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lampstax

Struggling With Mid Corner Speed And Lean Angle

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I'm a slow learner it seems. After 2-3 years of doing trackdays, I'm still relatively slow riding in the beginner's group and I've yet to drag my knee more than a split second ( without crashing anyways ).


After working with a coach at my last trackday, I was able to identify my biggest weakness as a fear or leaning, and it is causing me to reduce my entry / mid corner to a level where its killing my laptime.

Especially shameful if you consider that I'm on an SV, a bike meant to teach your corner speed.


For the rest of this year, my goal is to build up corner speed. And this is where I need your help!


I'm told to practice this drill:


1. Adjust my brake marker out further so I'm not charging into the turn.

2. Focus on where I release my brake marker, and adjusting that to build up higher corner entry speed.

3. Once I enter the corner, practice increasing mid corner speed by slowly and carefully accelerating with more throttle.


My question is does those steps sound correct to everyone ? If yes, then where does adding lean angle fit into all that ?


If I follow step 1-3 and get into the corner faster with the same lean angle I use with my current slower speed, my line will widen and I'll run off track.

I have to lean more ( which is easier said that done ) to offset the higher speed, but when should my lean be 'completed' I assume between step 2 and step 3 since I would want to avoid adding throttle and lean angle at the same time. Just seems to me there's not much time there to work on figuring out how much lean angle to add along with adapting to the higher speed. Seems like there's a middle step missing from this drill.


I think I would benefit greatly from using the lean bike in the Level 2 class. Unfortunately, its not available at my local track ( Sonoma Raceway ) for a few more months. I have a couple of normal trackdays prior to that date and I want to use those trackdays to work on this drill if I can figure out the lean angle stuff.


Any tips would be appreciated. I'm also open to suggestions for other drills.


Thanks!

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Lampstax;

Other than adjusting and focusing on your brake marker, your tasks exclude one of the most important aspect of cornering - visual drills. The two step/ three step and wide view drills will have a far greater impact on your cornering than anything else you can do. Certainly throttle control is important but unless you know where you are and where you're going everything else will suffer. You can't carry higher corner speed without the confidence of knowing you can make the exit.

If you can improve your visual skills the rest is pretty easy.

Rainman

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Hey. Don't worry. You aren't the only one with this problem. I'm a level 4 student and I'm dealing with the same issue from time to time. Despite the school's amazing training I occasionally revert back to "what I know" which tends to slow me down.

 

I agree with Kevin. Visual skills will allow you to carry the corner speed that you need in order to get the lean angle you desire.

 

It's important however to look at how all of this works together. Lean angle turns the bike. The slower the speed the less lean you need to get through the corner. The better the body position the less lean you need as well. I was quite puzzled for a while when I got better at body position and suddenly was no longer using all of my tire. :)

 

Working on your visual skills to get you through the corner is what you want to do. Don't worry about the lean angle or knee dragging. It's a byproduct of higher corner speeds and "getting it right".

 

One thing that's a bit unconventional that's helped me tremendously was a 2up ride with a fast rider. Feeling the cornering forces from a faster rider and being able to know you have traction at higher speeds works wonders on your internal speedometer. I got off of the back of my friend's bike and got back on my own and was 12 seconds a lap faster without really trying. Fair warning though. The first few corners on the back of your friends bike will set off every panic button you have. Pick someone you really trust who has lots of experience with passengers. My friend happened to be Nate Kern the BMW factory test rider. Here's a video of someone else doing a 2up ride with Nate.

 

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I was in a similar place three years ago and came to this forum for help. Here is the thread, which documents my progress:

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=3438&hl=%2Btrust+%2Btires

 

Long story short, the biggest jump came for me once I forced myself to start turning the bike a lot harder (quick turn). That was easy to do and really got me to start understanding just exactly how much traction was available. Your issue might be totally different but I'll bet you can pick up some useful stuff from that thread.

 

Other things that really helped me were getting more relaxed on the bars, especially mid-corner, and progressively ramping up my entry speeds on corners where I found I had lots of extra room at the exit. It is amazing how thrilling it can be chucking the bike into a particular corner even just a few mph faster than you ever have before. In reality it is nothing but it FEELS really different and takes some courage. Then you get to the exit and think "hmm...could have done that a lot faster still". I am not saying that you should try to terrify yourself (that can trigger SRs), but expect to at least excite yourself a little as you increase your speeds.

