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rchase

What Are Your Plans In The Off Season?

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My last track day of the year is coming up and I'm thinking about what my plans are for the off season. What kinds of things do I want to work on next year? I'll probably know better after my time on the track.

 

My tentative list to improve is the following.

 

-Body position refinement

-Learning to trust my tires

-Improving my braking

-Going faster on the straights

-Getting comfortable with head shake and wheelies

-Visual refinement

 

This year I have a wealth of data and video to pick apart which I usually do during the down time.

 

What kind of off season plans do you guys have?

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At great risk of hijacking this thread, I am curious: When you plan to work on "Learning to trust your tires", what does that mean to you? How do you plan to approach that? Also - where did that idea come from, did someone tell you that you need to "trust your tires"?

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Hotfoot,

 

No problem at all. Always ready to get some insight no matter what. :)

 

As for the "Learning to trust my tires". Since the moment I started riding traction has always been a BIG boogie man for me. My dad who taught me how to drive a car was a rally racer and always stressed the importance of understanding how much traction is available by "feeling" the traction you have with intentional slides. Because of this I have always never really trusted the traction I have on motorcycle tires in the dry. In the wet it's not really a problem. The tires are quite easy to get to the edge of grip. I know exactly where I stand in the wet because of that feedback. In the dry the speeds required are higher with a much higher potential of a minor slide to turn into a major mistake. The traction feels limitless but I know for certain it's not. Because it's so hard to feel that edge and know where it is I don't have a lot of trust in the tires. Tire warmers have helped with this mental tick knowing that they are "as warm as they can be" but there's still a lot of mistrust in my mind. Until I actually trust them and head out to the outer limits of traction I'll never fully understand "how much" traction is available. The BMW's traction control system and the datalogger is hugely helpful. The TC system is there to save me from big mistakes and the datalogger can show me what's going on with the traction. Eventually I'll be able to correlate the sensation with the data.

 

The idea of "trusting my tires" came from a friend of mine who's a rather accomplished rider. He noticed a number of things about my riding towing me around a track and gave me a list of things I should look at improving. One of those things was trusting my tires. A number of his suggestions have helped already. For a while I was never receptive to advice but lately I have been approaching things with a bit more of an open mind. You never know until you try. I'm ready to try trusting my tires.

 

My approach to doing this is going to be to take it easy and gradually increase speed until I feel the feedback from the tires or see increased slip from the datalogger (the discharge drill for different reasons). Some of this is going to be blind trust much like the trust I had in you following you around Barber almost certain I was going to crash during Level 1 and 2. I have read Keith's books and do realize that some traction issues can be misleading and sometimes trick you into thinking that's as fast as you can go. At the same time you have to get to that edge to even begin intelligently evaluating those options. What I'm not interested in is learning to charge corners. I already know better. :)

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That is an intelligent and well thought-out answer, thank you. I hear the advice "trust your tires" thrown around a lot at track days, and I was never quite sure what people could do with that advice - it's pretty vague. However, you have outlined a systematic approach to work toward the traction limits of your tires without triggering SRs and with good measurable feedback (data logger and traction control) to track your progress and give you additional info beyond just how the tires feel to you. Good job.

 

It's always scary to think about riding without maximum possible traction, but I'll say that I learned a LOT about traction riding on some tires that were over cooked and had gotten slippery. Once I felt that bit of slipping and knew the sensation, my fear of the unknowns of traction limits was greatly reduced; I had a much better idea of what to expect. I imagine that the riding you have done in the wet has prepared you well for recognizing it when you really do start pushing the limits of traction in the dry. With the technology you have in the bike and tires and your good riding technique, you will have to be riding really hard to start squirming or sliding the tires; some riders recommend doing some riding on downgraded (less race-oriented) tires, to create an opportunity to feel the tires move around more.

 

Have you read Keith's article, "The Bands of Traction"?

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running the same tires longer is alternative to switching to downgraded rubber, I know when I'm pushing the limits of my Q3's life-cycle its much easier to find the limit of its available traction.

