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jodypresti

Head Down Versus Head Up

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So I am told that my upper body position is spot-on AND that my head is up too high by CR's. If you watch Rossi or even some of the coaches at CSS they appear to be head down. Almost as if they are head-butting their way through the corner. Even the image above, shows a coach following a rider (right side above and behind the 17 bike) with the head more downward.

 

Granted his / her butt is way off the seat, it stilll appears as if the head is pointed way down. I'm assuming this is correct form? Any particular reason or is this stylistic? Attached pics of me and Pete behind me. BikeRace_13_1.JPG

 

Level's 3 and 4 can't come soon enough.

switchbackpass.jpg

You an ignore my body position on this pic, I have worked hard to improve since.

Jody

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Its interesting you brought this point up Jody. I have always raced with my head in the ''up'' position . I then tried changing to the more recognized style used by most of the pro's as you have pointed out. The result was faster lap times (i set fastest lap in my last race). I went out on a ride day before raceday and practiced the new style for over an hour of track time. At first i was a little put off in regards to my visual take on the upcoming corners but over the course of a few laps i slowly became accustom to it. By the end of the track day i was feeling 100% confident and the results the following day under race conditions convinced me it's the way to go. Almost every 125 GP rider today uses this style, its almost as if they have a steel rod running the length of their backs, their head is in perfect line with with the spine and looks as though the chin is almost touching the clip-on's. It works for me and i wont be going back to old habits thats for sure.

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You have more leverage for counter-steering this way.

 

Head down was tough for me because my bike has me sit more upright than the school's ZX6R I was on. It took me 1-1/2 day to accept the new position. The more I fought the bike, the more tired I became, even to the point of back pain.

 

The new position forced me to Quick Turn and to consciously STEER the motorcycle. And whaddya know...it works! (but don't tell Cobie) (smile)

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I found it to be more comfortable, and gave me the feeling that I have more control over the bike in turns, like Jay said. It's really helpful in fast turns, and maybe it's because of the weight distribution. When your head is down (you can refer to the pic at the top of the page), your shoulders are forward, and your weight is more over the front of the bike.

There are plenty of pro racers who ride in the heads up position who do quite well. The pic below has Mladin and Spies going at it. Mladin has a real twisted, awkward position, but it works for him. Hodgson does also. Figure out what works best for you.

And the 125 racers who have such great BP are the ones who have attended some MotoGP school. I can't find anything about it on the internet, but from the announcers I've picked up that the better riders are invited to attend. Cluzel was booted from the school for some reason or another.

Lascorz, who rides Kawasaki in Super Sport, has some of the best BP I've seen. I could watch him and Pedrosa ride the track all day just to study their BP.

 

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1051/120898...b5aae2b.jpg?v=0

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That picture is telling. Spies is just an animal. I am a bigger guy so the head down is going to take some getting used to. Hopefully there will be a photographer there this week and I'll get some better shots trying the new posture. Thanks again.

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One thing that can be an issue is simply how the helmet sits on the head. I've had to put 4 layers of foam in the top of my helmet, and it still sits too low, can't easily see out the top when I'm down low. We have come across this a bit lately, helmets dictating where the head goes (low or not).

 

Look at Rossi's eyes, and where they sit in relation to his helmet opening (when he has his helmet on, but is not on bike).

 

CF

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That shot of Spies and Mladin shows the contrast in styles really well doesn't it. For me, Spies is more enjoyable to watch, and his results would suggest he's onto a good thing!

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I've had to put 4 layers of foam in the top of my helmet,

CF

 

Cobie,

 

Where did you get the layers of foam? Any particular type? I've always thought my helmet sits too low, which I chalked up as just one of those things I had to live with.

 

Thanks,

Josh

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Wow Cobie, I would not have thought about that. I don't street ride anymore but I put my helmet on and road around the neighborhood on my track bike. your right. My ARAI sits too low on my brow for me to look appropriately. I'm guessing I'm going to need get an AGV or something that offers better provision for the preferred POV.

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One thing that can be an issue is simply how the helmet sits on the head. I've had to put 4 layers of foam in the top of my helmet, and it still sits too low, can't easily see out the top when I'm down low. We have come across this a bit lately, helmets dictating where the head goes (low or not).

 

Look at Rossi's eyes, and where they sit in relation to his helmet opening (when he has his helmet on, but is not on bike).

