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rchase last won the day on June 11

rchase had the most liked content!

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About rchase

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    Cornering Master

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  • Location
    Atlanta GA
  • Interests
    Motorcycles, Trackdays, Classic Cars.

Previous Fields

  • Have you attended a California Superbike School school?
    Yes. 1-4 BMP

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  1. Even some 2 wheeled motorcycles are not always suited for track use. I'm involved with facilitating some track days at a local track that's very tight and technical. For safety reasons we often won't allow certain large and unsuitable bikes. I have had to deliver some bad news to people riding Hayabusa's with extended swingarms and lots of other bikes that would be too much of a safety issue for the rider themselves and others on the track. Many of these would be fine on a less technical track. The school rents some really nice bikes. Reserve one of those instead. Another problem with the Spyder. There's very few (if any) people using these on the track. Some questions you might want answers to. What pressure do you use? Are there different tire options? How does it react to a loss of grip? Do you use a motorcycle line or a car line? Without answers to these you have the potential for lots of unpleasant surprises.
  2. Hey James. Welcome to the forums. Apparently this is really on your mind since this is your first post. I'm a multiple "repeat offender" student with the school. I have done CSS for many years and have gotten a lot out of their program. What's interesting is in the practical world I have also found myself "defending" their techniques. Not all of the techniques that they teach work well for me but enough of them do that its overall been a benefit and well worth the money I paid. When you boil things down to their core components most of the "quibbles" that people have are just minor differences in style. Style is a controversial subject anywhere you discuss it. Styles evolve of course from a riders practical experience. A rider I have gotten a lot of personalized coaching from is Nate Kern. Nate raced BMW Boxers for years which had a big impact on his style due to some of the design limitations. I find his style works better for me then the style that the school teaches because it maximizes ground clearance and makes the bike turn anywhere you want it to. CSS's technique still works but not as well for me in my specific situation. CSS bases their curriculum on the input of thousands of individual students. Their program is based on what works for "most" riders. Due to the nature of their program and the short time that they spend with students it's impossible for them to tailor the program to individual riders needs. So as a result. Some of the techniques work well and some don't depending on the rider and their past experience and personal preferences. Before I started developing my own riding style I found CSS's coaching to be VERY helpful and very informative. As my style evolved a bit I found CSS coaching to be slightly less helpful. Still worth it overall but having to re-adapt to do it "their way" was a bit painful. Unfortunately there's really no way around this as there's really not enough time for them to adapt the program to each individual's style. The coaches would have to spend a LOT more time watching and analyzing to accomplish that. What does all this mean? To me it means that CSS is still a world class school regardless of some minor quibbles here and there over specific things. People tend to dwell on minor differences of opinion to try to invalidate a good training program. While there's some style issues that just don't work for me when push has come to shove and I have been presented with an on track emergency the CSS training I have fallen back on has managed to keep me on the pavement and on two wheels. For me that's the real acid test. Is CSS perfect. No. Are they good? Yes. Are they cranking out Valentino Rossi's in mass numbers? Reality unfortunately prevents that even though that's many rider's expectations.
  3. Very good question Hotfoot. Well my "educated guess" would be for a wider surface area on the contact patch. Big powerful bikes put out lots of torque in order to propel them forward at speeds that make us grin so wide in our helmets while we are on the gas. Without a larger contact patch the torque would quickly overwhelm the contact patch of the rear tire and the torque would not be able to be transmitted to the ground to propel the bike forwards.
  4. Someone gets it. Form follows function. Ride a heavier sportbike "dirt bike" style and you probably have a good chance of getting hurt when the physics don't work quite the way you want them to.
  5. There were two types of bikes in that video. Standard Supersports (GSXR 600's) and some super light weight bikes. It's fun to compare bikes like these but people tend to forget one simple thing. Balance. You can have simply awesome corner speed if you stick some super sticky tires on a bicycle (or a motorcycle that resembles one) but you give up one thing for that corner speed. Power. If you want a powerful engine it's going to weigh a good bit and you sacrifice your corner speed as a result. You can have all the power in the world by putting a 500hp engine on a bike but the heavier the engine the more difficult it is to convince it to change directions. Hence the design of the modern Superbike. A balance between handling and power. Certain tracks of course are going to favor one strength over another. Super twisty technical tracks are going to favor light weight bikes. Tracks with wide open areas are going to favor bikes that can get up to 180mph in the blink of an eye and then slow down quickly for the tight bits. My "home track" these days is Atlanta Motorsports park which is a track that favors light weight bikes. I actually still have a LOT of fun there with my 200+ hp S1000RR even though I can't really put down the power and usually stay well under 130mph.
  6. At the end of the day it's about results. Did the bike turn at the speed you wanted without going wide? Did you reduce the amount of bike lean angle? If you can say yes to questions like those all other concerns are secondary. Form follows function.
  7. Great photos. What can hanging off do? It can reduce the amount of lean angle. Look at the bike's angle. Back in 2015 one of my photos from the photographers drove that point home to me. I'm hanging off and obviously not really hauling butt through the corner but the bike is turning at track speeds with very little lean angle. All I have to say is track side photographers are some brave folks. If I had this in my viewfinder with the knowledge that the rider was still learning I might be tempted to RUN!
