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Cobie Fair

What Technique Does Css Not Train?

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Now and again we see or hear of something that isn't trained or we don't do, and I am often quite surprised as I think the area is actually covered--but maybe it isn't. Or maybe it is, and we just view it another way.

 

This could have a few pieces to it, so lets start this way: is there a technique that you would like to improve/practice/understand, that you don't feel the school has covered? Lets keep this as a technique question, as opposed to "you do this, so and so does that".

 

CF

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I havnt been to the school but from the books+DVD and my own usage of them

 

long time tire and 10$ mind management

 

I get tired easily when im in "the zone" for > 30 mins

 

also, " skid cornering " ?

 

 

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How to slide the bike to hook it around a corner.

 

How to "back the bike into" corners

 

Both are common techniques used by the worlds best and yet there is nothing in the CSS drills about them. I mean, obviously you wouldn't want to start teaching this in level 1 but maybe as part of a level 3 or 4.

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Any sort of trail braking.

 

Trail braking is covered in Level 3 on by briefings for the Attack Angles drill. Also I cover with my students at the Race School.

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How to slide the bike to hook it around a corner.

 

How to "back the bike into" corners

 

Both are common techniques used by the worlds best and yet there is nothing in the CSS drills about them. I mean, obviously you wouldn't want to start teaching this in level 1 but maybe as part of a level 3 or 4.

 

Backing it in is a colorful and cool style that can have its consequences. This video illustrates my point:

 

 

The best way to learn backing it in is supermoto. Some bikes, depending on their setup are very hard to back in, others do it quite readily.

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Backing it in...as Dylan pointed out, can have consequences.

 

Really, how many have done this and had more problems that what it was worth? There are many examples of guys that back it in, and the guy right in front, or right behind, was matching him in entry pace and line, no problem. Cool to look at, maybe harder to pass when a guy is backing it in, but how critical is this skill, now much of a fundamental aid in putting in a good lap. Someone told me a few years ago that Rossi suggested to Nicky when they were teammates at Honda, that he not do it. We know guys that have lap records and don't back it in, ever.

 

Similar question on excessive trail braking. How many crashes does one see on the brakes going into the turns by new, even experienced racers? For sure one needs to be able to trail the brakes into a turn, for the turns that it applies to. It would be interesting to do a little tabulating, observe the riders that do lots of trail braking and look at their long term race statistics: wins, crashes would be 2 good ones.

 

CF

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Lets say I dont have a supermoto to learn on, what can i do to start the learning process?

 

Other than supermoto, dirt bikes. Or if you don't have a dirt bike you could take a dirt school that provides 150cc four stroke bikes (or similar) for flat track training. An experience that all serious track riders should do at least once.

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Backing it in...as Dylan pointed out, can have consequences.

 

Really, how many have done this and had more problems that what it was worth? There are many examples of guys that back it in, and the guy right in front, or right behind, was matching him in entry pace and line, no problem. Cool to look at, maybe harder to pass when a guy is backing it in, but how critical is this skill, now much of a fundamental aid in putting in a good lap. Someone told me a few years ago that Rossi suggested to Nicky when they were teammates at Honda, that he not do it. We know guys that have lap records and don't back it in, ever.

 

Similar question on excessive trail braking. How many crashes does one see on the brakes going into the turns by new, even experienced racers? For sure one needs to be able to trail the brakes into a turn, for the turns that it applies to. It would be interesting to do a little tabulating, observe the riders that do lots of trail braking and look at their long term race statistics: wins, crashes would be 2 good ones.

 

CF

 

Fair enough. That would make an interesting study. myself i find i really only trail brake if i come into a turn to hot (or what i feel for me is) and this helps me get round the corner. but are you saying there are corners where trail braking can be of more benefit than that? what sort of corners?

 

Lets say I dont have a supermoto to learn on, what can i do to start the learning process?

 

Other than supermoto, dirt bikes. Or if you don't have a dirt bike you could take a dirt school that provides 150cc four stroke bikes (or similar) for flat track training. An experience that all serious track riders should do at least once.

 

That'd probably be good for learning about limits of traction as well as controlling loss of traction. definitely something I'll look into. Cheers mate!

