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In Too Hot! What Do You Do?

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I'm writing an article for a newsletter and could really use some input from the experience riders here on the forum. I figure you've seen riders approach corners too hot more than once at the school. Maybe you've done it yourself on the track or road--I know I have and it scared the snot out of me!

 


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  • So, what do you do when you come up to a corner and suddenly realize (know or feel) you are going too fast?
  • Does it make a difference if you ARE going too fast versus being AFRAID you are going too fast?

 

I know freezing at the bars or fixating on the edge of the road won't help. I don't think jamming on the rear brake and "laying her down" is a viable solutions, so what do you do when you are in over your head and running out of road?

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I'm writing an article for a newsletter and could really use some input from the experience riders here on the forum. I figure you've seen riders approach corners too hot more than once at the school. Maybe you've done it yourself on the track or road--I know I have and it scared the snot out of me!

 


     
  • So, what do you do when you come up to a corner and suddenly realize (know or feel) you are going too fast?
  • Does it make a difference if you ARE going too fast versus being AFRAID you are going too fast?

 

I know freezing at the bars or fixating on the edge of the road won't help. I don't think jamming on the rear brake and "laying her down" is a viable solutions, so what do you do when you are in over your head and running out of road?

 

Yikes! Well first let me caution you that writing advice in a newsletter that impacts safety in such a direct way might come back and bite you, if someone tries it and it doesn't work for them or they didn't understand it properly.

 

I'll tell you what I would do, based on what I've learned at the school, but I wouldn't consider myself enough of an expert to PUBLISH that info in a newsletter as advice to other riders - in a newsletter the advice I'd give would be to get to a school to learn solid techniques to gain control of the motorcycle, hone the sense of speed, and control the Survival Reactions. Or refer the readers to Twist of the Wrist II book or DVD for an education on solid riding techniques.

 

Having said all that, here are the techniques I'D employ if I got in too hot:

Open up my vision to see if I'm REALLY too fast or just feel like it due to target-fixation

If I really am too fast, I'd:

Stand the bike up and brake REALLY HARD (front brake only) for as far as I can before I run out of room, then

Quick turn the bike to get it turned fast and minimize lean angle

Use hook-turn to tighten my riding line

Hang off as much as possible to minimize lean angle

 

I would NEVER "lay her down", because the brakes and tires have a lot more effect slowing you down than a bike sliding on its side or a body sliding on the road. (There are studies to support this, a Google search on motorcycle road crash statistics should find them for you, and you might find a lot of other data for your article.) And, of course, if you lay it down you give up all chance of being able to steer your way out of trouble. I also would never jam on the rear brake as it is much less effective at slowing the bike than the front brake, and it can easily lock up the rear wheel resulting in a possible highside (ouch).

 

If I really came in too hot the main tool I'd use is to stand the bike up and BRAKE HARD in a straight line, brakes on most modern bikes are amazing, usually you can get it slowed down enough to make the turn. Your intended riding line might be shot to hell, but at least you stay upright!

 

I'll be interested to hear what others have to say on this...

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I'm writing an article for a newsletter and could really use some input from the experience riders here on the forum.

 

Crash;

Hotfoot has a great suggestion: that your best advice to your readers would be for them to get properly trained. The question of and by itself has so many unidentified subsets that it precludes a simple answer - although Hotfoot did a remarkable job framing a number of them.

 

You have been up here long enough to know that almost everyone of us takes this art/science very seriously so please understand that your question is too loaded [iMHO] to offer a simple answer. My hat's off to Hottie none the less.

 

Rainman

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With the American legal system being what it is, where people can sue simply because they got hot coffee and burned their lips, I totally agree that you need to take extreme caution when writing such an article.

 

If you ask what I do, and always have done, I go for the binders like Hotfoot described. Or, if my speed feels just a bit too high, I may just roll off the throttle for a moment. But this may not work for everybody.

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Hi Crash, what ever you write could get you in hot water....

