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Everything posted by Apollo

  1. Are crash repairs included for free? If repair costs were of no consequence: Honda RC-213V-S. Are motor rebuilds included for free? If so, a Honda NSR250 250GP bike.
  2. Sorry to hear about your crash. Things are always clearer in hindsight. Did you write down your concerns on the end of day questionnaire for the staff? You should definitely raise your concerns with them. I would like to offer my two cents as a random passerby, for what it's worth. Hindsight is always clearer though. If you're coming in too hot, screw the drill for that corner, you should always use the brakes rather than chance it. Ultimately, safety is the #1 priority. There is always the next corner to practice the no brakes drill. Just as an FYI for when you return, the 3/4 no brakes first session does not end at level 1. Although your peers might have said they all use the brakes, I can say that most riders I've seen while cornerworking do follow the no brakes drill for the most part. The issue isn't gear selection, but throttle application on the preceding straight. First session is slow. That being said, I have definitely overcooked a few corners and had to use the brakes.
  3. Another street 300 person here. I had a 300 for my street bike for 3 years, after two 600 supersports and before an 1100 Hypermotard and a 1200 Thruxton R. Compared to a bigger bike, the 300 does require more awareness of what gear you're in to ensure you don't bog if you need sudden acceleration. One will definitely shift a lot more than an S1000RR on the street that only needs first and second gear. That being said, I really enjoyed my 300 and never found it lacking at reasonable street speeds below 100mph. It does significantly better at freeway speeds than the old 250s. In terms of acceleration for real world street situations, I never ran into any issues of wanting more except for coming off a stop light next to a bigger bike. The light weight made it a cinch to move around. To be honest, I don't think the 300 lacks much in terms of usability. But I also prefer a short geared street bike so that I am engaged and rowing through the gearbox. Personally, a liter bike on the street was one of the most boring in-town/canyon scoots I've tried since second gear was already "significant trouble." The only reason I sold my 300 was to get a Hypermotard 1100, and I regretted that decision.
  4. Thanks for the update, Hotfoot. I was able to connect with Cobie through email and we've got our chat scheduled to discuss my history of crashing. Considering I'm just now getting around to re-painting the track bike, maybe this will keep the paint job clean for a little while longer. 🤣
  5. Thanks, Cobie! Edit: Tried to send you a message, but it said that you cannot receive messages. I sent an email to your superbike school email from a few years back. If there is a different email to reach you at to arrange a chat, please let me know. Thanks!
  6. I'm always open to more discussion and thoughts from another vantage point, especially as there's not much else we can do with motorcycles right now. However, I don't think that my crashes are tied to left versus right so much as they are feel and seat time issues. The issue of front end feel in different conditions has been an issue you and I have discussed. Feel-wise, there are the two ends of the spectrum, low grip and high grip. When the tires are cold or the ground is slick, there is the bowling ball feeling where the front feels light. In contrast, when the conditions are perfect, the front end bites/pushes into the asphalt and the front suspension "loads more." My continual issue, one I've tried to work on with dirt trail riding, socal supermoto, and cornerspin, is increasing pace without overstressing the front end. My entire history of track crashes and my self-assessments: 1 - Sears Point - right T4 - perfect weather - This was a long time ago, and my second time on track ever. It was a CSS school day. I came in hotter than ever before. I was knee down with neutral body position, on barely cracked maintenance throttle, and running wider than I expected. I made the mistake of added more lean angle. I remember hearing the footpeg start to grind as I tried to tighten the line. Then the rear let go first. In retrospection now with more riding experience, I would approach such a situation by trailing in the brakes until my lean angle, speed, and trajectory were what I wanted before releasing the brakes. Hook turn and letting the bike run all the way out to the rumble strips would be other steps. 