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mz33
04-12-2013, 04:03 PM
This isn't as much about racing as it is about track days, but I didn't want to stick it in the general forum. I was kind of hoping to hide it in here, but I suspect it will be found anyway.

I do want to know more about braking on the track--and off it--especially with regard to turns. I do not want to know about wannabe's opinions, however, and while I can't restrict who posts, I would ask those who are not a) RiderCoaches, b) other certified MC school instructors, especially track-related, c) racers, or d) track riders (ever), to refrain from disseminating. Feel free to ask questions, but do not just throw around your SWAGs and opinions. I expect differing viewpoints from the experienced riders, because some of them have different opinions in real life about riding. I'm not referring to anyone on this forum, even--I'm talking about the difference between, say, Walt Fulton & Bill Burns, vs. Lee Parks (and perhaps Ienatsch and others.)

I dropped off a leather track suit at Bill Burns yesterday. He knows MillingAbout and I are looking forward to track days. He used to be a club racer himself. He thought the Ninja 500R a fine choice for our track bike, and he had this one bit of advice for us: Get all your braking done before the turn. You're going to have the bike leaned way over, and that is not where you want to be applying the brakes.

When I took a miniaturized version of Walt Fulton's StreetMasters course last summer, he said the same thing, especially for street riding. I, OTOH, had been working rather hard on smoothing out my transitional braking in turns while on the Versys. I have to say, it settled the bike noticeably better. When I took the ARC once, I asked the instructor about the incredible rebound I get when braking hard. He never did that in his demos, and most other riders didn't have nearly as much as I did. I wondered what was going on, and should I be fixing anything. He shrugged and said it was just the way my bike's forks were. I thought that meant there wasn't much I could do about it.

I had taken the Lee Parks course a couple of years earlier, and according to the instructors, I rocked. I got a round of applause when I received my card from them, "for slammin' that Versys!" (Meaning I had scraped pegs. A lot.) Kept getting conflicting information about whether that was a good thing or not. Apparently good, because usually everyone thinks "way cool," and I got that round of applause, but also bad, because during the actual drill, my instructor was telling me to quit scraping the pegs--I should right the bike a bit when I hear it.

This "braking in corners" business reminds me of the peg-scraping good/bad conflict. I understand much better now the "pros" and cons of peg-scraping, so it isn't an issue. But now I'm at the point where how to manage braking through turns is more of a puzzle to me. As in, when to do it, and when not to.

I'm glad Bill gave me the advice; I plan to use it fully unless the onsite instructor says otherwise. Apparently there are brake markers on the track, and Bill said I should use those. Cool, I get that. Later on, maybe some development is in order.

But now, I'm back to street-riding and braking. I saw a brief demo a couple of years back from the Yamaha Riding School, and Nick Ienatsch was there, along with a younger champion rider who also teaches. The younger guy demo'd, repeatedly, how to brake fast and hard on a dirtbike--without visual rebound. They were pitching the school, and also pitching the concept that you don't need an upgraded suspension before you need improved brake/throttle control. You need, above all, to be smooth. Lee Parks class actively promotes braking/throttling in corners, and shows you how to set up for it.

I had trouble for the longest time working the front brake while still maintaining contact with the throttle, but I've finally managed it more. (Previously, I had to let off the throttle to reach the front brake.) And the Versys does seem more stable when I do that through a curve, and I can even add a little pressure without grabbing. So, that's what I was doing. Set a couple of much more experienced riders to worrying when they were behind me. One of them said she was scared to ride too close to me at first, but then, she said, "I realized you knew what you were doing," and then started talking to me like I was Advanced Track Rider or something. She also started to "cuddle" as she called it, meaning tuck in too-damned-close behind me. In the Nevada canyons. On demo bikes. :shock: Walt Fulton was downright alarmed when I told him about my braking through turns. Overall, he thought my riding was pretty good--and I worked to overcome my newfound habit while riding with him.

I am confused, though, and a little worried. Am I at the edge of developing/improving a new riding skill? Am I right in that it feels like the suspension is smoother in turns? Or am I deceiving myself?

:help:

Jehos
04-12-2013, 06:04 PM
I'm certainly no pro, and even though I'm a RiderCoach I'm a mediocre track rider. If the actual track smarties come in here and correct me, listen to them.

Let's back up a little bit and talk about high-speed riding in general. In a track day situation, it's assumed you're trying to reduce your lap times. You do that by going as fast as possible everywhere on the track. That seems like a simple statement, but there are all kinds of complexities loaded in there, like going slow in the slow parts (giving up speed in one corner to set up for more speed in the next one), etc. But in general, if there is a straight, a turn, then another straight, you want to go as fast as possible with your throttle wide open down the first straight, carry as much speed as possible through the turn, and set up for a hard drive out of the turn into the next straight where you go wide open throttle again.

To get from WOT to cornering speed, you have to brake. Where you apply your brakes is the brake marker--that's a point that is different for everyone and moves according to your skill. If you're trying to go as fast as possible, you generally want to go from max acceleration to max braking then back to max acceleration, where max is right at the traction limit of your tires at all times.

