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taras

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About taras

  • Rank
    Cornering Apprentice
  • Birthday 06/29/1952

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Canberra (Australia)
  • Interests
    Completely addicted to motorcycling and I'm a bit of a fitness nut but, if I had time, I'd also be heavily into art (drawing and oil painting) and woodwork (fine furniture making).

Previous Fields

  • Have you attended a California Superbike School school?
    Yes, 1, 2 & 3
  1. LOL. I hadn't realized that's Freddie Spencer in the pic. (I wasn't following motorcyle racing in his day so, while I'd certainly heard of him (as you point out, he's a legend), I'd never actually seen him on TV or in a photo). I'm almost embarrased that I was spouting out suggestions on how the rider could 'improve' his body position. However, a couple of points. Firstly, notwithstanding that it's Freddie Spencer, there's no doubt that the knee would be on the ground if the hips were rotated more to the left. (I know, he wouldn't have had any trouble getting his knee down anyway - I'm talking about technique for mortals). Secondly, I suspect that guys like Spencer, who have so much natural skill and grow up from early childhood with motorcycling, develop styles that 'feel right' for them. If you look at the current crop of MotoGP riders, their body positioning styles have quite a bit of variation. I guess the point to take out of all that is that, in the end, body position has got to be something that gives each individual the best feel for what the bike is doing and the most confidence and trust that he/she can control it through the corner. However, the CSS recommendations provide a very solid foundation from which to make adjustments for an individual style. Cheers, Taras
  2. Hi Adam, It's great to catch up with you online. Hope all is going well with you. Certainly will be seeing me. I just did a ride day at Eastern Creek last Thurs. Weather was really good (a touch on the cool side - I joked that I should go back to Canberra where it's warm ). I'll be back there on 26 July. Also, I'll be down at Phillip Island over the warmer months. Hope to catch up with you soon at the track. All the best in the meantime. Cheers, Taras
  3. Hi Rod, 11 July at Eastern Creek is one that I had been contemplating earlier but I ended up doing one last Thurs (25 June) at Eastern Creek so I'm now planning to do Sunday 26 July. Have a great time! (Let me know when you're doing another one and we'll see if we can sync our dates) Cheers, Taras
  4. Thanks Cobie and Trixie Triixie, in answer to your question about what bike I ride, I ride a Suzuki GSX-R750 on the track. Absolutely love riding it. A real pleasure on the track. Off the track I have a Triumph Rocket III Classic. Use that for going with my wife on cruising holidays and weekends away. As my daily commute, I use a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm (known as the Superhawk in the US) What about you? Cheers, Taras
  5. Thanks for the welcome, Bullet. I'm sure that I'll very much enjoy being part of the 'family'. I'm already really caught up in reading heaps of the posts that have been put up. It's a very enjoyable site. Cheers, Taras
  6. Hi Firebeast, I'd definitely recommend that you follow Keith Code's advice and the techniques that they teach in the California Superbike Schools of gently rolling on the throttle from very early in the corner. Yes, the MotoGP guys continue to brake a long way into the corner but that is sooo much harder to do and is inviting a low-side crash. We mortals have to remember that the MotoGP guys have a super-human feel for what the tyres are doing and super-human finesse (not to say anthing of hugely superior components and set-up of their suspension, etc). Braking into the corner puts/keeps a high load on the front tyre and, as we've all been told, a tyre has a finite amount of grip. So, if you're cornering and braking at the same time, the amount of grip being used up by the cornering forces added to the amount of grip being used by the braking forces can very easily exceed the total available grip. Running wide after rolling on the throttle is not the result of rolling on the throttle. Instead, it is the result of either turning into the corner too early (a natural tendency), which causes your exit line from the corner to be angled very much to the outside of the track or by bad suspension set up, as I'll explain below: A bike turns quicker if the forks have a steep angle. For example, on a sportbike the angle of the forks angle is steeper than on a cruiser. When you accelerate, the rear of the bike wants to squat down and the front wants to sit up. If the suspension is not correctly set up, the amount of rear squat and/or the amount of situp at the front could be excessive, which would cause the angle of the forks to be less steep, which then causes the bike to want to run wide on exit. If that's the case, it may be that your rear spring is too light for your weight and compresses too easily under acceleration; and/or it could be that your rear compression damping is too soft and allows your rear to squat too quickly; and/or it could be that your front rebound damping is too soft and allows your front to come up too quickly. However, it could also be that your fork springs are too hard for your weight and/or your front compression damping is too hard and isn't allowing the bike to dip enough at the front under braking and cornering load so, when you start accelerating, you're already in a nose-too-high attitude. If you suspect suspension