2 - Sears Point - left T3 - rain and standing water - Literal first lap, thought I could tip toe across a stream of water instead of going way off line for a slightly drier spot. Front tucked with barely any lean. 3 - VIR - right T12b (hogpen) - rain - I overtaxed the front. I was slowly pushing more and more each lap. I remember specifically tipping into T12b and immediately thinking "this is probably slightly too fast for the conditions." I tried to stay loose on the bars and just let the bike track on the line. I didn't feel warning signs from the tires, only in my mind. I was mainly focused on not upsetting the bike in the downhill turn, and it was just the most predictable front end tuck. In retrospect, I wonder if I should tried to stand the bike up and go onto the outer dirty part of the track while scrubbing speed. 4 - Buttonwillow - right T4 - perfect weather - This was all me and a focus issue. It was my first weekend at the track. I was riding a Ninja 300 and getting a bit frustrated with packs of bigger bikes with more straight line speed and slower cornering speed. This was pure stupidity. In a judgment call, I decided to make an outside pass. The plan was to carry more cornerspeed, run it out to the rumble strip, and hopefully beat the other rider to T5. I ended up a few inches wider than I should have, hit dirt on the outer edge of the rumble strip and lost the front as I still had a small amount of lean angle. 5 - Sears Point - right T3a - cold high 40F - I came off warmers early (Pirelli Superbike slicks) to link with a trackday coach to see their lines. We ended up sitting on the pre-grid for a while where my tires were cooling. As it was our first time riding together and due to the weather, the coach took it extra slow (let's ballpark 30 seconds a lap off hot pace) as we rode in traffic for 2 laps. Then, we slowly started moving the pace up, but we were still crawling. I was trying to mind my tires, and increasing the pace and load bit by bit to get them heating up rather than continue cooling. I thought I had a sizeable safety margin (probably still 15 seconds off hot pace, running a lot less lean angle) while leading when I came over the crest in 3A and the front tucked without any discernable warning over the crest. By crest in 3A, I mean the slight crest or transition from uphill to flattening out on corner entry as we make the run up from 3. So clearly, I did not have the safety margin I thought I had. 6 - Thunderhill - right T14 - mid 50F - Second practice session. I was taking it easy and going maybe 80% (ballpark 10 seconds off my ideal conditions lap time). I was almost at the apex and just released trail braking when the front let go. I didn't sense any warning slide or anything. I will say though, about 1/2 way to the apex from turn in point, I did think that I felt a bump but then it smoothed out before where I lost the front. Ended up taping the bodywork and racing 3 seconds off pace later that day. So that is my tale of woes. I'm felt front end and rear end slides before under ideal conditions on track, but those are the exception and not the rule. Mostly, I find myself on my side before I really figure out front end feel under less than ideal conditions. I've heard from fast racers that they feel the front end go light/shimmy as they increase lean in poor conditions, and that's when they know to stop increasing lean angle. But I'm definitely not there in terms of feel.
  7. I've always preferred right turns. I think part of it is a mental issue of having my upper body be closer to the throttle hand. To this day, when learning a new track and gradually increasing speed, I find that I usually increase speed to the point of touching down knee with right turns first. Then again, 5 of my 6 lifetime track crashes have been right turns though. 😅
  8. What kind of riding you do on the street will likely be the deciding factor for a street bike. Although I enjoyed having small bikes for street bikes, I definitely feel safer with a big bike to power away from dangerous situations. Also, I do not ride on the streets at a pace where a small bike versus a big bike makes a difference. Although I ride a 450 at the track, I have a 1200 Thruxton R for the street. That being said, if the street riding was all sub 70 mph city riding, I would go with a 450-700cc supermoto. But wheelies are illegal. The big bike versus small bike difference is more apparent at the track for me. You will learn to carry more cornerspeed on the small bike in order to keep up with bigger bikes. The new Ninja 400 is really the bike to beat in this category.
  9. VIR's staff are fantastic. Hopefully, May works out for you guys and everyone can start getting back to some sense of normal. 1) Most of the time, you can get into the paddock after 5PM or 6PM the day before. There may be a delay if there is a major professional event the day before. 2) I have not done this before, but like Cianciotta said, I would check in early. I would probably contact Whitney at the office beforehand and see if she can check in with JJ. Otherwise, try to catch him in the paddock early (ideally, the day before when they are setting up or asap in the morning). The mechanics have a lot of set up work in the morning, and you'll also need time to remount your rims before the day begins.
