Braking....
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Thread: Braking....

  1. #1
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    Default Braking....

    Alright, This is no easy task to put into words on paper and it may take a few trys and some questions and comments from you guys to get it right.

    Braking is an extremely important part of getting around a track quickly and safely. Obviously, if you aren't braking to your optimum your lap times will suffer.

    It is also important to remember that you are either on the gas or on the brakes. No coasting into the corners.

    A few people do not understand about where the apex is....I believe the apex is the section of the corner that you pivot the bike most dramatically to change your direction. This is something that takes a while to get the hang of. If you are riding with roadrace lines, they will be different to what I teach at my schools...I teach what I consider to be SM lines. I try to maximize the straightaway by spending less time turning. This is done by pushing the bike down at the apex and getting the bike to pivot down towards the next straightaway. Line selection is extremely important...we all run on different types of tracks. Some are on Go-Kart tracks and sometimes we are on larger tracks and even road courses. Your line selection will affect your pivot/apex point and also your braking.

    This is what makes it difficult to talk about braking in such detail....every corner and every track is different and because each corner is different...different braking methods will apply. So, with this in mind I am going to keep my post in-line with a typical SM track. (go-kart or smaller track)

    Braking...

    You must brake all the way to the apex. I see too many people finish their braking too early and then coast right past their apex and exit the corner wide. So you first brake hard in a straight line. As you reach your turn in point that will direct you torwards your apex start applying a little more rear brake (not more than front, but just more than previously) This will allow the back end to come around slightly. This will help in the rotation of the bike. At this point you then transition to trail braking. This is the last section of braking but is extremely important as this helps maintain the balance of the bike. So really, I am breaking Braking down into three sections, First is your intitial hard braking zone. Second is your turn-in point toward your apex and finally is your trail braking to the apex.

    Your intial hard braking zone..I like to try to keep the bike straight. And remember, just like throttle control...It is extremely important to keep the balance of the bike as correct as possible. This is done by squeezing the brake lever/petal instead of stabbing it. You need to put the brakes on in a quick but proggresive manner. This will help keep the balance of the bike right and make it easier to hit your mark each time. I use both my front and rear brake during this part of my braking, but for sure the most is up front.

    Turn-in point...I like to make a u-shaped entrance to the corner. Do not dart towards the inside...this will make you apex late and exit the corner wide. The guy behind you will use this opportunity to set up a pass. As you start your turn-in increase the amount of rear brake slightly. This will help float the back end out and set you up better for the corner. Once you complete you turn-in you can ease off the rear brake a bit...Get the bike back in-line to drive into the apex...

    At This point you are still using the brakes slightly (trail braking) all the way to the apex. Once you hit the apex.....roll on the throttle. You are no longer on the brakes...so you need to be on the throttle maintaining the balance of the bike.


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    Great post. Thanks for taking the time to put together these tips Gary. They help to reinforce what is taught in your schools.
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    I now understand what you ment by apex and I learned from this post, I've been aiming for my turn point (what you call apex) and forgot about making a point where you end straight line braking (what you call turn point). I havent needed to have one because I allways aim to go deep and steer the bike quickly but I might be able to improve with one Gonna test it out during next week!

    Anyhow, heres a explaination what apex is (I'm not being "aggressive" or pick a fight, its just that its easier to discuss when everyone has the same idea of what it is): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apex_%28racing%29

    THAT apex should be late. I always aim for a late apex (as long as you've got enough power, if its a real fast corner like on a RR-course you aim for a "classic" apex) and I know that Christian Iddon and Matt Winstanley do too (they are top world champ riders, race winners). To get a late apex you need to end your braking early so that the (what I call) turn point will be early (just as Gary described, but with his words). But that also depends, if its a corner you want to brake thru you'd settle with a early apex...