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......... If I follow step 1-3 and get into the corner faster with the same lean angle I use with my current slower speed, my line will widen and I'll run off track.
I have to lean more ( which is easier said that done ) to offset the higher speed, but when should my lean be 'completed' I assume between step 2 and step 3 since I would want to avoid adding throttle and lean angle at the same time. Just seems to me there's not much time there to work on figuring out how much lean angle to add along with adapting to the higher speed. Seems like there's a middle step missing from this drill........

 

 

I believe that it is very important to understand that you do not directly select a certain angle of lean.

That angle is the natural result of two things only:

 

1) The speed of the bike during the time that the bike is turning.

 

2) The radius of the line that the bike is describing on that curve.

 

If in a vertical position, you and your bike are in balance while moving along a straight line because the force of gravity is pulling down in a vertical direction.

 

As soon as you and your bike start moving along a circular trajectory, the combination of the centrifugal force and the weight results in a force that is greater than the weight and that pulls along a diagonal angle (an angle between vertical and horizontal, which equals the lean angle).

Either you and your bike get aligned with the direction of that force, achieving a new balance, or you fall.

 

Returning to 1 and 2 above, radius is imposed by the geometry of the curve; therefore, speed is the only factor over which you have control.

You determine your entry speed for a particular curve and the lean angle naturally follows that decision; then, subconsciously you adapt the inclination of your body and bike to meet that angle ........ or you and bike fall.

If seating centered on the bike, your body weight will always be pushing perpendicularly to the surface of your seat.

As the lean angle increases, that force pushing against the seat (and compressing the suspension of the bike) also increases.

If you reach 45 degrees of lean, that force pushing against the seat will feel 140% higher than the force that you feel when riding along a straight line.

 

The limit you are hitting is psychological rather than physical.

Our mind is wired to keep balance for forces pulling straight down: our own weight.

You need to learn to keep balanced for the diagonal forces explained above, which are not natural to your mind: motorcycling is not a natural activity, it must be learned.

Following the basic principles of cornering explained in "A twist of the wrist", you will not reach the physical limit of traction for any lean angle between zero and 40 degrees.

Your mind, however, will naturally be in alarm mode for any angle beyond 15 to 20 degrees.

 

Higher entry speed results in higher lean angle: as you fear uncomfortable lean angles, you over-cautiously moderate your entry speed.

 

For a better understanding of these things, I recommend you reading these two articles:

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=310

 

http://forums.superbikeschool.com/index.php?showtopic=3723

 

lean%20angle%20pic%20crop.jpg

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I'm a slow learner it seems. After 2-3 years of doing trackdays, I'm still relatively slow riding in the beginner's group and I've yet to drag my knee more than a split second ( without crashing anyways ).
After working with a coach at my last trackday, I was able to identify my biggest weakness as a fear or leaning, and it is causing me to reduce my entry / mid corner to a level where its killing my laptime.
Especially shameful if you consider that I'm on an SV, a bike meant to teach your corner speed.
For the rest of this year, my goal is to build up corner speed. And this is where I need your help!
I'm told to practice this drill:
1. Adjust my brake marker out further so I'm not charging into the turn.
2. Focus on where I release my brake marker, and adjusting that to build up higher corner entry speed.
3. Once I enter the corner, practice increasing mid corner speed by slowly and carefully accelerating with more throttle.
My question is does those steps sound correct to everyone ? If yes, then where does adding lean angle fit into all that ?
If I follow step 1-3 and get into the corner faster with the same lean angle I use with my current slower speed, my line will widen and I'll run off track.
I have to lean more ( which is easier said that done ) to offset the higher speed, but when should my lean be 'completed' I assume between step 2 and step 3 since I would want to avoid adding throttle and lean angle at the same time. Just seems to me there's not much time there to work on figuring out how much lean angle to add along with adapting to the higher speed. Seems like there's a middle step missing from this drill.
I think I would benefit greatly from using the lean bike in the Level 2 class. Unfortunately, its not available at my local track ( Sonoma Raceway ) for a few more months. I have a couple of normal trackdays prior to that date and I want to use those trackdays to work on this drill if I can figure out the lean angle stuff.
Any tips would be appreciated. I'm also open to suggestions for other drills.
Thanks!

