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More Than One Method To Lock On? Level 3 Vs Pros.


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I recently did the level 3 class and we discussed locking on by putting the ball of your foot on the peg and driving the knee into the tank.

 

This works and it feels pretty good. However, I've been noticing that the pros tend to have their toes pointed away from the bike, heel on the peg, and their outside knee isn't touching the tank at all. It appears they're holding on with their calf more than anything. The outside thigh is only touching center of the tank (where we normally use a tank protector, not a side of the tank).

 

Does anyone here know the mechanics of doing the knee-out, thigh on back of tank method? I'm including include some pix to illustrate what I'm talking about.

 

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Thanks for the reference. There's definitely some things in that thread that increased my understanding. eg, one question "Can someone teach me how to do this?" would be answered with "Maybe, maybe not." :)

 

But take the 3rd pic (I think it's the clearest and most obvious example). Where exactly is that guy getting his stability? The knee actually IS pointed out into space. The only part of the leg touching the tank is perpendicular to the plane of resistance. eg, it seems like it would be like trying to carry a TV with your hands pressed against the screen rather than holding on to the bottom. Nothing but friction holding it up. The only other contact point I can see is the heel. Is he holding his body weight entirely on his heel and using his hamstrings to hold the leg in a fixed position?

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I'd seriously wonder if he is partly using his inside arm to hold himself up. That arm looks pretty straight, and the inside shoulder is forward, and his head and neck look a bit awkwardly tilted.

 

Those are things we normally try to avoid with a good lower body lock.

 

He does look to be using his heel and maybe his outside arm against the tank, and the cornering forces do help push you into the bike, so it isn't always as hard to stay on as it would be if you were just trying to hang onto a stationary, tilted bike.

 

Possibly the rider is sacrificing some lower body stability to get that knee down like that, or maybe there are some physical issues or bike issues that make that riding position better for him.

 

Is there something about this rider or photo that makes you want to emulate his position or style?

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At the school we don't claim it's the only way...just one that we have had success with. Have a look at Lorenzo and Rossi, for comparison.

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Is there something about this rider or photo that makes you want to emulate his position or style?

 

I do admit I like the aesthetics of it. That might be my mirror neurons getting the best of me. TBH, though, I see almost everyone doing it in WSBK and MotoGP. Google image search tended to only show SBK guys but everywhere I look, I see the pros doing some form of this. Heel in, toes out, outside leg seemingly not that tight against the tank.

 

But mainly my question was academic. I'd like to understand the magic of it because it seems like it wouldn't be effective. It must be or the pros wouldn't do it but when I look at it, I don't see how it works. So mainly, just curiosity.

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At the school we don't claim it's the only way...just one that we have had success with. Have a look at Lorenzo and Rossi, for comparison.

 

Hey, Cobie. I should have chosen my subj line much better. This is a question I've had since before doing CSS. I've talked to a local AMA racer and scoured the internet looking for anyone who could explain it. Forgot to bring it up when I was at camp but figured it would be a good question for the forum.

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At 5'6" and the rearsets at the highest position, at times I found I was locking onto the outside of the tank with my knee and my thigh, especially when I would hook a turn. As my upper body moved down and forward, it would take my outside knee out of contact with the tank forcing me to "hold on" with my thigh and my outside forearm at the tank. The top image of Savadori (#32) shows a more dramatic image of what I mean by this. Your bar inputs are complete at this point so you can keep a loose grip on the bars and still keep pressure on the tank. It also looks like his knee is beyond the tank but his thigh is planted against it.

Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

 

I think you hit it right on the head. I think the pix make it appear that the leg is strictly touching the back of the tank but it's actually at a bit of an angle and digs into the corner of the back of the tank. I played around and it felt pretty solid and my knee was pointed out rather than snug on the side of the tank.

 

An unexpected side benefit of my experiment is that I ended up being looser than I achieved in the camp. Dylan told us you don't have to squeeze super hard but I wasn't able to give up that habit right away. I needed a couple of extra days of practice to turn it off.

 

I definitely got way better in the camp and just replaying the lessons in my head and continuing to practice I keep benefiting from the lessons.

