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Dragging Toes...


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Recently did a track day on my 2004 VFR at Reno-Fernley and while I had a great time (and benefitted greatly from following an instructor around for a few laps) I found that my body positioning is still frustratingly not quite right.

 

Despite consciously working to get low & inside to lower the COG and keep the bike upright I kept dragging my toes. In photos, my knees were consistently about 5" higher than my toes even though I felt like I was in the right position.

 

I'd love to hear tips on practicing body position and the left / right transfer. I know that my mid-corner stability and lines were being negatively impacted by my trying to 'adjust' what never quite felt right. Thanks!

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I can't say that I know why you are dragging your toes but I can share an observation I have made from cornerworking at the School a few times. I notice (and call into course control) that a few students in every School ride "duck footed" meaning that instead of having the balls of their feet on the pegs, they have the arch of the foot (or worse, the heel) on the pegs. The result is that their toes tend to point out from the pegs. When they hang off, the act of extending their knee cause their toes follow on the same plane.

 

When you have the ball of your foot on the peg, you actually pivot from that position and your toes stay in close to the peg. When your arch (or heel) is on the peg, the toes project that much further out and are are far more likely to touch down, certainly before your knee will.

 

...one person's observation FWIW.

 

Kevin

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I can't say that I know why you are dragging your toes but I can share an observation I have made from cornerworking at the School a few times. I notice (and call into course control) that a few students in every School ride "duck footed" meaning that instead of having the balls of their feet on the pegs, they have the arch of the foot (or worse, the heel) on the pegs. The result is that their toes tend to point out from the pegs. When they hang off, the act of extending their knee cause their toes follow on the same plane.

 

When you have the ball of your foot on the peg, you actually pivot from that position and your toes stay in close to the peg. When your arch (or heel) is on the peg, the toes project that much further out and are are far more likely to touch down, certainly before your knee will.

 

...one person's observation FWIW.

 

Kevin

 

Hey Kevin,

Have there been students who ride duck-footed without any scrapping issues or does CSS tell all the riders to not ride like that? I'm a new-ish rider with no track experience and I haven't gone to the lean angles you guys have.

 

Since I started, I've tried to model my riding position after what I see from the photos and onboard cameras from riders like Rossi and Haga among others. From the stuff I've seen, ball or arch seems to fluctuate between riders and I'm still confused by it. I would venture to say my current foot placement is duck-footed as I've copied Rossi's positioning in this photo where he's hovering over the brake. Does that position qualify as duck-footed or are you refering to something else?

 

The photos I've seen show Rossi riding with this style foot placement. It seems like quite a few of the motogp and wsbk guys have their gear shift leg in this position when cornering, but the brake leg seems to be split between ball or arch when making a right turn.

The texts I've read all seem to urge for ball of the feet, but TOTW2 also says one may use the rear brake at their own discretion (so I don't know if that means shifting the leg around while cornering depending on need or just positioning the leg how Rossi does)?

 

Regards,

Allard

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The photos I've seen show Rossi riding with this style foot placement. It seems like quite a few of the motogp and wsbk guys have their gear shift leg in this position when cornering, but the brake leg seems to be split between ball or arch when making a right turn.

The texts I've read all seem to urge for ball of the feet, but TOTW2 also says one may use the rear brake at their own discretion (so I don't know if that means shifting the leg around while cornering depending on need or just positioning the leg how Rossi does)?

 

Regards,

Allard

 

Allard.

I don't know if all (or any) "Duck Footed" riders scrape their toes. I can say that if the ones that I have observed were to add much more lean angle, the toes will touch first. As for the larger question about Professional riders and how they do what they do - I'm out of their league so I can't offer much perspective. You say that Professionals like Rossi have different foot positions from their brake side to the shift side and that is probably true, especially if they need to shift before the bike has exited the turn.

