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Getting Bike Fit


acebobby
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I wonder what you guys and girls think about physical fitness in motorcycle riding,

20 years ago racers seemed to be heavy drinking and smoking party animals, but now they all seem to be almost elite athletes, training constantly for a particular physique matching whatever class they ride in, all of them seem to aim for endurance fitness but different muscle mass is required for different classes of racing. e.g. James Toseland was 4% body fat when he left SBK last year and had to lose weight for Moto GP!

I am starting this thread based more on how us mere mortals feel about fitness and riding motorcycles, do you even bother about fitness or do you just jump on your bike and ride it?

If you do like to keep fit is there a specific area you work on to aid your riding e.g. flexibility, endurance fitness, upper body strength or do you just like to keep in shape?

I am interested in what everyone does, students and instructors, racers and road riders. I wonder if I lost 20 lbs would it make me faster, or is knowing the correct techniques enough?

I know that by losing weight this increases power to weight ratio of me and the bike combined, so thats equal to a faster package but with the same techniques, does that mean I could ride faster or is it the techniques that need worked on more?

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I'm curious as to what people will think about this as well. My thought is that technique will trump fitness, but fitness will give an edge between two riders with the same technique. Losing unnecessary weight will help- think about how much R&D bike manufacturers have to do to shed 20 lbs. on a bike! One benefit of fitness is mental- exercise stimulates endorphins which helps mental posture; this in turn helps you spend your $10 of attention on riding and not coping with the physical stress of riding. I had a track day last Sunday and I would see some big boys from the expert group coming into the paddock on their bikes with the face shield up with bright red faces- this can't be good. I have a 95 lbs. weight advantage (rider+bike) compared to my track day buddy (we both work out a lot but he's just a big guy and I'm a small guy) so I think that helps me.

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What level of fitness is required to ride a bike at an Advanced trackday pace versus MotoGP? I would say they are very similar as far as fitness goes. I believe most of the training the MotoGP guys are doing is geared towards weight loss and endurance. I could be way off, but fitness will never make up for bad technique. There is a an instructor at the Corner Speed School at VIR named Steve Broadstreet. He is a big guy and absolutely screams around the track. I am pretty sure that on a fitness level I am better off than him by far, but there was no way that I can keep up with him on the race track. He is just a better rider. With that said I run 3 miles 5-days a week for cardio and lift weights 4-days a week to maintain strength. I find that it really helps me maintain my energy level at the track, but it hasn't made me any faster.

 

Shane

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Acebobby,

 

Since it was a survey type question, I'll chime in. Some years ago, I heard Rossi didn't do much training at all. That I think has changed, but is still pretty recent. There was some data on his heart rate and Biaggi's a while back, and I think Rossi's would go down, where Max's would go up, and pretty high. Bet someone knows that data or can find it out. I'm sure all the top guys are in good shape, a 200+ HP beast, just to hang on and move around on the thing.

 

For sure technique in the end is more important, one can wear themslves out by poor/unknown technique. Keith is in his 60's, and fast!

 

Cobie

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For sure technique in the end is more important, one can wear themslves out by poor/unknown technique.

 

One of the best things that I got out of level 1 and 2. I physically tried to man handle the bike around the track and is probably the main reason I try to stay in shape. I was wearing myself out every session at trackdays, but not anymore.

 

Shane

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Acebobby,

 

Since it was a survey type question, I'll chime in. Some years ago, I heard Rossi didn't do much training at all. That I think has changed, but is still pretty recent. There was some data on his heart rate and Biaggi's a while back, and I think Rossi's would go down, where Max's would go up, and pretty high. Bet someone knows that data or can find it out. I'm sure all the top guys are in good shape, a 200+ HP beast, just to hang on and move around on the thing.

 

For sure technique in the end is more important, one can wear themslves out by poor/unknown technique. Keith is in his 60's, and fast!

 

Cobie

The heart rate thing was discussed in the DVD of FASTER. It was discussed that during those "puckering" moments Rossi is so cool and calm that his heart rate hardly went up. They just happend to use Biaggi as a comparison. Their rivalry at the time didn't hurt sensationalism either.

 

In my small experience, I found that each session would wear me out. So much that by the end of the day I was trembling. For me it stopped when I began to realize that I wasn't breathing (LOL). I also got faster and began to relax (or is it the other way around?). I discovered that manhandling the bike (at my skill level) cuts down on me and not my laptimes.

 

With that said, I agree that fitness can be of benefit to a rider or any person who's doing physical activity...look at ballet dancers, perfect example. They don't look it, but it takes alot of strength to do what they do.

 

For some odd reason though, most Pro riders are heavily into cycling. I wonder why???

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I saw that interview about Rossi's heart rate, Dr Costa said he resembled a child at play while riding he was just enjoying himself!

