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Learning and Track days

  1. #1
    Lifer Ken C's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    I instructed at a BMW-only Tony's Track day two days ago. I encountered a scenario that seemed to illustrate the benefits of track days.

    Tony and I were on a hot lap as we approached a rider into turn 3. I see the rider blow the turn-in, on the brakes and drifting outside. He panics and looks at the tires/ gravel trap, then locks the rear wheel, but stays upright as Tony and I carve up the inside.

    Later, the rider is quietly standing in our pit area. Thinking about it now, I wonder if he was silently asking for help.

    We start talking. He asks about how he could have avoided the incident. I throw the question back at him and he says something like, "downshift and straighten the bike up?".

    I mention that the solution is to look and lean. Of course, the best solution is to not CHARGE INTO corners, rather slow enough to CHARGE OUT of corners. Slow in, fast out!

    He questioned the ability of his tires to grip at those "extreme" lean angles. I mention that he wasn't leaning that much and that the tires would very likely would have stuck. Besides, if you have a choice between taking a chance that your tires won't stick or standing the bike up and almost guaranteeing you'll hit the tire wall, which one would you choose? Surprisingly, many choose the latter.

    I acknowledged to him that we all get into panicky situations sometimes, but that it's imperative to "gather it up" and recover quickly. I pointed out the obvious, that he overshot his usual brake mark and entered turn 3 too fast. He looked at the threat (tire wall), stood the bike up and stomped on the rear brake. Many a street rider has lost their lives doing just that.

    Had this rider made his mistake on the street, he would have crossed into the oncoming lane, yikes! Granted, he might not have pushed it as hard as he was, but blind corners on the street can present the same situation.

    The fact is that the lessons learned at track days make you a better rider mentally, emotionally, and physically.

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    so true.

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  3. #3
    Tie me up not down Jaynnus's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    HEY!!! I'm not a guy......errrr....wait, that wasn't me!!

    I only did the NASCAR turn once....honest!!!!!

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    MSF RiderCoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5TOEZ View Post
    #5 Hangout w/Jaynnus................
    she rides like the wind
    & smells good too.
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by Jaynnus
    I only did the NASCAR turn once....honest!!!!!
    NNNooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN????



















































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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  5. #5
    medium pimpin' slaps76's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Cool...I can't wait for my first track day in a few weeks!

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    "It is important never to forget where u all came from becoz black, white, brown or pakistani we all come from de same place de punani."
    -Ali G

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  6. #6
    Tie me up not down Jaynnus's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by OreoGaborio
    NNNooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN????


    I came up on a certain bike that was parking it big time in the corners (not realizing that was him at the end of the front straight) and by the time I was going to enter 1 (kinda fast for me anyway) I saw him grab the brakes in the corner....a quick decision was made to take the scenic route since I knew his lines were unpredictable.

    Judy (one of the instructors) who was cornerworking turn 2 got a good chuckle out of it!!! I saw her up there laughing at me!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5TOEZ View Post
    #5 Hangout w/Jaynnus................
    she rides like the wind
    & smells good too.
    PKism: you don't count, you're just a guy with indoor plumbing

  7. #7
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    yeeeaaah, i know... u told me bout it... just messin w/ ya

    but hey, ya made the safe choice.

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  8. #8
    Tie me up not down Jaynnus's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    [/threadhijack]

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    MSF RiderCoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5TOEZ View Post
    #5 Hangout w/Jaynnus................
    she rides like the wind
    & smells good too.
    PKism: you don't count, you're just a guy with indoor plumbing

  9. #9
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by Jaynnus
    [/threadhijack]
    werd


    To get back on topic, I experienced this very thing on Sunday in my PTwin race. I'm sure most of you have already read about it, but here goes a really quick summary anyway for those that haven't.

    I went into turn 3 SUPER hot to make a pass on a lapper before the braking zone, so I ended up carrying alot more speed than the person in front of me (Biggity). I wasn't gonna be able to stop before i rear ended him, had no room to run wide and had no where to go but up the inside of him. Although I knew I was comin in hotter than i ever have before, but I also knew my tires could take it... so i killed the brakes, leaned it in, dragged the front brakes a little to scrub off more speed & made the pass.... It may not sound like it, but it was one of the most intense moments i've ever experienced on a bike.