 

As for the photograph of Rossi, it is from his outside leg. CSS teaches us to lock onto the bike with the outside leg with pressure from the outside foot peg into the outside of the tank. As a short rider (5'-7") I need to be on the ball of my outside foot to lock onto the bike but Rossi is tall for a racer ( over 6') so he doesn't need the extend his leg to lock in like I do...BTW, Rossi also drops his foot off entirely when he approachs some turns and I know they don't teach that technique at the School!

 

But this is just one person's observation about a possible answer to your initial question.

 

Kevin

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Here's some things that came to my mind when I read this:

 

The peg placement between a VFR and a Moto GP bike is probably a lot different. The pegs on a VFR may be lower than some other more aggressive track oriented models like the zx6r, gsxr600 and so on. The lower pegs could be part of the difference you see in photos. I had a YZF600R which, like the VFR, had somewhat lower pegs because it was made to be more comfy for street riding, and I definitely remember a phase with that bike where it was a challenge for me to get my knee on the ground before scraping toes or pegs. Although over time with improvements in body position it became not an issue.

 

If you are not moving your shoulders off the bike along with your hips when hanging off, you are not getting nearly as much benefit as you could from the hangoff, thus the bike is leaning a lot more than it needs to and putting your toes closer to the ground. Although it sounds like from your original post you are already aware of and concentrating on this.

 

I also thought the same as Mr. Kane, that when you ride with the balls of the feet on the pegs, you can extend the ankle joint to lock your lower leg between the peg and the lip on the gas tank. Some of the more track oriented bikes have gas tanks that are shaped specifically to make it easier to hold on with the legs while hanging off.

 

I ride with the balls of the feet (toes) on the peg except to shift. I do not use the rear brake and I select gears that won't require me to shift mid-corner.

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Recently did a track day on my 2004 VFR at Reno-Fernley and while I had a great time (and benefitted greatly from following an instructor around for a few laps) I found that my body positioning is still frustratingly not quite right.

 

Despite consciously working to get low & inside to lower the COG and keep the bike upright I kept dragging my toes. In photos, my knees were consistently about 5" higher than my toes even though I felt like I was in the right position.

 

I'd love to hear tips on practicing body position and the left / right transfer. I know that my mid-corner stability and lines were being negatively impacted by my trying to 'adjust' what never quite felt right. Thanks!

 

 

I ride with the balls of my feet on the pegs and tucked right in. I move my foot when I need to shift or use the rear brake. Then I move it back.

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Thanks for the input guys.

 

I'm not riding duck-footed (AFAIK!) ;) as hopefully can be seen in my avatar photo. I did realize after reviewing photos of the track day that I was not getting my torso off the bike as much as I "felt" I was - essentially I was crossing up and hanging plenty of butt off...but leaving my upper body over the tank to a large degree.

 

The bummer is not being able to hit a track day EVERY weekend to work on it. I appreciate the input and welcome more tips. Thanks!

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Have you guys noticed when Rossi and Pedrosa or any of the other guys have moved their left foot prior to coming into a left turn? Or the same in a right hand turn for the right foot?

 

Regarding the outside foot, if it isn't going to scrape, does it matter unless the rider needs it to stabilize himself, as Kevin mentioned above.

 

CF

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Have you guys noticed when Rossi and Pedrosa or any of the other guys have moved their left foot prior to coming into a left turn? Or the same in a right hand turn for the right foot?

 

Regarding the outside foot, if it isn't going to scrape, does it matter unless the rider needs it to stabilize himself, as Kevin mentioned above.

 

CF

 

 

Hey there Cobie...

 

If you can see in my avatar photo, my concern is the inside foot dragging. From my layman analysis I'd say my torso is too "on" the bike, leaving my leg in the wrong position (toe-down) leading to the dragging. Since my Level 2 class dodn't use the lean bike *cough* ;) my BP is likely not as it should be...albeit far improved from the L1 days.

 

Can you provide any tips / feedback on BP as shown in the photo? Thanks!

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Hey there Cobie...

