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Am I A Candidate For A "superbike School"?


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Where to start.... I had my first ride on the back of my uncle's Harley back in 1958 (or thereabouts). In 1965 I was old enough to get a learner's permit, and the first day I was eligible for that permit I went directly from the DMV to the local motorcycle rental shop. There I was instucted that the shifter was on the left, and I should poke it down to go into first, and then up for second, third, and fourth. I was handed the keys and - that was that. I've been riding ever since. Much later I did manage to take the basic MSF course, but other than that I've had little instruction. I've put on quite a few miles, in quite a few different places, on a number of different motorcycles, and under quite a few different conditions of roads and weather - but I hold no records in this regard. I'm not into "Iron Butt" rides. (My longest day was only 675 miles; my longest trip was just two weeks.)

 

My riding has "mellowed out" over the years, and now I greatly enjoy cruising along scenic back roads. Breathing fresh air, enjoying the scenery away from traffic, being with friends along the way and at the end of the day - those things have become more important to me now. I tend to take a few trips that last three or four days or more, and in between my VTX 1800N sits in its "blow up" garage. I very rarely will have a passenger - my wife doesn't ride.

 

I've always enjoyed listening to music, but until the invention of the iPod I was left only with humming my way down the road. Now I find music to be integral to the experience. What I experience is an artistic amalgam of sights, sounds, changes in mood, movement, temperature, and even smells (hopefully good ones); the whole thing becomes almost spiritual. But I'm not day-dreaming or losing concentration on the road ahead.

 

The thrill of going fast has always been mixed with fright. Without that natural fear I'm afraid I would have been dead a long time ago. Over time the thrill of speed has dampened a bit (it's still there, of course), but the fear remains unabated, so I tend to go a bit slower than I did when I was younger. Good thing, as the reflexes are not quite as good as they were forty years ago. Slowing down is definitely a good idea.

 

So.... A "superbike school"? Is there something for me there, or would I just impede traffic?

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Wow Lyster, what a loaded first post. The easy answer is attending the California Superbike School will improve your riding skills sets. I say that as I have attended so many Schools over the past 12 years that I can't count them. Along with that I began Corner Working for the School about 6 or 7 years ago where I "watch" students for two sessions and then ride with them for the third before repeating the cycle. Without a doubt, virtually EVERY student makes measurable improvements by the end of the day.

 

I am bi-polar when it comes to motorcycling. I have a pair of Ducati’s one of which is a competition only bike that I have raced a few years ago that I still use on the track. I absolutely love riding it and have been on a 15 to 20 different tracks (many times) since I bought it 8 years ago.

 

I also have an old Triumph Bonneville that I fully restored 15 years ago that I love to ride exactly the way you described in your post. I take it easy, go out into the country and just get lost in the ride. I even changed the gearing on it to reduce the revs when I am on these rides trading off the quick stop light take offs they used to be somewhat famous for back in the day.

 

So IMHO, it would come down to what you want to get out of attending the School. As an aside, don't worry at all about your speed although with your experience you may surprise yourself when you get on a track with a properly prepped full on track bike. I have seen loaded Harleys and Gold Stars at the Schools without a problem as every School at every venue has first timers and multi-timers with measurable variances in abilities; the School manages that disparity EVERYDAY!

 

Others will chime in here and you should get some good advice for you to help make your decision. The fact that you joined us and posted this suggests to me that you may have already decided but what do I know. ; )

 

Rainman

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Unless you feel you have nothing left to learn about riding motorcycles, attending a CSS school is always worthwhile. As for Impeding traffic, trust me its not a issue, I'm also a regular corner worker like Kevin described and can attest that the pace of students at the school varies greatly as does the selection of motorcycles on the track. And generally speaking its usually the slower riders in the morning that make the largest gains throughout the day.

 

Would you most likely bring your VTX or consider using one of the schools BMWs ? Also something to consider is that you can request to use one of the F800R's ( I think thats what they are anyway ) instead of the S1000's if you want something with a little bit more cornering clearance then your VTX but are not comfortable on a full on Sport Bike.

 

Tyler

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The VTX does have some cornering clearance issues, even though I did install Progressive suspension. And it is pretty heavy. Of course, I wouldn't be posting here if I thought I knew everything there is to know about riding a motorcycle. Far from it. In spite of my years in the saddle, I don't think I'm any better than an intermediate rider. Probably the thing that impedes my progress most is my lack of riding. I've been very happily married for 35 years to a woman who won't come near a motorcycle. So I tend to go on fewer but longer rides. You just don't hone your skills by doing that. All you do is tell yourself that you've got to do this more often... but you don't.

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Lyster,

 

They guys are spot on. As another repeat offender, I have seen all kinds of bikes and students at the school and they do a fantastic job of managing the differences. And everyone I have spoken too after the school has learned something. Last year we had a couple of self-professed "Harley Guys" (probably in their 60's) who had never been on a sportbike before. At the end of level 1 they had smiles so wide you couldn't see their ears. If you are interested in the school at all, then it is probably for you. :)

 

If you would like to read a first time track rider's opinion, I wrote reviews of levels 1-4 (and the 1 vs 2 day formats) when I got started:

 

Level 1

 

Level 2

 

Level 3 & 4 (2 day camp)

 

You might also want to pick up a copy of Roadracing World's Track Day Guide. They do one every year and this year's came out a couple of months ago. It has great information about track riding in general and insightful articles about motorcycle education. Barnes and Noble usually has a copy unless the have sold out.

 

Be warned, I went from no track experience a few years ago to managing a serious track day addiction today. There is a reason it rhymes with "crack".

 

If you have any specific questions feel free to PM me.

 

Best,

Carey

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. There is a reason it rhymes with "crack".

 

Truer words are hardly spoken

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Experience no, but I have seen that class on the Horsethief Mile many times while working in Turn 2 out at Streets, and while I have no idea what the curriculum or school is like I would venture to guess if you were to watch both schools firsthand before choosing which to attend you would pick the Superbike School

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