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Moving Off The Seat


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I'm am wondering if there are any advantages to the way in which a rider moves off the seat just prior to tipping the bike into the turn. WHere it seems to me it would be particularly critical is when one is linking a series of quick turns. <p>

 

I have seen some riders make an obvious "hop off-hop on" or "up and over" movement while other seem to slide their butts laterally across the seat which appears to me a smoother and less disruptive movement.

 

Can anyone enlighten me here?

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How do I say this....

 

ABSO-FREAKING-LOUTELY

 

The transition from side-to-side is incredibly crucial to stability, and there are definite methods to being able to ensure it is fast, smooth and seamless. All of which are addressed clearly in Level III

 

When you go into a corner, the bike wants to turn. It wants to be stable. It does NOT want the rider on top of it moving around. Movement by the rider affects stability dramatically.

 

When you're going through a chicane, or set of "S" bends, you have to transition side-to-side, and the quicker and more stable you can do this, the faster and more comfortable you will get through the corner.

 

One thing which amazed me in level 3 is that Keith took a school bike, sitting on a rear stand. Hung off one side and then flipped himself to the other side about as quick as you can snap your fingers two times consecutively, and the BIKE STAYED STILL. It was amazing. One side to the other without disrupting the bike.

 

We all tried it, and Keith had to hold the bike or it would have fell over.

 

I've been racing for 6 years now, and could not even come close to Keith in side-side transitions, or stability. Once I started practicing and perfecting his methods on the track and in my garage, I found myself gaining a LOT of time in the S bends at tracks, and all with no slides and incredible stability.

 

Go out in your garage, put your bike on a rear stand and see what you can do... Then get through the schools to level 3. You will be amazed... I know I was.

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  • 5 weeks later...

New here, first post. When I started to ride again I struggled w/ transition. I feel it is important not to learn bad habits. One thing I did to help with transition was practice. I wouldn't suggest practicing bad habits, so know what you are trying to do before you start. I am not an instuctor and I don't feel I qualify so I won't sugest a method of transition. What I did was practice when I didn't need to. I practiced everyday on the way to work. Everytime I was alone on a road I practiced. Usually with no corner in sight. At first I started by hanging off one side (going straight mind you) for about 10 seconds, and then transition to the other. While hainging off I critiqued my body position, was I inline elbow pointed blah, blah. During my transitions I tried to stay light, use my core and legs trying not to pull the bars and not make the bike wiggle at all. After settling in on the other side I would look again at my body position to see if I had "fallen" into the proper position. After a while (couple weeks) I felt incredibly comfortable and fast in transition. Now when I practice I go as fast as I can and get no shake. I still go back to pausing sometimes just to make sure bad habits aren't setting in. I guess my point is that for me it was easier to practice when I didn't need to because it happens to fast to critique in real time(without an instructor anyway). While I am still in the steeper part of the learning curve I now love chicanes, they just feel right.

Great forum!

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  • 2 months later...

Jerry,

 

Have been thinking about jeF4y's report of Keith doing a side to side without unsettling the bike.

 

My guess is that he can only gain extra stability, thus keeping the bike on it's rear stand, by gripping the bike with both knees before moving over his body to the other side.

 

I've tried to visualize this movement in my mind whilst trying to 'sense' what i would be feeling in doing that and what kind of force you would need to apply with what kind of body-parts.

 

Maybe this sounds weird for you all, but for me this usually works to a certain degree.

 

My conclusion is that he would probably be focussed on solely using his legs to initiate the movement helped by throwing his upper body to the other side, with as less input to the handlebars as possible.

 

Now this is just a wild, although thought true, guess.

Would like to here from the guru if i'm getting close.

 

Mike

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Everybody is different I guess, and what works for one person might not work for another for a number of reasons.

I played with this when last at the track to find what worked best for me. In the end I found the most comfortable and smoothest method (for me!) was to drag myself around the tank using the inside of my thigh against the bike. As I passed over the bike I'd then use the other thigh to secure myself into position. This was the only method I found that avoided me pulling on the bars and upsetting the steering, but it did result in sore thighs by the end of the session (and it gave the upper body a fair workout, too).

Of course, I don't sit 'that' far off the bike (more of a half-a-bum-cheek kind of guy), so I'm not sure how this would work if I did. Hmm, I can feel another track day coming on...

 

I'd be interested to see what other methods people use. Playing with different styles is all part of the fun.

