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Improved Sense Of Speed


Jaybird180
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I took Levels 1&2 nearly 2 years ago. At the conclusion of the 2nd day, I had a discussion with Keith in which he asked me if I thought my sense of speed had improved; I stuttered and stammered to answer the question. Disinterested in working through such a simple question he said, “The answer is no, it didn’t improve”.

 

Now, still thinking about that experience, I realize that I then did not have a way to know the accuracy of my PERCEPTION of speed. I did not have a way to do it before the course, nor after the 2nd day. WAS I DAYDREAMING during that part of the classroom lecture? I also now realize that had I confined my ‘train of thought’ to the PRODUCT of an “improved” sense of speed, that then PERHAPS I could have been able to communicate my ability or inability of being able to achieve the specific daily milestones in my riding.

 

Dissatisfied taking for granted that I know the answers (for we only KNOW what we can plainly demonstrate), I humbly seek the collective wisdom of the forum.

 

Q1- How would you have answered Keith’s question posed to me 2 years ago? How would you know if your sense of speed had improved? How do you make a comparison of before and after?

Q2- What is the product of the improvement in sense of speed? What does it mean to improve it?

Q3 Is improvement anything like being IN LOVE? (you just know that you are)

Q4- Is sense of speed strictly kinesthetic? Visual? A combination? Something other?

Q4- What other data is needed as a foundation for improvement? (free discussion)

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Q1- How would you have answered Keith's question posed to me 2 years ago? How would you know if your sense of speed had improved? How do you make a comparison of before and after?

Q2- What is the product of the improvement in sense of speed? What does it mean to improve it?

Q3 Is improvement anything like being IN LOVE? (you just know that you are)

Q4- Is sense of speed strictly kinesthetic? Visual? A combination? Something other?

Q4- What other data is needed as a foundation for improvement? (free discussion)

JB;

You have a way of keeping it interesting...

 

I will offer my answers:

  1. My sense of speed has improved because I can carry far higher entry speeds into corners than I could before without sacrificing mid corner speed or drive out.
  2. The product is lower lap times.
  3. I'm not gonna touch that one.
  4. As Forrest Gump so eloquently spoke: "maybe its both".
  5. The ability to quantify performance changes.

Rainman

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I took Levels 1&2 nearly 2 years ago. At the conclusion of the 2nd day, I had a discussion with Keith in which he asked me if I thought my sense of speed had improved; I stuttered and stammered to answer the question. Disinterested in working through such a simple question he said, “The answer is no, it didn’t improve”.

 

Now, still thinking about that experience, I realize that I then did not have a way to know the accuracy of my PERCEPTION of speed. I did not have a way to do it before the course, nor after the 2nd day. WAS I DAYDREAMING during that part of the classroom lecture? I also now realize that had I confined my ‘train of thought’ to the PRODUCT of an “improved” sense of speed, that then PERHAPS I could have been able to communicate my ability or inability of being able to achieve the specific daily milestones in my riding.

 

Dissatisfied taking for granted that I know the answers (for we only KNOW what we can plainly demonstrate), I humbly seek the collective wisdom of the forum.

 

Q1- How would you have answered Keith’s question posed to me 2 years ago? How would you know if your sense of speed had improved? How do you make a comparison of before and after?

Q2- What is the product of the improvement in sense of speed? What does it mean to improve it?

Q3 Is improvement anything like being IN LOVE? (you just know that you are)

Q4- Is sense of speed strictly kinesthetic? Visual? A combination? Something other?

Q4- What other data is needed as a foundation for improvement? (free discussion)

 

Great questions for sure. To me, accurately guessing how fast you are going (without looking at the speedo) is not what the concept of "sense of speed" is about. It is about everything else around you "slowing down" (so to speak) because your riding skills have improved. Taking a particular corner at 45 mph may seem quite overwhelming to a beginner, even though he/she didn't even know he/she was going 45 mph. After Levels 1 and 2, taking that same corner at the same speed (45 mph) would likely seem slow because of the improved skills and confidence, and now can be taken at say 50 mph easily. Tough to measure without actually looking at a speedo, but I would say that person's sense of speed has improved quite a bit.

 

After CSS Level III at Thunderbolt last month, I pulled onto the main road in my car. It was a 45 mph road. Before I knew it, I was doing 75 mph quite comfortably, I might add, as it felt like I was doing no faster than 35 mph! I couldn't believe it when I glanced at the speedo! Yeah, I'd say my sense of speed improved, but my ability to estimate my speed was WAY off - ha ha :)

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Well, I'll have to think about my sense of speed a bit more, but I do know there is one corner that I take almost every day that is posted as 35 mph, but everyone in a car takes about about 20 mph. If I take it on my bike and it feels fine, normal, effortless I'll look down and be exiting at 32 mph. If I go in and suddenly everything feels too freaking fast, dangerous and stressful, I'll look down and find I'm going (did you guess?) 33 or 34 mph. Gosh! That's fast. Darned fast! So, in that sense, my sense of speed knows within 1 or 2 mph what feels okay and what feel Scary Fast. The best way I know for me to go faster in that turn would be to use my whole lane and accelerate harder once I see the exit. Can I do that on the street? Nope. Every time I look for my darned flag man, he's on a break! With the real world sight lines and traffic, 32-34 mph is plenty fast enough.

