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Sliding


Kevin Kane
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Watching the video of Ben Bostrom at turn 11 @ Laguna (over in the racing forum), it looks like his bike is "loose" as he sets up for this turn. Maybe it is his personal style or maybe it is how he rides Hondas v. Ducati's but the more you (I) saw him (on TV) last season, the more it seemed lime he slides his way into the turns. Can anyone comment on this?

 

I had posted a question to Cobie and Keith last fall that both answered but this image rekindled similar questions...is it all about controlling the slide at the higher(est) levels of this sport?

 

Kevin Kane

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If you brace yourself with the bars during braking and are braking enough to unload the rear the bike will set up in that dance. It's the same reason you want to be light on the bars in a turn. The front wheel will seek balance because of trail and if you are damping the steering with your weight it takes a larger force from the bike to overcome the rider causing the weave. Now when you are on the brakes enough to make the rear light it can be deflected and that is what the dance is.

Will

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Ballistic,

I apprecite your comment on bracing yourself with the bars during braking; and you're correct about why my bike is so unsettled at turn (SR's taking over) but watching that video, I am still curious. Does a rider like Bostrom choose to "dance" his way into a turn as a cornering technique or is he managing a bi-product of his cornering technique? Put another way, can a rider make this turn at that speed without sliding at some point? I have read (or heard) that some Pro riders choose to slide so they can "feel" their traction limits but I am always amazed watching these guys do it so often.

 

At different frames in that video, both the front and rear end of his bike seems to be moving laterally but listening to the sound of his bike, he never chops the throttle, he rolls off slightly and just at (or past) the apex, he rolls it back on and once upright, he hammers it.

 

Kevin Kane

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When Ben comes into a corner you see the rear of his bike sliding back and forth. It doesn't matter what bike he is on the back end always looks loose. Like Will said, I think this is because his arms are stiff and he is causing the bike to weave. If he were to pinch the tank with his knees and keep his arms loose the backend probably wouldn't move around so much.

 

That said, it obviously doesn't bother Ben much :) in fact I've heard a TV commentator say he likes it, but we know how accurate they can be :) I don't know if he uses this instability in any beneficial way, but I doubt it. I think that other riders could probably enter that same corner at the same speed and brake just as hard and be able to keep the back end in-line. In fact I remember watching a race where someone passed Ben on the brakes and while Ben's bike was weaving all over the other rider?s bike was pretty stable.

 

I'm not trying to knock Ben, he is one of my favorite riders. I just think that he is causing the back end to slide around on the brakes and I'm not sure if he does this on purpose or if it is just a by product of his riding style.

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Stu & Will,

My first experience with sliding/ front end chatter was on the School's Brake Bike at Watkins Glen. After totally blowing it by dropping my legs off the pegs as I struggled to find terra firma, Keith calmly explained what was happening and how I might try this manuever differently. His advice was very helpful.

 

The following spring on a School Zx-6R, I experienced this sensation for the first time on the track at Pocono. What is refreshing to hear you guys say is that this experience is more from holding on too tight and is NOT a method to faster lap times. BTW, my lap times went up even thought I thought I was going faster so the FACTS in my case support your theory.

 

Great feedback guys...thanks,

 

Kevin Kane

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