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World Class Riders With Unstable Corner Entry


adamsys
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Hey All;

 

I've been watching a couple of on-line videos of the 2007 FIM Supersport 1000 Cup races. Since I bought a new R1 and did my first track days on it last season, this series is the closest thing to what I actually experienced. To me, the front runners are a good example of what my bike's potential is.

 

It having said that, one striking observation is how wildly the back end swings around when hard on the brakes during corner entry. What is going on here? Are they using the back brake on the way in?

 

For the record, in spite of the luke warm reception from the American Motorcycle Press, the R1 was the "bike of choice at the moment" (according to the EuroSport commentator). It the states, its all about the Gixxer but it FIM SuperSport, its was all about the Ducati 1098 and the R1. The R1 dudes were always leading, then balled it up and gifted the podium to others. Its too bad that the the 1000's are the "red headed step-child" of motorcycle roadracing... ...the races I watched were very exciting and decided in the last lap and, often in the last corner. Instead we have to watch formula extreme ( how Ironic!)

 

Okay, there are a number of ways this thread can go:

 

A) What's up with treating 1000 production racing like sh*t while the 600's are MAJOR? (Here's another paradox: The "powers-that-be" want to make racing "safer" by reducing the engine size but also think that traction control is ruining racing??? Who is Rumsfeld working for these days, Honda?)

 

B ) I have one of these bike and I endeavour to ride it to it fullest potential. In the quest for lap times, do I have to master the art of rear braking? I accepted delivery of my R1 in February last year. I was out during the day visiting friends and showing it off. Night fell and so did the temperatures. I touched the front brakes and the front end went out in the blink of an eye; I became 'that ass I used to make fun of' and crashed it with 48 mile on the odometer... ...Flash forward... ...My first track day and I was using the rear brakes after decades (DECADES!) of not really using them. I had to learn not to use them again (it wasn't that easier, either) Now, with the observation of world class riders on a bike that is VERY similar to mine, I'm wondering if I need to refine my approach to using the rear brakes?

 

C) Is the chassis tuning of contemporary bikes on the edge of instability? All my heroes: Kenny, The Waynes, Eddie, Kevin, et cetera... ...they didn't seem to go through this kind of gymnastics. Or, is it the reality of DOT tires?

 

I'm open to all opinions and coaching...

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A) What's up with treating 1000 production racing like sh*t while the 600's are MAJOR?

Wellll... in a word... money.

 

600cc machines far outsell 1000cc machines, even here in the land of Amorica where bigger is always better. So, series sponsors' advertising exposure = money for purses and contingency money from manufacturers, etc. The 600cc class is like NASCAR (yes, you too can own and drive the same "stock" machine your idol drives) racing for road bikes. And, while Americans love big bikes and Euro imports, that relatively high dollar/low sale market for big bikes and Ducati's in the USA doesn't inspire a lot of racing money for them here.

 

B ) I have one of these bike and I endeavour to ride it to it fullest potential. In the quest for lap times, do I have to master the art of rear braking? I accepted delivery of my R1 in February last year. I was out during the day visiting friends and showing it off. Night fell and so did the temperatures. I touched the front brakes and the front end went out in the blink of an eye; I became 'that ass I used to make fun of' and crashed it with 48 mile on the odometer... ...Flash forward... ...My first track day and I was using the rear brakes after decades (DECADES!) of not really using them. I had to learn not to use them again (it wasn't that easier, either) Now, with the observation of world class riders on a bike that is VERY similar to mine, I'm wondering if I need to refine my approach to using the rear brakes?

I believe your fall and new found fear of the front brake is going to fall under the heading of "rider error" and SR's no matter how you slice it. Perhaps the R1 is front heavy or "twitchy"; but, at the end of the day, the basics of riding and braking still apply. I don't think the R1 is going to "require" you to use the rear brake. You may however need to refine your braking skills for a heavier machine which might not be so forgiving of a rider "snatching" or grabbing a handful of brake all at once as opposed to smoothly "squeezing" or progressively increasing braking force. And you may find you need to use the rear brake a bit more in slippery situations.

 

C) Is the chassis tuning of contemporary bikes on the edge of instability? All my heroes: Kenny, The Waynes, Eddie, Kevin, et cetera... ...they didn't seem to go through this kind of gymnastics. Or, is it the reality of DOT tires?

