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Keith Code

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Everything posted by Keith Code

  1. Not so sure stopping quicker is a plus. You know what the old saying is: It's not the falling part that hurts, it's the sudden stop at the end! Anyhow, gravity is the advantage and the culprit in positive and negative camber situations. It pulls you down/in on banked ones and out on off-camber ones, simple. So you set up the turn to minimize the effect of off-camber and maximize the effect you get from banked...you can do that once you get a handle on the radius or radius changes. If you just go for minimizing or maximizing camber, without taking radius into account, you won't get as good a result. And radius will still rule. Keith
  2. My shortest answer is radius rules. Whatever camber changes there are in a corner, you need to understand the radius of it to know how best to handle the corner. You might have a decreasing radius on a turn's entry and decide to run it really tight. But, if the corner is a compound radius, double apex type turn, you can have other options. You could, in this case let it run in on a wider line and find that it sets you up perfectly for the second apex. Whereas, the tight entry runs you wide at the second apex. I can think of many other scenarios, that's one where radius rules. Keith
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. THe curbing at Laguna doesn't look as pronounced as VIR's but maybe after awhile the curbing wears down. I have fond memories of the CSS school there in 49 degree weather and i remember going over the curbing out of turn three with no issues... There are a bunch of people talking to VIR right now about the backing and we think that it can be handled with enough pressure from enough track day and school and race clubs. Keith
  8. Yuk... I'm not riding there! Im slightly curb-a-phobic anyhow. I was down at Barber in November and I thought they had nice curbs- flat, even concrete with just painted strips. I heard the grip is still good on them but I didn't test it! If the teeth were backwards...now that would be a problem I wouldn't be interested in dealing with. The old curbing, which they left in place wasn't terribly rider friendly but actually worse in many ways than what this is. The new stuff has less change of pulling off a puck! Keith
  9. The actions of riding one lap of a circuit, like our local training track, The Streets of Willow Springs in Southern California breaks down something like this: Throttle position changes 50 Steering inputs 22 Gear changes 20 Clutch actions (downshifts only) 10 Front brake pulls and releases 14 ------------ Total 116 A lap at Laguna Seca is pretty close to the same number. It's not physically demanding to roll the throttle on and off 50 times every minute and a half to two minutes; shift the gear lever 20 times; push on the bars 22 times? It's not a lot for one lap but over the course of 25 laps it adds up to about 2,900 actions. It's the rider's timing of Where and How Much of each of the 900 to 2,900 actions that add up to a good event or a good day at the track. The only reason it can become difficult is the stress created by not fully understanding what the bike needs and when it needs it. Stress comes from worry, worry comes from lack of commitment. You quit worrying and get busy once you've committed to anything! Despite the fact that a rider may be going twenty seconds a lap slower than a pro, the number of actions needed to be performed is the same. Quite often, however, it increases due to errors and corrections that a less skilled rider creates for himself. This has a direct impact on the amount of time the novice rider has to identify and initiate correct and accurate control responses: he's often still busy fixing or dwelling on the last one. For any riding situation, the important inputs into the bike often take a back seat to the ones generated by the rider's own errors, corrections and hesitations to commit to the next one. At just 60 mph that one beat of an elevated heart rate has you 44 ft down the road; all of a sudden it seems you are in a big, big hurry to perform. That's the cost of uncertainty. Lack of commitment in the rider takes time and that time is chock full of things to do. It's too full to be accurate; too full to have the time to observe; too full to make good decisions; too full to make a solid commitment. There are some rules: ►Getting to and completing actions is what buys you the time to observe and predict the results and commitment begins that process. ►Being half hearted and non-committal on control actions only holds you back. ►You can't easily predict the outcome of any control action on the bike until it is at least begun. ►When you are hesitant, you are giving yourself less time to respond. It seems, on the Survival Response level, you are making more time but it's the opposite. ►Being decisive with control inputs, with the smallest possible lag time, is safer in the end. If you haven't got the inborn skills to ride as you wish to ride, take this simple advice: Get out with a trained professional riding coach who knows what to look for and how to bring you around to understanding and improvement. In the end, confidence and commitment are identical. Once you know why, when and how to commit riding becomes what you've always envisioned it to be. © 2011, Keith Code, all rights reserved.