  10. I think you're getting hung up on the "2 second" window. I don't think of trail braking as a defined time period. As you said, the issue is about loading the front suspension to not upset the bike. And as Hotfoot said, each corner brings about its own unique features, which will affect trail braking and when you transition to the throttle. All things the same (body position, etc), for a given lean angle, what happens to your turn radius when you decrease speed or increase speed? Does your turn radius decrease if you only decrease speed and change nothing else? For example, if you turned in and hit your desired lean angle at 70mph, what would happen to your turn radius if you used maintenance throttle to hold your speed at 70mph and what would happen if you continued to slow down below 70? Even if your rate of lean is what you want, trail braking is yet another component that dictates your turn radius and affects your line. For high speed, large radius corners, I will have a longer time and lighter pressure trail brake than I would with a slow, tight radius corner where I will have a higher brake pressure but shorter period of time trailing the brakes. In terms of traction, your tire has 100% of available traction for a given situation and you're trading that 100% between cornering and braking. The more you're asking of the tire for cornering, the less % you can demand of it in braking. Personally, trail braking didn't begin to click until I was riding at an upper intermediate group trackday pace. Initially, I would just lightly trail on the brakes on the run down to the apex to avoid 1) coasting and 2) adding throttle while increasing lean angle. This helped me increase my corner entry speed as I would work on increasing my entry speed so that I didn't feel like I was overslowing by trailing in. Also, I would always have the safety net of the trail braking to scrub speed if I came in slightly faster than I was comfortable with. Eventually, when I would overcook an entry (relative to my abilities), the trail braking started to click as I used more braking force and would feel the bike tighten its line as the speed decreased.
  11. I try. That's about all I can answer with. I think riding in the dirt is extremely useful for learning to feel how the bike moves around. It has showed me what the rear stepping out feels like and to feel how the rear comes around when you're on the gas. To an extent, it has helped with my front end feel, as you will feel front end slides. The biggest benefit is that you can crash without a hefty repair bill. Basically, you can push past the limit, pick up the bike, dust yourself off, and continue learning. If you're in the US, you have a number of instruction options including Rich Oliver's Mystery School, Cornerspin, and SoCal Supermoto. In all honesty, as a not-fast rider, riding in the dirt has helped me quite a bit but it isn't a total panacea. I definitely have not gotten past the ride "wheels-in-line" phase on the track bike. And I still need a lot of work on learning to feel feedback from the front end in terms of how far I can push in non-optimal conditions. Almost all of my track crashes have been tucking the front end in cold/wet conditions. And as Cobie and Tim can attest to, it took me a while on the slide bike to even get it barely moving. I attribute this more to a mental block in my head--about the heavier and more expensive to repair track bike--than anything else though. But in summation, yes, I highly recommend riding in the dirt.
  12. Thanks, Jaybird. I appreciate the thoughtful reply. I think my issue/question is different from the baseline ergonomics. My handlebar setup does follow the usual recommendations, and the angle and reach are fine. And my issue is not necessarily braking comfort. I do agree that Dylan's wrist angle video is relevant to my issue. Part of why I "overgrip" is to get that flat wrist angle when I am at full throttle. If I merely screwdriver with my hand set rotation wise where it is during braking, I end up rotating past flat wrist as I reach the limit of "screwdriver ability" before full throttle. This is on a stock throttle R6, so no quick turn throttle. The brake lever is adjusted as far as it will go without hitting the front stay. Now, maybe a quick turn throttle is a bandaid, but I feel like there is potentially more to this issue as there are many faster riders without quick turn throttles From what I can see on onboarding footage from Scott Redding and other riders, they are similarly "overgripping" when they transition to the gas after they release the brakes. That is, they are also gripping with their hand rotated forward more than when braking. With this method, I can get a good wrist angle and body position while on the throttle. But, the issue is that due to the overgrip, when rolling off the throttle, the hand would roll past the braking position to fully close the throttle. So far, I have been partially letting the throttle slide in my hand to get both the throttle fully closed and my hand rotated to the braking position. So I guess my questions are more: Is anyone "overgripping" on transitioning back to the throttle after brakes? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me when watching MotoGP riders transition? And if overgripping, what technique are riders using to let the throttle fully close while getting the hand to the braking position? Because the throttle has to rotate more between close and full than the hand between braking and overgrip full.
  13. Thread revival here. So I have recently been running into a mental conundrum with the screwdriver hand, so I thought to bring it back to the forum. Admittedly, it has been quite a while since I did the level with screwdriver hand and I have not brought it up in L4 yet. My issue concerns when regripping or how resetting the hand for braking works. So the concept of holding the bar like a screwdriver on the inside bar seems clear from a fundamentals perspective. However, in application, I find that the only way I can really set my hand in the screwdriver position is to "overgrip," which is to say that I roll my inside hand forward over the bar more than a straight hold. If I try to just switch to a screwdriver hand at the same position on the bar as a straight hold, I feel like I bind up and am restricted by my wrist movement from getting the hook turn drop. From watching on-boards of Scott Redding, this overgrip seems to be what he is doing also. Left handers aren't an issue. In right handers, this works fine on corner exits as I can get to full throttle while keeping my wrist in the middle of its range of motion. My issue is in braking for the next corner after being at wide open throttle. With the overgrip, if I just roll off while having 100% grip on the throttle, I would end up with the throttle still applied when my hand rotates forward to the "braking position." It would seem that there is some degree of releasing the throttle slightly so that it slips and rotates more than the throttle hand rotates. So far, I have been experimenting with this where I am 100% grip rolling off for the first 3/4th of the roll off and then letting the throttle slide inside my grip before 100% gripping again to fully close. I can't quite make out what Scott Redding is doing from his youtube videos, and there doesn't seem to be much posting on this. How are you all doing this?
