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Any Other Schools You Have Been To?

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I know there are lot of schools like the CSS who coach racers.Has anyone been to any of the other schools and how do they compare to the CSS?

 

( Sorry if it is in the wrong section )

 

Also, why do Spain and Italy produce so many GP racers? Do they have the best schools?

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Schwantz and Spencer, as far as world class riders and well known names. Been to them both, enjoyed them both.

Not better, not worse- just different in what and how they taught, it has been a decade so they could teach differently now, when they teach.

Been to STAR but was not riding, just there with a racer I have been working with. For what I saw and experienced it was pretty good, not as well run as CSS and certainly didn't seem like all the instructors knew as much, but it was worth the price of admission if for no other reason a day of riding on the track and hearing some other perspective.

Certainly I think the consensus is that CSS is the world leader in motorcycle riding schools.

 

Also been to other no name "schools" that are really more just free for all trackdays with very little teaching and even less riding as they simply have too many attendees and too many crashes. I am not a big fan, but it is a way for some/many to just go have fun and ride fast without worrying about road hazzards or public perception or law enforcement.

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The track day group I ride with is big on teaching. At first I was a bit concerned this but their coaches actually provide really good feedback of things you can improve on with their primary motivation being safety and preventing accidents. Even though it's not even close to the same level that you get at CSS I find their constructive feedback very helpful.

 

Regarding the Italy and Spain question. It's a cultural thing. Both of those countries have a passion for motorsport and it's ingrained in their culture. When you have families that are starting riders out very early and getting them good training early in life the very best rise to the top in large numbers. This passion for motorsport is passed down from generation to generation and is a shared love in families. My dad was a rally driver and taught me to drive as soon as he could. Because of his passion and teaching I'm a bit of a terror on slick surfaces in a car. If only he had not hated motorcycles so much. :)

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Rally driving, I'll bet that was a hoot! We watched an episode of Top Gear, and they had a Bentely in a rally course, with a pro driver driving the hell out of it, outstanding!

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That depends on where you place the question, but when asked here, most definitely :D But I think it is generally accepted as the best place for normal riders to learn how to ride well. If you get to the peak of the sport, I guess the interaction between the coach and the rider will matter as much as the quality of either. For instance, Code has trained several world champions, but I'm also pretty sure there are world champions out there who wouldn't consider to work with him - or the other way around. You need mutual respect for a relationship to work at that level. But again, for the majority I doubt there are schools that can match the total package of CSS.

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I went to several schools when I first discovered track riding. I did not find any of the other schools to be anywhere near as organized and professional as CSS. At the other schools I was nervous, was never quite sure what I was supposed to be doing, and I didn't have an instructor assigned specifically to me so I didn't get any help on track unless I asked for it, and no one noticed anything about my riding unless I made an error.

 

Another big difference was that some of the schools spent a lot of time telling me what NOT to do, and not much time telling me what I SHOULD do or how to do it - at least not in any clear and useful way. For example, I heard a lot of "look through the corner" and "trust your tires" but those instructions were far too vague to be of any real use to me. One school in particular spent nearly an hour talking about all the things that "could get you killed on a motorcycle" and by the time I went on track I was scared half to death.

 

Did I improve at each school? Yes, I did, I learned some things and I improved a little at each one. (Well, except for the one that kept telling me all the ways I could die, that one was a step backwards for me because it scared me.) But when I came to CSS I improved in much more dramatic ways, the gains stayed with me, and I most importantly I understood what I had changed, how I changed it, and why it was better. I was so impressed that I started asking questions about how the school works and that eventually led to me wanting to be a coach for the school.

 

Sometimes organizations look impressive from the outside but not so much from the inside. Now that I am a coach at CSS, I see the inner workings of the school, and I am astounded at the level of organization, the incredible focus on continuing improvement, and the genuine desire from everyone to see students make big improvements and have a great time at the school.

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Umm....i suppose HF sums it up.You learn most at the CSS.

 

Does anyone have any insight as to how the top level riders really train? Everything seems so foggy.

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So CSS is about the best there is?

 

I certainly think so. I have read many of Keith's books. He was doing his scientific analysis of riding technology well before anyone else was doing it. The thing that most impresses me about CSS is every single coach that works for them can not only just tell you "how" to do something. They can tell you the science behind it as well in as much detail as you can absorb. While knowing the science won't make you any faster through the hairpin it helps you understand the mistakes you have made and how to correct them in the future. With that full understanding the self growth is possible rather than trying to blame cold tires or other factors for a crash you simply can't explain.

