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Incremental Increases In Entry Speed


Hotfoot
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I am looking for some ideas on making small adjustments to entry speeds on sharp corners. I'm a Level 4 student, and I do a good job (I think) of practicing no-brakes drills and doing everything early to avoid being rushed when approaching a turn. Now I'm trying to start creeping up my entry speed but I find that on tight corners, mainly sharp corners after a fast straight, I have trouble judging small differences in entry speed so somewhere in the middle of the turn I realize I just rode it at EXACTLY the same speed as before. On high speed turns I find it much easier because I can hear or feel the difference in engine RPM, plus I can make a larger incremental change withour triggering SRs. Any specific tips on ways to get comfortable with sensing small changes? Obviously looking at the speedo (or even the tach) is not my preferred approach.

 

I do recognize that very little gains in lap times are acheived by working on tight-corner entry speeds, however the reason I am concerned is because it is limiting my speed on the fast straight PRIOR to the turn, which definitely affects my laptimes, and also because in turns of this type I am getting riders running up on me at the end of a fast stretch, which I don't enjoy. Those riders are not riding faster then me elsewhere, ergo SOMETHING is keeping me from riding through these corners up to my own ability.

 

How do YOU do it? What concrete, measurable data helps you tell if you did make a real change in your entry speed? What senses are you using? I am considering adding some pricey electronics to my bike so I can measure this, but I would much rather use my own built-in sensors.

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It is mostly just a feeling after turn and being in the turn thinking to myself "damn I could be going alot faster right now". If I had that feeling I would simply brake a little less for the turn the next time around. I would repeat that process until I felt like went into the turn just a bit to fast. Then try and balance out where my fastest entry speed was from there. I can tell you that applying the brakes even after turn in “trailbraking" helped me a lot with this as I could modulate my entry speed mid turn before apex as well.

 

You will know if you are entering the turn faster cause you will feel like your going faster.. You don’t need a data logger for that unless your at a very high level of riding on the edge I would think

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You say riders are running up on you. I assume you mean on entry of the turn after the straight. How is your exit speed of this corner compared to theirs? Can you enter or exit a turn faster?

 

 

 

jrock stated "I can tell you that applying the brakes even after turn in “trailbraking" helped me a lot with this as I could modulate my entry speed mid turn before apex as well"

 

That is definitely not the fastest way thru a corner. If your on the brakes, your not on the gas. By waiting to get on the gas until the apex your loosing alot of speed on the exit. Trail braking is a great skill, but is only used in limited situations.

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You say riders are running up on you. I assume you mean on entry of the turn after the straight. How is your exit speed of this corner compared to theirs? Can you enter or exit a turn faster?

 

 

 

jrock stated "I can tell you that applying the brakes even after turn in “trailbraking" helped me a lot with this as I could modulate my entry speed mid turn before apex as well"

 

That is definitely not the fastest way thru a corner. If your on the brakes, your not on the gas. By waiting to get on the gas until the apex your loosing alot of speed on the exit. Trail braking is a great skill, but is only used in limited situations.

 

Riders are running up on me before the turn point. I can usually exit equal or faster. Actually, the idea of adding trailbraking might be helpful to me, I haven't been doing that - it may not be the fastest way but it may help me in judging the speed or making smaller adjustments. Regarding the idea of increasing speed until it feels a little bit too fast - that is what I am trying to do, but having a little trouble judging it, so I make too big a change and blow my line, then on the next lap I am back to my original speed again.

 

In re-reading my OWN post, something jumped out at me - I said I could judge RPM differences better in the higher speed turns, so it occurs to me, maybe I am taking these turns in too high a gear, so the RPM is low. I only have trouble with tight turns that come after a high speed stretch, so I am dropping multiple gears. I haven't had the nifty slipper clutch so I've been a bit careful with downshifts, but I am approaching my first track day on my NEW bike, which does have one. Maybe if I can make the turn at a higher RPM I'll be more able to hear or feel a small difference in RPM, and since my next upshift point will come a lot earlier, I might be able to also use THAT to judge whether I made it through faster - I can find a reference point for when I have to upshift and if I have to keep moving it closer to the turn I'll know I am carrying more speed through. Does that makes sense?

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Corner entry speed may not be the best thing to be measuring. When you're at the entry it's too late to do anything about it. Maybe concentrate on the improving the things that lead up to the entry like brake point, position on the track, vision, etc.

 

Bingo.

 

Use reference points to roll out or brake, and make adjustments to those.

 

The thought at the apex should be something like, "Gee, I'm too still too slow here. I can hold the gas on longer before rolling off, or brake a little later, or... let off the brake sooner... on the next lap."

