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Time For School, Badger!


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Howdy, people?!

 

I'm here to seek the teachings of the goatee.

 

About me... I'll try to keep the story short: I've been riding for about a year-and-a-half, 15,000-ish mostly street miles and on my second bike, a ZX6R. My first bike was an SV650SF. I live in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana.

 

I ran into a CSS graduate after crashing for the second time because I made too many mistakes (and became fast friends) who showed me how to really ride a supersports bike. Since then, I've become a super-humble student of the science behind riding and have gotten my feet wet at the track. I'm about four track days in and am somewhat confident with faster speeds. That does not mean I understand everything, and I feel that I need a somewhat more focused place to learn the basics before I go back to the track. My overall goal is to get my yellow numbers, so I'm seriously considering doing a CSS course so I learn faster.

 

SUN_IMG_41740_zps0a5d38b5.jpg

 

This is me the last time I was at track... was working primarily on body position

 

Looking forward to doing a CSS course soon and eventually running into some of you lot. Can't wait to begin learning the science and soak in the education. Happy to share the passion with all of you similarly obsessed people out there.

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Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you have a good attitude about learning. If you make it to Barber's for CSS, I and a few more will see you there.

 

A couple of comments about your picture.

Cute knee sliders

Question about your body position. If the bike were upright and not moving and you were in the same body position would you be able to stay on the bike if you took your hands off the bars?

I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination dealing with body positioning, I'll leave that to them.

 

Sales pitch time: If you have not bought at least Twist of the Wrist 2 book and DVD you may want to do so. That goes for the others also. They are used as references quite frequently around here.

 

cya around

Jeff

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Hey. Welcome to the forum. Have to agree with Jeff completely awesome knee sliders.

 

You should try to make it to Barber sometime even though Nola is probably a lot closer. It's simply an awesome and challenging track and the grounds are country club like. If you see an S1000RR several Ducati's and an HP4 that's likely Jeff, Betty and myself. We are level 4 "repeat offenders". I have taken Level 4 three times and will be back again next year. I ALWAYS make improvements beyond my anticipations. The level of positivity from the coaches and the coaching itself is like nothing else I have ever seen.

 

Great idea as well joining the forums. I have picked up a TON of great information here. The coaches who live and breathe helping people lurk and often provide amazing insight into common problems.

 

Robert.

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Thank you for the welcome, guys!

The knee sliders were a Halloween prank on a hammiedown suit from said CSS graduate!!! He hates them, but I think they're awesome.

 

About the body position, I've been working on it consistently. I got better the last time I was at the track, but I feel that I still stretch my lanky frame across the bike, and need to smoothen out the hanging off.

To answer your question, Jeff, I'm able to keep that position on an upright bike on stands, though I feel that I need to work on my core a lot more. I've been working on not getting my inside knee stick out as far and actually 'kick' out of my outside footing (if this makes any sense) to get an input on the inside bar, which definitely helps with being able to stay on the bike.

 

My earlier misunderstanding of the body position was the classic crossed up butt completely off the seat and head in the cockpit position.

 

Oh, I have the book and the video (granted, on YT)! The video helped me get back back on my old SV when I crashed three days into biking... classic SR-induced lowside in a corner! Time to do justice and buy the DVD.

 

I loved visiting Barber on my epic Fourth of July trip from central Lousiaiana to Atlanta on the bike (nope, not much heed paid to body position then, lol!). I stumbled upon the museum and salivated for a few hours in there. I'd love to ride at the track since I've heard so much about how amazing it is.

 

I need for a few things to click monetarily before I can make it out to school. I will likely splurge my track-day allowance on school, though. I simply feel like I'm missing an aspect of thinking for myself at regular track days, and I need someone to open the door to that for me. I'll be sure to come up and introduce myself should I make it out there.

 

Anurag

(unconventional sounding name, yes)

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Welcome to the forums Badger,

 

best of luck making it out to a CSS school, I'm jealous that you're close enough to Barber to be able to attend there, it looks like a fantastic track. Also I'm pretty sure anyone with Skull and Crossbones knee sliders doesn't exactly want them referred to as "Cute". I think they look pretty cool, just might have to get myself a pair

 

 

Tyler

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Thanks, Tyler! I could ask the chap who owned it before I did where his prankster friends got them from... has a UK website on them.

