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Having never attended a school, of any kind and with 900k miles of touring and over confident open road sport riding, some of which certainly at the edge of foolish, but with very few offs, and none of significance ( other than a dog that took out my front wheel at 25mph which dislocated a shoulder) you would think I know how to corner.

Well it seems I've forgotten something. I no longer see corners the same way and am working on that. (no brake/ fixed gear drills, and picking markers)

I am relying too much on trail braking the spiral into corners that should be a simple counter steer to point the bike and go, and am working on that. ( going deeper -later- before committing.)

But Keith suggests staying at on the seat moving Knee to knee using a hip flick. I've watched the videos several times and come to the conclusion hip flick just won't work on my bike unless I'm going very very fast and genuinely hanging off the bike ( more than just a cheek). I've done this in the past cornering at 100mph, but road riding at 60mph doesn't need that much cornering reserve. Most times 1/2 a cheek with a 1/4 a 1/2 knee is more than sufficient especially when trail braking into corners (most pleasant rural roads here in NZ are back to back reducing radius blind corners in which powering through, even on a flat throttle, will see you looking for a set of wings.

Knee to knee on my bike a Suzuki GSX 400X Impulse involves little more than simply turning out one knee. For decades setting up to hang off for me has involved slide forward slightly, grip heel rests with both heels, grip tank with both knees, rise up slightly then sit gently back down while crunching the gut muscles on the side nearest the corner. This moves me over the required 1/4 - 1/2 cheek without unsettling the bike.then look and knee out just before I countersteer (90% imperceptible counter steer).

 

Attempting to hip flick is very much like riding on fist sized rocks (wriggles) and barely moves my butt. O K the bike is tiny, pegs set for upright riding, weighs a mere 173kg(wet) to my 86 kg, and has a narrow tank so likely has something to do with it, but Keith's advice suggests my habitual move should incite far more wriggle than it does. My move is more akin to gently tilting the bike away from the corner underneath me. I guess I do slightly load the bars, but my straight line doesn't shift until I deliberately counter steer, and my hands are loose ( just firm enough to hold the throttle when doing no brake corner drill).

 

Aside from hip flick wriggle gone mad, I'm trying to instill roll on throttle from counter steer, but I need to overcome my early commitment and habitual trail brake habits first.

Believe me I'm smooth on the trail braking, having never fully lost the front and then only in hurricane weather.. Trail braking on rippled pavement is a screaming lot of fun - the front end kinda hovers while bouncing left to right and still follows my line????

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The most stable place you can do the hip flick is while still on the gas. Setup as early as you can even if it seems a bit ridiculous (I have a corner that I go through where I'm setup on the wrong side of the bike as the corner does not require hang off and I'm getting in position early for the next one that needs all the body position I can give it) . As well don't make the mistake of moving back to center as it just wastes energy. You can ride down the straight without being in the center of the bike with no problems at all. Watch the pro's sometime and see where they setup for corners.

 

You aren't alone with problems with getting into position. Sometimes certain bikes aren't a good ergonomic fit for certain riders. I have (soon to be had) a Yamaha FZR400. I'm not only too big for such a little bike but it's very "old school" in it's ergonomics. The fiberglass tank cover gives me little to grip on and it's awkward at best to use any kind of aggressive body position with. Supersport designs give us places to rest our arms and body on the fuel tank and seats designed so we can get down low easy. There are ways of improving the ergonomics with adjustments of rearsets, levers, seats and tank grips. I took the easy way out and got a Supersport. Even then I have tweaked the ergonomics so they work better for my riding. I have rearsets and a race seat on my track bike to make it easier to ride.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that your riding style will be an always evolving thing. Even legends like Valentino Rossi has changed his style a bit over time. The most important thing is not to look at things as if you are doing them wrong. Look at what you are doing right and improve the things you can do better on. You will eventually exceed your wildest expectations over time. I know I certainly have. Stay positive!

 

It's somewhat interesting that the school does not teach "trailbraking" as it's described by many. They actually do however when it's appropriate. My style for the longest time was to over brake on the entry of many corners and then get on the gas as soon as possible. This past Level 4 at the school they taught me the "brake release drill". For all intents and purposes its trail braking with a different name. With any technique there's a balance and you can over or under use it. I was under using it so they gave me the brake release drill to work on. Now I'm braking later and taking advantage of the compressed front suspension which makes the bike turn better and more smoothly transitioning to the gas. As a result I'm better able to accurately set my entry speed and I'm able to take advantage of the compression in my front suspension for additional turning ability. The brake release drill also taught me that the brakes are not an on and off switch. One of Keith's books described the brakes as a "speed adjustment knob". It's so true and the brake release drill taught me this simple principle.