  10. I’ve been asked this question a hundred times: “What could you possibly be coaching on a rider like ________ , who is already a podium guy at world championship level?” I’m pretty sure my face betrays me because I’ve never had what I’d call an intelligent answer. But people always expect something really wise, some new or miraculous aspect of riding they’d never thought of before. Of course it never is. It’s always something that is, in my mind at least, very simple, very basic, very mundane to the ear but very important to the rider who is struggling with it. See if these look familiar to you. How can I: Be more confident, Go faster, Find good lines, Brake harder, Lean over farther, Trust the grip of my tires, Not panic so often, Quit running wide in turns, Handle ‘S’ curves better, Not stiffen up on the bike, Feel more relaxed in corners, Have better entry speed, Stop target fixating, Keep balance and be confident at very low speeds, Be able to downshift smoothly, Get my knee down, Stop the bike wiggling in quick transitions, Make fewer steering corrections in corners, Handle a slide, Get better drives off the turns, Make smooth starts, Make the bike feel planted in all corners, Have good body position, Handle emergencies better, Brake in turns, Avoid obstacles and Improve my lap times? 25 items that are now, or have been in the past, on every rider’s punch list for improvement. Which ones are still on yours? There are answers for each of them; not just tricks you can do in a parking lot that will make a rider feel good―that I also know how to do―but the thing that actually allows them to tick it off of that list. I’ll give you an example. Over a 5 year period I’ve run one thousand street riders through a very controlled program that, amongst other riding skills, has improved their average stopping distance at 60 mph by 60 ft. That’s the width of the six lanes of Sunset Blvd at Sunset and Vine and a bike length more than the longest eighteen-wheel trailer. How long does that training take? About an hour. It consists of assessing and measuring the rider’s base line braking; then coaching him through the feel and fear of using the brakes; and finally, applying what they learned at full speed and re-measuring the stopping distances. Who was tested and trained in my research and development of this program? Riders on everything from choppers to dual sport to sport bikes to touring bikes participated. What was their experience? It ranged from as little as “I rode my friends bike twice,” well under a hundred miles, to several hundred thousand miles; mostly males, about 3% females. For the sticklers for details out there, the range of error for the distance testing was plus or minus 6 feet. Range of error for measured speed was plus or minus 2 mph. Would training that actually reduced your stopping distance by 25% to 50% be valuable to you? How would it make you feel if you could stop your motorcycle in roughly the same distance as the professional rider who tested your bike model for that magazine? How many lives would be saved if everyone had truly effective rider training? What’s the point of me telling you this? The technology exists to coach an average rider through well designed programs that don’t just bring them up to the skill level of passing a cone weave course in the DMV test area at 12 mph to get their bike license but could, in the very real world of riding, save their life. OK, this is cool. That is an example of a solution for one of the twenty-five punch list items, harder braking, and yes, there are solutions for the other twenty-four. For my part, I can’t decide if I derive more satisfaction from seeing a rider get onto the podium in world competition, or, coach someone who is completely inept and really should never ride a motorcycle, through to this level of breakthrough in their stopping distance or in some other area of their riding. I’ve asked myself that question a hundred times. © 2011, Keith Code, reserving my rights as usual.