So...you're charging at a turn and you reach your brake marker. You apply the brakes progressively, braking harder in a straight line as weight transfers to your front tire. Now the turn is coming up--if you want to stay at the edge of your traction limit, you need to give up some braking traction to use for turning. So you ease off the brakes as you tip the bike over, easing off more as you lean more until you hit max lean at the corner apex where you're completely off the brakes and turning as tightly as possible.

Now it's time to drive out of the turn down the straight, so you need to get on the throttle. As you straighten the bike up, you gradually roll on the throttle, applying more throttle as you reduce lean angle until you're at WOT and the bike is upright.

Now I made that all sound really simple, but obviously it takes a ton of practice to ride right at the edge of traction like that. You want to be smooth enough that you aren't upsetting your suspension through any of the whole process.

When done right, a person standing at the corner apex will hear your engine wind down right to the apex, then immediately speed back up as you drive out. It's cool when you're a corner worker watching a racer go by, they're super consistent with it. :)

Edit: Oh yeah, and some of that goes out the window in an actual race, where you may take the defensive line through a turn rather than the fastest line through a turn.

Galaxieman
04-12-2013, 06:06 PM
For a 'new to the track' rider, the braking markers are a good place to start. Since the track is generally a clean surface that doesn't change from lap to lap, you're best off following Bill's advice and getting your braking done before turning. The difference between 'track' and 'street' SLPR is that on the track you're going from WOT down a straight to max braking to slow, vice rolling out, braking, then L,P,R. Just as the beginning rider needs to learn how to get slowed down to an appropriate speed, the 'new to the track' rider needs to figure out how that transition from WOT to Max Braking goes, and just how much you can brake. MAX braking for my Superhawk was WAY past what I even thought was possible, much less what I was comfortable with the first couple of times at the track. The paradigm shift from 'fast street' to 'fast trackday' rider is not dissimilar from the step from 'non-rider' to 'rider'. There's a LOT of new sensory input going on at the higher speeds on a track, so going 'back' as it were to the same SLPR sequence is not a bad place to start.

As it regards 'settling' your suspension: There is some adjustability for damping even in bikes without adjusters, by doing things like installing cartridge emulators, adding or removing oil, or changing oil weight. It really is a 'dark art', and I'm not familiar enough with the particular forks on the Versys to make any recommendations other than to check with 'go fast' guys with model-specific knowledge. I was able to get the Superhawk suspension (and later the GSXR forks I upgraded to) settled by way of oil and adjuster settings, which made a WORLD of difference in the feel mid-corner. Using the brakes to settle rebound issues is going at the problem somewhat backward, at least from my perspective. Get the forks set up for your weight and preferred level of damping first, then go from there. Hanging off the bike significantly will also change the issue of your scraping pegs, but how much so will depend on things like your particular bike, and your particular body position.

Braking mid-corner: I only found myself doing it when things would change and give me cause to brake. If you're methodical in 'sneaking up on fast', you'll know that for a particular corner, you can brake, downshift to gear X, and roll through without issue. Fix a corner exit earlier on the track and carry more speed? Then you work on adjusting the reference point for braking at the next corner... etc, etc. When guys would pull up mid-corner, or do something wonky (like dodging the rattlesnake mid-turn at Inde one afternoon...), or leave a gap that I thought I could capitalize on by adjusting my line - That would give me cause to drag the brake and go from there. It's hard to describe the mental calculus that precedes actually going for the brake, but it's more of a "You'll know when you need to use it"... if that makes any sense. And when braking mid corner there was always this warning light going off in my head about being very near to overdrawing my traction account.

The reason the other thread was entirely NOT the place for this discussion, is that the beginning rider simply does not have a high enough resolution map of where the limits of their bike and themselves are. Similarly, the 'new to the track' rider should approach the higher speeds and new sensations of g-loading, acceleration, and deceleration as 'new' and to be approached with some caution. I'm still a bit cautious on the Ninjette because I haven't had a chance to get it out to the track and 'map' those limits. I know I'm more capable than the limits of the bike which I have currently explored are. But I don't know where the bike's actual limits are, because I haven't had the controlled track environment to map them out. LDS gave me some great advice about 'sneaking up on fast', and it's paid HUGE dividends in being able to work my way progressively faster and faster around a track instead of just going flat-out and throwing caution to the wind... and crashing. It was exactly that: Sneak up on fast. As a corrolary (from AZridered): You can't win a trackday.

Galaxieman
04-12-2013, 06:14 PM
Also, what Jehos wrote. That's where we're all trying to get: Brake to the apex, throttle out. The really fast guys are amazing to watch doing it. The fun part in a race is that it's not about the best absolute lap times (though those don't hurt)... it's about getting around the track faster than the guy in front of you... any way possible.

AZridered
04-12-2013, 09:01 PM
I look at things a bit differently. I use brakes-OFF markers. That is, I choose a spot where my braking will be finished before continuing to turn. Often, especially on the street, this point is prior to where I'll begin leaning. Sometimes however, the brakes off point is well into the curve. A lot depends on the intensity of the riding and the degree of the curve. Trailing off the brakes as the lean increases allows me to keep my steering geometry constant by keeping the front compression constant. The forks compress under braking and then as cornering load builds, I back off braking pressure and cornering forces keep the front suspension loaded. On the approach to the curve I've identified where I will place the apex and have decided where, relative to the apex, I want to be done braking. With that knowledge, I know how soon to begin braking or how hard to be braking. Brakes-on changes depending on my approach speed, brakes-off stays constant.