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Compared to 5 years ago, backing bikes into turns has been abandoned as a technique. What may appear to be 'backing in' is, in most cases, the rider's final squeeze on the brakes to set corner entry speed which makes the back of the bike very light or it comes off the ground completely. With a light rear wheel and even a small amount of steering input the back levers itself around, no rear brake is applied to make this happen. Rear brake was the way it was done back when it was still in vogue. For all I know at this point, 'backing in' may come back once MotoGP goes to 1,000cc engines, it is possible but not likely. I say not likely because guys like Stoner have worked out how to have both corner speed and hard drives off the turns and that is a hard combination to beat.

 

On trailing the brakes...the first thing you need to realize is that you should always be trailing off the brakes. Leaned over or straight up, your brake release is that moment where your entry speed is being set. Any abrupt release is going to be less accurate and usually slower than a well executed, tapered, gradual release.

 

As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas. One of the reasons James Toseland couldn't cut it in MotoGP was that he was taking advantage of the ultra high tech handling, brakes and tires and trailing the brakes in late. Later than everyone else. At Laguna Seca, for example, he was on the brakes 2 to 3 meters longer than Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. That put him in about 15th place, from my observations. Just a tiny bit of time, really just hundredths of a second per turn, was enough to do it. His drives off the turn were as good as anyone elses.

 

The reality of the situation is that any bike will continue to slow even after the brake is released and the throttle is being opened up. Depending on the corner at Laguna Seca, between 12% and 37% throttle is needed to even begin to bring the speed upward. Here's another way of saying it: the bike is still slowing down after brake release and, in some turns, the speed doesn't begin to increase until up to 1/3 throttle. It is very interesting to see this from the data acquisition I have which was collected from the winning bike in Daytona Sportbike there this past year.

 

When I first described and showed trail braking in the original "A Twist of the Wrist" book back in 1983, it was the first time it had been photographed and graphed out for motorcyclists. It is a must-do technique for decreasing radius turns. Those are the kind of turns it makes the most sense to begin experimenting with it, for someone who is trying to get the feel for it.

 

What I find most interesting is that once the rider's feel for the bike is up to the point they are confident enough with all the other basics to begin to experiment with their riding, you don't have to even mention it, they begin to find the places to apply it quite naturally.

 

There is much, much more to the subject of brking. Many things happen with the bike and the rider depending on what kind of corner it is and whether they are finishing the braking straight up or leaned over.

 

There is a strange misperception in the world that we tell everyone to finish their braking while they are straight up and down. The truth is, in the 32 years of the school we've never said that in any of the briefings.

 

As a coach, if you are following someone and they are dragging the brake way down to the apex and you clearly see they could be on the gas much earlier, what should you do? Tell them to keep that up, or, ask them to release the brake earlier and get back to the gas?

 

On the other hand, if you see someone getting in too hot, you could suggest that they trail the brake in. You could. However, if you also see some other basic technical skill that is lacking, the smart coach would go after that instead. For example, if you see someone trailing the brake and and slowly turning the bike causing him to run wide, what would you have him work on? Trailing the brake more and continue to add lean angle, or, demonstrate for him that if he got the bike flicked in a little quicker he wouldn't have that run wide problem?

 

There is a balance to all of this. If the rider isn't comfortable getting the bike turned quickly, it influences many core-skill aspects of their riding in the negative. This is where we put our attention at CSS. Once the rider can genuinely turn the bike with no fear (because there is no reason to fear it) then we have a major hurdle overcome and we can move on to other techniques, if they will be a benefit.

 

We know of some very high quality riders who only trail the brakes into decreasing radius corners and not at all in other turns. They put their attention on getting the bike pointed towards exit and back to the gas as early as possible. They have lap records and championships. What does that prove? That it can be done with understanding and practice. Does that make it better than always trailing the brakes? No. It only means that it can be done and done to very good results.

 

Keith

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As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas.

 

My question is about the graph on the TV. During the race, it always shows, regardless of whether it's a decreasing radius or not, the GP bikes trail braking to apex, then getting straight back on the gas (except Crutchlow earlier in the year, who was still building a trust with the machine).

