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My brother and I went out on our ninjas tonight, found an empty (clean) parking lot, and he showed me how to properly shift my weight off of the seat as well as which peg to weight! If any of you don't know how to do this, I highly suggest getting a trusted friend to show you how.
 

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I just started reading the book Santa bought me... "Sport Riding Techniques" by Nick Ienatsch and one of the 1st things he mentions is the weighting of the foot pegs & use of the throttle to help steering.

I have a lot to learn... and practice, when Spring arrives.
 

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Knowing when & how to use your body helps TREMENDOUSLY when pushing the limits of your motorcycle. The faster you go the harder it becomse to turn the bike. You need to use your whole body to drastically change direction when at speed. Generally I tell people there's three main points that put your body pretty much where you want it to be when mid-corner...

1 - "Kiss the mirror" - Reach with your chin to the inside mirror, this puts your head and upper body on the inside of the turn & just as importantly, helps you to aim your eyes further down the road.

2 - 1 butt cheek off the seat... you should put your, for better lack of words, "crack" right on the edge of the seat... no more than 1 butt cheek should be on the saddle.

3 - outside elbow lightly resting on the gas tank... this also helps your body shift over, rather than rotate around, the bike. You shouldn't be twisting your body around the gas tank, rather shifting side-to-side laterally, keeping your shoulders parallel to your handlebars.


Other quick tips: You also want to be transitioning smoothly above the seat, leading the bike with your body rather than being led by the bike and sliding across or lifting up, moving over and plopping your butt down on the other side.

I highly suggest reading up on your Keith Code books for tips on how to improve your riding skills before blindly experimenting on public roads. Although it's no race track, I'm glad you at least went to an abandoned parking lot.

Here's some more suggested reading & "go fast mods" that my friend Tony put up on his website: http://www.tonystrackdays.com/performance.cfm

Any other questions on technique, feel free to fire away.
 

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As many things in that video that there are right, there's just as many that are wrong... Now it's not the content that i disagree with, it's the presentation... my biggest issue being that MCN not only condones kneedragging on a public road, but that they're blatantly encouraging it. The second being that they're catering to the mentality that dragging your knee is a goal. It's not a GOAL that you should try to achive, it's the RESULT of combining proper technique and good cornerspeed.

I still remember the first time I dragged my knee... August of '04 (my first track day), three months after I really started getting into riding, in turn 2 @ NHIS. I found out very quickly that day that if i tried to drag my knee, it wouldn't happen... but if i concentrated on using proper technique and carrying good cornerspeed it would happen. A couple track days later my good friend, successful racer & mentor, Derek, said to me "ya know, if you stuck your knee out further you'd get it down on the pavment"... my reply was "Ehhhh yeah, I know... but i'm not trying to drag a knee... if i conciously try to put it down it breaks my concentration & it doesn't happen. If I concentrate on what i'm doing & do it right, it just happens".... a big smile came over his face, he patted me on the shoulder & said "now you're gettin it".
 

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Yesterday I read most of the book, "Sport Riding Techniques," and it chimes in heavily with what Oreo has shared here & what I remember Fog wrote elsewhere. That includes riding smart on the street & not being a "racerboy": on-road speed-dopes who cause the public & police to think negatively of all sport bikers.

The author supported the idea of each tire having a maximum traction load of 100, as in 100%. If the bike is going in a straight line then all 100 points of rear-wheel traction are available for accelerating, or all 100 points of the front tire are available for braking.

Going into hard corners he emphasized rolling off the throttle & squeezing the front brakes with modest rear brake use (settles the body & he explained that the caliper/disk torque helped to limit the rear end rising... but I need to re-read that). It gets smoothly synched with the rider putting he outside leg tight to the bike, weighting the inside footpeg and the shoulders low, & looking ahead to what path you want.

He emphasized SMOOTHNESS. Abrupt throttle, brakes, or steering can overload a tire already near it's limit: Off throttle deceleration counts as part of that 100 points.

For the middle of the turn, he wrote that part-throttle allowed the bike to maintain maximum (controllable) speed, and to only add throttle smoothly as the bike was straightening up as it was coming out of the corner. So the maximum 100 points is divided inversely between acceleration & cornering... when one load goes up, the other must go down.

Plus, he explains that the actual value of the 100 points changes with a lot of factors.
Cold tires have less traction, warm tires more.
Fresh tires have more, multiply raced tired have less.
Wet, dusty, oily, debris-laden roads less...

Braking... squeeze the brakes to first settle the front suspension down then grip down for real braking power. I'm thinking he means to say that excellent braking is a 2 phase thing. Sudden hard braking & fork dives can quickly overload the front tire. So I've got a lot to learn & practice.

He also wrote about "blipping" the throttle during braking & downshifting... to match the engine speed more closely to the next lower gear. Saves wear on the clutch & drivetrain & the smoothness helps keep the tire/traction load below 100.