The steering geometry of sportbikes is less "stable" than non-sport bikes. However, I believe design engineers have generally been improving overall chassis stability over time. A heavy bike is inherently slower to turn (takes more effort), and, I've heard that design engineers may do things like increase the steering rate or alter the CoG to compensate for that. Cobie talked about Kawasaki changing the CoG by moving the motor of their big Ninja for just this reason a couple of years ago (that sparked quite a discussion about just what makes a bike 'fall in' and why the engineers might reallly have made that change that I still haven't entirely sorted out in my mind...lol)

 

As for the "gymnastics" you perceive (and your memory)... the guys you are referring to I recall mostly in their days of racing GP bikes...different animal that doesn't allow for much gymnastics and rewards a smoother riding style. It is more common to see "gymnastics" in the heavier four-stroke supersport/superbike world. As for memories...Kevin Shwantz' "gymnastics" on a GSXR750 are pretty clear in my memory...lol.

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As usual racer provided some great info.

 

Your quest to lower lap times can be accomplished without using the rear brake. Most racers I know dont use the rear brake. Well, except a local number one plate holder who said, "The only time I use my rear brake is in the pits". :) So, to answer your question, no you dont need it to go fast. It's more important to fine tune other aspects of your riding.

 

But, when Doohan was recovery from his broken leg, his bike was fitted with a thumb brake for the rear wheel. If his team went to this extent to modify his bike obviously it was important for him to have it.

I remember Hopkins commenting about using his rear brake to keep the front end down over turn one at Laguna so he wouldnt have to roll off the throttle.

 

On the flip side, Kevin Schwantz said both times he used the rear brake in his racing career he crashed.

 

And there ya go. Two World Champions with varying opinions, and one future World Champion (I hope).

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Adam,

 

A few things to look at: how much of the total braking with the front brake do? Can one lift the rear end with the front brakes alone? Of course. In that case, or even close to that, the rear will lock up very easily.

 

Would you rather use 2 controls or one, if one will do the job? In other words, would just using the front be simpler.

 

Modern bikes with their frames and suspensions should be very stable, unless something is fundametally wrong (bent frame, wheel, tires out of round/balance, out of alignment, etc.). The rider other hand, can make ANY bike unstable. And, on the subject of braking, the front brakes are the single most powerufl control on the bike. Definite technique in both stabilizing the bike, with or without the brakes.

 

Make sense?

 

Cobie

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1st: Thanx, everybody, for your opinions.

 

A few things to look at: how much of the total braking with the front brake do? Can one lift the rear end with the front brakes alone? Of course. In that case, or even close to that, the rear will lock up very easily.

 

Would you rather use 2 controls or one, if one will do the job? In other words, would just using the front be simpler.

 

For me, personally, I'll have my hands full just with the basics for the next season. So, yes, I'll be working on using the front brake alone.

 

Modern bikes with their frames and suspensions should be very stable, unless something is fundamentally wrong (bent frame, wheel, tires out of round/balance, out of alignment, etc.). The rider other hand, can make ANY bike unstable. And, on the subject of braking, the front brakes are the single most powerful control on the bike. Definite technique in both stabilizing the bike, with or without the brakes.

 

To be fair, I've found the R1 to be very stable even at 150 MPH indicated. What surprised me is how ragged the lead guys in the Superstock 1000 Cup racers were. Further, it seemed like it was mostly the R1 guys. Has anybody on the forum watched any of last year's races? Did you see what I'm talking about or am I delusional?

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1st: Thanx, everybody, for your opinions.

 

A few things to look at: how much of the total braking with the front brake do? Can one lift the rear end with the front brakes alone? Of course. In that case, or even close to that, the rear will lock up very easily.

 

Would you rather use 2 controls or one, if one will do the job? In other words, would just using the front be simpler.

 

For me, personally, I'll have my hands full just with the basics for the next season. So, yes, I'll be working on using the front brake alone.

 

Modern bikes with their frames and suspensions should be very stable, unless something is fundamentally wrong (bent frame, wheel, tires out of round/balance, out of alignment, etc.). The rider other hand, can make ANY bike unstable. And, on the subject of braking, the front brakes are the single most powerful control on the bike. Definite technique in both stabilizing the bike, with or without the brakes.

 

To be fair, I've found the R1 to be very stable even at 150 MPH indicated. What surprised me is how ragged the lead guys in the Superstock 1000 Cup racers were. Further, it seemed like it was mostly the R1 guys. Has anybody on the forum watched any of last year's races? Did you see what I'm talking about or am I delusional?

 

I for one didn't see the Superstock but if you watch the World Superbike guys you'll see less and less wagging around these days going into corners...with the exception of Biaggi at Phillip Island this weekend but he lofted the rear wheel and set it down crooked at 160 mph. wow.