On the street though, it is rare that I'll be going through a turn with enough intensity to substantially load the front tire, so it is generally much simpler (probably safer too) to have the brakes off before the turn begins.

LoDownSinner
04-12-2013, 09:07 PM
I don't know the org you're going to the track with, but all of them have brake markers as well as some having turn in and exit markers for the corners.

So...

Sneak up on fast.

Don't worry so much about when to brake, but when to ease off the brakes and ease back onto the throttle.

Have a definite reference point of "I WILL be done braking by HERE." Brake marker one is generally fairly safe. That gives you extra time to stabilize the suspension prior to tipping in.

Pay attention to where you're applying the brakes to be comfortable letting off of them at your chosen point.

As the day goes by, you should find that you move both points closer to the turn.

NOTE: During the first couple of sessions, gather as many reference points as you can - cones, marks on the track, the way trees line up off the track (especially handy for blind turns), anything that you have a reasonable expectation to stay fairly consistent during the course of the day or weekend. DO NOT use shadows for reference points, especially brake markers - that can be really bad (don't ask how I know :crackup: ) The more reference points you have for any given point on the track, the less you'll second-guess yourself, and the slower it'll seem like you're going.

EDIT - Mark, ya bastidge!!!! While I was proofreading and getting Catt's opinion on what I typed, you snaked me!!! :crackup:

Galaxieman
04-12-2013, 10:32 PM
I'm like "Blah, blah, blah... and some more blah."

As usual, Mark and Dewayne are like "Succinct, eloquent points."

The difference between my experience at the track, and their EXTENSIVE experience at the track, is it allows them to think more about what they're doing and how to describe it, rather than just be able to do it. What they said.

SKnight
04-12-2013, 10:59 PM
I don't have nearly what ^^^ those guys do but I'll add one tip that saved my bacon once. Late in the day during class time the lead instructor was telling us about braking and cornerspeed. One of the things he told us was how a motorcycle traveling in a straight line has XXX energy. Braking scrubs off some of that energy allowing you to make the turn at the specified speed. One of the pro tricks and how they brake so late was that the very act of turning a bike consumes some of that energy, in other words if you're costing at 100MPH and turn the bike you'll end up going 90MPH simply because you turned. Made sense, mental note taken and filed away.

Next to last session of the day, I'm turning 170+ down the front stretch, nailing the binders at marker 3 I think, and as I'm downshifting I hung a false neutral. The bike relaxed once the engine braking went away. Not terribly hip on trailbraking (Just as those guys said, I was off the brakes at my turn in point, a clear crack in the pavement.) I cut the brakes loose carrying in probably 25MPH more than I had all day long (Don't know 100%, sure felt like it!) and tipped it in. They were right, it stuck, I could tell the bike was slowing down more than just coasting and because it was turning. My control rider actually came and found me in the pits to congratulate me on getting my corner speed up to a race pace that lap!

Oh, to finish this story. At Roebling Road turn 1-2 is a long sweeper that you double apex. I had more than enough speed to coast through 2 and I was going to pull off before 3 and do something about it. Since I was downshifting I hit the lever down again before I turned in. What I didn't think to do is pull the clutch back in. Halfway between 1 and 2 it dropped into 2nd gear running probably 80ish? The rear tire pogoed, I thought I was about to highside me the way it was acting, I quickly snapped it into third, was thankful I didn't get plugged in the rear by someone and rolled away.

So two lessons learned. One, turning consumes energy just like braking. Two, if you hang a false neutral upshift to fix it and failing that pull the clutch until you fix it.

SoCal LabRat
04-12-2013, 11:04 PM
She-ite. Now I'm even more intimidated about riding on the track. Holy crap!

SKnight
04-12-2013, 11:08 PM
If you're referring to my post, it didn't ding my radar bad as it sounds. It was pucker factor 6 or so, but really I shouldn't have been charging into T1 that fast. My left turners have been WAAAAAY worse than that incident was.

SoCal LabRat
04-13-2013, 12:44 AM
No Steve, it's all of it. So much to know that I don't know. I've never ridden anywhere close to that envelope. I don't know that I have the instinct it takes to do this.

SKnight
04-13-2013, 01:33 AM
That's why you start off in novice. Despite the fact that there's a green and checkered flag it's not a race, if you can maintain the posted limit in the mountains you're set for a track day. It's about becoming smooth and learning new tricks.

subvetSSN606
04-13-2013, 01:33 AM
I got nothing for Mz33, these guys are way above my league.

But for NoCoGal... Every mountain looks huge! Until you start taking one step at a time and put enough of those steps together.

Tom

atomicalex
04-13-2013, 01:35 AM
I'm only here as an experience track person, not a bike track person.

For me, braking is one of those things that the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know! Getting the braking done first (particularly for RWD) is very good advice. Why? Because you want to come back to the track over and over again, to the point at which you can become a good trailbraker.