    I think its important to explain why you never should be coasting too, if you're coasting you're not in control, you cant give a little throttle or easy up on the brakes if the front wheel lets go. Coasting (clutch engaged) COULD be the fastest way thru a corner with some bike setups especially in rain, but its worthless because you dont have control. (trust me, I did about 20 crashes trying to get it to work a rainy day last summer)

    I think braking is the last part you should learn on your quest to go fast. Its better to brake early and get on the throttle early because it makes everything else easier to learn. Remember that the braking you do will only affect the entry of the corner, the throttle and lean affects the rest of the corner AND the next straightway!

    On the other hand, braking is the way to pass people...
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlleR View Post
    I think braking is the last part you should learn on your quest to go fast. Its better to brake early and get on the throttle early because it makes everything else easier to learn. Remember that the braking you do will only affect the entry of the corner, the throttle and lean affects the rest of the corner AND the next straightway!
    ..
    I disagree. Cornering is the most important skill to master 1st. Anyone can go fast in a straight line. Good cornering is a product of smooth braking and smooth throttle aplication. Key word here is "Smooth"

    If you get on the brakes early and slow too much, you have to get back on the gas just to have enough speed to make it to and thru the corner. And no matter how smooth you are, whenever you brake or apply throttle you are upsetting the chassis to some degree.

    If you can be smooth and reduce the number of times you upset the chassis the faster you will be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShakenBake View Post
    I disagree. Cornering is the most important skill to master 1st. Anyone can go fast in a straight line. Good cornering is a product of smooth braking and smooth throttle aplication. Key word here is "Smooth"

    If you get on the brakes early and slow too much, you have to get back on the gas just to have enough speed to make it to and thru the corner. And no matter how smooth you are, whenever you brake or apply throttle you are upsetting the chassis to some degree.

    If you can be smooth and reduce the number of times you upset the chassis the faster you will be.
    Well ofcourse you need to brake at the point where you dont haveto get on the throttle and brake again. Not everyone can go fast on the straight way because its a product of how much speed you carry in the corner. 2 mph faster in the corner will be 2 mph faster at the end of the straight!

    Theres three rules I think you should follow, and when you can follow them you can leave the braking till last:

    1. Only one steering movement per corner
    2. The throttle only goes one way (untill the next corner)
    3. Go from brakes to throttle and reverse (no coasting)

    If you do all of these, the braking will be the final part you learn to go real fast, because you will be forced to brake so that you can roll the throttle only one way.

    However, the braking could be in a straight line, and to brake in a straight line is as accelerating on a straight, anybody can do it.

    Thats why I think serious braking is the last part you should learn.
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    I don't quite understand the "pivot" that you talk about Gary (I've even watched your DVD ). Do you make one steering movement at your turn-in point, and the radius of your turn simply tightens as you slow down further into the corner (still trail braking), hence becoming the tightest at the point where you finish braking/roll the throttle on??? Or do you progressively lay the bike over as you trail brake to the apex?

    Or something different altogether? The way you talk about pivoting the bike sounds like it's an action in itself rather than just part of the turn. I feel like I'm really missing something here.

    Cheers for starting this new discussion.
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    It is extremely difficult to put this type of stuff in words.

    Going through a corner you push your bike down increasing your lean angle. As you do this it increases how hard you are turning. It makes your turn faster. This is what I call the pivot point. It could also be considered your apex. This is where your most dramatic change of direction takes place. You brake to this point and roll on the throttle.

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    For any of you that have the chance go to one of Gary's school's (I've been to several) to actually see him demonstate what he is saying. When you see Gary do it you will realize what he is talking about, I assume it's on the video as well. As for mastering it that's a difficult one, well for me at least as with learning most new riding techniques you have to really force yourself to do it.

    I have learned so much from Gary watching him demonstrate a technique then imediatley being able to try it with him critiquing.

