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Understanding The Technology

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Hi all!


My first (very recent) thread on this esteemed Forum was a sort of a personal diary, where I wrote down the "notes to self" I made during my most recent camp. I'm taking another one in about a month, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot, so I hope to continue that thread.


But as a result of that first forum experience, I realized I wanted to dig deeper, and improve my overall understanding of the riding technology, as taught at California Superbike School. Luckily, this forum is a veritable elite club of skillful riders, so I hope for a lot of insightful comments to every post I make here. I will write things that I think I understand, as well as some other things that I find difficult to comprehend. In both cases, being a beginner, I hope to learn a lot from people who understand this better.


So, without further ado:



I. The true technology is a system


That's what makes the technology different from scattered bits of "friendly advice".


As a system, the true riding technology considers the motorcycle dynamics (the physical forces affecting a motorcycle in motion) – in relation to rider dynamics and biomechanics (the physical forces affecting the rider in motion, as well as the biological setup that allows to translate thought into motion) – in relation to rider psychology (problems of attention, survival reactions, vision, and so on) – in relation to track configuration (types of turns, entry-apex-exit, surface, and so on) – in relation to other riders – and provides the methods for controlling all these aspects of riding.


(I tried to include everything, but I may have missed something important, would appreciate a correction.)


What I find fascinating about the technology (and what I see as the proof that it is really true technology) is that every aspect of it is connected to every other aspect. For instance, the track configuration has immediate impact on rider psychology: rider selects the reference points, entry-apex-exit, based on the specifics of each turn, dictated by the track configuration. On the other hand, rider psychology has the most immediate effect on the motorcycle dynamics (having successfully overcome inner urge to close the throttle, a rider instead rolls it on – evenly, smoothly and continuously – thus stabilizing the motorcycle and making it perform best, as it's designed).


From my very recent personal experience of a difference between friendly advice and true technology, as I was preparing for my most recent bootcamp with CSS, I was practicing some exercises under observation of a former racer who suggested that I hang off a lot more than I was previously trained at CSS. He had no other explanation to why I should do it, except "that's how it's done". I chose to follow his advice.


Needless to say, hanging off too much was exactly the habit that I had to eliminate during the following bootcamp – and thanks to fully developed technology, I understood precisely why hanging off too much was detrimental to my riding (my body weight was almost completely on the inside peg, which prevented me from locking on the motorcycle properly, so I had to hold on to the handlebars tighter than necessary, which resulted on the uncontrolled steering inputs, and made the bike wobble in every turn, especially in the "S's", which distracted my attention from the turns and prevented me from selecting and following the best lines).


It took me almost two days of the camp to eliminate the hanging-off-too-much habit instilled in my through friendly advice that I took out of reverence to the prior racing experience of my friend. If I trusted the technology in the first place, I would have spent those two days working on other things.

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II. The technology is, by definition, practical


That is, the technology serves goals, the technology is the means to an end.


What are the goals?


I think Level 4 Questionnaire has it best, listing the four possible goals for training:


– I want more control and to be safer on the street

– I want to improve my track skills

– I want to move in the direction of racing

– I want to improve my race lap times


These four things can be boiled down to just two goals: a) to go faster; b ) to be more in control.


"Being more in control", obviously, is the more general formula than "being safer", because "being more in control" includes "being safer".


Any knowledge taken in itself, without being applied to practical ends, is relatively useless. Pure erudition is only good for impressing people in a social gathering of some sorts. Only knowledge that can be applied to accomplishing practical tasks is truly valuable.


Knowledge is useful if it can make me faster and more in control, when I ride a motorcycle. Then it becomes the technology.


Therefore, if I gain some kind of theoretical knowledge, it is my job to figure out ways to apply that knowledge so that it can make me faster and more in control – I must turn the knowledge into the technology.


For example, clutchless shifting (up and down) may be considered a fancy, but relatively useless skill if taken out of context (that is, if I only do it to impress my riding friends). However, if I can apply clutchless shifting in a way that frees my attention in a turn, and also allows me to shift smoother, then it becomes a valuable skill that helps to achieve my goals, and therefore. becomes an integral part of my overall riding technology. Or similarly, if I can drag my knee, but do it simply because it's "cool", that skill is useless. But if I use my knee as a gauge that helps me to find the correct angle when I do my quick steering, I can get on the throttle a little earlier, which makes me simultaneously faster and safer as I progress through a turn. In the latter case, knee dragging becomes a useful part of the overall technology.

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III. Riding skills should be analyzed


I should ask myself in what way each skill I use helps me to go faster and be more in control.


If a certain skill helps me to go faster and be more in control, it should be included in my riding technology.


If a skill is neutral / appears useless – I want to analyze it and judge objectively if it can make me go faster and be more in control.


If a skill slows me down and / or makes me less in control, it's not a skill, but a riding error that should be corrected, or I am mis-applying the knowledge / misunderstanding its practical purpose.



VI. Research


Knowledge is gained through research / experiment. Practicing familiar things correctly will reinforce the skills I already have. New knowledge can be gained by trying new things (experimenting), by studying the results of other people's research, or from a teacher.


Having a good teacher is the most valuable path to knowledge.


Some measure of research riding should be necessary.


Studying literature is important.


Inner research (thinking it through), using logic and imagination – is another working method. This may result in some idea that will ultimately have to be discarded as wrong or dangerous, but it can generate lots of useful and practical ideas that can be further tested through practical riding, and then implemented in the technology.


Thinking it through can drastically improve one's riding.

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