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Okay, Tear Me Apart


YellowDuck
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Forum seems a bit slow this time of year, so here's something for you to do if you're bored.

 

Here is some video from my last track day. It was taken by another rider in the group, riding an R1. I come on screen at 0:45:40, moving to the front of a group of three bikes. The fellow with the camera slots in behind me by the next corner, and then follows me for the rest of the lap.

 

In another session I am on camera for about 1/2 a lap beginning at 1:10:10 or so.

 

Accepting comments an anything you can see regarding form / technique in these not-so-great videos.

 

I wrote about this trackday in another thread. It was very cold and, as I figured out later, my tires were already shot. This kind of sapped my confidence as I got a lot of creepy slides in the morning sessions. For the rest of the day I stayed 2 - 3 seconds off my normal pace. Still, I think you can get a general idea about body position, lines, etc.

 

Looking at the video, I think I am doing a bit better in the second segment, turning a bit more sharply and not making secondary steering inputs. Even so, in the long slow corner beginning at 1:10:35 I look pretty bad - that corner scares me a little even when I am trusting my tires!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHPGnl7vpB0

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Ha! You got me. Very astute - yes I am way more comfortable on lefts. Unfortunately the track runs clockwise....

 

Getting off the seat late huh? I had no idea...will review!

 

Thanks for your observations.

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Oh, something else interesting in the video that I forgot to mention...the guy with the camera is the local gizmo-freak. He has one of those auto-rev-matching throttle blipper do-dads installed - you can notice it in action if you watch the tach as he gears down. He installed it in *preparation* for his *first* track day.

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Ha! You got me. Very astute - yes I am way more comfortable on lefts. Unfortunately the track runs clockwise....

 

Getting off the seat late huh? I had no idea...will review!

 

Thanks for your observations.

The more comfortable to one side thing seems odd for some reason, but I do get how you likely feel - I prefer right turns :). I did a two-up ride with Jason Pridmore at VIR last year. When we rolled back in the pits he immediately said, "you don't like lefts do you?" He could sense me not moving well with him on the left turns... pretty amazing. Also, I must say the two-up ride scared me senseless - I probably would've been screaming like a baby but I couldn't find my voice :lol:.

 

Watching you move on the bike, it seems like a number of times you were pretty close to the turn point when you shift across the seat, even though there was a lot of time to get moved early. I struggle with this myself sometimes - getting moved over too late and then getting some shake in the front since I'm still moving as I turn. This is one of my targeted areas to work on improving (I'd love to say perfecting) this year.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Update....here is onboard video (I finally got a GoPro) from the first track day of the year. I am 3-s off last year's pace (!) but I expect to get that back and then some over the season.

 

Constructive criticism welcomed!

 

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I really shouldn't say nothing because I'm far worse meself, but the shot from behind reminds med of my brother. It does look like you are riding a bit crossed up, hanging bum off a bit too far and leaving torso and head mostly stationary. Not sure how much faster you can go compared to the ones you follow, but Cozy in the end clearly demonstrates there are plenty to gain on brakes and corner speed and throttle application.

 

But as I said, I'm not qualified.

 

Bro in action

 

 

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Update....here is onboard video ...........Constructive criticism welcomed!

 

I believe that the lines and body position have improved much.

 

I have no idea how to ride a Ducati like yours, but something sounds odd about the gearing.

 

I would downshift more, not leting the engine start pulling at so low rpms'.

 

For the same reason, it seems to me that you keep decelerating too deep in some curves, which may be loading the front excessively.

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Thanks for the comments gentlemen! Much appreciated.

 

Eirik, I agree 100% about the body position. I was quite surprised to see how crossed up I am. I think I need to get my rear end back on the seat a bit more, and my head down and more to the inside. Yes, your brother and I appear to have very similar riding styles.

 

Lnewqban, I think the apparently high gearing is more of an effect of how the sound is recorded. It sounds like much lower rpm than it actually is. The bike pulls extremely well out of the corners. The guys on the 4-cylinder Japanese bikes tell me that I usually gap them a bit on the exits, and so it isn't until well down the straight that they finally catch me, even if I was holding them up mid-corner.

 

Frankly, I could pretty much always enter with more speed than I am now - that's just a matter of being rusty and not being able to judge things accurately, and so erring on the side of caution. I hadn't ridden a bike since last September. Actually, on the third lap of the day I misjudged the long right hander badly and went in with too much speed (for me), and also tipped it in too gently. I realized quickly that I would not make the corner on my current line, so leaned it in harder. At that point my knee slider was firmly on the ground and I still wasn't going to make it, so I stood it up, braked hard, then rode off onto the grass (fortunately with not much speed at that point). No harm done, but the experience had me riding a bit more cautiously the rest of the day.

