How to coach motorcycle riding :)

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Misti
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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:07 am

Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:41 pm
Hi,

Thanks for the offer, much appreciated.

So, after many years of riding sports bikes I am now on a Triumph Street Scrambler and a BMW R1250RS.

My last sportsbike was a ZX6R, which gave great feedback through the bars / seat when the front end was nearing the limit (not necessarily keeled right over), but I find the current bikes a little difficult to read / feel.

Is there a way of knowing the limit of adhesion, other than scaring yourself a few times?

Thanks

Iain
This is a great question! Scaring yourself a few times can for sure slow you down and make you a little bit more aware of where the edge might be lingering, however, without a real solid understanding of what the bike is telling you and why, those warnings may not actually be teaching you anything. Several years ago I wrote an article covering this exact topic...I've been trying to cut and paste it here but haven't updated my website in so long I can't remember the access password, lol. So you can find it in it's entirety here: http://www.motomom.ca/the-limit-explori ... -traction/

What I mean by that is that, as Keith Code (Author of Twist of the Wrist II) says "without a firm grounding in basics, it's easy for riders to misidentify what they think is a loss of traction when it isn't or because of poor technique they may skip a band or two and get themselves into trouble."

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Elmer J Fudd » Sat May 02, 2020 7:58 pm

Misti wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:07 am
Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:41 pm
Hi,

Thanks for the offer, much appreciated.

So, after many years of riding sports bikes I am now on a Triumph Street Scrambler and a BMW R1250RS.

My last sportsbike was a ZX6R, which gave great feedback through the bars / seat when the front end was nearing the limit (not necessarily keeled right over), but I find the current bikes a little difficult to read / feel.

Is there a way of knowing the limit of adhesion, other than scaring yourself a few times?

Thanks

Iain
This is a great question! Scaring yourself a few times can for sure slow you down and make you a little bit more aware of where the edge might be lingering, however, without a real solid understanding of what the bike is telling you and why, those warnings may not actually be teaching you anything. Several years ago I wrote an article covering this exact topic...I've been trying to cut and paste it here but haven't updated my website in so long I can't remember the access password, lol. So you can find it in it's entirety here: http://www.motomom.ca/the-limit-explori ... -traction/

What I mean by that is that, as Keith Code (Author of Twist of the Wrist II) says "without a firm grounding in basics, it's easy for riders to misidentify what they think is a loss of traction when it isn't or because of poor technique they may skip a band or two and get themselves into trouble."
Hi,

Thanks for trying to answer the question, though I'm not sure you have, or (anyone) can. I've been mulling this over for a while.

What I mean is that technique and learning to ride better are all great and need to be done, however even with sound technique and solid skills the signs (to me at least) are not the same on any bike or indeed on the same bike in different situations, temperature, speed, lean angle, tyres etc.

Taking the old ZX6r as an example, on new tyres, in the dry, on a good road, it would drop in and roll all the way to the edge, then give a little weave as if to say that's enough, going beyond was trouble. The BMW is a big heavy bike and though I haven't pushed the front to the edge or overloaded it with speed, already the sign seems to be a vagueness or not quite planted, almost aquaplaning in the dry feel (without stepping out). How close that is to a wash out I don't intend to find out.

I was curious if there was a universal "feel" that could be learned, but i'm not sure it exists, though happy to be proven wrong.

Great articles by the way, more please.

Iain

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Mon May 04, 2020 4:07 pm

Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 7:58 pm
Misti wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:07 am
Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:41 pm
Hi,

Thanks for the offer, much appreciated.

So, after many years of riding sports bikes I am now on a Triumph Street Scrambler and a BMW R1250RS.

My last sportsbike was a ZX6R, which gave great feedback through the bars / seat when the front end was nearing the limit (not necessarily keeled right over), but I find the current bikes a little difficult to read / feel.

Is there a way of knowing the limit of adhesion, other than scaring yourself a few times?

Thanks

Iain
This is a great question! Scaring yourself a few times can for sure slow you down and make you a little bit more aware of where the edge might be lingering, however, without a real solid understanding of what the bike is telling you and why, those warnings may not actually be teaching you anything. Several years ago I wrote an article covering this exact topic...I've been trying to cut and paste it here but haven't updated my website in so long I can't remember the access password, lol. So you can find it in it's entirety here: http://www.motomom.ca/the-limit-explori ... -traction/

What I mean by that is that, as Keith Code (Author of Twist of the Wrist II) says "without a firm grounding in basics, it's easy for riders to misidentify what they think is a loss of traction when it isn't or because of poor technique they may skip a band or two and get themselves into trouble."
Hi,

Thanks for trying to answer the question, though I'm not sure you have, or (anyone) can. I've been mulling this over for a while.

What I mean is that technique and learning to ride better are all great and need to be done, however even with sound technique and solid skills the signs (to me at least) are not the same on any bike or indeed on the same bike in different situations, temperature, speed, lean angle, tyres etc.