  11. Riders crash on both roads and tracks. More often than not it is a single vehicle accident that is explained as "loss of control". That means the rider concocted his very own set of circumstances that led to the crash. From a technical perspective, citing "loss of control" is about as useful as teats on a bull. There is always an inciting cause for the incident and it isn't always obvious. You can't put yourself in the rider's place to know which of the eight Survival Reactions (fear induced panic responses) were at work in a crash. Only the rider can tell you that. But, looking at one component that can be discovered helps. The most obvious component of riding is the space the rider used to negotiate the bend, in common speak it is his line. Accident reconstruction guys can figure this out. While there are many choices in lines both for safety and for speed but not everyone who rides is adept in the fine art of choosing a line and it is an art. Compared to the street, track riding is more forgiving. A track may be 35 to 45 feet wide whereas your ½ slice of a two lane road could be as little as 8 feet. In that case, an error in line judgment on the road is roughly five times more critical than on a race track. Your turn entry position, mid-corner and exit all have roughly 1/5th the margin for error. In other words, your line must be five times more precise, as a one foot error is equivalent to a five foot error on the track. One more point: if you couldn't get your lines under control on a track, it would be hopeless to think you could do it on the road. From a coaching perspective, 5 to 10 foot errors in lines on a track are interesting. While we know how to sort them out, you do wonder how they have survived thus far on the street. A case can be drawn for either the entry, apex or the exit being the key element in cornering. Get your exit right and all is well. Get your mid corner or apex spot on the money and you are golden. It can also be argued that a right choice on turn entry influences the outcome of both the others. All are true to a greater or lesser degree. But which one of them do riders struggle with the most? Their turn entry position and there are a number of pressing reasons for it. Consider a corner's three main divisions: entry, middle and exit. Which of them seems the busiest to you? In my surveying of thousands of riders "entry" wins hands down as the most critical portion of the turn. Having the corner's entry under control generally gives riders a breath of confidence. Getting entries wrong tends to start one off on high alert, possibly mild or more panic and is a definite distraction, mainly because the moment to correct the line passes too quickly. Choices in line are rapidly eliminated; what apex and exit can be achieved past that point is more luck than skill. Control inputs, too, become haphazard and often misguided like an untimely grab of the brake or throttle chops and steering corrections, possibly all three in a really dire circumstance. Are there solutions to perfecting lines? Many will tell you it's all about visual skills like picking reference points and looking ahead; that it can't be done on unfamiliar roads; that you have to be smooth, or, just slow down. This is good "advice" and when I began training riders 34 years ago that's all there was. Now, experience tells me, you may have other problems that good advice won't cure. Oddly enough, over those 34 years I've come up with 34 technical riding skills, drills and correction points and each of them has some bearing on lines. Which one will solve lines for you? Once again, here is my pitch: get out to the track and make your mistakes; get coached; get trained. Whatever speed you go is irrelevant. Once you are running consistent lines, within 1 to 3 feet, you will be doing way more right than X things wrong and your chances of surviving spirited street riding will soar. ©Keith Code, 2011.
  12. There was a very clear moment, back in the 70’s, when I realized that others weren’t experiencing the same joys of riding I was. I honestly felt that they were being robbed. Not wanting to be a snob about it, I earnestly thought: “Come on, don’t you see what you’re missing here? You’ve got to push it some. You’ve got to challenge yourself. You’ve got to taste some danger. You’ve got to forget about the cool accessories on the bike, just find the passion button and push it. You aren’t a mushroom digesting the seat, ride that thing!” I wanted to instantly transfer to them the passions of my world, my impressions and senses of riding. What can I say, I was naïve. The obvious solution was to teach them how to ride. Big problem. You couldn’t just do a Vulcan Mind-Meld and transfer all of your touchy feely impressions of what it should or should not feel like. It’s hard to relate what the curtain of red mist creates in you when it takes over your senses. There weren’t even accurate descriptions in English for either the mistakes or correct procedures. Riders were smooth or choppy; brave or chicken; they had rider DNA genes or were squids. “Ride more and you’ll improve.” that same old vague advice, used commonly enough, was boring and useless to anyone smart enough to know they could be better. I figured that there were two parts to my job. First,figure out how to ride then pass it on. Second, give riders an environment that would allow them to discover they had wings and really could fly; to ride for themselves and no other reason. That required getting them out of the urban and two lane jungles and into some kind of riding paradise. Riders like to hear stories of riding adventures. They desire to grasp a piece of that potential, even if only vicariously. “Near misses”, “got my knee down”. Daring feats for the soldiers of fortune in an urban jungle, war-zone kind of stuff: “ran from the cops”, “smoked the geek in a Porsche”. That sort of thing. The problem was those were pretty much all connected to street riding. Solution: Even for riders with no interest in getting a knee down, only one place fit that riding paradise description, The Track. On the education side of things, the “just ride and you’ll improve” crowd would believe I’m daft to say there are 52 points that affect your riding position; up to 72 things that riders tend to notice when they corner a motorcycle; that there are 18 definable senses which we rely on when we ride, and that there are 37 laws to how you approach a corner. They would honestly think I’m being quite pedantic about it all. Well, everyone knew the earth was flat for thousands of years. Shaping riding into an integrated package of practical skills and drills which produce quantifiable good results seemed the right way to go. What really began to blow my skirt up was figuring out and testing things to see if they really worked to improve riding. I was so excited when I came up with my first riding drills in the early 80’s I nearly peed myself. Once a rider has enough savvy about the core technical skills it opens many doors. But students still had problems and uncertainty. Later in the 90’s I began to understand and catalog the 8 instinctual “Survival Reactions” that impeded their abilities and that discovery opened up even more avenues to approach riding. Now, we have 30 well defined technical points of riding and each can be drilled or coached with anyone who rides. Nothing matches the feeling of working with a world class rider and watching them improve by drilling and coaching them on the very same technical skills that are lacking in the average rider. And that’s the whole point, these skills are understandable, they can be practiced, they provide a solid foundation. They are vital to success and they do build confidence and control at all levels and for all purposes that riders ride. Even somewhat misguided training is better than no training at all. And if it’s done at the track, your opportunity for success is immeasurably improved. That urge I had, way back when, has unfolded into this amazing array of techniques. The greatest part for me has been figuring them out, writing them down and sharing them. Start planning now to get out to the track. Keith Code ------ Keith Code, 2011, all rights reserved.