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Thus Far I have only attended CSS out at SoW, but the one school that I really have my eye on attending that isn't CSS is Colin Edwards Texas Tornado Boot Camp, I would imagine the curriculum there is very very different from CSS as its entirely on dirt bikes and dirt tracks. Of course I also want to attend it between the 2 American MotoGP rounds when all the MotoGP riders are there guest instructing ...

 

 

Tyler

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I think the list of national and world titles trained is up to 54 now (it's on the website).

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While watching my son at Code Race from the "balcony" at Willow Springs I noticed Keith standing at the fence watching intensely as the students were racing. It was cold and windy that day. I walked up and casualy asked how long he has been doing this. His answer was 34 years. I said, and your still here watching... He smiled big and said, no one else will give me a job, joking obviously. I laughed and I thought, this man has been doing this for 34 years, he has a great staff and does not need to be here yet here he is.. That seals my loyalty.

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All said and done, i am quite curious how Italy and Spain train their kids.

knee down on pocket bikes bike by the age of three.....

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I don't think its so much the training as it is the "infrastructure" motorcycle racing is a national pastime in Spain, when a Spanish rider wins it's front page news, its a big deal. Here in America, your LUCKY if there's 5 words about it in the news crawl on ESPN, unless someone dies and then it gets some gruesome highlight reel time. Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa are one in a million talents, and the only way to find the one in a million talented kid is to put a million kids on bikes and see who filters to the top, figuratively speaking of course. Its the same reason the same few countries dominate Olympic gymnastics, they have the infrastructure to find and cultivate the few really talented kids.

 

Just my crazy opinion of course, not intended to be a factual statement and all that

 

Tyler

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Spain & Italy

 

Yep Spain and Italy just have a lot more opportunities for young riders. I know that here in Australia it's pretty much the opposite, not easy for young racers to have good opportunities in the global scene. Even if you win the national championship you could move the Europe and everyone would be thinking "huh, who is this guy?" And other silly things, rules limiting what young racers can do, stopping them from progressing, all the usual politicking. At least that is how it seems, I'm not super involved and don't follow the local/national race scene actually.

 

I think equipment parity is another important thing. I'm not 100% sure on this, but aren't all the European race series designed and setup to be an actual feeder to various world championship series? Meaning that the bikes they ride are bringing them on more of a natural progression, rather than eventually racing in World Supersport for example and finding that the bikes are so vastly different to anything that they've ridden before?

 

 

Other Schools

 

I've done a few other schools/training as well. All before I did CSS, now I would not do anything else! The exception for me is that I also want to go to Colin Edwards Bootcamp one day, but that is just as much for the experience as anything else. The other exception would be a dirt/offroad school because there are some things you just don't learn on street bikes... like how to ride over logs nearly as tall as your bike. :P

 

The very first course I did was a half price deal that came with my bike purchase (the morning was spent in a big lot doing drills and was free, you just had to pay for the afternoon if wanted to get on the road course). It was a roadcraft course held at a closed road driver training facility. As a new rider with a new bike it was good to go through some basic drills (steering, braking etc.) just to become familiar with the bike in a controlled environment. I went back just for one morning when I bought another bike, and that time a few things started to stand out to me. One was that they made everyone brake with 4 fingers on the lever. No correspondence entered into, probably wouldn't have mattered if you could do a 100m rolling endo with 1 finger. But that type of course is fairly basic anyway. My recommendation for a new rider now would be to forget about those types of courses - if you qualify to ride there, you can ride at CSS.

 

The other one was with Bernie Hatton at Top Rider. I had heard really good things from others on an Aussie motorcycling forum I visit. I also wanted to go just for the sake of riding the track. It's a private course that I believe was built/owned by the CEO of Coca Cola Australia, it has everything you can imagine - uphill, downhill, off-camber, positive camber, about 22 corners or so and a big fast straight. The main thing I took away from that day was some needed improvements on my braking, keeping my vision up and getting the feel for nice progressive braking. I'm sure I could have got more out of the day, but my mistake was that I rode to the location, doing 900km (560 miles) the previous day... after I had just installed rearsets on my bike. :wacko: Lesson learnt - make sure you're fresh and well rested for any kind of training!

