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Everything posted by Roberts

  1. Hi El Colibri, I am sorry that you had that experience. That stinks. There is no fair counter to your example. You were there, you know what happened, and any comment or suggestion about that event would be absurd. My guess is that you are an experienced rider, and the fact that you are on this forum indicates you think about riding a lot. I would also lay a bet that you have avoided a hell of a lot of collisions, left yourself escape routes, watched the front wheels of hundreds of cars at intersections, studied the roadside for hints of upcoming changes, and used your best x-ray vision to try to see what drivers in cars around you are looking at and doing. I bet you practice emergency stops and avoidance drills too. Nobody can stop from being bushwhacked. I have had people pull out in front of me claiming they 'didn't see' the 1-ton diesel Silverado in was driving. Not every driver is an idiot, but every idiot does drive. I still maintain that in an overwhelming large number of incidences, we are able to save our own lives by the application of practiced skills and attentive habits. And as for single vehicle incidents? Speaking for my self, CSS training, and reading books by Kieth and others, and lots of practice have given me tools to stay out of trouble while still enjoying spirited riding on civilian roads.
  2. I just completed a Washington State DOL motorcycle safety survey. Multiple choice, asking about experience, training, years riding, accident history, etc. One of the reasons I completed the survey was that they give you the current average response chart after you complete the survey. One statistic jumped off the page. over 50% of respondents stated that the main cause of motorcycle accidents was inattention of OTHER DRIVERS. Over half of all respondents believe that the main cause of motorcycle accidents is out of their hands. It's fate, and it's up to the performance of other people. If I believed that, I would sell my bikes today and never ride again. I believe my life is in my hands, and that choices I make on the road are 100% in my control. One of my principle reasons for coming to CSS was to clean up my own bad habits and misconceptions and to point me in the right direction for continued improvement. I can report that this training has actually saved me from myself on a few occasions, and certainly given me better insight into how my motorcycle interacts with the riding environment. A few specifics: Where is the actual limit of control? What is '80%'? and how do you know how much margin you have left? When you are at speed, and committed to a line, how can you make fast changes without crossing the line into uncontrolled flight? The road is not the track, and in theory we should not exceed the limits of control on civilian roadways, but if you put in unpredictable road surfaces, other vehicles, road hazards, and wildlife, you now have an environment where the same skills you need at high speed are required to survive slow to medium velocity travel. So, this is my plug for CSS. We all want to learn to get around the track faster every lap. There are few things better than that. Control is control, and CSS training is absolutely 100% an improvement in your understanding of what control is and how to get it. We also need to learn how to read traffic, observe changes in the riding ecosystem, and learn to pay attention and stay focused. All necessary life skills, but it's all just information that allows us to choose and act. CSS will help you learn how to take action so you can come back to the track in one piece.
  3. Even though you know you are in class. Even though you respect the rules. Even though you respect your instructor. Even though you know it's specifically for your own benefit..... How many of you CAN'T STAND being passed? I have to force myself to hold it steady every time. That is probably one of the hardest parts of track days. Am I alone here?
  4. Most of my riding is on the street, and I do have a preference for right-handers, but only because if you are apexing to the paint line, on left-handers your body parts are in the oncoming lane of traffic. Even on empty roads it feels like I'm asking for it, so I tend to be less aggressive on the lefties. On the track, no difference or preference.
  5. Hi Faffi, Sort of a yes here. I am very comfortable sliding around on earth surfaces of all types. Probably my single biggest question about sportbikes on asphalt has to do with sliding. I am under the impression from pit racing bull sessions that sliding leads to disaster. slip, grip, and flip seems to be a favorite expression. I read sections in TOTW II that speak directly to sliding as a thing racers do to find the limits of traction to dial in the max speed/force for any given track or corner. So now I am back to being baffled. As a general question: If your suspension is correct, tire pressures are correct, temperature is correct for your tires, and your tires are scuffed in, heated up and pretty fresh, can you slide an S1000RR in a controlled fashion? Do Q3s slide? If they do, do they regain grip smoothly, or is it a sudden lockup that flips you off into the gravel? Great topic and I would really like to hear what the experts have to say.
