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rchase

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Everything posted by rchase

  1. So. Had a chance to see one of these in person. It's impossibly light and well balanced.
  2. Fun video. Had you waited a fraction of a second to get the bike completely upright that video would have been less interesting. The "yaw" that you got from the rear of the bike was likely because you were still leaned over a wee bit. When I'm intentionally "provoking" the rear tire to see where it breaks I usually wait until I'm fully upright. It gets me the info I want with less thrills involved.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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?
  21. Not to throw this conversation on it's head or anything but there is a bit of thinking involved in both of those scenarios. The false neutral and the stall in the aircraft. You have to identify the problem in order to take the right course of action. In a plane not thinking at all would involve a pilot pulling back on the yoke to counteract the quickly approaching ground which is the exact OPPOSITE of what you want to do with a stalled airfoil. These problems involve a trained response but they still require some thinking in order to identify which response to use. Granted this is easy and not very taxing thinking but there's thinking involved otherwise there would be no response or a random one that would likely not resolve the issue. A comment about the 4 day format of the school. This is somewhat interesting. It gives the learner the opportunity to "digest" the information and practice again. I find that after a day or so to digest information it becomes a lot more natural to me but then the delay between that full grasp of the material and my next time at the track often is long enough to lose some of it at the same time. Something that might work with a school is to give students the opportunity to ride the first and the last day of a 4 day school stint. Of course that often ends up with a 4 day hotel stay or additional travel costs for students that don't live nearby the track. Something that is easy to forget at your advanced level of riding. Not everyone who takes the school is interested in racing. You can present the same information in two ways and totally lose some of your audience or engage others in your audience further depending on their interests. Someone interested in racing is going to be listening a lot closer to things presented as making them faster and giving them an edge over the competition while someone not interested in having an edge over "competition" is going to not be as engaged. Someone not interested in racing may pay more attention to things that would prevent a crash and make them safer than someone who can't wait to get yellow plates on the front of their bike. I find that the entire industry is tilted towards appealing to the group that wants to go racing and I often have to sift through what's presented and pick things that I think actually apply to my purpose. I have frequently missed great stuff because of the way it was originally presented. It took someone who presented body position in a different manner for me to start focusing on using my body to minimize my lean angle and increase my safety. The information can be the same of course but keeping in mind your audience and their interests will drastically affect how interested your audience is in what you have to say. Unfortunately this is human nature. I have tried really hard to have a completely open mind yet find my attention focuses on things presented in a way that's readily useful to my purpose.
  22. Cobie. I'm also a bit confused as well to be quite honest. If I had to "guess" where you are going with this it's how visualizing things in the minds eye can make it easier for us to do things. Like racers who can ride entire laps of tracks in their heads or athletes that use visualization techniques to accomplish their goals. In order for this technique to work you first of course must understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish with all of the steps involved. You then think out the order in which you will do the steps and the timing. When it comes time to actually do this the first few times of course will be awkward but this eventually gets embedded into the subconscious and becomes "automatic. Keith wrote about this in his books and used the $10 of attention. This is also $10 of conscious thought. Once steps are moved into the subconscious they become "automatic" but it still requires a bit of conscious thought to trigger these automatic things. While we don't think much of "how to shift" our motorcycles we do listen to the engine and decide "when" to shift. All of that takes CPU power in our minds.
