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About JeF4y

  • Birthday 07/11/1971

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  • Have you attended a California Superbike School school?
    Level I & II in 04 with III & IV on the schedule in 05

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    Outside Milwaukee, WI

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  1. The inherent problem with that logic is that when the front end is compressed beyond compliance, you're far more likely to lose traction (and fall down). Turn in is as fast as the rider makes it. Yes, the bike's geometry has a bit to do with it, and having the front compressed and rear extended creates an instability which favors 'twitchiness' which makes the bike want to 'fall' into a turn. However, this same result can be had with a concise input to the bars. Strictly from a turn-in perspective, no, being hard on the brakes will not improve the speed. It's all about rider input. Trail braking can work, and can be effective. However, the amount of concentration rises significantly and the majority of people I see trail-braking can't cope with it and either end up overbraking or falling down.
  2. it's a fine balance and a trade-off. The harder you charge a corner, the more likely you are to "cheat" the corner by moving in to the center before turning in (another poor technique but useful sometimes), and the more likely you are to overbrake. Both of which will KILL your drive on the way out. You also see how a racer will charge a corner, make a pass and get re-passed on the exit by the guy who was cornering differently. It's all about the drive out of the corner. The quicker you make the turn the quicker you can be on the gas. Really, it's about mastering skills... Master the quick-turn skill and two-step skill and you can go further into corners. Charging a corner, dicing for positions, you can find yourself in the middle of the track trying to make a corner. The only way you can do that is to severely increase your lean angle, over-brake, or go wide. All of which have large associated risks. Much of the time, I'll let people go by on the inside going into a corner, and come under them right after the apex. It's fun to do and quite easy. Yes, there are times when you meet in the middle and trade paint. Every now and again it'll knock you down, but it's part of the great game we call racing. Also, as you get faster, you will find less and less people who can out brake you AND still make a proper corner which would prevent you from repassing...
  3. While hard on the brakes? maybe, but still highly unlikely. A front tire skid on a race tire that is up to temp is VERY hard to do. About the only way you can do it is to bottom the suspension and then 'pogo' the front end where it hops off the ground a bit. Otherwise, you're more likely to go over the bars... now I'm not outright calling you a 'liar', but I really think that if you had some video you would see something different from a front end slide/skid...
  4. Really, the no-brakes drill is beautiful for this. As are all the visual drills of level II. Aside from that, make sure you have your speedo covered and simply go off of a lap timer if you need to. It's much easier to look down at a timer and see, "Ok, I'm at 58 seconds at this point, and last lap I was at 57, I need to be a bit faster" - than it is to look down and say "Holy Sh1t, I'm doing 118 mph dragging my knee and hammering the throttle?!?!".. It's mind over matter... You have to disassociate yourself from the MPH stigma and move to a 'seconds per lap' mode...
  5. It depends on whose minds you're in I say YES. I've raced with and without slipper clutches on many bikes and have blipped and not-blipped. Ultimately I found that blipping made everything absolutely smooth. Remember, you can and will slide with a slipper clutch. It just won't hop like without. If you blip, your odds of inducing a slide are significantly reduced.
  6. Understanding why you got the headshake is pretty crucial to how to deal with it. The primary causes of headshake are holding onto the bars too tight, hard on the gas, hit some ripples, crest a hill, or anything else to lighten the front end and voila! Headshake. If you break it down and slow it down, headshake comes from the front wheel briefly losing contact with the pavement and coming back into contact at a very slight angle other than straight. The wheel overcorrects, and continues the cycle. Much of the time, headshake can be cured by simply loosening your grip on the bars (i.e., if you're leaving a corner HARD on the gas, push yourself back on the bike with your legs vice pulling with your arms). A damper will HELP, but is not really a cure (as you realize). Another reason for unexplained headshake is a bent steering head or other problem on the bike. When this happens, you basically have a front wheel that is mis-aligned with the rear wheel to a point that a "high speed weave" is induced. A few years back at Road America, I had headshake when I clicked 6th gear on the 3 fastest points of the track. There was really nothing to induce it, but it was disconcerting enough that I would have to get off the gas to get control back of the bike. I talked to my suspension tuner and he pulled the front end apart and reassembled it, ensuring it was properly aligned and correctly torqued. Problem solved... In the midst of headshake, you can do a couple of things. 1. Loosen your grip on the bars. As in, hold the throttle open with your thumb and 2 fingers, and that's it. 2. roll off the gas momentarily
  7. Stop focusing on judging your abilities by how much rubber is left on the tire. That is a dangerous game and can get you in trouble. You're on a new bike. You are obviously not as comfortable/confident as you were on your old bike. This could be due to setup, tires or just survival reactions and mental barriers. Concentrate on being smooth and having fun. Who of these pics do you think is the faster rider on the same corner, of the same track: PIC 1 - GREG on a 1000, damned near dragging elbow PIC 2 - JEFF (me) on my 600, not even dragging knee PIC2 takes it. I'm a solid 4 seconds faster than Greg, and I'm talking 1:13 for me vice 1:17 for Greg, so 4 seconds is significant.
