Jump to content
rchase

An Article I Wrote

Recommended Posts

rchase    5

Hey guys and gals. At the BMW Double R fest this year I got a chance to do a 2up ride with Nate Kern the BMW test rider. It was an amazing experience and with some inspiration from a work friend I wrote an article about the experience. My article ended up being published by BMWRA OTL Magazine. I asked the editor at OTL Magazine if it would be ok to share a copy of the article here and he was more than accommodating. Check them out http://bmwra.org/.

 

Here's the article itself from the magazine. As much as I tried to put into words the experience as you can imagine there's a lot that you can't really describe with words. If you have a few minutes I promise it's an interesting read. Hopefully the forum software will be kind to me and display the images in a way where people can actually see the text. :)

 

bmwarticle1.jpg

 

bmwarticle2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PittsDriver    0

Very nicely written. I felt like I was there myself in the experience. Thank you for posting that up.

 

Wes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

Thank you for the kind comment. It was an amazing experience.

 

It also was a really vivid reminder of why I love bikes so much. That man/machine connection is the strongest on bikes than any other machine. I have been on tracks with professional drivers in cars and even done aerobatics in small planes. None of those activities were quite like this. The scary thing is Nate was likely taking it easy due to the extra weight and what i experienced was not even close to what he does by himself.

 

That reminds me of a quote from Twist I.

 

"Kenny Roberts has often said that you must go slow in some place in order to go fast in others. His "slow," of course, would put most of us into cardiac arrest"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tmckeen    1

Good stuff Rob, sounds like a real one of a kind experience and some major breakthroughs as a rider.

 

I got really close to riding with Nate at Laguna Seca earlier this year, but sadly I was a little to loud going up the hill earlier in the morning, not that I would have kept up with him for more than a turn :D, perhaps next time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

Sorry to hear about the noise issue. That always is a challenge especially with a greedy right hand. :)

 

He's a lot of fun to ride with out on track for sure. It always gives me a chuckle to see him blast by on the rear wheel so effortlessly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spaghetti    1

"More turns. I wish I could remember which ones but I can’t. A track that’s so familiar to me became unfamiliar due to speed."

LOL :D

 

A very enjoyable read. Congratulations for your 14 seconds improvement!

And how about pulling a lap worth of data from Nate's bike logger for review?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

"More turns. I wish I could remember which ones but I can’t. A track that’s so familiar to me became unfamiliar due to speed."

LOL :D

 

A very enjoyable read. Congratulations for your 14 seconds improvement!

And how about pulling a lap worth of data from Nate's bike logger for review?

 

Heh heh. I actually have pulled Nate's data a few times and have had a look. VERY different than my data. As for sharing I would have to ask Nate first. For someone with his amazing ability he's a bit modest.

 

As for the speed thing it was really amazing. I know Roebling Road like the back of my hand. There were times I had no earthly clue where we were. I saw "a corner" and just moved my upper body and changed my grip on the grab handle. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jaybird180    30

14 Second improvement is quite an achievement. I wonder if Nate made suspension changes before putting you on the bike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
YellowDuck    0

Yes...14 seconds...wow. The biggest lap time improvement you will ever make in a single day, guaranteed.

 

You should mail the guy a check for, like, $2000. You would have spent 5 times that finding 14 s with go-fast parts, "normal" training and track days.

 

Just watched a video of that track. That place is just purpose-designed for puck scraping, isn't it? Long long corner after long long corner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

The biggest limitation I find that I have is just me and trusting my own ability and skill. I suppose that's true for a lot of riders out there but it tends to be a particular problem for me since I started riding so late in life. I have a decent amount of knowledge but eventually at a point that knowledge has to be applied which is what I struggle with. I'm sure you all are familiar with my overthinking by now. Other than my overthinking I'm pretty average in virtually every way.

 

Every single second in that 14 second figure was just my own internal doubt and lack of comprehension of the performance characteristics of my bike. Being able to see there was an ocean of available performance that I had not even scratched the surface of really helped me. Even using cutting edge tools like my datalogger and DTC system where I could quantify grip and know that the bike had a safety net were not helping me push beyond my own self imposed limitations quickly enough. Don't get me wrong. Those are powerful tools and help a lot but I lacked the frame of reference to equate the numbers and indicator lights with the seat of the pants feel involved.