  8. Body position is form vs function and accomplishes one thing really. It reduces lean angle which in turn puts you on the best part of the contact patch to maximize traction. Even on the street a reduction of lean angle can be helpful in certain situations. It can put you on the best part of the contact patch on tires that may be questionably warm especially around the edges. While a lot of street riders "hang off" just to be cool others use it to maximize traction and to give themselves an extra margin of safety. There's lots of opinions about perfect body position. The harsh reality is we are all shaped differently and have different physical issues involved that makes it difficult for some of us to get into certain positions. Ultimately you have to try a lot of different techniques and see which one works the best for you. I have to admit it makes me cringe a bit when I see a rider who knows better not hanging off in aggressive cornering situation. It might save a bit of energy not to have to move their body but, it does use a lot more lean angle and reduces overall traction. Get it wrong and the physics will punish you with a not so friendly crash. Is it really worth the risk? That's of course up to you decide. Funny story actually. As riders we look at our tires a lot. I went through a time period where I had been improving my body position and speed out on track but my tires started developing gigantic chicken strips on them. Needless to say I was confused until I realized that I was going faster using less of my available lean angle because of my body position. When I got my speed up even more they went away. It's fun to see though because it's a visual representation of what body position can really do to reduce lean angle.
  9. Quick turn throttles have an advantage if they fit your use case. They reduce the amount of rotation the throttle requires to get to wide open. They of course have their place depending on what you want to do and the stock throttle your bike has. If you are racing not having to re-position your hand while opening the throttle is an advantage and saves you some effort. Would I want this on my 200+hp S1000RR track bike? Heck No! I'm more than happy to re-position my hand if I have to just to have some extra travel to manage the power. My bike has the BMW HP ECU as well and I swear there's a micro switch in the throttle that launches the front tire off the ground when you get to 60% throttle. If I rode a 600 or a 250 I might find this to be an advantage since I tend to be more gentle than I need to on the gas. Possibly one of the most annoying throttles in the known universe can be found on many early MV Agusta F4's. it's silky smooth and makes rev matched downshifting absolutely effortless. It has a super nice ratio to it that allows you to manage the power easily yet turn it quickly. The problem comes in the lower end of when the throttle cracks open. The springs they used on the throttle bodies are way too stiff so you go from about 0% power to about 5-10% power causing the bike to lurch when you don't want it to. Removing a throttle body spring helps (there are two) but the "jerk" remains if you aren't absolutely perfect with your input. I think they even realized it sucked because they put a little control that allows you to raise the idle off the stop on the handle bar. It's a fuel injected bike so there's no real need for the control other than to get you out of the "twitchy" range of the throttle. Ah those crazy Italians. Gotta love em!
  10. I do this myself. The most useful thing that I get is the "picture in my mind" of what the track is like. One of the things I have noticed however is once you actually get there reality tends to be a little different than what you were expecting. As Hotfoot mentioned there's lots of things that don't come across in video such as elevation changes and also logistics of moving around on the bike. A really good example of this is the elevation change on the long straight at COTA. I was really looking forward to blasting down that straight at 180+mph with a gigantic smile on my face but the elevation change caused a complete lack of visibility and that does not come across very well in video. Needless to say the first few sessions I was not doing 180 due to the visibility. I actually ended up enjoying the shorter straight near start finish a lot more. Although the speed was slower having a massive up hill elevation change made it so you barely had to touch the brakes to be at the perfect speed to enter the corner at the end. It was like having your cake and being able to eat it too. All the front wheel lifting acceleration you wanted without the chore of having to get on the brakes hard. One other thing which is amusing that I have had a fun experience with. Video games. I have a video game with Road Atlanta as one of the tracks. I was able to put in blistering lap times on the video game and could not wait to ride the track. When I rode the track the reality was quite different from the simulation. I won't bore you with details but I have yet to ride Road Atlanta again despite it being so close to my house because of how horrible of an experience I had. I actually think that my game play slightly hurt my ability to learn the track with an open mind. Certainly watch the videos and study the track maps but be ready to actually learn the track by riding it yourself. Most importantly be ready to adapt when the reality becomes different than what you were expecting.
  11. Hey now, Each one of those Zip ties gets me a extra HP at the rear wheel ...... Hey. No offense meant by that comment! I know you are kidding but just in case someone else is reading. It does not matter to me how much your bike costs as long as you are a responsible rider. Too many bike snobs in the world and I'm not one of them. I do like nice bikes though. I think it's just a subliminal thing. Whenever someone does something majorly stupid near me it's usually on a beat to heck R6 held together with duct tape or zip ties. I actually own an old R6 myself and until recently all of my bikes were old.