I'm not writing from experience (simultaneous cornering, braking, downshift-blipping is kinda intimidating) just sharing what I recall.
 

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OreoGaborio said:
Knowing when & how to use your body helps TREMENDOUSLY when pushing the limits of your motorcycle. The faster you go the harder it becomse to turn the bike. You need to use your whole body to drastically change direction when at speed. Generally I tell people there's three main points that put your body pretty much where you want it to be when mid-corner...

1 - "Kiss the mirror" - Reach with your chin to the inside mirror, this puts your head and upper body on the inside of the turn & just as importantly, helps you to aim your eyes further down the road.

2 - 1 butt cheek off the seat... you should put your, for better lack of words, "crack" right on the edge of the seat... no more than 1 butt cheek should be on the saddle.

3 - outside elbow lightly resting on the gas tank... this also helps your body shift over, rather than rotate around, the bike. You shouldn't be twisting your body around the gas tank, rather shifting side-to-side laterally, keeping your shoulders parallel to your handlebars.


Other quick tips: You also want to be transitioning smoothly above the seat, leading the bike with your body rather than being led by the bike and sliding across or lifting up, moving over and plopping your butt down on the other side.

I highly suggest reading up on your Keith Code books for tips on how to improve your riding skills before blindly experimenting on public roads. Although it's no race track, I'm glad you at least went to an abandoned parking lot.

Here's some more suggested reading & "go fast mods" that my friend Tony put up on his website: http://www.tonystrackdays.com/performance.cfm

Any other questions on technique, feel free to fire away.
I completely agree with everything you said there, and I am sure most other racers would too, But these should only be practiced on a racetrack. There is not many places on the street where you need to put these into practice, Unless you are speeding, or on a road that is switchback after switchback.

Leaning off can also be bad for you, don't forget. If you lean off coming out of a parking lot, or from a street light, or at any low speed really, there is a pretty good chance you could fall off. A little thing called inertia. For those who don't know, Inertia is an objects natural tendancy to resist change in it's set course of motion. Thats why at high speeds on your bike, it feels like it's harder to lean over. At low speeds, the effect of inertia is very low, so if you make an eratic movements like hanging off coming out of a parking lot of 10 mph, than theres not alot to keep you up, and you may fall. Like oreo said, when leaning off, keep atleast on cheek on the seat. God gave us a crack, and it was so that we could put it on the edge of our seat while leaning off. Always have one cheek on the seat. Dont get both cheeks off cause one, you look like a dumbass, barely leaned over with your whole ass off the seat, trying to drag a knee, and 2, sometimes its too much weight off the bike, plus it puts a lot of weight on the inside peg, and you could be doing alot of sliding. And if you are riding like this, then you obviously can't, or don't know how to control a slide.

One other thing. When transistioning from side to side like in a chicane, don't throw yourself from side to side. When you start to bring the bike back up from the first part of it, start weighting the outside peg. When you are strait up, lift yourself off the seat, not high, just hover kind of, and get to your posistion on the other side of the bike. Do this smoothly, so you don't upset the balance of the bike.

Basically what I am trying to get at is, be smooth, and controlled. Not erratic, and sketchy. Don't tense up, keep a gentle, But firm enough grip to be able to use the throttle on the bars. Make all your movements fluid, almost like a routine.

And remember, If you want to go fast, go to the track.
 

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MrSciTrek said:
Yesterday I read most of the book, "Sport Riding Techniques," and it chimes in heavily with what Oreo has shared here & what I remember Fog wrote elsewhere. That includes riding smart on the street & not being a "racerboy": on-road speed-dopes who cause the public & police to think negatively of all sport bikers.

The author supported the idea of each tire having a maximum traction load of 100, as in 100%. If the bike is going in a straight line then all 100 points of rear-wheel traction are available for accelerating, or all 100 points of the front tire are available for braking.

Going into hard corners he emphasized rolling off the throttle & squeezing the front brakes with modest rear brake use (settles the body & he explained that the caliper/disk torque helped to limit the rear end rising... but I need to re-read that). It gets smoothly synched with the rider putting he outside leg tight to the bike, weighting the inside footpeg and the shoulders low, & looking ahead to what path you want.

He emphasized SMOOTHNESS. Abrupt throttle, brakes, or steering can overload a tire already near it's limit: Off throttle deceleration counts as part of that 100 points.

For the middle of the turn, he wrote that part-throttle allowed the bike to maintain maximum (controllable) speed, and to only add throttle smoothly as the bike was straightening up as it was coming out of the corner. So the maximum 100 points is divided inversely between acceleration & cornering... when one load goes up, the other must go down.