  14. One thing to try may be remind yourself mid-corner to relax the outside hand on the external handlebar. Maybe something as simple as opening your hand slightly more than your normal grip. This can be a reminder to not push, or at least it will draw attention to your outside hand and make you recognize when you are pushing.
  15. Yep, I'm a repeat level 4 offender. I recall the pick-up drill and we did the slide bike last year at Streets regarding pick-up and throttle. However, all of the front end tucks in cold/damp conditions have been corner entry, pre-apex, off trail braking already, either no throttle or just barely cracked (not even at maintenance throttle yet) rather than a corner exit issue. By crest in 3A, I mean the slight crest or transition from uphill to flattening out on corner entry as we make the run up from 3. I do know from photos that I'm still not dropping my upper body enough for hook-turn, and am kind of riding Colin Edwards head high (photos below for reference of my current positioning mid-corner). This issue of getting a lower and off to the side body position has been something I have been trying to work on, to help out the tires a bit more. However, in the case of the front end tucks, I'm right around where I would be implementing the hook-turn drop anyways when I lost the front so I'm not even sure that would have helped. At least so far in my mind, it seems to be a calibration issue between my perception of how much flex the front tire is giving and how much I can actually increase my entry speeds lap over lap when warming up a cold tire? Maybe not? At the same time, I was probably mentally pushing in places and times I shouldn't (esp after sitting on pregrid) because I see the front runner expert club racers are able to turn faster laps in the same track conditions. Thanks, Allard P.S. All this just suddenly brought back a flashback to some time pre-2010 with the school at Sonoma when Karel Abraham passed three of us setting up for the chicane 3/4 no brakes and a coach lowsided on entry right in front of us while trying to stay on his tail.
  16. I think watching racing is helpful for technique related issues. Especially nowadays with on-board telemetry, it is insightful to see how top level riders are trail braking and transitioning to the gas. Scott Redding actually has some fabulous on-boards and discussion of his braking technique on his Youtube channel. I think seeing the different body positions (feet, hands, etc) is very insightful. It's easy for anyone at a track day to tell you what they think; it is entirely different when you can see the positioning of the top level riders. I don't think there is necessarily a negative with watching TV. I find that watching helps me better evaluate cornerspeed (same with reviewing on-board footage from my bike) while removing the "speed sensation" in real life. Often, watching on-boards "slows down" the corner in my mind and helps with identifying reference points. Less useful, at least at this point, is watching professional racers' corner entry and mid-corner technique when it comes to backing it in or using the rear brake. I'm of the mindset of focusing on the front brake and working to improve that. However, maybe there is something to be said about early training of using both front and rear. Even in club racing now, fast experts are modulating the rear either by foot or by a hand lever. Maybe not using it early on is like waiting too long to learn a foreign language. But at least for now, I'm finding that stuff to be more entertaining and less informative.
  17. Fear of leaning too far can be one factor for keeping pressure on the handlebars. Part of it may simply be reminding yourself not to have pressure. Another bigger thing may be addressing why you feel fear. Maybe it is a visual issue with looking far enough down the track. Also, are you supporting your body weight through holding the handlebars? This may also cause the tense arms if you are trying to hold yourself up by gripping the handlebar. Fixing this requires improving your lower body contact with the motorcycle. This might be addressed by looking at how you use your outside knee to contact the tank. If you were to give a percentage (%), how secure does your outside knee to tank contact feel when cornering? P.S. It's a bit of a trek, but not too far to consider checking out the UK operations of the school to have a coach work in-person on these issues. Often, an external set of eyes can identify issues that you're unaware of.