  13. has not set their status

  14. Whoops, sorry David, well how did your race go anyhow? Go any quicker? Keith
  15. Heath, WOW, what a brilliant success story, I'm grinning ear to ear from it. Thanks a million Keith
  16. Would you like to know how much lean angle and speed it takes to completely lose the front or rear-end as a result of a panic chop-off of the throttle when encountering wet pavement or riding through a patch of sand? I did. And I also wanted to know: would a rider receive his just rewards if he conquered his panic survival-reactions and maintained good throttle control in these conditions? One more thing: are crashes under these conditions inevitable and ruled by the laws of traction and physics or are they generated by our survival responses? Last week, during the filming of the “A Twist of the Wrist, Vol. II” DVD, we flooded one section of the skid pad at Willow Springs Raceway and then spread sand on another to get the answers. Common sense tells us that under these conditions traction is reduced and that it is correct to fear them, right? Well, as our test riders’ confidence and speed increased from 20 mph/30 degrees lean through to 45 mph/ 43 degrees lean and chopping the gas, YES, in the wet it did finally lose front traction and crash. With good throttle control the three foot patch of sand produced a non threatening twitch of traction loss. The 30 feet of standing water and wet asphalt? NO sliding at all. If you said, wait a minute!, that’s nearly a 1 g load on the tires, you would be right. Conditions: Hot. Asphalt: I’d rate it good, as far as traction goes, with a few tar-snake repairs. Bike: My Lean/Slide Trainer, Kawasaki ZX-6R. Tires: Well used Dunlop 209 GP front, Qualifier rear. Test pilots: Cobie Fair and Josh Galster, current Rookie of the year points leader in AMA Supersport. Sand: Fine white. Water: Standing water was about _ inch deep and came from a water truck. I love doing Myth Buster stuff like this. Here is the disclaimer: Would I call this a scientific experiment? Not really. We didn’t do it on more polished or greasy or newer or older asphalt nor did we try it with slicks or other tires or cruiser or touring bikes, etc. Does it mean you won’t slide in these conditions? No, but it does mean that there is some additional evidence that overcoming your survival/panic reactions can save your bacon. The tenets of good throttle control aren’t just friendly advice. When we look at basic technical riding skills we see they are indispensable and create a firm foundation of control and can lead to confidence in ourselves and our riding. Are there other technical skills in riding? Oh yes, many. How many? Can’t say right now but I’ll leave you with this to think about. I amused myself a few months back by writing up a comprehensive rider training program for newer riders. Result? 307 coached actions that can be done in a parking lot. You tell me, is there anything to learn about riding? © Keith Code, 2008, all rights reserved.