 

If you don't have number boards on the side of the track, you need to find some visual reference points for yourself.

 

I usually make a visual measurement like "a little past that patch in the pavement" or "halfway between marker 2 & 1".

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In re-reading my OWN post, something jumped out at me - I said I could judge RPM differences better in the higher speed turns, so it occurs to me, maybe I am taking these turns in too high a gear, so the RPM is low. I only have trouble with tight turns that come after a high speed stretch, so I am dropping multiple gears. [snip] Maybe if I can make the turn at a higher RPM I'll be more able to hear or feel a small difference in RPM, and since my next upshift point will come a lot earlier, I might be able to also use THAT to judge whether I made it through faster - I can find a reference point for when I have to upshift and if I have to keep moving it closer to the turn I'll know I am carrying more speed through. Does that makes sense?

 

Actually, all that sounds pretty complex, distracting and confusing... and leaves a BIG chance of leaving yourself out if you end up in the wrong gear by accident. What do you do then?

 

In fact, most racers find the engine noise to be a major distraction and the noise level itself physically/mentally fatiguing and wear ear plugs so they can't hear the engine (as much).

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In re-reading my OWN post, something jumped out at me - I said I could judge RPM differences better in the higher speed turns, so it occurs to me, maybe I am taking these turns in too high a gear, so the RPM is low. I only have trouble with tight turns that come after a high speed stretch, so I am dropping multiple gears. [snip] Maybe if I can make the turn at a higher RPM I'll be more able to hear or feel a small difference in RPM, and since my next upshift point will come a lot earlier, I might be able to also use THAT to judge whether I made it through faster - I can find a reference point for when I have to upshift and if I have to keep moving it closer to the turn I'll know I am carrying more speed through. Does that makes sense?

 

Actually, all that sounds pretty complex, distracting and confusing... and leaves a BIG chance of leaving yourself out if you end up in the wrong gear by accident. What do you do then?

 

In fact, most racers find the engine noise to be a major distraction and the noise level itself physically/mentally fatiguing and wear ear plugs so they can't hear the engine (as much).

 

The RPM idea comes from one of Keith's books where he discusses approaching a turn a few RPM's higher - the specific example talked about notching up 100 RPMs, if I remember correctly. For me, the engine noise is not a distraction, but my helmet seems to block a lot more noise than others.

Excellent point about ending up in the wrong gear, although that issue is always present - I have to pay attention to the number of downshifts anyway, so it shouldn't add much distraction to go down one more. You talked about reference points for braking, which makes sense - I do have braking on and off points, but I am modulating the brakes (trying to brake less aggressively to carry more speed) rather than moving the on/off points, which makes it very hard to measure the amount of change from one lap to the next. I guess I need to work on braking with same intensity every time but move the point where I start or stop braking. This does give me a way to measure it in a much more concrete way, assuming I can achieve consistent braking intensity.

 

I think the main reason I want a better way to measure this very specifically is to give myself the confidence that I am making a change, but not such a big one that I end up in the dirt wondering what happened. Becuase these specific turns are low speed, a realtively small change can make a really big difference.

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In fact, in the scenario of notching up 100 rpm, it will probably be far more reliable and accurate to glance at the tacho. Chances are if you can't judge your mph or braking intensity accurately...yet, you probably aren't able to judge your rpm by ear very accurately either.

 

I would suggest that you won't know how much of a distraction engine noise might be until you are riding at real racing speeds and your ten dollars of attention is way overdrawn. Same for the gearshifts.

 

I'm only speaking from twenty years of track riding/racing experience. But, hey... what do I know?

 

And pay no attention to the earplugs that Valentino Rossi (and every other professional race driver in the world) wear. Cuz...yer helmet is better than his....lol.

 

Good luck doing it your way, champ.

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If you haven't looked at Keith's book The Soft Science, you might like some of what he covers in there. Everyone does have a sense of speed, and we work on that a lot at the schools (one of the reasons we use the no-brakes drill--make it easier to sample the speed). I'm not trying to get you guys to come to schools, I just want to point out this subject is a real factor in improving a rider's skill level: getting to the point he/she can get the entry speed desired, get comfortable with that, get consistent with that and then gradually bring it up.

 

Another thought: Looking down at the tach right before a turn, when your attention should be up ahead, that's something to consider with a bit of discretion. I only look down when I'm not pressed, when I'm not too busy with other stuff. The approaches to turns can get real busy...setting speed, dealing with traffic, braking and downshifting.

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Another thought: Looking down at the tach right before a turn, when your attention should be up ahead, that's something to consider with a bit of discretion. I only look down when I'm not pressed, when I'm not too busy with other stuff. The approaches to turns can get real busy...setting speed, dealing with traffic, braking and downshifting.