 

CF

Noticed that factor myself too. My solution though is to "turn" the helmet upwards (as if it rotates on an axis that goes between your ears). Your chin might stick out more than usual but it does the trick when you put your head down. From a safety perspective, I initially thought it would be less safe since you can hit your chin during a crash, but on 2nd thought, it would take quite a coincidence for that to happen. You will have to be flat out on your belly on the track, while your head is backwards for your chin to hit the track. Also, I think I saw Pedrosa using the same "trick"...

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WOW!!! That's REALLY head down. I'm guessing that took quite some time to even get comfortable doing. Awesome. Are you still able to get your weight on the outside of the bike, or do you have more on the inside? I've tried weighing down the inside, and it's not a comfortable feeling at all.

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At the risk of sounding like a narcissist it was really easy. My viewpoint changed and I elminated all of that stuff 20degrees above the horizin that I don't need anyway. It allowed me to focuse on more than one reference point and really enjoy the purview from a lower position. Keep in mind, I didn't get my knee down but once or twice in over 7 sessions. My guess is that with this new, lower, position I can carry a bunch more speed at a more progressive lean angle.

 

The CR told me that I looked a little 'silly' hanging off the bike this much at my current pace. I thought I was doing fine. Most importantly I was enjoying myself. Speed will come later... Can't wait utnil CSB gets back here in August.

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The answer to the question is....

 

01886_NOV_s4_062209.jpg

 

Head down, what a hoot! Thanks all.

 

01888_NOV_s4_062209.jpg

 

I've tried the weighting the inside peg, and it hurts my knees when I did it, and is always a sure sign that I'm loading the inside, and not the outside peg.

 

Jody, as for the pic, and your ability to lean off, personally, I'd say your actually leaning off too much and unlessing your practising a hook turn? Thats going to be very hard work to hang of that far all the time.

 

Bullet

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...hanging off the bike this much at my current pace. ...Speed will come later...

Jody;

Beyond having fun, what did this riding position accomplished for you? I ask because maybe it's my advanced age but when I get low, especially when my head is down like your's is in these pictures my ability to see up the track is severly compromised.

 

Kevin

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...hanging off the bike this much at my current pace. ...Speed will come later...

Jody;

Beyond having fun, what did this riding position accomplished for you? I ask because maybe it's my advanced age but when I get low, especially when my head is down like your's is in these pictures my ability to see up the track is severly compromised.

 

Kevin

 

 

During levels I and II Keith was telling us about smaller riders on smaller bikes (namely GP 125's) combined with a 30 meter wide track have a tough time gathering reference points. I found that this position eliminates a lot of view above the horizon and helps me focus much more on the upcoming 2-3 reference points. It even helped me change them.

 

I'm not saying this was right or wrong, but I really felt I could drive up off the corner better as the bike was in the 'pick-up' position sooner for my riding style. Certainly am eager to hear / read feedback.

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...hanging off the bike this much at my current pace. ...Speed will come later...

Jody;

Beyond having fun, what did this riding position accomplished for you? I ask because maybe it's my advanced age but when I get low, especially when my head is down like your's is in these pictures my ability to see up the track is severly compromised.

 

Kevin

 

 

During levels I and II Keith was telling us about smaller riders on smaller bikes (namely GP 125's) combined with a 30 meter wide track have a tough time gathering reference points. I found that this position eliminates a lot of view above the horizon and helps me focus much more on the upcoming 2-3 reference points. It even helped me change them.

 

I'm not saying this was right or wrong, but I really felt I could drive up off the corner better as the bike was in the 'pick-up' position sooner for my riding style. Certainly am eager to here / read feedback.

Jody;

Cool!...and thanks for the explaination. The visual aspects of this sport is so important and I hadn't considered the distraction angle before. Makes sense.

 

Kevin

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I've tried the weighting the inside peg, and it hurts my knees when I did it, and is always a sure sign that I'm loading the inside, and not the outside peg.

 

Jody, as for the pic, and your ability to lean off, personally, I'd say your actually leaning off too much and unlessing your practising a hook turn? Thats going to be very hard work to hang of that far all the time.

 

Bullet

 

Thanks Bullet. The more I look at the pictures (through the 2nd chicane at Thunderbolt) I feel that I am over just too much. I see pics of Ben Spies or Jorge Lorenzo with what looks like their chins on the ground. Should we all aspire for similar? Granted they have infinitely more skill than I posses and better equipment...