  8. Actually I have very little dirt experience (despite landing a 3rd in the Vet class this last Saturday), but you are correct. I was not implying that the front brake did nothing on a dirtbike. Just a VERY different dynamic. The basic point I was trying to convey is that while dirt riding can help, it can also cause confusion for certain types of riders.
  9. In considering it, while I don't know the exact answer and I'm not a physicist (nor did I stay at a holiday inn express last night), I think they are pretty much a wash. Under neutral load (balance front/rear, no braking or accelleration) the bike will be less apt to turn because the geometry of it should be very stable and promoting stability in a straight line. Under heavy braking, the geometry gets altered signficantly, removing that straight line stability and making the bike WANT to turn. However, the counter force of the braking on the front tire may very well affect the traction and feel of the bike while initiating a turn. Put it this way. If you could alter geometry WITHOUT BRAKING, going into a corner whereas the front end dropped down (wheel came up, suspension compressed) and rear end rose (wheel went down, suspension extended), the bike would be VERY twitchy and prone to changing direction (aka - turning). The variable here that plays into the problem is the braking. What impact is that force on the front end? I don't know...
  10. It's about leverage and locking yourself on the bike. If you have the inside foot weighted, you are not stable on the bike. If you have BOTH feet weighted, you can't really be stable on the bike OR in a good body position to lower your center of gravity. Applying pressure to the outside peg, and locking yourself on the bike will allow for quicker and cleaner corners. Keep reading... Twist of the Wrist II goes through this in detail.
  11. Like it or not, when you are hard on the brakes, the geometry of the bike changes SIGNIFICANTLY. You are dropping the front in the neighborhood of 5" and raising the rear probably 3". That is a massive change on wheelbase which WILL affect turn-in. The 'difficulty' in your turn-in feel, is likely because the front end is so packed down that it simply "feels" goofy. Geometry is geometry, and physics are physics. The bike will steer quicker on a shorter wheelbase and a smaller degree of rake angle as well as less trail. All of which occur when you pack the front down and jack the rear up (i.e., hard on the brakes).
  12. Full report with pictures: http://www.cbr600rr.com/forum/index.php?page=70 Text only: 2006 Race Report #2 May 6-7, 2006 Blackhawk Farms, Rockton, IL Welcome home! Those were the words from Tom, the Blackhawk Farms track employee who we see every weekend there. And in some odd way, that's how it felt. Just like home. We got to the track a bit late on Friday as I was out of town in CA all week and just flew back on Friday, and had to make a couple of oil changes, one on the RV generator and the other on the racebike. We set up pit in our normal spot, but little did I know the ground was absolutely saturated so the RV was quickly stuck. Uh oh! Well, let's hope the ground dries enough to get out on Sunday. This year, CCS has introduced a new championship series at Blackhawk Farms track only (in the midwest), where each class has its own championship just at BHF, as well as a separate championship for the midwest region. Because of this, I opted to add 2 additional classes at Blackhawk only. This weekend was also a VERY CRUCIAL double-points weekend. Last year, this same double-points weekend ruined my season due to mechanical problems. Above all, this weekend I had to finish EVERY RACE. No crashes, No mechanicals... My other goal this year at BHF is to break my record of 1:14.00 and run a 1:12. Saturday 5/6: A PERFECT day for racing! The sun came out bright and early, despite a very chilly evening down into the 30's. Looking at the bike, I realized I needed a gearing change before I hit the track as I was still geared for the huge straights of Road America. I pulled the rear axle, and the nut felt very funny. Like it was galled or cross-threaded. Looking at the axle and the nut, they were shiny, so something was definitely wrong. I did not have another 05 axle, so I just figured I would make this one work for the weekend. I was putting it back together and never did get it tight before it locked up. It basically welded itself together. It would not go on, and would not come off. This was NOT good. I even tried a 450 lbf-ft torque wrench and it was NOT moving. There goes 1st practice