 

I expect it to be another outing or two before I can get back up to the corner speeds I managed last year. On the plus side, the new Dunlop Q2s were awesome. Set them at recommended track cold pressures at the start of the day, then never touched them again. One warmup lap each session, then they just plain worked. Great tires.

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I'll try to keep the long-windedness to a minimum. The first video won't allow me to view it. It says "private video," so this is based on your Go Pro. Besides one comment, I'll keep this about body position (BP). And that one comment is:

 

You're turning your head, aka two-step WITH the bike, or even after you start turning in some cases (vision is my thing, you should have seen this coming). You need to be looking into the corner well before you get to your turn point. That alone will make a massive difference. I'll digress, but that's a huge issue for you.

 

Otherwise, I'll start you out going into the turn. You shift your hips right before you steer. You're messing with the suspension while you're going into a turn. You're lifting your weight off the suspension then reapplying it, right before you turn, while trying to taper the brakes. It also takes, no matter how much or how little, attention from your braking and steering. If you're burning into a corner and have even a slight panic while braking, it'll be loads more obvious then. You'd have to shift your weight before you even thought about trying to make the turn to keep the bike on track while uncomfortably braking and probably looking straight on. I'll give you this one: you WILL NOT be able to keep the bike on the track. That's just an example to show you that it does take your attention. This should be done before you even sit up to brake and downshift. It should go: shift buttocks, sit up, initiate braking, downshift, turn.

 

Staying on the hips and buttocks theme, you're putting your butt back in the middle of the seat when you don't need to. To give you an example, look at :56 sec. It's a right followed by a left with a SMALL instance of throttle in between. It's taking attention and bike stability, as mentioned just a minute ago, to put your bum in the middle of the bike THEN to the left side. Why not just shift it to the other side and be done with it? One of my things is knowing where I'm going to have and shift my butt in every corner. And it's rarely in the middle of the seat. If a straight is short enough and if it's a fast enough turn at the end of the straight, I won't even put my butt back in the middle of the seat. Then I don't have to worry about it. It's pretty basic for the most part, but some corners require a little work.

 

Staying on your hips: you look like you're trying to wrap your body around the tank. You need to have your hips opened to the corner. It allows you to get your body lined up with the bike better, untwist your torso allowing you to relax on the bars more, and lock your outside leg into the bike better (look at the outside leg on the 1:39 right hander and tell me you can lock that in). Turning left (I'll get to your left/right issues in a minute) your upper body is in a good enough spot that'll let you relax on the bars in a turn (if you opened your hips). But if you can, get your upper body more to the inside to help shift the weight to the inside. Your upper torso is a large percentage of weight distribution that you can control. Comfort and relaxing on the bars are bigger deals than a little weight shifting though. You don't need to get all the way over if you don't want to. It's been proven by pro-racers in every class you don't have to be all the way down and to the inside to be fast. Shaky Byrne is a great example of someone with horrible upper body position who can make it to the GP level, and Mladin didn't do so bad in AMA either.

 

Now for consistency. Look at how far you're sticking your butt off the bike to the right versus the left. You're crossed up to the right, when you're not to the left. It's mainly because of how far you're hanging your backside off to the right versus left. I always teach that your cockpit, where you're sitting on the bike, is consistently the same. You need to be also. One cheek off the bike turning left= one cheek off the bike when to the right. You're almost to your knee on the seat when you're turning right. If your shoulder is in one place turning left, it needs to be the same turning to the right. What I mean by this is that I put my right shoulder on the fuel cap when I'm turning left and left shoulder on the cap when turning right. Same/same. I hate that "put your face where your mirror would be," because it doesn't help until you're looking at photos three days after your trackday, and it won't get you consistent like positioning yourself off the hard parts will. Lay on the tank and put a shoulder on the cap, or where ever you're comfortable, and you'll get the same thing every time on either side. You can even practice this when you're in the pits. I've watched all the racers do it, especially younger racers. From Peter Lenz to Lex Hartl and Joe Roberts, while their bike is on stands, they practice their body position. Shifting left to right and getting their bodies where they need to be so the left and right are consistently the same while in the pit saves track-time working on it.

 

You can even do it at home. Look at all the differences in left to right in a corner. Everything from that outside leg, hips, arms, everything is different. Comfortable taking rights or not, you should really work on that. Watch your video at :52. It's a right-left-right. Jacked up right, needs work left, back to horrible right body position.

 

It's also a great way to see if you're comfortable in a corner. When I'm following someone, when they start crossing up and demonstrate inconsistent body position, I know they're having trouble with that corner, and that's when we can work on brake points, turn points, apex, etc, until they're consistent and look and feel comfortable. I can also tell corners I'm uncomfortable I'm in myself by how tense and out of normal alignment I am. It's been 100% reliable so far. I work on the corner and can stay in alignment when I have a good enough line.

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You need to be looking into the corner well before you get to your turn point.

 

.