 

If you can see in my avatar photo, my concern is the inside foot dragging. From my layman analysis I'd say my torso is too "on" the bike, leaving my leg in the wrong position (toe-down) leading to the dragging. Since my Level 2 class dodn't use the lean bike *cough* ;) my BP is likely not as it should be...albeit far improved from the L1 days.

 

Can you provide any tips / feedback on BP as shown in the photo? Thanks!

 

First thing: if you can make it to any school, signed up or not, I'll get you on the lean bike.

 

Hmmm...can't see the foot that well in this photo. The leg doesn't look to be in a bad position. Sometimes the rider puts their inside foot too close to the edge of the peg, and simply moving it in-board can help. If your foot drags, I'd first check if it's back far enough, 2nd if it's near the edge of the peg. In short, try moving it in and back. Even if it rests on the bracket that guards the rear brake parts (like on our bikes), that's fine. I often put the back of my boot on top of that.

 

Let me know if this helps.

 

Best,

Cobie

 

ps---gone for a week on Monday, if I don't get back to you.

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Hey there Cobie...

 

If you can see in my avatar photo, my concern is the inside foot dragging. From my layman analysis I'd say my torso is too "on" the bike, leaving my leg in the wrong position (toe-down) leading to the dragging. Since my Level 2 class dodn't use the lean bike *cough* ;) my BP is likely not as it should be...albeit far improved from the L1 days.

 

Can you provide any tips / feedback on BP as shown in the photo? Thanks!

 

First thing: if you can make it to any school, signed up or not, I'll get you on the lean bike.

 

Hmmm...can't see the foot that well in this photo. The leg doesn't look to be in a bad position. Sometimes the rider puts their inside foot too close to the edge of the peg, and simply moving it in-board can help. If your foot drags, I'd first check if it's back far enough, 2nd if it's near the edge of the peg. In short, try moving it in and back. Even if it rests on the bracket that guards the rear brake parts (like on our bikes), that's fine. I often put the back of my boot on top of that.

 

Let me know if this helps.

 

Best,

Cobie

 

ps---gone for a week on Monday, if I don't get back to you.

 

 

 

Oh, sure...plug the school and run.

 

See how he is? Mr Bigshot...off to another day of being chief instructor of the world, riding around some famous race course or another. Go on, don't worry about us little people stuck inside the this monitor screen while you traipse about the countryside "saving lives". No, go ahead, you go have fun, play with your friends. We'll still be here when you get back...like the reliable dependable, steadfast folks we are...always here for you....go on. Don't give it a another thot...

 

 

 

 

 

Porrada,

 

From what I can see from your photo, you have the same typical problem experienced by many novice racers ... BIG FEET.

 

If you are really serious about your riding, and it seems that you are, I'm afraid the only real solution is to simply have your toes amputated.

 

Sorry, man.

 

You can take heart that you won't be alone though. Many famous champions had to "make the cut" to achieve their dreams.

 

In fact, I'll let you in on a secret...back in the eighties when I first rode with Cobie, I was surprised when I saw him without his boots on one day...and...you guessed it. Sort of explains why his boots make that funny clopping sound when he walks. Notice that he will always sit on his bike or stand still when he talks to you trackside or even in front of the classroom. But, if you pay close attention, you can catch him walking on his way to lunch or the head...clop, clop, clop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so kidding you, dude.

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, someone mentioned aftermarket rearset kits....a stock street/sport bike that isn't a "repli-racer" may have more comfy located pegs that will require you to raise them up a bit to conduct any serious knee dragging.

 

I'm not familiar with your model's pegs but even if you can't find an appropriate kit, they aren't too, too difficult to fabricate. Check it out.

 

 

Otherwise...well...you know the score...

 

clop clop clop

 

 

;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Racer...um...er...ah....thank you for the suggestions, but I've spent so damn much on my nail polish collection and riding sandals that chopping off my little piggies would be such a WASTE and all. ;)

 

Cobie - thanks for the offer! I'll check the schedule and see about coming by to say hi and getting a little input on my positioning. As you noted - it may well be that I'm carrying the foot in the wrong placement on the peg and I'd be utterly unsurprised if the VFR has lower pegs than ideal.

