3rd track day, critique my position! - Triumph675.Net Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-11-17, 14:11 Thread Starter
FieryGasoline
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3rd track day, critique my position!

Had my third track morning at the weekend and like to look at areas I can concentrate on improving for the next time. I've been trying to fix my foot position to allow me to get my knee out properly, however from looking at some photos it looks like I'm on the balls of my feet more but in order to get my knee out I'm pointing my toes outwards. When I get more comfortable and start getting closer to the ground I'm wondering in this position if my toes would hit the ground before my knee as they are positioned right at the edge of the footpeg?

The last picture is from the 2nd time on track, shows the toes out stance I'm referring to quite well.

Any track gurus that can shed some light on foot position? Also any other criticisms welcome, other than the fact my leathers are too big for me!

Thanks!
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Last edited by FieryGasoline; 09-11-17 at 14:18.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-11-17, 15:12
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Looking good, FG!


You're looking where you want to go. Success #1
You're leading with your shoulder. Success #2
You've got your ass off the seat about the right amount. Success #3
Your foot position isn't bad. Ball of your foot on the outside of the peg, then rotate your leg to open your hip. The knee will touch before your toe in all likelihood...unless you have gigantic feet. :)


Saddle time is the key to getting comfortable on the bike. Being comfortable on the bike is the key to going fast. Keep it up!

"Never appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage."
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-11-17, 15:41
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+1 looks pretty good.

I used to have issues with ground clearance and my toes. I do a little foot wiggle on the straights to push back so that my toe is on the peg, not the ball of my foot.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-11-17, 18:16
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Cloner had it perfect all 3

now how do you feel? comfortabl ? relaxed ? are you consistent on turn in?

practice practice practice and get smooth and second nature
forget touching a knee or gasp -elbow instead be comfortable...

And consistent lines ....
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-12-17, 13:42 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys, I've not heard of leading with the shoulder before but nice to know I seem to be doing it anyway! I still find myself shuffling my feet to get them in the right place at times, sometimes my outside foot wouldn't feel locked to the bike and would make me reluctant to hang off incase it slipped off. More practise required so I can get my feet in the right spot without having to think about it as much.

Felt a lot more comfortable now than the 1st time on track that's for sure, however I still feel quite uncomfortable during braking. The first couple of track days I was braking whilst sitting in line with the bike and struggling to keep the weight off my hands, this time I realised that sitting back allowed me to grip the tank a lot harder with my knees which helped, however the transition from coming off the brakes and getting into position to turn in wasn't smooth at all and I would brake earlier to give myself time. From watching racing and tips online the way to do it seems to be shifting your butt cheek off the seat before you start braking but its a strange feeling and I don't seem to be able to keep the weight off my hands as easily since your inside leg isn't able to do much.

Got another track morning on a few weeks time which is the last of the year, its in the reverse direction which should be a new challenge as the track is pretty much all right handers in the normal direction!
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-12-17, 15:04
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Many of the people here know a lot more than I do, but I hope the following will help...

Here is what I would do. Break up your issues into separate lessons. You have the rest of your life to play on the track, so no need to rush (not saying you are). You need to have complete confidence that the bike is not the weak link and will do what you ask of it.

How hard you brake will influence the weight on your wrists. Accept you will have quite a bit of weight on your wrists when braking hard and move on. With experience comes less weight or knowledge of where weight is OK and where it isnt. Going straight it's usually fine while braking hard. In a corner not so much.

When braking put the outside peg in front of your heel in that little knotch on your boot and use your heel and knees to keep as much weight off the bars as possible. Also sit up. This does three things. It helps you with slowing down and moving around easily and it also tells the person behind you that you are now actively slowing the bike. Planks and situps and jogging help a lot with the muscles needed to keep you upright with minimal weight on the bars in any situation, but especially hard braking.

Put your inside peg on your toe or ball of your foot. On that bike you can literally make the rear wheel float on a dry track and oem supercorsa tires with the oem braking system with no sweat to the bike. Since you have antilock you won't lock the front wheel. Forget about braking markers right now. When you guys are released on the track, just wait a minute or two then go out. This will pretty much guarantee you are alone on the track. Practice what I said above for a session and keep braking harder and harder until you are sure the bike will in fact slow down without throwing you. I suggest 2 fingers on the brake lever. If the rear gets squirmy you have two choices. Slightly let off the front brake so the rear has more weight or slightly press the back brake to offer a little more drag. The tires won't lock on that bike if you haven't messed with the antilock settings. Do NOT use track mode. I mentioned waiting a bit so you don't have to worry about others and have a free track to play with hard braking, soft braking, whatever.