 

I couldn't agree more.

 

Does Keith still teach the "100 rpm per lap incremental increase" technique or is 100 rpm just sort of a theoretical figure to illustrate the concept of "incremental", or ... ?

 

Hotfoot seems to be trying to follow Keith's instructions here, perhaps some clarification on that point would help.

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Hey Hotfoot,

 

I apologize for my snarkiness yesterday. You could say I allowed myself to be pulled off center a bit by other events. Or you could just say I was in a bad mood. Whatever, my bad.

 

Here's the bottom line about "hearing" your RPM...

 

First, the higher in pitch a tone is up the scale, the more difficult, not easier, it is discern a change or difference in pitch by ear. That is to say that while you can probably easily notice a 100 rpm change near idle speed of 1000 rpm, hearing a 100 rpm change at 10,000 rpm would be a nearly superhuman feat in itself, nevermind that you would need to have outright "perfect pitch" to start with, ie sing the frequency of 10,000 rpm off the top of your head (or at least be able to hear it inside your head) to know where you were to begin with ... unless you looked at the tachometer.

 

So, you really need to use the visual reference points and develop your sense of speed via some proven techniques like the "no brakes" drill and others you can learn from Keith's books and the school.

 

Once you have a handle on the speed sense skill, who knows, maybe you can and will develop a better technique to learn it. Being that it is a matter of life and death, call me a prude, but, I go with "better safe than sorry". There is no 'game over' reset button, eh?

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Hey Hotfoot,

 

I apologize for my snarkiness yesterday. You could say I allowed myself to be pulled off center a bit by other events. Or you could just say I was in a bad mood. Whatever, my bad.

 

Here's the bottom line about "hearing" your RPM...

 

First, the higher in pitch a tone is up the scale, the more difficult, not easier, it is discern a change or difference in pitch by ear. That is to say that while you can probably easily notice a 100 rpm change near idle speed of 1000 rpm, hearing a 100 rpm change at 10,000 rpm would be a nearly superhuman feat in itself, nevermind that you would need to have outright "perfect pitch" to start with, ie sing the frequency of 10,000 rpm off the top of your head (or at least be able to hear it inside your head) to know where you were to begin with ... unless you looked at the tachometer.

 

So, you really need to use the visual reference points and develop your sense of speed via some proven techniques like the "no brakes" drill and others you can learn from Keith's books and the school.

 

Once you have a handle on the speed sense skill, who knows, maybe you can and will develop a better technique to learn it. Being that it is a matter of life and death, call me a prude, but, I go with "better safe than sorry". There is no 'game over' reset button, eh?

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Hey Hotfoot,

 

I apologize for my snarkiness yesterday. You could say I allowed myself to be pulled off center a bit by other events. Or you could just say I was in a bad mood. Whatever, my bad.

 

Here's the bottom line about "hearing" your RPM...

 

First, the higher in pitch a tone is up the scale, the more difficult, not easier, it is discern a change or difference in pitch by ear. That is to say that while you can probably easily notice a 100 rpm change near idle speed of 1000 rpm, hearing a 100 rpm change at 10,000 rpm would be a nearly superhuman feat in itself, nevermind that you would need to have outright "perfect pitch" to start with, ie sing the frequency of 10,000 rpm off the top of your head (or at least be able to hear it inside your head) to know where you were to begin with ... unless you looked at the tachometer.

 

 

 

Racer,

 

Thanks for the apology, I really do appreciate that, as I was a bit taken aback by your response. I certainly never meant to give the impression that I wasn't listening to other ideas, or that I think my old helmet is any better than anyone else's. I just don't like using earplugs - even well over 100 mph I am more comfortable without them.

 

I think we've gotten a bit off track here - above you are talking about how difficult it would be to judge the RPM, and I totally agree - in my first post I mentioned that I am not able to do it effectively, which is why I'm looking for other ideas, something more measurable and less subjective. Incidentally, I'm certain the 100RPM example was an illustration to make a point in the book - I don't want to leave anyone with the idea that this was a specific technique taught at the school, it wasn't.

 

Picking an earlier braking-release point seems to be a good plan, one I want to try, since it seems like a great way to creep up my entry speed without overshooting the mark, and probably the safest of all the techniques discussed so far. I'd love to hear other ideas, too.

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Racer,

 

Thanks for the apology, I really do appreciate that, as I was a bit taken aback by your response. I certainly never meant to give the impression that I wasn't listening to other ideas, or that I think my old helmet is any better than anyone else's. I just don't like using earplugs - even well over 100 mph I am more comfortable without them.