Plus, he explains that the actual value of the 100 points changes with a lot of factors.
Cold tires have less traction, warm tires more.
Fresh tires have more, multiply raced tired have less.
Wet, dusty, oily, debris-laden roads less...

Braking... squeeze the brakes to first settle the front suspension down then grip down for real braking power. I'm thinking he means to say that excellent braking is a 2 phase thing. Sudden hard braking & fork dives can quickly overload the front tire. So I've got a lot to learn & practice.

He also wrote about "blipping" the throttle during braking & downshifting... to match the engine speed more closely to the next lower gear. Saves wear on the clutch & drivetrain & the smoothness helps keep the tire/traction load below 100.

I'm not writing from experience (simultaneous cornering, braking, downshift-blipping is kinda intimidating) just sharing what I recall.
Myself, and most other racers don't recomned using the rear brake on the track. You don't have as much control over the rear brake, It's more touchy, and you don't get as much feed back from it. I myself, never use the rear brake on the track. The only time I use it on the track is when a red flag comes out, and you have to stop fast. The other thing is weighting the inside peg. Weighting the inside peg encourages sliding, while weighting the outside encourages traction, and not sliding. Sliding the bike is something you don't want to do untill you are compleltly comfortable with the bike, and the track, and are going fast enough to need to slide. Another time you need to use the rear brake is when you get into a speed wobble. If you ever get into a speed wobble, keep on the throttle. If you let off the throtte, you are causing a weight shift, and upsetting the chassis. Keep the throttle where it is, and gently apply the rear brake. This applies more load to the rear tire, and helps stabilize the chassis. Never back off the throttle or come onto the breaks hard in a speed wobble.

Like you said, smoothness is the key. Reading theory is good, But thats all it is, theory. You actually have to practice what you learned, and the street is not the place to do it. There are too many unknown variables out there. If you really want to become a better rider, do some track days, or a raceschool. A race school preferably, because you get instruction from real racers, and you get a chance to put it in action on a safe closed circuit track. If you want to go fast, take it to the track. On the street, take it easy, and follow the rules. What you learn on the track, will translate to the street, and you will be a better street rider, Just don't take the speed with you.

I went to the track because it's safer. On the street there are so many unknown variables. Gravel on the road, oil, stuff laying across the road, oncoming traffic, stupid cagers, etc. Plus, if you crash on the street, god only knows when someone will find you. On the track, you will be found right away, and you have no oncoming traffic, and if theres oil or gravel or anything on the track, you are warned right away by the marshalls/corner workers, and it's cleaned up ASAP. Plus, there are medics there the whole time bikes are on the track. You also have run off for the most part, and if you don't, than theres hay or something else against the walls. Not some gnarly old guard rail.

And the fact that i have little want to ride on the street, and Im only 16 so my insurance would be rediculous.



Heres a good picture Illustraiting what me and Oreo are saying. Crack over edge of seat, one cheek on the seat, chest/head towards inside and over front wheel, inside arm low, outside leg tight to bike, outside arm near tank, looking up the track to where you want to go.


Brad
 

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Rear brake use is a point of disagreement between most (all?) folks here and the author of the book.
Again, I'm not speaking from street or track speed riding experience, I'm just sharing what I understand of what he's saying, because it is a different perspective.

In the mid-90's the author won two AMA National Championships, two No.2 plates & 2 No 3 plates. wrote a famous (?) series of articles for Motorcyclist magazine called "The Pace," and has a newer series called "rideCraft." He's a contributing editor to Cycle World. He is (2003) the lead instructor at Freddie Spencer's High Performance Riding School. I share that information so you guys know where he's coming from, & is likely worthy of a good listening to... agree or not.

If you get a chance to thumb through his book, Chapter 6 is on brakes. Pages 65 & 66 is where he makes his case for light use of the rear brake. He says that using the rear brake (LIGHTLY) "nanoseconds" before using the front brakes reduces the rear suspension up-movement. This reduces the amount of front-end dive & increases control when the front brakes take hold.

In mid corner he says careful use of the rear brake is useful to drop a little speed mid-corner w/o drastically throwing the weight forward. The fork compression & front tire loading will be more controlable that the same amount of front braking. When needed, light mid-turn rear braking helps the bike turn in.

He talked about bikes he was racing that lost their rear brakes & his times dropped. He shared how a ricer
named Ken Hall was talked into experimenting w/ using his rear brakes by a tuner named Scotty Beach. As Hall's technique improved his lap times dropped. Hall won all 3 Suzuli Cup races at the '92 WERA Grand National Finals, and has other championships in national endurance & sprint racing. (Again, I'm reading this, not living it.)

Then he writes, "No matter what they say, most of the fastest roadracers in the world use that rear binder." Mick Doohan, 5 time 500GP world champion had Honda develop a thumb brake when he was racing w/ an immobilized right ankle.

