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rchase

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rchase last won the day on October 20

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About rchase

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    Cornering Master

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

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

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  1. Wet Vs Dry riding

    I'll be honest. I'm no expert. I'm just sharing my personal experience. Trust the experts rather than a random person like myself on the internet. Personally i use a longer line in the rain. It allows me to be more smooth and less abrupt with my control inputs. All of the lines and riding tricks like the hook turn and quick steer still work in a lower traction situation you just have to "dial it back" a bit and not be aggressive with them. Ultimately you need to ride both lines and see which one is faster for you and which one gives you the most confidence. The key to riding in the rain is trust and confidence. I still remember the apprehension and amazement that I had when I eventually developed the courage to start pitching my ancient little Yamaha into wet corners at speeds beyond my comfort threshold. I fully expected the possibility of crashing. I personally have a lot of confidence about traction in the rain because you easily get to that limit at lower speeds and know exactly where you stand. Intentionally spinning up the rear when it's safe (straight up and down) is a great way to sample the grip you have. In the dry on super sticky race slicks you have to get to really high speeds before you can sample traction and it's much more critical then. I ultimately prefer it that way (more grip is more resources to work with) but it's a lot more of a challenge to find the limit. I have been tempted many times to put low grade street tires on my bike at the track to be able to feel traction but have never been able to bring myself to giving up the amazing feel I get from the Pirelli Slicks that I love so much. Traction ultimately is the main tool that we use in all conditions. Understanding what you have to work with and how your actions affect it help greatly with accomplishing your goals. On the writing thing. I have written a few articles, manuals and other documents about riding (ironically including a race manual even though I have never stepped foot on an active grid other than to check tire pressures as pit crew). Most of the stuff I write is to support a local track day org that I'm involved with. Very few things have been published other than an article for a magazine. While I would write more there's lots of people out there who know more and have way more experience than I do.
  2. Wet Vs Dry riding

    A couple of other things to be cautious about. 1. Puddles. Not only because of the hydroplaning potential. Hit one at speed and all the water in the puddle nearly instantaneously will soak you and add lots of weight to you. 2. Tar snakes and patches. Not all traction is created equal. Tar snakes will cause a lot more traction issues when they are wet. Some patched areas have more or less traction than the main part of the track. 3. Visibility. Visor fogging (easily fixed), Mist from other bikes, fog and rain on your visor can reduce visibility. Use a clear shield at all times to avoid this and preferably a clear windshield on your bike to maximize visibility. The straights are a gigantic wind powered windshield wiper for your helmet if you stick your head up in the air stream and move it from side to side. 4. Slippery when wet. Controls, pegs, tanks and other parts of the bike are not as easy to hold onto when your bike is wet. Be aware.
  3. Wet Vs Dry riding

    Personally I love riding in the rain. Less traffic and at the end of the day it's like having your own private track when everyone packs up and leaves early. When other riders are angry and horrified about the R word I'm thinking "heck yea"! Some of the things that change in my riding in the rain. 1. Braking. Earlier, lighter, longer. Stretch out the braking zone and leave yourself a buffer just in case. 2. Lean angle. Less is more. You stay on the fatter part of the tire and maintain more traction. Hang WAY off the bike to reduce lean angle. The more you hang off even at slower speeds keeps you on the more stable part of the tire. 3. Line. It's critical to use ALL of the track available to flatten out the corners as much as possible. 4. Less aggressive quick steer. I have found that you absolutely still can quick steer in the rain if you stay reasonable with it. I worried the heck out of a CSS coach when he assigned me the quick steer drill in the rain. I performed the drill too. I even got a hug when I came back in one piece. 5. Throttle. You have to be a lot easier on the throttle especially when the bike is leaned over. On "analog" bikes once the bike is straight up and down you can use the throttle to "sample" traction. Give it gas and you can feel where the tire wants to spin just a bit. That is the fine line of where the traction ends. Don't cross the line especially when leaned over. (I would approach this with caution!). On bikes like the S1000RR in the right mode the bike will protect you for the most part on the gas. I find that I prefer sport mode or higher in the rain but rain mode is more protective and best to start out with. 6. Smooth counts. Abrupt and sloppy inputs that are ignored because of mega grippy tires are not tolerated at all by the bike in the wet. Stuff to watch out for! 1. Curbing. It's fine to run over curbing in the dry but in the wet that stuff becomes really slick. You have WAY less traction than you do in the dry on painted parts. 2. Panic. If you end up overdoing it don't panic!!!! With less traction the bike is much less willing to be forgiving for sloppy and abrupt inputs. If you enter a corner too fast just extend your braking past the optimal turn point and use the track you have available. Bring the bike down to a manageable speed and turn where you can. Yes you essentially "blow" the corner but by using the track you have you keep it on the pavement. 3. Tires. It's COMPLETELY true what was said about tire temps earlier. Your tires won't maintain temp. Not only are you dealing with the slick surface created by a wet track you are doing it essentially on cold tires. I set a cold pressure and leave it there. You can even experiment a bit with dropping the pressure but I'm not really sure it helps much and can potentially make the bike feel a bit mushy and imprecise if you overdo it. You still won't get a lot of heat in the tires. 4. Your physical condition. Riding in the rain seems easier but you do still get tired. Since you aren't sweating like crazy the fatigue sneaks up on you. I rode every single session of a wet track day only to figure out during the last session that I was a lot more fatigued than I realized. This fatigue can be both mental and physical. Stay sharp!
  4. Another SAG question...

    As in the videos. Setting sag allows the bike to stay within the "sweet spot" of the springs motion. This prevents the shock from bottoming out or topping out during the regular conditions of riding. Many riders will adjust the sag to be more in the front and less in the back to help the bike "turn in" better in high speed cornering situations. Preload only sets the amount that the spring is loaded and is not really intended to affect stiffness. Even though it "kinda" does when you compress the spring enough but you risk bottoming out the suspension (and crashing) if you run out of spring travel. If you want to affect the suspensions stiffness you probably should look at replacement springs. A different spring rate might give you the feel that you are looking for. There are a number of companies out there that can help you do a basic setup on the bike to get you close to where you want to be for around $50. (replacement springs are extra if you have to adjust the spring rate). I would find a local track day with suspension service and have them give you a basic setup. Often times many of the technicians are quite willing to chat with you about suspension so they can give you great advice on your specific model bike. They likely have lots of experience working with your specific year and model and know what riders typically run into on those setups. I personally don't tinker with my own suspension very often. I have done it once on an older bike but I have found that the professionals can always give me a workable setup that requires very little adjustment and performs way better than I could do on my own. Something to keep in mind as well. Most suspension professionals will tell you that you need a suspension refresh every year or so of track riding. You may get a considerable performance increase just by getting the suspension on your bike rebuilt if it's not been done before. I recently had the Ohlins suspension on my 2013 RR serviced for it's yearly service and was rather amazed at how much improvement I got after the rebuild. Shocks and forks have rubber parts inside that wear and deteriorate over time. Especially if the suspension is moving a lot and getting hot.
  5. Spyder at CSS

    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.
  6. Limitations of CSS techniques?

    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.
  7. Seems you do not need wide radials

    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.
  8. Seems you do not need wide radials

    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.
  9. Seems you do not need wide radials

    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.
  10. Lowering the body

    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.
  11. Lowering the body

    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!
  12. Lowering the body

    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.
  13. After-market throttle cables

    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!
  14. Pre-viewing a track

    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.
  15. Car Trackdays

    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.
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