 

 

I agree with the multiple comments above that focusing on the lean angle itself may not be the answer. Good visual skills (including reference points to get you located) and good technique (proper steering, relaxed on the bars, secure body position) will lead to a greater comfort level at speed, which will lead naturally to more lean. In the meantime, if the lean angle itself makes you uncomfortable, consider finding a body position that allows you to hang off more and thus reduce your lean angle, and improve your quick turn skills so that you can use less lean angle later in the turn.

 

In working with students at the school, fear of leaning the bike very often turns out to be caused by something else, often a weakness in visual skills or steering, so getting to a school to work with a coach to identify the problem would be best, if that is possible.

 

How far ahead do you look when you ride?

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Ah lapstax... I think I feel the underlying issue here.

 

I will start by asking you a question and make a comment. What is it about SV's and other smaller displacement bikes that makes them a teaching tool for corner speed? And don't make things more complicated than what they are, riding at higher skill levels comes with understanding that the rider does more of the "fineness" and the bike does more of the "hard work". From the riders point of view, keep it simple. You might be inclined to ride the lean bike, but I believe you would benefit more from the steering drill/visual drills and applying those skills on track.

 

Whenever someone asks me about entry speed, lean and carrying speed through corners, I immediately think about steering, turn in points and throttle control. How do you feel about steering your bike? Do you push the bar down? Do you push the bar forward? Maybe you push the bar at some angle? Which way should you push the bar to turn the bike? Basically, if the rider cannot turn the bike quickly enough to make the line, they have to slow down to account for the slower steering input. Yep, it subtle like that.

 

The secret sauce to corner entry speed can be found in your skill and confidence to steer your bike quickly and accurately enough to make the line, at your target entry speed. And following up that steering input with a good, smooth throttle roll, assists the bike in providing you with the feeling of stability throughout the corner that we all look for. Once we have those 3 things in place, the fear of lean angle should decrease all on it's own. :) Perhaps your lack of mid corner confidence is subtly disguised as "guesswork" or "lack of anything consistent" lap to lap. So let's work on that. Once you have a "constant" then you can start "adjusting" things to match your goals. What is a constant on every corner that you could use to build a line? How bout the apex? Once you have identified the apex, you can begin to work a turn in point that enables you to build and ride a line that obeys rule #1 (a smooth continuous roll on). While that turn in point and entry speed may not warrant a knee drag lean angle, once you have established a baseline with confidence, you will have something to measure your progress by. From there you can start adjusting braking markers and keep working on the speed you steer the bike (quick flick). The faster you can steer... the later and faster you can enter and don't forget to "RELAX"! Pretty simple stuff. :)

 

Good luck, take a school and let us know how it goes.

 

 

EDIT: dang it.... hotfoot beat me to the post. lol

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Thanks for everyone reply. I've been peeking a bit but finally have the time to sit down and really type out my replies.

 

First, the reason I think an SV ( and other small bikes ) teach you corner speed is many. First is the top speed is slower, thus not allowing you to charge a turn as much. The slower speed allows you to more accurately set the entry speed because trying to brake from perhaps 80 or 100mph into a 60 mph turn is not as hard or scary as coming into the same 60mph turn at 145mph on a Panigale. Plus the smaller 160 tires on the SV plus or the 130-140 tire on the 250Rs allow a quicker turn in. Throttle is more forgiving allowing you to roll on earlier / faster mid corner. The weight is less, making the bike more easier to 'toss' into a turn. And the relative low cost of damage in case of a cash means you're not riding around at 50% because your wife will kill you if you put a scratch on it.

 

Most of you have touched on visual skill. This is something I had not thought about since I simply assumed I was doing it correctly. Even if not expert levels like some of you guys, but not wouldn't think it was the weakest link in my chain either.

 

Reason for my assumption is because I'm able to replicate my lines pretty accurately around my track, or at least that's what my GPS data tells me, and I'm not feeling 'lost' in a corner. I'm able to hit my markers as well as my apex pretty constantly. To me those are indicators that I'm looking far ahead enough in the turn and have decent visual skills.

