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New Couch Rocket


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Hello Y'All,

 

I just bought a new sportbike, a real crotch rocket, er, I mean couch rocket. My new ride is a 2012 Honda Gold Wing with ABS. No, it's not really a sportbike, but it does have 125 ft/lbs of torque and is a blast to ride! I'm going to be taking the Ride Like a Pro course in Greensboro, NC over the weekend. This class is designed to teach parking lot skills with heavy street bikes. Now some people claim that these parking lot rodeo skills help you "become a better street rider." I don't know if I would go that far, but since handling the big Gold Wing is about like riding around on a CBR1000RR with another CBR1000RR on the back (literally), I figured I'd go ahead and see what kind of "rider technology" they can offer me.

 

IMHO handling the slow stuff really is a different skill set from fast cornering. I'm thinking that Ride Like a Pro could make a nice complement to CSS. If you are interested, I'll review the course here.

 

6005493272_b12ef6824e_m.jpg

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Congrats Crash. I know you've been talking about a Gold Wing for a while so I hope you really enjoy it.

 

Definitely let us know what you think about the Ride Like A Pro class. I'd be interested to read your review.

 

Ride Safe,

Carey

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Over the weekend, I took the Ride Like a Pro (RLAP) course with J. D. Redmon in Greensboro, NC. In some ways, RLAP is the exact opposite of California Superbike School: The class was small (four new riders and one returning student), we used our own bikes (two Gold Wings, a Valkyrie, and two Road Glides), and we concentrated on low speed parking lot drills (we never went above 25 mph all day).

 

What could a superbike rider learn from poking around in a parking lot?

 

Physics is physics, but in terms of input to the controls, the bike behaves differently at parking lot speeds than it does on the track. On the track, you use the front brakes almost exclusively. At slow speeds, being on the front brakes means you are off the throttle, and with no power to the rear wheels, you are about to fall over! On a race track, you counter steer almost imperceptibly, at times, and the bike leans. At parking lot speeds, you counter steer just enough to get the bike falling inward then quickly lock the bars in direction you want to turn. On the track, chicanes require fast changes in body position. In the parking lot, you'll turn the bars from lock-to-lock and lean over just as far.

 

Strangely enough, this stuff really works. By the end of the class, I was in a group of four riders doing rapid-fire full-lock almost-scraping the-pegs lefts and rights in The Intersection Drill. I never would have believed it was possible, but there I was doing it!

 

What could a superbike rider learn from this course?

 

  • First off, visual discipline. You need to see that cone on the corner, because that’s where you are turning, but as soon as you get close, you had better move your vision to the next turn point or you’re going to stall the bike and fall over!
  • The second important thing I learned was that you have to be ready. If you start the bike moving toward those cones and you’re foot isn’t on the rear brake or your eyes aren’t focused on the last cone, well, it’s hard to pull it all together while the bike is moving.
  • Finally, I learned to lean the bike. I think many readers on this forum are comfortable leaning the bike. However, I’ve seen CSS class footage and there are many rides that just aren’t there yet. I arrived for this class on a new Gold Wing with 236 miles on it. I left with my tires fully scuffed in.

 

When we left the 5-hour class, the four of us headed down the highway to grab some lunch. As we came off the highway and around a decreasing radius exit ramp, I felt very comfortable leaning the bike way over at speed. Why? I’d been leaning that thing way over all day and hadn't fallen over once!

 

The three Motor Officer Techniques are:

 


  1.  
  2. Head and eyes
  3. Friction zone, and
  4. Rear brake.

 

That’s a completely different set of rules from CSS, but the RLAP rider software works at parking lot speeds. I highly recommend Ride Like a Pro as a complement to California Superbike School, and an especially good way for intermediate riders to learn to lean the bike and start to control their vision. I'm glad I took the class, but I'm still planning to attend CSS in the Spring.

 

PS

Watch the video and see how much fun you can have on a sportbike going less than 25 mph.

 

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Good point, Kevin. I haven't been to the CSS school yet. I planned to go this year but wanted a new bike more. On the other hand, I have read both Keith's "Twist" books, watched the video, participate in this forum and use the technology on a daily basis. How'd I do?

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How'd I do?

Crash;

I would love to hear your opinion after you attend a CSS event; then you could tell all of us how they compliment each other. BTW, there is a huge benefit to knowing slow speed manuverings so your report is very beneficial. I worked the Two-Day Camp at CSS/NJMP last week and one of my jobs was to re-fuel the bikes between sessions. The area in the paddock is very tight and we need to ride the bikes from their parked spaces over to the tanks in the trailer and then back into line and it is ALL slow speed manuvering. Will Eikenberry, the School's Crew Chief can turn a S100R 180 degrees inside a two lane drive lane, I couldn't do it on a bet. He reminds me to use the throttle and the rear brake and stay away from the front brake.

 

Crash, it was a good post and thnks for putting it up there. I am just trying to get you inside so you can take your book and DVD knowledge and see it work in person.

 

Rain

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  • 2 weeks later...

...Will Eikenberry, the School's Crew Chief can turn a S100R 180 degrees inside a two lane drive lane...

 

I've watched him on the bikes in the paddock and it is scary-impressive. I've always heard that if you want to know how well somebody rides watch them in a parking lot, not on the street.

 

Thanks for the report Crash.

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