 

Hope your travels go safely.

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Racer...um...er...ah....thank you for the suggestions, but I've spent so damn much on my nail polish collection and riding sandals that chopping off my little piggies would be such a WASTE and all. ;)

 

I understand.

 

Everyone has to choose their priorities.

 

I hope Cobie knows I was "so kidding" him, too.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

At track days and at CSS I had the toe issue. Misti was my coach that day and we had lots of chats about toes vs. knees. I was told to keep my foot as far in as possible, which I still find hard at times but wouldn't you know it that next TD my knee touched down with the toe slider. It is not shortly thereafter that my knee was not down at will and yes my foot was always shortly thereafter. If I could figure out how to post a picture I would. Moving the toe on to the peg a bit more and getting the body down (chin near the edge fo the screen) and what do you know.

 

BUT and this is a big but I'm also lazing on the gas and what I discovered is that being lazy on gthe gas makes it easier to ride the knee aroudn a corner. You want to show off for the camre just be lazy. Last TD when I worked on getting on the gas as early as possible I could stand the bike up and touching down became harder and harder. Hit the apex, get on the gas and stand the bike up - no knee down. If I was lazy, I could drag stuff all the way round the track. If I got on it though, a brief touch down was all that was in order.

 

Anyway, long and short, if you can touch down your toes it is just a question of finding the right corner to drag something else - assumig you are not haging them off the end of the pegs. Your knee will follow, but the reality is your inability to get the knee down may mean you are doing something right.

 

Side note - my last TD post LVL 4 I was in a left hander that followed a straight and a rider split myself and bike in front I was tradign places with. The rider had a slooowww turn in and was clearly getting dragged wide in the turn. She was sliding out of my vision and I knew it was bad. Using my CSS skill I hooked the turn and went for max lean - brake lever started to drag - to get to the inside of the turn and give the rider who was in the shizzle as much track as possible. They never made it (crashed - but were Ok to ride again that day). I did get to the inside of the turn aware that I was at the limit and knew I had knee, foot and brake lever on the ground. CSS paid off big time that corner.

 

Now if I can figure out how to post a picture I'll get you one of knee and toes sliding - a la Misti.

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Dragged the brake lever in a left turn, eh? That's pretty amazing!

 

I mean I've come close to dragging an elbow once or twice, but a brake lever ... all I can say is 'wow'.

 

Hat's off to ya, mate!

 

What track was that at?

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are a few skills that will really make a big difference in how much a bike is leaned over. First, it's a good idea to get your feet up when cornering though, you have figured that one out.

 

When the throttle comes on, did you know that the bike lifts, both front and back?

 

Can you guys think of other things that will affect lean angle too?

 

CF

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

In reviewing the photos of me on-track and studying my own positioning on the bike it is clear that my position is far from ideal. Another factor that I've considered is the placement of my pegs - the VFR (while an excellent all-around bike) is by no means a common track tool and the placement of the pegs is lower than on a more racy bike.

 

I look forward to having future track days to work on it...pushing it that hard on the streets is bad mojo.

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In reviewing the photos of me on-track and studying my own positioning on the bike it is clear that my position is far from ideal. Another factor that I've considered is the placement of my pegs - the VFR (while an excellent all-around bike) is by no means a common track tool and the placement of the pegs is lower than on a more racy bike.

 

I look forward to having future track days to work on it...pushing it that hard on the streets is bad mojo.

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  • 4 weeks later...
There are a few skills that will really make a big difference in how much a bike is leaned over. First, it's a good idea to get your feet up when cornering though, you have figured that one out.

 

When the throttle comes on, did you know that the bike lifts, both front and back?

 

Can you guys think of other things that will affect lean angle too?

 

CF

 

Radius of the curve and how fast I am going.

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