 

I always thought the later braking into the corner was a way of defending the line and taking the braking to the apex so nobody can get under them. It also made sense that a rider with a healthy lead could stop doing that as much, could get the bike over, and back on the gas, and that's how they increased their leads that much more when so far out front.

 

I was of the understanding that when a rider is trying to get another rider to tail him instead of passing it was so they didn't have to keep defending their line, and they could both catch the leader by using the same style that the leader had switched to, then duke it out from there, once the leader had to start defending his line.

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As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas.

 

My question is about the graph on the TV. During the race, it always shows, regardless of whether it's a decreasing radius or not, the GP bikes trail braking to apex, then getting straight back on the gas (except Crutchlow earlier in the year, who was still building a trust with the machine).

 

I always thought the later braking into the corner was a way of defending the line and taking the braking to the apex so nobody can get under them. It also made sense that a rider with a healthy lead could stop doing that as much, could get the bike over, and back on the gas, and that's how they increased their leads that much more when so far out front.

 

I was of the understanding that when a rider is trying to get another rider to tail him instead of passing it was so they didn't have to keep defending their line, and they could both catch the leader by using the same style that the leader had switched to, then duke it out from there, once the leader had to start defending his line.

 

Jasonzilla,

 

You said:

 

"During the race, it always shows, regardless of whether it's a decreasing radius or not, the GP bikes trail braking to apex, then getting straight back on the gas..."

 

Watch or play it back frame by frame and you'll rarely see anyone going all the way to their apex on the brakes. It's a catch phrase that stuck in rider's minds.

 

If the rider was going into a 60MPH turn and you see the gas back on a little before apex (or even at the apex) the rider already released the brake between 15 and 30 feet earlier. How do we know that? Because at 60mph we travel 88 feet per second. 2/10ths is 17 feet and that's as fast as anyone gets back to gas after brake release. 4/10ths would be twice that, around 34 feet. For most budding track day riders it's even longer.

 

If you are thinking that braking is going on to apex, you probably see it that way. If you really look, you'll see what's actually happening. Generalities like "braking to the apex" always need to be inspected. You may even talk to a world class rider and he'd tell you he was braking to the apex and really not be doing it at all. Once you look at him or at his data acquisition you most often see quite a different picture.

 

The point is, an eye blink takes time and these days that's the difference between pole and 15th.

 

Keith

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ok so maybe it's not quite what i thought. So they appear to be backing the bike in, but what we're actually seeing is riders applying inputs into the steering while the bike is under heavy braking - thus causing the rear end to step out. So are they are turning the bike under heavy braking? then trailing the brake until the bike has completed the steering input, then straight back on the gas out of the corner.

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Having only done level 1 in Australia I noticed braking was hardly mentioned. I'm a street rider and it was my second time at a track (other time was a more roadcraft oriented training day) but I'd gathered from Keith's books that braking on the track is different from what I do on the road, where I'm not trying to get through a corner as fast as possible as there are hazards like logging trucks, kangaroos etc laying in wait.

Would have liked an exercise with brake on and brake off markers as well as the turn marker but realise it may not be that safe.

I had a ball anyway and will be back for level 2 when the level 1 stuff has become automatic.

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ok so maybe it's not quite what i thought. So they appear to be backing the bike in, but what we're actually seeing is riders applying inputs into the steering while the bike is under heavy braking - thus causing the rear end to step out. So are they are turning the bike under heavy braking? then trailing the brake until the bike has completed the steering input, then straight back on the gas out of the corner.

 

That depends on the turn.

 

Where do you see the most crashes? On entry on the brakes. Is turning and braking the cause of that? Yes, it is the cause of it.

 

Keith

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Having only done level 1 in Australia I noticed braking was hardly mentioned. I'm a street rider and it was my second time at a track (other time was a more roadcraft oriented training day) but I'd gathered from Keith's books that braking on the track is different from what I do on the road, where I'm not trying to get through a corner as fast as possible as there are hazards like logging trucks, kangaroos etc laying in wait.

Would have liked an exercise with brake on and brake off markers as well as the turn marker but realise it may not be that safe.

I had a ball anyway and will be back for level 2 when the level 1 stuff has become automatic.

 

Richard_m_h.

