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Aging riders...what's techniques are priority?


Cobie Fair
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The age for a senior citizen seems to have gone up, but aging does change the riding game a little.  Here's what I'd like to know: what skills/techniques/attitudes does the older rider consider important?

I used to think that older riders might be wiser, would use their experience and wisdom to think things through, take more calculated risks, that kind of thing.  Some do...and some don't!  I can think of 2 riders right off the cuff, in their late 70's.  These fellas had more balls than sense, they approached their riding like 18 year-olds at the bordello with Daddy's black AMEX--out of control.

Or another senior citizen that had a heart attack (and knew it).  Then flew himself home in his private plane!!!!  WTF!  He later said he flew "lower than normal" and took a route home away from civilization, so if he did crash, wouldn't hurt anyone else.  

So this question is for the older forum members (let's say over 60).  What do you consider your best defense for successful riding (or any high stress activity)?  A particular technique?  Your overall ability to "handle come what may?"  Luck?  Karma? 

I'd like to know.

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Interesting topic! As a young whipper-snapper, I don’t yet qualify but I did finally make the decision to let the license plate on my sportbike expire. It was a risk/reward decision. I’ll just live vicariously through the geriatric riders described above (though not the pilot- he deserves a good roasting).

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  • 1 month later...

I see a lot of older riders online say they just switch down to a lower capacity bike such as a cb500f or mt-03, the steering input is just less effort because the entire front just weighs less and I'd assume the smaller thinner tires turn in easier. 

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Do you trail off the brakes coming through the corners to reduce the rake and get better contact patch ? that's supposed to reduce the effort put into steering. 

I'm a newer rider, which I guess you could say is comparable to ageing riders in a way. Something I always forget is to keep taking in large breaths and control my breathing because I'm so focused on operating the bike. This could definitely lead to things such as heart attacks and a loss of concentration. You're already trying to attain that 'no-mind' meditative state, so you've got to keep the long controlled breathing up to ensure you're getting enough oxygen. I don't think the human body will be physically exerting itself enough for the brain to do it automatically during street riding. 

 

Also get your body up over the front tyre and you'll feel a lot more grip in my experience (obviously don't put weight on the handle bars)

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As I've aged, I've certainly have used the brakes "differently" and I don't attribute it to age but wisdom (ha, ha- see what I did there?). Seriously, my riding has evolved most notably over the past 3-4 years, I'm faster and more confident and "don't do nothin' dumb". I don't have a set agenda about brakes and corners like I used to, I now know that every situation is different- some require brakes come off before I tip-in, other situations need brakes-off as I'm dialing-in my lean angle, I'm still working on that as it usually causes me to be about 1/2 to a full heartbeat late on the gas, so annoying.

I know there are many (really just two I can name) schools of thought that brakes should always be applied when cornering. I am cautious whenever I hear implied or otherwise absolute terms like always and never. That caution has opened the door for me for where I am in my riding now. I'll get that timing thing down, soon.

Weight transfer: I'm mostly a side-side kinda guy...but if I can be lazy and keep my weight centered (not going fast enough/ needing it in a particular corner), then I will. I've seen guys hanging off like a monkey just getting out of the pits and I think it's hilarious. Naaa, I'll save my energy for when I need it. I will however get over the front end in a tight, decreasing radius turn- there's one such turn at NJMP that spooks me if I'm more than a foot off my line and I use the technique with good effect.

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7 hours ago, D_Gray said:

Do you trail off the brakes coming through the corners to reduce the rake and get better contact patch ? that's supposed to reduce the effort put into steering.

There are a number of pieces that we could look at, but one you brought up, let's take one to start with, and that's effort in steering.  In a corner, if braking is being applied, and the bike is leaned over, what does the bike want to do?  3 possible options here: stay on it's line, stand up, turn in more.  

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10 minutes ago, Cobie Fair said:

There are a number of pieces that we could look at, but one you brought up, let's take one to start with, and that's effort in steering.  In a corner, if braking is being applied, and the bike is leaned over, what does the bike want to do?  3 possible options here: stay on it's line, stand up, turn in more.  

If you put them on after you've already leaned over I guess the bike would stand up due to the loss of speed meaning the lean isn't needed anymore. 

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After the bike has been leaned over (or while leaning) if one puts the brakes on, the bike wants to stand up, correct on that for sure...it is being countersteered at that time.  This also increases the effort to steer.

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