0. Your first track day is about getting comfortable in the track environment and learning what you need to learn. Just getting to the track the first time is a huge mind commitment, and now you have to learn even more stuff. The goal is not to be fast, but to be smooth. The goal is to learn how to explore the track to find a good line. To do this, you need to allow plenty of room in your head for focusing on smooth and line. Save braking for later. Don't be afraid of braking close, but don't waste energy on it.

1. In slow, out fast. You're new. You don't know the track. You don't have enough, if any RPs. You really can't trust the turns yet. You don't know the road surface. All of this is required for confident and successful trailbraking, but none of this will be completely ingrained in your head during the first day out, so don't depend on any of it. Get your braking done ahead of time, so you can focus on the turn exits. Your bike and your body will appreciate this. You will be able to focus on your line, too.

2. The sticks are there for a reason. Your first session will be spent trying to find the track. This sounds silly, but it's true. The sticks are there as pre-made RPs. You start before the first stick. You work your way up the sticks until you get to the point that you have to continue braking in the the corner, and then you back off until you can nail the deceleration curve every. single. time.

3. Nowhere is gentle on, gentle off more important than the track. While we can get away with grabbing a handful on the street and correcting quickly, on the track, you don't have the privilege of stopping, putting your feet down, and thinking about it. You need to ride out the lap and get to safety. This means keeping your braking events well-controlled. Using the approach to do your braking means having the time to control the braking. Having to clamp down in a corner is a good way to upset yourself and your bike, and it means you won't be able to focus on your turn.

4. It's your first (few) day(s) out. You're not Rossi. Don't bother pretending. (I don't think this will be an issue for you, Margaret, but it needs to be said)

I was tracking cars for three years before I was good enough to warrant a real, dedicated braking instructor. In the car school I instruct novices for, we tell them "you can brake in the corner, but try to not have to. It wastes traction that you could use for building exit speed." We start teaching trailbraking as a technique in the intermediate group, and you have to be relatively competent at it to move up to advanced.

edit to Teri - Picking a track school is one of the hardest parts of it all. I was very disappointed with my turn at MidOhio, not because of the track, the bike I was riding, or my get-off, but because the day was run for the advanced group, and the novices were not well-managed. I was not in the right environment based on my (lack of bike) experience. Look carefully at the various schools you can find and start with one that is focused on safety training rather than speed. That will give you the chance to get out on the tarmac without the expectation of going fast. You can learn a ton at a safety track day, and all of it will carry over if you decide to start making a serious effort to go faster. When I get back, I'll be doing a few safety days on a bike of my own to get more basics down, and then I will move back to going faster.

SoCal LabRat
04-13-2013, 09:19 AM
Thanks all.

(Mz, sorry to threadjack)

asp125
04-13-2013, 10:23 AM
The "never ever" group (1st timers, a subset of the beginner group) in our track days don't even get in to 4th gear until the second session. The first session is spent touring around learning the line and reference points, braking is left for later, and even then it's straight line braking and gear selection.

atomicalex
04-13-2013, 12:16 PM
FWIW, my off was pucker factor 2. Not even on my radar that I might wash out the front end. I was riding well leading up to it, getting my RPs down, and then woosh! Out of tyre, out of balance, in the gravel.

That doesn't mean that offs happen without warning. I had some warning. I was getting high. When that happens in a car, it's no big deal, because it's almost always a car I know well and can control in my sleep, and I've got so many hours in that I can save it without thinking too much. But on a bike that I'd never ridden before? Euphoria was a bad thing. I lapsed into default riding mode and started wiggling around. You might even call it pucker factor 0. That was a bad thing.

So... Take a bike you know well, or are at least comfy on. Know your riding style and how it translates to the bike you are on. Watch yourself for overconfidence. Focus on the event and enjoy it for what it is. You might not like it, but it will grow you as a rider. I promise.

mz33
04-13-2013, 03:34 PM
Thanks all.

(Mz, sorry to threadjack)

Don't be silly, Teri. You didn't threadjack. Those are legitimate track day concerns.

Missy B
04-13-2013, 05:26 PM
What really helped me was having one of the control riders have me follow. Of course, it was because my lines sucked the first lap :mrgreen: but that is why they are there. From there, I could play with everything else.

Try not to overthink it too much. Try to have fun instead of thinking about a whole bunch of technical stuff. The technical stuff will follow. My. 02.

I am slow but the trackday helped me with technique...which automatically improves the time.

Sent from my Galaxy SIII, Tapatalk and my two left thumbs.

SKnight
04-13-2013, 05:38 PM
And while it's not discussing braking, leave the stopwatch at home. Your lap times will SUCK at first. My wife kept up with mine but didn't let me know till later, by the third free session my times had improved 15 seconds a lap and by the end of the day I was turning better times than half the intermediate group. But had I known that it would have just wrecked my Chi. You'll know you're getting better.

ds5160
04-13-2013, 07:28 PM
My concern about doing a track day is the bike. I have a loan, and my insurance specifically disqualifies any riding on a closed track, even for educational purposes. Since I have a loan, I don't feel taking the small risk of a wreck s responsible. And I spend my other money on travel.

Other concerns are that I would ride faster on the street because I am now a track rider. But, that is all in my head, and I doubt it would happen. I like just doodling around.

mz33
04-13-2013, 08:18 PM
My concern about doing a track day is the bike. I have a loan, and my insurance specifically disqualifies any riding on a closed track, even for educational purposes. Since I have a loan, I don't feel taking the small risk of a wreck s responsible.