Most crashes happen to someone following a mate, while riding outside of their comfort zone. I have to agree with the all the above coments regarding training schools, and even a trackday or 2 could/would help with learning more about your bike. How hard you can break, how fast you can turn, how far you can lean etc. I know going to a trackday may not be an option for most but it is a lot safer than street riding. Its far better to find your limits in a safe environment. Good luck with your news letter. Andy

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Interesting responses all.

 

One thing I might add to Hotfoot's advice is make sure you come out of the brakes before you turn it quickly.

 

Eirik and Easty make good points too (the legal situation here is ridiculous in some cases).

 

It really is a broad subject as Kevin points out, a whole number of things could have lead to that. First thing we could address is simply realizing that entering too fast is an actual technical error. Getting the correct entry speed is a key skill, one pros work on fine tuning. But in your post, looks like you are referring to getting in WAY too fast, as opposed to just a little too fast.

 

In way too fast, getting the bike upright and into the brakes hard is often the best hope. Sometimes one can slow the bike down enough to turn it before running off (come out of the brakes to turn it though). That can work OK on the track if there is room. On the street, might not be room, but what else can you do?

 

IF there is lean angle available, leaning it over more might work, but only too a point.

 

There is a lot of technique to get and keep this from happening (and how to handle it when it does), pretty much all of Level 1 and 2. Not trying to just shamelessly plug the school Crash, but to indicate there is a volume of data to answer this question completely.

 

Best,

Cobie

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Education and preparation is the key to any instance of panic. Having ridden track so long, I have been part of almost every situation that can arise here. Almost. Of course, there are things no one can be ready for. Understanding where you're at on Kamm's circle is a good start. Most riders don't understand the traction on their bikes, or how they can use them to slow the bike, and combine traction with braking.

I was in the intermediate group (for corner working I get two groups, and wasn't working with anyone that day), coming out of a huge banked carousel, and I drive out of there a lot faster than the intermediate guys.

I came up on a gaggle of riders, thought I could get inside, but being as I am very passive about passing, pulled up and tried to go outside. I'm on Dunlop Q2's, so I have mountains of faith in the tires, but it was the first session after a dust storm, and I went wider than two other riders who'd gone wide right in front of me. I was in the dirt. Still on the track, but it was covered with dirt, and nobody else had been out there yet. I've been in that situation before, so I knew I was going slow enough to brake while leaned at that speed. I was also familiar with the traction limits in that situation. I remained calm and was able to keep the bike on the track for a longer time, applying more brakes until I went off. I've been off the track in that corner before, so I knew how well packed it was, so I remained calm and picked the bike up, switching to the rear brake. All of that came together perfectly, and I would wager my heart-rate didn't go up much, if any at all.

I've had to learn each of those situations, and how to handle them. Granted, I initially learned to keep the motorcycle on the track as long as possible by watching racing, but it's education and preparation none-the-less. I even had time to think about doing a couple of other things.

If I was a new rider, I would have shot off the track, and been real nervous because I'd never been off the track out there. I also wouldn't have understood my tires, braking at lean (on that surface), and making my goal to stay on the track longer. I would have gone at least 50 yards farther off the track. More panic.

Through experience I also knew to keep my vision where I was going. When I decided to go outside of the other rider, I changed my visual target. When the other riders went wide, I changed my visual target. When I knew I was going off the track, I changed it again, and one more time when I went off the tarmac.

I also gave a short bit of attention to my shoulders to make sure I was loose. Yes, I use it all the time. That ensured I would keep the bike on the track longer because when you tense up, the bike wants to go outside.

Knowing my equipment was a key. One of the things that helped a lot was a school I took in December, that gave me the confidence to really push the bike into a corner. Gave me faith in what I was doing at that moment.

"So, what do you do when you come up to a corner and suddenly realize (know or feel) you are going too fast? "

If I feel I'm going in too fast, I've done this enough that I've trained myself to relax my shoulders, increase my braking, get my vision into the corner, and bring my elbow in, so I can apply firm pressure on the bars to turn the bike.

