got a question as well... When practicing lean in a large parking lot, I've gotten to the point where tar snakes are causing a bit of slide in the rear tire. Is that indicative of hitting max lean angle? I'm running Metzler M3's 120/190 and 37/42 air pressure (that's what my K bike's pressure sensors tell me & about 1 pound +\-of how I got the bike from the dealer). Is it possible the tires might be overinflated? In any case, is this a condition I'll just have to get used to, or is it a warning that I'm at the edges of safety?
  20. I tend to agree with the OP. being somewhat new to performance riding, but being an old road racer myself, I can completely understand where he's coming from. There is a lot of terminology in motorcycling I don't yet understand, his list being a very good start. Coming from a street racing background we had our own nomenclature that has since become much more scientific. I'm sure the motorcycle vernacular is of much the same ilk. So, perhaps someone can develop a "bike jargon for dummies" book to help us make the transition?
  21. Actually, I think this comes down to something much simpler than most people think... I think the reason most people don't get on the throttle until the apex is basically the they don't want to commit until they 'see' the exit. Focusing on hitting the apex prevents them from seeing the exit point of the turn. So, instead of mentally planning their entire line through the turn, they go from focal point to focal point and develop a checklist, if you will... Entry point, check. Speed, check. Apex line, check. Apex hit, check. Now get on the throttle. Seeing the entire line is what AToTW2 is all about, at least the second 1/2 of it. Turning in later let's us see the entire line, flattens that line, and lets us hit the checklist in one shot instead of piecemeal. Thus allowing us to hit the throttle much earlier. To test this, take a critical look at how you drive your car. Just pay attention to what you do when hitting a turn and see if you you do similar things on your bike. Watch your line, entry speed, when you start accelerating, exit point, everything. And then watch other untrained drivers to see what they do. Betcha you'll find correlates between driving techniques and riding techniques in most people. We can't help it, we go with what we know. And it takes a lot of training to change that. I learned to race cars back in the day on Mullholand Drive. Roadracing, not quarter miling. We're talking the late 70's here. I learned through bitter experience to down downshift and brake well before the turn, and start accelerating once the apex was hit. Over time, I learned I could start accelerating before I hit the apex, but only just before. And until I started applying AToTW2 techniques, that's exactly what I did on my bike, same line and everything. Though I'm trying to change that, I'm sure I'm still doing it wrong and hope that my upcoming level 1 class will help me sort this out.
  22. Stroker, I'm no way near that good, but I have scraped the bottom off my hiking boots, and routinely hit the toe sliders on my Puma Desmondos, on the street, all the time. Basically, I practice in a giant Sears parking lot wit lots of open space. Each pass has lower lean angle, sometimes just a matter of inches. I've gotten to the point where road snakes cause my rear tire to slip and I'm a bit nervous about that and won't go further. But I have started to go slower and slower. In concentric circles, as well as swirls. At some point, you'll find that you need to counter-lean to keep the bike balanced or it will want to low side. BTW, I don't hang off, don't know how & reticent to try that on the street. And this is on a 560lb K1300s. Smaller bikes like the ones you're talking about should be much easier to work, just use the rear brake and the friction zone with throttle & you'll find the sweet spot. Flip side is the light weight will make it easy to over compensate and lose it, so just take your time. I really hope I'll be that good someday. Deluded, I know, but you've gotta,have a goal, no?
  23. I've been riding for 5 yrs now, 4.5 of the, on a Honda Fury, a big chopper that still handles like a Honda. I've low sided twice, once with less than 6 months,of riding experience, once after 3 yrs hitting a gravel patch. That first low side is still with me. I have a huge SR with 90 degree blind turns at anything over shopping mall parking lot speeds, especially if the other side of the curb is nasty. Been working on it for a while now, making good progress. Also, in many situations, my mind flashes possible worst case scenarios in my mind before I decide to make a move. Some of them are gruesome, but I learned to ignore this aspect of my imagination, and it's also under a fair semblance of control. And I'm almost 51, so I understand my own mortality. What I'm trying to say is that it will take time to get your head right. Understand it, work with it, and work on the skills that will help you manage it by increasing your confidence. The proverbial bottom line: work through your fears to conquer them. A great way to do that is to take CSS level 1. The other extreme is just not viable... ;-)
  24. Google "ride like a pro". There are YouTube postings - mostly marketing related - that introduces these skills. I'm sure there are free versions available.
  25. In NJMSF we were taught the basic technique in class. It's the only way to do "the box" during the graduation test. Basically, you ride the rear brake while working the throttle in 1st gear, max second. I always favored second as it was smoother on and off the throttle than 1st. Also, it requires a lot of counter lean to find the knife edge balance point of the bike. I took the same NJMsF class on my 690lb Honda Fury, along with 2 guys on full dres Harley bangers. One an Electra Glide and the other a Road King. Both around 700 lbs, but with less rake and trail than my chopper. They flew through the box like it wasn't even there. I made it through too, and was immensely proud as that Fury turns like a Honda Civic. Now that I'm on a sportier bike, I've been lax at practicing my slow speed drills, but I can get pretty descent corkscrews on my 560lb K1300s at much more aggressive lean angles. Need to work on my slow speed maneuvering, though. Hope this helps...
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