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I like the comment about using your knees and teighs to lock into the tank when moving the body around. It made me realise that I was doing this just the other day. I tried using my knees to lock on when changing from one side to the next and it worked. It kept my hands loose on the bars (much the same as braking) and it also felt like it was ever-so-slightly helping to pull the bike over to the other side as well. Basically, it felt good and gave me more confidence. As itwas also a road bike standard seat I was on, it was quite slippery once unloaded, so I onlyhad to apply minimal pressure to the balls of my feet and then simply slide over to the side. On my race bike, I tend to go up and over letting my teigh grip the tank. One other thing I noticed was tht I have started keeping my outside knee locked into the tank until I'm at 40 degrees of lean, then letting it hang out. This really helps with keeping steady on the bike whilst braking and tipping in. your lower back does take a pounding, but it's well worth it. More time in the gym for me!

 

For all of you practicing on paddock stands, beware, they can still topple over! lol

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I think what I do is most like what Woody describes. Sort of throwing the bike around under me with my knees. Both knees on the tank in the center, and then sliding out to one side as the lean angle goes up. Of course this is only between turns in a chicane type setting. For your average "single turn" I get off the bike a little ways before I get on the brakes and stay there until I'm at WOT coming out.

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  • 2 months later...

How do I say this....

 

ABSO-FREAKING-LOUTELY

 

The transition from side-to-side is incredibly crucial to stability, and there are definite methods to being able to ensure it is fast, smooth and seamless. All of which are addressed clearly in Level III

 

When you go into a corner, the bike wants to turn. It wants to be stable. It does NOT want the rider on top of it moving around. Movement by the rider affects stability dramatically.

 

When you're going through a chicane, or set of "S" bends, you have to transition side-to-side, and the quicker and more stable you can do this, the faster and more comfortable you will get through the corner.

 

One thing which amazed me in level 3 is that Keith took a school bike, sitting on a rear stand. Hung off one side and then flipped himself to the other side about as quick as you can snap your fingers two times consecutively, and the BIKE STAYED STILL. It was amazing. One side to the other without disrupting the bike.

 

We all tried it, and Keith had to hold the bike or it would have fell over.

 

I've been racing for 6 years now, and could not even come close to Keith in side-side transitions, or stability. Once I started practicing and perfecting his methods on the track and in my garage, I found myself gaining a LOT of time in the S bends at tracks, and all with no slides and incredible stability.

 

Go out in your garage, put your bike on a rear stand and see what you can do... Then get through the schools to level 3. You will be amazed... I know I was.

 

 

Can u tell me if this is the Knee to Knee drill?

 

I see here our CSS director do a thing like that and he pass to one side to other in a zero of second.

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I don't know if I'm developing a bad habit or not. My instincts have always guided me well in my mechanical experiments in other sports, even at times when I was at odds with a contemporary "conventional wisdom" which eventually proved to be faulty or archaic. In the end things always came around to my way of thinking. So I trust my experiments. But still it is good to see how others relate.

 

I recently purchased a ZX-6R which at first felt really strange after learning to ride on a comfortable EX-500. After two days on the bike I was worried about the ergonomics and posted a thread about the ergonomics of my 636. I thought my arms were too short. DUUUUH!!! Sometimes it is terribly humiliating to be a newbie. But then again it's the part of learning a sport that is the most rewarding...everything is utterly amazing.

 

Two weeks later and a lot of riding the 636 hard on our twisty turny WV mountain highways and I have a very different idea about this 636. Every ride results in a new revalation and things have jumped to a whole new level. What made the difference? Simply being more active on the bike.

 

Being more active on the bike lead me to start recentering differently and eventually an entirely different riding position. At first I tried just pivoting in the saddle to aim my spine towards exit point of the turn. As I began to do this I started to drop my shoulder and slip off the saddle with almost no effort. Soon I found that I could slide completely off one side and over to the other while keeping the bike on a straight-line path. I practiced keeping the tires on the yellow line (obviously no traffic was coming) while doing this. Things started to come together after that. If I could keep the bike going straight while moving that far off to the side I could drop over and stabilize as I approached my turn in point. Then when I did turn in there was a dynamic and elastic connection between my own center and that of the bike. It started to feel as though I was floating ahead of the bike, leading and guiding it alongside of me. And if the bike felt like it was going too wide all I had to do was press a little more on the inside bar and the bike would catch up to me. Even though it was available to me I did not have the sensation of applying a heavy cantilevering force to "hang off" the bike.

