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rchase
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For a while now I have realized that I don't like long sweeping corners. I'm trying to understand some of the reasoning behind that.

 

Short super tight corners I have absolutely no issues getting close to maximum lean and even occasionally scraping my knee pucks. Exits out of them are no problem for me with brutal drive out.

 

Long corners on the other hand really get to me. I don't enter as fast as I can, I tend to obsess over the throttle and drive out absolutely sucks especially when there's another long corner waiting for me next.

 

Part of this I think is due to turn points and how absolutely clear cut short corners tend to be on entry and exit. Long corners on the other hand have a lot more options and entry and exit is often not as well defined. Logically long corners are easier and more forgiving.

 

Any insight is helpful. One of my most frequently visited tracks of course is all long sweeping corners and of course is mostly right hand turns which I also have issues with vs left hand turns. At least I understand the reasoning behind the preference there.

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Long corners are not easier! You already dissected them quite a bit, I'll add a few things:

 

- The apex in a long corner can be later then what we are led to believe looking at the entry

- There is less time to prepare the line

- There is less time for handle bar input and corrections during the turn

- There is more lateral G-force, thus less lateral grip. In facts the lateral G-force increases with the square of the speed (not linearly)

- Problems with suspensions and frame geometry amplifies in fast corners

 

I think a common issue some riders have with sharpe, decreasing radius corners is that all of the sudden you can't see the track in front of you. To the beginner rider that's a major problem, until he realizes track riding is first of all a memorization exercise. The long sweeping turn gives the illusion to know what's ahead of you.

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Thanks for some of that additional insight.

 

Other things that really get to me in longer corners is how often I'm forced to violate some of the "steering rules" making several mid corner corrections based on where the bike ends up because of the cornering forces. Rather than going wide often times I find myself being sucked in closer to the apex. Sometimes I can correct with the throttle but often times I have to make a steering correction to keep from running over the curbing.

 

There's one corner at Atlanta Motorsports Park that's literally my nightmare corner. I made a bit of progress there discovering I could steer with the throttle but I'm still baffled by long sweeping corners.

 

Logically one could turn a long sweeping corner into a much shorter corner by just using the throttle too but without a real understanding that could cause issues as well that I'm not really wanting to deal with. :)

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I also have problems with late apexes in fast corners. You have to make the best use of reference marks to nail the entry line because everything happens faster and there is no time to play with lines. In my experience that's half the battle, once you get the entry mark correctly it's a lot easier to nail the apex and exit line after a quick steering.

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For a while now I have realized that I don't like long sweeping corners. I'm trying to understand some of the reasoning behind that.

 

Short super tight corners I have absolutely no issues getting close to maximum lean and even occasionally scraping my knee pucks. Exits out of them are no problem for me with brutal drive out.

 

Long corners on the other hand really get to me. I don't enter as fast as I can, I tend to obsess over the throttle and drive out absolutely sucks especially when there's another long corner waiting for me next.

 

Hello fellow man! I've got the same problem :)

 

It was Cobie who pin-pointed my problem back on Big Willows in 2012: The lack of reference points ("dots") along the corner (Turn 8-9).

I simply didn't have enough reference points to feel comfortable about how fast I should be driving and where I was supposed to be .... so I was hesitating on the throttle, had erratic lines through the turn, multiple steering inputs. If there was a possible problem outcome, I had it.

 

Once Cobie made me realize that I was missing (enough) reference points to confirm myself that I was on the right line and I (again, with help from Cobie) got them knocked down, I went substantially faster through the corner. Entry speed was something like 15mph higher.

 

Does this sound in any way familiar to you?

 

(yes, sorry, it's not the normal official socratic CSS way of asking).

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That's interesting actually.

 

I made some progress the last time I was there by splitting the corners into multiple parts. Several of the turns on the track map are listed as one corner but someone pointed out to me that several of the more difficult ones are actually two turns. By thinking of them in this manner I suppose I started picking reference points for each of them and that made them less intimidating.

 

It does not really help that this track has very little in the way of reference points. Just lots of grass. I might actually see if I can talk some people into getting out the tape and doing CSS style X's on the surface for reference points.