 

Thanks for your help. Jody.

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I've tried the weighting the inside peg, and it hurts my knees when I did it, and is always a sure sign that I'm loading the inside, and not the outside peg.

 

Jody, as for the pic, and your ability to lean off, personally, I'd say your actually leaning off too much and unlessing your practising a hook turn? Thats going to be very hard work to hang of that far all the time.

 

Bullet

 

Thanks Bullet. The more I look at the pictures (through the 2nd chicane at Thunderbolt) I feel that I am over just too much. I see pics of Ben Spies or Jorge Lorenzo with what looks like their chins on the ground. Should we all aspire for similar? Granted they have infinitely more skill than I posses and better equipment...

 

Thanks for your help. Jody.

Not sure which levels you've coveed with us Jody, have you done levels 2 and 3?

 

I think we should start by thinking why do we lean off in the first place? What benefits do we get from this?

 

With respect to Lorenzo et al, I think if we look at this pic, how much is he actually leaning off, and how much is lean angle?

How physically difficult did you find leaning off like this Jody, and you talked of chicanes, is it difficult for you to get across the bike from this position whilst keeping the bike stable?

 

Bullet

post-15526-1245818313_thumb.jpg

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Good point Bullet. I am an abnormally flexible guy and this position is not uncomfortable for me. I feel I am getting better, transitioning quickly using knee to knee and setting up well in advance of the next turn. I have completed Levels 1 and 2 and have four days scheduled with CSB in August.

 

I think I see where you are going. I need to improve my lean angle much more? In lieu of a private internet lesson, shoud I just improve quick turn and sacrifice some hang off to increase corner speed? Thanks again for your assistance.

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Good point Bullet. I am an abnormally flexible guy and this position is not uncomfortable for me. I feel I am getting better, transitioning quickly using knee to knee and setting up well in advance of the next turn. I have completed Levels 1 and 2 and have four days scheduled with CSB in August.

 

I think I see where you are going. I need to improve my lean angle much more? In lieu of a private internet lesson, shoud I just improve quick turn and sacrifice some hang off to increase corner speed? Thanks again for your assistance.

 

Hi jody,

 

It's clear you've worked very hard on improving it considerably since your first pictures for sure. Many riders do obsess about it a bit, though it's something thats the icing on the cake for improving lap times and speed, and is certainly of lower value in the overall puzzle than say the visual skills. Your body position certainly isn't bad, I think when you do level 3 you'll understand a little more and it will come together nicely for you.

 

I suggest you concentrate on working with your coaches when you next attend the school for level 3 to work on ironing out your body position. Your coach will be able to help much more than seeing a single photo, as that just a snapshot in time, and not the whole picture. (i.e. how you get into the corner, what you do mid turn, what you do coming off the turn)

 

Your lean angle will come with more speed as it's a consequence of line, speed and how sharp the turn is in essence. How you give yourself enough tima and space and the ablity to use that space and increase your speed you've already covered in level 2, and I'm afraid you'll just have keep working on it, get the visual timing we've taught you right, and in time you'll be able to use it better, you'll be comfortable carrying more speed into the turns. More speed, more lean essentially.

 

I'm not sure we really got a clear answer on the "why" we lean off, and the benefits it provides us, but as long you understand the "why" you're doing it, the "benefits it gives you" and you're comfortable with that, I'm happy. ;)

 

Bullet

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Thanks Bullet and sorry for the slow reply. This is not text book (don't have my reference material handy) but I hang off the bike so that the bike will be more upright during cornering, increasing the contact patch as much as possible for pickup / corner exit.

 

I do find now (a few track days since my last post) that I am pulling my knee back attempting to increase corner speed. I'll drag and pull back using the benefit of my height to guage how much contact patch is left.

 

Am I on the right track? Level's 3 and 4 in one month's time. :)

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Thanks Bullet and sorry for the slow reply. This is not text book (don't have my reference material handy) but I hang off the bike so that the bike will be more upright during cornering, increasing the contact patch as much as possible for pickup / corner exit.

 

I do find now (a few track days since my last post) that I am pulling my knee back attempting to increase corner speed. I'll drag and pull back using the benefit of my height to guage how much contact patch is left.

 

Am I on the right track? Level's 3 and 4 in one month's time. :)

 

Nevermind that there's more contact patch on the side of the tire, Jody.

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