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Flat Track Sliding, Why?


cellige
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Well I've never done flat track so this is a bit of a guess but I suspect there is a wider window of sliding while maintaining control.

In a car too, there's a big window of sliding while still having enough traction to maintain control.

Which is kind of a long winded way of saying it's harder so less people do it... I think if you watch closely you'll still see some cool sliding going on. Take it with a grain of salt, maybe some flat trackers will chime in.

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So how is the dirt of a flat track any different than any reduced traction surface? You don't see riders sliding like that in rain so why does that technique work on dirt and not asphalt?

 

Riding in the rain offers much more traction for steering than riding on dirt.

 

As that front tire has almost zero steering capability while the bike is moving forward on dirt (if you steer or counter-steer, the bike keeps moving forward), the only way to cornering is pushing it sideways with the rotation of the rear tire.

 

As the rear tire spins and skids, it develops some traction, which pushes the whole bike sideways and forward simultaneously.

 

By doing that, the front tire acquires some marginal steering capability (get greedy about steering and the bike quit steering and resumes forward movement). :)

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Add to that the fact that flat track bikes are setup or even designed and built to be ridden that way, in those exact circumstances. Which makes it easier to control the slide, etc. You could take your road bike (ZX-14, Gixxer, GS500) and ride it in a similar manner on a dirt track, but I'd bet it would be a lot more of a handful, difficult to control! Not having ridden flat track (yet) I can only guess that the difference is similar to riding a motard on the streets, compared to a sportsbike. Slides on the motard are much more controllable, actually I find that I can generally ride like a hooligan on a motard and be quite confident doing so, compared to a sportsbike for example.

 

Not too sure that it's correct to say that wet asphalt offers more grip than dirt, especially a dirt track? They talk about the "blue groove" which is basically when the dirt gets so hard packed and the tyres are actually laying down rubber onto the dirt! There are pictures of flat track race tyres which judging by the wear pattern you would swear they had been ridden around a road race track - there's plenty of grip!

 

I tend to think that it comes down to having the right tools for the right job. I think the reason you don't see riders sliding like flat trackers in the rain is because they have the wrong tools for that job.

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So how is the dirt of a flat track any different than any reduced traction surface? You don't see riders sliding like that in rain so why does that technique work on dirt and not asphalt?

 

Flat track bikes have no brakes. Sliding is how they slow down into the corners.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yep, them's the rules. Not sure if that's universal across all amateur classes (only for the sake of easier bike prep/open to more bikes I think), but generally no brakes allowed.

 

Pretty sure I remember something about it being a safety issue as well.

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