    So to back up what Ken's experience, here's the moral of the story: No matter where you are, if you find yourself going into a corner & think you're goin in too hot, just trust your tires, be smooth & lean that sumbich over

    I learned that at a trackday

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  10. #10
    medium pimpin' slaps76's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    With me it's definitely mental. There's just a "lean" point I hit on my bike where I'm comfortable with. Even though I *know* I can lean more and carry more speed, something just keeps me from going that much further. And it sucks not having any clue how far I really am over.

    Of course this has all been on the street, so I'm looking foward to being able to more safely push it on the track. I'm sure that'll help overcome that fear.

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    "It is important never to forget where u all came from becoz black, white, brown or pakistani we all come from de same place de punani."
    -Ali G

    Triumph Daytona 675 SE

  11. #11
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    that feeling is 110% normal. A rediculous amount of riding is done between the ears.

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  12. #12
    Lifer a13x's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by slaps76
    And it sucks not having any clue how far I really am over.
    Well the short answer here is "That's what your knee is for"

    One of the main things I notice street riders doing is leaning the bike too much. I was following two VFR's in the Intermediate Group at the recent Penguin Trackday and observed them leaning those babies waaaay over, yet barely hanging off or having their knees out.

    I chalk this up to streetriders not being used to wearing leathers and pucks along with the street not allowing you to really get used to hanging off. I know when I was only a streetrider (never rode on the track before racing) my rule was "Want to go faster thru the corner, lean more, more, more". I never ever hung my body off, ever. I definately had that point where I would mentally freak out as my lean angle increased

    Once you get used to not leaning the bike as much, and instead using your body / knee to gauge your angle, you'll find you are going thru the same corners, at the same speed, with much more comfort.

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  13. #13
    medium pimpin' slaps76's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    ^

    I hear you. I just got leather pants with pucks last month, only wore them a handful of times on the street. I was actually going to mention, that I feel much more comfortable hitting corners hard when I am hanging off the bike, ass off the seat, head as close to my mirror as possible...it seems to slow things down for me. I just haven't put a real effort into getting my knee on the ground yet, probably because I haven't hit any appropriate corners wearing those pants, and I've been riding a lot lately with my girlfriend on the back.

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    "It is important never to forget where u all came from becoz black, white, brown or pakistani we all come from de same place de punani."
    -Ali G

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  14. #14
    Lifer a13x's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by slaps76 . I just haven't put a real effort into getting my knee on the ground yet, and I've been riding a lot lately with my girlfriend on the back. [/B]
    Well you know the saying, don't TRY to drag the knee, just be in the correct position to do so, and it will happen

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    Boston --> San Diego

  15. #15
    Lifer Ken C's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    I'm sure you guys know this, but it bears saying to those who might not know:
    Knee dragging speeds belong on the track only! PLEASE.

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  16. #16
    Lifer s a x m a n's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by Ken C
    I'm sure you guys know this, but it bears saying to those who might not know:
    Knee dragging speeds belong on the track only! PLEASE.

    sometimes I think i'm lucky to still be here ... i started my knee dragging on the street ... now that I don't ride on the street anymore, I sit back and think about how I used to ride, and what could have happened if shit when wrong.

    one thing that I learned quickly at the track is that I can NEVER ride on the street like I do on the track ... shit I had a tough time riding on the street at all anymore ... i didn't get that rush that I once had.

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  17. #17
    Lifer Ken C's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    From my experience, street riding changes once you've raced for a while. It's now a relaxed endeavor.

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  18. #18
    Senior Member LiononaLeash's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by Ken C
    I'm sure you guys know this, but it bears saying to those who might not know:
    Knee dragging speeds belong on the track only! PLEASE.

    Does this mean I need to drive slower than 18mph on the street since this is kneedragging speed?

    I took a short video of me practicing lean angle down by SV01Racer's house before my first trackday last October(Tony's). I can now do this somewhere around 12-15mph and considerably tighter and smoother.

    I can't look at my gages anymore to tell exactly how slow I'm going. On the street, its all about turning in late so you can pitch the bike over enough, its not about speed at all. My pucks touch almost every time I go out for a ride now. It keeps the streetriding interesting. Otherwise, I think my streetriding would have been ruined by my trackdays.