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This video might be helpful. Troy Corser is a seriously fast guy.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeMSfgb5tks&feature=youtu.be

 

Here's the thing that I learned this past time at Barber with the school. My coach identified some concerns with my body position that I did not completely agree with and we butted heads a bit to the point where Cobie stepped in to help us sort it out. Cobie spent some time with me showing me the schools way of locking on and moving around on the bike. I tried it the "schools way" out on track and managed to identify some benefits of doing it that way.

 

The most important factor of anything you do on a bike is if it works for you. We are all built differently and have different physical and mental situations (comfort level and fears). Our bikes are also all different even if they are the same model due to the massive amount of configuration changes you can make. My way works better for me on my bike and I have gone back to my previous style of hanging off. I have however taken the helpful elements of what Cobie demonstrated and have integrated them in. Cobie likely will be glad to hear I'm no longer sitting too far back in the seat and have a much better lock on the bike using more surface area of the side of my leg. I'm back to using a lot more backside off the seat though.

 

There's no right or wrong answers. Only what works. The school's technique obviously works well for most riders otherwise they would not be teaching it. It does not work well for my current set of variables so I have chosen the way that works for me with the elements I found most helpful from the school's way. Many of the variations you will see with professional riders from the "by the book" way are adaptations similar to mine.

 

Is my way the "right way" for me? Even that's uncertain. I'm keeping an open mind and will continue to experiment. One of these days I may even find myself doing it exactly as my coach and Coby showed me. Riding of course is a journey that never ends. Even the professionals are constantly evolving and getting faster. A lot faster than me I can assure you!

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Thanks for the video.

 

In retrospect, I'm not even sure the two methods are actually different. Just maybe me misunderstanding the nuances of the one taught to me at CSS.

 

A part of the problem is that I "discovered" the push-the-knee-into-the-tank without any adult supervision. So I was doing it without knowing all the details and subtleties involved. I developed some habits before I actually knew what I was doing.

 

Examples:

1) I was too focused on digging my knee into the tank rather than inner thigh. Like people talk about "dig your knee" but my guess is that's a broad term for knee and the surrounding part of your thigh. I was too focused on the actual front/side of my knee. So in addition to being confused by some pros, I was also unable to hang off without screwing up my form. Any time I got my crack close to the seat edge, I'd have bad form. Eventually all the coaches just said don't hang off as much.

2) not related to this thread but another mistake I was making was related to the weight on the inside foot. I discovered the knee-tank thing on the highway at not legal speeds. It was easy to lift my inside foot completely off the peg. I began thinking this might be why some riders hang their inside leg off while braking. And even a possibility the bent knee might have a secondary advantage of keeping the weight off the inside peg. I asked Dylan about this and he said "if you can do that that's amazing." I knew right then I wasn't doing it right. I've been trying to figure out why it seemed easy to me but impressive to Dylan. No way that's real. Eventually I figured out that the reason it was easy to me was that I was putting too much weight on the bars. Look at my avatar and you'll see my arms are too involved. Ever since, I've been focusing on helping support my body with my inside foot (still pushing on the outside peg but just supporting some weight with my inside foot). My arms are not really light and I've also found that my form is good on slow corners too. Previously, it only felt right when I was really on it.

 

So while goofing around with my feet and taking a more relaxed interpretation of "knee on tank" I've been able to get a full cheek off the seat. Adding to that my improved use of the inside foot and my hands are lighter than ever. I'm feeling in control at any amount of lean and at high and low speeds.

 

I think it's just a part of the natural progression of training. If you commit to working on it, the coaching you get in camp keeps on improving you long after you get back home.

 

I've got another class coming up in a few months and that will give me a chance to make sure I'm not developing any more crazy habits.

 

Plus at Level 4 they let you practice stand up wheelies. :D

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If you look closely at the coaches in some of your photos you will notice many of them not even hanging off the bike. They only hang off when they really need to so they can conserve energy and ride all day long as well as juggle all of our questions with a smile on their faces. From their perspective hang off less makes a lot of sense because aggressive body position is not "really" needed at the speeds some students are doing and it saves energy to focus on other elements of the ride that may be a bit more important to the learning process.