 

 

Hotfoot---2 questions:

 

1. What is it about earplugs you don't like? Comfort? What kinds have you tried? Foam, custom molded?

2. You had also mentioned your old helmet, just curious if that was a figure of speech, or you really did have an old helmt? How old is it?

 

cobie

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Hotfoot---2 questions:

 

1. What is it about earplugs you don't like? Comfort? What kinds have you tried? Foam, custom molded?

2. You had also mentioned your old helmet, just curious if that was a figure of speech, or you really did have an old helmt? How old is it?

 

cobie

 

Cobie,

 

1. It isn't physical discomfort with the earplugs, it's mental. I feel disconnected and zoned out, like being on cold medicine. Honestly, the noise doesn't bother me, I like it, it's part of the fun of going fast. I know it would be better for my hearing to wear them, and I do wear them about 50% of the time, but I don't like them.

2. My helmet is about 6 years old. I've never had a crash with it, but if you're going to tell me I ought to get a newer one, I agree. I've been looking at new helmets on the web, I just need to make time to go to a big store to try some different models.

 

Regarding your earlier post, I did go back to Soft Science and found some info in the chapter on braking - the discussion of "speed memory" is right on target for what I am struggling with. I'm still working it out, but thanks for the suggestion to look there, it is helping. I have some track time tomorrow, we'll see how it goes!

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Pardon me for butting in again... just FYI for anyone's benefit and safety:

 

Most racing clubs/organizations require helmets be no more than two years old from date of manufacture ("born on" date located inside shell under lining), have the latest DOT/Snell rating and no impact damage or even visible scratches at tech inspection. If the helmet has touched the ground, it is dead... for good reason.

 

Helmet technology and standards are always improving; but, helmet materials fatigue with age and even a minor ding can micro-crack the shell where you can't see it and weaken it. (It really is designed to save your life only once.)

 

So, when confronted with the question of "how much money is enough" to spend on a helmet or the claim that buying a new helmet every year or two is too expensive, I respond by asking, "How much is your head worth?"

 

In my opinion, helmets (or leathers, boots and gloves) are simply NOT the place to skimp or try to save money.

 

I've lost more cherished friends than I can count on both hands to this sport that we love. And six years is WAY too old for anyone's helmet. Get a new one soon, dude. Beg, borrow... whatever you have to do. Make the time and get it done. Don't procastinate.

 

/lecture ;)

 

(Sorry to pick on you, this really is for everyone.)

 

That said, you are correct to try out different helmets as different makes and models are designed differently and everyone's head is different. Round or narrow, square jaw or short chin.... proper fitment is critical. One rule of thumb is that you should not be able to pull the helmet over your head back to front when secured (in the forward direction grasping at the back of the neck) and the chin strap should not be able to be pulled over your chin either. So, after finding the make/model(s) that fit well, I suggest the most comfortable option.

 

Also, it is worth it to shop around and haggle over the price of a new helmet. The retail mark-up can be as much as 300% or more so there is plenty of room to bargain. After making your choice of helmet, I might try the mail order houses first but make sure they have your choice in stock (not on back order) and that is a current model and not left over from last year's stock before you charge your card.

 

Good hunting.

 

 

Sincerely,

racer

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Cobie,

 

1. It isn't physical discomfort with the earplugs, it's mental. I feel disconnected and zoned out, like being on cold medicine. Honestly, the noise doesn't bother me, I like it, it's part of the fun of going fast. I know it would be better for my hearing to wear them, and I do wear them about 50% of the time, but I don't like them.

2. My helmet is about 6 years old. I've never had a crash with it, but if you're going to tell me I ought to get a newer one, I agree. I've been looking at new helmets on the web, I just need to make time to go to a big store to try some different models.

 

Regarding your earlier post, I did go back to Soft Science and found some info in the chapter on braking - the discussion of "speed memory" is right on target for what I am struggling with. I'm still working it out, but thanks for the suggestion to look there, it is helping. I have some track time tomorrow, we'll see how it goes!

 

Got it on the earplugs. I use them as it makes it easier for me to concentrate, especially with riders that come up from behind. Racer has put some data in, though I hadn't heard 2 years, I thought it was longer, so I'm going to call our sponsor KBC. They make a pretty good lid, I've had a few of my coaches by their own 'cause they like them.

 

Good on your for checking in Soft, I'll be interested to hear how it goes, let us know.

 

C

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OK. I've just checked the 2008 WERA rule book online here and apparently the rule now is five years from date of manufacture (Snell 00/05). Sorry about that. It definitely used to be two years as recently as 1998-99.

