Going faster at the track - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
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post #1 of 30 Old 10-07-2007, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Going faster at the track

Collectively we should be able to compile a list of tips here to help new and intermediate riders to go faster on the track. Looking for advice on the following..

Getting Off The Line
Braking Technique
Cornering
Throttle Control
Things To Practice / Drills
Weight Distribution
Leaning / Dragging a Knee
Passing / Line Selection

Don't be afraid to throw in some pictures

Lets see what we can all come up with, if we get some good tips here I will stick this thread.
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post #2 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 3:53 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

Obviousley before any of that you need to make sure the bike is set up correctly such as suspension tyre type and pressures, someone should be able to help you out with this at the track there are plenty of guys who are in the know.

Breaking comes hand in hand with cornering being able to enter and exit a corner smoothly can make all the difference to a lap time.

once you are confident on your given track and want to pick up the pace, start with one corner at a time and start to establish a braking point, this could be anything from a crack in the edge of the track to a dark patch on the grass.
when using the brakes it must be done smoothly and under control, once you have reached your predetermined braking marker slowly apply the brakes untill the front end is fully loaded, you can at this point begin to brake harder until you have scrubbed enough speed to be able to lean into the corner.

It is possible to be able to brake to the apex but get comfortable first with planning markers and how your bike feels under heavy braking.

When releasing the brakes this must also be done smoothly to allow the bike to settle back to its original position, you don't want to shift the weight from the front wheel too quickly otherwise you will unsettle the bike.

As you get comfortable with this you can start to creep your braking markers closer to the corners and with more practice all the way to the apex.

This takes time and concentration, watch other riders on the track and look at their approach line and turn in point

RIDE FAST KEEP LOW !
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 6:28 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

When you are first learning, do your braking early and don't worry too much about it. It is a big impediment to early progress if you try to worry about hard braking before you get your corner entry speed handled. First, practice setting your corner entry speed well before the corner, and then holding it steady. Some of my best gains in lap time came not from charging the corner, but from easing down to my corner entry speed more gently. I took 30mph of my top straightaway speed, and actually dropped my lap times by a couple of seconds. Later, I was able to put the whole package together and go both for highest straightaway speed, and maximum braking at the end. But you may find that is not the best idea if you really want to improve at the fastest pace.

This drill gives you a greater awareness of exactly what speed you are comfortable with when tipping it in. When you are doing hard braking, your speed changes (downward) so rapidly that you can easily fool yourself into thinking that you are going much faster than you are, because 20 feet ago, you were going much faster, but your brain hasn't yet caught up with the change.

Later, you can work on braking harder and later and work that into your plan. You will probably find it is a lot less scary to brake harder and later when you do the above drill first. You will probably need to give it a few days at least before you start braking super hard. Everyone is different though. Some people are far slower or quicker to pick up the speed judgment than others. Don't despair though, even slow starters can be very good track riders.

Some people use reference markers and other judge more by the speed and looking at (and through) the whole turn than at the markers. If one way doesn't feel good, try the other.

To go faster, it is about flow. Every input must be smooth as glass. Getting on the brakes smoothly, getting off of them smoothly, hitting the gas, gradually, smoothly. If you are anything less than smooth, it will upset the bike in a hurry. When you start to gain speed, smoothness becomes more and more important. You mistakes must get smaller and smaller as you go faster and faster. That is just a fact with track riding . If you can't go at your current pace without doing everything super smooth, you are not quite ready to go much faster.

You can indeed just go faster before you have mastered being smooth at your current speed, but you generally can't keep it up without putting yourself on the ground. You simply have to polish up your act to prepare yourself first.

One of the best general tips is to keep your eyes up and way out in front of the bike. That slows everything down, and helps keep you calm and more relaxed. It is often a street rider's habit to look at the road surface to make sure there are no pot holes or debris. The track is different. Your attention is far better spent looking far ahead.

