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Hello, New To The Forum And Need Some Input After A Trackday Crash


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Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum so greetings to all here. I attended the CSS camp at Mid-Ohio in August and consider it money well-spent.

 

I'm posting to try and get some help analyzing a crash I had on my most recent trackday. This was last Sunday at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona. I was on a rented SV650 on the second lap of my fourth session of the day and was coming out of the 2nd half of Turn 4 of the East track which is a double apex right-hander. I had already passed the apex when I had the crash which was a lowside that ended up with me sliding on my front into the gravel. I confess, my recollection of all the details may not be the best (please bear with me - I consider myself still very much a beginner) but I'm fairly sure I was leaned over decently far but did not feel anything drag - sliders or hard parts. I'm also quite sure I wasn't braking and 100% certain I hadn't done anything with the clutch or shifter since I had been keeping to one gear to work on my lines and RPs. I'm also sure I hadn't run wide and to the best of my recollection was actually on the line I wanted.

 

The thing that sticks in my mind though is that just before the crash I felt the bars go into a wobble - after two deflections side to side the next thing I recall was the bike on its side and me doing some asphalt surfing. It wasn't a full-on tank slapper - in this case the bars were wobbling in a smaller range. I'd felt this once before on my own SV but that time it didn't result in any unhappy endings. However, it concerns me that I've felt it twice, once ending in a crash and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing wrong to cause it. Did I give it too much throttle and cause the rear tire to slip?

 

I'd appreciate some input from the experts here to try and get some learning out of what otherwise would be a frustrating incident. Lucky for me I came away with just some soreness and small bruises and the bike was a rental and not one of my own but I still felt really frustrated afterwards since I felt like I'd made real progress since the school yet I ended up crashing. I even thought about quitting trackdays or maybe even riding altogether since I felt like maybe I had been fooling myself that I had more skill than I really possessed however I finally convinced myself with some help from family and friends that one crash should not be the measure I look to for my skill. At this time, I've already got some replacement gear on the way and am already making plans for my next trackday in a month from now when I can get time off work again. Before then though, I'm going to be working even harder to learn more and this is one of the things I'm doing to help with that so thanks in advance to anyone replying with some input.

 

Oh, and since this is my first post here I'd like to give a shout out to Josh and Hieu who were both really helpful at my CSS camp!

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The thing that sticks in my mind though is that just before the crash I felt the bars go into a wobble - after two deflections side to side the next thing I recall was the bike on its side and me doing some asphalt surfing. It wasn't a full-on tank slapper - in this case the bars were wobbling in a smaller range. I'd felt this once before on my own SV but that time it didn't result in any unhappy endings. However, it concerns me that I've felt it twice, once ending in a crash and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing wrong to cause it. Did I give it too much throttle and cause the rear tire to slip?

 

This sounds like an accurate explanation of a front end slide, if so its good that your relaxed enough on the bars to feel it! I belive that the front tyre will walk giving a gentle feeling through the bars wobbling and that you have untill the 3rd wobble to save it!

In the motogp movie Faster there is a bit where Sete Gibernau passes Rossi at the last corner in Germany and takes the win. Sete talks you through the last lap and at that corner he says I felt the front slide and just gassed it away and took the win!

Hopefully someone with more knowledge on the subject can answer your question accurately as this is only my opinion!

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You stated this was a double apex, was the crash after the first apex or second apex?

 

It was after the second apex. I'd gone out a little wide on the first apex in order to cut in more tightly for the second apex and get more drive out but it was a similar line to what I had run on previous laps. I was close to the curb at the second apex but I'm pretty sure I didn't get onto the curb and was already past it by the time I got in trouble.

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Ok so you were tightening up the second apex which requires more lean angle; did you adjust your throttle input accordingly? If you added more lean angle and throttle at the same time that could result in the rear breaking loose and luckily causing the low-side. What tires were you running and what condition were they in? Also was the suspension stock or aftermarket? What type of lap times were you running (novice, intermediate, or advanced)?

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Ok so you were tightening up the second apex which requires more lean angle; did you adjust your throttle input accordingly? If you added more lean angle and throttle at the same time that could result in the rear breaking loose and luckily causing the low-side. What tires were you running and what condition were they in? Also was the suspension stock or aftermarket? What type of lap times were you running (novice, intermediate, or advanced)?