without me... Refusing to give up, I looked at the axle like a mangled appendage and said "cut it off!". Johnny swung into action putting his Sawz-All to use on my bike. 5 minutes later and the axle was off. Now to find another axle... I had an 03 axle, but it is different from the 05. To make a long story short, I ended up taking my 05 axle blocks over to the Lithium Motorsports trailer and having them milled down until I could use it with the 03 axle. They literally stopped what they were doing to make this work for me. I can't say enough how great these guys are. About that time, Mike (Sindarin) from the CBR600RR.com Forum came out to hang with us and lend a hand. Mike would also be the first Personal Sponsor of the season! If you're interested in becoming a personal sponsor, click here! With that, I'm out for 2nd practice. The track seems a bit bumpier, but still has the same turns, so it's all good. Middleweight GP - Race 1: This was one BHF only class that I'm running. I was gridded on the front row, came around the track and sat at my spot settling into my normal launch routine. 1 board comes out, I pull in the clutch and toe it into gear (so I thought). For whatever reason, when the 1 board went sideways (which is about 1 second before the green flag flies), I look down and my NEUTRAL LIGHT IS STILL ON!!!! Oh my GOD!! I whack it into 1st right as the flag flies. A terrible start as about 20 people go by me. I finally get up to pace and make my way around a few guys trying to make up ground. I came around TWICE and thought I saw the checkered flag. Since I was making mistakes left & right, I was all ticked off and would sit straight up after the start/finish line just to have people FLY by me as the race was still on... ######! I hammer the gas again, and ended up doing the same thing all over again. I just wanted this race to end... Finally it ended with me crossing the line 17th out of 30. It was literally a terrible race that I should not have been a part of. I was not into it at all. Getting off the track, I had to take some time to get my head together for the 30 minute GTO race coming up. IMG_1423 GTO - Race 2: Okay, head in the game let's RACE. My launch was pretty good. Still getting used to the throttle & power of this bike. The Bridgestone BT-002 Soft compound tires were sticking like glue. I started running some good paced laps, dropping into the 15's and 14's, and then BAM! Lapped Traffic... By lap 3, we were into lapped traffic as they combined the experts with the amateurs, and this race ended up with +60 bikes on the grid. I was trying to hunt down Deni DeBuhr, but just couldn't make the lappers work for me. Traffic was an absolute nightmare. From my perspective, this race was pretty unsafe with the disparity of speeds and amount of bikes. My lap times dropped into the 1:17's because of traffic. But I did manage to get across the line 6th out of 24. Since there was a 2 hour team challenge on Sunday, a few other sprint races were pushed into Saturday, so I had one more race today. Heavyweight Supersport - Race 3: This was the second BHF only race that I would run this weekend. I left the same Bridgestone BT-002 Soft rear tire on that I had run in 3 other sprint races and a 30 minute GTO race. That proved to be a bad move. I got a good launch, and started pushing my way around, but was sliding pretty good the harder I went. The best I could manage were low 1:15's and I needed to be in the 1:12-13 range. The tire was done. IMG_1429 Picture courtesy of Sindarin Well, we ended race day 1 completing ALL races upright despite the initial problems. A quick swap to a new medium compound Bridgestone BT-002 rear tire, and then it was time for a shower, dinner and some tall-tales before bed. Sunday 5/7: I could only dream that the weather would be this good for the entire season. A touch warmer than yesterday, but still VERY reasonable. Sunny and 73-75. With just 2 races today, I went out for practice to scrub in my new rear tire. I ran a quick 10 laps, touching the 1:14's in practice which was pretty decent. Today would be a good day so it seemed. Heavyweight Superbike Race 4 - Sponsored by Mike - (Sindarin from the CBR600RR.com Forum): I lined up for the race and got a GREAT launch. I didn't get the holeshot, but I was hanging tight on the leaders through the 1st lap. Around lap 2, Deni DeBuhr & Nate Dobert (1st year expert, but was amateur champion of many classes in 2005) came around me. I hunted Nate down and held about 1' off his tail. On lap 3, somebody went down hard in turn 1 and they red-flagged the