  17. One other thing that I've seen over and over is riders sacrificing good gearing for the "idea" that they should never overrev the bike. While it is not good to overrev your motor on a routine basis if you have a small section of a track where you are on the rev limiter for a second or two it isn't the end of the world and won't affect your times anything that you could measure. On the other hand if you gear the bike so it is never on the revlimiter and it messes up your drives or adds shifts that are difficult to do, then you've gone backwards and created more problems than you are solving. When the bike is on the limiter for just one second it can seem like an eternity, you have to be really objective about how long it really is on the limiter and if the gearing is good everywhere else, it saves you some gear changes, you can get good drives, you aren't overrevving in mid corner, let it scream a bit. Keith
  18. A philosopher by the name of Immanuel Kant (1726-1804) said that humans have knowledge that precedes and goes beyond their personal experiences. Motorcycle riders prove this to be true because they knew, before ever throwing a leg over a bike, that they’d love it. There is an inclination to try to categorize and define this bond. Shall we call riding an art, a passion, a skill, a compulsion, an instinct, a desire, an ego booster, sheer entertainment or simply a challenge? Celebrating my fiftieth year of riding, I still don’t know which it is and that doesn’t bother me. Why ride? The question has no practical significance, it is a moot point. I knew, from the first moment I considered it, as you probably did too, how it would, could or should feel. Riding fits into an already existing recess in our (riders’) souls, our urge to live, our sense of existence, our core aliveness, our essential being. Deny it at your own risk: enjoy it to your great happiness. Only one point should concern us: losing our sense of discovery. It’s that open, childlike view we must preserve where everything is fresh paint and dewy grass except you have a set of bars and a throttle in your paws and where each corner becomes an adventure and a world unto itself. I abandoned trying to discover “why I ride” long ago. Defining the qualities of a perfect ride; finding that groove where it all flows, where you are there but detached, where all things are obvious and yet simple keeps my passion alive. A good ride has qualities that transcend the moth-goes-to-flame category of experience. Here is a description of some of them that are on my list. I seek the perfect balance of focused but not too focused. Aware of what I am doing but not pushed into it like with my face pressed against a window. Focused more on a result than on the skills or technique I need to get the result. I have to be willing to crash but not have my attention on crashing. Keep my expectations of how well I'd like to, or think I should, be riding on the backburner. I’ve found there is a fine balance between taking small errors in stride and not feeling stuck with them but not ignoring them either; that’s a trick: I open up my mental riding software program which allows me to maintain enough free attention to identify an error and hit “save” so I can later make some decision on what I can do to correct it. Be willing to make changes but always keep in mind that sometimes a very slight change can make a world of difference. That means don’t be too darn greedy for change. Realize the instant that my focus is broken and either put it back together immediately or reduce my pace. On the track, I have to separate what a practice session is from a go-for-it session. Trying not to feel weird about it when someone quicker passes me is still a battle. I have to be willing to go slower to learn something new. Give any technique a fair chance of success and try it enough times to know if I can or cannot do it. I always accept coaching that I trust. I know that self- coaching is quirky; it’s easy to delude myself and miss what is important. Once I notice some little thing I’m doing I try to discover what it is. I keep in mind that riding is a universe unto itself and being a universe it has limitless opportunities to discover its intricacies and one’s own connection to them. With all of that in place, I have a great ride. What’s on your list? Copyright 2008, Keith Code, all rights reserved except those I cheerfully turn over to very special people called riders.
  19. Considering that poor technique can account for differences in lean angle to negotiate a turn, can we really consider this a good example? Can we deduce as an absolute that turn radius is directly proportional to the factors of lean angle and speed? I can think of an aviation example (3-dimensional world) where it is not, but since were not talking 2-dimensional, I’m not so eager to agree. Poor technique has nothing to do with it, the 50 degrees is an example of a lean angle at 2 different speeds! no matter what your lean angle is a 100 mph turn will always be a bigger radius than a 40 mph turn! Can you lean a bike to 50 degrees at 30mph, 60mph, 90mph? of course, but as I say the 50 degrees is just a figure for example it could be 20 degrees if thats easier for you and at that lean angle or any lean angle for that matter the faster the speed the bigger the radius! That is the simplicity of it. Keith