  6. Hey Vic, So, it is easy to dial up the engine braking to whatever level suits you. It's 'Regenerative braking, and you can (on this model) adjust to whatever you want prior to moving, but once on the road, you pretty much have to ride whatever settings you selected. As for my escape from a body cast, I have literally decades of competitive off-road riding experience, so I am accustomed to rapidly choosing the least painful way to crash. In this case I just barely made a driveway/sidewalk transition, rode between a power pole and it's guy wire, then through the shorter part of a hedge and right back onto an empty roadway, all while up on the pegs like a dirtbiker do. four serious chances to bite it, four narrowly missed. I had to pull over and have a serious talk with myself. Something about being too old to do stuff this freakin' stupid.
  7. Hey Dylan, I am sure you get this a lot, but..... Reading the information you put on the board feels like finding clues in mystery novel. Like a real-life Divinci Code deal, only for motorcycle addicts. I am still buzzing with the classroom time on physics, biology, mathematics, psychology, and the riddle of why motorcycles turn. I really appreciate your contributions here.
  8. One more thing... Since there is no clutch and no shifter, your left side has a lot less to do. I use very little rear brake, so I can literally set my feet and lock my legs in and never need to move anything below the knees, ever. That may sound a little strange, but the bike is very slim, and there is zero engine heat, so you can literally mold yourself into the bike with no discomfort. Add the fact that it is impossible to blow a shift, or be in the wrong gear, and that you always have 100% power on demand....always the 'sweet spot', so you can loft over any rise at a moments notice...well, it's just mesmerizing.
  9. Hi CoffeeFirst. I have two street bikes. A 2014 RnineT, and the 2020 SR/F. The SR/F is the heavier of the two machines, and it feels significantly lighter. The center of gravity is very low and centered, and first thing to contact the ground on either side would be the rider, so no clearance concerns. The 'problem' I have been harping about is that Force=Mass X Velocity. Without the auditory or physical reminders of your speed, and the linear nature of the torque curve it has happened many times that I become aware of the mass of the machine only as I realize I am running out of real estate. It is extremely easy to over-cook a corner. The other concern is tire load. The bike came with Pirelli Rosso IIIs on it, which spec out pretty good, but with under 1,000 miles on them they are melting away pretty fast. I think this is a 2 sets per season bike if it's just ridden on the street, and I would expect to go through a couple sets a season on the track. there is a price to pay for all that mass. So, short answer is that you never notice the weight until you need to slow down, or when you look at your rubber after a hot ride.
  10. Thanks Hotfoot. You points all make sense to me. Setting proper sag made a huge difference on the feel of my bikes, but none of them have the level of sophistication of the S1000RR.
  11. One of the great benefits of the CSS experience is that they have carefully researched and intentional reasons for doing things on a motorcycle. I personally adapt to my machine and riding environment in a thousand unconscious ways, and there is considerable effort required to trade habits and feel for science. My point being that there must be an optimal setup of suspension, power, regen, and technique, especially technique, that capitalizes on the different attributes of these new machines. i will say that this is the best problem a guy could ever have.
  12. You can adjust the regen in a few ways, and the effect can go from nominal to pretty forceful engine braking. The issue here is that you can't adjust it on the fly, so what you set is what you get. I have mine set at zero regen when in sport (max everything) mode. Like any bike, once you work your way up to max horsepower, max torque, max speed, you never really want to dial it back. I only change it down for rain at this point. The throttle is very smooth and linear. If anything, that's the most dangerous attribute. It's so smooth that you really have to pay attention to your velocity. There is nothing to shock you back into reality if you let your attention drift. I sure would like to hear someone else's opinion on this. CSS needs to commandeer a test bike. I can't imagine that Zero would pass up the chance to let the CSS team take one for a track day test.
  13. I will be on your bikes again this year, but i will pack the Zero down with me. You need to get a leg over one of these. they are not coming, they are here, and they will only get better with each advance in the technology.
