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View Full Version : I did the Jimmy Lewis Offroad School this past weekend ...



OBX-RIDER
02-16-2015, 01:26 PM
and I have to say this was the most physically demanding motorcycle school I've ever experienced and I've been thru several.

This all started talking around a campfire with a group of ADVriders just about all of whom ride offroad. The universal opinion was that Lewis is the guy to go to if you want to improve your offroad technique. (One guy who has been racing offroad for 50 years and considered himself an expert, said Jimmy watched him ride and commented that he had a lot of bad habits to overcome if he wanted to be a decent rider ... :shock: The guy said Jimmy's help has really helped his riding.)

You show up at 8 am. By 8:30 you are n his 'front yard' going over fundamentals. Jimmy hates 2 feet down. He takes an R1200GS and walks around it balancing it with 1 finger. He takes his finger away and the bike just sits there for a few seconds. The moment it starts to move he catches it ... again with 1 finger. (I have to say he has incredible reaction time.)

He then has you sit on your bike with 1 foot down, lift that foot onto the peg ... and balance the bike for as long as you can with both feet up. After I got up to 2 or 3 seconds he had me switch to lifting the down foot and standing on the pegs. Before we headed out to a dry lake bed he went over proper standing position(to include foot placement on the pegs) and peg weighting to turn the bike.

What follows is drill after drill always building on what you learned in a previous drill. A lot of emphasis is placed on high performance braking. You practice locking first the rear brake ... then the front brake separately. Then you practice locking the rear brake and taking the frnt brake right to the threshold of locking. During that he wants your butt over the rear taillight. And tghat has steps. 1. throttle off 2. Clutch in 3. Weight back 4. Brake

The class lasted both days until nearly sunset. Except for a break for lunch (discussion continued during lunch) you were riding or listening the whole day. Typically Lewis demonstrates on a r1200GS ... then on a KTM 500exc.

If you have an opportunity to take his class it is about the cost of a new muffler and it will do you far more good... :)

Trials
02-16-2015, 02:59 PM
.... Jimmy hates 2 feet down. He takes an R1200GS and walks around it balancing it with 1 finger. He takes his finger away and the bike just sits there for a few seconds. The moment it starts to move he catches it ... again with 1 finger. (I have to say he has incredible reaction time.)

He then has you sit on your bike with 1 foot down, lift that foot onto the peg ... and balance the bike for as long as you can with both feet up.... :)


:| what is this guy some kind of :freak: Trials rider or something

NORTY
02-16-2015, 05:40 PM
Now THIS is learning how to ride motorcycles.

OBX~ When we meet in a couple of weeks, you may notice I rarely use either foot when I stop.

Sometimes I'll be stopped for a redlight, with both feet on the pegs, waiting...

AlwaysLearnin
02-16-2015, 05:58 PM
....
Sometimes I'll be stopped for a redlight, with both feet on the pegs, waiting...

See, told ya those training wheels would come in handy! :crackup: :crackup: :crackup:

Semt usung tapatalk wuth my fat fingers snd a tiny keyboard!

NORTY
02-16-2015, 06:13 PM
OBX~ Get to do any "balance" wheelies?

OBX-RIDER
02-16-2015, 10:15 PM
OBX~ Get to do any "balance" wheelies?

No apparently a coupla students failed to cover their rear brakes and crashed and sued ... so wheelies are explained, demoed, but no student practice other than static wheelies from a stop which really is just a sllght front wheel hop.

Probably the most impressive thing was seeing Lewis go down a 200 foot cliff. From where he went over the edge to where his back tire hit was about 2 stories down then dang close to vertical on down. Even more impressive was to see him take a short start and come back up the cliff.

One of the students, a tall muscular kid, had a BMW 800 GS. With youthful exuberance and good coordination he had pretty well stayed with the enduros on exercise after exercise... but the most vertical hill climb stumped him. 3 times he got 2/3rds the way up only to loose traction and stall. He finally just shrugged and said something like it was just beyond his bike. Lewis asked if he show him how to do it on the 800. He then had the young man ride on the back and went up the hill like it was nothing ...

Clair
02-17-2015, 11:30 AM
It's always the bike. We know taht. The rider can only do so much. It's always the bike's fault :-)

OBX-RIDER
02-17-2015, 05:57 PM
It's always the bike. We know taht. The rider can only do so much. It's always the bike's fault :-)

There's no question Jimmy Lewis can take a r1200GS places a good offroad rider cannot take a KTM 500exc ... but he makes it clear that the big BMW and KTMs are 'adventure bikes' not enduros ... and they have limitations, the biggest of which according to him is how fast you can go without damaging the bike.