 

Holy ######...suddenly I found I could glide lightly around turns with a huge margin of comfort at 65 or 70 mph that only a week ago induced sphincter pucker at seepds of no more than 50mph. The bike felt as if it wasn't tilting over at all and as if I was rounding the curve at even slower than 50. But I glanced down at the speedometer....70....yikes. This is sick. Perception is a wierd thing. Wait a minute...what happened to the numb hands, neck and lower back strain....its gone..completely. I can ride for hours and I feel great.

 

Thinking back I realize formerly I had kept my pelvic block upright on the saddle and achieved my basic tucked position by bending forward from my lower back, in the lumbar region. This really just parked me on the bike as a passenger. But with the new position I was straightening my back from the tailbone to the neck (neither arched nor humched). My back was "flat". I found that I naturally began to hinge forward from from the hip sockets and and laterally around the axis of my lower leg. The trick was in how I gripped with my knees during the movement off the bike but the was able to relaz this grip once I was hanging off the bike.

 

I suppose the oddest thing is comparing the sensation of hanging off the bike in this manner with what I see in pictures. The pictures looked like the riders were really cantilevering hard off their bikes. But now I think this is not what was really happening with those high level riders. From years of analyzing still pictures of snowboarding and skiing I realize the same truths...still images of dynamic events are a lie. The element of time provides the magic. Things don't always feel as they seem they would. In fact, they rarely do.

 

Perhaps my new understanding will continue to evolve into something different (hopefully). But for now that is where I am and its taken my riding to a new level. Probably to many of you this stage is something you passed through a long time ago and this all seems like much ado about nothing. But some of us just find incredible beauty and elegance in understanging the simple mechanics of motion sports such as snowboarding a motorcycling. To me it is magic that allows me (at least for a brief instance) to defy gravity.

 

So is this completely off? Or is this what it feels like to some of you who can do it well? I gotta get to Superbike school.

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SLIDERWV,

 

In my own efforts to keep my weight off my hands and the bars (especially while moving about on the bike) I attempted to keep my weight in my feet. Sort of like riding a dirt bike, I'm never really sitting on the seat. Except down straightaways to rest and even then, when I switched to GP bikes and began studying Rich Oliver's style, I stayed on my feet down the straights as well, keeping my butt off the seat for aerodynamic reasons. (Don't know if it really worked, but, it made me feel like I was trying harder.) The point is, in my efforts to keep my hands free (able to let go of the bars at almost any point in time, thumb and finger on the throttle) I switched from a long straight back to the hunchback thing because it was the only way I found to keep my weight off the bars. In my opinion, the less weight one puts on the handlebars to hold yourself up, the more control you have. The more ability to make a steering input at any moment AND the less chance of amplifying (sp?) any head shake or oscillation in the front end. And for me, having my weight in my feet also kept me in better control riding the bike, as opposed to sitting on the seat and being taken for a ride. It was anything but comfortable but my body adapted. Now, I've never read TWIST II or attended a school since 1995 so, I'm reading about locking on with a knee, etc and I just haven't really had a chance to think about that. Or how that fits. Maybe I did that. I'm not sure. Need to think more about that. Or really need to get back on a racetrack!!! I don't know if it's really possible to ride hard enuf on the street to have my weight in my feet as much. And noone should really be riding at track speeds on the street. It would be suicidal.

 

Now, with all due respect, riding at racing speeds or even fast track speeds is frankly another world from taking fast corners on the highway. And there is NO WAY anyone could really know what that's like without actually riding on a racetrack. The amount of effort required to go REALLY FAST, in my opinion, simply doesn't compare. It is an extremely physical thing. (As well as mental) Perhaps deceptively so. And, for me, though the basic skills and goals are the same, it requires an entirely different "style". Riding on the street using the same "style" would be sort of like trying to ski the bunny slope the same way I ski a double diamond. The basic skills and goals are the same, but....."things" are a little different. I'm generally quite sore after my first day of riding on track each year. Poor off season training program. (Like...what off season training program? haha)

 

So...are you developing a bad habit? I don't know. It's difficult for me to really understand what's happening from a verbal description. Like..."laterally around my leg". I have no idea what that means. Though I'm sure it is a perfectly accurate description, I'm not quite able to grasp it. And in the end, you simply can't compare yourself on the road to riders riding full on full tilt. I'm not even sure how to describe it except to say I almost threw up the first time I rode on track. A Ninja 600 at Watkins Glen. Granted, a VERY fast track with MAJOR elevation changes including something less than positive camber as you dive down the fastest roller coaster of your life trying to go as fast as you possibly can without crashing for twenty minutes or so. My legs were shaking so hard from the effort as well as the adrenalin when i got off that it was all I could do get the kick stand down before I sat my butt down right there next to the bike o catch my breath. I was probably out of shape. But still, utterly unprepared the intensity.