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A1- You would know if your sense of speed has improved by being able to accurately judge how fast your entering a corner instead of relying entirely on braking points.

A2- More confidence on corner entry that you aren't going in to hot without wasting to much time going slow.

A3- Maybe? tongue.gif

A4- I think there are a lot of senses and knowledge that are needed to accurately judge speed. Visual can be very deceiving depending on your surroundings but if your familiar with that specific part of the track you can accurately compare how fast your going to the laps you did previously. Personally I use the sound of the engine RPM and what gear I'm in to estimate how fast I'm going. You'd be surprised how accurate you can get with that. I also use how fast the wind speed is to gauge my speed. If you can use all three of these together accurately I would think your estimation of speed would be extremely good.

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Earlier in this thread I had responded to Jaybird's inquiry by saying that my improved sense of speed allowed me to carry greater entry speed into corners - a true statement at the time but only to a point.

 

I was at CSS/NJMP on the Thunderbolt course this week, a track that I've ridden a lot and one that I think I know pretty well by now. I was riding on my Ducati; a bike that I think I know even better so what could possibly diminish my sense of speed this week? Inexplicably by Tuesday instead of getting better I found myself struggling as things seemed a bit disjointed and I was out of sync in a big way. I felt rushed and my riding seemed off so completely that I never settled in at all. How did I regress so far backward so quickly?

 

Well there was one thing that was different - very different and I completely failed to make adjustments for some changes I made to the bike when I returned home from there last month. In August I was coming out of the Devil in 4th and hit 5th at the left kink and then banged into 6th right after exiting onto the front straight after the second kink; long before I reached the 5 board I was up against the rev limiter. I decided that a 14/39 ratio was way too short for a long course like T-Bolt so I swapped out the sprockets for a 15 front and a 38 rear. This ratio was taller by almost a 9% if I did my math correctly but I had forgotten to make adjustments in my head for the much higher speed the Ducati could generate with this new set up. What an idiot!

 

Previously at the limitations of the gearing I thought I knew what speed I could carry because I couldn't get any more. After pondering this since I returned home I now believe that my sense of speed (correctly or incorrectly) was dependent on more than just visual acuity; it also was derived from the familiar sound of the motor I have listened to for seven years and maybe a glance of the tach once in awhile. Since I didn't change my brake markers at all, I failed to account for the much higher speed I could now carry down the straight leading to my feeling rushed at every high speed corner on that track.

 

So JB, I owe you a correction to my response…I thought that I had a good sense of entry speed but I now realize it's a much more complicated question that you asked.

 

A more humbled Rainman

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Q1- How would you have answered Keith’s question posed to me 2 years ago? How would you know if your sense of speed had improved? How do you make a comparison of before and after?

Q2- What is the product of the improvement in sense of speed? What does it mean to improve it?

Q3 Is improvement anything like being IN LOVE? (you just know that you are)

Q4- Is sense of speed strictly kinesthetic? Visual? A combination? Something other?

Q4- What other data is needed as a foundation for improvement? (free discussion)

I might be off, but my understanding was that it to some degree relates to consistency in lap times. At my last track weekend I felt like I was consistent, but without a measurement process I don't know, and I don't have a lap timer. During the last session I had a control rider (this was with NESBA) follow me around and he said afterwards my speed going into corners was very consistent. I said I never looked at my speedometer but he was following and did watch and in a particular turn he said I was within 2mph every time. So this was better data than a lap timer in that it was measured at a particular spot.

 

I recall in level 1 Keith talking about the sense of speed and he said (I think) the pro guys know their speed within 1/2 mph. I'm sure I'm not that accurate at knowing the number of my speed- I suppose that is like a musician having perfect pitch. I think the purpose is to be able to go into and through corners predictably and fast (Q2). If you speed varies, your line, lean etc. will vary. Too slow, you waste time and think "I could have done that faster!"; too fast and SRs trigger.

 

Q4- I would say a combination of kinesthetic, visual, and audible inputs- humans are marvelous at this.

 

Q3- Perception is your perception- you might be right, you might be wrong. I may think I'm consistent but my speedometer may disagree, but more importantly my cornering performance will vary. I'd think if my corner performance is very consistent from lap to lap, my speed would have to be consistent too.

 

Q5- Ideally for improvement I would like to have one of those GPS timer gadgets, then you can lay our the data and see how consistent you are. I don't know that I would work on speed sense per se because it's more of an effect than a cause, but if your speed is varying a lot something is up. The data can help bring your sense of speed and the reality together.