 

The problem is although I’m constant and hitting my apex / marker, its constantly at a much reduced speed than what I know the bike / tire is capable of.

 

 

Lnewqban .. your questions makes me go "hmm" and reflect on my current turn in techniques. You're certainly right that I do not and simply cannot directly select an exact lean angle.

 

I don’t currently go into a corner thinking .. 23 deg for this left turn .. 33 degree for the next right, so it certainly makes sense that can't 'choose' to add exactly 5 more degree of lean angle consciously.

 

So how am I mentally selecting my lean angle for each turn currently?

 

You answered this I think, when you said, “You determine your entry speed for a particular curve and the lean angle naturally follows that decision; then, subconsciously you adapt the inclination of your body and bike to meet that angle ........ or you and bike fall”.

 

That’s seems crazy to me that the subconscious can just figure this out, but I guess its really true and that’s what has been letting me make it through turns so far since I’m not consciously selecting a lean angle. I guess this become a matter of just growing a bigger set of balls to throw myself into the corner at a higher speed and trust that my subconscious will have the experience necessary to find the “natural” lean angle make it through and not put me on the ground ? Seems like a leap of faith that can end badly.

 

As for steering input, I push the bar at an angle and have never thought to measure how fast my input was. I've heard of Keith's quick flick steering but have not tried it yet. Something about that technique is very intimidating to me. Maybe because I’m too consciously thinking about lean angle for each corner that I default to a slower steering to allow myself time for corrections ? That's just an off the top off my head guess, but the solution seems to be again trust and take the leap of faith.

 

Thanks all. Lots of food for thought here. Maybe a few points that you guys made that I've missed / glossed on. Apologies for that.

 

I'm definitely looking forward to my school dates.

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Lnewqban .. your questions makes me go "hmm". You're certainly right that I do not and can not directly select an exact lean angle. On reflection, its not like I currently go into a corner now thinking .. 23 deg for this left turn .. 33 degree for the next right. So I certainly can't 'choose' to add exactly 5 more degree of lean angle consciously.

Now this makes me ask myself, so how am I mentally selecting my lean angle for each turn currently ? Perhaps once I am able to answer this question, everything else will become clear.

 

You did say that lean angle is a "natural result" of speed and radius. I'm sorry but that is not making sense to me. A bike with no rider on it doesn't want to lean or turn. It naturally wants to run straight and up right. So then it becomes the job of the rider to set the lean angle required via steering and the rider can certainly select incorrectly less lean angle and run off track, or too much lean angle and risk a low side. Or at least this is my understanding of it. So I'm having a hard time understanding how lean is a natural result.

 

This brings me to steering input. I push the bar at an angle and have never thought to measure how fast my input was. I've heard of Keith's quick flick steering but have not tried it yet. Something about that technique is very intimidating to me. Maybe because subconsciously I don't know how I select a lean angle, I default to a slower steering to allow myself time for corrections ?

 

Please, excuse me if my attempts to explain the forces of circular movement have confused you.

I will keep it simple, because I believe that it is extremely important in your case to become familiar with the dynamics of any turn.

 

How am I mentally selecting my lean angle for each turn currently?

Like everyone of us, you are using your sense of balance to keep the bike from falling down, as you are transferring from one state of balance (for vertical force pulling you+bike / before the turn) to a new state of balance (for diagonal force pulling you+bike / during the turn).

 

Just imagine that you are standing on a platform that is still (but can turn) and that you have a broom balancing upside-down on the palm of your hand.

You are using your sense of balance to keep the broom from falling down and the broom remains more or less vertical.

 

Next, the platform begins a slow rotation.

You keep using your sense of balance to keep the broom from falling down, but now the broom adopts a balance position that is not vertical anymore.

I don't need to tell you how much faster I am going to spin the platform, you still will be able to keep the broom from falling down (as you will see the broom adopt a balance position that is more diagonal and away from vertical).

 

So then it becomes the job of the rider to set the lean angle required via steering and the rider can certainly select incorrectly less lean angle and run off track, or too much lean angle and risk a low side.