Don't worry about moving your butt over before you brake until you are confident in the bikes ability to slow down as fast as you need it to and get around the corner as fast as you dare to go. Get a feel for that first and then worry about moving around, etc. If you don't trust or understand the bike you will end up worrying about what the bike can do instead of knowing the bike really isn't your weak link. I know we all say it, but you really need to know it. And the only way to know it is to make it a point to find out without worrying about other things. The braking exercise above will help you with that imo.

To improve your body position, the only tip I'd offer is that to be sure your head and upper body is in the correct position, allow your outside arm/elbow to rest on the tank. Many things have to be correct for that to happen. Your BP already shows that you have many things right so this is icing.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-12-17, 15:11
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When you understand how the bike reacts to braking input approaching and entering a corner then you can start to practice with your butt off, lighter weight on the handlebars, knee already out, etc., because you will know you have X distance to play with at this speed and as such you can be slow to go fast. You won't feel as rushed when u see the corner coming up because you aren't riding at over 75% and the bike is likely not even at 25%. As long as it's working less hard than you are working, being smooth will take you around the corner, even if your stomach is in your mouth.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-12-17, 15:54
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I'd like to claim I know it all, but I'd be lying.


I can say for sure that the time I spend in the middle of the bike during a race is close to zero. Ass forward to turn, rearward to accelerate, but almost always to the left or right in preparation for the next turn except when in a full tuck on the straights....and the track I spend most of my time on barely has a straight.


Try this.......it's called a "no brakes drill". Keep your speed on the straights manageable so that you can concentrate on setting your line, and only your line, in the manner you think you'd like to use at speed. Run that for a session or two until you get comfortable doing it during a track day. Concentrate on setting your body position for the turn, then simply turning. Remember, once you've set your line and begun your turn the bike will scrub off speed unless you use at least neutral throttle or maybe a little more. Don't be afraid to use the brakes if you overcook a turn, the objective is to get comfortable, not to panic and fall down.


If you've done it right you know what body position you'd like to have for the turns and what line you'd like to use. Now try to add a LITTLE speed so you brake a little on turn entry without altering your body position. Generally, I'll be set more upright for the hard braking (I know you're told to put no pressure on the bars while braking, but it's not practical at a pace......transition that to as little pressure as practical......you know there's a reason racers get arm pump during races and it' ain't because they're not using their arms) and transition to fully off the bike as I move toward trail braking. If you added only a little speed what you'll experience is akin to trail braking....that is, brakes applied but not more than 20% or so. The transition from off the bike to well off the bike is impossible to me if I'm not already at least in the right spot on the seat with my upper body, about where you are in your pics, before I start to dip the inside shoulder and elbow lower to force my CG down approaching the apex. (point with the elbow....but don't start there, just start with basic position) .


You'll be absolutely amazed at how much corner speed you can carry. I coach people at this a lot of the time while working as a control rider during track days. It's pretty cool to see the lightbulb click when people realize how to make things flow.


Speaking of trail braking, are you? If not, that's OK! Again, the name of the game is comfortable. As Kevin said above, break the things you'd like to do into finite goals and work on them individually. It's really easy to get locked into trying to do everything at once and get none of it right, or fall down because you've exhausted your brain's power to sort the wheat from the chaff. Have you read Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist? I don't put 100% stock in Keith's lessons, but is $1 analogy is still one of my favorites. Whether we're talking about traction of your tires, or attention span, you have a $1 budget.....if you spend $0.99 working on X, that leaves you only $.01 to manage everything else you're doing on instinct. You might be able to spend more than $1 for a bit, but eventually it will bite you.


I think the best advice I can give you is to look around you at track days and find someone who knows what he or she is doing, then ask for help. At nearly every race track I've ever visited, and that's a TON of 'em, racers are always willing to help other riders get better. It's a pretty small community, and mostly it's populated by good people. When you ask for help you're not saying "I'm an noob who wants to use you", you're saying "I noticed you're an excellent rider and I'd really like it if you'd help me a little." The rider(s) you ask are generally flattered by the compliment and are generally willing to help you get better if you really want to. The largest fallacy in the motorcycling community is that each of us can teach ourselves to get better by simply riding, and that's simply not the case. Ask for help. Take lessons and notes. Get better.

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post #9 of 16 Old 09-13-17, 14:13 Thread Starter
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I totally get where your coming from in terms of working on things individually, at the moment if I try braking later/harder than I'm used to I probably end up slower as I'll tighten up, miss my line or just not get into the right position in time. So learning the braking limits of the bike (or how far I am away from them at the moment) sounds like a good idea to allow me to be focus on other things rather than "oh s$%t that corner is coming up a bit fast!".