 

"Automatic" is a big goal, I'm not sure you can ever achieve it in an absolute sense. Because of the fact that each time we go into a corner things are a little different, we're forced to continue to track each of the tools of turning: Speed, Lean-Angle, Traction, Suspension action and the bike's stability and so on. No matter now many times you go through a corner there will be attention on those things. It comes with the territory. What Level 1 does is familiarize you with the 5 essential set up actions for any corner. Level 2 is how to keep them in perspective and make them flow. You'll have a great time I know.

 

Keith

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Richard,

 

In many cases the Level 2 skills make it possible to really execute the Level 1 skills. You got the first taste with the last skill in Level 1, the 2-step. Really the only reason I bring this up is some wait a bit too long ( month or even years) to go on to the next level, and more intensive training seems to get a better result.

 

Cobie

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Having only done level 1 in Australia I noticed braking was hardly mentioned. I'm a street rider and it was my second time at a track (other time was a more roadcraft oriented training day) but I'd gathered from Keith's books that braking on the track is different from what I do on the road, where I'm not trying to get through a corner as fast as possible as there are hazards like logging trucks, kangaroos etc laying in wait.

Would have liked an exercise with brake on and brake off markers as well as the turn marker but realise it may not be that safe.

I had a ball anyway and will be back for level 2 when the level 1 stuff has become automatic.

 

Hey mate, go do level 2 ASAP, its really the one where you learn to go quicker but your new vision skills make it seem like your going slower (if that makes sense). It'll also give you better vision for the road and make you alot more perceptive on whats going on around you, plus give you more time to deal with obstacles and hazards on the road (as all of the skills are applicable to road riding).

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ok so maybe it's not quite what i thought. So they appear to be backing the bike in, but what we're actually seeing is riders applying inputs into the steering while the bike is under heavy braking - thus causing the rear end to step out. So are they are turning the bike under heavy braking? then trailing the brake until the bike has completed the steering input, then straight back on the gas out of the corner.

 

That depends on the turn.

 

Where do you see the most crashes? On entry on the brakes. Is turning and braking the cause of that? Yes, it is the cause of it.

 

Keith

 

so it can be a bit of a tight rope walk to get that balance between hard braking and turn in.

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Compared to 5 years ago, backing bikes into turns has been abandoned as a technique. What may appear to be 'backing in' is, in most cases, the rider's final squeeze on the brakes to set corner entry speed which makes the back of the bike very light or it comes off the ground completely. With a light rear wheel and even a small amount of steering input the back levers itself around, no rear brake is applied to make this happen. Rear brake was the way it was done back when it was still in vogue. For all I know at this point, 'backing in' may come back once MotoGP goes to 1,000cc engines, it is possible but not likely. I say not likely because guys like Stoner have worked out how to have both corner speed and hard drives off the turns and that is a hard combination to beat.

 

On trailing the brakes...the first thing you need to realize is that you should always be trailing off the brakes. Leaned over or straight up, your brake release is that moment where your entry speed is being set. Any abrupt release is going to be less accurate and usually slower than a well executed, tapered, gradual release.

 

As we watch world competitors we see brake trailing but not everywhere and not all the time. In addition, the idea of trailing the brakes 'to the apex' has almost completely been abandoned in favor of earlier and earlier releasing of the front brake lever. Why? So they can get back to gas. One of the reasons James Toseland couldn't cut it in MotoGP was that he was taking advantage of the ultra high tech handling, brakes and tires and trailing the brakes in late. Later than everyone else. At Laguna Seca, for example, he was on the brakes 2 to 3 meters longer than Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. That put him in about 15th place, from my observations. Just a tiny bit of time, really just hundredths of a second per turn, was enough to do it. His drives off the turn were as good as anyone elses.

 

The reality of the situation is that any bike will continue to slow even after the brake is released and the throttle is being opened up. Depending on the corner at Laguna Seca, between 12% and 37% throttle is needed to even begin to bring the speed upward. Here's another way of saying it: the bike is still slowing down after brake release and, in some turns, the speed doesn't begin to increase until up to 1/3 throttle. It is very interesting to see this from the data acquisition I have which was collected from the winning bike in Daytona Sportbike there this past year.

