Driving yourself to improve, or being driven to improve? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 10:29 AM Thread Starter

 
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Driving yourself to improve, or being driven to improve?

Riding at VIR this past weekend told me a lot about my riding style. Riding improvement is as much about practice as it is necessity. I couldn't figure out why the I guys down there made passes that seemed poorly placed to me. Part of it is that they need to. They don't have as many long straight sections of track. They were comfortable riding and passing that way because thats what they know and how they learned.

Also, a lot of the turns in the midwest are 90 or so degree turns. ie, turn 1 & 7 at Blackhawk. They have many turns that well over 180 degrees. You don't just turn it in and go "darn that was early or late." You throw it in wrong and go "oh shit, how am I going to fix this one." You really need to think at least two turns ahead on those tracks and sometimes even more.

I realized on Saturday and Sunday that I couldn't go faster in the corners. It wasn't that I was scared to go faster. I was concerned that I couldn't get the bike to turn quick enough to hit the apex at that speed. With these long corners, that made for an interesting thoughts in my head. I couldn't drop my inside elbow in those long corners. Not that I didn't do it, I couldn't. The 600 RR has a more forward seating position. I need to move my clipon away from me much more than it is. Then I'll have room to get that elbow in and down. It will also give me better leverage to throw the bike back and forth quicker. Heath mentioned this last year, but it didn't click in my head till Monday.

On Monday I got out late for my first session and didn't have anyone in front of me. A new course and I had no idea where I was going. The pavement was cold and people were crashing like it was the in thing to do. I came in after the first session and thought there is no way you can go fast when you have dodge back and forth to the left and right while climbing and diving down hills. How can you expect the front tire to hold when you're driving down hill and sticking it into a turn. Lets get real here. I recalled a pass on Sunday when Hix made a fast clean pass in one of these sections. I realized it's all in how much you trust the front end.

The switchbacks also teach you be confident in the front end and to turn the bike quicker into the corner. They're a ton of fun, but if you want to go faster through them, you've got to move the bike left to right fast. I can't wait to ride there again. The Norht course at VIR is on the top of my list!

Sometimes learning comes in the form of necessity.

It's kind of like I say "I know everything.... Till someone teaches me something new. THEN I know EVERYTHING!

I was riding as fast as I was comfortable to go. Till I needed to ride faster and put more faith in the bike so I could enjoy it even more.

Greg K.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 10:37 AM
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Greg,


You have found the paradox of going faster on a motorcycle.

You cannot GO faster untill you BELIEVE you can go faster.


This belief comes from two things, education and faith in yourself.


What is required for education ( learning ) is an open mind.


It all starts with saying " all I know is that I don't know everthing"


That's EVERYTHING !


Tom

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 11:15 AM
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A lot of what you said is true Greg.

We all have to make a conscious decision to trust the bike, tires, and our ability. We then have to act on that faith. The result is that we actually turn the throttle and actually go into that corner a little hotter than our comfort zone. The bike sticks, our faith is rewarded with more confidence in the bike, tires and our abilities.

Then we rinse and repeat.

At some point we inevitably fall down. Why? Was it the bike? Was it the tires? Was it me?

At that point, out of necessity we learn. We evaluate why we fell down and fix the issue.

Ron Hix
MTD CR #975

Last edited by ronhix; 03-15-2007 at 11:18 AM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 12:22 PM
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well put Greg.



ron.. falling sux, but luckily I am well paded.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 06:49 PM
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Never think you are going to crash until your sliding on your back think about traction and feel it through the clip ons with a loose grip it's a vibration that your spider sense has to pick up.these bikes and tires are so good these days it's incredable what they can take when everthing is in harmony.Like a musical instrument play it wrong squaks and sqeeks play it right beautiful music together.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 08:16 PM
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I'm on the other side. I've seldom found a bike to be perfect.

A small percentage of the population is able to ride fast enough to continually keep the bike from crashing several times a lap. I've seen it and can recognize it in new track day riders and new racers to various degrees. They are capable of doing this because of things beyond a standard skill set. Probably more genetic and not worth getting into.

The rest of us reach a point where discomfort takes over. Often, it's at the limit of some kind of chassis issue where knowledge stops and one liners come in...riding outside your comfort zone; brake, turn, gas; etc.

I'm reminded by some specific issues that I've felt on the 600RR's, and some other Honda 600's...they seem to prefer to set them up with front springs for really, really light people. When you're trying to go quick, the chassis collapses and doesn't work right. When that happens, the chassis reacts faster than regular people's reactions, and that's where you live on the edge of trying to stay off your back.

Just an idea...