    I wonder if they have any of those parking lot trials events around here at all. You know... the ones where they ride like 400cc streetbikes getting timed around a course setup with a bunch of orange cones and stuff? That would be the kind of racing I could get into.

    Its not spectacular but here is that video I was talking about earlier when I was just starting to learn lean angle. If you listen closely, you can hear the pucks.

    right clicky and save the wmv file (16 meg)

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  19. #19
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    I think it also has to do with the rider/bike. I have countless people telling me I can't lean my Rex over any further without hitting my exhaust yet I have only touched a knee down once by mistake. I'm hangin off plenty like a raped ape, just seems like I don't need to lean as much as larger people to carry the same speed through a corner. Hanging off any further causes the bike to wobble and I feel as though I'll fall. I'm not talkin normal hanging off, I'm talking to the point where my outside foot is tippy-toe on the peg.

    Does rider weight really make that much of a difference? It seems that I need to lean the bike more and hanging off doesn't make as much of a difference for me as others.

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  20. #20
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    the reason for hanging off is to change the bike and rider's center of gravity... if you're a big dude, your weight has much more of an effect on the CG than if you're a skinny dude, like we are.... it's amplified even more on a heavy bike, since the ratio of rider weight to bike weight is much less... so yeah, your observations are correct.

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    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

  21. #21
    Lifer
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by slaps76
    With me it's definitely mental. There's just a "lean" point I hit on my bike where I'm comfortable with. Even though I *know* I can lean more and carry more speed, something just keeps me from going that much further. And it sucks not having any clue how far I really am over.

    Of course this has all been on the street, so I'm looking foward to being able to more safely push it on the track. I'm sure that'll help overcome that fear.
    Just a FYI since we have the same bike. I know this is old news now and you probably found out all about it at the track but...

    If you haven't scraped the pegs on the VFR (with the feelers) know you have tons and tons and tons of lean angle left.

    Even if you are grinding the feelers there is a ton of room left. But the feelers are so long you are nowhere near the max lean angle. AFAICT if you take the feelers off you will still scrape the pegs before you scrape any hard parts, *assuming the sag is correct for your weight.* (Having met you, the VFR has plenty of spring for you)

    First things to scrape on the 2002+ VFRs is the centerstand (left side) followed by the catalytic converter & the headers (right side), as well as the vent tubes under the bike and the shifter. But by the time your scraping any of that you'll be real fast. For light guys you should have your knee down long before any of that hardware is scraping.

    I've only touched the pegs down once on the street... you have to seriously overcook the corner to get to that degree of lean angle without doing it intentionally. (I was hanging off and I did it near the exit of the corner after speeding up, no overcooking involved)

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  22. #22
    medium pimpin' slaps76's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Hey Ben,

    I had to take my feelers off at the track...kept scraping them. Once they were off, didn't scrape the pegs at all. Never got a knee down either, but looking at pictures of me, I wasn't quite leaning foward & off the bike just enough...very close though. Plus I never got my arms relaxed enough, so I think I was holding myself up a bit too much. By the end of the day I improved a lot however.

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    "It is important never to forget where u all came from becoz black, white, brown or pakistani we all come from de same place de punani."
    -Ali G

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  23. #23
    Lifer
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by TheIglu
    I think it also has to do with the rider/bike. I have countless people telling me I can't lean my Rex over any further without hitting my exhaust yet I have only touched a knee down once by mistake. I'm hangin off plenty like a raped ape, just seems like I don't need to lean as much as larger people to carry the same speed through a corner. Hanging off any further causes the bike to wobble and I feel as though I'll fall. I'm not talkin normal hanging off, I'm talking to the point where my outside foot is tippy-toe on the peg.

    Does rider weight really make that much of a difference? It seems that I need to lean the bike more and hanging off doesn't make as much of a difference for me as others.
    you hang off? I don't believe it.


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    It's all water under the bridge, and we do enter the next round-robin. Am I wrong?

  24. #24
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    I dunno, should I be hangin more?

    I need a mini-sized bike.

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    -Clayton
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  25. #25
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    Learning and Track days

    Originally posted by Jaynnus
    HEY!!! I'm not a guy......errrr....wait, that wasn't me!!

    I only did the NASCAR turn once....honest!!!!!


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