 

All the techniques the school teaches are quite useful on their own but the real magic at the school is the feedback you can get from one of the coaches. Dylan noticed I was having some real problems with the hip flick and he spent 20 minutes in one of the garages working with me personally to make sure I understood the concept completely. Being able to concentrate 110% on one drill on the track and then getting the feedback from the coaches afterwards is some powerful learning. Every single year I go I accomplish my entire list of goals plus a few that my coach throws in that I had not thought about. The school is so amazing that I go every year and do Level 4 over again. I'm what you call a repeat offender. No plans to stop anytime soon. :)

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I think there is a bit of data missing for you on hip flick: keeping your butt planted firmly down on the seat is NOT part of the drill. When doing hip flick you DO lighten your weight on the seat so that it is easy to slide across.

 

Many riders try to transition across the seat by bouncing way up off the seat then plopping firmly back down on the other side. This upsets the suspension, the sudden hard pressure when the rider pushes off the peg can wobble the bike, and often the rider is mometarily disconnected from the bike. Hip flick is an exercise to help riders learn to smoothly transition across without bouncing up off the seat or putting unwanted input to the bars.

 

Next time you try hip flick, lighten your weight in the seat enough to allow you to slide quickly and easily across the seat and see if that smoothes things out. It's actually pretty similar to what you described you are already doing that works for you, except that you will add in using your outside knee as a pivot to help you get your hips in position more quickly, which helps a great deal in fast transitions.

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Wow, it sounds like I was very close to ideal before I tried fixing my technique.

Hip flick- I lightened and slid more than plopped

Old school bike ergonomics definitely - but late eighties so tank has some shoe though way to small. - removing some of the trim plastic below the tank, and applying some adhesive skate board grip tape has me locked on much better.

The wiggle I was getting trying badly to apply hip flick was due to bum steering (rear wheel) more than bar input. (I experimented no hands hip flick at 30mph). Badly because not understanding the technique I was not lightening enough and was dragging my butt too heavily and was needing to be very vigourous.

- trail braking (hard then ease, counter steer then increasing feathering almost to apex) generates more of a classic line (spiralling in to apex) vs a more modern brake hard, distinct off the brakes and counter steer to set a flatter, later line suits different corners. I am trying to master the latter in an open road context as I had fallen into the SR trap of lazy steering way too early and relying on trail braking and secondary countersteering to get me through.

Many thanks, your comments are confidence inspiring, and have helped me comprehend my approach better.

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Also realised that part of my previous "hip flick technique" was as I pivot my knee out, as my inside foot rotates on the ball my heel rides up on the peg mount plate and pushes my knee out and draws my butt even further off the seat.

This amounts to as I feed in more knee I'm levered across the bike. This happens automatically as I adjust my cornering arc to match the road revealed ahead.

My outside foot and knee remain locked in; the outer knee simply becomes locked in slightly tighter.

 

Riding the windies yesterday I also noticed that I hook turn quite often, doing a head and body nod to close up my arc - but randomly I was also SRing and backing off (albeit gently), trail braking very light post apex. I was also more conscious of how this destabilised the bike vs continuous (from before turn in)and continuing trail braking past the apex (to create a late apex) then on the gas vs turning late and slow, decisive countersteer and early on the gas. The latter is more comfortable except entry has to be much slower than I'm accustomed to. 80% blind corners means allowing for a need to emergency stop at or just past the apex on occasion. Trail braking already has the bike "stabilised in braking mode" but leaves little reserve for leaning in harder if tighter is the better option.

Maintaining a positive chain tension was a good way to keep a good sense of gently rolling on the gas.

 

Fits and starts evolution of style.

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Cobie is absolutely right about bar input causing wiggle. Of course he would be because he's the head coach and has been helping Keith with the school for longer than I have ever been riding a motorcycle. :)

 

Input can be caused by the movement or could be caused by the tension of the rider. I had this demonstrated to me in a very interesting way. I bought a bike that was more powerful than the one that I had been riding. I was noticing a huge amount of head shake and slowly adapted to it. Eventually the head shake went away over time. The head shake was caused by the slightly terrified rider who was intimidated by the bike. Once I relaxed and was no longer intimidated the bike stopped shaking it's head.

 

I'm sure you will get things sorted soon. One of the other things in Keith's books that's amazing is riding and observing at the same time. Riding slightly slower and observing and thinking about what you are doing gives you a starting point to fine tune your technique. You know what you can change. It sounds like you are doing this a bit already with the questions you are asking.

 

Eventually you should consider coming to the school. Some of the most amazing improvements I have made with my riding have come from observations that coaches have made of my riding. Those innocent sounding questions the coaches ask can spark amazing things.

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Also realised that part of my previous "hip flick technique" was as I pivot my knee out, as my inside foot rotates on the ball my heel rides up on the peg mount plate and pushes my knee out and draws my butt even further off the seat.