  12. I have some experience with cars from riding at Atlanta Motorsports Park where we share the track with cars. We get exclusive access and the cars run a session as well. Passing is a lot different with cars because of their width and the limitations of track sizes. Passing in cars is handled by a "wave by" the slower driver will see the faster car and give them the opportunity to pass. I find that the car drivers are a lot more friendly than the motorcyclists but there occasionally are the bad apples. People tend to drive within their skill set as the car they are driving is also the transportation they used to get to the track. They also have a lot more money invested than the guy with the $2000 R6 that's zip tied together. Braking points and lines are different from car to bike but the principals are very similar. One thing to keep in mind about car trackdays is maintenance. Many passenger cars are not designed like motorcycles to handle the abuse that track use exposes them to. Areas such as brakes and suspension start to show their limitations quickly. Be sure to pay close attention to your car on the track especially to the brakes. Brakes fade a LOT more in a car than they do on a bike and even performance cars with performance brakes can quickly fade their brakes until you essentially have no brakes available. Suspension dampers will overheat and you suddenly may find the car all out of shape in a section it was rock solid in previously. As well different orgs have different tech requirements. Some of them requiring roll bars and tow points and other safety equipment. You may want to familiarize yourself with all of the requirements. Most car track day orgs will send new drivers out with a coach who will help you in car while you drive. This is quite useful for learning the lines, braking points and other helpful hints along the way. I would provide some more advice here but I don't do a lot of driving so the questions you have your coach probably could answer for you on your first track day. One of the biggest things I have noticed between bike and car is how they feel in fast turns. Bikes flow through fast turns without issues while cars the occupants feel the turning forces more. This is kind of neat to think about. On a car the suspension is trying to keep the vehicle flat so all of that energy that wants to pull the vehicle wide is acting directly on the occupants. On a bike the entire bike and the rider moves and that energy pushes us and the bike down towards the track surface.
  13. I have personally been given worse advice on a track day. Track Day coaches for the most part really mean well and really want to help people. Sometimes they lack the knowledge and experience to really teach in an effective manner. It's helpful for some but others it's not so helpful for. Just because someone can ride fast does not mean they are using correct technique nor does it mean they can effectively teach others. Some track day coaches are effective teachers with good technique while others simply aren't. I find that passion is a good indicator of how good track day coaches are. Are they watching you behind them (do they even have mirrors on their bike)? Do they talk to you after you ride with them? Are they observing and basing their advice on what they see or just giving generic advice to everyone? Without the passion and follow up you often don't have a good coach. You have to realize the motivations people have for coaching at track days. For some it's the prestige of being able to say "I'm a coach" and for others it's the attraction of having lots of free track time. The good ones of course it's the passion of being able to help people. Full disclosure. I did not watch the video. I'm already pretty familiar with the people who produced it and I have done my time hearing lots of bad advice. I try to focus on good advice like what's found in the forums here and from the school's coaches who are all world class teachers who happen to also be amazing riders as well.
  14. It's quite interesting some of the common interests that many people have to be quite honest. I know a lot of people who like to ride at the track who also like to shoot who also like flying and other "high risk" activities. Training can only get you so far with emergency situations. The simulations in a lot of cases are a lot different than reality. A CFI pulling your throttle when they have a safe landing place in mind and can take over right away is a lot less scary than an engine stumbling and complaining for 10 minutes and finally quitting when you are flying over a bunch of trees in the middle of nowhere at only 4000 ft. The same is true with simulations like the slide bike. Expecting some sliding with big outriggers to catch you is a lot less scary than experiencing it randomly when you weren't expecting it. In both situations the element of surprise and the reality of the consequences tends to change the overall experience. Some people handle the element of surprise well and some don't. Personally I get a strange sense of quiet and calm where things go into slow motion when surprises happen. Somehow out of nowhere I'm able to deal with the situation and move on only to later get stressed out about what "could have" happened. Of course I have had situations where I was not able to handle the situation either from a lack of options on the table or just from panic. I consider myself really lucky that in most cases the only damage has been a bit of bruised ego. Something truly amazing to me is how people who race can deal with situations like this and keep going without really being affected. Whenever something bad happens to me my concentration is frequently ruined and I need a break. I do a bit of pit crewing for a friend who races AHRMA. At Barber Vintage Fest his boot slipped off of his rearset during a highside recovery and his foot was pulled into the rear wheel and spat out under the tail section because of a rear shock that was beyond it's limits (only shock available for a bike not intended for track use). He still finished the race even though the surprise and recovery cost him a position or two. He was even laughing about the tire marks on his own boot from his own tire in the pit and got right back on the bike for the next races without missing a beat. So here's an interesting question. What do you think is the source of that almost superhuman ability many racers possess? Is it experience? Or is something fundamentally broken in the minds of people who aren't really affected with the possibility of catastrophic injury or death? Talent or Insanity? Or a little bit of both.
  15. Here's something that will really bake your noodle. Things you can't practice yet get right. I have slid more times than I have ever wanted to on a bike yet somehow managed to not crash. I have had blow outs in cars at high speed yet remained composed and got the car onto the side of the road without issues. While you can practice sliding on a school bike (I never have) you can't exactly practice emergency situations like a tire blowing out and even some of the practice you do is "simulated" rather than a real life situation. The simulation is a lot less terrifying than the actual event. Ask me about the Cessna I rented that suffered a real engine failure on my first cross country solo. How do we "somehow" make these situations work out in our favor? In most cases without the ability to think about it? How do you react to these situations? Do you panic? Or do you do the best with what you have to work with?