  18. Thanks, Cobie. I don't mean to hijack this thread away from the Street oriented polling. I have read some of the tire threads as they have popped up over the years here. In general, I can feel the super cold "bowling ball" and the hot "biting" feeling. It is the in-between warm up feel that is problematic for me because I am trying to find a pace that adequately warms the tire carcass rather than allowing it to continue cooling. On the street, I ride with a large safety margin, so I have not run into the tire warm up issue on the street. With my margin of error for road conditions, I still wind up with a warm tire by the end of a ride. My issue rears its head when I'm trying to get closer to maximum traction in the 6 or 7 laps for a given track session. Sometimes, I'm not sure what is a mental block of not wanting to crash the bike and what is actually front end feedback. With hot "biting" tires, I have felt small front end slides and slightly spinning up the rear on track on my old Ninja 300 (now I'm on an R6). Similarly, I have felt these while playing in the dirt at Cornerspin and Rich Oliver. But having an honest assessment of the in-between warming up state and how far I can push has been a problem. For example, my last crash was a cold morning at Sonoma/Sears Point with a trackday org. It was high-40sF out with some light lingering fog coverage. I came off warmers early (Pirelli Superbike slicks) to link with a coach to see their lines. We ended up sitting on the pre-grid for a while where my tires were cooling. As it was our first time riding together and due to the weather, the coach took it extra slow (let's ballpark 30 seconds a lap off hot pace) as we rode in traffic for 2 laps. Then, we slowly started moving the pace up, but we were still crawling. I was trying to mind my tires, and increasing the pace and load bit by bit to get them heating up rather than continue cooling. I thought I had a sizeable safety margin (probably still 15 seconds off hot pace, running a lot less lean angle) while leading when I came over the crest in 3A and the front tucked without any discernable warning over the crest. So clearly, I did not have the safety margin I thought I had. Part of my feedback issue may also be mental due to not having a feel for the bike. At the time of the crash, the bike never felt like it tracked as tight a line as my 300. I thought it might be mental since the R6 is a heftier bike to transition. However, since then, I discussed it with Dave Moss and we got the bike tracking a lot better by playing with both suspension settings and geometry by raising the rear. Maybe I would have had a better feel for impending doom if I was comparing "tracking true against tracking wide" versus "tracking wide against tracking slightly wider." The front end just feels a lot easier to discern and risk when I'm on a quarter of the weight dirt bike with a hotshoe on versus an expensive to repair 400lb R6. Of my lifetime 5 crashes on track, 3 were slow but not slow enough first session front end tucks in cold/damp/light rain at Sonoma and VIR. Not sure if these thoughts of mine spur additional concerns to you with my riding, or specific thoughts/info for further reading. Haha.
  19. Same as PittsDriver, front end feel. I have ridden dirt bikes in an attempt to improve this, but it is still the most difficult issue for me to improve. On a dirt bike, I have ridden trails with a deflating front tire and kept it upright while believing the trail was slippery. However, on the track, I have lowsided three times over the years in cold morning sessions where I did not feel like I was pushing (maybe riding at 60%) and did not feel like I had any significant warning before the bars went light. Those occasional moments of lowsiding and the subsequent repair bills end up dialing back my trust in the front end until I get a perfect weather day and just commit to trusting that the front will stick. My current approach has been to become more of a fair weather rider and sitting out the first session if the track is cold. But that's really just avoiding the problem.
  20. There are several different foot positions that you will see with some famous, fast riders. As Cobie said, comfort is different for everyone and the biggest issue with your foot being on the end of the footpeg is reduced ground clearance. One question is whether your toes touch the ground when you ride. This can especially happen on standard bikes, some of which have lower footpegs. If so, you may want to have your foot closer to the motorcycle. Personally, I ride with my foot parallel to the motorcycle. I tilt, or cant, my foot to the side so that the outside edge of my foot rests on the footpeg and the inside edge of my foot rests on the vertical rearset bracket. Looking from the rear of the motorcycle, the bottom of my foot, the footpeg, and the rearset bracket form a triangle. This was after discussion with Dylan about my lower body position and sometimes touching my toes. With this method, my foot stays close to the motorcycle, preserving lean angle, and I actually get my knee farther out than when my foot is angled like your photos. You can see this style with some riders, like Casey Stoner (below) and Marc Marquez. At the same time, some other riders, like Troy Bayliss, prefer to have their foot angled 45 degrees from the bike, like your second photo. Regarding your knee aching, are you applying a lot of pressure on your inside foot? I have found that if I am able to support my body by anchoring my outside leg with the motorcycle (locking with the tank), my inside foot does not tire and ache as quickly.
