Jump to content

Mental Block


sean
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can't seem to bring myself to lean past a certain point. I really don't get it--I've done 3 levels of SBS, a handful of trackdays, I've been riding for about 10 years now...but I just can't seem to bring myself to lean past a certain point (which is WAY less than my bike is capable of). It's so frustrating because I just can't seem to make any more progress in my riding. I really don't understand what's holding me back. It's enough to make me want to give up motorcycling.

 

Any hints from the sensei?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if you have tried this, but it has worked for me in the past as well as all of my friends (which is only 3 people by the way). Find a piece of road that has good spots to turn around so you can section off about 2 miles. Ride this section back and forth (3rd gear turns work really well) paying close attention to your lean angle. Don't use the breaks or gas it really hard just practice getting the cornering spead a little higher. This works best if you really know the road, as if it was part of your favorite track. Go slightly faster in the turn, to the point where you can feel a little uncomforterble but know 99.9% that you will make it. Keep going that speed until it feels good, then go a little faster. As long as you have checked the road for slippery spots ect, and your not charging in too hard and are keeping a pretty smooth steady speed you should be able to keep increasing your speed until your knee hits, or your drag a peg. The trick to this is finding the right part of road, you don't want to be trying this on decreasing turns, they need to be constant radius. I know that I am comfortable enough to try to go faster if I can look at my speedo easily, which is another reason to only do this on constant radius turns.

 

Also, if what if limiting you is a feeling based on an SR I have found that if you do other things that evoke the same feeling, and get comfortable with it, the feeling gets pushed back farther on the bike as well. I use my mountain bike for this. I noticed that the same feeling I get when I start to lose my front wheel on the motorcycle is that same sinking stomach feeling I used to get when I started mountain biking and thought something was too steep to go down, or did a wheelie too far and knew I was going to fall on my back. To over come my fear of the losing the front wheel on my motorcycle I used to take my mtb out front and purposly do a wheelie that was past the balance point, trying to use the rear break to keep from falling on my back. I didn't notice that this had anything to do with riding motorcycle until the next time I had a loss of traction in the front. Instead of losing 3 to 4 tenths of a second being scared about it, which ususally will get you into the oncomming lane, I just reacted, saving thoses tenths and keeping the bike in my lane. To this day my biggest SRs come from traction loss in the front end of my bike, but getting used to that feeling has made a huge difference in my confidence.

 

For all I know this advice may be the worst in the world, I haven't yet attended school but I have read the books. I've been riding for 11 year, and going pretty fast for about 8 of them. I credit Keith's books for all of my progress as a sport rider, as well as saving my life as times though his teachings. Some day I want to attend one of his schools, if nothing more just to say thanks for allowing me to do what not many can, and do it safely (sort of). Don't stop riding, I tried that once and hated my self for it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done that in two different ways. I've done two trackdays at Pahrump, which has two really long sweepers. I got **slightly** faster, but nothing remarkable. I tried that on a piece of road near me today too. Something just holds me back from leaning over more than I do, I don't get it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sean, there's a chance that the reason has to do with how stable/unstable you are on the bike.

 

It's clear that if you are not managing to get yourself "locked-on" securely i.e. without holding onto the bars like your life depended upon it, the feeling of insecurity WILL increase with lean angle.

 

Can you put the bike onto paddock stands (or get some strong mates to hold it upright) and get yourself into your normal cornering body position to see exactly how you lock-on? See TOTW2 for a list of possible points to anchor yourself onto the bike. You should be able to release your grip on the bars (or even let go altogether) without falling off!

 

If you know that there's no chance of you and the bike parting company once you lean it over, you can then rely on using your knee slider as a lean angle gauge.