  14. I have been a little shy about bringing this up, but after careful consideration I opted for the 2020 Zero SR/F over the BMW S1000RR. It's a little bit of a shocker, I know, and I am worried about being kicked out of the club, but for the area I live and ride in, that's what I chose. The dollars were nearly identical, so not a consideration. Ok, that's over. Now the questions begin. First off, is anyone else running this bike? I have not had it to the track yet, but I will in the spring. In the meantime it's all roads, and let me tell you that there are a few issues. First issue...no clutch, no gears, no engine sound. That means no natural indicator of approximate speed, which means you have to guess your speed by the landscape flying by, or sneak a peek at the large digital speedo. Most every time I look, I am waaay faster than I thought and usually too fast for conditions. It is VERY easy to get in trouble. Second issue, strangely enough, is the missing clutch. You can't just disengage the rear when you get in a tight spot. I have spun the rear when the tires were not hot enough. losing the rear, only to have the tires heat up and lock up, propelling me in direction and speed that was not in my best interest. No clutch, and chopping the throttle does you no good in sport mode. Years of off-road experience helped with that little off-road excursion, and it ended well, but the issue remains. Third issue: This machine drives like a Volvo off idle. Smooth and safe and unassuming, and then it's a hot rod, and then it's a superbike, and then it's a speed management issue, and all with just a twist of the wrist. That sounds terrific, and it is, but the natural result is that you can poop around town all safe and sound, and then get out on the country roads and get smoothly and quietly too fast for conditions before you realize it. These are my issues, and I am working them out. How about you? Any 'ah-ha' moments to share? Do you find yourself over-driving your site distance? Do you switch modes to regulate your performance? Do tell.
  15. Great questions. I was working hard at being a good copycat. I didn't brake at all, and I stuck to his fender and turned where he did. He was super-smooth and got the work done with speed and grace. I assume I was not as graceful, and I was probably off the throttle too soon, and not on again fast enough, because I was having some emotions at the time. As stated, I thought this was a mistake..but it was brilliant. Hard turning. I ski. To go down a steep face, you turn hard and often to keep your speed in check. Miss a few turns, and you have to slalom, fail to dig in, and you become a passenger. When I refer to 'hard turning' I am talking specifically about turning with the intent of using the conservation of angular momentum to convert velocity into a change in direction and reduction in speed. I wish I had talked more with my coach about the decades I spent racing offroad. One of the most common turns in the woods is jamming your bike into a berm or a ditch or a rootball, to shed speed and redirect yourself at a sharp angle to your incoming direction. Like a jump-turn in skiing. On the pavement of a racetrack, the best equivalent is getting all the physics right to lean in hard enough and fast enough that your suspension loads evenly and firmly, and you can feel the tires bite and rail you around a corner. And *thats* where I see the transition from 'oh I am in too deep/too fast' to 'wow, that was freaking awesome'. I would like to learn to do that a hell of a lot more, with a hell of a lot more intent.
  16. I know this is probably not a revelation to most racers, but it certainly was/is to me. The 'no brake' drills are a pretty good hint, as are the stories told by Keith about dead-motor downhill canyon racing. My 'lights on' moment came when following my coach through a corner on the track at speeds that were far above my comfort level...I honestly though he was making a mistake...and coming out the other side so slow I needed to tap a handful of throttle just to catch back up. I credit this fact with my other major problem..adding throttle while adding lean...because my entry speed was far too slow, my turn too aggressive for that slow speed, and the dramatic loss of velocity due to hard turning *required* more throttle just to reduce the rapid decline in speed. This is very hard to practice on the street, where corners are designed for steady and even traveling speeds. There are very few civilian corners where you can come in hot and drop significant speed by hard turning. This, to me, is a very important thing to understand and apply. If this is on the right track, here's my question: How much speed do you expect to shed in turns on a track? I know every corner is different, but in general terms, are you looking to lose 25%? 45%? Are you basing your entry speed and turn in point on the expected loss of speed due to aggressive turning?
  17. General question to the CSS team: I attended the 2 day class. There was no fitting done with regard to sag settings for the riders. Isn't that important? There was quite a range of rider size and weight, but I don't recall anybody setting up suspension for riders. What are the thoughts on this?
  18. Yesterday I was riding a loop of country roads around my home. I know the area well enough to know where I am, but not well enough that I remember every curve and corner yet. I was exulting a little too much in the glory of a sunny day and dry roads, and i ended a straight section with too much speed to make the corner without drastic and dramatic actions. This could have been very bad. Fortunately, I didn't react...I acted. Kept balance, didn't hit the binders, kept my head and body into the necessary line, and rode the tightest corner at speed I have every made in my adult life, without a slip, slap, or shimmy. Came out the other side centered up and in control, and promising myself I would never ever ever do that again (a favorite lie I tell myself). I count this as the first notch for CSS. Specific training at CSS made this possible, whereas prior to taking the course I would at least have been doing some weeding, and at worst been having a yard sale out there in East Snohomish County. Considering taking the 2 day class? Consider what may happen if you choose not to.