Let's not to discuss the process of transition from straight to circular trajectory and vice-verse for keeping it simple and focused on lean angle.

Unless forced to move in a circular trajectory, all objects (including motorcycles) either remain in repose or moving along a straight line.

 

The rider did force the bike to enter a curve of the track (to initiate a circular trajectory).

The balance of forces (weight and centrifugal) took over and kept the bike turning.

At this point, think of a rolling coin describing a circle by itself.

In the same way, any properly set motorcycle that is banked (in balance respect to the lean angle) and describing a circular movement will remain on that circular path with minimum input from the rider.

 

Your statement is not accurate because the rider cannot select a lean angle; the job of the rider (after counter-steering to initiate a lean) is to set the precise steering deviation between both tires that is needed for the bike to follow the curve of the track (let's assume that he/she is following a constant radius curve of a very narrow track; hence, no apex and the ideal single steering input) ..... and to keep balance (finding the proper lean angle via his/her sense of balance).

Once the proper lean angle is reached, all forces are balanced (like in the case of the rolling coin) and the rider does not need to apply more steering inputs until the end of the turn.

 

The rider can certainly select incorrectly less steering input and run off track (carrying less lean angle), or too much steering input and over-turn (carrying more lean angle).

In those cases, the rider is selecting a turn of less or more radius, and as a consequence, the lean angle will be less or more (if the speed remains the same).

 

I push the bar at an angle and have never thought to measure how fast my input was.

That is part of the transition from vertical balance (straight trajectory) to leaned balance (circular trajectory).

The speed with which the transition happens (how quick you toss the bike into the turn) does not depend on how fast but for how long the counter-steering input is applied.

 

The slower this process takes, the more lean angle you will end up with.

The reason is that it is like the rider selects incorrectly less steering input during the first third of the turn (running off track / carrying less lean angle) only to be forced to select more steering input during the second third of the turn (over-turning / carrying excessive and dangerous lean angle around the apex).

Think of the bike describing a semi-ellipse rather than a semi-circle.

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Lnewqban .. please don't misunderstand that I'm ungrateful for your advice / explaination because I said it confused me. If my "internet tone" sounded that way, I apologize. Its a good thing ( in most cases ) when someone forces me to go "hmmm" and question what I thought I knew. Your example about the broom makes perfect sense to me. :)

 

Your entire follow up explanation actually just triggered a light bulb moment in my head. I'll re read it a few more times to make sure, but I think I understand now why you say the lean angle is natural. When I make steering input, the purpose of the steering input is just that .. to steer. To keep my bike on the trajectory that I want. Nothing more. If I'm able to keep on my trajectory at my speed, then my lean angle is in the appropriate range for that turn radius / speed .. "naturally". If I add a few mph to my entry speed and still steered enough to make the turn, connecting the dots, then either I've naturally added lean angle without even realizing it to compensate for the added speed, or I've remained at the same angle and still made the turn meaning my previous lean angle was excessive for the speed I was carrying. Light bulb !

 

So I think coming back to my original question, my drill isn't missing any pieces. I was over analyzing and over complicating things. Doh!

 

Now for steering ...

 

The speed with which the transition happens (how quick you toss the bike into the turn) does not depend on how fast but for how long the counter-steering input is applied.

 

The slower this process takes, the more lean angle you will end up with.

 

Hmmmm .. ( good way ). :)

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Lnewqban .. please don't misunderstand that I'm ungrateful for your advice / explaination because I said it confused me. If my "internet tone" sounded that way, I apologize.

 

Light bulb !

 

So I think coming back to my original question, my drill isn't missing any pieces. I was over analyzing and over complicating things. Doh!

 

 

 

No apologies needed, we are good.

That light bulb makes me happy.

 

Yes, it is a complicated process when we think about it, but when we learn to feel the bike and the road, riding well becomes a natural sequence that flows smoothly.

 

I have found this old video, which summarizes our discussion:

 

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Couple of thoughts;


While your visual skills might be in somewhat good working order, time = space, And as a coach, I can't tell you how many times I hear... "look through the corner as far as you can". Sorry... but what you look at, when you look at it and for how long you look at it, REALLY does matter. If you're visually fixated on your turn in point or so far ahead and don't have a visual lock on the apex, how does one expect to be confident with the amount of steering that needs to be done at a given speed? When would you like to know this info? Before the turn? When you start to release your brakes? How about while your turning? Your subconscious SR's tend to help keep your speed and lean angle in check when you don't have all the information needed to build an action plan to take corner.