Barber is quite a ways for me, around 9 hours, I think. If I do make it out to a school, I'd definitely have to fly out and utilize one of the school's bikes instead of hauling my own.

 

Just out of curiosity, how different does it feel to ride an S1000RR at the track and get back onto your own bike, especially a 600 (unless it's a Beemer as well!)? Are the school's bikes GP-shift? Am I asking questions that I'm expected to look up in FAQs?

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The school's bikes are normal shift, and set in rain mode. They are almost completely stock except for the bodywork and exhaust.

Thanks for the answer! I just switched over the GP style, and it would take a good getting used to to switch back!

Also, I've never ridden a literbike before. Could be interesting...!

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Don't worry about the S1000RR in rain mode! I found it quite docile in rain mode. During the day you're allowed to upgrade to the sport and race(?) modes.

 

With Sport mode, it started to feel like a (sports) literbike, and only in the "higher" modes did it start to feel brutal.

 

As long as you're used to "feeding" the throttle on your ZX6 (as opposed to just wacking it to WOT), then you should be just fine. As I recall (this being almost 2 years back now) your ontrack coach will inform the offtrack coach and Course Control (Hi Trevor!) whether you're good to go to the more higher power levels.

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The S1000RR is a big pussycat and is not intimidating at all. The first time I went to the school that was one of my concerns. After the first session I had forgotten all about the 193hp monster that I was renting from the school and focused on all the other stuff.

 

The power modes and TC make the S1000RR very predictable and easy to handle on the track. In fact I loved the school's S1000RR's so much that it was the obvious choice when I needed to buy a new bike. It's even more well behaved on the street where I thought it might be a bit out of it's element.

 

My experience was much the same as others here. They start you out in rain mode to get you used to the bike and then the coaches and Trevor work together to get you into the mode that works best for you. Even in Race mode the bike maintains it's composure and predictability.

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BTW. Here's a video that might be helpful. Nate Kern has described the S1000RR as "one of the safest performance bike on the market". He talks about a lot of the systems on the S1000RR in this video.

 

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Thank you for the reassurance, guys! I'm not too worried about the Beemer now, and am trying to make it out to Willow Springs for a level 1 course in September (fingers crossed).

I have a few general questions for you guys, and this pertains to why I feel I need school:

I don't think I'm able to figure out lines on my own, as in mentally process them and set up for the upcoming corner. The X's on the track make that easy, and in my mind, have deprived me of thinking ahead. I could be wrong on this, though, considering how little experience I've had with track days. I spend way too much time setting up for a corner and adjusting my body position, and I'm slow to get back on the bike as well. It is as if I need to remind myself to get back on the bike and feed the power.

I think I take the 'slow in, fast out' concept way too seriously! I'm into a corner at almost snail's pace, though I'm somewhat content with my exit speeds (do please note that speed isn't my main concern, but I'm too hard on the brakes and decelerationn and too much of a chicken before tipping in). Considering that my first target was working on body position, it has consumed way too much of my time and I haven't got the speed for the amount of hanging off I do, lol! My pictures make it seem that I am fast, but I'm really not. Pace-wise, I'm probably middle of the pack in Novice.

SAT_IMG_12719_zpsf5707962.jpg

SUN_IMG_41604_zps2cbf1ac7.jpg

 

So, I do look pretty exaggerated, and have been working on pulling my inside knee in a bit more since then. The control rider behind me does not have to get off as much for the same corner

 

Without turning this into a mashup, one final thought/ question... I'm kinda uncomfortable with cranking it all the way on the fast straight, though I've been working on it. Anything beyond 130 mph, and I begin to worry about braking for T1 at Texas World Speedway (thought I reckon that may carry onto other tracks as well). Is this because I've not been in motorcycling for long and simply not used to those speeds (did I just answer my own question?)?

So, school... Will I be able to visualize lines on the track and actually be able to cut crisp sections rather than making multiple mid-corner changes? It feels like I'm missing a dimension about track riding that I'm having a hard time explaining here, but it feels incomplete at the moment. So far, my track experience has helped me stay upright, but hasn't really taught me the science behind clean and crisp riding, with smooth inputs and transition. Has anyone been in a similar boat before?