 

After that I did quite a bit of track day tuition. The coaches on these days are current racers in the national championship. This is just where you pay some extra money at your track day and receive coaching. I got a fair bit out of this as well, firstly this was where I was taught about proper body position and the idea that you want to setup for corners early. And also about weight distribution ("your bike has a seat, so just sit on it!"). That was such a big help by itself, it was worth it just to have an entire day to work on that alone. The next big benefit was when I started doing track days at Lakeside here in Queensland. Mick Doohan has said “If you can learn to race a motorbike at Lakeside, you can compete at any race track in the world.” It's a bit of a tricky place, took me a few days to get to find all my reference points and the tuition really helped in guiding me towards a better way to ride the track. I also had my next riding breakthrough here in learning how to handle double apex corners, and the fact that it's completely acceptable to coast into a corner with zero throttle. Mega breakthrough, like mind blown when I learnt that and tried it out!

 

And then finally I came to CSS. I can say that by far I have made the most improvement after attending CSS. My default recommendation now is CSS - I have a few friends who will be getting along to CSS eventually, I'm going to make sure of it! :D

 

But this is where it gets interesting, because my experience at CSS would have just built on all those points that I had learnt perviously - which were still very important points all on their own. I don't regret doing the other training, quite the opposite - if someone had the option of doing some local training or nothing at all - I would say just go for it! But it also seemed like CSS tied together all those other things I learnt and helped me see the big picture.

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also done a few other schools before doing CSS, including CLASS with Reg Pridmore, Yamaha Champions, and Lee Parks Total Control.

 

now mind you, i'm 47 years old, and got my motorcycle license 4 years ago, and moved to CA just 2 years ago. i've done all these schools in a year and a half. why? i wanted to unlearn any bad habits from the get go, and embrace the technical aspect of riding and the relationship between rider and machine. i'm probably a slow A or faster B rider at an open track day at this point (or so i was told at CSS by my coach). so i'm no beginner and far from an expert.

 

before i discuss the track schools, anyone who has not done Lee Parks Total Control should. and while i know most of you are thinking you don't need a day in a parking lot, you'd be suprised just how humbling it can be; and helpful as you increase speed and play with traction and it's limits. Lee takes you right to the fundamentals, breaks down cornering into 10 steps in an environment where you're going 30mph - 50mph, not 90 - 140. CSS is amazing on many levels and so are the other track schools i took, but i'm glad i took Lee's level 1 and 2 before doing CSS. Anyone wants more info i'm happy to talk offline but it really helped me get things going in the right direction as i incorporated track riding and speed into my life. people i know who have taken Lee's course and who ride at the track (and faster than me), all agree Total Control was a big help to getting them going.

 

As for CLASS and Yamaha Champions, both great, and all three schools have many similarities and some big differences too. i'd say the good news is any one of these schools will help you be a safer, faster, and more competent rider. i'm amazed how many people out there ride powerful bikes and it's obvious they have had no formal training on how to actually handle their bikes; scary is all i can say. so any good training is recommended in my book.

 

as for the differences, without naming names or starting a hotly contested debate, i'd say the biggest differences i saw were around body position and what steers a bike, trail braking emphasis versus quick turn, when to apply throttle, lines, and vision techniques as you're entering and exiting a corner. Again, happy to talk offline but not looking to categorize each school and pigeonhole them in any way, just my perceptions from being a student. as i said, i liked them all for different reasons.

 

in the end, i wanted to be a capable rider, be in control of my bike in a variety of situations (good and sometimes bad as we all know!), ride at pace, and be able to enjoy a long tour through the twistiest roads i can find or a track day (or a ride with my wife who also rides). all of these schools were vital to that journey. now it's about more riding and figuring out what makes the most sense given the environment, speed, and elements around me.

 

hope this helps.

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My only comment is this: go to schools that spend their time teaching techniques, not telling you how bad their competitors are.

dylan, agree completely. there is no one "right" way to ride a motorcycle in my opinion and alot of what you do on the bike depends on the bike you ride, pace, the tarmac you're on, etc. there are a number of non negotiables of course that basically align all the schools in common thought, and it gets interesting when you start talking about more technical/advanced skills and how the teaching differs. but you can google racing photos and techniques and it's not hard to see that there are many different ways to go fast and not crash.

 

all that being said, i was lucky enough to have you (dylan) as my classroom instructor and you were steller, enjoyed getting to know you a bit, and look forward to seeing you out at more CSS schools in the future

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