 

I think the school is set up a little differently now than in the late eighties, though. I get the impression the program has developed quite a bit, and the first orientation ride is probably a bit more structured now than it was then. I mean as I remember, we followed the leader for two laps before being set free. HELLO!

 

That being said, YES...get to a superbike school. There simply is NO substitute. And as usual, I recommend using a school bike. No matter how well prepped or sorted a bike is for the street, I don't think it's really sorted for the track. And it removes an entire slew of variables from the equation. I don't know what the school does these days with the BYOB program to help you prep your own bike, but, I would definitely make certain you had fresh fork oil, chain, brake pads and tires. (Though you want to be sure the chain is stretched, the pads bedded and tires scrubbed.) And, though it can't hurt to ride track days or attend other schools......I've done them all, and NOTHING even comes close to CSS. Just my own completely unsolicited opinion.

 

GO FOR IT!!!

 

Cheers,

BH

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Sider,

 

Racer's right:

get to a superbike school. There simply is NO substitute
You have just begun to experience what cornering a motorcycle can feel like but it is so-o-o-o easy to develop some really poor riding techniques when you try to teach yourself how to corner simply because the teacher doesn't know anything more than the student.

 

Cornering a motorcycle especially at speed is really a counter-intuitive experience and one of the key reasons that the Superbike School is so successful training riders and racers around the world. They know how to do this in such a way that students become incrementally more proficient as they progress from drill to drill adding new skill sets to their cornering repertoire in each session. Students have experienced track coaches guiding them along (both by leading and following) on the track and when the track riding is combined with the classroom instruction, riders really begin to discover the possibilities...

 

Good luck with your journey...

 

Kevin

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You are all going in the right direction with the idea of rider stability. The stuff we have been piloting for the past ten years has been working great because it puts the rider in control of the bike without becoming the loose cannon on deck.

 

There are many reasons that rider stability is important. My first clue to it was Pivot Steering which I wrote about in TWIST II. TWIST III will have a good deal more on the subject. Even in the past month of schools I see more about the subject of rider stability and why what we are doing at the schools works.

 

There are actually four drills we do at the school which approach this in our usual step-by-step format. The whole process starts at Level I where we do the Steering Drill with each of the students. There are 5 other points we look at, one we work on in Level II with the Lean Bike and the rest on Level III--there are actually more when you include some things that aren't yet formal drills.

 

The one thing you can count on is this: riders who don't understand something about their own stibility on the bike are the ones that are most likely to crash once they begin to go fast--either that or they will forever have handling problems that won't "adjust" out of the bike, no matter how much money they throw at it.

 

keith

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Having just finished the 2-day class, I have to say that there is something to these drills that is totally unexpected. I've been riding since the age of 8 - with some years off of course - at 38+ I thought I had a handle on things. No desire to race or even do a track day. Just wanted some advice on my riding, and it was a good excuse to take 2-days off of work. I've read the Twist books etc., but was my mind blown away.

 

The school breaks down some pretty complex physics concepts into plain english. It also makes you really focus on what you are doing to the bike vs. what the bike needs/wants. It is nice to try and copy what other people aredoing, but unless you know why you are doing it, you can just as easily mess it up.

 

The entire focus on "stability" and the various rider inputs (that either hurt stability or help it) were just an incredible lesson. What I found changed the most in my riding is that when I hit the point were I was starting to feel uncomfortable (and use to man handle the bike), as long as I focused on doing things to promote "stability" things calmed down. Likewise, when I felt like I could not get it done in an esse turn and forced the bike over, the resultant head shake was not disturbing. I knew exactly why it happened and what caused it. At the end of day 2, I found that moving on the bike was the hardest part, which is why Level 3-4 is in the picture. The morning of Day 2 I was dragging pegs, and so the hanging off started. My lap times proceeded to slow down. My movement on the bike - even though it looked cool - was going more harm than good. The end of Day 2 things got better and I shaved more time off - and felt good doing it. But the dance is not easy. My own physical stamina was my biggest problem. Inner leg and stomach muscles need to be in shape. Every movement matters, which is why I'm now a firm believer in coaching. It can only make be a better (and safer) rider.

 

As much as I like the books, I have to say there is a HUGE benefit to getting the lectures and riding coaching. Some of the Twist books never made much sense to me, which is not surprising since in retrospect I did not have the ability to recognize the problem, let alone understand how and what the correction was. Talking about some these concepts is OK - but I can't imagine that they will make sense.