You wouldn't have State Farm, would you? Same here, except that we don't have loans on the bikes. But I have a whole lotta extras on the Versys, and I have it pretty much how I want it for my everyday/touring bike. MillingAbout's main bike is a cruiser. So, we picked up the Ninja 500R last December for a decent price. My poor insurance agent was struggling with her conscience when she wrote the policy. I told her I wouldn't ever file a claim for anything track-related ("what if it is stolen?" she asked. "Don't worry. It won't be." I assured her.), that we really wanted insurance for its off-track life.


Other concerns are that I would ride faster on the street because I am now a track rider. But, that is all in my head, and I doubt it would happen. I like just doodling around.

One of the reasons for a track day for me is to get some of that stuff out of my system in a safer environment, where I can work on doing it even better.


I'm not commenting much on the track advice because I'm just holding onto it, thinking about it. I don't have much feedback to offer, except keep the comments coming, please! I really appreciate them--thank you.

The 500R is pretty undersprung, from what I've read. Best course of action for normal people is to go to RaceTech for the front, and Works Performance for the rear. I probably don't need any of that yet . . . right?

SKnight
04-13-2013, 09:12 PM
Actually what I found is that I don't ride faster, my 90% turned into 70% though. I rode the same but it was easier, far more fun and I knew that if it went pear shaped I stood a far better chance of getting out of it.

Just cause you can doesn't mean you will.........

ds5160
04-13-2013, 09:23 PM
Just cause you can doesn't mean you will.........

Logically I know this, it is pure fear for me. I do plan to hit the track, though.

asp125
04-13-2013, 09:30 PM
..
Other concerns are that I would ride faster on the street because I am now a track rider. But, that is all in my head, and I doubt it would happen. I like just doodling around.

Actually, for most track riders, they wind up slowing down on the street. One because they now appreciate how uncontrolled the street environment is (debris, traffic, bad pavement etc) compared to the controlled and perfect racing surface. The other is they don't have anything to prove to others, they know they are more skilled at controlling their bike than most street only riders. So if they can avoid getting sucked into a street race, most of the ones I know stick pretty much to "The Pace".

ds5160
04-13-2013, 09:41 PM
I know too many that have gone the other way. Of course, those are the ones who talk about their track experiences. The ones who don't talk about the track ride slower. They discuss track if asked, but they don't discuss unless asked.

asp125
04-13-2013, 10:16 PM
I know too many that have gone the other way. Of course, those are the ones who talk about their track experiences. The ones who don't talk about the track ride slower. They discuss track if asked, but they don't discuss unless asked.

Yes... talk, vs brag.

AZridered
04-13-2013, 11:13 PM
Other concerns are that I would ride faster on the street because I am now a track rider. But, that is all in my head, and I doubt it would happen. I like just doodling around.

I ride slower on the street because I regularly ride at the track. Now, on the street, the fastest that I can manage has become only stupid. Compared to what I do at the track, it hardly seems "fast".

AZridered
04-13-2013, 11:16 PM
EDIT - Mark, ya bastidge!!!! While I was proofreading and getting Catt's opinion on what I typed, you snaked me!!! :crackup:

Probably rooted in the fact that we both have a lot of experience track riding low horsepower bikes. With any modern bike 600cc or over, braking process can be pretty poor and you can still make up time on the gas. With a low powered bike, make one error and it takes a whole lap to get spooled up again.

AZridered
04-13-2013, 11:23 PM
When I took the ARC once, I asked the instructor about the incredible rebound I get when braking hard. He never did that in his demos, and most other riders didn't have nearly as much as I did. I wondered what was going on, and should I be fixing anything. He shrugged and said it was just the way my bike's forks were. I thought that meant there wasn't much I could do about it.

Might be connected to the way that you are using the brakes. You probably apply the brakes smoothly. Don't slam the lever to the grip, smoothly and progressively squeeze harder until you reach the desired braking level? Right? Well, what do you do with the lever as you near the end of your braking zone? Do you let off the lever pressure as smoothly as you added it, or do you just let the lever go, suddenly discharging all of that energy that you've stored up in the tire, suspension, and frame?

I have taken Pridmore's courses a few times. We spent just as much time working on brake release as we did on brake application.

atomicalex
04-14-2013, 12:55 AM
For me, the track is a fully different situation than the street. I don't leave "going fast" at the track, I leave the sense of 100% involvement with the vehicle to the point that I am not worried about the idiots around me trying to kill me there. I leave the massive self-focus at the track. I leave the worries about oncoming traffic and poorly trained drivers on the street. I suppose I could even say that I take time to smell the flowers on the street. I appreciate the street for what it is, and it's not the track.

To ride or drive at 10/10ths is so joyful and so incredibly involving that anything less is, well, not. And 10/10ths has no place on the street. Unless you are on a 50cc moped, but....

I've had any number of people say to me "oh, the autobahn must be like track day every day!" It's not. It's going fast on a public road with a bunch of stupid people around you. It is most definitely not track day.