For example, one might see an approaching corner;

Get tight on the bars (SR #2) due to high speed

This causes their FOV to narrow because we commonly focus on where we want to turn and where we don't want to go (SR #3)

Which causes braking and steering issues (SR #7 & #5)

Now the apex is no longer the primary focus (entry speed and your current location on the track is the focus), the visual timing is off and causes visual "hunting" back and forth from where you are vs. where you want to go (SR #3 again + #4)

The bike then may feel hard to steer and twitchy, because we are tight on the bars and still under heavy braking to get our entry speed under in check (SR #6 ineffective steering)

Now the bike may be running wide due to ineffective steering/braking or entering with too much speed and cause throttle control issues (SR #1) and/or midcorner steering corrections (which commonly causes low sides due to adding lean + throttle at the same time)

ect..

ect..


Sound familiar? Classic charging a corner. Let's see... that would be all 7 SR's.


ALL of those problems are solved by good throttle control, selecting a good turn in point, good steering skills, staying relaxed and good visual skills,. You will cover ALL of these skills in a level 1 CSS school, in just about that order too.

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Something I learned the hard way is it really does not matter what bike you are riding. Riding issues follow you on any bike no matter how big or small it is. Visual issues are much the same approaching a corner on a S1000RR at 160mph as it would an SV or a 250 at their slower speeds. Granted the consequences and SR's are slightly more pronounced at higher speeds but the problem and result is much the same. I have "parked it" heading into corners on both little 400cc machines and big 1L bikes because of the same visual issues. Unfortunately reducing power output and increasing handling does not fix rider error. It just makes it slightly less noticeable.

 

One other thing that I learned the hard way is while it's important to fully understand the physics it's really easy to over think things. Coming up on a corner at high speed is the last place you want extraneous thoughts and doubt in your mind.

 

The last thing I will touch on is faith. Something I am finally starting to have myself. It takes a lot of faith to know that your tires are going to stick since starting out there's not really a lot of ways to "sample" that traction safely. It's a huge unknown at first.

 

I have a notebook where I keep notes on my riding. I have a quote that helps me a LOT when it comes to matters of faith.

 

"Trust yourself, Trust your abilities, Trust the amazing engineering under you and RELAX! You will be just fine"

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I just came back from 2 days at the track. Prior to the first day, I reviewed this thread and reminded myself to not worry about lean angle and just worry about increasing speed progressively and staying on the correct line. Lean angle will become the natural by product if I can get these two things correct.

 

First session of the first day, I found myself with shifting issues. A new adjustable clutch lever was installed and not adjusted properly. It worked fine for parking lot stuff but when I'm trying to downshift at speed, even with me focused on being as smooth as I can with clutch release, the rear still was wagging around way more than I was comfortable with. Not wanting to waste a session, I said to myself .. forget shifting ( actually the other f word .. lol ) .. and did the entire track in 5th gear. My 650 was making pretty much 250 power through most of the track.

 

This "problem" turned out to be one of the biggest lucky break for me in term of learning. Without the need to shift or get distracted with trying to 'push for a lap time' I was very relaxed coming into a corner. Plenty of time to setup my turn in speed. My entire focus was corner speed and staying on my line. Then I realized it. Mid corner, on every corner, I was un-countersteering. Pulling on the inside bar just a bit ( perhaps half an inch ? ) because I wasn't properly locked onto the bike, so at a certain lean angle, my BP put weights back on the bars and I sub consciously pulled on the inside bar. So when my brain is screaming for me to lean the bike more to keep on the line, my subconscious was doing the opposite and taking away lean angle. Perhaps that is an SR ? Regardless, it took all the freed up brain space from being relaxed for me to notice this little twitch of mine. I doubt any coach would have been able to catch that half inch movement following me.