 

However, AMAProRacing requires SNELL M 2005 rating on page 16, Section 1.27 of the 2008 roadrace rulebook .pdf available here. And the AMA Pro-Am rule book (off road/enduro/ATV) quotes the additional DOT FMVSS 218.

 

I can't find any AMA/CCS webpage but the LRRS 2007 Rule Book (page 4) also states five years from date of manufacture.

 

WSMC 2007 Rulebook , page 18, specifies SNELL 95M or 2000M. :(

 

USGPRU lists non-specific DOT/SNELL.

 

 

I guess helmet materials and construction technology are getting better! (At least I hope so! :) )

 

Sorry about the bad data. Best of intentions and all that, eh?

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Thanks for all the helmet info. I knew a newer helmet would have better technology, but I never realized that the material in the helmet could get brittle and less protective with age. So you gave me the extra motivation I needed to go get a new one, and I did.

 

Just to add fuel to this fire, check out this really interesting article:

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/...view/index.html

 

If you weren't confused before, you will be after reading this - it's part of the reason I was stalled on getting a new helmet. But since you threatened me with death, I figure I better stop researching and start buying - so I went for best fit and got a nice high-end Shoei, which ought to do the job just fine.

 

By the way, what's with all the CHERUBS? Most of the Shoei graphics this year have these little chubby angels on them somewhere. Or butterfly wings, or curlicues. Have skulls and snakes and barbed-wire gone out of style? I sure miss the Troy Lee designs! But I digress...

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Wow. Thanks. That's a fantastic article, hotfoot. I really learned a lot. Like how much I really didn't know about helmet technology and Snell. And, gratefully, how much better (in general) helmets are now than back in the olden days of 1987-1991 when I first started racing (lol). And, yes, I am now seriously conflicted about what helmet to purchase next. I mean, clearly the DOT (non-Snell) Z1R seems to be the ticket @ $79.95. But, somehow that just doesn't feel right or seem to ... make ... (gritting teeth) ... SENSE! Dagnabit. I mean, how could I put my head in a helmet that only cost $79.95? Doesn't "more expensive" = "better" ??? (Is this like the OEM BMW handlebar shims in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?)

 

That said, I've never raced with anything but a Shoei. First, because Wayne Rainey was (is) my hero and I really dug his replica graphics back in 1991; and, second, because Shoei fit my round head and short chin the best. (I can pull an Arai helmet completely off my head in either direction with the chin strap cinched tight.)

 

Of course, I also wore a 1970's vintage solid silver Simpson with 2281155146_8e28a55aee_s.jpg stickers for years on the street...lol.

I considered it a, um... political statement. :P

 

So... did you get the helmet with little chubby angels on it, hotfoot? :)

 

I don't know what is up with Shoei graphics this year; but, I'll take all the angel co-pilots over my shoulder I can get. :P

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Thanks for posting the data on the helmets, nice to have the specifics. I wonder if the stuff really does deteriorate...and if so how fast.

 

C

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I found some online articles, government doc's, sports equipment guides and threads in other MC forums re: lifespan/deterioration of helmet materials; and, the common consensus is that the main culprit for fiberglass and plastic becoming brittle is UV (sunlight) and ozone. Also oils and dirt. (Ozone is bad for tires/rubber, too.)

 

So, it seems a good habit would be to clean and store helmets (and tires) away from UV (sunlight) and ozone sources after each ride. (Some typical sources of ozone are electrical motors found in furnaces, refrigerators, AC, compressors, etc and electro-static air cleaners.)

 

Also, although five years was often specified as a maximum lifespan for helmets made of these materials, I repeatedly found two years to be a strongly recommended replacement guideline.

 

r

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But the major impact absorbing material in your helmet is Styrofoam, not fiberglass or plastic.

 

These paragraphs from the previously linked article explain:

 

A motorcycle helmet has two major parts: the outer shell and the energy-absorbing inner liner. The inner lining is made of expanded polystyrene or EPS, the same stuff used in beer coolers, foam coffee cups, and packing material. Outer shells come in two basic flavors: a resin/fiber composite, such as fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar, or a molded thermoplastic such as ABS or polycarbonate, the same basic stuff used in face shields and F-16 canopies.

 

The shell is there for a number of reasons. First, it's supposed to protect against pointy things trying to penetrate the EPS—though that almost never happens in a real accident. Second, the shell protects against abrasion, which is a good thing when you're sliding into the chicane at Daytona. Third, it gives Troy Lee a nice, smooth surface to paint dragons on. Riders—and helmet marketers—pay a lot of attention to the outer shell and its material. But the part of the helmet that absorbs most of the energy in a crash is actually the inner liner.

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