 

Another philosophy I have seen from many track day coaches is to use every single opportunity you can to practice body position. Even if you are going slow enough so it does not really have an affect. Practice makes perfect. Many track day coaches teach body position from a riders first day on the track.

 

Both approaches have merit if you think about it. If you have visual issues that are slowing you down on your entry no matter how far you hang off the bike it's not going to increase your corner speed. On the other hand even with a slow entry it's good practice. The more "automatic" you can make getting into a good body position means there's less attention you have to spend on it when your speed increases and it becomes more critical. Track day coaches also have a lot less overall time to spend with riders out on track and may never see that rider again. Their approach reflects that to keep people safe from common gotchas such as their feet dragging on the track as their lean angle increases.

 

No matter how hard you try you will develop some bad habits that you will need to work though later on. I know I have and the first time I ever rode on the track was with the school. Riding is a complex activity and it's just not humanly possible to get it perfect even if we desperately want to. That's why the school breaks the elements of riding down into their singular forms. You work on one skill at a time as an on track drill. In Level 4 you get a chance to revisit things that you might have gotten slightly wrong and refine them. In Level 4 it's very common to do drills from Levels 1 and 2. You won't feel bad about it because many of the other Level 4's you are sitting with in the round table are trying to resolve the exact same issues. :)

 

Possibly the best advice I have ever gotten was from Keith Code himself. I was sitting in the Level 4 class trying to explain a confusing problem I had and Keith smiled and looked at me and said "Look. Don't think". Out on track I was trying to account for every single variable and condition down to the weight of the wheels on the school bike vs the carbon wheels on my personal bike. Even if I had a supercomputer with me doing some of the thinking it still would have slowed me down. It took a lap or two but not thinking about things made me a lot more relaxed and probably a bit faster.

 

I agree with you on the methods not being very different. They are about 95% the same perhaps even more. The important thing is getting the weight offset. If the weight is offset does it really matter what position the foot is in if your grip on the bike is not impacted?

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If you look closely at the coaches in some of your photos you will notice many of them not even hanging off the bike.

 

That reminds of something my coach said that made me laugh. I was complimenting him on how I'm working my butt off and he's nonchalantly riding with me without even leaning much less hanging off. Just pointing out to him that I see how easy it is for him compared to me.

 

He told me about some previous students who made fun of him for not hanging off. He replied, "Hanging off is hard work and when I'm going fast you won't even see me so why bother." :D

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Hee hee, that's pretty funny. :)

 

It's true, though, hanging off is fatiguing so it makes sense not to do it until you need to. Another consideration when coaching, is that it can be intimidating for some students, especially if they don't hang off at all, to see the coach ahead of them hanging off dramatically while going the same speed they are. It can give the impression that they must do that, too, to go that speed, and can cause distraction or unwanted pressure on the bars as they try to do it. Of course when we see a student having to lean the bike over a lot because they are going pretty quick, we DO start talking to them about body position to help them reduce that lean angle, and/or to go faster without having to lean the bike over even more.

 

There is definitely an argument to be made for hanging off the same way every time, for the sake of consistency and muscle memory, rather than adjusting body position based on pace. But for coaching, where the pace can vary quite a lot from student to student, for me personally it makes sense to only hang off when I need to.

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Hotfoot. Thanks for sharing that perspective. I had not really thought about the distraction it might cause someone who's new and not yet hanging off. That probably would have intimidated me years ago when I was following you in Level 1 completely amazed at how impossibly fast I was following you through the corners. We were going so slow you probably could have eaten a sandwich at the same time. Seemed pretty darn fast to me at the time though. :)

 

A funny story about perception. A few years ago my brother and I were in a motorcycle shop getting tires for my bike. A local club racer was unloading his race bike and my brother was hanging around and being a pain in the butt. The side of the bike that he was close to had "chicken strips" on it and he stupidly made a comment about it. The guy nearly ripped his head off. "I took 3 first place finishes on that tire and don't use that side of the tire much on that track. Come take a look at THIS side of the tire EXPLETIVE!". After ripping his head off he felt bad and explained to my brother more about the uneven tire wear and how different tracks do different things to tires and how it was not really a reflection of anything other than what was needed to get around the track slightly faster than the others.