"Super" Dave Rosno

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Dave View Post
I'm on the other side. I've seldom found a bike to be perfect.

A small percentage of the population is able to ride fast enough to continually keep the bike from crashing several times a lap. I've seen it and can recognize it in new track day riders and new racers to various degrees. They are capable of doing this because of things beyond a standard skill set. Probably more genetic and not worth getting into.

The rest of us reach a point where discomfort takes over. Often, it's at the limit of some kind of chassis issue where knowledge stops and one liners come in...riding outside your comfort zone; brake, turn, gas; etc.

I'm reminded by some specific issues that I've felt on the 600RR's, and some other Honda 600's...they seem to prefer to set them up with front springs for really, really light people. When you're trying to go quick, the chassis collapses and doesn't work right. When that happens, the chassis reacts faster than regular people's reactions, and that's where you live on the edge of trying to stay off your back.

Just an idea...
I agree the newer hondas seem to be lose move around alot some riders perfer this me not so much.

Nesba, Midwest Control Rider
retired CCS #141
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkotlin View Post
Riding at VIR this past weekend .
They don't have as many long straight sections of track.

They have many turns that well over 180 degrees.

You really need to think at least two turns ahead on those tracks and sometimes even more.

you have dodge back and forth to the left and right while climbing and diving down hills.

The switchbacks also teach you be confident in the front end and to turn the bike quicker into the corner.

They're a ton of fun, but if you want to go faster through them, you've got to move the bike left to right fast.

I can't wait to ride there again. The Norht course at VIR is on the top of my list!
Great write-up

I wanna ride VIR N
It sounds like a fun place for my 250

WERA 917 EX
NESBA 917 A
CWIRA 917

Aprilia
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 08:55 PM
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We had 3 RS125s rocking out on VIR North! It was great to see them, and I was JEALOUS!

Great track for all levels of bikes, it has a good mix, plus a nice front straight for the big bikes, and of course, 3 locations where it is VERY difficult not to have the front end come up.

===========
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2007, 10:34 PM

 
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[/QUOTE] Great track for all levels of bikes, it has a good mix, plus a nice front straight for the big bikes, and of course, 3 locations where it is VERY difficult not to have the front end come up.[/QUOTE]

Wink,
Put you one a 160 ft oval and you would still find a way to get the front off the ground.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2007, 10:20 AM Thread Starter

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath View Post
Never think you are going to crash until your sliding on your back think about traction and feel it through the clip ons with a loose grip it's a vibration that your spider sense has to pick up.these bikes and tires are so good these days it's incredable what they can take when everthing is in harmony.Like a musical instrument play it wrong squaks and sqeeks play it right beautiful music together.
I need to print that out and put on my helmet so I read it before I go out each time.

I rode Winks bike over to the other paddock when we changed tracks. The GSXR is amazingly cooperative. The seat shape seems like it works with you to move around. The pegs are high but very well placed. I may have to get one of these! The 600RR is different. The seat is further forward and I'm finding myself pushing myself back on the seat as I finish braking so I can get a comfortable position. If I don't, I'm high and forward and can't get my arms where I need them for leverage. I'll have to make some changes to see if I can get it to work with me better.

It was very strange. I was coming off of the fast, back, downhill section of the S. Course following Alan. I didn't like the direction I had the bike pointed as I started braking and setting up the corner. I started turning her in as I was braking. The bars started to wiggle back and forth and I felt a slight wobble like the sidewall of the tire was flexing in and out. As I increased the turn in or braking pressure, the bars moved more and the wobble got worse. I then heard Heath talking to me. (I didn't know you came down to VIR) The voice was telling me that this is the bike talking to me, am I going to listen? It was the first time I've been able to feel the tires and the front end doing something that just leave me confused. I chose to stand her up a bit more and maximize my braking to fix my botched angle of attack. I ran off about two feet and ducked back on the track to drive up the straight. I scared Alan as he thought he lost me. Thanks for waiting for me Alan. It was nice to finally see that keeping a loose grip on the bars allowed me feel something other than my weight on the bars while braking.

I love it when there are lessons to be learned that don't put you on your butt. It definately helped my confidence to know that the bike would give me information if I just listened more. It was a perfect example of how our CR's give you top notch information and instruction. I finally am getting some of the application right. Feel is one of those things that you can't be taught. It just comes to you over time. It's a very cool kind of Spidey sense.

Greg K.
STT Staff Member
CCS Expert #12
MSF Instructor

VinylSaurusRex.com - Cyclepath Racing - Safety First Racing - SMR Components - Apexjunkie.com - Yamaha Champions Riding School
"If you're headed toward trees, I'm guessing your on the wrong line." - S. Russell
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