He also makes a statement that I thought I misunderstood the first time he said it ... but he repeated it a couple of times which is this "In offroad motorcycle riding the front brake is responsible for 100% of the stopping power and the rear brake is to keep the back of the bike ... in back."

Trials
02-17-2015, 06:14 PM
"In offroad motorcycle riding the front brake is responsible for 100% of the stopping power and the rear brake is to keep the back of the bike ... in back."


it's not really 100% :scratch: then but

:biker: sounds pretty good.

http://i990.photobucket.com/albums/af21/eotamoderator/image_zps2fa05c2e.jpeg

SoCal LabRat
02-17-2015, 09:20 PM
I know someone else who recently took that class, and he absolutely loved it. Raved about it like you did. Said it wore him out too, and he's 20 years younger than you. So, you're definitely badass in my book.

NORTY
02-18-2015, 09:13 AM
No apparently a coupla students failed to cover their rear brakes and crashed and sued ... so wheelies are explained, demoed, but no student practice other than static wheelies from a stop which really is just a sllght front wheel hop.

Probably the most impressive thing was seeing Lewis go down a 200 foot cliff. From where he went over the edge to where his back tire hit was about 2 stories down then dang close to vertical on down. Even more impressive was to see him take a short start and come back up the cliff.

One of the students, a tall muscular kid, had a BMW 800 GS. With youthful exuberance and good coordination he had pretty well stayed with the enduros on exercise after exercise... but the most vertical hill climb stumped him. 3 times he got 2/3rds the way up only to loose traction and stall. He finally just shrugged and said something like it was just beyond his bike. Lewis asked if he show him how to do it on the 800. He then had the young man ride on the back and went up the hill like it was nothing ...The instructor failed here. He failed to instruct.
In an industry where positive reinforcement is key, I gotta wonder how the student felt after this display...

OBX-RIDER
02-18-2015, 01:51 PM
I would agree that the front tire is not responsible for 100% of the braking offroad but I think the point Lewis was making is when you can stand a dirt bike on it's nose in a stoppie on less than perfect traction surface ... it is responsible for much more than conventional wisdom thinks.

Norty you and I have an entirely different approach and to me you sound like a 'mollycoddler'. :) I have no interest in instructing in motorcycling but I spent most of my life as a military instructor pilot and as a civilian CFI. Some folks make great pilots, some folks will become decent and safe with extra time and effort ... and some should just ride in the back. Frankly I think the same is true riding motorbikes.

When I am teaching primary students I frequently need to encourage them. When I am teaching over cocky 500 hour military pilots... I need to give them a dose of reality to get their confidence back inline with their competence.

Almost all f the riders were experienced offroad riders trying to get better. Lewis had told us that when you are loosing traction going up the hill ... more throttle is not the answer. The rider of the 800 was spinning the tire throwing dirt and rocks going nowhere repeatedly and blaming the bike. Lewis showed him in no uncertain terms that the bike could handle the hill just fine under much worst conditions and emphasized the throttle was not an off/on switch.

The proof of pudding is in the eating. The kid tried again after Lewis's demo ... and made it up the hill. In fact several riders on enduros tried and made that hill after the demo. After all when you see 500 lbs of motorcycle carrying 400 lbs of rider go up a hill ... and you weigh 170 on a 320 lb motorcycle ... you certainly realize it's possible...

When I go to learn advanced aerobatics or offroad riding from someone like Lewis I want the blunt truth. I want someone who both can talk the talk and walk the talk. Tell me, show me and let me try ... and give me an honest assessment of what I did wrong and how I can improve.

Clair
02-18-2015, 02:14 PM
Yes, most often people think "More Power" is the answer, when it might not be.

Cars in snow ... gunning the sucker doesn't give you more grip, it makes things more slick. Ease off the gas, put it in a higher gear if you can to lug it a bit, and you'll find you have plenty of traction where before you slipped.

Mountain Biking ... hit the slick stuff going up a hill and pedal like mad most often leads to losing traction. Granted you can hit the hill going as fast as you can to keep momentum up, but spinning that wheel doesn't benefit you.

Similarly, spinning that real wheel on a motorcycle is not giving you traction, but rather removing it. Far too many people think of the gas pedal / throttle as an on/off device where more ON is always better.

Bugguts
02-18-2015, 02:46 PM
....Lewis had told us that when you are loosing traction going up the hill ... more throttle is not the answer.

Educate me. I've never ridden off road, but that very scenario would make me pucker. What is the answer?