I'm not trail braking at the moment so the no brakes drill has me a bit puzzled, I've always thought trail braking was an advanced technique to be learned once your at the stage where your entry speed is so fast you need it to aid the initial turn in. Gradually carrying more speed into/through the corner makes sense as its trying to get over the mental block that says "whoa your pushing it to far/leaned over too much" when in reality you not even close to the limit, which is easier said than done! However at the stage I'm at I would have thought doing all the braking before the turn would be preferable rather than once you've started turning, especially if its wet (which as its Scotland, is 80% of the time unfortunately)?
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-13-17, 18:53
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Originally Posted by FieryGasoline View Post
I totally get where your coming from in terms of working on things individually, at the moment if I try braking later/harder than I'm used to I probably end up slower as I'll tighten up, miss my line or just not get into the right position in time. So learning the braking limits of the bike (or how far I am away from them at the moment) sounds like a good idea to allow me to be focus on other things rather than "oh s$%t that corner is coming up a bit fast!".

I'm not trail braking at the moment so the no brakes drill has me a bit puzzled, I've always thought trail braking was an advanced technique to be learned once your at the stage where your entry speed is so fast you need it to aid the initial turn in. Gradually carrying more speed into/through the corner makes sense as its trying to get over the mental block that says "whoa your pushing it to far/leaned over too much" when in reality you not even close to the limit, which is easier said than done! However at the stage I'm at I would have thought doing all the braking before the turn would be preferable rather than once you've started turning, especially if its wet (which as its Scotland, is 80% of the time unfortunately)?
Some people have that opinion, but I don't buy that. Yamaha Champions Racing School (one of the leaders the sport when it comes to education) teaches these skills basically from day one. I've been doing it since I began riding on the track (even though it's useful for the street as well).

Here's an article from last month on this exact subject. The first line might make you chuckle :)

Quote:
Many “riding experts” feel trail braking is an advanced technique that beginning riders shouldn’t worry about. I don’t agree. It’s the new, low-mileage riders that are crashing the most, and the main reason they crash is due to too much speed at the corner entrance. Or as I put it, a lack of control at the corner entrance; the brakes are a control, and riders that crash rush into the corner without this control on. So wherever you are in your riding career, study the following column. Keep it with you for the next few weeks and review it before and after rides. Riding improvement happens in your mind when the bike is sitting still and I encourage you to work hard at your riding because mistakes can be catastrophic. Riding well is difficult, riding poorly is easy and painful.

Trail braking will soon reveal itself as the secret to outright speed on the racetrack, but more importantly, the secret to consistent street riding at any pace, on any bike. A final point: an expert rider’s touch on the front-brake lever is much, much finer and lighter than you realize.

How can the fastest roadracers win races? If they’re going faster than everyone else, shouldn’t they crash more frequently? The Ben Spies of our sport set track records, yet collect championships by finishing races. Lesser riders try to match the champion’s pace, but crash trying. Amateur racers come to the same track and crash while pushing to get within six seconds of the champion’s lap time. How can this be?

The confused “safety experts” in this country would have everyone believe that speed and safety are mutually exclusive, but racing tells us a completely different story. In racing, we find the fastest riders are often the least likely to hit the ground. Much of this can be explained by unique natural abilities such as eyesight and balance, or put down to a superior machine. But there is one aspect of their riding that will help every street and track rider in the world:

The champions realize that every corner has a slow point.

It doesn’t matter how long they dirttracked, who their daddy is, how old they are, what they eat or how they train…the fast guys know that each corner has a point where the bike must be going a certain speed. Arrive at this particular point with too much speed and the bike runs wide or crashes. Arrive with too little speed and you’re gonna get beat. The best riders have the ability to arrive at a corner’s slowest point closer to the precise speed the chassis can handle. This ability makes them faster than the rider who over-slows his/her bike at the corner entrance, and more consistent than the rider who carries too much speed into the corner.

And this ability is called trail braking. You need to learn it…on the track to win, on the street to survive and fully enjoy this sport.

The term trail braking refers to the practice of trailing some front-brake pressure into the corner. Or you can think of trailing off the brakes as you apply lean angle. There are two extremely important reasons to trail your brakes into the corner, but before we get to that, understand that the majority of your braking should be done before you tip your bike into the corner. Don’t get confused and believe that you are going to add brake pressure as you add lean angle. Just the opposite: you want to give away brake pressure as you add lean angle because your front tire can only handle so much combined braking and lean angle. I explain it with a 100-point chart in my book Sport Riding Techniques, writing about a front tire that has 100 total points of traction divisible between braking and cornering. As we add lean-angle points, we give away braking points. I’ve heard of riders believing that trail braking means running into the corner and then going to the brakes. There are some corners with that type of layout, but most corners require brake application well before turn-in. I think the point will become clear as we delve into why we want to trail brake.