Galaxieman
04-14-2013, 01:35 AM
I am definitely slower on the street for having been to trackdays / racing. The control riders are there to keep an eye on you and help with that 'what am I actually doing' answer: a 3rd person perspective, if you will. If you have / can borrow one, a GoPro or other camera does wonders to see what the bike is doing at each point on the track, and you can go back afterward and look at things like lines, laptimes, etc, etc. Even better is if you can get someone else to set up and operate the camera for you (check batteries, switch SD cards, etc) so you can just concentrate on riding. Just a thought.

mz33
04-14-2013, 10:39 AM
If you have / can borrow one, a GoPro or other camera does wonders to see what the bike is doing at each point on the track, and you can go back afterward and look at things like lines, laptimes, etc, etc. Even better is if you can get someone else to set up and operate the camera for you (check batteries, switch SD cards, etc) so you can just concentrate on riding. Just a thought.

Mounted on the bike, you mean?

asp125
04-14-2013, 11:26 AM
Mounted on the bike, you mean?

On your bike is helpful... but not as helpful as having someone film you.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Xparent Skyblue Tapatalk 2

Jehos
04-15-2013, 07:38 AM
No Steve, it's all of it. So much to know that I don't know. I've never ridden anywhere close to that envelope. I don't know that I have the instinct it takes to do this.
I certainly don't, but I have a heck of a lot of fun learning.

Think of it like when you first started riding. You know now how much there is to learn, but post-BRC you were ready to just go out and have a good time.

Same thing when you start track days. Just understand that you're back to being a beginner, then go learn and experiment. The "sneak up on fast" advice is the only super important thing to remember. Don't go out and try to go fast, go out and try to practice proper technique and going fast will happen as a consequence.

Jehos
04-15-2013, 07:43 AM
I ride slower on the street because I regularly ride at the track. Now, on the street, the fastest that I can manage has become only stupid. Compared to what I do at the track, it hardly seems "fast".

So much truth here. If I tried to ride anything like an intermediate track pace on the street, the only word to describe it would be "suicidal". Hence I don't even bother trying, because street surfaces suck. If I want to go fast, I do another track day.

I suspect those riders who brag about their track days and ride faster on the street because of them might be beginner level track riders. It seems like once you get a few track days under your belt you feel like you're faster and more in control everywhere. When you get a dozen under your belt, you realize how much slower you are than racers and how much you're relying on the perfect track surface and 40-foot-wide pavement to go as fast as you're going.

atomicalex
04-15-2013, 08:24 AM
I suspect those riders who brag about their track days and ride faster on the street because of them might be beginner level track riders. This absolutely. Fully agree. Have seen it a bunch. Fortunately, it's curable with more track days!!

SKnight
04-15-2013, 08:44 AM
I suspect those riders who brag about their track days and ride faster on the street because of them might be beginner level track riders. It seems like once you get a few track days under your belt you feel like you're faster and more in control everywhere. When you get a dozen under your belt, you realize how much slower you are than racers and how much you're relying on the perfect track surface and 40-foot-wide pavement to go as fast as you're going.isnt that the reality about riding in general? The braggarts are easy to handle, the quiet ones.........those are the guys to watch.

NORTY
04-15-2013, 08:48 AM
Have any of you ever been on your favorite track a lot (I mean A LOT), and occasionally, you krept into the ZONE and other people (that know you) tell you how much faster you were that day and you felt like the whole day was in slow motion? What IS that?

Sorry for the thread heist.

asp125
04-15-2013, 09:09 AM
My fast on the street is nowhere close to my fast at the track.. and I'm one of the slower guys in the intermediate group.

atomicalex
04-15-2013, 09:14 AM
Sorry for the thread heist.Not a heist, you only got that way because you were getting your braking done properly. Duh.

Smooth often does not feel very fast, because you are not banging off the edges. No edges, no corrections. No corrections, no wasted traction. No wasted traction, only whatever speed you can manage.

Jehos
04-15-2013, 09:38 AM
isnt that the reality about riding in general? The braggarts are easy to handle, the quiet ones.........those are the guys to watch.
It's the old guys that smirk a lot. Those guys...sheesh.

There's one near me that I haven't met yet but a lot of my riding buddies have. Apparently he likes to take sport bikers out to his favorite twisty road, tell them "why don't you lead, I'm just on this KLR, I'll catch you at the next stop", then hang about 6" off their rear tire no matter what they do to try to leave him behind. :)

AZridered
04-15-2013, 11:12 AM
Have any of you ever been on your favorite track a lot (I mean A LOT), and occasionally, you krept into the ZONE and other people (that know you) tell you how much faster you were that day and you felt like the whole day was in slow motion? What IS that?

Sorry for the thread heist.

Not for a whole day. Or even an entire race or trackday session. For a time though. Some pro racers I've known refer to the state as "Flow". It is where the riding happens without conscious effort and your mind is free to focus on other aspects. Not something that I have any idea of how to cause to happen, just seems to be.

Jehos
04-15-2013, 11:23 AM
I typically hit the flow during most of the last session before lunch, which is normally the 3rd or 4th session. I've had enough time to warm up and focus on the things I want to learn that day. That's usually the session where it all clicks for me. It's all downhill after that, where I either try to go fast and don't or spend my time worrying that some yahoo is going to take me out after lunch.

