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Help - How to learn/start using knee sliders??

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I just did a track day, and during the day I got to thinking that I really need to start using my knee sliders and get comfortable using them. 

After a lot of big improvements in quick succession (suspension upgrades that gave much better feel & improved confidence, started using tyre warmers so I gun it into the first corner and don't waste time) I've found myself getting surprised the few times a knee slider touches down. Sometimes it's just because my inside leg bounces and the slider almost "slaps" the track over a bumpy section, other times it's just that I'm carrying that much lean angle. 

I've never focussed on getting my knee down, I've spent all my time working on other areas of my riding which is finally all coming together and paying off big time! Speed is not a problem, today was the first time I rode in the fastest group and I probably should have been there for a little while. I am probably the only person in the group that doesn't get knee down. :lol: But my riding style means that I don't have such an exaggerated "leg out" body position, in fact usually I pull my leg in towards the bike. So I'm never expecting it when the slider touches down and it has been catching me off guard, sometimes I actually check up and roll off the throttle slightly, which then puts me off and I loose the rhythm for the rest of the lap and a bit.

So the question is - how do I go about getting used to using the knee sliders? Just keep doing what I'm doing... and try to get used to the feeling when it happens? It feels like I'm backwards with all this - usually people put all their effort into getting knee down to look cool, then focus on actually developing good riding technique - I went straight to the technique, "cool factor" be damned. Haha

Has anyone else found themselves in this situation - being fast, but totally unfamiliar with getting your knee down??

Cheers for any ideas or suggestions!

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No “advice” but here’s a little story from my experience:

First time my knee came down was on a relatively tight and track- ViR Patriot about 2007.

It was my last session of the day and I’d been talking with the guy pitted next to me and we thought that the track might have been too slow to get knee down. So we dismissed the notion.

I was doing well, hitting my marks and in T3 (after the eases) I felt something brush my thigh. About a half lap, I realized it was the ground. I decided I’d better stick my knee out instead of tucking into the bodywork.

Next lap on T3 I felt it graze the slider and I realized that just a bit more speed and it would probably happen.

Grazed the slider again on next lap but again added more speed and it came solidly down. I began to look for and expect it on subsequent laps and began to understand why people refer to it as a lean angle gauge. It also became a point of timing for me that I could roll on the gas.

 

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1 hour ago, Jaybird180 said:

It also became a point of timing for me that I could roll on the gas.

 

Interesting point! Cheers!

One of the reasons that I didn't want to use my knee as a lean angle gauge is that when your knee touches down, it doesn't mean that you can't lean any more. I prefer to spend my attention on feeling traction at the tyres and use that as my gauge. But I guess I'll just have to make an effort to try and stop pulling my leg in towards the bike... if you expect your knee to touch down, that means it can't surprise you, right?!?

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You are correct. Expectations dispel surprises!

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Some other tricks... rain sliders are thicker and touch down sooner, and there are also leather sliders that make a less startling noise when they scrape. 

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Cheers for the tip! I had completely forgotten about leather sliders, read about them years ago but have never seen anyone who uses them. Does anyone here use them or have a preference? I think there's really only two options - Klucky Pucks from Woodcraft, or Asphalt & Gas sliders? I will be getting myself a pair to try out. 

I also think the sliders that came with my leathers are really low profile to start with (it's a budget suit). At the narrowest section they only protrude about 17mm (0.6") from the suit.

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I've only seen the Woodcraft ones in use, they seemed to work well for the purpose, and they were fairly thick. I haven't tried them myself but the person that was using them got them because he didn't like the sound or sensation of scraping standard pucks. I presume they wouldn't last as long as standard pucks if you dragged them a lot, but his were holding up fine.

I have seen a few creative ideas - one person took a couple of stiff plastic zip ties and fed them through the Velcro under the knee puck so they stuck out like curb feelers, to try to touch those down. Not sure if he actually took that out on track or whether it worked, but I did think it was creative. :)

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