race. I was in 6th at the time, so that's where I started this race. My launch was pretty good, but Simon Kowalski got around me on his 750. If you've read any of my reports, you know that if Simon gets in front of me, I have a tough time getting back around him. I ran the wheels off my bike in this race. Crossing my lap timer beacon, I see 1:14.00. This has been my record for 2 years now. I yelled into my helmet F**K NO I am NOT settling for a 1:14! And pulled the throttle cables tighter. Flying around the track, the next time across the beacon I see 1:13.65. FINALLY!! Now .35 seconds might not be a big deal to you, but let me tell you, races are won or lost over HUNDREDTHS of a second, so it counts. Additionally, the faster you go, the tougher those big jumps are. Going from 1:20 to 1:16 is one thing. Going from 1:14 to 1:12 is another which is exponentially more difficult. I ran 2 more 1:13 laps right on Simon's tail, but couldn't get around him and crossed the line again in 6th place out of 14 people. IMG_1430 Picture courtesy of Sindarin Back for a quick sip of water and right back out for Middleweight Superbike - Race 5 - Last race of the weekend: This was a crazy race. I ran in the high 13's and low 14's for the entire race, but did not get under the 13.65 time set previously. There were a LOT of crashes in this race (like 6 or 7). I again came across in 6th place out of 18 riders. IMG_1436 Picture courtesy of Sindarin Calling it a weekend, we packed everything up and then the moment of truth came... Would I be stuck or not? Well, the RV wasn't going to push or pull my trailer ANYWHERE. I was stuck. We unhooked the trailer and tried to get the RV rolling. After a few minutes of rocking and a half a dozen guys pushing, I finally got enough movement to get it out of where I was. I tore up the joint pretty bad in the process (Sorry Tom!!), but hey, getting 20,000 lbs of RV un-stuck is not an easy thing to do. Greg then hooked his truck to my trailer and brought it around. We made it home, unpacked and sat in the hot tub before retiring. I do have to say, of all the expensive purchases that I've made and later regretted, this hot tub has been one which I am SO GLAD we bought. It's a little slice of heaven we enjoy a couple of times a week, and enjoy the MOST after a long weekend of racing. This weekend was great. Again I've dropped my lap-time, resetting my fastest lap. I believe I can continue this through the season and will be running 12's within the next weekend at Blackhawk. Our next adventure will be 5/27-28 in Pacific Junction, IA. We will again tempt fate and head to Mid-America Motorplex which is the only track in the country which seems to really hate me... I shall prevail!!!! #42 - Jeff Kufalk of CBR600RR.com Racing is proudly sponsored and supported by: * Bridgestone Tires - www.motorcycle-karttires.com * Leo Vince exhaust - www.leovinceusa.com * Sportsbike Tire Warmers - www.tirewarmers.net * Woodcraft-CFM Clipons & Rearsets - www.woodcraft-cfm.com * Moto Liberty Racing gear - www.motoliberty.com * MD Racing Engine building & tuning - www.mdracingstp.com * Lithium Motorsports trackside support & VP Fuels - www.lithiummotorsports.com * Trackside Engineering suspension services - www.tracksideengineering.com * Badger Cycle OEM Honda parts - www.badgercycle.com * EMA-USA performance parts - www.ema-usa.com * Yoyodyne performance parts - www.yoyodyneti.com * California Superbike School racing/riding training - www.superbikeschool.com * Godfather Bodywork - www.godfatherracing.com * ON2-Racing performance parts - www.on2-racing.com * Clear Alternatives tail lights - www.clearalternatives.com Let us know what you think of how we're doing! Comment in the forum
  13. http://www.cbr600rr.com/forum/index.php?page=68 See the link for pics with the write up. 2006 Race Report #1 April 21-23 Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI Like 2005 - only FASTER! That's all I could think as the smell of VP fuel permeated the air and the sounds of those damned buells rattled through my soul. The 2006 season is upon us! As tradition, this will likely be a long report as I always have so much to say in the beginning of the season. Months preceeding. I spent the winter piecing the bike back together from the terrible crash at Gingerman last year. We did a LOT to the bike this year. Mostly in the engine department, with a fresh motor from Matt Drucker at MD Racing. We also swapped exhausts over to Leo Vince from the Arrow, and put in a new quick twist throttle. I took Wed - Fri off of work, anticipating leaving Thurs