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Settle An Argument


gsxrjack
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Hey all, Im 52 and raced expert at old loudon and new loudon (NHIS) race tracks in the 80's and early 90's......i have been out of racing for a while now, but a discussion ive been having with a so called "fastguy"...is,

"when leaning into a corner and your knee is on the pavement, if you start to low side should you attempt to pick the bike back up.."

 

now my position is that you should never try to pick the bike up when its in a low side situation, cause it can and will (been there done that) high side and spit you off a lot worse than if you just threw it away...now this person says he saves lowsides all the time ,which i called BS...

 

what is the concenses of the racers in here about trying to pick the bike up when lowsliding, since ive been out of racing for many years, maybe it has changed...so im here asking...

 

thanks

Jack

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I say 'never give up on the bike'.

 

I've saved a large number of potential lowsides. Of course, when both wheels are off the ground, there's fair little that can be done, and you call it a race at that point. But still.

 

I also understand your logic/reasoning on the highside. One extremely memorable event which I actually made it through was at Blackhawk farms a couple years ago. I was in 2nd place, coming into the last turn right on the tail of the leader. I backed off to get a better run through the corner than him and beat him to the line.

 

In the corner, I started sliding the front, so I got on the gas hard and the rear started sliding. At this point, I was low enough that I had both wheels sliding and I hit the footpeg. When I did, the whole bike basically highsided, but stood STRAIGHT up. I looked up and was pointed at the finish line, so head down I ran in for 2nd.

 

Had I given up on the bike, I'd have been down in 7 with no chance. But with some luck and an attempt at keeping the thing moving, I made it across the line in 2nd place...

 

If that's the scenario you wouldn't save, I'd say you're giving up too soon. However, as mentioned, when you AND the bike are sliding, there's not much left to do but calculate the repair bill IMHO...

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I say 'never give up on the bike'.

 

I've saved a large number of potential lowsides. Of course, when both wheels are off the ground, there's fair little that can be done, and you call it a race at that point. But still.

 

I also understand your logic/reasoning on the highside. One extremely memorable event which I actually made it through was at Blackhawk farms a couple years ago. I was in 2nd place, coming into the last turn right on the tail of the leader. I backed off to get a better run through the corner than him and beat him to the line.

 

In the corner, I started sliding the front, so I got on the gas hard and the rear started sliding. At this point, I was low enough that I had both wheels sliding and I hit the footpeg. When I did, the whole bike basically highsided, but stood STRAIGHT up. I looked up and was pointed at the finish line, so head down I ran in for 2nd.

 

Had I given up on the bike, I'd have been down in 7 with no chance. But with some luck and an attempt at keeping the thing moving, I made it across the line in 2nd place...

 

If that's the scenario you wouldn't save, I'd say you're giving up too soon. However, as mentioned, when you AND the bike are sliding, there's not much left to do but calculate the repair bill IMHO...

 

I would never tell an expert racer what to do when comming down the last lap of a race,your definately on your own , you have paid your dues and have raced enough to know the risks you take....My reply was to a bunch of guys that just do a few track days and do not race. maybe i should have stated that a little better. :)

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Since you said, "leaning into a corner," I'm assuming you're talking about the front sliding.

 

I don't THINK I try to pick the bike up. There's no traction to do that. It's more like I just hold the bike on my knee while getting on the gas. This transfers the weight off the front and allows the front to regain traction in a gradual manner that won't cause a highside.

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Jack, regardless of the status, if you ride with the mindset that you'll *NEVER* give up on the bike, the bike can and WILL amaze you time and time again.

 

If you slide the front and say "well, game over" and go down, you miss the possibility that you could have saved the bike and yourself from an expensive and painful experience.

 

Standing the bike up and running off a corner is the same concept. There are times when you simply have to do it as there's nothing left to do, but this should be a 'crash' option. Stand the bike up figuring you're going to crash and that it might be less damage/pain. If you try to make it through a corner and crash, you know you exceeded the limits. If you stand it up and crash, you have no idea what you exceeded other than your own mental capacity to process the situation you were in.

 

If you haven't read it already, pick up TOTW-II and read it. It can change your whole perspective on things.

 

Also, if your track buddies get in that scenario, their chances of saving it either way may be very slim based on experience. It takes a lot of time, experience and some crashing to get reactions engrained into one's brain...

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I'm of the same mind set - never give up on the bike. I've had quite a few moments when the front tyre has folded and winding on the throttle has saved it - or even a good yank on the bars to try to straighten the bike a little has worked.

It's a choice of let it go and crash now, or fight and try to save it - you may still crash but then again, you may not - I'll take option 2 every time.

 

Hell, I watched a friend go into a 2 wheel drift through a right hand bend. His right knee and elbow were on the road, his left hand came off the bars. I thought he was gone for sure, but he pushed off his elbow and knee and gave it more throttle and saved it.

 

It aint over till the fat lady driving the ambulance sings

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I always appreciate more seasoned riders sharing their experiences especially about subjects that are new to me and harder to comprehend.

 

To be fair, I am not a racer but I do track ride when I can. Anyway, I lowsided for the first time this past season and I was amazed how fast it happened. One moment I am leaned over accelerating out of turn and then the next thing I realize is that I am sliding across the track following my motorcycle down an access road and then into the grass. The first indication of trouble was the sound...I had never heard that sound before but then I haven't dropped a motorcycle in a very long time. Believe me when I tell you "picking it up" was NEVER an option.