I agree that fitness is definitely no substitute for technique, I have also seen some very fast overweight trackday guys, but not racers which tells me that its all very well being able to put in a fast lap time but the guys that make it in racing must be physically and mentality fit enough to do a fast time 20+ times in a row! Someone may be able to lap 2 seconds a lap faster than you but if they dont have the energy to finish a race and you do, then you are the faster guy that day!

But the area I am interested in is the people on here, for e.g. I have heard that people finish level 3 of the school and have very sore legs, so would a student maybe get more out of thier day if they built up thier leg strength by cycling or running?

Also I am sure even in his 60s Keith is probably alot fitter than the average 60 something in fact in this day in age he's probably fitter than the average 20 something!

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For turning the bike, some upper body strength is needed too. It's one reason I think girls (if they are smaller, and have less leverage, unless very fit, not usually as much upper body strength) have a harder time steering the bike quickly. The girls that have ended up being coaches her have all been pretty fit, with good upper body strength.

 

The legs do get worked in Level 3, but one reason the students get sore is it's also different muscles than most people use.

 

For sure a difference between a good lap time at a track day and a race. I had to do a few fast laps the other day and I was whipped! It was at the end of the day, but still it took way more energy than the vast majority of the riding I need to do.

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Perhaps this is better suited to a new topic, but do you think this explains why its more difficult for women to be competitive at roadracing? I wondered why that is, considering they can spank us a things requiring good hand/eye like billiards.

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Perhaps this is better suited to a new topic, but do you think this explains why its more difficult for women to be competitive at roadracing? I wondered why that is, considering they can spank us a things requiring good hand/eye like billiards.

Jay;

 

...don't let Misti see this post.

 

Are you aware of the WCC in Canada? http://www.womenscup.ca/

One of our newest members GiGi is a competitor in that series and she may also take exception to your comment.

Some of these ladies are also running in the top ten in the 600AM series up there.

 

Kevin Kane

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Yes, I'm aware that there are women competing in professional roadracing. In fact, I've followed Jessica Zalusky with great enthusiasm. She finishes the season very well. Mostly because she (to my knowledge) NEVER DNF's and that goes further for her championship standing than anything else. However, I'd like to see her (or any woman for that matter) scrap it out for a podium or a win. I'm truly interested in knowing if motorcycle roadracing is purely a physical sport best suited to those with XY chromosomes, or if it's the agressiveness of our gender that's a factor.

 

I'm also a little knowledgeable about the 2 women in Formula 1. They get alot of media attention but....let me stop here before I end up tasting toe jam.

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Fitness is very important. Endurance, ability to withstand crashes, healing, tossing the bike around more efficiently. They are all affected by fitness. I trained this spring when I thought I was going to be racing for about 2 months pretty hardcore. I ended up doing a trackday only, and whipped around the track and was ready to keep going at the end of the day. I got sick and then threw my back out, became lazy, and late summer was brutal. I wasn't in shape to be doing trackdays the way I did in the spring. I'm starting my workouts tomorrow (got held up tonight) and know I will see the difference again.

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My comment on women was that it was a bit harder to turn the bike quickly due to structure (most men have a bit more muscle in their upper body) and also size can give a leverage advantage. I'll bet Dani Pedrosa, due to his size, has to stay quite fit to be able to turn a bike quickly.

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Dani's lines would seem to agree with your assessment. Or it just could be Dani's lines. I've noticed that he's never as wide as who's he's overtaking, indicating that he can probably go wider and increase his corner entry speed. He seems to have an advantage in that he can run a slightly tighter line at the same speed as his competition.

 

Re: Women: I am really curious about what it would take to get a woman more competitive. If a woman can turn the bars lock to lock, how can it be a leverage issue?

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There are some sports that women can't compete in the same category as men. Sports that require strength give men the advantage because when both of them are at their peak, men are naturally stronger, faster, and more aggressive. I'd assume that is just as relevant in motorcycle racing.

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I dont think gender comes into it, I think there are more men in racing due to an out of date belief system! You must remember that the top level guys in Moto GP and SBK have been competing since like 4 or 5 years old, there fathers would buy them their first mini moto x bike when they could first start walking! as for the girls of racing they mostly have taken to the sport later in life like in their teens and some in their 20s and have probably developed a technique in a few years of riding that most of us wont acheave in a lifetime! I think its only a matter of time before girls start getting in to the top levels of racing!

 

As for men being more aggressive, I think its known that the fast ones on the track are the smooth ones!

 

I dont think anyone was saying that women cant be as competitive as men in racing, I think the statement was aimed at the difference in physical stature, when I ride my bike I am tall so have a natural 90 degree bend in my arms giving a full leverage advantage on the bars, the smaller the person (Dani Pedrosa) has less bend in his arms reaching the bars than Colin Edwards so has to work his upper body more to get the bars to turn!

 

There are advantages and disadvantages being either small or large but I dont think its a gender thing!

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In sports requiring everything I noted above, it is totally a gender thing. A woman can't get as light as the male pro racers and maintain the same amount of muscle. You can try to convince yourself otherwise all you want, but you can't argue with nature. And aggressiveness can be defined in many different ways, and I didn't mean specifically in motorcycle racing, or in the hostile sense, but more toward boldness.