 

When I first described and showed trail braking in the original "A Twist of the Wrist" book back in 1983, it was the first time it had been photographed and graphed out for motorcyclists. It is a must-do technique for decreasing radius turns. Those are the kind of turns it makes the most sense to begin experimenting with it, for someone who is trying to get the feel for it.

 

What I find most interesting is that once the rider's feel for the bike is up to the point they are confident enough with all the other basics to begin to experiment with their riding, you don't have to even mention it, they begin to find the places to apply it quite naturally.

 

There is much, much more to the subject of brking. Many things happen with the bike and the rider depending on what kind of corner it is and whether they are finishing the braking straight up or leaned over.

 

There is a strange misperception in the world that we tell everyone to finish their braking while they are straight up and down. The truth is, in the 32 years of the school we've never said that in any of the briefings.

 

As a coach, if you are following someone and they are dragging the brake way down to the apex and you clearly see they could be on the gas much earlier, what should you do? Tell them to keep that up, or, ask them to release the brake earlier and get back to the gas?

 

On the other hand, if you see someone getting in too hot, you could suggest that they trail the brake in. You could. However, if you also see some other basic technical skill that is lacking, the smart coach would go after that instead. For example, if you see someone trailing the brake and and slowly turning the bike causing him to run wide, what would you have him work on? Trailing the brake more and continue to add lean angle, or, demonstrate for him that if he got the bike flicked in a little quicker he wouldn't have that run wide problem?

 

There is a balance to all of this. If the rider isn't comfortable getting the bike turned quickly, it influences many core-skill aspects of their riding in the negative. This is where we put our attention at CSS. Once the rider can genuinely turn the bike with no fear (because there is no reason to fear it) then we have a major hurdle overcome and we can move on to other techniques, if they will be a benefit.

 

We know of some very high quality riders who only trail the brakes into decreasing radius corners and not at all in other turns. They put their attention on getting the bike pointed towards exit and back to the gas as early as possible. They have lap records and championships. What does that prove? That it can be done with understanding and practice. Does that make it better than always trailing the brakes? No. It only means that it can be done and done to very good results.

 

Keith

 

Thanks Keith. This is a very good write up on the use of trail braking. From my experience, the better rider one becomes the more this technique is used and understood. I will freely admit that I am still learning but one thing I do understand is setting my speed for the corner and getting back on the throttle as soon as possible.

Using the brake to "trail brake" is an art that needs finesse and control of lever pressure. It also helps to maintain a faster pace between two points by limiting the use of the brake closer to the turn and apex. Many times when I am on the brake it's just a matter of enough pressure to decrease the fork tube length for the turn.

I have been guilty of getting into the corner a little hot and having to keep more pressure on the lever later than I would like, sometimes it's just unavoidable. What I feel when I am trail braking is a smooth but firm application of pressure on the brakes and a smooth release in pressure before the apex. It appears as though I am still trailing in at the apex simply because of the fact of the distance traveled between release, getting my hand off the lever and on the gas.

Depending on the track you ride, I am sure there are turns that will benefit from trailing the brake. In my opinion, trail braking allows me to be more precise at setting corner speed because I can get the feel for the entry speed closer to the target.

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2 stories came to mind, here is a short one: some years ago a top 5 racer in his class (AMA 250 GP) went to Europe and was barely qualifying (in some cases not). He came back, "Man, you have got to trail brake to the apex!". That's what the other guys he was barely able to ride with were doing, the other guys in 35 place.

 

But, that's NOT what the guys out front were doing.

 

CF

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Since this thread is about things CSS doesn't train, I wonder if you teach people how to analyze a track and plan for improvements.

 

By that I mean things like how to analyze a corner coming into a straight versus a corner leading into a turn, picking out which corners you want to work on first, walking the track looking for camber changes, thinking about where you might like to turn in and then looking for a reference point around that spot, that sort of thing. I don't remember seeing this in the course descriptions, but wonder if you might actually be doing this sort of thing all through each level.

 

I guess I wonder about this because planning is something I like to THINK I would do well IF I was a racer. As a street rider, my "plan" is a little different: "Look well into the corner and stay clear of the gravel, the yellow line and those big metal things with four wheels." :D

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