  20. Last time I checked my specialty wasn't physics. I'll leave that up to those who love the subject. Here is what can be observed: a rider at 50 degrees lean angle in a 40 mph turn and a rider at 50 degrees lean in a 100 mph turn. The radius of the 100 mph turn is larger than the radius of the 40 mph turn yet the lean angle is the same. I know why it works like that but you all can find that out as well by looking at books like Tony Foale's "Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design" to name one. In other words get the real data and not my interpretation of it. From a rider's perspective, you want to get around the turn and stay on a line you like and allow for as few steering/lean angle changes and as good throttle control as you can get and as predictable a line as possible. The reason that fundamental throttle control contains the idea of getting the gas back on as soon as your line is set (and not before) is because the line does widen as throttle is added. Now you are looking at the actual art of cornering: the rider's ability to predict that ever widening arc as throttle is added is what makes his line "predictable". Some riders see and feel this better than others. Some just notice that the line widens and are afraid of it and miss the importance of noticing just how much it widens at different lean angles and speeds and throttle application. Keith
  21. Number one for sure, number four is unlikely. Keith
  22. I love to survey riders. What do they want from riding; how would they like it to feel; how would they like it to look? Want is consistently answered with smoother, faster and increased confidence. Feel runs the gamut through smooth, solid, stable and predictable. Look also ranks smooth above all; followed by fast, which translates into hanging off, knee on the floor. That is the dream. Riders of all classes of bikes, once astride a sportcycle and at a racetrack, feel left out and are often crestfallen until that magic moment finally comes; the krchchshh of getting a knee down. If only the photographer had been in that corner…that lap. In the evolution of our species we’ve gone from knuckle dragging to knee dragging. An alluring picture of what they imagine or wish to look like can hamstring anyone. These are most often gleaned from dramatic magazine or TV shots stored in their library of mental images and riders envision themselves in these poses as an end unto itself in their quest to improve personal riding prowess. Going for the look without some understanding of its utilitarian underpinnings is, in a word, wrong. In the evolution of the art of cornering the look of it has had four complete phases--so far. The neat, tidy knees to tank, stretched out on the bike style of the 19-teens through the ‘60s was handed down, eye to muscle memory, as the path of least resistance; you could even say “the natural style” of riding. Phase two: Mike Hailwood let his inside knee come off the tank in the 1960’s and practically created a stock market panic in the riding style etiquette market, it was a huge departure from tradition. Paul Smart, Barry Sheene and others followed. Then, Jarno Saarinen actually moved his butt off the seat a bit which was emulated by many. The fourth phase is credited to and was pioneered by our own Kenny Roberts Sr’s knee down style hangoff in the 1970’s. Initially this earth-shattering look was quite personal to the rider, each having his own iteration of the new form. Cal Raybourn and Kel Carruthers were halfway guys, still clinging a bit to phase two. Some others had lots of bum off, some with lots of leg and knee off, some rotated around the tank a la Mick Doohan. A few went head and body way down and on the inside of the tank, Randy Mamola style, some hung-off but remained sitting more upright like Kevin Schwantz. The torso positions for our other 500cc world champs of the era; Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer and Wayne Rainey were half way between, on the tank but not inside it. Most of the originals also tended to ride forward on the tank and finally, everyone was stationary in their hung-off position once in the corner. The neat part of that era, with all these splinter groups, was that a fan could have instant recognition of the individual’s style and look. Not so today, phase five is upon us. Conceptually, hanging off couldn’t be simpler. Lower the combined Center of Gravity (CG) of the bike/rider combination and you go through the same corner at the same speed, on the same line with less lean angle: all in all, a brilliantly utilitarian racer’s tool with huge residual benefits; chief among them being an accurate, on-board gauge for lean angle and true to most evolutionary progressions, function now rules the new look and style of road racers. Take a look; riders are low and inside of their bikes. More and more we see them perfectly in line with the machine, not twisted or rotated in the saddle. The bum off/body twisted back across the top of the bike positioning, which many phase four riders had been doing, was and still is an interesting piece of self-deception. With their torso mass on the higher side of the bike, it not only neutralizes the mass of the hips being off the bike but actually is a negative, raising the combined bike and rider C G--defeating the technique’s main function and purpose. Other notable changes include not being so stretched out as before but not always with the family jewels on the tank either. The one new variable in phase five riders is coming further off the bike mid-corner to exit. You’ll see it on the bum-cam position next time you watch riders like Val Rossi in Moto GP. That and the fore/aft in the saddle differences appear to be the only options available to our phase five evolution racers. We have five choices now in how we can look and relate to our bikes. If you keep your eye on the style’s function and do some limbering exercises all the benefits of phase five will become apparent as you become comfortable with it. Is it easy? My experience says it is not a natural style at all and riders are hard pressed to assume the new form. If it is your desire to do it I suggest taking your time and step by step, experimenting with each of the stages through which it has evolved. Good luck. ˆ Keith Code, 2007.
