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I have attended levels 1-4 at VIR. Last one attended was 2010, sorry for not being able to keep going. Job change and relocation but a damper on that.

 

I have recently been able to get back on a track with a local MRA club.

 

I was told more than once you can't be competitive without trail braking. I want to stay open to new ideas of getting around the track, but trail braking wasn't on the lesson plan at CSS.

 

Please help me stay on track (frame of mind), my brain tells me to just get better at the CSS lessons I've already learned. For those that have attended track days / race days outside of CSS, any suggestions to stay focused?

 

 

Thanks

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Hey,

 

Keith did an article about trail braking that's kind of interesting.

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=4034&hl=%2Btrail+%2Bbraking

 

A lot of the "advice" that you might be getting might just come down to an element of riding people hyper focus on. The article is a great read.

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A lot of the "advice" that you might be getting might just come down to an element of riding people hyper focus on.

 

This is an excellent comment, very insightful and absolutely true.

 

There has been a lot of discussion about trail braking on this forum, a quick search will turn up a lot of threads, and the article posted above is a great place to start.

 

MacyoK9s, you might want to ask the person who told you "you can't be competitive without trail braking" to define what exactly they MEAN by the term trail braking. I have heard some people describe trail braking as simply trailing off the brakes gradually instead of snapping them off like a light switch, and I have heard others define it to mean hanging onto the brake WAYYY into the corner, to the apex or beyond. A good starting point in figuring this out would be to ask them what they mean and where they suggest applying the technique.

 

Remember that your front tire has a certain amount of available traction. You can use some of it for braking and some of it for cornering forces; meaning, the more you are on the brakes, the less available traction you have for cornering speed, so being heavy on the brakes at your turn-in point will negatively affect your ability to quick-turn the bike. There are some situations where this might make sense to do, like corners where speed coming INTO the corner is more important then EXIT speed: example, a wide-entry, decreasing radius turn after a high-speed straight. In that case, you may want to carry your straightaway speed as long as you can, and trail the brakes into the corner using a slow turn-rate so you can brake deeper into the corner.

 

Another example would be racing situations where you want to block another rider from passing you at turn entry, by braking late, using a low-line entry and trailing the brakes into the corner - but when you do that you sacrifice mid-corner and exit speed and a sharp competitor with a good quick turn can smoke you on the exit, so it is a trade-off!

 

I'd be interested to have you watch both good and bad riders using trail braking and see what you observe - here are some things to look for:

Watch their entry speed and exit speed compared to other riders (or yourself); do they enter faster but exit slower? How does mid-corner speed compare?

Compare their line - do they low-line every corner, or use the whole track and try to straighten out the turn? Are they consistent on turn exits or do they tend to run wide sometimes or have to steer it again?

Do they try to apply trail-braking in EVERY corner, or just in certain places, and if so, can you tell HOW they chose where to use it?

Is the rider relaxed on the bars through the trail-braking corners, or looking tense?

 

If you get a chance to do that, post up what you observe!

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rchase thanks for the link, great read about trail braking. It's becoming more clear now. Always seems Keith can articulate ideas in an understandable way.

 

Definitely worth the time to ask people to define/describe what they mean by trail braking.

 

Hotfoot, thanks for the tips. I will spend some more time watching (from the sidelines) other riders and look for those items.

 

More to follow after the next track day in June.

 

Thanks again.

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rchase thanks for the link, great read about trail braking. It's becoming more clear now. Always seems Keith can articulate ideas in an understandable way.

 

Definitely worth the time to ask people to define/describe what they mean by trail braking.

 

Hotfoot, thanks for the tips. I will spend some more time watching (from the sidelines) other riders and look for those items.

 

More to follow after the next track day in June.

 

Thanks again.

 

Good luck to you. Track days are a blast.

 

One thing that sticks in my mind from one of Keith's video's that you might find helpful. Paraphrased from memory. "There's lots of advice out there. Some helpful advice. Some not so helpful advice". It's on the Twist 2 video and I remember seeing Hotfoot in that scene. A great video!

 

I have to agree with you about Keith's ability to articulate concepts. He's probably one of the only people in the industry that teams science with motorcycles. When I read some of his books often times I imagine him in a white lab coat rather than leathers. The amazing part is he was doing this decades ago and most people who are teaching are using concepts he pioneered.

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