 

Hanging off is similar. It's a function of the speed in which you want to get around a corner before you run out of tire and ground clearance. If you are going slower you don't need as much lean angle and don't need to shift your weight to conserve it. I hang off all the time on the track even in the slow warm up laps because it builds good muscle memory and it keeps me in the better part of the contact patch. The reality though is it's not always necessary with slower corners. Street riding I don't hang off mostly because it tends to attract unwanted attention and I don't ride aggressively on the street. I have a feeling if I was working with new people or riding for 6 hours a day for 4 days in a row I probably would revisit the idea of hanging of "all the time" pretty quickly. Where I am now with my riding every chance I get to practice my hang off is a good thing. Staying on the best part of the contact patch is just good insurance too.

 

This year at the school it was HOT and really humid. I noticed something really interesting. All of the students including myself were looking pretty terrible when we got back in. We were all sweaty and visibly worn out and in need of a rest. Most of the coaches looked like they had just gotten back in from a leisurely street ride. Most of them weren't even sweating. When I thought about the fact that they were riding every single session and having to chase down faster students and adapt their speed for slower students as well as taking mental notes of things to bring up in the riders briefing I was even more amazed. I started joking with Jon my off track consultant that the coaches were aliens because they weren't sweating and asked where the school parked the space ship at Barber.

 

The reality is they aren't really aliens. They just have learned to adapt their technique to better serve their needs on track to conserve energy. This adaptation is similar to some of the adaptations you will see in many of your race hero's . Form vs Function to accomplish a certain goal. That goal could be comfort, speed or other enhancement.

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Just curious but it seems to me that given the speeds at which pros often do corner, there must be a significant amount of centripetal force created pushing the rider down into the seat. Could it be that this force assists the rider in staying locked on the bike at extreme lean angles? On MotoGP.com a few years ago Jorge Lorenzo was demonstrating how much lean angle they get to while cornering a MotoGP bike.

 

http://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2013/09/26/the-lean-angle-experience/125254

 

They had a bike on a stand at like 60 degree angle. However there was no way that Jorge could hang onto the stationary bike at an angle like that. He needed the tremendous G forces that only occur while cornering to assist him in staying on the bike. Is that the component we are over looking when we see pictures like those in the original post?

 

Just curious what you all think?

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That actually makes a lot of sense. To me at least it seems a lot easier to lock onto the bike while it's in motion with the minor G forces that my riding creates than on a static bike that's on a stand. I know when the speed goes up those forces increase exponentially. Last summer at Double R fest I got an opportunity to ride on the back of Nate Kern's bike for a 2 up ride. While Nate was taking it easy because he had a passenger on the back the amount of cornering forces were incredible.

 

Another interesting perspective in regards to G forces. At Atlanta Motorsports Park many of the drivers during the car sessions are more than willing to take along a passenger when we are doing Motorcycle track days there. They get one session per hour to keep bike and car traffic safely separated. I have hitched a ride with a couple of different cars and what strikes me is how "different" the forces are when it comes to a car vs a motorcycle. On a bike even at much higher speeds the G forces tend to work "with" us to help keep us planted on the bike. The opposite is true with a car many times with the lateral G forces and braking forces physically moving you around in the seat and cabin of the vehicle. After the first lap you figure out when and where to brace yourself so you aren't moving around as much.I found the G forces in a car to be a lot different than what I was expecting. My previous experiences as a passenger in a car on a track was a rally car. A vehicle spending most of it's time driving sideways on dirt vs a vehicle equipped with super sticky tires on an asphalt surface are a dramatically different experience. :)

 

The "lean" that bikes are capable of takes sideward forces and presses us down further into the seat. On a bike we have many more points of contact than the driver of a car does. They only have the seat and the seat belt while we have the seat, tank, bodywork and rearsets to keep us planted. The lean takes allows us to use those forces to our advantage.

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  • 1 year later...
On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 4:47 PM, rchase said:

This video might be helpful. Troy Corser is a seriously fast guy.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeMSfgb5tks&feature=youtu.be

 

.....

 

There's no right or wrong answers. Only what works. The school's technique obviously works well for most riders otherwise they would not be teaching it. It does not work well for my current set of variables so I have chosen the way that works for me with the elements I found most helpful from the school's way. Many of the variations you will see with professional riders from the "by the book" way are adaptations similar to mine.