 

I'd have to say my lean angle was about the same as before since I'd run the same line as previous laps where I hadn't had trouble and throttle about the same but since I'm still a newb either one could have been slightly more than previous. The tires were Bridgestone street/track tires - can't recall what specific type since they were on a rental but they looked worn. As for the suspension, can't really say, again because it was a rental. The fork was stock but I didn't peek at the rear shock. And I was running in the beginner group but one of the faster ones in it - I was actually trying to move up a group when it happened since I kept getting balked by slower riders because they didn't allow passes in corners. I consider that part of the cause for my crash since I think I was trying too hard to pass slower guys and so got ahead of myself.

 

One thing I wonder about as far as the crash is whether I ended up totally losing it because I had a hard time maintaining my throttle once the wobble started. I wonder if once the wobble started I ended up with my throttle input fluctuating and engine braking caused the rear tire to load up intermittently - kind of like if I had been hitting the brakes on and off. I know the SVs engine braking can be pretty abrupt because it's a twin so I wonder if that was a contributing factor?

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[quote

One thing I wonder about as far as the crash is whether I ended up totally losing it because I had a hard time maintaining my throttle once the wobble started. I wonder if once the wobble started I ended up with my throttle input fluctuating and engine braking caused the rear tire to load up intermittently - kind of like if I had been hitting the brakes on and off. I know the SVs engine braking can be pretty abrupt because it's a twin so I wonder if that was a contributing factor?

 

If you haven't already, there is a good section on this in Twist 2. But, if a rider was in the gas in a turn, and then chopped it, it could go to 75% plus on the front tire--the weight transfer is not minor on this.

 

C

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One thing I wonder about as far as the crash is whether I ended up totally losing it because I had a hard time maintaining my throttle once the wobble started. I wonder if once the wobble started I ended up with my throttle input fluctuating and engine braking caused the rear tire to load up intermittently - kind of like if I had been hitting the brakes on and off. I know the SVs engine braking can be pretty abrupt because it's a twin so I wonder if that was a contributing factor?

 

From my experience the front letting go usually causes the bars to go very light on the inside bar and not really wobble, but I guess if it lets go and catches and you have too much pressure on the bars it could feel like a wobble. If you did indeed start to loose the front and you rolled of the throttle slightly you definitely asked for more traction than the tire was capable of providing.

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If you haven't already, there is a good section on this in Twist 2. But, if a rider was in the gas in a turn, and then chopped it, it could go to 75% plus on the front tire--the weight transfer is not minor on this.

 

C

 

I haven't read Twist 2 yet but you can be sure it's already in my reading list prior to my next track day :)

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From my experience the front letting go usually causes the bars to go very light on the inside bar and not really wobble, but I guess if it lets go and catches and you have too much pressure on the bars it could feel like a wobble. If you did indeed start to loose the front and you rolled of the throttle slightly you definitely asked for more traction than the tire was capable of providing.

 

Again, I confess to my newbie-ness getting in the way of my ability to recall everything but I thought it might be a possibility. I know my throttle control can be sloppy sometimes especially since I swap between my SV for the track and a GSX-R750 for the street and they feel so different in terms of throttle character. I'm starting to wonder whether I should keep things simple for me and use a similar bike for both street and track especially since my work prevents me from getting a large amount of seat time on either and this is only my third year on a bike so my adaptability is wanting.

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Again, I confess to my newbie-ness getting in the way of my ability to recall everything but I thought it might be a possibility. I know my throttle control can be sloppy sometimes especially since I swap between my SV for the track and a GSX-R750 for the street and they feel so different in terms of throttle character. I'm starting to wonder whether I should keep things simple for me and use a similar bike for both street and track especially since my work prevents me from getting a large amount of seat time on either and this is only my third year on a bike so my adaptability is wanting.

 

Don't read too much in to the crash. It happens and it may happen again. Learn what you can from it and move on. The one thing that a crash will do is destroy your confidence. So the next time out just work up slowly to your normal pace and don't be too discouraged if it takes a while to get back up to speed. Read Twist of the Wrist II and see if it helps you understand your riding and what you can do to improve. And I highly recommend taking the school when you get a chance.

 

Also we were not at the track when you crashed so we may be way off base or the information you are giving us may be off based on your memory. You could have easily hit some water/oil from another bike or just had crappy tires on the rental bike. At this point no one really knows.