  19. Just for the record, this is the best discussion ever. I have learned a TON here. Thanks to all!
  20. Ah yes, cornering master. That is my pathology. I'm working on it, but it's not going well....
  21. I thought this post was heading toward a question I have been working on. If you are in a turn, and following rule #1, are you not heading for a low-side if you over cook it? Specifically, the idea of 'rolling it on smoothly, evenly, and constantly'. With a high end machine, this can very easily move from 'just enough' to just too much. Please help me out here. This is a daily question on the road, and I am just very unsure if I should be getting all my speed in the short straights, and railing the corner, or if I should be intentionally entering corners with less speed to allow for more to develop during the corner through this steady increase. The 60/40 rule seems right, but technique seems to be everything. An important note for my area: It's western Washington, and damp roads are expected 75% of the year, so the line between grip and slip is a little narrower.
  22. I think back to the nearly unrideable bikes of my youth. The Kawasaki H2 750 leaps to mind. The bike was designed with the track in mind, and top riders at that. Then it was sold to the masses for use on the street. The power band was narrow, and when you hit it it hit very damn hard. 'learning' to ride it was just learning how to not die. The S1000RR on the track was my only experience with a sport bike, and for a machine with such big numbers in power and torque, it seemed like a cinch to ride. I have to assume it's not my native talent, so that would be software correcting for my attempts to push outside the design parameters due to ignorance, supporting what CoffeeFirst posted above. My new ride has ride modes, 4 from the factory and one you can edit at your peril. These are now a necessary part of the modern sport bike, precisely because they are for sale to people like myself that are enthusiasts that are STILL LEARNING. Meaning, of course, that we make a lot of errors. So, to Jaybird180 I would say that the ultimate goal of a rider may well be to learn to ride the bike to the edge of computer intervention. To actually know by experience and feel where the edges are before the nanny functions step in.
  23. This is an expression meaning to let the suspension return to a neutral position with no influence by power or braking inputs. Think ‘glide’.
  24. Do you sit on the seat and pilot your bike around the track, or do you crouch with your weight on the pegs at all times? Keith makes reference to weighting the outside peg in TOTW II. This is what you do? For the advanced racers: Do you have a home position on your bike that you always return to, or are you constantly moving your body, or at least your weight distribution, while you ride?
  25. Two simple questions came up in class at CSS, and as you might suspect, the answers are not so simple. First: What did the engineers build your motorcycle to do? Second: What are you doing with your motorcycle? (or, What did that poor bike ever do to deserve that treatment?) These two questions have stayed with me every day since class. Here is a good example of why that is: Riding a long twisting downhill country road, but with traffic. Usually this is a favorite section, but at 45mph it's very boring. There is no place to pass, so you just have to ride it out. The easiest thing to do for me is to leave the bike in a mid-gear, 3rd or 4th, and let the massive engine braking of the boxer twin maintain the slow speed down the hill. Is this what the bike is designed to do? Absolutely not. Everything is wrong with this. All the drive gear is now loaded on the wrong side of the gear teeth, the rear tire is braking, but the suspension is loaded wrong because the braking force is not loading the brake calipers and effecting the swing arm member correctly. Add the fact that you are strangling the motor to produce drag. Then, you get to the bottom of the hill, and roll it on, shifting all the weight back to the rear wheel, unloading and the loading all the running gear on the opposite gear faces, and of course causing your engine to hiccup while fuel and air mix are adjusted to 'drive normal'. This transition is both sloppy and very uncomfortable. CSS informs me that the right move is to either ride the brakes down the hill consistent with design intent, or at a minimum clutch it before you hit the bottom of the hill to let the suspension heal, and then roll it on smooth to property load the bike. Long explanation, but you get the idea. Consciously trying to ride the bike the way it was designed to operate is actually much harder on the street than it is on the track, but there some rewards to be had in terms of machine wear and tear, and rider comfort. Plus, little things like suspension actually work if you consider what you are doing and why.
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