We want to trail brake to control our speed closer to the slowest point of the corner. The closer we get to that point, the easier it is to judge whether we’re going too fast or too slow. If your style is to let go of the brakes before turning into the corner, understand that you’re giving up on your best speed control (the front brake) and hoping that your pre-turn-in braking was sufficient to get your speed correct at the slowest point in the corner. If you get in too slow, this is no big deal. The problem comes when the rider’s upright braking doesn’t shed the required speed and suddenly the rider is relying on lean angle to make it through the surprisingly tight turn. Or to get under the gravel patch. Or to the right of the Chevy pickup halfway in his/her lane.

We don’t crash on perfect days with perfect pavement and perfect tires. We crash when something unexpected crops up. The gravel, the truck in your lane, the water across the road mid-corner. If you’ve entered the corner with no brakes, then you’ve basically reduced your options to attempting to reapply the brakes when you see the unexpected surprise, adding lean angle, or standing the bike up and running off the road. You need to make a habit of turning into corners with just a little brake pressure because the unexpected is much easier to deal with if your brake pads are already squeezing your discs. You will be in control of your speed and as your speed drops, your bike will be able to carve a tighter radius at the same lean angle.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, my bike stands up when I grab the brakes mid-corner,” I’d have to say you’re right. Abrupt braking midcorner will collapse the fork and make the bike stand up. Remember, trail braking is a light touch on the brakes, not a grab. Think of trail braking as fine-tuning your entrance speed. The big chunks of speed are knocked off while straight-line braking.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? This sport should make sense to you. If someone tells you something that doesn’t make sense, ask questions. If it still doesn’t make sense, quit listening to them. In this case, I’m telling you it’s easier to judge your speed the closer you get to the slowest point in the corner. Your best speed-setting device is your front brake, so use it as you turn into the corner. All corners? No, don’t make this math. Corners differ and your techniques must differ to deal with them. But the majority of corners have their slowest point somewhere after the turn-in. Find that point and trail the brakes closer to it.

The second reason you need to trail brake is because you can actually improve your bike’s steering geometry, helping it turn better. A slightly collapsed front fork tightens the bike’s rake and trail numbers and allows it to turn in less time and distance. Tighter steering geometry is one reason a sport bike turns better than a cruiser. Rather than let go of the front brake before the turn-in, keep a bit of pressure on and you’ll immediately feel the difference.

Let’s again study the rider who gets all his/her braking done before the turn-in. As the front brake is released the fork springs rebound, putting the bike in the worst geometry to steer. As this rider works within this technique, he/she will attempt to turn the bike quicker and quicker, trying to make up for the extended steering geometry with more and more aggressive steering inputs. The faster they ride, the wider the bike wants to run through the corners, so the harder they’ll try to steer. This rider will be forced to use more and more lean angle in an effort to “scrub off” speed with the front tire. Aggressive steering inputs and lots of lean angle…a recipe for disaster.

If we could convince this rider to stay on the brake lever a little bit longer, that lengthened brake pressure would tighten the steering geometry and the bike would turn better. It would carve a tighter radius sooner in the corner. It would take less lean angle. It would reduce the need for aggressive steering inputs, and anyone who does this sport well realizes that aggression with the brakes, throttle and lean angle can get painful. Fast guys load the tires smoothly, whether accelerating, braking or turning. Forget the “flick”.

Time for a real-world example. I’ve worked at the Freddie Spencer High Performance Riding School and the Yamaha Champions School for fourteen years and in addition to sportbike training, we’ve had the chance to host groups of cruiser riders several times in those years. Over a period of ten days last year, almost 800 riders had a chance to ride a variety of motorcycles on the track and one of the two main points we stressed was the use of the brakes. Keep in mind that some of these riders had never even used the front brake, having heard from an uncle or neighbor that the rear brake was the one to use. On a long-wheelbase cruiser, the rear brake is quite effective, but mastering the front brake is still the secret to bike control. Some of these guys had ridden for over 30 years and were amazed at how much more bike control they had when they mastered the front brake. They were able to ride at a quicker pace than expected because they gained the confidence of slowing and turning their bikes at the next corner.

One more real-world example. MotoGP (or World Superbike or 250GP or AMA Superbike, pick your favorite). All those guys trail-brake and do you know why? It’s faster and safer. Get in front of your TV and watch how long they stay on the front brake. They’re champions because they carry as much speed as possible to the slowest point in the corner (and as much speed as possible from the slowest point, but that’s another subject). It’s not just about speed, it’s about finishing tire tests, practice, qualifying and the race. Crashing is disastrous for street riders and equally problematic for racers who want a contract next year. Trail braking is about safety on the street and consistency on the track. It makes sense. You need to do it.
https://www.n2td.org/trail-braking/
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