 

I ended up liking the 1 gear approach so much that I continued to ride using only 4 and 5 gear the next few sessions even after my shifting issue was sorted. I worked on fixing my outer foot position to provide a better lock between rear set and gas tank to hold my weight during corner entry. I worked on weighing the inner peg just before tipping in to stabilize the bike. I worked consciously to be as light on the bar as possible mid turn. Soon enough, I was coming into the corner faster than I ever have, then carrying that speed and also be able to get back on the gas harder and earlier than I ever did before to drive out of the corner AND STILL STAY ON MY LINE.

 

The 4th session of the day, while the photographer was stationed at the posing spot ( a long constant radius sweeper corner ), I felt a surprising nudge on my knee just before getting on the gas to exit. WOO HOO!!

 

33bilae.jpg

 

 

I had done it, and best of all, I knew HOW to do it and was able to repeat it again and again .. in that spot. For the next session continued into day 2, I kept at the lesson plan. Increase entry speed, increase mid corner speed, be light on handle bar to be able to stay on my line. Eventually I added a few more tweaks of body positioning like rotating my inner wrist to a screw driver position to keep even less weight on the bars but unfortunately still couldn't manage to touch down on any other corner.

 

I found the following "new" problems to fix.

 

1. My boots ( Axo Aragons ) don't have the 'nonslip' contact patch in the right place. So when I try to lock my foot to the rearset ( Woodcraft ), I don't have as stable an attachment as I would like. It forces me to really have to use a lot of muscle to push into the rearset, which caused some leg cramping issues. I'm looking around for new boots now but figure I would bring that up in case its a technique issue.

 

2. I'm much much stronger on my left side than on my right. Its way easier to control the throttle when my throttle hand is on the outside. I'm told this is normal and will come with more practice.

 

3. I'm still steering too slowly. Even on that posing corner, I wasn't able to knee down until almost on the exit. I see faster control rider on their knees from the entry.

 

Even with these new problems, I'm way faster than before. My time puts me into the intermediate group, but since I'm much slower on my right, I feel like I would be too unpredictable and a danger to riders in a faster group so I'm sticking to the beginner's group for a while longer. Thanks everyone for their input. This thread truly helped me a lot.

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First of all, THAT IS AWESOME. Great job on using your freed-up attention to observe exactly what was happening and pinpoint the problem, and then fix it! That is really great, and thank you for sharing your success with us. It's terrific that you were able to acknowledge the shifting issue and then just let it go, and fantastic that it happened to force you to slow down and remove the entry speed and shifting distractions. The best part of this whole thing is that you were able to turn it to your advantage and really make a big change in your riding.

 

As far as whether a coach could observe that very slight counter-steer - it definitely can be observed, it is not an uncommon problem to have some sort of resistance, weight or tension on the bars. It is most easily observed by following a student closely and using the exact same throttle control; if I am following a student at the exact same speed and throttle and my bike stays on a tighter line (without me making any steering or body adjustments) that is usually an indicator that the student has some sort of tension on the bars causing his/her line to widen unnecessarily. (It can be seen in the mirrors when leading, too, actually.) There are other indicators; certain body positions tend to cause tension, the students arm and knee positions can give away instability in the body, and the movement of a student's body over bumps (or the bike's reaction) often reveals tensions or a weak base of support.

 

For me, when I am racing, if I am following or trying to pass someone and I notice they are maintaining a tighter line than I am, at the same speed, I automatically check to see if I am tense on the bars - sometimes when I am pushing hard (trying to go fast) or when I start to get tired, some tension creeps in without me being aware of it.

 

Good that you observed the issue with the boots. Do you have a good, grippy heel guards on your rearsets? Some rearsets come with carbon fiber heel guards but I find those to be too slippery.

 

Pretty much everyone has a good side and a bad side; it IS often related to body position; pay attention to whether you are hanging off more on side than the other. Sometimes hanging the butt off too far on one side or the other creates instability.

 

As far as steering rate goes - how is your 2-step? Do you have solid reference points for TP and apex?

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I ended up liking the 1 gear approach so much that I continued to ride using only 4 and 5 gear the next few sessions even after my shifting issue was sorted.

 

IMO the "One gear No Brakes" riding format is one of the best kept secrets of the CSS school.

