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First Off :-(


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I've been riding for years, I ride an old BMW all winter long for commuting and I did CSS Level 1 at a soaking wet Rockingham last year. I am also practicing for my IAM test.

 

I've always prided myself on being smooth, keeping the bike balanced, slow in fast out etc etc.I also really try to keep a light touch on the bars and try to feel what the bike is doing...

 

Anyway, I did my first bike trackday on Thursday (apart from CSS last year) at Mallory Park. It was actually an IAM organised day, rather than a free for all. It was dry, but cold, probably about 7C. My 954 Fireblade was on sports touring tyres <1000 miles (Roadsmarts), road tyre pressures and stock suspension settings.

 

Probably because I'd done a CSS course, they put me in the intermediate group. After a couple of siting laps, we took it in turns (4 of us) to follow the instructor to get the right lines. It was pretty slow... On our second 20 min session, it was 3rd gear, no brakes (sounding familiar?). I was getting a bit frustrated with how slow people were (and I'm not quick) so when it was my turn to lead I went a bit quicker.....

 

Coming out of Charlies in 3rd (extra bend at end of Gerrards), which would normally be 1st/2nd gear, I was over quite a way and the next thing I know I'm sliding my pride and joy along the ground :blink:

 

I had opened the throttle whilst banked over and just low-sided it. Obviously I was too enthusiastic, the tyres were not warm and the track temp was probably only 4 or 5 degrees.

 

What I'm frustrated about is that it happened with absolutely no warning. I'm fairly used to feeling the back move sideways a little, you know, when you know you've accelerated a little too hard or the road is greasy and its not been a problem.

 

Is it because of the type of tyres? Is it because I was so far over and literally ran out of tread? Is this more normal on very cold tarmac?

 

I've lost my confidence a little because I now don't know how close I am to the limit when I ride.

 

I wanted to do the next session to regain my confidence as the bike was ok, but I crushed my middle two fingers between the handlebar and clutch lever so no more riding...

 

I had planned to do my Level 2 (probably Brands) this year, but I'm now a little unsure...

 

Any advice??

 

Sorry it's such a long post :blink:

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I've been riding for years, I ride an old BMW all winter long for commuting and I did CSS Level 1 at a soaking wet Rockingham last year. I am also practicing for my IAM test.

 

I've always prided myself on being smooth, keeping the bike balanced, slow in fast out etc etc.I also really try to keep a light touch on the bars and try to feel what the bike is doing...

 

Anyway, I did my first bike trackday on Thursday (apart from CSS last year) at Mallory Park. It was actually an IAM organised day, rather than a free for all. It was dry, but cold, probably about 7C. My 954 Fireblade was on sports touring tyres <1000 miles (Roadsmarts), road tyre pressures and stock suspension settings.

 

Probably because I'd done a CSS course, they put me in the intermediate group. After a couple of siting laps, we took it in turns (4 of us) to follow the instructor to get the right lines. It was pretty slow... On our second 20 min session, it was 3rd gear, no brakes (sounding familiar?). I was getting a bit frustrated with how slow people were (and I'm not quick) so when it was my turn to lead I went a bit quicker.....

 

Coming out of Charlies in 3rd (extra bend at end of Gerrards), which would normally be 1st/2nd gear, I was over quite a way and the next thing I know I'm sliding my pride and joy along the ground :blink:

 

I had opened the throttle whilst banked over and just low-sided it. Obviously I was too enthusiastic, the tyres were not warm and the track temp was probably only 4 or 5 degrees.

 

What I'm frustrated about is that it happened with absolutely no warning. I'm fairly used to feeling the back move sideways a little, you know, when you know you've accelerated a little too hard or the road is greasy and its not been a problem.

 

Is it because of the type of tyres? Is it because I was so far over and literally ran out of tread? Is this more normal on very cold tarmac?

 

I've lost my confidence a little because I now don't know how close I am to the limit when I ride.

 

I wanted to do the next session to regain my confidence as the bike was ok, but I crushed my middle two fingers between the handlebar and clutch lever so no more riding...

 

I had planned to do my Level 2 (probably Brands) this year, but I'm now a little unsure...

 

Any advice??

 

Sorry it's such a long post :blink:

 

 

 

Welcome to the forum Paul

 

From what I can gather your saying you increased your lean angle whilst adding more throttle and on cold tyres running road pressures? Did the back step out frist or the front end come out from under you?

 

Increase lean angle and throttle at the same time is a no no and will end up with you coming off and sliding for a bit. Im no tyre guru so when it comes to pressures I always have a chat to the track tyre guy on what pressures to run on the day also tell him the type, cold day on the track may take 3-4 laps to warm your tyres up. Regular braking and speed will warm up the tyres, sounds like there wasnt much of that going on, I would look at getting tyre warmers.

