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  • Keith Code and Survival Reactions

    The first book I ever got on riding was Keith Codes Twist of the Wrist. It was interesting but not what I was looking for. Then in the mid 90s I heard about another book called Twist of the Wrist 2 … and promptly got it. This was much more the meat and potatoes of performance riding. Yes it was written a bit weird … but it had things I could use.

    One of the points Keith made is that there are responses most riders do almost automatically given certain situations that have adverse outcomes and are frequently the opposite of what the rider intends.
    Keith called these Survival Reactions. He also listed some SR triggers. Now these aren’t things Code just made up … they are his conclusions after doing a survey of some 8,000 riders.

    I’ll start with some of the SR triggers …
    "In too fast." "Going too wide," "Too steep lean angle." “Traction concerns” and there are others like rough bumpy road, etc.

    Now Keith’s SRs
    1. rolling off the gas
    2. Tightening on the bars
    3. Narrowed and frantically hunting field of view
    4. fixed attention (on something)
    5. Steering in the direction of the fixed attention
    6. No steering (frozen) or ineffective (not quick enough or too early) steering
    7. Braking errors (both over-and under-braking)

    Now when I first read this I thought Meh ... big deal. Then I thought about it some more. Had any of these happened to me. Only 2 and 4 ... and maybe 6 ... and 7 ...and well 1 and 5 but never 3 ... or at least not often.

    So what is KCs remedy. First is to recognize it happens... mostly unconsciously or subconsciously ... and that they are automic responses . We are not genetically predisposed to ride motorcycles after all ... throw rocks maybe bt not ride motorcycles.

    After you recognize you do the SR ... you recognize the correct response ... and then train it into your new response.
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  • #2
    I'm going to take the 1st SR (. rolling off the gas) and talk about my experience with it.

    first what's wrong with rolling off the gas? Well Keith is talking about rolling off the gas whle cornering. So what's wrong with that? Well the BRC talks about getting our braking done before turn entry (let's leave trail braking out of this). If I had said don't brake while cornering hard ... almost everyone would agree. When you come off the gas mid corner ... you are pretty much applying the rear brake.

    Turn 8-9 at VIR was a real problem for me. I knew I was hanging out the anchor through it ... but when I tried ramping up my entry speed mid corner SR 1 would fire. I would try again with great resolve ... and SR 1 would fire ... and I was getting these little front tire slides.
    Now undoubtedly some riders think "oh boy" when their front tire slides but I thnk "Holy Sh!t!!!"

    Between sessions I talked to a control rider it. I had talked to him before and he was not only good at riding but good at teaching. He pointed out we were riding the same bikes (sv650s) and the same tires ... and suggested I follow him and do exactly as he did ... and he would raise his left hand to signal steady "on" throttle.

    I did it ... and I repeated it over and over ... a little faster than before with no tire slides.
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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    • #3
      So without trail braking are you on constant throttle to the apex or slowly rolling on all the way through? I know what I do.
      Last edited by asp125; 03-24-2015, 10:29 PM.
      When life throws you curves, aim for the apex
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      • #4
        I have the SRs and the rules taped to my tank.
        Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
        2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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        • #5
          I just ride slow
          2004 Sportster sold
          2009 Yamaha Vstar--sold
          Sears putt put 109cc-- sold
          1965 Yamaha 80 cc--sold
          2016 T100 Bonny

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          • #6
            My bumper sticker

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            • #7
              Originally posted by asp125 View Post
              So without trail braking are you on constant throttle to the apex or slowly rolling on all the way through? I know what I do.
              Ok ... braking is done with ... eyes shift from turn in point to apex ... 'flick' the bike into a lean angle which will negotiate the turn in one arc... constant rolling on of throttle throughout the turn ... from beginning to end. That pretty well sums it up according to Keith.

              Couple of caveats. 1) CA Superbike is performance street riding taught on the track. Code recognises the (small) advantage trail braking offers for racing (and he may even teach it in his R.A.C.E. school) but he isn't an advocate of it on the street. He makes what to me is a very valid point that about half the crashes in racing are while trail braking. I get there there are some issues with suspension getting a bit unsettled Keith's way ...
              The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by atomicalex View Post
                I have the SRs and the rules taped to my tank.
                One of the biggest things about the SRs for me now is they let me know I am "off my game" ... To solve a problem 1st you have to acknowledge you have a problem ... and these are an effective way of pinpointing what the problem is.

                Another thing I think Keith has nailed 100% is when you are learning something new in performance riding of a motorcycle is ... back it down to 75%. He brings this up at every class. If you are trying to go 100% you are just hanging on ... and there is no room for new stuff.