 

The ride with Nate was an amazing demonstration to me that the RR performs well beyond my level of comprehension and wildest expectations. To me the most striking thing about those 14 seconds to me is what part of the day they came and my situation at the time. The eye opening ride with Nate and the humid 100 degree day both took a lot out of me. The improvements came when I was "taking it easy" and not making any effort to actually go faster because I was tired. The tension and apprehension I had went away. I finally had a reference point to work from and that eliminated a lot of doubt.

 

Yellowduck. I have actually thought about that. I have a feeling though that if I ever did write a check and mail it he would just hand it back to me the next time he saw at the track. Nate runs a small track day org that I have yet to miss a single day at since the first time I rode with the org. He regularly gives his time and knowledge to anyone who want's it no matter their skill level or logo affixed to their tank. Just like the coaches and staff at the school he's motivated only by the opportunity to help people.

 

On the suspension question. My bike had been setup by Nate prior to the 2up ride. I had been riding on those exact same settings for quite some time.

 

P.S. I have made similar improvements riding with the school. The coaches help me an incredible amount every single time I attend. Without you guys here on the forum I would have never discovered the magic world of distorted time and space above 150mph. I have been helped greatly by coaches and fellow students by being able to discuss problems without judgement or shame. I'm in debt to many of you and being the kind people you are you would never accept a dime for the help you provided. Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
YellowDuck    0

I'm in debt to many of you and being the kind people you are you would never accept a dime for the help you provided.

 

Wait, let's not jump to conclusions....let's talk this through....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bashir0505    0

Thanks for such a great read. A lot of what is holding us back as riders is our own fear of reaching into cornering speeds and experiencing forces we have never felt before. But then after you experience that feeling, there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. This reminds me of Keith's article "The 1G Club".

 

The other very important point you and YellowDuck alluded to was that we very quickly think it's the bike holding us back. If only I had DDC, or up and down quick shifter, or carbon wheels... Yes those things might help but majority of the time, we are not even close to the limit of our current equipment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bashir0505    0

rchase, also to add, I was in Savannah back in Sept. Without a bike, gear or trackday, I took the opportunity to do a track walk of the Roebling Road track. Just by walking it I could pick out some potential challenges. Turn 1, leading into a tighter 2 would be tricky. Even the downhill onto the front straight, one can't be too greedy too soon on the throttle. Really nice track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

Thanks for the comment. Quite honestly I had much the same thoughts about go fast parts before I actually experienced them. I was convinced they would make no difference at all due to my inability to get near the outer envelope of the bikes performance with my own riding on standard equipment. I'm happy to say I was proved completely wrong. Those types of parts make riding easier and more enjoyable for pretty much anyone. The fast guys of course are able to take that ease and turn it into blistering speed. Perhaps one day I will be able to as well.

 

Roebling on paper looks super easy if not even slightly boring. When you actually ride it it's a different story. There are lots of surprises waiting for you. Turn 4 due to the shallow angle you enter at is harder than it looks. Turn 3 often takes people out on cooler days as the left side of their tires cool like crazy from the right turns from 6,7,8,9, the 160mph+ straight and then 1 and 2. I think you meant to say the uphill section of turn 9 leading onto the straight. That's certainly a place to be cautious but you can go much faster there than you think. I know someone who goes through there on the rear tire and enters at well over 100mph. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
khp    2

@rchase congratulations on a really well written article. I sure can relate to your descriptions even though I never have gone 2-up with a racer. In fact, it's been many years since I last was on the back of a bike.

 

14 seconds faster is beyond massive, it's a gargantuan leap! But it does make me wonder what your previous speed at this track was. How many seconds or percent slower were you than the track record?

 

At my "home" track I'm around 12 seconds back of the 58s50 record (my personal best from 2011 is 1m08s86)

 

Thanks for the inspiration

 

Kai

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rchase    5

Being on the back is a way different experience. With the complete lack of much input at all into the bike every corner trips off every possible SR you could think of especially because of the speed differences between an average rider and someone with "a bit more experience". Of course that's where it becomes a good thing that you have so little input into the bike as all of those SR's would be able to actively cause you problems.

 

As for the gain in time. I honestly don't know where I stand in relation to the lap record at Roebling. I pay very little attention to my actual times and a lot more attention to the trends of where those times are moving. I should probably look that up sometime as it could be helpful in the future when I get more serious about lap times.

 

If you ever get the chance to sit on the back with one of the "fast guys" you should do it. It really helps cast away a LOT of doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×