 

I presume this is for track use only? I certainly would be very uncomfortable doing that on a public road as it would prevent me from reading the road surface. Actually, I constantly move my eyes and where I see between fairly close on front to scan the road and far ahead to where I'm going. But on a track with a familiar environment you may want to just look where you're going all the time?

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Yeah. One of the big limiters to progress is when a (track) rider doesn't keep his head up and well in front of the bike. That's not really one of those things you can work on in the street environment. When you've made your turn and are in the corner thinking "damn, I could have gone in so much faster," your problem started way back before you even got to your turn-point.

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Jasonzilla, holy Hannah that is a whole heap of great advice! It will take me quite a while to get my head around it all. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that. Much appreciated!

 

If all goes according to plan, at my next track day June 13 I am also going to have professional instruction. Between your help and theirs I am sure I will have tonnes to work on. Will definitely report back with more video after that.

 

Edit: Having now re-read it more slowly, I think the hardest thing will be adopting the body positioning for cornering *before* sitting up to brake. That is going to be a hard new habit to pick up. I'll spend some time doing it in my imagination so I'm prepared when I get back on the bike.

 

On the "left to right body shift without sitting on the seat in the middle", I think I normally kind of do that in the esses. This was the first track day of the season and by the fifth session my thighs felt like someone had beat them with a cricket bat. Definitely a fitness issue there.

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You need to be looking into the corner well before you get to your turn point.

 

.

 

I presume this is for track use only? I certainly would be very uncomfortable doing that on a public road as it would prevent me from reading the road surface. Actually, I constantly move my eyes and where I see between fairly close on front to scan the road and far ahead to where I'm going. But on a track with a familiar environment you may want to just look where you're going all the time?

 

Let me offer you this. http://www.ninjette....ad.php?t=109933

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Okay, going over that post from Jasonzilla again, I am trying to distill it into three or four succinct things that I can actually remember on track, and so I can visualize it beforehand.

 

I have one question. I understand the concept of getting my butt in position on the seat well before turn-in (i.e., even before initiating braking), and I also understanding that opening my hips up into the turn and getting my shoulder into a consistent place over the tank will help me be less crossed up, especially on right turns. What I don't get 100% is the timing of when the rotating the hips / moving the upper body should ideally be happening. I can position my butt before braking, but does the hip rotation and upper body positioning happen then as well (surely not?), or when I look into the corner, or when I turn in, or when?

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When you're turning. I noticed your very good with knee/knee discipline. It may look twisted up while your hip is off the bike while hard braking and locking into the tank, but a nice rhythmic leaning into the turn and opening your hips while giving your steering input. You can even ease your inside leg off the tank when you start easing up on the brakes. That's why so many people think they're "body steering," because you're steering the bike and leaning into the corner together.

 

Moto GP is the example I like to give. Think of any of them going into an average corner. They trail in and lean a little. You can tell when they're done steering the bike because that's when they lay on the tank and relax their arms.

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When you're turning. I noticed your very good with knee/knee discipline. It may look twisted up while your hip is off the bike while hard braking and locking into the tank, but a nice rhythmic leaning into the turn and opening your hips while giving your steering input. You can even ease your inside leg off the tank when you start easing up on the brakes.

 

Thanks for this great description - I have a complete mental picture of it now.

 

I hope no one walks into the garage while I am sitting on the bike on the stands with my eyes closed, going through all of this (and maybe making engine noises LOL).

 

I am going to try to get this stuff down June 13 - it's a different track that I don't know quite as well, but I am sure I can still apply all of this. I need to put off the instructional session until July 25. But I'll post some video from the June 13th outing.

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I hope no one walks into the garage while I am sitting on the bike on the stands with my eyes closed, going through all of this (and maybe making engine noises LOL).

 

Done it, just without the engine noises. (ok so that last bit was a lie).

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Let me offer you this. http://www.ninjette....ad.php?t=109933

 

It isn't difficult to look far ahead around a corner on the road, it's just not very clever IMO, to just look far up the road. Where I ride, there can be pot holes deep enough to swallow half a wheel and frost heave high enough to smack even the best suspension against its stoppers and then some. Add cow dung, patches of sand and the odd diesel spill and I most certainly want to know what my wheels are going to roll over before I get there so I can make my adjustments. On better roads, it's a different scenario, but I will always scan the road constantly, far-near, far-near, far-near. Less on good roads, more on rough roads.

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Sorry Eirik you have some crappy roads to ride on. I have to say that most of mine are pretty good, cept a few times per year when the farming is done. Then it gets a bit sketchy because of traffic and what falls of the wagon. I hope it was a good read for you though. Misti is a CSS coach and validated some of my findings. She is so helpful.

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C12 et al; Good point guys but the finer points of riding might be best addressed by a fully trained coach, or since its a physical point, might be best addressed at a school. Misti is a fully trained coach but there is a risk of taking some of her perspective out of context here since she is not active in this thread. Rainman

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