 

Good luck,

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the big deal about leaning the bike over anyway? I have an NSR250 and was hitting the edges of my boots on the road within the first week of gettin gmy learners permit, later I learned that if i moved my body off the bike to the inside before a corner I could turn more sharply without having to lean the bike over so far. It's all about turning the bike, who cares if it's leaned over far if it's going where you want it to? Though if you really just want to make your footpeg touch the ground try not hanging off the bike at all, just steer it with the bars and don't use your bodyweight at all and the first time you come into a sharp corner with a little speed you'll findout real fast how far you are capable of making the bike lean! You can get to the edge of your tire effortlessly this way. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sean,

 

Additionally, you might have a setup problem with your bike. Stability has 2 components. Rider and Bike. If you are locked onto the bike and stable, the bike should respond fine and give you enough confidence to corner as hard as you need to.

 

If you're getting the constant feeling that you're going to fall, it's either that you're providing some undesirable input to the bike to upset it and cause the instability, or the bike is setup incorrectly to the point where it is reacting in an instable manner.

 

Assuming the rider portion is good, you might consider consulting a suspension tuner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience little that I have during my first attempts to canyon carve I notice my rear end was slipping more than slidding and thought maybe it was the michelins since everbody was dunlop and having no experience on diffirent tires but I came to find out when I went to this forum and was told it might be to much lean angle then I bought totw2 read it was lean angle and throttle control and next canyon carve I was hittin corners increased speed and had the funnest time of my life. I brake later and farther into the turn, and pivot steering set your self up to press down on the outside peg and it makes it so much easier to countersteer. But the brake later was a big part, you can't support yourself with slow speed through a turn without feeling like your gonna fall off. Think of water in a bucket if you spin fast you can go up and down and not spill a drop of water I feel like the same thing on the bike the faster and more steady I hold speed threw the turn the closer to the ground it brings me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

No matter how well you know a public road/highway, it's still public. It is an open and uncontrolled environment. You have no idea what might be around the next bend on YOUR side of the road from one moment to the next. And, aside from that niggling distraction in the back of your mind stealing your attention, there's no ambulance or safety crew to pick you up when the inevitable occurs.

 

It's a great place to feel the exhiliration of cheating death...it is NOT a good place to work out finding the extreme edge of you and your bike, ie. goal of scrubbing tire edge or touching footpeg for it's own sake. Lean angle might be a bragging point, broken bones might be a trophy of a war wound with the gang of street squids, but, at the end of the day...what is your goal?

 

There's no substitute for the real thing. Get to a track.

 

Dude, if you are still alive...chances are there's some sort of feedback of impending doom that your body/unconscious mind is reacting to. TRUST your feelings!

 

The only way to really get a grip on the situation is to ride a bike that has been professionally prepped on a closed course to compare.

 

I'll never forget the feeling of getting back on my own bike after my first day riding a professionally prepped Ninja at a Keith Code School....

 

The feeling of "WHAT THE *&%#@!?!?" was overwhelming.

 

The reason for your so called "lack" of lean angle could be any one of or combination of bike/rider factors. And like any good trouble shooting guide...start at the beginning, process of elimination, one thing at a time.

 

My advice...eliminate the bike factors, get to the source. Sign up for and ride a Superbike School bike. I guarantee you by the end of the day ....well, you'll see. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sean, I'm with you on this one.

 

It is not a physical problem, nor is it a body positioning issue or a speed issue. If you are like me, it is a fear of low-siding. It's not knowing how far you can go without the bike falling in on you.

 

When I got my bike, I got it on the strength of a test ride on the same make and model. The one I tested was brilliant. The one I got was a dog.

 

I have struggled for years on the wrong handling charteristics, bad tyres, wrong pressures, incorrect suspension settings, wrong advice and it put me off. My conficence plumetted and I became a straight line rider. Corners scared the b'jeasus out of me.

 

I went on an advanced riding course which taught me cornering differently to the CSS methods. This one was start to turn early, corner tightens and gets dangerous so turn (lean) a little more, corner tightens further, gets even more dangerous - lean a little more...