Last edited by Zippy; 10-08-2007 at 6:38 PM.
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 8:11 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

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Originally Posted by Zippy View Post

One of the best general tips is to keep your eyes up and way out in front of the bike. That slows everything down, and helps keep you calm and more relaxed. It is often a street rider's habit to look at the road surface to make sure there are no pot holes or debris. The track is different. Your attention is far better spent looking far ahead.


just RELAX its the most important thing to reducing fatigue, turning faster times, and allows you to focus on everything else better. I'm still fighting with getting my arms to relax and not fighting the bike.

also remember the saying "slow down to go faster" it alludes to what Zippy said about keeping your eyes up ahead of you to slow things down. also don't try to do things too fast. most of the time if you slow yourself down and don't push as hard you'll end up turning faster laps because you're more relaxed and you've let the bike do what it wants to do.

if you can't convince them, confuse them.
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post #5 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 9:59 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

Buy "a twist of the wrist" and read it and then practice it on a relatively empty track.

the reason I say empty track is if you try and practice the techniques at a busy track day you will get cleaned up.

The tecqnique involves using 3rd gear for the whole track with no brakes. It really works..Read the book and find out..!!
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

or you could buy Sport Riding Techniques. IMO a much better book. I read A Twist of the Wrist and hated his teaching style so much that I didn't read 2 even though I have it.

if you can't convince them, confuse them.
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-08-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

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Originally Posted by CBR929RE View Post
or you could buy Sport Riding Techniques. IMO a much better book. I read A Twist of the Wrist and hated his teaching style so much that I didn't read 2 even though I have it.
Just sitting here reading it now for the second time! Excellent book from Nick. Highly recommended
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-09-2007, 1:14 AM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

Another big bump to this line of advice..
I remember turning my fastest lap to date at the track one morning when I thought I was just 'warming up' and felt relaxed but not fast at all.

I spent the rest of the day trying very hard to go even faster. I ended up riding very tense, not comfortable, and much slower for most of the rest of the day.
There is something to the saying 'slow down to go fast'.

C


Quote:
Originally Posted by CBR929RE View Post

just RELAX its the most important thing to reducing fatigue, turning faster times, and allows you to focus on everything else better. I'm still fighting with getting my arms to relax and not fighting the bike.

also remember the saying "slow down to go faster" it alludes to what Zippy said about keeping your eyes up ahead of you to slow things down. also don't try to do things too fast. most of the time if you slow yourself down and don't push as hard you'll end up turning faster laps because you're more relaxed and you've let the bike do what it wants to do.
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-09-2007, 8:50 AM
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Re: Going faster at the track

One simple thing to remember is to roll your wrists forward more than you normally would street riding. It helps keep your elbows up and your chest forward.
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Re: Going faster at the track

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One simple thing to remember is to roll your wrists forward more than you normally would street riding. It helps keep your elbows up and your chest forward.

Hmmm,

That's interesting. I actually try to keep my elbows lower so that my steering inputs are more directly in line with the bars. If you make your forearms as level as possible, it takes a lot less steering input to turn the bike. Not so important on the street, but it seems to help me turn much more quickly and easily on the track. Chest forward is good, on the tank is my goal, but I'm not sure about the wrists forward and elbows up. At least not for me. Maybe elbows out, like Ben Spies!

C
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post #11 of 30 Old 10-09-2007, 3:55 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

This is all new to me with my new REPSOL. I used to have a VFR800 and believe it or not I did quit well at the track with it. For its weight it took corners so well. With the blade I am still a bit scared because of the huge difference in power. Any advice getting over the new power especially scared that the thing will wheelie with me - that will cost at my track and they send you home!
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post #12 of 30 Old 10-09-2007, 6:59 PM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

It's not the unexpected power wheelie that they are going to be worried about. It is when you try to sustain a wheelie that they frown upon. Anyone who spends any time at the track can tell the difference. Just don't ham it up and you should be fine. They will be able to see your intent, so you probably won't get into any trouble unless to try to.