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I am not even sure I fully understand what Keith means about sense of speed, but if it has to do with judging your speed I believe it is one of my stronger points. Since I'm a road rider, I never use brake markers - I just "know" when I need to brake in order to get my corner entry speed where I want it. It doesn't matter if I ride slowly or fast, on a familiar or "fresh" road - I don't even think about when I have to brake, I just do. And pretty accurately more often than not. Another thing is that I have never rushed onto an off-ramp or into a petrol station etc. at too great a speed after sitting at 90-100 mph for hours.

 

But I could be completely off regarding what Mr. Code talks about huh.gif

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I am not even sure I fully understand what Keith means about sense of speed, but if it has to do with judging your speed I believe it is one of my stronger points. Since I'm a road rider, I never use brake markers - I just "know" when I need to brake in order to get my corner entry speed where I want it. It doesn't matter if I ride slowly or fast, on a familiar or "fresh" road - I don't even think about when I have to brake, I just do. And pretty accurately more often than not. Another thing is that I have never rushed onto an off-ramp or into a petrol station etc. at too great a speed after sitting at 90-100 mph for hours.

 

But I could be completely off regarding what Mr. Code talks about huh.gif

 

I'm pretty sure thats what the topic is about but its quite a bit different on a track compared to street riding. Your trying to get your corner entry within 1mph of your target speed (or better). If your going faster than intended that means your traveling more distance as you lean the bike into a corner, if you use the same lean rate this causes you to run a wider line. If your going in slower than your intended speed you'll apex the corner sooner which makes your exit wider preventing you from getting on the throttle. Your corner entry speed, turn in point, and turn in rates all need to be correct to run the line your trying to make. If one thing is off that changes your line. The faster you are the more important accuracy is which is why pros need to be within 1/2mph of their intended entry speeds.

 

On the track your full throttle out of corners all the way into the next corner, you brake as late as you can for the next corner, you lean as quickly as you can, and you lean as low as you can. This means accuracy is extremely important. On the street your pretty much never driving into corners as fast as you can and your turn in rates are usually slow and conservative. This lets you easily adjust your lines as you go which would result in slower times at the track. Theres nothing wrong with riding that way at the track but you can be much faster if you set more aggressive lines which require more accuracy.

 

You might be that accurate and it would be a great gift if you are! Its just hard to tell on the street.

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Good explanation, Dave - thanks smile.gif I can say that if I was searching for the last mph, I wouldn't feel very confident or accurate. You helped me to get a better perspective.

 

I guess it's like everything in life; being in the top 5% only means that 95% are ###### but doesn't mean you are any good compared to the freaks. For instance, I know I'm among the 5% strongest persons in town - likely in the top 1%. Not because I'm very strong, but because most people are rather weak. Still, the difference between my power and that of Mr. Average is not nearly as big as the gap up to the strongest men in the world.

 

It's the same with motorcycle riding; being in the top 5% when it comes to speed only means you are faster the the normal wobblers, but get up against Rossi or Spies and be ready to become humiliated tongue.gif In other words, the variation in performance even within that top 5% is immense.

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Good explanation, Dave - thanks smile.gif I can say that if I was searching for the last mph, I wouldn't feel very confident or accurate. You helped me to get a better perspective.

 

I guess it's like everything in life; being in the top 5% only means that 95% are ###### but doesn't mean you are any good compared to the freaks. For instance, I know I'm among the 5% strongest persons in town - likely in the top 1%. Not because I'm very strong, but because most people are rather weak. Still, the difference between my power and that of Mr. Average is not nearly as big as the gap up to the strongest men in the world.

 

It's the same with motorcycle riding; being in the top 5% when it comes to speed only means you are faster the the normal wobblers, but get up against Rossi or Spies and be ready to become humiliated tongue.gif In other words, the variation in performance even within that top 5% is immense.

 

Yeah its one of the reasons why I like off-road a little more tongue.gif. Entry speed is still very important on the motocross track but not as important as it is on-road. I haven't had the opportunity to get to a track day on my sportbike yet either because I haven't had enough in the bank to pay for it. However I have road course experience in other vehicles which gave me a good perspective of it and tons of off-road experience which can be very similar at times. In go-carts you don't need to worry about how long it takes to actually get it to turn which makes it a little simpler. The direction changes are instant unlike motorcycles which take time. I learned a lot from a very knowledgeable friend that has loads of track day experience on his sportbike as well.

 

My post probably made it sound more complicated than it really is. Diving into a wide/flat turn on the motocross track can be very similar to cornering on a road course and I never think about my entry speed. Its just something that I have a feel for which you develop with practice. I never actually know the exact speed that I'm going but I can feel the exact speed that I can enter the corner with.

 

My first track day on the sportbike will most likely be with CSS but other bills need to take priority sad.gif.

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