Maybe all the poo-poo against using the rear brake has been said by riders who want to keep their potential competition misinformed. Like poor-sport (?) veteran auto-cross racers giving bad tire inflation suggestions to newcomers.

Anyway, there it is.
 

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rear brake is a dead-horse issue. It's like whether or not you should ride a supermotard knee out or foot out... what it all comes down to is it depends on the situation, what you're profficient at & what you're comfortable with.

As for leaning on the street, yeah, you can ride around at just a fine pace w/o leaning & you don't wanna ride so fast you're leaning off in busy parkin lots, I thought we were all assuming people here have common sense ;D ... Additinoally, i'm not saying hang way off the bike... just a little will do... but if you're out having some fun on a great twisty road, getting the bike over, for sure, you wanna lean off the bike a little, weight the pegs etc... and you don't have to be dragging pegs to use your body. Even putting around town I put a little "butt english" into it... i do it for tha ladies 8)
 

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OreoGaborio said:
... but if you're out having some fun on a great twisty road, getting the bike over, for sure, you wanna lean off the bike a little, weight the pegs etc... and you don't have to be dragging pegs to use your body. Even putting around town I put a little "butt english" into it... i do it for tha ladies 8)
Oh c'mon... the young ones are too busy jammin w/ iPods, rappin' on the cell phone, doing make-up to notice.

The older ones might be paying attention but they're susceptible to heart attacks. :eek:
 

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Those books carry some good information and the techniques are correct for riding at any speed. Light on the bars, lines, and smooth throttle apply through the corner are appropriate at all speeds and a lot of practice can be done on the street without breaking the law.

Acquiring the feel and body position that affords a light bar feel is the biggest single step to learning how to ride well and is imperative to riding fast. It IS NOT imperative to GO FAST to practice these techniques, realize the benefits, and make that search for that feel a part of you. Once you've done it right you'll "get it" and search for that position on every corner. At normal street speeds it will not require moving your butt off the seat but will require moving just your upper body to the inside of the bend. The faster you go, the more body position that is required to get the bars light, eventually requiring moving your butt over. Hanging on the bars or tight on them is the source of many, if not MOST, riding problems.

The advantage to practicing this at street speeds is to acquire the comfortable feel of "light on the bars". As the speed increases and the threshold where you will need to move the butt over is crossed, it is the light bar feel that you're still striving for and will dictate when it's time to move your butt, what the feel is supposed to be, what you're striving for, and if you've done it right.

NEVER support your weight on the bars in a corner. And if you're not weighting the pegs, balls of the feet up on them, you'll never accomplish that. Unloading the bars requires you to anchor to the bike elsewhere. Anywhere else will be better than on the bars by default.

A good exercise to try on the street, to get some sense of what all of this means, is to find a long uniform sweeper, enter it at a totally comfortable speed, get the bike set on a good, smooth line, throttle steady at a comfortable level, trying nothing fancy. Then, all settled down in the bend, loosen your grip on the bars and see if you can detect what would happen if you were to let go of them completely (aside from the throttle going to idle) ;). DON'T actually let go of the bars, just feel for the effort you're applying. 8)

Sitting upright, expect to feel that you'll be pushing lightly on the inside bar and if you were to release it, the bike would dive in tight and crash. :eek: That won't do, will it? ;D

Now, lean just your upper body to the inside of the bend. The effort on the inside bar will diminish the more you move your upper body to the inside. Eventually, you'll find a point where you could let go of the bars and the line would be maintained. THAT'S the point you're looking for that allows totally light bar input. If you don't feel it or aren't a believer just yet, try leaning your upper body to the outside, like a dirt bike, pushing the bike under you, and you should feel the input on the bar get even heavier. THAT'S what you're dealing with. It's the light bar feel that you want. :)

As your speed goes up, like at the track ;), you'll reach a point where just the upper body movement won't be enough weight transfer to accomplish the light bar feel. That's when you'll need to start moving your butt over but it's always the same, going for the light bar feel. That's the starting point of learning to ride well at speed. After getting a decent line and looking deep through the corner, everything else builds off of the light bar feel.

The books will go into much more detail on this but hopefully this simple exercise will demonstrate what you're dealing with, that it matters, how comfortable the bike feels when you get it right, and make a believer out of you. Once you realize the comfort of riding this way, you'll want to know what else is hidden in 'dem pages 'o 'dem books. ;) Hope that helps.

Edit add: And once you've tried this, report back. Make a post, tell us what you found.

Edit add (2): Don't mistake the bar input, countersteer, to initiate turn in as not being required. It IS! What I'm describing is once you're in the bend with lean angle set. Turn in at big speed and rapid can require a pretty forceful bar input, more than you might expect. It is once the lean is set that the bar input should be about zero, totally relaxed. Hope that clarifies. Maybe that's why there are whole books on this stuff and not just a few paragraphs. :)
 
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