afternoon for the track. Although I had a seemingly endless list of tasks to complete, I managed to get them complete (as always) and we rolled out to Road A around noon on Thurs under a gorgeous sky filled with sun. When we got to the track, we ended up sitting around for a few hours, waiting for the track day occupants to clear the paddock. We got in and got a prime spot right at Pit Out. We got everything set up, complete with the new race decking (which was awesome), and I tracked down a new set of Godfather bodywork which had been delivered to the track from my painter. I spent Thurs night mounting up the new bodywork. I will provide a full review shortly on the Godfather bodywork, but I have to say that once it gets above 30 degrees, this stuff is VERY flexible. I was concerned when I got it, but in Feb it was like 10 degrees, so naturally it will be a bit stiff. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Friday 4/21: The sun was out bright and early, it looked to be a great day to race. A far cry from the snow flurries of 2005. I still had a set of Bridgestone BT-002 soft DOT's on the bike from 2005 which had a ton of life left in them. I mounted up the new Sportsbike Tire warmers to get some temp into the tires and hit the track for 2 rounds of practice. Getting on the bike with the new motor & exhaust for the first time was incredible. I almost looped the thing in 1st and 2nd gear down pit road from the amount of power in it (thanks to Matt Drucker of MD Racing and the incredible Leo Vince exhaust). All I can say is WOW. The new sections of the track are also absolutely perfect. Road America spent the fall replacing many corners, and the new pavement there is wonderful. Practice went very well, the bike performed flawlessly. Middleweight Superbike (round 1): First race of the 2006 season. Oddly enough, I had butterflies as soon as they made first call. My pulse raised. Suddenly the realization that I was about to race again came into my mind. My launch was unrivaled. I started on row 1 and got the holeshot. I ran down side-by-side with Mark Schnettler of Lithium Motorsports, and managed to get around him to be the 1st into T1. Mark passed me back on the exit and started out a great pace. I slowly fell back and people began getting around me from further in the pack. I ended up across the line 9th out of 36. This was pretty respectable by me considering the amount of people there. GTO: Second race of the day. Fewer butterflies, but still present nonetheless. I managed another excellent launch, but was eaten up by the power of the 750's and 1000's. I did get a few of them back by late braking into T1, but they would overtake me on the massive straights of Road America. This race was a ton of fun. I was on the tail of #506, Denis Debuhr, and it was just like the 2005 season where Deni and I would chase each other down. I got within passing range once, and managed a wheel up underneath him, but did not get the pass through. Shortly thereafter, a guy on an R1 got between us and messed me up pretty bad by shooting the straights and parking it in the corners. Deni crept out a lead of a couple hundred yards. On the checkered lap, just before crossing the line, Dave Ebben (who was penalized for jumping the start) managed to fly by me on his 1000 to steal 9th place from me. I came across 10 out of 24. Again, quite respectable considering I was battling 750's and 1000's on my 600 at one of the fastest tracks in the country. With a beautiful and successful day 1 down, we kicked back to a nice meal and watched a movie. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Saturday 4/22 We awoke to rain tapping down on the roof, but the weather looked promising for the day. Just in case, I took my spare wheels and spooned on a new set of Bridgestone full wets. Within about 30 minutes, the rain cleared, the sun poked out and wind picked up to dry the track off. I skipped practice as the track was still wet and it just wasn't worth swapping tires or risking going out on DOTs. Middleweight Superbike (round 2): This race was weird. It was weird in that I got a great launch, and ran a great race. I ran my fastest laps of the weekend, better than 2 seconds faster than last year. The bike performed flawlessly, and the Bridgestones stuck like glue. However, I still only managed 16th across the line. Very odd... I guess as much as I improved between race 1 of middleweight superbike and race 2 of middleweight superbike, a handful of riders improved even more. In any event, they were much needed points and a solid race which was