 

Id suggest to get back on the track, when your fingers have got better, slow it down a bit say to 60-70% and just work on the level 1 drills again and gradually increase your speed until you have confidence in your ability and the rubbers again, once the tyres are warm. If your still not confident maybe do level 1 again?

 

If your a bit apprehensive about riding cause of your crash maybe have a chat to Bullet, UK coach, he's just coming back from a really big prang. I was the same after my stack last year.

 

Hope your back on the horse soon, some of the guys in the forum will help out if I wasn't too helpful.

 

Safe riding

 

Dylan

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Could also be that the tyres doesn't give any warning. My brother found himself sckyrocketed when the BT020 let go without any warning on a track day. The tyre had never let go before in any way, but when he finally slipped it was a total surprise.

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Hi Paul,

 

Sorry you've had an off mate, never the greatest thing to happen for sure, but inevitably, we all make mistakes and sometimes they just cost you more than another time.

 

I'd like for you to explain the details of your crash in a little more detail if you could please. Did the front go, or the back? How far into the turn where you? When you say you came back to throttle, could you explain it in more detail please? We'll see if we can't get to a little clearer explanation of what happened and why for you, so you can understand it, and move on.

 

Let me know.

 

Bullet

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If your a bit apprehensive about riding cause of your crash maybe have a chat to Bullet, UK coach, he's just coming back from a really big prang. I was the same after my stack last year.

Dylan

 

It's very true, I've just come back after having a very big off last year when I shattered my shoulder which required surgery and pins, and 14 weeks of any training. I'm back coaching and racing again now, and for all intent purposes you wouldn't know I'd ever been away really. The reason I'm able to do this, (as is anyone who's had a crash), is I understand why it happened, and what I'd do differently. This allows me to not even think about it, and didn't even bother me the very first time i rode again, which was the first race meeting of the year.

 

We'll be able to help you my friend, for sure, we just need more detail on the specifics.

 

Bullet

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Thanks so much for the quick replies! It's really good to talk to people who know what they're talking about...

 

In more detail;

 

I had apexed the first right of Charlies then flicked it the other way for the left.

I leaned in and as I was apexing I thought to myself wow, I'm over a long way.

I think it was as the bike was starting to come upright that I increased the throttle slightly, but the bike was a long way over, by that I mean more than I'm used to on the road. I'm sure opened the gas really gently and the bike was at low revs, so not much torque or power (in 3rd for the lesson, but probably a 1st/2nd gear corner)

It felt to me that the front just gave up and I ended up on my side, but my instructor (Crispin, ACU I think) said it was a classic low-side.

He was right behind me, was surprised at my lean angle, and then he heard the engine rev (tyre loose traction) and then the bike was over. He said it was definately the back that went, not the front.

Our little group had just been passed by 3 other bikes (they were doing a different lesson) and Crispin said I was chasing them... Maybe I had a little red mist...

 

I was just too enthusiastic on cold tyres, cold track etc, but what's really annoying me is I thought I'd have had a chance at feeling the slide start or closing the throttle in time.... There was just no warning (to me) and it happened so quickly.

 

Paul

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So a few quick observations.

 

- Firstly, we'd not normally reccomend road tyre pressures for the track, despite it being cold, we'd still run lower pressures for the track by several PSI. Having higher pressures and several (even moderate laps), can bring the pressures up to high, and that greatly reduce the contact patch.

 

In your description of the charlies, left chicane, you seem to infer that you Apex'd and that is when you came back to gas (middle of the turn)? When the youd in this situation, where is the weight when off the gas, and where does it transfer to when you come back to gas? When you did Level 1, when should we ideally get back to gas? What's the application feel like?

 

It does sound from your description into the turn a little hot, lots of lean angle, no gas then back to too much gas with large lean angle to me. See if you can think through the questions, but we're getting to an answer.

 

Bullet

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So a few quick observations.

 

- Firstly, we'd not normally reccomend road tyre pressures for the track, despite it being cold, we'd still run lower pressures for the track by several PSI. Having higher pressures and several (even moderate laps), can bring the pressures up to high, and that greatly reduce the contact patch.

 

In your description of the charlies, left chicane, you seem to infer that you Apex'd and that is when you came back to gas (middle of the turn)? When the youd in this situation, where is the weight when off the gas, and where does it transfer to when you come back to gas? When you did Level 1, when should we ideally get back to gas? What's the application feel like?

 

It does sound from your description into the turn a little hot, lots of lean angle, no gas then back to too much gas with large lean angle to me. See if you can think through the questions, but we're getting to an answer.