                It's not to surprising that some of my fastest lap times have been after lunch when I'm feeling a bit groggy (low circadian period) and I say 'I'm going to back it down and work on fundamentals ...'
                The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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                • #9
                  Yes, I agree.

                  The SR list reminder is there for me just to kick me a little bit every day. What can I do better? How can I improve my sightline? How can I relax? Where can I look?

                  The rules are there to remind me to do the right thing.

                  Those little scraps of laminated paper (in English and German) have been read by me hundreds of times. People ask me about them - it is very funny - I say "do you know who is Keith Code? The guy with the videos?" If they don't, the I tell them what to look for.

                  You know, OBXrider - I found Twist 2 to be more valuable, too. But then, I have how much car track time? To me, Twist 1 was the fundamentals, the engineering drawings. Twist 2 was like putting it into production. I read Twist 2 and called a friend and said "why did no one tell me these things when I started tracking? This is what every novice needs to read!"
                  Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
                  2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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                  • #10
                    A lot of people are put off by Keith ... both in person and in print. When I read his books and listened to him in person ... I adapted a student attitude. I would try what he suggested with an open mind ... and to the best of my ability. Another way of putting it is 'take what you can use and leave the rest' .. only I give what I'm being taught time... and I found I could use a great deal.

                    Then there was the 'battle' between Keith and counter-steering and Reg Pridmore and body-steering several years ago. There were Pridmore and Code fan-boys and never the twain shall meet. Then Code came out with the No BS bike (that could be read no bull shit bike ... or no body steer bike) ... and that pretty well put paid to body steering as a sole means of steering a motorcycle thru race track corners. (I have Reg Pridmore's book ... and I figured out they were saying the same things in different languages all by myself ... )

                    The surprising thing is Code actually teaches a couple of body steering techniques in Level 3. Lets say you are into a corner and see your arc is just barely maybe going to run wide. Technique 1 is to lower your head and lead with your chin more. Well when you do that in a turn on a motorcycle two things happen ... (a) you hang off a little more and (b) you subconsciously push on the inside bar a little more. But it seems like magic as your line tightens up .... just a bit.

                    The second is similar. Same situation but you push your outside knee into the tank ... and magically the line tightens. What really happens when you are leaned over and push your outside knee into the tank is .. your outside arm pushes a bit harder on the handlebar ...

                    Detractors point out KC never did much as a professional motorcycle racer. OTOH hand he has played a very active role coaching some darn good racers. The old question ... "Would you rather take golf lessons from Tiger Woods ... or the guy who coached Tiger Woods ...
                    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OBX-RIDER View Post

                      Detractors point out KC never did much as a professional motorcycle racer. OTOH hand he has played a very active role coaching some darn good racers. The old question ... "Would you rather take golf lessons from Tiger Woods ... or the guy who coached Tiger Woods ...
                      I had a friend who was one of the top-ranked freestyle kayakers in Canada. I paddled with him a fair bit, and he'd sometimes give me tips (BTW, I was competitng myself at the time, but only at the local level). My friend's advice usualy consisted of, "Just go out there and do it!" He seemed incapable of offering specific advice, such as I was used to getting from other coaches (and gave to those I was coaching). I think it was because he had so much natural talent that he never really analyzed his own performance--he'd just "go out there and do it" himself, unlike the rest of us who had to work at it. My buddy really did make it look fluid and effortless, but I don't think he really knew how he did it (or at least, he didn't know how to articulate what he was doing).

                      Anyway, I think this is not uncommon in any sport. There are those who are naturals, and those who have to work at it--and while those who work at it may not always be the best performers, they may be better instructors because they've had to analyze their actions more.

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                      • #12
                        Keith Code's material is great...for the track. While his strategies could be used for the street, a rider might choose to make a decision that wouldn't require "superior strategies" for riding.
                        What happens all too frequently~

                        Take (and pass) the BRC
                        Buy a GSXR 600
                        Read one (or all) of KC's books.

                        Apply this on the street....

                        wonderful...
                        Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

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                        • #13
                          I fully disagree, but do so with n track days and races behind me.

                          If you take KC's info without the benefit of some brains, you are indeed going tobe in trouble. But if you take it as it is intended to be used, it is vital.

                          Rule No. 1: Once the theottle is cracked open, it is rolled on smoothly, evenly, and continuously throughout the remainder of the turn.

                          No where does it say "whacked open".
                          Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
                          2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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                          • #14
                            Statistically CA Sprbk has about the lowest frequency of students having 'crashes' of any track school organisation. I have been thru 1-3 twice and never seen a go-down in my group.

                            For the introduction to the road race track environment with minimal risk I highly recommend it...
                            The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

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                            • #15
                              Sometimes (ok, most of the time,) my posts seem to be misunderstood. Maybe it's the way I write, I guess.
                              Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

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