  23. The sum total of what can be done with a motorcycle is changing speed and changing direction. That is all of what can be done, right or wrong, in any riding situation. However, changing speed and direction breaks down into well over a dozen key skills and they are supported by at least a dozen different perceptions. Every one of the basic riding skills relies on our ability to accurately sense the riding environment and the bike. This is our very intimate connection to the riding world. Our senses and perceptions provide the vital raw data input that permits us to interface, adroitly or clumsily, with the bike’s controls. Taste, touch, sound, sight and smell are the named five senses. Taste and smell have little to do with riding. Touch gives us sensitivity to the controls; sound can be of some help but minor compared to sight, which we rely on heavily. But that’s a very sketchy picture of riding. Factually, riding motorcycles is one of the all time most difficult, multi-task activities known to man and not everyone is wired-up right for those tasks. Taken one at a time these tasks or skills are simple; riders easily grasp the basic ideas like: throttle control, choosing lines, braking, reference points, steering and so on. Each has its own set of dos and don’ts, rights and wrongs that can be observed and coached. It’s the imponderables of riding: how far can I lean; when will I lose traction; how fast is too fast, that puzzle us. There is more here than meets the usual five senses. Here are a dozen more we rely on to ride well. We all have a Sense of Motion which breaks down into: Perception of Speeding Up, Perception of Slowing Down and a Sense of Cornering Forces. Our Sense of Speed allows us to compare one velocity to another, it is its own category. We sense and monitor Lean Angle. The ability to Perceive Location in Space is huge and has two parts: where am I now and where am I going. Then there is our Perception of Traction; our Sense of Timing for Control Inputs; the relative Stability or Instability of the bike; these are all perceptions we have: none of these escapes us as we ride; none of them are trivial and all of them are both independent and interdependent. Is this just a theory? Perhaps but all of these “senses” are recallable. Take a moment and think of a friendly corner you’ve ridden. Notice how many of the above perceptions come into play when you review that corner. Whether a touring rider or racer, we use them all and we use them virtually every time a corner presents itself to us. Are we multi-tasking yet? Taken one at a time these perceptions are manageable. Combine them--as we do--when strafing a turn and they can overwhelm us because these “senses” often seem very fleeting or fragile, extremely hard to quantify and decidedly elusive. Rider education is an interesting proposition. It isn’t difficult to critique technique; a particular skill is being done well or not. But wait, there’s more! Beyond the coaching and drilling you are training the rider to use their senses in an orderly fashion; to apportion their available awareness; to connect their perceptions to the right control actions at the right time and in the right amount. We are all guilty of errors in this department. Take the completely illogical action of looking at your hand controls as you prepare the clutch and throttle to engage a gear as an example. All new riders begin that way and 95%+ of us continue to do so forevermore! Habit? Sure. Good or bad? If you roll out this misappropriation of your senses to other riding situations, the answer is bad. Yes, you should be surveying the space ahead not the bar controls. Try too hard to get your entry speed and you miss the line. Attention fixed on line and you can forget your throttle control. Too absorbed by lean angle and you worry about traction. Fumble a downshift; braking becomes choppy and turn entry speed is blown. Look into the apex too early and we turn in too early; stalling the throttle and prompting mid-corner steering corrections. And the list goes on and on. Solution? There is no pat answer except to rewire yourself and become aware of what you are aware of while you are riding. By first isolating these perceptions and then knowingly combining them you will be successful in the re-wiring process. Practice can make perfect… sense(s). ˆKeith Code, 2008.
  24. Does approaching the turn point with constant throttle work? Why or why not? It has been suggested that you have advocated increasing idle speed, which has the effect of producing the same result (entry stability), with the added benefit of less work for the right hand. Do you advocate this and under what circumstances? J, When you say constant throttle it is a question of degree of throttle opening. If you had the gas on a quarter turn, you'd experience a good deal of difficulty turning the bike, in that case it would be too stable. When we talk about turning up the idle, it is like the very first tiny crack open of the throttle, enough to bring it up to 3,000 or so. That doesn't really have a huge effect on entry stability, the bike is after all slowing down and weight is still transferred forward, just a little less than usual. The other key point is that it makes the transition from off the gas to back on the gas a little easier and buys you a moment of time to feel the speed of the bike. That "moment" can scrub off a lot of speed at a normal idle speed. With it set higher the speed still goes down but not quite as fast. It is another way to trick yourself into improving your turn entry speed. Another advantage of using the technique is that there will be slightly less slack in the chain so getting back to the gas is a little bit easier, a little bit smoother transition. Keith
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