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Importance Of Smoothness

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For the last few months I've been striving to achieve perfection when it comes to smoothness. I've even taken my brothers who weigh quite a bit on rides and they've even said they can never feel me shifting and my braking is smooth. The problem is, I'm always thinking about it and constantly trying to be smooth. Sometimes I've found myself focusing on it entirely while I'm out on a leisurely ride. Is it that important?


I understand that being smooth, to an extent, is important so that we can maintain and conserve traction on the track, but at what point does it become excessive and unnecessary? I've heard the Pridmores bragging and boasting about how smooth and seamless their rides are and I'm sure that's great and a good show of skill, but is it truly important? When I'm watching AMA Supersport it looks like the bikes are wobbling, wiggling, jerking and all kinds of stuff but they still put down very fast lap times.


At what point should we stop worrying about being smooth and start concerning ourselves with the more important aspects of cornering (throttle control, turn-ins, lines, position, etc.)?

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The faster you go, the more important it is. What you see on the racetrack are the results of riding near the limit of the bike's ability to cope. It's not rough rider inputs, but incredibly high braking, cornering and acceleration forces that make the bikes wiggle and squirm. If you not smooth at that level, you're going to be on your a$$.


On the street it's not as critical, but it does make you a safer rider.

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It should go hand in hand with where you are, and where you want to go.

The smoothness thing is how you get there.


Don't be so concerned with the 'how you get there' part that you lose sight of where you are going and why you're going there.


I think the important thing to realise when working on a single aspect of your riding, is that you're still working on a complete package.

It's necessary to work on individual things to improve your overall riding ability, and it's even more necessary to keep your whole package in sight.

You can work on smoothness until the cows come home but if you're on the wrong part of the track at the wrong time, you'll be slow, not matter how seemless you transitions are.


I'm not down playing the smoothness thing - it's important, but so are all the other aspects of your riding.

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This is sort of a side bar but often when "how important" a certain aspect or skill is discussed the more general terms, and less qualitative terms are used. Very important, kinda important, should spend some time on that...... etc.


Mr. Code uses the "$10 of attention" axiom in TOTW 2. You only have 10 bucks, how are you going to spend it? Perhaps posters could show their attention budget as a means of the rest of us understanding how the poster pilots.


$5 Throttle control

$2.65 quick turn/flick

$1.35 body position/weight distribution




$0.17 umbrella girl outfits



just my .02



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I'm not down playing the smoothness - it's important, but so are all the other skills you use while riding.


Smooth is a skill?

If I want to be smooth, what do I do?

What makes something smooth?

What makes it not smooth?


And I'm only asking about motorcycling riding here... :P

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  • 1 month later...

smooth guys,


SMOOTH is all about visual skills not how cool you are with the controls. Once you have passed the point that you have a decent grasp of your controls and know what they are for and what you should expect from using them it all comes down to your visuals.


That is what Level II is all about. When you see a rider efforting to get the bike through a series of corners you are looking at a rider who has passed his own point of comfort in what he is looking at.


The Survival Reactions all start at the eyes, even traction situations can often be traced back to the rider not being able to "see" exactly where he is and how much he should be winding on the gas.


Think it through: if you have an accurate picture of where you are it is easy to tell which control to use and how much to use it. Chop up your visual input and your riding will be chopped up to.


Think how many times in one aggressive ride you let your eyes come in too close to the bike or stare at a patch or seam in the road. Each of those little "holidays" is costing you visual information and when you are short in that department you are choppy with the controls.


It's all about the flow of visual data. That is what smooth is.



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Great post, Keith. I hope to continue on to Level 2 soon but current circumstances just won't allow me. Hopefully, my level 1 skills won't be too rusty but I do practice some of those things while riding. Things like quick-turning and rolling on the throttle through the corners. The visual skills really helped, too. I am still not fast, nor am I trying to be, but I have a little more confidence when I'm up in the canyons on weekends.


Take care, all!

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