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Street Vs Track Lines


faffi
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Generally speaking, on a race track you would enter wide, clip the inside of the apex and then run wide out again. This is done to keep the corner as straight as possible and speed as high as possible.

 

Using the same technique on the road, however, could quickly lead to trouble. Especially around blind corners, something at least we have in abundance. Clipping the apex, apart from risking that your head hits the mountain wall lining the road, around an inside turn would significantly reduce your view ahead. Clipping the apex around an outside turn would leave significant parts of you hanging into the oncoming lane.

 

Personally, I tend to use 3 different approaches during road riding; pointy, flat and round :P

 

By pointy I mean that I enter a corner just outside of the middle of my lane, go in deep, turn the bike quickly with relatively low speed and the accelerate out as hard as the conditions allow once I can see far enough ahead. This is mostly used on low speed roads or at least quite short corners.

 

By flat I mean using track-like lines. I reserve this to when I can see really far ahead and there are no obstructions near the road. I still consider this to be the most dangerous way to ride on public roads. Not from a bike control point of view, but from where it places my upper body during cornering.

 

Finally, using round lines basically means more or less following the arch of the road, making the line as long as possible without crossing over into the opposite lane. This style gives me the best visibility ahead and leaves a lot of room to the inside, allowing me to tighten the line should I encounter danger.

 

Yes, I know these examples are an over-simplification, but going into minute details could take all week ;)

 

So, what do the rest of you do or think? Am I wrong or am I right in that you generally have to use significantly different lines during road riding compared to track riding?

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Dear Ozfireblade,

 

I think you said it very well. Over the summer, I road US29 Tail of the Dragon in NC and TN. My nice inside-outside-inside lines would not work! The insides were scattered with rocks and sand, the outsides were full of crazed bikers, police cars and locals in giant monster pickups. A group of motard riders passed me doing wheelies and disappeared around a cliff. I would love to have run with them (as if I could), but for me, the sight lines were too short. In just two days of riding, I saw an entire science museum's worth of stuff in the road: sticks, a tree, a turtle, rocks, a giant black snake, boats, 8 police cars (I counted), a deer, 3 dead skunks and more. A lot of this debris only became visible to me as the blind corners opened up.

 

I ended up rounding off most of the corners, staying wide until I could see FOR SURE what was up ahead. I rode the left tire track for right hand turns and the right tire track for left hand turns. There were too many police cars to point and shoot for long (and my bike is too slow to really enjoy that sort of thing). I did get to use some nice, traditional racing lines--when I could see far enough.

 

Sure enough, the street is not a race track--but maybe it's a LITTLE like racing.

 

You know--I kind of think it is. I was watching AMA Superbike racing and while most of the riding was outside-inside-outside, if someone wanted to pass, they might run in underneath and point-and-shoot. Several times, I saw guys run very wide lines coming off the 180 mph front straight or run wide to block another rider! So, I feel much like you do: lines on the street, and lines on the track, are "ideals" that we must adapt to the changing environment of the real world.

 

Best wishes,

Crash106

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Different goals, different lines.

 

Street, stay safe.

Track, go fast.

 

The basic principals of a good line remain, but on the street you have less usable space, gota give the edge of the road and the center line a bit of a buffer.

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I think the only time I would use lines like on a track, on the street, would be if I was good enough to race at the Isle of Man TT. I reckon this link says it all

 

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I like to "get on it" on the street, but it's completely different than on the track. When I rode my favorite road north of Dallas, there was no way my peg was coming anywhere near the ground. I'm not going to spotting 11 miles of road. It didn't have a blind anything, but there were dirt (sometimes mud) roads that lead onto it. Still had a blast.

 

But I'm someone who can afford trackdays a couple of times a year at least, and expensive schools. It's dangerous riding on the street, but who am I to judge?

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In blind turns, I think it's best to stay on the right side of the lane (or whatever side of the lane is nearest the shoulder in your country). The reason is that for left turns, it's the only way to keep your head in your own lane when leaning. For right turns, vehicles including dump trucks in the oncoming lanes cut the corners and take up half your lane sometimes, and since it is a blind turn, and the closing speed between you and the other guy is your speed added to his, you might not have that much time to react, and it'd be a likely and very bad time to get spooked and target fixate. Some of the roads I ride on don't even have a center line which makes this problem worse. It can be challenging at first to get the hang of going around left turns on the right side of the lane.

 

So yeah, apexing the turns, I don't get to do a lot of that on the street, because most of the turns on the fun roads here are blind. There are larger roads with bigger sweeping open turns but those are the roads with real traffic, and popo, and to have fun on that kind of road I'd have to use the "get arrested" portion of the speedometer.

 

99% of the time on public roads I think ya just have to accept is as cruis'n along and enjoying the scenery, with an occasional series of fun tight twisties here and there. Otherwise you'll just get hurt or put in jail.

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In blind turns, I think it's best to stay on the right side of the lane (or whatever side of the lane is nearest the shoulder in your country). The reason is that for left turns, it's the only way to keep your head in your own lane when leaning. For right turns, vehicles including dump trucks in the oncoming lanes cut the corners and take up half your lane sometimes, and since it is a blind turn, and the closing speed between you and the other guy is your speed added to his, you might not have that much time to react, and it'd be a likely and very bad time to get spooked and target fixate. Some of the roads I ride on don't even have a center line which makes this problem worse. It can be challenging at first to get the hang of going around left turns on the right side of the lane.

 

So yeah, apexing the turns, I don't get to do a lot of that on the street, because most of the turns on the fun roads here are blind. There are larger roads with bigger sweeping open turns but those are the roads with real traffic, and popo, and to have fun on that kind of road I'd have to use the "get arrested" portion of the speedometer.

 

99% of the time on public roads I think ya just have to accept is as cruis'n along and enjoying the scenery, with an occasional series of fun tight twisties here and there. Otherwise you'll just get hurt or put in jail.

Well said Harnois...well said!

 

Rain

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I agree with all that's been said but do think we can apply what we learn on the track to the street. I only 'found' tracks about 5 years ago after a lot of years street riding. I wanted to improve what I did on the road and boy did CSB stuff help.

For example, we go deeper into corners on the track to straighten and maintain speed like Eirik said. I think we go deeper into most corners on the road for view. So we have similar problems in each and for me quicker turns combined with a 2 step, putting your rough turn point onto peripheral vision, has made a big improvement.

 

Muppett

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I fully agree that everything we learn on the track directly translates to riding on the street, just the lines are different. We're not pushing as hard as we would on the track because of all the diffrent variables like oncoming traffic coming into your lane, gravel, land/rockslides etc etc.

 

I dont just apply things I have learnt at the school to just my bike, I apply it when driving a motorvehicle, mind you I dont hang a cheek of my car seat when Im cornering :D

 

Dylan

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