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Riding Style......what It's All About?

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Hi Folks,


I'm new to this forum, actually introduced myself in the "New" - section (hope that thread is released before this one;-)).


Now, I have a question, which became almost some kind of "desire for knowledge".


Here some background:


I started with motocross with an age of ~13-14, These bikes were pretty light and handy, as 2-strokes are designed like that. Later I also started some streetriding on a Enduro (Honda XR600R), but kept on motocross riding aswell. My first touch with streetbikes came in the mid-20's, when I purchased my first one, a Honda CBR 600F4, a Fireblade followed. Until that moment, only streetriding, no track. After the blade, my first Ducati followed, a 748 and with that bike a love or passion for those italian twins, which held on for the following 12 years. So I started racetrack-riding with them, now, since about 6 years, "racetrack only" (no streetriding anymore).

So beside some supermoto-riding, I was only with that twins at the track, which was kind of "secure" when I started, as those bikes where pretty much stable and the low reving, "continious powering" engine was easy to ride for a novice.

Anyway: When I got faster, I felt that the lack of handling against japanese bikes did harm to my development in gaining riding skills, as my riding-style is more like: "getting late, but fast into the curves, staying short at full lean, upright and power". That's why I come pretty good along with supermoto (I'm faster by far against my colleagues, which are again outriding me at the track!!).


So, let's try to come to the point: Is it possible, that one can develope a certain riding-style (in my case, started with that light mx-bikes) which is going to follow him for the rest of his life and will NOT suit certain bikes, as their design expect a different one??

Has anyone here made a similar experience??


For me, when I got faster, I kind of felt unfamiliar or uncomfortable on the Duc's, as I simply couldn't turn them into a curve very fast, which didn't gave me a good feel at the limit, so limitation in "pushing" was programmed. I always thought that I'm simply lacking talent for racetrack-riding, but wondered why I came along so much better with Sumpermoto.


Now, it could have rested at that state, if an experience of a certain wouldn't have changed my mind:

Last year, I sold my old Ducati 998S to get a newer 1198S, when I stuck without a bike for about 2 month. My mate borrowed me his 2nd bike, an 2004 Aprilia RSV2. Still a twin but sure a lot different layout and surely different handling.

A day which started with a comment like "what an ugly piece of ######, I'm not going to come as near as 5 secs onto my laptime", turned into one that changed my mind and point of view of the whole sport and my situation at all. A bike that was surely 15Hp down on power against my known and proven 998S, with stock suspension against a well tuned Duc, turned out to put me 0,46 secs near to my personal record at that track!!! And HOW it did: I could ride lines, like I wanted....intuitive....the bike "fell" into curves, instead me muscle it and the feeling for the front (something I never had with ducs, even after tweaking the forks highly!!) was there. No problem with less power, as the riding style put the bike earlier and evener to the straight, that you could pull the trigger earlier and harder!!

In the end I was less tired, relaxed and absolutely released and happy. An experience which was ABSOLUTELY emotionally, as I never liked Apes before but what I felt just blew me!!


Now I had a saison with my never Ducati (1198S), which is surely a good bike but also did'nt gave me that feel and simply that FUN that I had with the RSV!!

I'm about to sell it and buy an Ape, because of this experience.


Am I fooling myself and did not work enough to gain the skills to ride duc, and are Ape's just easier to ride?? Or is it possible that man simply has a riding style that fits to one bike and not the other??




Your thoughts on that are highly aprreciated, thanks in advance!!

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If I were you, with the bad experience you had with the first duc , i'd rent one before buying...


body shape and weight plays big factors fyi, esp ergonomics. Im Asian, but I much prefer Kawasaki Ninja's tank shapes to say Honda's CBRs because i have long legs. IMHO YMMV.


My primary ride only has 9HP at the crank but nearly everything from the books and dvd's apply so...If you can afford it, take the CSS school.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting questions... First up on the subject of riding style - I would say that we can definitely form different habits that may come to define something of a "style" for individual riders. But does that mean that a person can't learn new habits and a new style? Absolutely not! That is part of good rider training, to help the rider recognize bad habits/techniques and then avoid them, while replacing them with correct/better techniques. That's not to say that it's easy for everyone to do, some people have many years experience in practicing bad habits - but if someone is serious about improving their riding, then it's time we'll spent.


About the Ducati Vs Aprilia Vs riding skills...

First of all, would you agree that distractions can hinder learning?

Next think about whether riding a powerful or "difficult" bike could present some distractions..?


From that point of view an argument can be made that its better to start on a small, less intimidating, "easier" to ride bike, and develop a very good understanding of the correct riding techniques. If the skill level is high, that will stay with the rider regardless of what bike they are riding.


Next onto the subject of different bikes being "difficult" to ride... This is something that makes me chuckle to myself when I overhear people talking about it. Recently I was in a shop and heard someone talking about the current model R1 saying "they don't turn". I've heard similar things from supermoto riders saying that a SM will turn faster than a sportsbike.

What do you think about those statements?

Obviously the R1 does turn. What they really mean is that it is difficult for them to turn, compared with other bikes. How about SM compared with sportbikes? I would say that they mean the same thing - that its easier to turn a supermoto than a sportbike. But just because one bike is easier to turn than another, does that mean that the other bike (in your case the Ducati) can't turn faster?


The thing is that some bikes just require more effort to ride than others. This is also where developing your quick turn ability to a high level will be a real help. This could be why some people think of certain bikes as "fun" but dislike others - simply because the fun bikes are the ones that require less effort to ride. Do you think that could describe your experiences with the Ducati and the Aprilia?


There's nothing wrong with wanting a bike that is easy to ride, and if you are having fun on it, isn't that what it's all about? But I would say that it is important to at least recognize the reason behind what makes a bike harder/easier to ride. People will be able to weigh in and offer helpful opinions, but ultimately everyone has to make that discovery for themselves. Or if you want to take it to the next level, being able to recognize that and then being able to adapt your riding to produce a consistent result in your riding regardless of bike.


So, Ducati or Aprilia? You have the 1198 now, so it may be worth making an examination of your riding to try and pick the differences you felt between it and the RSV. If you take the ease of turning as an example there's a few things that could affect this, for example handlebar width, angle, seat/footpeg/bar position (are your forearms parallel with the ground when turning the 1198? Are they more so on the RSV?) It could be that the 1198 is physically harder to turn (maybe narrow 'bars or other factors), so what do you think could compensate for that? Maybe you could try pushing harder on the 'bar when turning so that it "falls" on its side at a speed you want.


Hopefully that helps you out a bit.

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