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Spray painting is fine as long as they don't catch you doing it :D

You could choose to donate a bit of your rear rubber by stomping the rear brake here and there. There's always chalk, which will go away naturally.

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That's interesting actually.

 

I made some progress the last time I was there by splitting the corners into multiple parts. Several of the turns on the track map are listed as one corner but someone pointed out to me that several of the more difficult ones are actually two turns. By thinking of them in this manner I suppose I started picking reference points for each of them and that made them less intimidating.

 

It does not really help that this track has very little in the way of reference points. Just lots of grass. I might actually see if I can talk some people into getting out the tape and doing CSS style X's on the surface for reference points.

 

khp is thinking along the same lines I was thinking as I read your original post.

Please choose a corner - one at Barber would be nice, since I know that track - and describe to me EXACTLY what your eyes are doing as you ride up to and through that corner. If you have reference points, describe the point and what it means to you.

As you think through visual pictures of the corner, are there parts of it that are crystal clear to you, where you can call up a VERY clear picture with a lot of detail? Are there other parts of the corner that are hazy and hard to remember, or vague with less detail or blank areas?

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Hotfoot. Thanks in advance for the help.

 

The hairpin at Barber.

 

Coming in down the hill on the brakes I'm already in position. Wideview mode on. I look briefly at my turn point (the edge of the curbing) for a moment and then at the same time observe the apex of the corner. As I come closer in my view goes to the apex and keeping the turn point in my peripheral. I reach the turn point and look at the apex and turn. View change at this point to keep the apex and the exit in view. Once at the apex I quicken my throttle roll on and close to the apex once I know I'm almost clear of the corner I pin the throttle.

 

That's a quick and sharp corner. Longer corners don't seem to have many of the elements well defined. You also can't see many of the elements at the same time. At the track I have the most trouble with the apexes of the corner are completely invisible at the turn point.

 

The closest thing to one of those at Barber is Turn 2 which also gave me troubles until I got some visual reference points. Turn 2 however is nothing in comparison to some of the evil long turns I have seen.

 

In fact. With the risk of embarrassing myself. Here's a video. Please be nice. Try and see which corner I'm completely lost in.

 

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I'm sure you will get better advice from the others...but I just wanted to say, I think you are on to something when you say you have a lot more line options in longer corners. I guess I can understand how that could be disorienting...but honestly, in terms of lap times it probably doesn't matter much that you get the exact same line every time through those corners. Sure, you want to avoid running off the inside and such, but it's probably only your positioning as you approach the exit that really matters. Usually the entry to a long sweeper has multiple effective line options, and once you are turned in and at maximum lean for all of those long seconds, you can kind of drive around on different lines as you like until you approach the exit. Then you need to be in the right place to get on the throttle as soon and hard as possible as you stand the bike up.

 

Think about it. Your entry line on a short, quick corner pretty much determines where your exit is going to end up. On a long corner that's not true because once you are in the corner just circling around it you have all kinds of time to put the bike wherever you want on the track.

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Wow. That is indeed a very long, featurless corner. I see why finding reference points would be tough.

But you need them, and you need a plan for how to ride that turn, because I see a lot of waiting, and a lot of little steering corrections. Maybe take a look at a track map and DRAW your desired line first, so you can look at the whole corner at once. ANY plan is better than NO plan. (One of my favorite lessons from Keith.)

When looking at the map, draw in your existing reference points. Based on the video, I suspect they are so far apart that your eyes cannot flow from one to the next smoothly, so you end up just rolling around the bend waiting for something to appear to tell you what to do next.

If you knew FOR SURE that you were on your planned line, and what was coming next, and exactly when you could increase throttle and exactly when the exit was approaching and exactly where you would end up on the exit, would you feel more confident in your steering and throttle control?

It may be hard to find points in that turn but if you do it, your riding will change completely through there.