Last session of the day I'm normally mentally in the right place to flow but physically too tired.

ds5160
04-15-2013, 04:04 PM
It's the old guys that smirk a lot. Those guys...sheesh.

I always had coaches who said to stay calm, and no matter how good or bad something is, act like you have been there before.

Trials
04-15-2013, 06:11 PM
Have any of you ever been on your favorite track a lot (I mean A LOT), and occasionally, you krept into the ZONE and other people (that know you) tell you how much faster you were that day and you felt like the whole day was in slow motion? What IS that?

Sorry for the thread heist.

You were at One with your Motorcycle :grin:

Xoulrath
04-15-2013, 11:44 PM
To ride or drive at 10/10ths is so joyful and so incredibly involving that anything less is, well, not. And 10/10ths has no place on the street. Unless you are on a 50cc moped, but....Or a TU250X! I hate not having the power to easily climb hills, but man what a rush! It's all about the momentum, so you have to make sure to get your lines right and be smooth with the controls. So very rewarding!

I am so happy to see more smaller displacement options becoming available in the States.

I can't wait to get to the track. I certainly envy you guys and gals. It's painful too, because Road Atlanta, Little Tally, and Barber are all so close. Heck, I won't even need a hotel for RA, because my dad only lives thirty minutes away!

AZridered
04-16-2013, 12:39 AM
I typically hit the flow during most of the last session before lunch, which is normally the 3rd or 4th session. I've had enough time to warm up and focus on the things I want to learn that day. That's usually the session where it all clicks for me.

For me, what you describe is what I would call, "getting in rhythm". Rhythm is something that almost always happens, is predictable, and is when riding gets really smooth as everything is clicking just as it should. Flow seems to be yet a different state. Pretty far from Rhythm, seemingly. Rhythm is something I recognize as a, "Yeah! That's the way that it's supposed to go!" type feeling. When I have a good rhythm, everything feels fast and easy. Flow is more of a, "Whoa! How am I doing that?!" state.

atomicalex
04-16-2013, 03:17 AM
Flow is the euphoria state I was in. Were I on my own bike or in my own car, not all that dangerous. On a new bike, disasterous.

Rhythm is a better place.

LoDownSinner
04-16-2013, 08:28 AM
To ride or drive at 10/10ths is so joyful and so incredibly involving that anything less is, well, not. And 10/10ths has no place on the street. Unless you are on a 50cc moped, but....
I can honestly say I've never purposely pushed over 80% of my perceived skill level, and even then only that much maybe a turn at a time.

atomicalex
04-16-2013, 09:43 AM
It's much easier/safer to do in a slow pig of a car!! There is a difference between driver 10/10ths and vehicle 10/10ths, and the limit of the combination. It's what makes slow car fast so fun - any decent driver can get the best out the car. The risk is certainly much different on a bike, and it climbs dramatically with available power. Hence a 50cc scooter not being terribly high risk - it can't get beyond typical corner speed, so pin it and own it. A 'busa? good luck with that.

I might be too far off in car world here. :heyyou:

Question: how much tuning for traction and speed is typically done in bike racing and general track work? When is braking typically addressed? Are there general rules for the process? Should I start a new thread for exploring that concept?

AZridered
04-16-2013, 09:57 AM
I can honestly say I've never purposely pushed over 80% of my perceived skill level, and even then only that much maybe a turn at a time.

One of our multi-time regional champions once told me that he knew that he was riding fast when his thoughts were along the line of, "I'm crashing, I'm crashing, I'm crashing".

I generally stay away from that. Admittedly though, there have been some occasional, "Well, I hope this works!" moments. That's for racing only though. Never at a trackday.

mechdziner714
04-16-2013, 11:45 AM
You should go here (http://www.roadracingworld.com/magazine/digital/) and read the trackday directory issues, lots of good info in there.

mz33
04-16-2013, 09:36 PM
Picked up the suit today. Bill's next advice, beyond, "get all your braking done before the turn," was "don't use the rear brake at all."

Is that so?

LoDownSinner
04-16-2013, 10:00 PM
Depends. If you're going for the best lap times, then there will be little to no weight on the rear tire when braking. If you're braking any gentler than that, you could have stayed on the throttle longer...

atomicalex
04-17-2013, 06:18 AM
Let's keep her in one piece first!

How's the suit fit now?

Trials
04-17-2013, 06:21 AM
Picked up the suit today. Bill's next advice, beyond, "get all your braking done before the turn," was "don't use the rear brake at all."

Is that so?

Track racers learning trials don't seem to like using their front brakes either :confused:
I'm thinking that brakes in general are not really that big of a deal to the Go Fast dudes.

...novel approach:
http://chivethethrottle.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/top-1-ack-attack-0.jpg

LoDownSinner
04-17-2013, 07:10 AM
I'm thinking that brakes in general are not really that big of a deal to the Go Fast dudes.
Thus the request in the initial post...

Jehos
04-17-2013, 07:20 AM
Picked up the suit today. Bill's next advice, beyond, "get all your braking done before the turn," was "don't use the rear brake at all."

Is that so?

Front brake is for the track. Rear brake is for when your line takes you out where the flowers are growing. :)

atomicalex
04-17-2013, 08:11 AM
In cars, we call that "doing yardwork" or "going gardening".