finished upright. Heavyweight Superbike (round 1): The class I love. The only problem with it is running my 600 against 750's and 1000cc twins at this huge track where Horsepower is so crucial. I ran a great race and had some classic battles with 690 Simon Kowalski on his 750, as well as chasing down Deni Debuhr. Ultimately, I couldn't get past them as they could pull me on the 3 HUGE straights. On lap 3 of this race, chasing down Deni, I had a HUGE rear-tire slide going through the carousel. This is one of the faster corners on the track. By my gearing chart, I was at about 110mph, dragging a knee and the rear end spun up. I picked the bike up a little and it caught traction again, but it was enough to spook me to back off about 1 second per lap. I took 6th of 12 across the line, and called my rear BT-002 done after 4.5 sprint races, 2 practices and a 30 minute GTO race... That's a TON of laps on a tire! And it still looks great!!! With racing done for the day, I mounted up a new soft compound rear for my last race on Sunday. I also got the opportunity to meet up with Jerod from the CBR600RR.com Forum. We swapped stories and I gave him a bit of advice on his issues. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday 4/23 Another morning of rain. But now it turned cold and windy. Still not as bad as the typical Road America weather, but it was enough to make it miserable. I skipped practice again as it was wet, and tried to figure out what the day would hold. The rain stopped, but the clouds remained, as did the wind and cold temperatures. Heavyweight Superbike (round 2): Last race of the weekend. With a hot, fresh new Bridgestone on the rear, I lined up for the race. I ran a great race, and held solid lap times in the 2:32-2:33 range which is respectable on a 600. I had the same battles as I did in round 1, but managed to squeek out 1 extra spot to cross the line in 5th place out of 12. Not bad at all. Sure, it could have been better, but it DARN SURE could have been worse ;-) With the weekend behind us, the clouds parted, wind stopped and sun came out bright and hot for us to pack up to. Go figure, it would arrive just 1 hour after my last race. We managed to get packed up and get out pretty quickly. During pack-up, Murf99 from the CBR600RR.com Forum came over to say HI. It's always cool to meet another person who frequents the website. The ride home was uneventful and unpacking went quick. A 103 degree hot tub was waiting for me at the end of it all, which I REALLY appreciated. All in all, it was a great starting weekend. I made my goal of 2:32 (down 2 seconds from 2:34.5 last year), but really wanted to be in the 2:28 range. I stayed upright and had a great time. I'm really looking forward to our next round, less than 2 weeks away at Blackhawk Farms in Rockton, IL on 5/6-7. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #42 - Jeff Kufalk of CBR600RR.com Racing is proudly sponsored and supported by: Bridgestone Tires - www.motorcycle-karttires.com Leo Vince exhaust - www.leovinceusa.com Sportsbike Tire Warmers - www.tirewarmers.net Woodcraft-CFM Clipons & Rearsets - www.woodcraft-cfm.com Moto Liberty Racing gear - www.motoliberty.com MD Racing Engine building & tuning - www.mdracingstp.com Lithium Motorsports trackside support & VP Fuels - www.lithiummotorsports.com Trackside Engineering suspension services - www.tracksideengineering.com Badger Cycle OEM Honda parts - www.badgercycle.com EMA-USA performance parts - www.ema-usa.com Yoyodyne performance parts - www.yoyodyneti.com California Superbike School racing/riding training - www.superbikeschool.com Godfather Bodywork - www.godfatherracing.com ON2-Racing performance parts - www.on2-racing.com Clear Alternatives tail lights - www.clearalternatives.com Let us know what you think of how we're doing! Comment in the forum
  14. BH. Thank you for the WEALTH of information... I did not buy the bike for myself, but for my daughter (15 years old). It was a solid bike with a known history from a person I know well. I will take all of your knowledge into consideration, and went into the 95 after many talks with many individuals. Rising Sun is confident they will have any part I need for at least the next 3 years and some for 5+ years. I don't intend to have this bike for more than 2 seasons. It's just a beginner platform to see how she takes to it. If she's serious on it, I'll drop some serious coin into it. However, until that point I just didn't have $10k to drop on something which she may not enjoy or have a long-term interest in. Final question... Do I know you?!???
