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Have I Been Practicing A Bad Technique?


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I have read all the books, have all the CD's and have taken levels 1 through 3. I know the answer to "When do you roll the throttle back on while cornering" is "as soon as you can" BUT the closer I watch and ride behind the FAST guys it seems a question has come up....the fast guys trailbrake almost all the way to the apex....this means the are braking while shifting,while doing the quick turn, and continueing to brake until milliseconds before the hardest lean angle(apex) and seem to get back on the gas AT the apex point to point and shoot out of the turn. The way I have been doing it is (because I thought it was the right way - and BTW I am one of the quicker riders so I am comfortable at speed) ....WOT to brake point, roll off throttle, brake /shift (blip thottle) keeping the brake on to turn in point -NOW my turn in point IS ALWAYS my end of braking point, I LIGHTLY roll on a little throttle AS I DO MY QUICK TURN and keep very light, slightly increasing thottle to apex where I try to quickly increase throttle after apex back to WOT. Would a more correct technique be to brake to the turn in point,ease off brake (or brake further into turn) and wait until I am close to apex to get back on gas harder, it seems my current method has me either picking up speed after my turn in point as I get closer to apex (not good) or stuck on the gas through much of the first half of the turn (on the gas but not increasing). Either way it seems that not getting back on the gas to the apex means more weight on the front tire and the front suspension more loaded (keeping the forks in the working range is why I throttle back on at turn in) or even more so braking to the apex means even MORE weight on the front end until the apex (asking for lowside). It just doesnt feel right to accelerate TO the apex like I am currently doing now. Could some of the staff chime in here...I have asked this question to other riders I know and keep getting different advice. THANKS!

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Okay, I believe I have about as much experience as you (books, CD's, racing for 5 years, lev 1-2 3 is coming in Aug, and I'm a consistent top 4-8 finisher in expert middleweight/heavyweight CCS classes), so I'll try to throw out some opinion.

 

I have read all the books, have all the CD's and have taken levels 1 through 3. I know the answer to "When do you roll the throttle back on while cornering" is "as soon as you can" BUT the closer I watch and ride behind the FAST guys it seems a question has come up....the fast guys trailbrake almost all the way to the apex....this means the are braking while shifting,while doing the quick turn, and continueing to brake until milliseconds before the hardest lean angle(apex) and seem to get back on the gas AT the apex point to point and shoot out of the turn.

 

There are a couple different FASTEST ways around a track. What you have to look at is (1) how comfortable are you with your method, (2) how well does it work for you, (3) how much risk is associated with it.

 

Trail braking can be extremely effective in VERY fast laps. Watch most of the MotoGP guys, or the top AMA guys, and you'll see them cranked over at max lean angle with the front end packed down harder than a 20 year old dirt logging road. HOWEVER, these are guys who can feel and react to the front end sliding a bit quicker than the average joe.

 

The way I have been doing it is (because I thought it was the right way - and BTW I am one of the quicker riders so I am comfortable at speed) ....WOT to brake point, roll off throttle, brake /shift (blip thottle) keeping the brake on to turn in point -NOW my turn in point IS ALWAYS my end of braking point, I LIGHTLY roll on a little throttle AS I DO MY QUICK TURN and keep very light, slightly increasing thottle to apex where I try to quickly increase throttle after apex back to WOT.

 

For the most part, this is what I do as well. There are times when I can get harder on the gas quicker, and that's what I always strive for. I try to be WFO AT the apex. Sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can't. Additionally, I try to give more throttle during the initial part of the corner. Not just 'maint' throttle, but accelleration throttle.

 

Would a more correct technique be to brake to the turn in point,ease off brake (or brake further into turn) and wait until I am close to apex to get back on gas harder,

 

First you have to define what "correct" means. Correct by whose standards? Keith Code's? Your faster buddies? Your own?

 

If I read this right, you're asking "should I be trail-braking"? My question back is "do you really need to trail brake? Will it make you faster? Will it make you more comfortable? Can you physically/mentally/financially handle the added risk?"

 

it seems my current method has me either picking up speed after my turn in point as I get closer to apex (not good)

 

Why is this not good? If you're holding your line, not correcting and can accellerate, why wouldn't you?? It sets you up for a much faster exit.

 

or stuck on the gas through much of the first half of the turn (on the gas but not increasing). Either way it seems that not getting back on the gas to the apex means more weight on the front tire and the front suspension more loaded (keeping the forks in the working range is why I throttle back on at turn in) or even more so braking to the apex means even MORE weight on the front end until the apex (asking for lowside).

 

Ahhh yes. Now you've JUST described the exact reason why trail braking is a RISKY proposition. Can it be done? Absolutely! Is it effective? Extremely! Is there a higher level of risk associated with it? You'd better believe it! Do you NEED to do it to be fast? NO!!!

 

It just doesnt feel right to accelerate TO the apex like I am currently doing now. Could some of the staff chime in here...I have asked this question to other riders I know and keep getting different advice. THANKS!

 

Change your perception on what feels right. If you're gaining speed, getting through the corner comfortably, turning safely, what's the problem? From my reading your post several times (and laboring whether to reply or not), I believe you are basing your feelings off what people are telling you or what you are seeing, vice what you are EXPERIENCING. You are seeing people beat you while trail-braking, so you feel it's faster. But in reality, you state you're riding fast and comfortable!

 

How can you go faster? Well, you can't go faster if you're slowing down TO the apex. All that's going to do is increase your entry speed, along with kill your drive out (UNLESS you can carry an insane entry speed, and it *may* help get you past someone outbraking them into the corner).

 

If you're to the point where you can continue increasing your speed after turn-in point, you might try carrying a touch more speed INTO that turn-in point. However, you shouldn't really strive to slowing down to the apex. I prefer to be on the gas at that point.

 

Trail-braking is much like using the rear brake. Once you've mastered everything else, go for it... However, most people spend a lifetime (or race career) without coming close to mastering the simple basics of throttle control and turning.

 

Just my $.02...

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Guest waynedunham

Thought your response was excellent. I just finished Level 4 at VIR in May and many of your comments were in line with what Cobie (CSS's Head Instructor) told me during two days.

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corvette95, I am probably less experienced than most of you here but I think I have some quick viewpoints that might help? The answer to the question, "when do you get back on the gas" is what you said..."as soon as you can" It sounds to me like the difference here is that these fast guys you're talking about are carrying more speed into the corner than you are and braking later, so since they are braking later the "as soon as you can" happens alot later because they are busey braking. The fastest tecnique to use changes depending on the corner and what kind of bike/tires you have and how slippery the track is that day. But keep 2 things in mind, I gather from your name that you probably started out racing cars and then went to motorcycles...most motorcycles don't actually hold a corner at a much higher speed than your corvette will, but they WILL accelorate a hell of a lot faster and probably brake a lot faster?, so the fastest line in your car is going to be different than the fastest line on your bike usually, and the second thing to keep in mind is that even though we spend the most time studying corners than anything else, we want to spend the LEAST time actually doing them ie in and out of that corner as fast as you can so you can start going fast again...this is more true the bigger your bike is. Hmm that wasn't as quick as i thought heh goodnight

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