Taking the old ZX6r as an example, on new tyres, in the dry, on a good road, it would drop in and roll all the way to the edge, then give a little weave as if to say that's enough, going beyond was trouble. The BMW is a big heavy bike and though I haven't pushed the front to the edge or overloaded it with speed, already the sign seems to be a vagueness or not quite planted, almost aquaplaning in the dry feel (without stepping out). How close that is to a wash out I don't intend to find out.

I was curious if there was a universal "feel" that could be learned, but i'm not sure it exists, though happy to be proven wrong.

Great articles by the way, more please.

Iain
I wouldn't say there is a "universal feel" for being on the edge of traction, (so to say) for the reasons you point out above. Different bikes, different tires, different suspension, different riding surfaces etc can all make a bike handle and react differently. However, as the article outlines, the better your overall riding skills are, the more you are able to understand and react to or read the signs of the bike you are on.

You outline above a lot of "small" feelings you are getting from the bike, like "vagueness, not quite planted, aquaplaning, dropping and rolling"...etc. This indicates to me that you have a decent idea of the feedback that the bike is giving you. Amazingly enough there are some students/riders (even fast ones) that have NO IDEA how the bike feels and are often surprised when they ride right past the edge of traction.

Basics, like good throttle control are paramount to understanding feel and traction limits because throttle control is what helps stabilize the bike and make it feel planted. If throttle control is not being applied the way it should be then the bike can feel unstable and signs that you are nearing traction limits can be missed or misinterpreted.

I feel confident as a rider switching bikes and riding situations because I know that my throttle control and other techniques (like braking, visual skills, lines etc) will all be pretty decent and that gives me more attention and ability to focus on the smaller differences between the bikes in order to learn how they respond and react to certain inputs. Reading those signs give me an indication of how near or far I am from the edge of traction. This is why some people can ride similarly quick on different bikes, because they have the skills to understand the differences.

Glad you like the articles :). Anything topic in particular you are wanting to learn more about? :)

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Elmer J Fudd » Wed May 06, 2020 10:21 am

Glad you like the articles :). Anything topic in particular you are wanting to learn more about? :)


Hi Misti,

Well that would be everything, love reading about all things bike related.

In terms of technique:

How do some racers / riders manage to break traction at both ends deliberately and still keep control would be interesting, not that i'm going to try it.

Body position in corners, what is the theory / physics involved, does it make much difference on the road?

And maybe the holy grail for those of us without active suspension, but some adjust-ability: how to set up your suspension (for your physique, ability and style), be it road, off-road or track. This is a book in itself, but even though it can have a great impact is rarely discussed beyond the boy racers.

Thanks again

Iain

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Tue May 12, 2020 8:28 pm

Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 10:21 am
Glad you like the articles :). Anything topic in particular you are wanting to learn more about? :)


Hi Misti,

Well that would be everything, love reading about all things bike related.

In terms of technique:

How do some racers / riders manage to break traction at both ends deliberately and still keep control would be interesting, not that i'm going to try it.

Body position in corners, what is the theory / physics involved, does it make much difference on the road?

And maybe the holy grail for those of us without active suspension, but some adjust-ability: how to set up your suspension (for your physique, ability and style), be it road, off-road or track. This is a book in itself, but even though it can have a great impact is rarely discussed beyond the boy racers.

Thanks again

Iain
Hi Iain,

Thanks for the message, some good questions there. For your first question about riders/racers breaking traction deliberately and maintaining control, that would come down to practice and experience. The more practice and experience you have with sliding tires and pushing to the edge of traction, the fewer chances you have of losing control. I find that dirt riding is a great way to practice that feeling of loss of traction and regaining traction. You can get some pretty incredible practice with throttle control and sliding in the dirt which then transfers over to pavement rreally well.

At the Superbike School where I coach, we also have a cool training bike called the slide bike which has outriggers attached that provide stabilization and dampening so that students can practice sliding the rear tire and overcoming the survival reactions of chopping the gas with less fear of crashing. This really helped me when I was first racing as it gave me the confiedence to really get to WOT with less fear of sliding because I knew what to do.

Body position: This is an extremely important riding skill that I find most students tend to either forget about, or overcomplicate. The main point and purpose of good body position is that (on pavement and while cornering) it helps to REDUCE overall lean angle. By moving your body over to the side that you are turning into (to the left for a left turn) you can essentially keep the bike more upright. A bike that is more upright has more available traction and also more room for error as you have more lean angle available if needed.

One of the biggest mistakes that pavement riders make is leaning away from the bike or pushing it down and underneath them which causes them to use more lean angle than necessary. Body position can get tricky when switching from bike/riding styles as road racing/riding technique is completely the opposite of dirt riding body position. Another aspect is that correct body position, both in the dirt and on the pavement is paramount to being able to keep your arms relaxed. Riding with excess tension in your arms can make steering less responsive and the rider more likely to panic in emergency situations.