You can use vanishing point to keep your eyes up and vision flowing but you will likely need some actual points to tell you where you are in that corner and what to do with the throttle. For example you could use the seam to locate yourself left to right on the track (and it looks like you do use that) but that won't tell you when you can start rolling harder on the gas. It also may not be ideal to ride the corner with a constant radius - you'll have to look at the map and decide on that - but it could be beneficial to make it more elliptical so you can carry more speed in (with the bike more upright and slowing down), then have another turn point somewhere in the turn where you get it pointed for your drive OUT.

 

Your lines in the other corners look nice - good accurate apex points, confident steering and good throttle control.

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Ah... I see what is going on here via the video.

 

Seems to me you have a bit of street brain leaking into your track brain and it's having an effect on your riding. I see a rider that is hesitant to outride his vision, pretty plain and simple. I see it in your sweepers as well as your blind corners and crests. You 100% for sure need some additional reference points to confirm to your brain that you are on a safe line. Your throttle control tells the story as you don't really get into it until a final line to the exit is confirmed. Ie being hazy mid corner.

 

Picking reference points is an art form in itself, how are you skills at picking them out? You are aware that the points do not have to be on the track surface or near the track's edge right? Are you limited to 3 or can you have more? :) While the track itself is fairly dull, there are no less than 5 possible reference points though that turn. Here is an example;

 

10h92ms.jpg

 

The circled part of the fence is one of many like it through that section and can be used as reference points as well. there is a lone tree off behind the fence before you get to the new building under construction. Each of these static structures can be used. Having a wide view will assist you in keeping yourself online through the corner as you reference point is off the track surface.

 

As far as the blind corners and crests. Picking a reference point that you "can see" but is inline with an apex or exit that you can't will also work wonders.

 

So armed with that info, you can go out and pick points that work with your riding. Now for the question... how do you know you have picked a good reference point(s)? What are some signs that a reference point needs to be moved even if the line and throttle control is good through the corner?

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Thanks for the responses. Lots of information here to digest and to think about. I will be the first to admit I could probably have more reference points. Some corners "talk to me" while others don't. The ones that don't of course are long corners where I'm visually lost.

 

I did not realize this until you posted the photo and looked back at the video but the long corner that's the 3rd one in that 3 corner complex is also making me back off of the gas. That's actually a fun set of turns for me. You have to get up the hill out of the hairpin with lots of momentum. A dab of brakes and then it's all momentum up the hill. Until of course I get to the top and run out of reference points and don't really want to go near the throttle until I can see my exit again. :)

 

I tend to gravitate towards curbing and corner shapes as reference points. I think I'm going to need to expand on that toolkit a bit more as the long corners that give me the most trouble tend to be devoid of shape and curbing.

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When I first started track riding, I used to use the shape of the track to define the line and guide me to some vague reference areas. While that worked pretty well at first, all my friends became faster and I was stuck. Every time I upped the pace, I felt as if I was riding in the moment too much and guessing if I will make it through the corner as I came upon it each lap. Once I discovered the how to really take advantage of my visual skills and use reference points to define the line, I stopped building my line "from scratch" as part of my corner entry setup. I also noticed my brain was thinking ahead of where I currently was on the track. But most importantly, I stopped guess if I would make it through the corner. I simply thought of it like this, "I have points that got me through the corner once, as long as I hit those points again... I will make it through just fine this lap."

 

It's not like they are going to go out during lunch and move turn 4... :P

 

I was finally riding with 100% confidence, 100% control of where my bike was on the tarmac and 100% understanding of what was coming next. It's a GREAT feeling and did wonders for my throttle control, drive and lap times. :)

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After hitting the entry mark I quick turn and look at the exit point on the outside kerb on a straight line going through the apex (if by now I can't see the outside kerb exit in a fast corner I'm probably dealing with a double apex). The projected exit is on the outside kerb because I want to use all the track width.

 

I wouldn't call the exit mark a reference point: it keeps changing relative to my entry mark and my speed, bikes in front, and what if I miss the entry mark anyway. But I can always project that apex line and see my outside kerb exit target.