Jehos
04-17-2013, 09:13 AM
Unfortunately bikes that try gardening sometimes end up as a yard sale (a bunch of bike parts laid out in the grass for those who haven't heard that term).

atomicalex
04-17-2013, 09:43 AM
I will have to remember that one.

AZridered
04-17-2013, 09:44 AM
At desert tracks, a common term is "powdered donut".

asp125
04-17-2013, 09:53 AM
Farming, aka agricultural expeditions.

Trials
04-17-2013, 11:32 AM
Thus the request in the initial post...

you mean this one?
"I am confused, though, and a little worried. Am I at the edge of developing/improving a new riding skill? Am I right in that it feels like the suspension is smoother in turns? Or am I deceiving myself?"

mz33
04-17-2013, 12:09 PM
Well, for the record, I did practice not braking in the turns all the way home. It was kind of a weird feeling--which means I've been playing with the brake on turns more than I realized. But I also realized that when I was feathering in a little brake, I wasn't leaning as much as I had to otherwise.

Nothing like being an experienced newb. Doh!

atomicalex
04-17-2013, 03:01 PM
Nothing like being an experienced newb. Doh!Yeah, because you know you're a n00b this time! :-P

Galaxieman
04-18-2013, 04:15 PM
For rear brake usage reference, when I sold my '02 Superhawk in '12 with over 40,000 miles on it, I still had ~50% of the original factory brake pads on the rear, and had gone through multiple sets on the front. Rear brake is for when you've gone farming, or to hold the bike at a stoplight going uphill. Gonna have to remember a couple of these euphemisms, they're all pretty good.


Question: how much tuning for traction and speed is typically done in bike racing and general track work? When is braking typically addressed? Are there general rules for the process? Should I start a new thread for exploring that concept?

Tires and new brake pads. Maybe a new master cylinder and/or braided steel lines, depending on the bike. A good set of HH-rated pads will be able to provide the same braking over and over again with less fade, and the lines/MC upgrade will do the same, while at the same time adding better feedback at the lever. Rules vary by class, but generally any replacement pad is legal, line swaps are usually fine, MC upgrade may/may not depending on class... check your org's rulebook to be sure. Example: CCS Supersport only mentions that the brake calipers must be original, and rotors must be ferrous and the same size as stock. This means that upgrades are allowed to pads, lines, and MC. I'll probably upgrade to SS lines on the Ninjette when I finally get it to the track, but pads and a MC swap were enough to go from 'please stop, please...' to a stoppie-capable bike. Still not like twin-rotor Race Replica 600's, but more than adequate for the street or beginning trackdays.

The crazy part about stepping up between street/track/racing is that at each transition you go back to being a newb, and quickly realize how much faster the 'fast' guys in that new group really are. Just before I stepped into the racing 'deep end', I was going fast enough on the Superhawk that I was able to hold 'trackday' guys off down the main straight at Inde who were riding bikes with 60+ more ponies. And then there was the guy ahead of me racing who were doing 8-9 seconds better per-lap than I was on the Superhawk... on an SV650. Looking at pictures of Mark at the track... he appears pretty relaxed, isn't 'working' really hard... but don't mistake that for 'slow' ;)

AZridered
04-18-2013, 09:09 PM
Flow is the euphoria state I was in. Were I on my own bike or in my own car, not all that dangerous. On a new bike, disasterous.

Rhythm is a better place.

I would not describe Flow as euphoric. For me, when I hit Flow I am very relaxed. Oddly so considering what is going on around me. During a race, Flow allows me to focus on little details of what is going on alongside the track. Or, what the rider ahead is doing, in detail. Is that rider braking with full fingers or finger tips? How much rear brake is being used? Can I make a connection between the rider's corner prep posture and the line that they will take through the turn? Does their head movement telegraph anything useful? How are their tires wearing? Do I notice any slippage when they tip in? etc.

LoDownSinner
04-18-2013, 09:26 PM
Good observations, Mark. I read a lot off of the body English and expressions of the corner workers/flag persons. It's hard to explain, but there are a couple of place where I just know that if the corner worker is standing a certain way than I know that it's going to be a great lap. Road Atlanta, turn 1 is a great example. The little gazebo is right in the sight line tipping in to the turn, and I know instantly how I'm doing by that quick glance at the flag person. Another example would be the flaggers post coming down the hill into the last turn complex at Barber - again, right in the sight line tipping in to the turn. The few times I've gotten the entry correct (and not lost time or positions prior to the front straight) it was instantly recognizable in the body english of the flag person.

asp125
04-19-2013, 09:34 AM
The fast guys make it look smooth, you probably already know that from car racing. Because they have mastered riding tasks allowing their mind to work on other things. It's a progression, you go from "OMG what am I doing out here there's so much going on!!", to getting your line and finding braking points, then that's two things you move to the back of your mind allowing you to focus on other things like feeling your traction, other riders etc.

Jehos
04-19-2013, 09:55 AM
Asp, you're missing the stage where you are constantly moving those points as you focus on other techniques. I.e. as you practice braking, your braking point and potentially your tip-in point constantly move. That's where I'm at right now, tweaking my line as I get better at certain aspects of track riding.