 

Congratulations on "First Contact", sounds like you made so major breakthroughs :D

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Thanks HotFoot, TMcKeen. I had heard about the famous / infamous no brake drill, but didn't realize it was a one gear drill too. It makes sense.

 

I guess I assumed it was hard for any coach to identify the issue because I've worked with a bunch and none has ever noted that issue to me. To be fair it has never been a CSS coach though .. so really excited about the upcoming day in Sept.

 

The track I went to this time was a track I don't know very well and have not been to for over a year so my RP is not the best. I have apex point set on most the corner, but I kept moving my TP marker around when I felt I came into a corner faster / slower than I had intended so they're rough. I could definitely work on improving my TP markers. I have been following the 2 / 3 step thread so hopefully I can put some of that to work my next time out at a track I know much better.

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Awesome post lampstax, and a great result, congratulations!

 

As a rider who was in a similar place to you not very long ago at all, I can relate exactly to everything you observed. I still am more comfortable turning left than right, although the difference is decreasing over time. I also find that relaxing on the bars to avoid unwanted steering inputs is something I have to concentrate on continuously. Judging by hotfoot's comments it seems that even very experienced riders can continue to struggle with this in certain situations.

 

As I mentioned to you previously learning how to steer the bike hard can bring another major step forward - but it sounds like you have already bought into that idea and intend to work on it.

 

I look forward to reading more about your future progress.

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Lampstax, I've been track riding for 2 years now first year ,10 novice track days I finally started getting my knee down around track day 7. This year the first 3 novice track days I was very discouraged that couldn't. I was bumped to intermediate and quickly was getting my knee down again. I was terrified to move up but what I found is if your not going fast enough you will never comfortably get there. When I was able to move at my pace instead of everyone else's it all started to make sense.

 

So my advice , have an instructor follow you and make sure you would be ok in intermediate and make the jump. Novice is excellent at getting you comfortable on the track and starting to get the basics, but than you have to find your own rhythm and keep pushing on. ?

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Lampstax, I've been track riding for 2 years now first year ,10 novice track days I finally started getting my knee down around track day 7. This year the first 3 novice track days I was very discouraged that couldn't. I was bumped to intermediate and quickly was getting my knee down again. I was terrified to move up but what I found is if your not going fast enough you will never comfortably get there. When I was able to move at my pace instead of everyone else's it all started to make sense.

 

So my advice , have an instructor follow you and make sure you would be ok in intermediate and make the jump. Novice is excellent at getting you comfortable on the track and starting to get the basics, but than you have to find your own rhythm and keep pushing on.

 

Something to keep in mind. After the beginning of the season where you have not ridden in some time you aren't going to be exactly where you were at the end of the last season. Riding is a perishable skill. Lots of people are surprised by this. Some of them even surprised with crashes because they push themselves too far.

 

One other thought. The sticker on the front of your bike has nothing to do with the capabilities of the rider. As long as the passing rules and traffic aren't an issue they don't have speed limits in any Novice group I have ever seen. Ride the group you are comfortable with. I'm currently hanging around in Novice for a while since I'm still working refining some stuff and bikes passing in my field of vision distract me. As you get faster it's great passing practice too. :)

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I only meant, trying to get your knee down without enough speed is difficult. I found in novice I couldn't get to speed to easily touch a knee. Now that I moved up it is very easy because the pace has moved up. I'll also say my buddy and I were terrified to move up working we would be the slowest and would be slowing everyone down. This didn't happen. Basically if your at the higher end of novice in pace you'll probably be middle in intermidiate. Or at least that is what happened in midohio for me.

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I only meant, trying to get your knee down without enough speed is difficult. I found in novice I couldn't get to speed to easily touch a knee. Now that I moved up it is very easy because the pace has moved up. I'll also say my buddy and I were terrified to move up working we would be the slowest and would be slowing everyone down. This didn't happen. Basically if your at the higher end of novice in pace you'll probably be middle in intermidiate. Or at least that is what happened in midohio for me.

 

Sorry if my reply seemed critical as that was not really my intent. I was just sharing some things I have observed as well as my own personal experience.

 

I notice this is your second post. Welcome to the forums! Lots of great advice and information can be found here. You will find students like myself and coaches all willing to help you figure out those "weird problems" that leave you scratching your head.

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