  21. Ranked. I think visual skills and quick reflexes are the most important for street riding. Riders need to be able to absorb and react to information from the road in order to avoid hazards. Quick reflexes are important, especially with regards to braking and steering inputs. I don't cover the brakes on track, but I definitely do on the street. 1. Visual skill, lack of target fixation 2. Quick reflexes 3. Ability to steer quickly 4. Physical condition, strength 5. Brave
  22. You really can't go wrong with any of the tracks that CSS goes to. However, I would give the slight edge to Barber, VIR, and Laguna if you're making a big trip out of it. If you're open to the entire country, I would probably vote for Barber. It would be a heck of a long trip, and I would definitely recommend using the school's BMWs. Barber has a fantastic track and the museum is incredible. The museum is definitely a must-see. VIR flows incredibly well and has fun elevation changes. You would be running the North course. Beyond the track, VIR has great amenities. You can rent a room overlooking the front straight or stay at the inn, and it has a restaurant on site. Laguna is a legendary track, but the amenities definitely are lacking compared to Barber and VIR. However, Monterey as a whole does make up for the extra frills that the track lacks. Also, do not worry about the straight. It is plenty long enough to scare yourself, especially if it your first time on track. On that note, even though VIR may seem like it has a long front straight, it definitely has a strong kink at speed. Although I would vote for Barber first, I will also say that Laguna days are harder and harder to come by. To that extent, you might want to do Laguna Seca sooner than later before the ridiculous neighbors finally make the track costs astronomical. (I fear that day will happen in the not too distant future). You really can't go wrong with any of them. But really consider renting their bikes. *knock on wood* The biggest issue I have with riding to the track is what happens if you crash. Odds are, the motorcycle will sustain damage and require repairs. Additionally, there is always the risk of bodily injury preventing riding home even if the bike is fine. If you have contingency plans ready, then that's one thing. I always prefer to drive or fly-in.
  23. The biggest thing with collarbones isn't necessarily hitting some random object. Breaks can happen because of landing helmet first because the helmet then cants to the side and jams into your collarbone. The airbag kits mitigate this risk by providing extra cushioning between the helmet and the collarbone. Although the airbag kits were originally one-piece suit only, both Alpinestars and Dainese now have them available in jacket/two-piece suits for more convenient street riding gear. I am personally a fan of buying the gear that makes you feel safest and comfortable. I don't think the higher end gear necessarily crashes better, but the higher priced kit does tend to have more supple or luxurious feeling leather. You might feel some extra mobility due to the supple leather, but a well fitted, cheaper suit may do the same job. Personally, all of the high end brands anecdotally have sufficient protection and quality. If you stay with the major brands like Rev'it, Held, Spidi, RS Taichi, Dainese, Alpinestars, etc, you'll be in the ballpark. If you want a sensor deployed airbag kit though, Alpinestars and Dainese are really the only players. Mithos and RS Taichi have licensed the Alpinestars airbag, but they only offer it in their one-piece suits. Rev'it has the Dainese airbag, but again it isn't available unless you're a world level professional.
  24. I haven't tried the Missile suit, but the TechAir airbag vest has more coverage than any of the Dainese Misano (mostly collarbone), Misano 2D (extends over upper chest), and Mugello (includes side airbag). Supposedly, the same size works, but I think you'll probably want to go up one size in the suit as the vest is fairly bulky. All of the electronics are packaged in a hard shell back protector for the vest that is maybe almost double the thickness of my regular L2 back protector. The biggest issue with the TechAir is that it's a bit cumbersome if you like to walk around off-track with the top half of your leathers hanging loose because the rigid back protector keeps the shape of the upper half. In SoCal, Beach Moto is a TechAir distributor and might be your best bet of having the woman's version in stock. Alternatively, you can always order from Cycle Gear and just return in store for free. I also have the Hit-Air and it is a good option. I still think either of the TechAir or D-Air is a better option though since they are independent of the bike. The Hit-Air takes about 60 pounds of force to set off, so you just get tugged backwards if you get off the bike without unclipping. It is an extra hassle though to have to put it on, clip, and unclip each time. If you're hopping between bikes, setting up the tether each time is also an additional step.
  25. Rev'it is quality gear on the higher end of the spectrum. However, as far as I know, they do not offer an airbag option. For professional racers, they have been using the Dainese D-Air system but it is not available commercially for every day riders. What do you mean by "best gear one can afford?" It seems like you have some aversion to Dainese or think that they're on the cheap end of things. If anything, they tend to be a bit expensive and overpriced due to their marketing and brand identity in my opinion. If you are looking for the best gear you can afford, I think you should definitely look at an airbag suit or jacket/pants combo. The increased protection against a collarbone break is worth the savings in medical bills.
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