 

So, as it gets dangerous and scary, lean the bike. Therefore, if you are leaning the bike it's going to be dangerous and scary - it's commutative. Does this sound familiar to you? I am reacting (negative response) to the situation where the bike needs to turn more because it is dangerous. Then I have to do it again - pretty much constantly throughout the corner. End result? Corners are dangerous and scary. It's a mental thing because if I walked around the corner, not scary. If I rode in on my bicycle - not scary. If I drove it in my car (and I drive like a stole it!) - not dangerous in the slightest. Put me on my 1000cc Yamaha and I need the big brown chalk for my undies.

 

I've done level 1 and the whole idea of sitting more over the back wheel than the front (makes the bike feel light and twitchy) and going further than my comfort zone allows in scary. I understand and fully agree with what they are saying but i've had years of conditioning that says, in it's simplist form, "Leaning is the way to a scary and dangerous place".

 

I need a lot of thinking time. For some people, the instructions go straight in and they progress really quickly. For me, things go in a little slower because I challenge them against what I know and believe to be true. What I need is more track time and better questions.

 

Here's a question for you. What would it be like if you sat further back and went in a little slower? Remember that you sit further back so that you can get your arms in line with the pivot angle of the handlebars so that you can turn easier so what would it be like?

 

Ft

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the big deal about leaning the bike over anyway?  It's all about turning the bike, who cares if it's leaned over far if it's going where you want it to?  Though if you really just want to make your footpeg touch the ground try not hanging off the bike at all, just steer it with the bars and don't use your bodyweight at all and the first time you come into  a sharp corner with a little speed you'll findout real fast how far you are capable of making the bike lean!

 

Do not listen to this advice.....please :blink:

 

If you really want to learn to lean more, I suggest you take a turn on the track and slowly bring you speed up through it....start at something overly comfortable that you will have no problem with. Then work it up in increments. When you get to a barrier, stop yourself and think what you could possibly be doing. Tightening up? Target Fixating? Chopping the throttle? Have a friend watch you or preferably a rider coach who knows what he/she is talking about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is my nickle's worth.

 

Maximum lean is a tool that you only use when it is necessary. Granted, having it is good and feeling confident with it is good as well but it is not how you want to ride all the time in fact you want to avoid it as much as possible.

 

One thing is for sure, you will never trust the bike until you totally trust yourself.

 

90% of that trust has to do with how much control you have over your right wrist and maintaining good throttle control at the steep lean angles.

 

Look at your own riding and tell me if you are absolutely postitive your throttle controls is perfect as you approach YOUR maximum comfort zone in lean angle.

 

Here is a point to consider: At 45 degrees lean the load on the suspension is 41% greater than vertical. As you lean it further over the load becomes even higher. The suspension is still lower in its travel from the cornering forces that are created. Your throttle control has to bring the suspension back into its most compliant range.

 

What is the problem? Your instinct is telling you more gas is bad and the bike is saying it needs more gas. Who wins?

 

Keith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know some times I hate that 'Keith' bloke and sometimes I love him. The bloke makes me think. :blink:

 

First off, it would be nice to hear from Sean - the bloke who started the post - to see how he has progressed.

 

I gained confidence from setting up the suspension and tyres on my bike. That helped a lot. I had to learn how to do it but now I know how and why, easy - great confidence booster for me. Why? Because then the only thing left to adjust was me.

 

The points that Keith raise are the physics - the dynamics and behaviour - of the bike and throttle contol. I have a good understanding of the behaviour of the bike so it must be the throttle.

 

Since level 1, I have actually made some changes and perhaps more importantly, thought about what's going on. I have moved my weight further back when cornering (intelligently - dont' start!) and got lighter and more progressive on the throttle. What can I say? Stability has increased. In answer to Keith's question, I would say the bike would be happier with more gas. It keeps the back end from loading up which means that it doesn't have to decompress. Correct? However, I would also say that if you are going too fast when you should be adding gas then you went in too quick in the first place. You are already out of your comfort zone so it's going to be r e a l l y difficult to make a good decision when you brain is verging on panic - you are now in survival mode and that usually results in 'throttle off' when it should be 'throttle on'!