 

What do you guys do differently from me that you can even be aware of the front wheel sliding so you have the chance to "pick it up"?

 

Kevin Kane

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I always appreciate more seasoned riders sharing their experiences especially about subjects that are new to me and harder to comprehend.

 

To be fair, I am not a racer but I do track ride when I can. Anyway, I lowsided for the first time this past season and I was amazed how fast it happened. One moment I am leaned over accelerating out of turn and then the next thing I realize is that I am sliding across the track following my motorcycle down an access road and then into the grass. The first indication of trouble was the sound...I had never heard that sound before but then I haven't dropped a motorcycle in a very long time. Believe me when I tell you "picking it up" was NEVER an option.

 

What do you guys do differently from me that you can even be aware of the front wheel sliding so you have the chance to "pick it up"?

 

Kevin Kane

when it happens like yours, there really is no option . one time at the new loudon track in practice for the first ama nationals there, the track was new and slippery...the bikes were sliding all over the place and in turn 3 i went in hard and both wheels started sliding hard while i was on my knee. halfway through the turn i got the bright idea to try to pick it back up, and it highsided me violently..I think i was the first racer ambulanced out of the new loudon track...so thats why my advice is to just let it go...a low side i would have been able to race in the nationals that weekend on a new track that a lot of national riders hadent even seen yet...instead, i spent a few hours in the trauma center and have had 5 shoulder surgeries to repair the damage....

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I always appreciate more seasoned riders sharing their experiences especially about subjects that are new to me and harder to comprehend.

 

To be fair, I am not a racer but I do track ride when I can.  Anyway, I lowsided for the first time this past season and I was amazed how fast it happened.  One moment I am leaned over accelerating out of turn and then the next thing I realize is that I am sliding across the track following my motorcycle down an access road and then into the grass.  The first indication of trouble was the sound...I had never heard that sound before but then I haven't dropped a motorcycle in a very long time.  Believe me when I tell you "picking it up" was NEVER an option.

 

What do you guys do differently from me that you can even be aware of the front wheel sliding so you have the chance to "pick it up"?

 

Kevin Kane

Unless you've gone in way over your head I don't think you would 'react' to the front sliding except for holding it up with your knee. Ideally your technique is already doing all the things necessary to get you to the exit eg weight distributed correctly with the throttle and hands loose on the bars letting the front do its own thing. I've had the front let go a beauty on the racetrack so its tucking but I was already on the throttle and loose on the bars so it just rode through same as a MX bike. I guess this is where SR's could get in the way. I'm curious that you lost the front while accelerating, were you holding the bars a bit tight?

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"I'm curious that you lost the front while accelerating, were you holding the bars a bit tight?"

 

I can't remember; I don't think so because of the amount of time I had spent working with different coaches about staying loose on the bars along with not stalling on the gas after turn in. Also, if I was holding on too tight, wouldn't I have felt some pull back from the bars once the bike and I started to separate? Like I said, I didn't know I was down until hearing the sound and then saw that the bike was about five feet way from me and sliding away fast. It really felt like someone had pulled the bike out from underneath me.

Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to squeeze an eighth track day out of a set of Michelin Pilot Race H2 tires.

 

Anyway, thanks Jeff and Jack for the feedback; I will try and pay more attention to how the front "feels" this upcoming season.

Kevin

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I have saved front slides by using my knee to push the bike back up. One example I can think of was in turn three at Willow springs. I lost the front going in and was able to push the bike back up with my knee and keep going. I think you can save a front slide by pushing off with your knee, but it isn't always possible and it's certinly not something I do all the time.

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You *can* save almost anything, but the risk of highsiding does go up as you try to save bigger and bigger moments. This year I saved a lowside (T2 Loudon) where both tires came of the ground. I was sliding on the footpeg, my ass and my elbow. I dug my outside heel into the bike so hard and the wheels touched down and the bike stood up. The corner workers were jumping up and down!

 

It takes a lot of experience sliding and crashing to learn what you should try and what you should not. You do learn how to feel the slides earlier and earlier and picking up the bike is the answer. Getting on the gas doesn't seem to work for me because it just pushes the front MORE, or lifts it of the ground. I know that's the theory around here, but it just hasn't been my reality. I've never heard a pro say they gassed it to save a front slide. They usually say "I picked it up off my knee"

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Losing the front end while accelerating to me, sounds like setup issues.

Sometimes people blame themselves for something that can be addressed in the setup of the bike.

(obviously a bike doesn't crash itself, but the problem may not be your technique)

 

Without knowing what setup your bike has, I could not tell you what to change (front rebound might be a rough starting point), but I'm sure if you went to a suspension shop (lindermans, dan kyle etc..) and explained what happened, they would be able to assess what happened along with you current setup and work something out.

 

oh, and get yourself some new tyres

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Well, You're right, it could be setup, but it holds true for me on several different bikes. I race lightweight stuff, and use high corner speed. I keep my slicks pretty fresh. Forks/shock sorted by a pro (but I realize they're not perfect).

 

I'm an experienced, competitive expert racer. Generally, I know that opening the gas earlier prevents front slides and chatter, but if either one of these conditions starts, I can't solve it by opening the gas more.

 

Does anyone else out there have similar experience? Or am I way off base?

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