"Does it make a difference if you ARE going too fast versus being AFRAID you are going too fast?"

It can make a difference between feeling like I'm in too hot, and actually doing so. It means I have a lack of attention when I'm not ACTUALLY going in fast. It'll mean it's the end of the day, so I know to slow down a little, and maybe work on something else. I can figure it out pretty quick if I'm not really going too fast, so there's no panic.

If I AM going too fast, it means I'm pushing too hard, and I do what I said in the first answer to get through the corner with the added idea that I am probably going to be wide. I know not to tense up, and don't panic.

Any new rider I'm working with gets "don't panic" pushed on them, and in the case of the last couple of riders who rode out with me (it's a 3 hour drive) they got to answer question after question of "what do you do if..." Redundance is the best teacher. And it all goes back to education and preparation. Having certain situations thrust upon you starts locking in ideas of what you need to do if something happens.

Sorry if I went off topic.

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Thanks for all the responses so far.

 

You've given me several things to think about that I hadn't considered at all. Great stuff. Keep it coming.

 

... in your post, looks like you are referring to getting in WAY too fast, as opposed to just a little too fast.

 

Cobie,

 

I wasn't necessarily trying to imply someone going WAY too fast. :rolleyes: Actually, from what I've read about accident statistics and seen in YouTube videos, most of the folks who run off the road or slide out weren't actually going so fast that the bike couldn't have made the turn. They WERE going faster than the rider BELIEVED they could go. That circles right back to the whole focus of "Twist 2" which is dealing with Survival Reactions.

 

I've also seen people slide out on corners by adding too much throttle before bringing the bike up off the edge of the tire. I'll bet some of them remember the crash happening because they went in too hot. I wonder if the root cause would be more like: greedy on the throttle, poor technique, trying to keep up with their buddies or getting nervous and opening the throttle out of habit.

 

When someone goes into a corner, gets scared, jams on the front brake and low sides, is that accident caused by poor braking technique or fear or both?

 

I'm really going to have to really boil this down to do a useful articles. Lots to think about.

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Hotfoot and Jason,

 

Great specifics in your responses. Hotfoot, like you, my fallback plan for In Too Hot is to stand the bike up and brake really hard, then relax, look into the turn and turned the darned bike! Jason, I hadn't thought to remind people to stay calm and stay on the road as long as possible, but I think you make a great point.

 

Thanks.

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When someone goes into a corner, gets scared, jams on the front brake and low sides, is that accident caused by poor braking technique or fear or both?

 

 

If one lost the front from being leaned over and too much braking...something has to give. Some rely on the brakes to lift the bike, but better to bring it up (steering it up) and then come in the brakes.

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To me this is all about where you are looking. The whole way through.

As I'm warming up I'll come up on corners and get excited so I brake too much because I think I'm going to fast. Then I'm too slow and have to add more throttle, but by then the good stuff is already over. Later in the day when I'm warmed up and I'm working right I'll approach those same corners much faster and get mildly uncomfortable, but instead of over breaking I tend to shift my vision further down (in) to the corner and find that my entrance speed is about right. I might trail out the brakes a hair longer, but that is usually all that is needed at that point.

 

However, we're talking about a race track that I know very well. On a new road or that same race track going backwards - different story - I'm slower than my grandma with one eye and no legs. I've had enough of being gravity's ###### and have nothing to prove to anyone.

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- different story - I'm slower than my grandma with one eye and no legs. I've had enough of being gravity's ###### and have nothing to prove to anyone.

 

"Gravity's #####", hadn't heard that one before.

 

CF

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Step 1 dont write the article if your asking dont teach or give advice

 

Step 2 do level 1 and 2 at the school learn from expeience

 

Step 3 watch TOTW dvd, covers your exact question and how to react

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my 2C (pls dont sue me ><)

 

 

 

write a disclaimer. If you look carefully, the twist2 book does have a disclaimer :)

 

 

 

Also from my personal experience, I do lock the rear brakes (with some front brake input ) and use body steering to do a brake drift in EMERGENCIES.