 

Bullet

 

I did think about tyre pressures, but thought it would be too cold... Stock mine are 36/42 - what would you drop them to as a rule of thumb?

 

Thinking through your points, I may have gone in a little hot, leaned further than I was comfortable with and then rolled off the gas - SR1, this put too much weight on the front and so when I added throttle the back was unweighted therefore spun out.

 

OR

 

I turned in, rolled on the gas, was uncomfortable with the lean angle and rolled off the gas (SR1), only to reapply it a little further on. So, very unsmooth and really unsettling the bike.

 

Either way, totally at odds to rolling the throttle on evenly, smoothly and constantly... :rolleyes:

 

I should have approached turn in point at a reasonable speed, put the bike smoothly but quickly over and then used a maintaining throttle through the turn.

 

I think I'm starting to understand my problem...

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So a few quick observations.

 

- Firstly, we'd not normally reccomend road tyre pressures for the track, despite it being cold, we'd still run lower pressures for the track by several PSI. Having higher pressures and several (even moderate laps), can bring the pressures up to high, and that greatly reduce the contact patch.

 

In your description of the charlies, left chicane, you seem to infer that you Apex'd and that is when you came back to gas (middle of the turn)? When the youd in this situation, where is the weight when off the gas, and where does it transfer to when you come back to gas? When you did Level 1, when should we ideally get back to gas? What's the application feel like?

 

It does sound from your description into the turn a little hot, lots of lean angle, no gas then back to too much gas with large lean angle to me. See if you can think through the questions, but we're getting to an answer.

 

Bullet

 

I did think about tyre pressures, but thought it would be too cold... Stock mine are 36/42 - what would you drop them to as a rule of thumb?

 

Thinking through your points, I may have gone in a little hot, leaned further than I was comfortable with and then rolled off the gas - SR1, this put too much weight on the front and so when I added throttle the back was unweighted therefore spun out.

 

OR

 

I turned in, rolled on the gas, was uncomfortable with the lean angle and rolled off the gas (SR1), only to reapply it a little further on. So, very unsmooth and really unsettling the bike.

 

Either way, totally at odds to rolling the throttle on evenly, smoothly and constantly... :rolleyes:

 

I should have approached turn in point at a reasonable speed, put the bike smoothly but quickly over and then used a maintaining throttle through the turn.

 

I think I'm starting to understand my problem...

 

 

 

 

Ok, normal track pressures we'd reccomend would be around 31F, 30R, which are a good rule of thumb. If you'd done a good few laps, they would have come up very high at 41rear, (think a bit like a balloon), and your contact patch is greatly reduced for sure.

 

I'd say scenario one would be an excellent candidate, you have most of the weight on the front when you're off the gas, and if you have big lean angle, (possibly diminished tyre contact patch with pressures), and you go back to the throttle poorly and snatch at it a little, (i.e. a poor rollon), then you'd definitely be an excellent candidate for a lowside I'm afraid.

 

so just for clarity, try and stabilise the bike when you're bike is on it's line, by applying throttle rule No.1. Anything less than, i.e. too hot in, too hard an application is less than optimum, and relies pretty much solely on tyre grip and suspension at one end more than another.

 

Hope this makes it clear for you now. Understand it, modify your riding behaviour and get back on it (your bike), practising correct application. Oh, and dont' worry, we've all done this, I did it last year on my race bike on slicks. ;) too much lean angle in to hot, to hard an initial throttle on an off camber turn, result, me on my arse.

 

Bullet

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Wow, those pressures are a lot lower than I would have used... I'll pack the pressure gauge next time...

 

Thanks for helping me through this, I guess I knew the answers but not the right questions to ask myself in the first place to get to the answers...

 

I was a bit down about my off at first, mainly as I didn't know why it happened, now I do I can't wait to get out and practice :ph34r:

 

Bullet - might see you at a School soon!

 

Thanks everyone for replying or just for reading this thread - nice to know you're all here!

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

Ok, normal track pressures we'd reccomend would be around 31F, 30R, which are a good rule of thumb. If you'd done a good few laps, they would have come up very high at 41rear, (think a bit like a balloon), and your contact patch is greatly reduced for sure.

 

so just for clarity, try and stabilise the bike when you're bike is on it's line, by applying throttle rule No.1. Anything less than, i.e. too hot in, too hard an application is less than optimum, and relies pretty much solely on tyre grip and suspension at one end more than another.

 

Hope this makes it clear for you now. Understand it, modify your riding behaviour and get back on it (your bike), practising correct application. Oh, and dont' worry, we've all done this, I did it last year on my race bike on slicks. ;) too much lean angle in to hot, to hard an initial throttle on an off camber turn, result, me on my arse.

 

Bullet

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