 

I've always had an 1/2-1 inch of unused rubber on my rear tire and just happened to put a new set on my 1200GS right before the 2-day school. I always assumed it was impossible to run the tire to the edge. First ride back, the "chicken strips" were gone. Now I need a ZX-6, a trailer and some time off for a track day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having just finished the 2-day class, I have to say that there is something to these drills that is totally unexpected. I've been riding since the age of 8 - with some years off of course - at 38+ I thought I had a handle on things. No desire to race or even do a track day. Just wanted some advice on my riding, and it was a good excuse to take 2-days off of work. I've read the Twist books etc., but was my mind blown away.

 

The school breaks down some pretty complex physics concepts into plain english. It also makes you really focus on what you are doing to the bike vs. what the bike needs/wants. It is nice to try and copy what other people aredoing, but unless you know why you are doing it, you can just as easily mess it up.

 

The entire focus on "stability" and the various rider inputs (that either hurt stability or help it) were just an incredible lesson. What I found changed the most in my riding is that when I hit the point were I was starting to feel uncomfortable (and use to man handle the bike), as long as I focused on doing things to promote "stability" things calmed down. Likewise, when I felt like I could not get it done in an esse turn and forced the bike over, the resultant head shake was not disturbing. I knew exactly why it happened and what caused it. At the end of day 2, I found that moving on the bike was the hardest part, which is why Level 3-4 is in the picture. The morning of Day 2 I was dragging pegs, and so the hanging off started. My lap times proceeded to slow down. My movement on the bike - even though it looked cool - was going more harm than good. The end of Day 2 things got better and I shaved more time off - and felt good doing it. But the dance is not easy. My own physical stamina was my biggest problem. Inner leg and stomach muscles need to be in shape. Every movement matters, which is why I'm now a firm believer in coaching. It can only make be a better (and safer) rider.

 

As much as I like the books, I have to say there is a HUGE benefit to getting the lectures and riding coaching. Some of the Twist books never made much sense to me, which is not surprising since in retrospect I did not have the ability to recognize the problem, let alone understand how and what the correction was. Talking about some these concepts is OK - but I can't imagine that they will make sense.

 

I've always had an 1/2-1 inch of unused rubber on my rear tire and just happened to put a new set on my 1200GS right before the 2-day school. I always assumed it was impossible to run the tire to the edge. First ride back, the "chicken strips" were gone. Now I need a ZX-6, a trailer and some time off for a track day.

 

You sold me. I've got an R1200GS, too, with just about an 1/8 inch of chicken strips left on either side. If I could get rid of that last little bit as easily as you did, it would be money well spent!

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You sold me. I've got an R1200GS, too, with just about an 1/8 inch of chicken strips left on either side. If I could get rid of that last little bit as easily as you did, it would be money well spent!

 

There is a lot to be said for good training, but part of it is simply having a good training environment---a few times we have run our days with others (long ago), and it never worked as well. For quite a while, we have only run our own program and we work pretty hard to keep it a good training environment.

 

Best,

Cobie

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have browsed through the other replies and have decided just to say how I move about a little bit and you can take what you want from that.

 

First thing I do is gage how tight the corner is and how fast I am going (sometimes I do not even move from crouced position because it is not needed)

After that even if I am not planning on "getting my knee down" I move off of the seat because a lower cg allows for a tighter turn (physics with the lean angle and such) plus it feels fun

So moving off of the seat, I had to go on a little ride to cheak that one out. What I do is kind of slide but I do relieve the seat of almsot all weight so I guess it is an up and over also. Anyways I try to leave the handlebars loose (no weight pressing on them) and put most of my weight on my feet (no peg bias) then I (lets say leaning left) sort of rotate my left knee forward bringing my right back and then let go of the bike with my left lower body. If you are interested or confused just ask and I will try to add some pictures or a better explination. When completing the turn and getting back up on the bike I do a little bit of the reverse, push on the bike a little bit with my right upper leg (very quick and slight) as I put my weight on the pegs and slide (rotate) my but back to crouched position. That is about it, hope at least one thing helped.

 

~Ciao

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Sounds pretty good. We spend a lot of time on this (part of level 1 and 2, and pretty much all of level 3).

 

There are a lot of pieces to this, but sounds like you are going in the right direction. One thing that I do talk with students about fairly often is having too many positions on the bike. One of my top coaches, it's pretty amazing to see his knee pucks. They look like he put then on a large grinder. They only have one angle.

 

This shows that he has the EXACT same body position, and the same one on both sides.

 

Adds real consistency having this sorted out.

 

Best,

CF

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