 

reason is that it slows me down and also steers slightly in the direction i want to go to avoid an collusion.

 

when i see an exit line, i let go of the rear brake, countersteer slightly and escape being splatted like a fly on the windscreen of a car. (saved my arse 3 times)

 

 

If I counter steer violently/fast enough sometimes, the rear actually slides (mostly on white/yellow lines and drain) or "jumps" abit resulting in a wee bit of oversteer which i know and correct with more gas.

 

You have to be SUPER SMOOTH though and imho the only long term way to do a faster turn in and avoid going on too hot is to master CS and the turn rate grade/quick flick technique.

 

 

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"So, what do you do when you come up to a corner and suddenly realize (know or feel) you are going too fast?"

 

Road or track? makes a huge difference to your game plan, I would not brake as late on the road so I would end in that situation, honestly. But I can see that debris, dropped equipment or the like can become a problem, and then I would in most cases, stand the bike up and brake, avoid the object/or hit it square on (if it's small and doable). But that is not really your question. On track I would, if its just SR's kicking in, just whack it on its side and drive on with a good steady roll-on. But the number of RPs and the repeatability of riding on track often means (for me), that if I feel that I go in too hot, I really am, I tend to see it on my line to the apex (if I see the apex being missed by more than 3 feet, which the level of detailing I can process at speed) , my only response at that point is to very carefully adjust my line with the rear brake, because I know that on my current line will be at max lean at the apex, which means that more lean will most likely wash out my front end.

"Does it make a difference if you ARE going too fast versus being AFRAID you are going too fast?"

 

See above, but yes, too fast will end in the gravel in absolute terms. Being afraid of going too hot is in your head and your training and can be corrected by keeping your cool and applying the right "drill" at the right time. So proper training (in real life, by proper instructors) is the only way forward. What I have written above is my expirience of 13 years of road and track riding with the odd race and works for me, because it's taken from my riding "database" and is presented in a manner I understand (which you may not) and in mostly in the right time for me to apply it correctly.

 

What I'am trying to say, is that offering advice, is always subject to interpretation by every individual who are receiving it in accordance to their context and understanding of riding. Which in practical terms means that if you apply my advice, you might end up in a hedge, and if someone else does they might not...

 

Best Ronni

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When the subject of coming too fast into a corner comes up on a local Aussie forum, the response is usually to just get the bike turned and into the corner. Often it's just that the rider is approaching the corner faster than what they'd like, not faster than the bike can handle. Of course this is talking about a road environment. The extended response usually involves something about forgetting the idea of braking/slowing/stopping and just looking into the corner and getting the bike turned. Which is probably about the best advice for most untrained road riders, because they don't have many options left after they are close to the turn-in point and realise their speed - they could either attempt to brake, just to slow themselves so they don't run off the road as fast, or the much better option is to turn it in. If they really are going too fast they will likely lowside, but in that case they would have crashed if they tried to brake anyway. All this is usually followed up with the positive thought "the bike is better than you are". I kept this in mind when I was learning to ride on the road, unfortunately I only became aware of this advice after the first time I thought I was coming in too hot and kept on the brakes all the way into a ditch. Never did that again though.

 

Some good detailed & track oriented answers have already been given, but I think the point about "just turning it in" is an easy one for untrained road riders to keep in mind, and when put to the test, will 99% of the time result in the rider making the corner.

 

Oh, and one thing that I nearly forgot to mention... a pet peeve... whenever someone says something like "oh yeah, I had to lay the bike down to avoid a crash..." :huh:

Sometimes I wonder if people actually think about what they're saying - purposely crashing to avoid accidentally crashing? A crash is a crash - best to deal with it by avoiding it altogether!

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