 

Good Luck,

 

Shane

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I haven't read Twist 2 yet but you can be sure it's already in my reading list prior to my next track day :)

 

If you get your key fundamentals really in good shape your confidence WILL go up. Twist 2 is a great start, some read it and then go out and practice one thing (not the whole book). If you can get to a school, we'll work you over on this stuff, but the book has tons of useful and proven techniques, clearly explained.

 

Best,

cobie

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If you get your key fundamentals really in good shape your confidence WILL go up. Twist 2 is a great start, some read it and then go out and practice one thing (not the whole book). If you can get to a school, we'll work you over on this stuff, but the book has tons of useful and proven techniques, clearly explained.

 

Best,

cobie

 

I'm definitely planning on coming back for Level 3 & 4 when I can. My work schedule and the fact that I live hundreds of miles from the nearest CSS track (or any track for that matter lol) means it'll probably be several months before that happens though.

 

I did read Twist 1 before my camp because I assumed I had to read that before 2 but then Judy told me I could have just read 2 first. I made sure to buy it while at Mid-Ohio but again because of work and other commitments I hadn't gotten to it yet.

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Don't read too much in to the crash. It happens and it may happen again. Learn what you can from it and move on. The one thing that a crash will do is destroy your confidence. So the next time out just work up slowly to your normal pace and don't be too discouraged if it takes a while to get back up to speed. Read Twist of the Wrist II and see if it helps you understand your riding and what you can do to improve. And I highly recommend taking the school when you get a chance.

 

Also we were not at the track when you crashed so we may be way off base or the information you are giving us may be off based on your memory. You could have easily hit some water/oil from another bike or just had crappy tires on the rental bike. At this point no one really knows.

 

Good Luck,

 

Shane

 

I know you guys can only offer thoughts and advice since all you have to go on is my recollection of the event but I do appreciate your input. At least it gives me something more to consider rather than just throwing my hands up like a squid, saying "$**t happens", and not trying to find something to correct.

 

Unfortunately, where I live I don't have other more experienced riders to help me learn so I have to make the most of my limited tracktime and info from sources like these. Hopefully, that'll be changing soon though since I've met a couple of other riders here recently, one of which also frequents Firebird Raceway and has already taken CSS himself :)

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FF750--OK, I went back and re-read your original post. The bike wobbled and then you were down. You think you had already cracked the throttle on. It was after the apex. A very common source of crashes that happen fairly quickly is the rider is adding lean angle (espeicailly after the unitial turn in) and also adding throttle. That is the deadly duo--add lean angle, and add throttle.

 

The bike wobbling indicates some pressure on the bars. Going back to your level 1 class, and the briefing on rider input--do you recall what Keith or Dylan went over in that? Also in the previous class about how many times you are supposed to turn the bike per turn? That little SV doesn't take much effort to get it to lean over more (neither do our Zx-6's) and guys add lean angle all the time when they have already steered it in.

 

What do you think?

 

C

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FF750--OK, I went back and re-read your original post. The bike wobbled and then you were down. You think you had already cracked the throttle on. It was after the apex. A very common source of crashes that happen fairly quickly is the rider is adding lean angle (espeicailly after the unitial turn in) and also adding throttle. That is the deadly duo--add lean angle, and add throttle.

 

The bike wobbling indicates some pressure on the bars. Going back to your level 1 class, and the briefing on rider input--do you recall what Keith or Dylan went over in that? Also in the previous class about how many times you are supposed to turn the bike per turn? That little SV doesn't take much effort to get it to lean over more (neither do our Zx-6's) and guys add lean angle all the time when they have already steered it in.

 

What do you think?

 

C

 

That's definitely some food for thought. I know I still catch myself doing the "worry bar" thing and not relaxing my grip on the clip-ons enough (especially on my throttle hand) so that's one thing I know I still need to work on. I don't think I was adding lean angle but it's possible I wasn't decreasing my lean angle either as I cracked on the throttle.

 

One good thing is that I looked over a few photos that the photographer had been able to get before I had my get-off and I can at least say that there are obvious improvements in my body position compared to my horrible technique prior to the school. And I picked up some things I can do to improve it such as scooching my butt back in the seat more.

 

Again, thanks for the helpful input!

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seems to be loads of spammers recently, its so annoying!

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fricking spammers! The webmaster get's a lot of them, and when I'm up I try and get the rest, if I miss one, you guys can report it, it will come to me, or shoot me an e-mail, and I'll get it done if I have computer access: cobie@superbikeschool.com

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