OBX-RIDER
02-18-2015, 04:28 PM
Educate me. I've never ridden off road, but that very scenario would make me pucker. What is the answer?ah

What he teaches is to modulate the throttle kind of a e-r-r-r-u-u-u-p-p- - e=r-r-r-u-u-u-p-p-- -e-r-r-r-u-p-p thing. The bike will frequently regain traction as you come off the throttle a little and you modulate around that area.

NORTY
02-18-2015, 06:56 PM
Norty you and I have an entirely different approach and to me you sound like a 'mollycoddler'. Had to look up term: Mollycoddler. LOL is all I've got on that!
I have no interest in instructing in motorcycling but I spent most of my life as a military instructor pilot and as a civilian CFI. Some folks make great pilots, some folks will become decent and safe with extra time and effort ... and some should just ride in the back. Frankly I think the same is true riding motorbikes. Then you know learning to fly vs. learning to ride a motorcycle isn't that dissimilar. (Ok, there isn't the ever present FAA, but you get what I mean.)


When I am teaching primary students I frequently need to encourage them. When I am teaching over cocky 500 hour military pilots... I need to give them a dose of reality to get their confidence back inline with their competence. Again, both flying or riding are skills that can perpetuate a false "invincability."


Almost all f the riders were experienced offroad riders trying to get better. Lewis had told us that when you are loosing traction going up the hill ... more throttle is not the answer. The rider of the 800 was spinning the tire throwing dirt and rocks going nowhere repeatedly and blaming the bike. Lewis showed him in no uncertain terms that the bike could handle the hill just fine under much worst conditions and emphasized the throttle was not an off/on switch.

The proof of pudding is in the eating. The kid tried again after Lewis's demo ... and made it up the hill. In fact several riders on enduros tried and made that hill after the demo. After all when you see 500 lbs of motorcycle carrying 400 lbs of rider go up a hill ... and you weigh 170 on a 320 lb motorcycle ... you certainly realize it's possible... I must have missed this part in your previous post. Sorry.


When I go to learn advanced aerobatics or offroad riding from someone like Lewis I want the blunt truth. I want someone who both can talk the talk and walk the talk. Tell me, show me and let me try ... and give me an honest assessment of what I did wrong and how I can improve.Well now, that IS instructing.


EDIT~ OBX, do you use "smoke oil" in your bird? I used to supply carbon-tet for a Naval Flight Demonstration Team, back when it was legal. Now, I think they use a special light mineral based oil. Used to supply that too, but it didn't make a "super white, dense" smoke...It was called Carnea oil 22.

NORTY
02-18-2015, 07:01 PM
Educate me. I've never ridden off road, but that very scenario would make me pucker. What is the answer?The answer to climbing hills (or decending them) is to not let your tire slip much at all. A spinning tire will slip with a lower coefficient of friction (CoF) than a tire that is hooked up and driving. Think about drag racing. The car that has a dead hook will out accelerate a car that is spinning it's wheels, making a smoke show.

For those of you driving on "reduced" friction currently, what happens when you stomp the gas pedal on snow or ice? Do you "sit and spin" or do you take off?
Now, what if you were to only give it enough torque to not spin the tire, but move the car/bike?

Same result from a different scenario, Buggs.

OBX-RIDER
02-18-2015, 09:08 PM
Had to look up term: Mollycoddler. LOL is all I've got on that! Then you know learning to fly vs. learning to ride a motorcycle isn't that dissimilar. (Ok, there isn't the ever present FAA, but you get what I mean.) Again, both flying or riding are skills that can perpetuate a false "invincability." I must have missed this part in your previous post. Sorry.
Well now, that IS instructing.


EDIT~ OBX, do you use "smoke oil" in your bird? I used to supply carbon-tet for a Naval Flight Demonstration Team, back when it was legal. Now, I think they use a special light mineral based oil. Used to supply that too, but it didn't make a "super white, dense" smoke...It was called Carnea oil 22.

Dang ... I thought 'molly coddling' had a definite British ring to it...

I recall an aviation safety seminar where the speaker said something like "Statistically the only way the drive to the airport was more dangerous than the flight from the airport is if you rode a motorcycle..." That invincibility thing is pretty much an illusion.

The comments I heard before I signed up for the class about Jimmy Lewis is 1. Jimmy Lewis really knows how to ride offroad and 2. Jimmy Lewis really knows how to teach offroad riding. I found that to be true.

I used to have a smoke system in my aircraft ... but removed ii to lighten the plane for better performance. My flying is purely for my enjoyment and for friends who want to experience aerobatic flight...:)