 

as to the original question,

 

Off season plans include,

 

adjusting my R6 to accommodate a GPA-Pro Rear tire without it rubbing on the swing arm :blink:

and hopefully lots seat time on my dirt bike

and perhaps committing to a physical training regime, Keith says Pilates is supposed to be great for track riding

 

 

Tyler

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That is an intelligent and well thought-out answer, thank you. I hear the advice "trust your tires" thrown around a lot at track days, and I was never quite sure what people could do with that advice - it's pretty vague. However, you have outlined a systematic approach to work toward the traction limits of your tires without triggering SRs and with good measurable feedback (data logger and traction control) to track your progress and give you additional info beyond just how the tires feel to you. Good job.

 

It's always scary to think about riding without maximum possible traction, but I'll say that I learned a LOT about traction riding on some tires that were over cooked and had gotten slippery. Once I felt that bit of slipping and knew the sensation, my fear of the unknowns of traction limits was greatly reduced; I had a much better idea of what to expect. I imagine that the riding you have done in the wet has prepared you well for recognizing it when you really do start pushing the limits of traction in the dry. With the technology you have in the bike and tires and your good riding technique, you will have to be riding really hard to start squirming or sliding the tires; some riders recommend doing some riding on downgraded (less race-oriented) tires, to create an opportunity to feel the tires move around more.

 

Have you read Keith's article, "The Bands of Traction"?

 

Hotfoot. On the Article no I had not. Until just a few moments ago. Whoa! I think I'm going to read that again. Thank you for that!

 

The funny thing about advice you hear around track days. Some of it actually does make sense if you do some digging and find out the why. I rejected a lot of the advice I got in the past because nobody could explain the why logically. I'm taking a slightly different approach now and I hear and listen to the advice and dig for my own why. Sometimes you get some bad advice but at least hearing it and fact checking it for yourself it's always informative even if it is to fully understand why it does not work. Doing your own research misinformation is as powerful and good information as both are an opportunity to learn.

 

I may (like many other things) be over thinking this. Perhaps the advice "trust your tires" is a clever way of telling me to stop over thinking and just ride. That's the plan for next year.

 

What's most ironic though about the timing of this conversation is the temperature I will be riding in on the upcoming track day. It's going to be in the 50's all day on a track with mostly right hand turns. Lefts are going to be quite interesting on cold tires. Perhaps I'll learn more about dry traction than I think. Wish me luck! Thank you again for that article!

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Our off season here is pretty short, but my plans are to make the SuperSingle easier to work on - it has a lot of odd fasteners and spacers and stacked washers to make all the bodywork and various parts and accessories fit. I want to streamline all that so that it is easier to remove fairings, wheels, timers, etc. without having to deal with a ton of little parts and having to use such a variety of different tools. It may require building some custom parts, but after racing it a whole season and taking the fairing off a thousand times, it certainly seems worth it to make that process faster and easier!

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Our off season here is pretty short, but my plans are to make the SuperSingle easier to work on - it has a lot of odd fasteners and spacers and stacked washers to make all the bodywork and various parts and accessories fit. I want to streamline all that so that it is easier to remove fairings, wheels, timers, etc. without having to deal with a ton of little parts and having to use such a variety of different tools. It may require building some custom parts, but after racing it a whole season and taking the fairing off a thousand times, it certainly seems worth it to make that process faster and easier!

 

LOL. I'm glad I'm not the only person that has a bike with insane fasteners! Taking the bodywork off of my FZR400 requires the same level or organization. Fasteners that fit in one part of the bodywork does not fit in others. Misplace one washer bolt or screw and you spend a ton of time figuring it out again.

 

Have you considered doing DZUS fasteners? My MV came from the factory with DZUS fasteners for all the bodywork. In about 2 minutes you can bring it down to a bare bike.

 

Kurvey Girl sells a good selection of various sized DZUS fittings with nice drawings and measurements so you know exactly what you are getting.