  15. What an incredibly LOADED question. From my perspective, I have had limited experience on modern sportbikes. I've ridden everything Honda has produced in the 600cc world since 98, as well as a handful of R6's and GSXR's, and I have to say that my 2005 Honda CBR600RR is the best feeling bike I've ever been on. I have never ridden a GP bike, but have bought a 95 Honda RS125 for my daughter which she will be starting on this year. I will probably be taking this for a few laps just for the fun of it before I have the suspension reworked. Now, in looking at my 05, I base my comment on the fact that for ME, the bike feels like it will do absolutely anything I want it to do. I give an input, it responds. No fuss, no worries, it simply complies. The bike inspires an incredible amount of confidence, and it shows in my times and results. In thinking about how my bike felt some months back, I wrote the text that follows. (I do stuff like this sometimes... just write with no real intention of sharing, but today I will share). I know it's WAY off base from where this conversation is intended, but it might add some thoughts. This dialogue which I am about to dispense is based almost solely on the bike, and not the rider. Obviously we know the rider needs improvement (don't they all?), but my intent here was in the bike. And oh, by the way, it is incomplete... LOL. Since I have nothing better to do with the next small portion of time I thought I'd write a bit about a subject which I've just had a great experience with. Bike Setup. This is not a HOW-TO, but more of an observation. The funny thing about bike setup, is that you have NO CLUE how good a bike can feel until you get on a bike that is near perfect. A bike that instills confidence, that does what you want, when you want it to. A bike that rewards you with every manuever. Until you've been on this "perfect" bike, you have no idea. What is bike setup? Well, it's a bit of everything combined, such as: Front and rear suspension tuning, including Sag, Compression damping, Rebound damping and Ride height. Tire Selection (brand, size & compound) Gearing And a ton of other little things that can go with it. What makes a good setup? That is a VERY good question. Unfortunately, even the best of tuners can only get you in the ball-park of a good setup. The best of setups comes when a rider gets off the bike and says "this thing is absolutely perfect! There is nothing I can't do on this bike!" And it shows in faster lap times, easy tire wear and extreme confidence. Why is setup such a problem? Because most all riders cannot understand why the bike doesn't feel right. They can't tell what's going on, but only know that the bike doesn't feel right. The sad thing is that many people (myself included) will LIVE with a bike that doesn't feel right, and simply try to adapt to the bike. Or they will blame themselves for it. How many times have you heard, "I just don't have the balls to go through a corner like that"? These words can be directly and absolutely interpreted into "My bike does not give me the confidence I want/need to go faster". Further, people do not understand how to make changes to the bike and what those changes will do, so they do not do it! Or worse yet, they ask 10 different people for advice, getting 10 different answers and then having a setup so out of whack that they are worse off than when they began. What can you do? There are a couple of things that can be done. First and foremost, a good suspension tuner will be key in getting things rolling. You will need someone that you can work with long term. The person doesn't need to be with you at every event (or any for that matter), but it will make things a bit easier if they are with you. However, continued working/interaction with the same person will make a big difference in your setup. Continued working with the same person will open communication lines. Your tuner will get to know exactly what you mean when you use the terms "wag", "squat", "chatter", etc. All of which are common terms, but have many different meanings depending on the rider. A suspension tuner will be able to analyze your setup, taking into consideration your bike, tires, weight and racing/riding style, and implement suspension changes that will get you a good baseline setup. Many times, the stock suspension will require upgrading to get you to this state. From there, a large area of responsibility comes back to you as the rider. Notes are absolutely critical. Notes such as: Date Ambient temp Track temp Tires used (brand/compound) Previous use/wear on the tires Tire cold pressure Tire hot pressure Gearing All suspension settings Fast lap time Average lap time General feeling From there, if the bike doesn't feel absolutely right, try to pick apart what it's doing. Now when I say "absolutely right", you will KNOW it is when you experience it. Until that point, it is NOT "absolutely right". Make careful observations. Common feelings or comments around the following: Is the bike turning too fast? Does it feel 'twitchy'? Is it difficult to turn the bike? Can I brake hard, smooth, fast? If not, why? Does the back end come up, does the front end bounce, etc. At what point in the corner can I get back on the gas? Turn in, apex, past apex Does the bike feel heavy in the front/rear? How does the bike feel through the corner? Does either end chatter or slide? Do you feel like you're going to lose either end? Does the bike stay on a line once you've initiated a turn or do you need continual correction? What is happening if you need correction? Is the bike turning tighter, does it drift, does it want to stand up? to be continued sometime....
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