For big horsepower bikes, you just need to dial it on slow coming out of corners to keep it from getting squirrelly. This is another place where smoothness really helps. If you do apply too much power coming out of a turn, but you are smooth with it, all you have to do is nothing. Don't chop the throttle, just wait on it. As the bike starts to spin the tire, it will bleed off some of the power. The bike will still continue to pick up speed, so the traction will come back by itself. That what happens if you are smooth.

If you are not smooth with the throttle in the first place, the tire kicks out faster, and the bike starts to react more violently. That, in turn, makes it harder to be smooth and hold the throttle steady, because the bike is jerking around beneath you. Then if you make another mistake and chop the throttle, it will also gain traction faster. You want to get the traction back nice and slow. If it comes back all at once, you have the makings of a classic high-side.

You might be seeing by now that it's a chain reaction. One bit of rough input creates the next, and before you know it, you're on your ass.

Ride with calm, grace and finesse, and none of this bad stuff will happen at all. You can go many days or even years without crashing on the track if you have the self discipline to do this.
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Re: Going faster at the track

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Originally Posted by croue View Post
Hmmm,

I actually try to keep my elbows lower so that my steering inputs are more directly in line with the bars. If you make your forearms as level as possible, it takes a lot less steering input to turn the bike.
C
I agree. Elbows up high works well off-road when you're absorbing the shock of all the bumps, but elbows low give quicker responses with steering/counter steering on the road.
Chest and head forward always seems to work for me too.
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Re: Going faster at the track

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Originally Posted by Zippy View Post
It's not the unexpected power wheelie that they are going to be worried about. It is when you try to sustain a wheelie that they frown upon. Anyone who spends any time at the track can tell the difference. Just don't ham it up and you should be fine. They will be able to see your intent, so you probably won't get into any trouble unless to try to.

For big horsepower bikes, you just need to dial it on slow coming out of corners to keep it from getting squirrelly. This is another place where smoothness really helps. If you do apply too much power coming out of a turn, but you are smooth with it, all you have to do is nothing. Don't chop the throttle, just wait on it. As the bike starts to spin the tire, it will bleed off some of the power. The bike will still continue to pick up speed, so the traction will come back by itself. That what happens if you are smooth.

If you are not smooth with the throttle in the first place, the tire kicks out faster, and the bike starts to react more violently. That, in turn, makes it harder to be smooth and hold the throttle steady, because the bike is jerking around beneath you. Then if you make another mistake and chop the throttle, it will also gain traction faster. You want to get the traction back nice and slow. If it comes back all at once, you have the makings of a classic high-side.

You might be seeing by now that it's a chain reaction. One bit of rough input creates the next, and before you know it, you're on your ass.

Ride with calm, grace and finesse, and none of this bad stuff will happen at all. You can go many days or even years without crashing on the track if you have the self discipline to do this.
Eric Wood, Chief instructor at the Penguin Racing School says that when spinning the rear up get as far forward over the front wheel as possible. it will give you the most control over the bike. it allows the rear to go where ever it wants but you can still keep the bike pointed in the direction you want to go.

if you can't convince them, confuse them.
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post #15 of 30 Old 10-10-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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Re: Going faster at the track

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Eric Wood, Chief instructor at the Penguin Racing School says that when spinning the rear up get as far forward over the front wheel as possible. it will give you the most control over the bike. it allows the rear to go where ever it wants but you can still keep the bike pointed in the direction you want to go.
Wow, yes, that does make good sense. I never heard that one before, but it is worth noting. I can see that if you have your weight further back, you are getting wagged like the tail of a dog. But if you are up front, you are the dog! I'd rather be the dog. I bet the dirt bike types know this very well.

Part of being able to execute things like this is to make them part of your mental planning and practice so you have the idea preloaded in your subconscious. It needs to be there at the ready, since you usually don't have a lot of time to think it out when the moment comes.

Last edited by Zippy; 10-10-2007 at 3:23 PM.
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