 

http://www.kurveygirl.com/shop/index.php?cPath=104

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Dzus fasteners are the bomb. Love them, have them on both bikes - I can drop the belly pan on the MD250H without even getting off the bike! The Supersingle has Dzus fasteners that connect the top and bottom fairings - those are easy but there are weird spacers behind the fairing stays plus the frame sliders have to come off to remove the lower fairing, so there is some work to do still. :)

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So a question about trusting the tires - and that was a great tip to read "Bands of Traction" - How is the slide bike used at the school's that have it available? Can it be used to feel what the edge of traction feels like as it progresses to a full power-on drift?

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Yes that is exactly what it is used for, good point and thanks for bringing that up. Level 4 students, or students at a 2 day camp, can ride the slide bike if qualified by their coach. The student must demonstrate solid body position, good throttle control and a good pickup, to progress to trying to slide the bike.

 

It's a really cool. :)

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1) find replacement rear shocks (10K miles and the oil inside is spent , gotta get some new ones)

2) work out and be ready to look good at the beach in summer

3) hopefully save up for a much bigger bike like the MT-07(current = 125CC 4T scooter)

4) revise TOTW 2 (book + video)

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I can scratch one of my goals for next year off the list. Wheelies no longer bother me.

 

I borrowed a friends highly tuned S1K's for a few laps. Being the responsible type I stuck it in rain mode right away and was really respectful of the extra power it has. When I was coming down the straight and slowly and carefully rolling on the throttle (I smash mine open but on this one it's not a good idea) the engine suddenly was in the sweet spot of power and the wheel just came right off the ground and stayed there. I was horrified at first but then was laughing like a crazy person after the wheel landed. I completely understand the obsession many people have with them now. :)

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I'll likely spend the better part of next month:

 

- installing new wheels with some new rubber (or i might just wait for 1st track day to get the tires). Might get new rotors, etc. too so I have two complete wheel sets (1 for rain, 1 for dry).

- might install new Ohlins on both ends. Do I need it? No. But I like to tinker.

- install new BMW HP seat that just arrived.

- change oil, coolant, and brake fluid.

- disassemble to some degree and clean brakes, frame, engine as best as possible.

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upgrading the ABS on my bike (apparently I can get the upgrade to the 2015)

getting in shape (physically)

suspension tackling

body positioning (upper body just will not listen and relax and lay on that tank making me and the tank one)

bend those elbows and drop them to the tank more efficiently

staying smooth and working as one with the bike

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upgrading the ABS on my bike (apparently I can get the upgrade to the 2015)

getting in shape (physically)

suspension tackling

body positioning (upper body just will not listen and relax and lay on that tank making me and the tank one)

bend those elbows and drop them to the tank more efficiently

staying smooth and working as one with the bike

 

Those sound like some great goals. Looking forward to riding with you again in 2015 and doing CSS @ Barber again!

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Get on the slide bike! such a great tool. Unlike cars that are wayyy more forgiving in a slide or oops when the traction limit is crossed, i feel there isnt much feedback (noise especially) to be heard from bike tires. To find and feel the slip of the bike tire WITHOUT crossing the line is something special. It was an eye opener when my coach on the slide bike told me- (paraphrasing) ideally, thats what every corner exit should be like!

 

 

As for the original question of 'off season'..

 

- Increase physical endurance and core strength.

 

- Have the bike(s) ready for the track long before the event and not the night prior!

 

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I really want to do the slide bike this year. Hopefully it's available at Barber (hint hint) :)

 

Whats this being prepared thing? There's nothing quite like loading items minutes before you depart to get your blood pumping and give you that "what did I forget" feeling all the way to the track. :)

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I hate living in Arizona. Unless we travel, our season starts in Sep-Oct and is over Apr-May. We lose as much time due to heat as the northern states lose to snow/cold. I'm back in school, so I'm taking advantage of having to write papers and am writing about motorcycle related topics (currently working on counter-steering) when I get the chance. I'm trying to do 4-5 trackdays a year while in school so I can keep up with my riding.

 

The last trackday I worked on my lines. Playing with and progressing turn-points, apex, exit points. I've started riding a track that I haven't ridden in about 8 years when I first started track riding, so it was interesting to compare it to what I used to to. I keep notes on the tracks I ride.

 

I threw some quick turn practicing in there as well.

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