then get an expert to look at it. It can lead to disaster if you play with suspension settings and don't understand the consequences that each setting can lead to! Another thing that may help keep the bike on its line is to consciously keep a little forward pressure on the inside grip to keep the bike low while you're gently rolling on the throttle. Start releasing the forward pressure on the grip when you want to allow the bike to start to stand up so that you can really pile on the power. However, remember that the same 'total amount of grip' principle applies to the rear tyre. A lot of high-sides (very nasty things!) are caused by applying the throttle too quickly mid-corner. A lot of the available grip of the rear tyre is already being used up with cornering so suddenly adding acceleration forces to the rear tyre can make it lose grip and ... (Aargh!) Definitely get comfortable and competent with the Keith Code and CSS recommended technique before you start trail braking into corners. Cheers, Taras
  7. Hey Firebeast, Since posting my reply (above), I've just noticed the photo that you use as your avatar (I'm presuming that it's a photo of you) and I can tell you exactly why your knee isn't on the ground. It's very much about the angle of rotation of your hips and upper body, as I explained in my earlier reply. Have a look at your photo. You are going around a left-hand corner. However, if you imagine a rod going through your left hip and extending out your right hip, you will see that your hips are facing a long way toward the right. Your knee is quite close to the ground in the photo. Now, looking at the photo again, imagine if you rotated the 'rod' so that your hips are facing to the inside of the corner. Looking at the photo, just visualize how far that would rotate your leg toward the ground. Wow, you'd have your knee hard down on the ground man! Now, also notice in the photo that your upper body is also pointing to the right. Look at the photo and visualize a line running from the top of the crack in your butt up your spine and out through the helmet. Can you see that it's actually pointing back over the top of the fuel tank and out to the right of the bike, when what you really want is for your upper body to be pointing out to the left. Again, looking at the photo, just visualize how far toward the ground it would bring your knee if you rotated your upper body so that it points toward the left of the bike! Ok, what to do about correcting the problem. To begin with, don't hang your butt off the seat so much. In the photo, it looks like you've got both cheeks off the seat. Hanging your butt off the seat so much can easily fool you into thinking that you're getting closer to ground when it's actually having the opposite effect because it causes your hips and body to rotate AWAY from the ground - ie, the opposite of what you want to achieve. Next, try to lie forward more. That will make it easier to point your upper body to the left (in a left-hand corner; vice-versa in a right-hand corner). I can't see the geometry of your footpegs but, if you can, try to bring your knee further forward on your upper leg - ie, in this photo, that's your right leg. In other words, don't try to grip with just your knee. Instead, move your knee forward so that the knee and part of the inside of the thigh are against the tank. By moving your upper knee forward (if that's possible with the footpeg geometry), that will help to rotate your hips to the inside of the corner. Your arms seem fairly relaxed so it doesn't look like you're gripping too tight but just keep an eye on that next time. As I mentioned in my previous reply, you have to be extremely gentle on the handlebars. Use a little gentle forward pressure on the inside grip to bring the bike down low. Hope that all helps. Cheers, Taras
  8. G'day Firebeast, I'll give you my thoughts on what may help you get your knee down (but, as others have mentioned above, once you're getting your knee down, you'll probably find that you frequently deliberately tuck it up to keep it off the ground). Also, apologies in advance for the length of this reply. Anyway, the following are all important: 1. Your hips have to be ever-so-slightly angled on the seat so that they are facing to the inside of the corner. For example, if you're going around a left-hand corner, your hips should be facing toward the left side of the fuel tank. Frequently, riders who try to hang off the seat will actually end up rotating the wrong way on the seat so that their hips actually end up facing to the right of the fuel tank (in a left-hand corner and vice-versa in a right-hand corner). Now, imagine what effect that has: if your hips are facing to the outside of the bike then you've got to be quite a contortionist to be able to open your inside leg up enough to touch the ground with your knee - you're rotating your hips in the opposite direction to the direction in which your trying to point your knee - that makes it extremely difficult to do! 2. The line of your upper body should also point ever-so-slightly to the inside of the bike. Again, if you're going around a left-hand corner, then your upper body (visualize an extension of your spine) should be pointing to the left of the fuel tank. It's very easy to fool yourself here. You can easily imagine that your pointing your upper body to the inside of the bike when, in reality, all you've done is hang your backside off the seat and your body ends up compensating and pointing back toward the centre of the bike. Again, use your fuel tank as a reference - if you're going around a left-hand corner, then the line from your butt to your head should be pointing away to the left of the seat and fuel tank. You'll find it much easier to point your upper body to the inside of the bike if you lie down on the fuel tank. That'll also make it easier to rotate your hips to the inside as well (as mentioned above). 