  23. It's interesting reading this. As much as I overthink my riding I'm not as bad as I initially thought. Many of my last minute turn point changes are automatic. If there's another rider where I want to turn "some how" I adapt most of the time without much real conscious thought. Rather than overthinking perhaps I just have a lack of faith. Many riders have way too much faith while I have too little. I want concrete experience or data rather than just having the faith that there's enough traction. This is a catch 22 however since you don't have that experience or information unless you have the faith to put yourself there to begin with. That whole "knowing you can" rather than "thinking you can" and then perhaps finding out the hard way that "you can't". Coby. On the firearms course thing. There's a fine line that you have to be careful not to cross when it comes to telling someone "the right way". You can be a world class expert at any topic but if you come across the wrong way people will tune you out completely. Your credentials no matter how impressive become completely irrelevant to them if you can't present your better way in a manner they can digest. I have a friend that is an amazing rider as well as being a pretty decent firearms instructor. He has a very unique approach when he see's unsafe behavior at the range. Rather than do the typical "OMG That's dangerous!" he politely approaches them and waits to get their attention. Once he has their attention he says "hey let me show you something" and then gives them a mini lesson under the guise of helping their accuracy. He sneakily inserts some safety related stuff in there and demonstrates visually what can happen when you "do it wrong". People always thank him and almost always clean up their safety act. Not only do they gain the benefit of improving their accuracy and technique they are safer too and aren't insulted. Win win. For more egregious and dangerous behavior he obviously adapts the approach. Sometimes you have to be firm while still friendly. Rather than perhaps people "thinking that they know it" you have people "thinking that they know some things and want to fill in holes" and then have someone coming across the wrong way and are completely shutting down the exchange of information. Rather than look at this as a malfunction of the people perhaps look at this as a malfunction of the person trying to present the information. It was their approach that put the learner on the defensive. If these people truly thought they "knew it all" would it be a logical use of their time and money to take your class? Think of it this way. If you are a cat burglar wanting to steal the priceless art collection setting off the alarm is likely the last thing you want to do as the Police are on their way to stop you. People have unique protective mechanisms themselves much like an alarm system. Trip over one of those hidden laser beams and your mission of educating them is over. Our human alarm systems are our sense of self and our Ego's. A fun experiment. Ask someone who know's someone who's really talented about them. Try this again about just a normal person. Listen to the first thing that comes out of their mouths. You will find that most often you will hear "Oh he's a great guy" or "What a jerk" first before ANY other information regardless of who you are talking about. No matter if you are a plumber or a brain surgeon or a motoGP rider your talent is most often of secondary importance in the way you are remembered.
  24. For me anything lower than 48 degrees is just not comfortable. I live in Atlanta GA and we have a lot of humidity year round. 47 degree moist air is pretty miserable even bundled up. I avoid riding when I'm not comfortable. Even with heated grips and warm gear it's just not enjoyable. On the track it's much the same. Anything lower than 48 and it's kind of miserable but I'll ride on DOT tires if it's around or above 48. For slicks anything lower than 58 degrees and the risk and benefit equation does not really work anymore for me. Too much of a risk of the tires cooling off anything lower than 58. I recently did a track day at Barber where we started the morning below freezing and we got up to a high of 58. There was an amazing amount of crashes due to cold tires. Even more important than what weather you will ride in is "how will you adapt your riding to take for the present conditions". Those conditions could be rain or cold or even extreme heat. Failing to adapt to the conditions could put you at risk for a costly mistake. You might have visited a track hundreds of times but every time you go it's different conditions each time. The amount of grip that you have changes based on these conditions. At the day at Barber I had slicks on my bike so I skipped the morning sessions and waited until it warmed up. Contrary to popular belief you don't have to ride every session. I got two decent sessions in during the afternoon. Unfortunately the crashes continued even during the warmer part of the day due to riders not taking conditions into account. You can't ride like it's an 80+ degree day when it's not 80+ degrees out. P.S. I find it really helpful to have one of those laser thermometers in my trailer. It might sound nerdy but going out in the paddock and just getting a ball park of the pavement temp is really helpful. On a super hot day it can save you from overheating your tires especially if the pavement temp is 140+ degrees on a hot day. On a cold day you can measure the temps in the sun and in the shade and get an idea of what you are working with. Taking it to the edge of traction on a shady and cooler part of the track's surface could really get you if you don't have a baseline understanding of what you are working with.
  25. Ok. Here goes. Not to be obtuse but I think you can learn something from anyone even if it's "this guy is an idiot" or "what a catastrophically bad idea". I apply a similar "acid test" to any knowledge that I try to gain regardless of the source. If I'm brutally honest not everything I have learned at the school works for me out on track. It was worth hearing about and is good information but for my specific needs it did not work. (for those reading who aren't familiar with the school this is a TINY subset of what they teach and likely the malfunction is on my end rather than that of the school's) The best information is stuff you can get backed up with an explanation. If you can explain the "why" in a logical way even if it's fundamentally wrong it's a lot easier to understand the thought process used to develop the idea and perhaps adapt the concept to a way that might actually work. Science and technology is all built on millions and millions of wrong ways to do things. And even some of those "right ways" eventually became wrong ways when someone figured out a better way to get something accomplished. My .02
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