 

Sorry for the novel, but I felt this needed to be asked. I really appreciate all the responses so far.

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Let's just put it this way. I started Level 1 with CSS with no experience whatsoever on a track. Going through all 4 levels of the school I'm pretty comfortable with most of what you mentioned in your questions.

 

Level's 1 and 2 deal with line, throttle control and visuals and lots of other stuff I'm forgetting. Level 3 is mostly body position and Level 4 is a free form program where you work on specific to you problems. The school's format is a classroom portion and then an on track session where you ride what you just learned. During the track portion you have an on track coach who interacts with you at times and monitors your progress with the drill. Coming back into the pit there's a briefing where you get feedback and can ask questions with the on track coach. (lots of AH HA! moments there) Level 4 expands this coaching a bit and you have a Level 4 adviser and an on track coach between the two coaches to bounce questions off of it's absolutely amazing the progress you make.

 

From what you described and from my experience with going through all the Levels I would say the school would help you out a LOT. It took me from being a somewhat nervous street rider and gave me a HUGE amount of confidence and ability. It literally transformed my riding.

 

One other thing to take a look at if you are considering the school. Grab a copy of Twist of the Wrist II on DVD. I would also recommend the book as well. The books and DVD's cover a lot of the theory that's taught in the school. It really enhanced my experience having read some of the books before I attended.

Here's a link to the School's store site.

 

https://secure.echoalley.com/superbikeschool/store/

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Wow. You learn something new every day!

 

I did not realize there was an audio CD of the books! I know what I'm going to be ordering soon. Those long drives out to the track are going to be a lot more productive now. :)

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You are in for a treat when you break down your riding and then rebuild it. :) And since you seem eager to learn, it will be an awesome time to work with great coaches that are effective communicators as well as talented riders!

 

Since you are relatively new to track riding, one of the things that will help you with your questions will be the ability to control time and space. What I mean is, as your visual skills improve... what looks and feels fast will change along with your comfort/confidence with speed and your ability to scrub that speed off when you don't want it anymore. Finding lines is a bit of a visual art form, but there is a way to validate you have found a good line any idea what it is? Hint: Your right hand will tell you. Also, along that way of thinking.... those X's are reference points. There are many of them; when the brakes go on, turn in, apex, exit, ect... ect... Picking your own reference points when the X's are not present should be done conservatively, leaving you much room for error. You can use marks on the surface, cones, flowers, trees anything that is stationary really... once you have picked out some safe points, you can start moving them in small amounts (say about a bike length) to clean them up a bit and find where they challenge you but still keep you within 75% of your riding limits.

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@csmith12: Trying to remember from ToTW2, is it the line that would let me apply the throttle control rule? Thanks for the inisght, mate. I can't wait to break down this series of robotic movements and build on a sensible riding style.

 

@rchase: I appreciate the insight, Robert. Seems like Level 1 will really help me with what I've been missing, and probably what I should have focused on (still on the fence regarding this and body position). I'm really looking forward to doing level 1 at Willow Springs next month and experience this for myself. :)

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@rchase: I appreciate the insight, Robert. Seems like Level 1 will really help me with what I've been missing, and probably what I should have focused on (still on the fence regarding this and body position). I'm really looking forward to doing level 1 at Willow Springs next month and experience this for myself. :)

 

No problem at all. I think you are going to have a great time and make lots of improvements.

 

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Like they all said, Lvl 1 is going to do wonders for sorting out most of the issues you're having, and give you huge insight into how to sort out the rest when combined with some information from ToTW2. If you're signed up for one of the weekend dates I'll be out there doing my normal corner working routine. Feel free to say hi, I'm usually pretty easy to spot B)

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Like they all said, Lvl 1 is going to do wonders for sorting out most of the issues you're having, and give you huge insight into how to sort out the rest when combined with some information from ToTW2. If you're signed up for one of the weekend dates I'll be out there doing my normal corner working routine. Feel free to say hi, I'm usually pretty easy to spot B)

Do you reckon you'd be at Willow Springs? That is what I'm shooting for at the moment to do in mid-September. A few stars have to line up for this to happen, but I'm trying my darnedest.

I'll defintieyl come up and say hi if you're there.

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