 

Is my way the "right way" for me? Even that's uncertain. I'm keeping an open mind and will continue to experiment. One of these days I may even find myself doing it exactly as my coach and Coby showed me. Riding of course is a journey that never ends. Even the professionals are constantly evolving and getting faster. A lot faster than me I can assure you!

What did everyone think of the Corser video? New thread?

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I recently made a west coast swing through Willow Springs and Sonoma. The combination of sleeping in a sleeping bag and the travel across country cut down on the amount of sleep I was getting. This will be more relevant later in the story.

Willow Springs is a very fast track and two of the longest corners on the track are also very demanding, turn 2 ( The Rabbit's Ear) and turn 8, the fastest turn west of the Mississippi. I was off the seat and leaned over for what seemed like forever in these turns. It may not be the case but a racing buddy told me He could not bring himself to go as fast as me through these turns, making reference to me having anatomical portions of my body bigger than his. In reality, the most important aspect of going fast through these corners was the ability to manage a comfortable stance and a solid foundation for throttle control, a light touch on the bars, and getting my head and shoulders turned to see the entry, apex and exit.

Sonoma didn't seem to be as challenging in this regard but what made it difficult was the fatigue of being on the road for 10 days. On the last day of racing I was pretty much worn out. The lack of sleep and different eating habits compounded the situation. I could feel I was making a few errors. The next to the last race of the day was tough and it started with me forgetting to put on my glasses. I was half way though the warm up lap when I realized everything looked different or actually looked blurry but of course it was to late to do anything about it but ride. I ran off the track three times during the race and was really feeling worn out when I came in but I had another race to ride.

The travel, lack of sleep, loading and unloading, changing tires etc etc had taken its toll. I was really tired, had just raced without my glasses and needed to concentrate on the last race of the day, the trip and maybe the last time I would race on this track. I thought back to my beginnings and reflected on how I would need to have a comfortable riding position. My way is this...hug the tank, my inside knee pointing outward toward the exit with the ball of my foot in a position to swivel on the peg. This positioning makes it easier for me to open my inside thigh get the torso turned and the shoulders and head turned to the exit. My outside foot is pointed outward with my heel in toward the bike. This position makes my outside leg feel like a gusset anchoring me to the bike. The combination of the outside leg position, my thigh against the tank and tank grip, and the pressure on the inside peg give me that relaxed stance with less fatigue. I went over this in my mind as I lined up for Formula Thunder. I would be racing my SV650 against Panigale 848's and other bigger displacement bikes. I can remember staying with the first and second place bikes with a desire that had me yelling at myself through "the bowl" in order to stay with them. I remember the battle with the duc behind me ignoring the fact that I, at one point, had lost the front at the final corner pressing to keep my position and battling it out with that rider for the last couple of laps back and forth, back and forth.

How do I relate this story with my body position? I was dead tired but took time to review my body positioning and what I would need to do to ride confidently, comfortably, conserving energy. I had the best lap times of the trip in the last race of the trip as tired as I had been at anytime during the trip. People have different solutions for the same problem but for me a 6'2" 180 lbs rider....the foundation for my position is hugging the tank. Cheers.

 

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I had until recently, a Go Pro camera with a mount that enabled me to turn the camera back toward me. i chose the brake and throttle side. You can see your throttle response, when you are on the brake while looking at the brake markers passing by, and your body position. You can also view track day photographs, comparing your riding style to others. 

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On 7/20/2017 at 1:48 PM, Jaybird180 said:

What did everyone think of the Corser video? New thread?

Only problem I have is he says the sitting fist length from the tank is the "old school" way and you should ride up on the tank.  In another video from a different seminar he says the exact opposite and says you should ride about a fist length away.  Great rider not the best instructor.

In many sports the best coaches aren't the best/successful athletes, but those that can analyze and instruct, not to say one couldn't be both.

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Do you know the time gap between the two videos? That could provide a clue...and I think I know which video you're comparing (the one in the larger trackside garage with really poor sound?)

It seems to me that he's a believer in body steering and is even implying that counter steering is part of "the old way".

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