You ask if body position makes a difference on the road and yes absolutely it does. You don't need to have hang-off road racing style by any means, but If you have a rider that is using more lean angle than necessary or gripping the bars too tightly or moving around excessively then they are more likely to make riding mistakes and crash. I could go into a lot more detail on body position but my kids need help with their homeschooling (LOL).

As for suspension, as you say, you can write an entire book on the subject. As someone who likes to make things as simple as possible, I'd say start first with setting up the sag correctly for your weight. From there a fun exercise it to try all aspects of your suspension by adjusting it on your own. Start with full hard, then go full soft then make smaller adjustments in between so you can FEEL for yourself what the bike does and how you like it. From my (limited experience) in working with suspension guys while racing, everyone has their own idea on how a bike SHOULD be set up and how it SHOULD feel to each rider but it isn't always the way it works. Some riders prefer to feel the bike moving around underneath them, some want it to be rock solid stable, some don't mind it twitchy as long as it turns quickly, some prefer the opposite. The best way to really KNOW is to practice and try it yourself.

Hope that answers your questions and I'm happy to go into more detail (on the technique side of things) if needed/wanted. Love these conversations, thank you!!

Misti

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Mon May 25, 2020 7:49 pm

Any other questions or comments? I PROMISE I'll check more often!! :D

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Elmer J Fudd » Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:05 pm

Hi Misti,

A bit of tumbleweed just whipped past on the breeze..... Thought more folk would have joined in.

Anyway, one of the few things I was taught as a teenager (a long time ago) was how to do a U-turn on a bike. Sit upright, relax, feather the clutch and back brake and turn around nice and slowly.

This works, however I have been viewing some videos where the Instructor is saying to lean away from the bike and allow it to drop into the turn then using a bit of speed make the turn.

The old method allows for something unexpected to happen and you can stop pretty much instantly, though balance is key.

New method uses the bikes speed to gain stability, but once you are going it will be difficult to come to a controlled halt quickly.

Opinions?

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:00 pm

Elmer J Fudd wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:05 pm
Hi Misti,

A bit of tumbleweed just whipped past on the breeze..... Thought more folk would have joined in.

Anyway, one of the few things I was taught as a teenager (a long time ago) was how to do a U-turn on a bike. Sit upright, relax, feather the clutch and back brake and turn around nice and slowly.

This works, however I have been viewing some videos where the Instructor is saying to lean away from the bike and allow it to drop into the turn then using a bit of speed make the turn.

The old method allows for something unexpected to happen and you can stop pretty much instantly, though balance is key.

New method uses the bikes speed to gain stability, but once you are going it will be difficult to come to a controlled halt quickly.

Opinions?
I'd personally do something in the middle of both those suggestions. Relax, feather the clutch and back brake while turning slowly is good to avoid anything sudden. But I'd also add that leaning away from the bike can be helpful. This method works better for offroad, enduro, adventure type riding in dirt or gravel situations where you can lean way away from the bike almost pushing it underneath you. Pressing on the inside peg while doing this helps get it to bite and turn tightly- leaning to the outside helps with balance and feathering the clutch is what will help with smooth execution.

For sportbike/pavement stuff I don't find the weighting the pegs and leaning way off is as effective as when done on adventure bikes/dirt stuff but it can help some. I would be careful of advising someone to use SPEED to make the turn as opposed to using the term throttle control, though. Without adding some gas you won't be able to stabilize the bike and therefore it will feel like it is going to tip over so there will be a balance of rolling on the gas while executing the u-turn and feathering the clutch (NOT USING FRONT BRAKE) will help control the speed. If you tell someone to SPEED through the corner though they can misinterpret that and try and just go fast, but we want smooth throttle control-not speed.

One of the most important aspects of completing a U-turn however has not even been mentioned and that is visual skills. A U-turn should start with a complete turn of the head (like cranked around) to look where you want to end up and to make sure you aren't looking DOWN. Most mistakes occur because the rider wasn't looking far enough around/through the turn or they were looking down at the ground- then if they get nervous about space or feeling like they are going to tip over they grab the front brake and down they go.

So- crank your head around to look where you want to go. Enter slow, rear brake, throttle smoothly through the turn and feather the clutch to smooth it out and keep the speed in check. Lean a little away and remain relaxed.

I hope that answers your question...I have attached a photo of me learning how to complete a box U turn off road...I was able to do it also on the 1200 GS (Seat removed so I could tippy toe touch the ground), but didn't get a pic. :P
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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Misti » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:57 am

ok, this thread has gone quiet so I'll ask another question. What do you think is the number one riding skill that newer riders struggle with learning and why? Is it counter-steering, braking, throttle control, steering? What skill do people struggle with and how might they go about improving upon it?

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Re: How to coach motorcycle riding :)

Post by Asgard » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 am

General Low speed control
Its a trick............get an Axe

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