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I agree that I cannot argue with nature, and that obviously a woman could not be as light as a male pro racer maintaining the same muscle mass as of course a female would have to carry a higher body fat percentage. I am sure that in particular sports that may be an issue, but as far as motorcycle racing is concerned I dont see any reason why women cannot compete at the top level, There is no evidence to say that you have to be of a certain physique or build to be at the top! In Moto Gp there are many different sizes of guys racing, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, Colin Edwards and Tony Elias are examples of this as they vary from the heaviest to the lightest riders in the championship yet are all capable of lapping within 1/10th of a second of one another, I think that technique is key to a successful racing career and that combined with good physical conditioning will make you the best you can be!

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If women can compete with men in motorcycle racing, then why don't they? The one that rides in AMA is nowhere near being competitive. In one race a couple years ago I believe she just fell short of being lapped by the last place male rider. I think there would be enough worldwide evidence proving my side of the argument if we looked into it.

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Perhaps this is better suited to a new topic, but do you think this explains why its more difficult for women to be competitive at roadracing? I wondered why that is, considering they can spank us a things requiring good hand/eye like billiards.

Jay;

 

...don't let Misti see this post.

 

Are you aware of the WCC in Canada? http://www.womenscup.ca/

One of our newest members GiGi is a competitor in that series and she may also take exception to your comment.

Some of these ladies are also running in the top ten in the 600AM series up there.

 

Kevin Kane

 

There is a racing school here in Canada (ARC-i think) that actually has some women coaches.

 

 

As far as fitness, I am no expert but there is a reason Miguel Duhamel is always riding his bicycle around Vegas. Today while watching the SBK races, they were talking about fitness and stated most of the riders do stay fit as it helps with riding a 23 lap race. It may not help with technique but it will help with endurance overall.

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Car racing is a different story. A coworker who fairly reliable was talking about a F1 study where they determined that women are ideally suited (weight and balance wise) to F1. Where they come up short has been on the specific women driving the cars. It's a shame they aren't as competitive then we would have better data and can make better speculation.

 

I wonder what's going to happen when Eleana Myers is old enough to get her AMA Pro License???

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If women can compete with men in motorcycle racing, then why don't they? The one that rides in AMA is nowhere near being competitive. In one race a couple years ago I believe she just fell short of being lapped by the last place male rider. I think there would be enough worldwide evidence proving my side of the argument if we looked into it.

 

OK I am sure there will be enough world wide evidence proving your side of the argument since men outnumber women in racing about a million to one (exaggeration), Last year Valentino Rossi visited a primary school in Italy, all the kids were excited getting autographs, one 9 year old little boy asked him- Valentino what would I have to do to become a great motorcycle racer like you? Valentino looked at the boy and answered to him, there is nothing you can do as you are too old! My point here is that the best riders in the world learned to control a motorcycle before anything else, they have competed their whole life, The best in the world are born into racing,

As for why dont women compete with men in motorcycle racing, they do, all around the world at club level and above, gradually more women are taking up the sport, but for a girl to be world class, she would need to be racing from a very young age!

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If women can compete with men in motorcycle racing, then why don't they? The one that rides in AMA is nowhere near being competitive. In one race a couple years ago I believe she just fell short of being lapped by the last place male rider. I think there would be enough worldwide evidence proving my side of the argument if we looked into it.

 

OK I am sure there will be enough world wide evidence proving your side of the argument since men outnumber women in racing about a million to one (exaggeration), Last year Valentino Rossi visited a primary school in Italy, all the kids were excited getting autographs, one 9 year old little boy asked him- Valentino what would I have to do to become a great motorcycle racer like you? Valentino looked at the boy and answered to him, there is nothing you can do as you are too old! My point here is that the best riders in the world learned to control a motorcycle before anything else, they have competed their whole life, The best in the world are born into racing,

As for why dont women compete with men in motorcycle racing, they do, all around the world at club level and above, gradually more women are taking up the sport, but for a girl to be world class, she would need to be racing from a very young age!

And I'm sure Valentino Rossi is NEVER wrong!?!?! I guess neither of you are familiar with Troy Bayliss' story? He was a painter until his late 20's. Or how about Max Biaggi, never even been on a motorcycle until his early 20's (or late teens, I forget).

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And I'm sure Valentino Rossi is NEVER wrong!?!?! I guess neither of you are familiar with Troy Bayliss' story? He was a painter until his late 20's. Or how about Max Biaggi, never even been on a motorcycle until his early 20's (or late teens, I forget).

 

 

 

You are right of course, it was a silly statement to make, I realise that racers come from all walks of life, some born into it and some just decide later thats what they want to do, I just cant believe that it would be imposible for a woman to be competitve in pro racing! I could be wrong and so far history proves that but I feel there must be more to it than just being the wrong sex!

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