3. Use counter-steering to lean the bike down. This makes a huge difference. If you try to muscle the bike down (instead of counter-steering), you'll end up tensing up in the legs. Once you tense up in the legs, they'll have a tendency to clamp together - ie, that's the opposite of what you want your inside leg to do. 4. Absolutely DON'T GRIP onto the handlebars. Get yourself balanced on the bike so that you aren't hanging on to the handlebars. All you should be doing on the handlebars is applying gentle forward pressure to the inside handgrip (to bring the bike down low) and gently twisting the throttle open so that you are slightly accelerating (and, thereby, transferring weight to the rear wheel so that the load distribution on the front and rear wheels is balanced - ie, slightly more weight on the rear than the front as the rear is much fatter). If you hang onto the handlebars you may cause the bike to crash but you will also tense up in the body, which is the opposite to what you want to do if you want to be able to open your inside leg enough for it to touch the ground. 5. You have to 'slump' off the inside of the bike. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to hang a long way off. In fact, hanging off a long way may make it more difficult because it may cause you to rotate your hips and body in the wrong direction (see 1 and 2 above). What I mean by 'slump' is that you need to be absolutely relaxed (like a rag doll). Just lock your upper leg against the bike by pushing down against the footpeg with your upper foot (ie, the foot attached to the leg on the outside of the bike) while pressing your knee and thigh agains the fuel tank. The rest of your body, however, needs to be absolutely limp so that it sags down on the inside of the bike. If you hang off but keep the muscles in your body tense, you'll actually end up sitting high in the seat, which takes you further from the ground - ie, the opposite of what you want to do if you want to get your knee down. So, in short, rotate your hips and body to the inside of the corner, be ABSOLUTELY RELAXED all through your body, NO WEIGHT WHATSOEVER on the handlebars, use gentle forward pressure on the inside handgrip to bring the bike down low and apply gentle acceleration to keep the weight correctly distributed between front and rear wheels. I'd certainly highly recommend reading Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist I and II (two books) in which he explains a lot more than I did above and doing the California Superbike Schools (I've done Levels One, Two and Three). With all the information that you get, don't lose sight of the fact that it's all part of a 'system' - ie, you can't just pick one or two 'magic' riding techniques and expect it to work. It's all got to work together. Best of luck. Taras
  9. Hi All, I'm from Canberra (Australia) and I've just joined this site today. It's great to see that it's quite active. First time I'd ever heard of track days was two and half years ago. Bought a CBR600F4 from a mate. I'd never even sat on a sportsbike let alone ride one on a race track so I figured I'd better do a Superbike School to learn how to ride one. Crashed in the second session from over-enthusiasm (nobody told me that these things go down!). Got a real roasting from my coach, who basically told me to tone it down and concentrate on learning. Anyway, as has probably happened to everyone on this site, I have become totally and incurably addicted to motorbikes and track days. Since that first outing, I've now done Levels Two and Three of the Superbike Schools as well as quite a few trackdays. I feel like I just can't get enough information about riding bikes. Really keen to learn, learn, learn. And that's my reason for joining this site. I'm hoping that, by sharing what we know, we'll help each other to become much better riders and enjoy even more what we're addicted to. I did my Superbike Schools and my ride days at Eastern Creek (Sydney) and Phillip Island (love both tracks). My ultimate holiday would be to do a ride-day tour of all the MotoGP tracks (Dream on!!!!) Anyway, I'm really glad I found out about this site and I'm really looking forward to getting to know you all online. Cheers, Taras
  10. Hi Dids, I'm from Canberra too and have just joined the site today. I've done Superbike Schools Level One, Two and Three and, prior to doing the Superbike Schools, I had done the Stay Upright Cornering and Braking Course and their Advanced Course so I can give you an opinion. Basically, in comparing the courses, I don't think it's a question of going 'backward'. Each of the courses simply enhances the level of detail and understanding that you have about the various topics that are covered. From my personal experience, riding a motorcycle competently is a system; ie, it's not a set of separate items that, once you've learn't one you tick that off and move onto the next one. They've all got to work together and the better you understand how they work together the better you'll ride. Therefore, even if some of the topics overlap, the knowledge that's imparted to you simply enhances your understanding of how it all fits together. I highly recommend all of the courses. You won't be dissappointed. Cheers mate and we'll all be keen to hear your thoughts after you've done the Level One.
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