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It's really interesting. Tracks I know really well such as Barber which had CSS turn points X's I don't have a lot of trouble with even with the X's removed. I remember where they were and I'm very confident there. Tracks which I have had to learn by following someone else I don't have this same level of confidence obviously because of a lack of concrete reference points in my mind. Add in the long turns and the confidence level goes out the window.

 

I think my problem is slightly more complicated than just reference points. In the long corner in the video leaned over to the left hand side I obsess over RPM's even though I have plenty available. Even with a GP shifter the action of moving my foot to get to the shifter makes the bike destabilize and wiggle. The cornering forces and the bike's unstable feeling and the way the bike will "move" on it's line based on the throttle input all gang up on me to absolutely destroy my confidence.

 

I have made some progress in that big long left hand turn. I found being slightly more generous with the throttle keeps me in the middle where I want to be until I'm ready to turn into the apex. I could easily make that corner a lot shorter with even more throttle but the concern that I have is understanding how the bike will react. At 100mph+ (that's about the speed of that corner) there's a lot that can go wrong especially if you suddenly panic.

 

Here's a lap of the same track with two gentlemen that obviously have this all sorted out. The guy in front is my mechanic who's one amazing rider.

 

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I do have a plan to try and resolve these issues.

 

1. I am going to work on finding more reference points in the turns. That will only help.

 

2. The unstable feeling I'm just going to have to deal with. I have some body position issues that need resolving and this may help a bit with the stability in the corners.

 

3. I'm going to go back to my 2014 bike for a bit. Heavier wheels, less power and stock suspension will make my problems much worse. Perhaps by immersing myself in the problem I might find a better solution or at least be able to adapt over time.

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I'm sure that a better roll on would make some improvements.

 

To be 100% honest a lot of the stability issues probably come from me being concerned plus annoyed with myself as well as being stiff and rigid. I occasionally have to pull over into hot pit on that track just to rest for a moment. AMP makes Barber seem easy in comparison. At Barber many of the turns are spaced out far enough where if you mess one up it costs you time but overall does not really cause issues. At AMP many of the corners are "linked". End up in the wrong place and you will end up off the pavement in the next corner. It's narrow and unforgiving for line errors.

 

The other thing that bothers me a lot about that corner is the transition onto the straight. There's a lot of cornering forces I don't yet understand up there. The guy that sailed past me on the last lap of my video was also working on that corner and managed to run off the track because of the cornering forces in the transition.

 

Here's a diagram of the track with the "car line" which is completely different than the line we use for bikes. For kicks I might try the car line sometime at a slower speed through that corner and see if that changes things for me.

 

speed_chart.jpg

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In the long corner in the video leaned over to the left hand side I obsess over RPM's even though I have plenty available. Even with a GP shifter the action of moving my foot to get to the shifter makes the bike destabilize and wiggle. The cornering forces and the bike's unstable feeling and the way the bike will "move" on it's line based on the throttle input all gang up on me to absolutely destroy my confidence.

 

If you can post a video with the camera pointing to your back from the tail it will help. At what mm:ss in your video we can see this problem?

Same thing for the cornering forces you mention in your last post. Sounds like an interesting problem, at what time in the video we can check exactly?

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I only have one camera angle and quite honestly it happens all over that long corner. Let me explain a bit more and perhaps you can see it in the video yourself.

 

I make my steering input. The bike starts the turn but because of the slower speed the bike starts it's way towards the apex earlier than intended. I speed my roll on and the bike stays where it is. If you added even more power you could bring the bike to the outer edge of the track. In corners like this it seems you can actually steer the bike with the throttle.

 

If you watch you will see lots of mid corner corrections. On my exit lap as well. You will notice me speeding up. It was not because I really wanted to go faster. It was so I would be closer to the outer edge close to the exit.

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Most likely I am. I think the big problem is I want a very consistent turning result without enough data built up in my mind on how the bike reacts at given speeds. When I get something different than I expected it's disconcerting and SR's slow my roll on and start making steering corrections. The annoying part is I know exactly how to react in these situations with throttle and body position changes.

 

One of the last track days of the season is coming up this November. I'm going to work on locating more reference points and some of the other suggestions here. I probably won't completely resolve everything but I certainly will try.

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