 

Brakes and tires and chassis being better these days for cornering doesn't mean the engineers didn't have compromises to make. The short wheelbases and steep steering head angles are two things that contribute to the under-braking stability. Couple that with better tires that will take more trailbraking loads and a little bit of rider input into the bars and you can have a very wild looking ride coming into the corners.

 

Very little rear brake is being used in most racing so that isn't the reason and in many cases you can clearly see that no rear brake is being used. Rossi says he'll use it if he gets in too hot but not otherwise is what I have heard.

 

Now, with that all buttoned up let's look at what the rear would do for a more positive feel once into a turn. Using the back brake tends to bring the back of the bike down a bit so we'd see in increase in fork angle at the very least which would tell the rider the bike was more stable in the turn. The tradeoff is that the bike won't turn quite as tight a radius. There is always a compromise in most extraordinary riding techniques and it boils down to how the rider feels the bike.

 

Keith

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The R1 dudes were always leading, then balled it up and gifted the podium to others.
What surprised me is how ragged the lead guys in the Superstock 1000 Cup racers were. Further, it seemed like it was mostly the R1 guys.

 

My first instinct would not be to see the coincidence of their falls and yours as indicative of some inherent mechanical design flaw with your new R1. I would consider the possiblity that the increased gymnastics and lack of podium finishes you perceive for the R1 have more to do with the same riders making the same sort of 'mistakes' or choices each weekend rather than the fact that they are riding the same bike each weekend. And that what is most common between their situation and yours might just be rider error.

 

So, rest easy. There is most likely nothing 'wrong' with your new motorcycle (that probably cost as much as a new car). And what is going wrong can most likely be easily addressed by attending a California Superbike School session soon! :)

 

(You can also take heart in knowing that you are in good company. Even world class racers make mistakes and just might have as much to learn as the rest of us about certain aspects of their riding. ;) )

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The R1 dudes were always leading, then balled it up and gifted the podium to others.
What surprised me is how ragged the lead guys in the Superstock 1000 Cup racers were. Further, it seemed like it was mostly the R1 guys.

 

My first instinct would not be to see the coincidence of their falls and yours as indicative of some inherent mechanical design flaw with your new R1. I would consider the possiblity that the increased gymnastics and lack of podium finishes you perceive for the R1 have more to do with the same riders making the same sort of 'mistakes' or choices each weekend rather than the fact that they are riding the same bike each weekend. And that what is most common between their situation and yours might just be rider error.

 

So, rest easy. There is most likely nothing 'wrong' with your new motorcycle (that probably cost as much as a new car). And what is going wrong can most likely be easily addressed by attending a California Superbike School session soon! :)

 

(You can also take heart in knowing that you are in good company. Even world class racers make mistakes and just might have as much to learn as the rest of us about certain aspects of their riding. ;) )

 

You guys know that we don't actually pay racer for all his nice comments...

 

 

C :)

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You guys know that we don't actually pay racer for all his nice comments...

 

 

C :)

 

Well, actually... now that you mention it... I've been meaning to bring that up... :rolleyes:

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Since I bought a new R1 and did my first track days on it last season ... [snip] ... the R1 was the "bike of choice at the moment" (according to the EuroSport commentator).

 

I was wondering just how much a new R1 really does cost these days and went to have a gander at the Yamaha website. Wow.

 

First, I have to say what an absolutely gorgeous motorcycle that new R1 is. I haven't been looking at new bikes for the past few years as I'm still paying off my last racing season and didn't want to torture myself. But, now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm going to have to get a second job because... I'm in love.

 

The Yamaha site has a program that lets you "build your own R1" by choosing different custom options and add-ons and displaying the modified bike on screen.... my model cost over $14,000 usd without tax and tags... :blink:

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No matter how stable the bike is, their JOB is to ride the bike to its ragged edge of stability. So if the engineers or suspension tuners find a way to make the bike more stable, the rider will just ride it faster and take it to the edge of stability again. Aside from the waggling around under braking, we can also see some serious twitching especially on bumpy tracks, and rear wheel slides under power coming out of turns. They can and do adjust the suspensions to add stablity in these circumstances but then the riders just take it to the next level.

 

I just watched the 2004 superbike review (ordered off netflix) and there were lots and lots of cases where one rider had a "moment" (rear wheel slide) coming out of a turn and it killed his momentum, allowing the rider following close behind to pass in the following straight as a result (I guess 2004 is before traction control). So there you have it, they have to run at the edge of stability to win, but if they go just a bit over, they lose. That's racing.