 

Point to note is that you won't learn cornering techniques at the fast speeds. Fast speeds come from good cornering techinques. 'Horses in front of carts' spring to mind.

 

As I say though, it would be nice to know how all of this has effected Sean...

 

Thanks all

 

Ft

 

PS - nice to know that the powers that be are actually involved in our development. Makes me feel all warm and gooey. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. You are all right...

 

It IS a confidence thing. It is fear, as was noted. There's a point where my brain just says "whoa" and that's it. It's the Jewish mother tappnig you on the shoulder and saying "...that's enough". I've talked to a bunch of riders and it's a much more common thing than I expected. You see all these photos of people leaned over until their elbows and mirrors are scraping and think anyone can do that--apparently that's not the case.

 

I got my suspension professinally set up so I've eliminated that as a factor.

 

I'm sure focusing on speed and lean angle has been somewhat counter-productive. When the focus shifts to being smooth, having good throttle control, and being comfortable and in control, the speed tends to come a bit on it's own (to a point of course). I found recently while riding with a buddy of mine that when I was behind and trying to keep up, I was choppy, unconfident, and struggled to keep up--but when I was in front it was easier and I was moving much faster. The answer? Stop focusing on riding fast and start focusing on just riding right.

 

In that end I've decided to just stop worrying about it :D I'll do trackdays at Streets whenever I can since I'm most comfortable there and just concentrate on riding well, not on riding fast, and hopefully it will come. If it doesn't, well, whatever, lol.

 

Thanks again

-s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have the right outlook... Keep working on it and you will be amazed at the results. It does take some time to overcome fears and gain a real trust for yourself and your bike. Once you get there and build that relationship, you will progress quite a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sean,

Two of your quotes caught my attention:

"I've done 3 levels of SBS"
and "(
I'll) concentrate on riding well, not on riding fast, and hopefully it will come"

Your posts strike a familiar chord with me as I have/do struggle with the same cornering gremlins you do but I will offer you an antidote. I do this because I could not get to where I wanted to by just

"concentrating on riding well"
. There is alot involved in riding a bike around a track at a high rate of speed and the skills necessary to do it well are not innate in any of us. My antidote - CSS Level IV.

 

I say this because in Levels I, II & III, the School has very specific skill sets that you need to follow to properly build your cornering foundation. Once you move into Level IV however the roles reverse; YOUR needs provide the key component of that course. You do this by explaining to the School what YOU believe to be your barriers to cornering and then within the context of Keith's cirriculum, the School tailor's Level IV to help you get closer to those goals. Surprisingly, it is NOT always what you think.

 

Earlier this season, I KNEW what was holding me back and I dutifily listed those items in my Level IV questionaire. Once out on the track, my Coach AND the Level IV liaison both saw what I could do to improve but it was quite different from what I KNEW to be my problem - something I wasn't even aware of. By their very perceptive analysis of my riding and their skill in communicating how I could adjust to make it better, I was riding faster and smoother than I have ever run in my life and that was a direct result of their coaching. They are that good!

 

I would also recommend Level IV because IMHO, track days are fine but they are a poor substitute for learning time tested theory (facts) coupled with excellent track coaching. You have made the investment in the first three levels, take the final step and take Level IV - I am convinced that your first post after attending will have a much different tone.

 

Kevin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

You're all right. I know many riders of your experience level that feel the same way. All I would say is make sure your techniques have been learned correctly, you are comfortable in a static lean, and go just a tich faster than feels good. Don't get rigid, relax, and picure a gp racer with a handle bar an inch off the asphalt. It will scare you.. but it WILL go that far... have faith!

Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sean,

missed that second post. Check out my post under transitioning(up and over or slide) I am a frim believer in praticing before you need it. Hang off the side while riding straight. You have all the time in the world to check body positon ect.. Transition in the straight...brake and hang left, brake and hang right, brake hang excellerate. You can do it all without entering a corner. Learn properly though, bad habits are hard to undo. Once you can consitantly hit the proper position stop riding for a week. Then go hit the twisties and don't you dare think about anything, you've already taught your body what to do, just ride. If your goal is to ride harder then I would worry about speed, I just wouldn't worry about speed...

Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a point to consider: At 45 degrees lean the load on the suspension is 41% greater than vertical. As you lean it further over the load becomes even higher. The suspension is still lower in its travel from the cornering forces that are created. Your throttle control has to bring the suspension back into its most compliant range.

 

What is the problem? Your instinct is telling you more gas is bad and the bike is saying it needs more gas. Who wins?

 

Keith

 

This is absolutly true, you can feel it as your cornering, but it leaves me with a conundrum:

 

This principle works great on the road, you can decelerate up to the corner, tip in and get back on the gas fine, but it's racing that drives me at the moment.

 

When approaching a corner from a straight, I'd be braking and downshifting, then easing off the brakes as I lean it in (still braking hard) and getting on the gas just before my max. lean angle for that particular corner. But adding braking forces and cornering forces to the suspension during the initial turning/steering movement and then trying to get the suspension back inside it's most compliant area is the challenge. I feel that it takes a while to do, too long, as the bike starts to feel loose/ragged and wobbles around. A very unsettling feeling. If only it didn't do that!

 

I keep thinking that I must be doing something wrong, but then I see the Pro's at the same corner and they also get a noticable wobble as they get on the gas. Is it normal to do this or is there a smoother way, without sacrificing on speed/time through a turn?

 

Andy C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Throttle before releasing the brakes(really this shouldn't be a release/apply like off/on but a relative ventre wherin the operator inputs throttle equated to/and relative but more than the brake release, if done correctly very smooth). I say throttle then release because working both controls at the same time properly is very hard. Either way helps help it keeps swing arm neutral. You know you could just not trail brake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like most things, the brake release and the throttle application take co-ordination and drilling to get them in perfect harmony.

 

Just keep it simple, it isn't necessary to invent new procedures and add extra actions at a time when your attention is stretched out as thin as it is at the entry to turns. It will only create more busy work.

 

Whether braking straight up or leaned over, the release of the lever will determine if the transition is clean and smooth or not.

 

An abrupt release will get the suspension moving around more than it should be, that is distracting.

If the brake is release clean there should not be any upsetting movement from the chassis--done poorly, there will be and that can be distracting.

 

Getting your right wrist to co-operate and get the throttle on AFTER your lean angle is set is the only way to guarantee a stable motorcycle. That lag is what you need to handle. Half a second isn't long on a stop watch but it is 44 feet at 60 mph. That is 6 bike lengths!

 

Getting the bike full on quick flicked, really snapped into the turn, can be done with no chassis upsets of any kind. You do not have to invent new stuff or be world champion to do this.

 

You do have to pay attention to your brake release and throttle application and once they are in harmony it will work for you.

 

There are some other factors to this but, on a bike that is basically set up OK, these are the two that make the big difference.

 

Keith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Sean,

 

I can completly relate to your feeling about max lean angle.

I was almost obsessed about getting my knee down for years.

In my opinion the best approach is this

 

1) Complete Level 1 of the school. if you havent already

2) Find a safe place to practice. Ideally a car park ( parking lot ?) thats not used on weekends,

like in an industrial estate. What you're looking for is a ONE turn that you practice at about 20-30mph.

3) practice the techniques from level 1 at COMFORTABLE pace and lean

 

4) After about 80 or 90 laps you will find your confidence increasing, and you can gradually increase your speed, lean angle and lean rate !

 

I did this last year after level 2 and dropped my lap times by 20 seconds !!!

 

another of Keiths tips I found usefull is if you circulate without using the brakes.

 

Finally this is only my personal opinion but if you hang off the bike you feel closer to the gound

so you dont "fall " as much with higher lean angles,

 

hope this helps

 

John.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...