This amounts to as I feed in more knee I'm levered across the bike. This happens automatically as I adjust my cornering arc to match the road revealed ahead.

My outside foot and knee remain locked in; the outer knee simply becomes locked in slightly tighter.

 

Riding the windies yesterday I also noticed that I hook turn quite often, doing a head and body nod to close up my arc - but randomly I was also SRing and backing off (albeit gently), trail braking very light post apex. I was also more conscious of how this destabilised the bike vs continuous (from before turn in)and continuing trail braking past the apex (to create a late apex) then on the gas vs turning late and slow, decisive countersteer and early on the gas. The latter is more comfortable except entry has to be much slower than I'm accustomed to. 80% blind corners means allowing for a need to emergency stop at or just past the apex on occasion. Trail braking already has the bike "stabilised in braking mode" but leaves little reserve for leaning in harder if tighter is the better option.

Maintaining a positive chain tension was a good way to keep a good sense of gently rolling on the gas.

 

Fits and starts evolution of style.

 

These are excellent observations, and I'm also glad lightening your seat a bit fixed the hip flick issue - I agree, you were 90% there already and just had to make one small change. :)

 

Very good understanding of the difference between trail braking in 'on the front wheel' versus being a little slower on entry speed but using a quick turn and getting back on the gas earlier. There are appropriate places for both techniques but I wholeheartedly agree that on blind turns you need to leave a good reserve for braking or corrections to handle the unexpected, and it sounds like you are making good informed decisions on your approach to cornering.

 

In particular I like that you are reading the material, making a good effort to understand it, and then going out and experimenting with it and observing the results, that's great. It's one thing to read the data but quite another to really do it and observe changes so you fully experience and understand the benefits.

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Some people don't like the old thing...I for sure don't take offense :). (Still immature, just ask Hotfoot).

 

CF

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On the experimenting and observing thing. Some REALLY important stuff there. Several years ago at the school one of the coaches allowed me to make a really bad plan for a corner. He was confident I could sort it out and wanted me to see why it was a bad plan. Only after riding the poor plan did I realize why I don't want to be on that part of the track. It was valuable learning. That of course is more difficult to do on the street with the unpredictable nature of oncoming traffic. :)

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P.S. Did not mean to make Cobie sound old. Most of the coaches have been coaching longer than I have been riding. :)

Oh, so they all are old?

:P

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Johnno down under - I'm wondering where you saw or read about the hip flick technique? I'd like to take a look at it and see if it comes across unclear on the point of staying on the seat, but not being firmly planted on it when you are trying to move; maybe the info could be made more clear.

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Some people don't like the old thing...I for sure don't take offense :). (Still immature, just ask Hotfoot).

 

CF

 

Getting older is ALWAYS better than the alternative :)

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Johnno down under - I'm wondering where you saw or read about the hip flick technique? I'd like to take a look at it and see if it comes across unclear on the point of staying on the seat, but not being firmly planted on it when you are trying to move; maybe the info could be made more clear.

It was in one the videos, not sure which one exactly as I not only watched Twist II - this referee to hip flick, but only dwelt upon knee to knee, but also lots of css videos on YouTube. The one that scene sticks in my mind was presented by a trainer that was either British or Australian.

I also have skimmed through many many posts in the forums, and Keith's articles. Most refer to hip flick but do not explain it.

 

Thinking further about my style, I realized that if one lifts ones bum off the seat using locked-in knees and feet rather than bars then as long as one doesn't just plonk back down the only thing that occurs is the centre of gravity goes up and down without significant weight transfer. The implication I wrongly garnered from those earlier sources was that even a slight lift would induce instability. Your advice helped me realize the key as always was to be smooth, gentle and decisive in my movements while locked-in and loose on the bars.

I also realized that I also generally adjust my position while under brakes/deacceleration and so I'm already light on the seat. And settle as braking load comes off. Note: while braking particularly over 50 mph I tend to sit up, wide elbows and knees to catch as much air as possible. Knees return to gripping tank as sipped drops, or broken surfaces ahead. My error while trying incorrectly hip flick was that I attempted to do it in isolation between braking and countersteer, firmly seated.

 

Perhaps, a little more detail regarding hip flick basics added to resources describing Knee to Knee exercises.

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It was in one the videos, not sure which one exactly as I not only watched Twist II - this referee to hip flick, but only dwelt upon knee to knee, but also lots of css videos on YouTube. The one that scene sticks in my mind was presented by a trainer that was either British or Australian.

 

Sounds like one of Andy Ibbot's movie/clips, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEi0HtalGpU

Andy founded the UK branch of the CSS and used to be the head coach until he has a stroke about 5 years ago.

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Yes, thanks KHP, that's the video. Sorry to hear about Andy's stroke.

There was also one video where Keith was demonstrating knee to knee but it was focused on keeping a knee on the tank, rather than the mechanics of moving ones bum.

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