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So if the engineers or suspension tuners find a way to make the bike more stable, the rider will just ride it faster and take it to the edge of stability again.

 

Yep. Bottom line... no matter the bike, the rider is in control, er... or not.

 

I haven't been keeping up with racing the past few years and the last I knew, the powers that be were considering allowing traction control because some teams were using it (cheating) anyway. Call me a purist, but, I think it is totally bogus. Aside from the cost which either forces a team to allocate funds for it or prohibits a small team from being competitive if they can't afford it, it is another level of complexity and, in the end, removes the skill of the rider from the equation. What's next? Anti-lock braking?

 

Pffft.

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Sorry guys but I've been massively busy and am just getting around to a proper reply (neglecting my commitments in the process...).

 

Anyway, let's have at it:

 

I for one didn't see the Superstock...

Well, you can't be blamed for that; they haven't brodcasted it here in the states! If I wasn't a sneaky cyber criminal, I wouldn't have seen it either. (I'm not sure if that is a crime on me or the networks!)

 

...but if you watch the World Superbike guys you'll see less and less wagging around these days going into corners...with the exception of Biaggi at Phillip Island this weekend but he lofted the rear wheel and set it down crooked at 160 mph. wow.

 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING FOOTAGE! Max was obviously NOT using the rear brakes! Because he was braking INTO the corner and leaned over, the bike/rider center of gravity (CG) was to the right of his sole point of contact: front tire and the track. As a result, they (he and his bike) did a bit of a "pirouette" to the right... ...confirming all theory! (I have it on digital video so i should snip that bit and post it on YouTube or something.)

 

Keith

 

The MAN himself! BTW: Its official, I'll see you on May 12 at Pocono.

 

I was wondering just how much a new R1 really does cost these days and went to have a gander at the Yamaha website. Wow.

 

First, I have to say what an absolutely gorgeous motorcycle that new R1 is. I haven't been looking at new bikes for the past few years as I'm still paying off my last racing season and didn't want to torture myself. But, now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm going to have to get a second job because... I'm in love.

 

The Yamaha site has a program that lets you "build your own R1" by choosing different custom options and add-ons and displaying the modified bike on screen.... my model cost over $14,000 usd without tax and tags... :blink:

 

Yeah, its a sweet ride. I clocked 8k on her last year including 2 track days and I still feel like I'm trying to "man up" to her! I drove off the floor with a lojack installed and no haggling in NYC for less than that. I don't know about you but working on the bike myself is a major part of the fun for me. I'm bringing her up to "superstock" spec (with lights) and applying a fresh coat of paint before we hit the road this season. Should be rather beautiful.

 

No matter how stable the bike is, their JOB is to ride the bike to its ragged edge of stability. So if the engineers or suspension tuners find a way to make the bike more stable, the rider will just ride it faster and take it to the edge of stability again. Aside from the waggling around under braking, we can also see some serious twitching especially on bumpy tracks, and rear wheel slides under power coming out of turns. They can and do adjust the suspensions to add stability in these circumstances but then the riders just take it to the next level.

 

dude, I think you nailed it. These guys are, after all, world class riders. I should snip a bit from my "collection" and post it on YouTube so we can discuss this from a common frame of reference. It will have to wait a week or so 'cause I'm balls-to-the-walls on an over due project right now. shirking my responsibilities just to compose this reply!

 

 

Yep. Bottom line... no matter the bike, the rider is in control, er... or not.

 

In my world, there has never been a fast enough computer nor a fast enough bike! No matter what comes out from Intel, I just up my game until it crashes, HARD! (have't crashed hard on a bike, though... ...can you see my fingers are crossed? Besides, crashing a computer doesn't hurt as much, generally!)

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...but if you watch the World Superbike guys you'll see less and less wagging around these days going into corners...with the exception of Biaggi at Phillip Island this weekend but he lofted the rear wheel and set it down crooked at 160 mph. wow.

 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING FOOTAGE! Max was obviously NOT using the rear brakes! Because he was braking INTO the corner and leaned over, the bike/rider center of gravity (CG) was to the right of his sole point of contact: front tire and the track. As a result, they (he and his bike) did a bit of a "pirouette" to the right... ...confirming all theory! (I have it on digital video so i should snip that bit and post it on YouTube or something.)

 

Yes, please! And then post a link here! I don't have access to upper tier channels like Speedvision or Speed Channel or whatever. Er... maybe you could tell me how to, um, gain access to that, um, stuff you, um, liberated from, er, wherever you liberated it from... :)

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