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    I got the DVD today and I think it was really good. Gary knows what he's talking about even if we might have separate opinions of what some words mean

    Its easier to understand the braking if you look at his DVD!
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    Hey Gary! I see what you mean by making a U-turn, which effectively begins the straight much earlier. However, what about using the rear brake on right turns. I imagine it might be quite difficult, even if you didn't extend that right leg.

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    You only put your foot out during big directional changes, so you need to leave your foot on the peg a little longer and use the rear as you are entering. As you start your trail braking towards the apex you can ease off the rear brake and put your foot out.

    And it is a U to a V on the line....A U shape line would be more road race oriented.

    Good Luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AussieDevo View Post
    I don't quite understand the "pivot" that you talk about Gary (I've even watched your DVD ). Do you make one steering movement at your turn-in point, and the radius of your turn simply tightens as you slow down further into the corner (still trail braking), hence becoming the tightest at the point where you finish braking/roll the throttle on??? Or do you progressively lay the bike over as you trail brake to the apex?

    Or something different altogether? The way you talk about pivoting the bike sounds like it's an action in itself rather than just part of the turn. I feel like I'm really missing something here.

    Cheers for starting this new discussion.
    Gary, please correct me here if I am off...

    From what I have learned about racing from guys like Gary, is that you want to stay on the "meat" of the tire as much as possible. The "meat" being the main carcass and not laid over on the side. This pivot that Gary is talking about transitions the "U-shape" entry to the turn to a "V-shape" exit or basically, more of a straight line. This type of exit allows you to get on the gas much harder than a "U-shape" exit because you would still be on the side of the tire, which means less grip. More grip=more traction and all that. This style of riding is where Supermoto is definately different than how a street bike would be raced.

    If you want to see an exaggeration of how the pivot actually "looks," think about when you're watching supercross and you see someone come into a turn and it looks like they physically make a sharp V by braking and then exit the turn. The pros can basically take this type of mentallity and use the same time of idea only on asphalt. It doesn't quite look the same, but as I understand it, that is the basic idea. Another reason why most motocrossers are good at Supermoto right out of the gate.

    I learned most of this by taking Gary's class. The part I didn't learn from Gary was the several high-sides I had until I decided to finally listen to him!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakotard View Post
    Gary, please correct me here if I am off...

    From what I have learned about racing from guys like Gary, is that you want to stay on the "meat" of the tire as much as possible. The "meat" being the main carcass and not laid over on the side. This pivot that Gary is talking about transitions the "U-shape" entry to the turn to a "V-shape" exit or basically, more of a straight line. This type of exit allows you to get on the gas much harder than a "U-shape" exit because you would still be on the side of the tire, which means less grip. More grip=more traction and all that. This style of riding is where Supermoto is definately different than how a street bike would be raced.

    If you want to see an exaggeration of how the pivot actually "looks," think about when you're watching supercross and you see someone come into a turn and it looks like they physically make a sharp V by braking and then exit the turn. The pros can basically take this type of mentallity and use the same time of idea only on asphalt. It doesn't quite look the same, but as I understand it, that is the basic idea. Another reason why most motocrossers are good at Supermoto right out of the gate.

    I learned most of this by taking Gary's class. The part I didn't learn from Gary was the several high-sides I had until I decided to finally listen to him!
    Yes and no

    Braking is mostly done in a straight line and then you trail brake while you're leaning the bike into the corner, at entry and mid corner you want to be on the side of the rubber to get the highest corner speed.

    Depending on how fast the corner is and how much acceleration you've got (power compared to speed, which means how much acceleration you have) you get the bike more upright. If its a real fast corner you want to stay on the side of the rubber and make a U turn while if you're in a really slow corner you want to make a U to V turn. The lighter the bike the more U will you ride, simply because you dont have enough power to rip the rear end loose and you need to bring the most ammount of speed with you out of the corner.

    Its mostly a question of rear end control and ability to feel the amount of grip. More lean with the same technique gives higher mid corner speeds, but its not necessairy the fastest way around the track, especially on a supermoto bike that has so high power vs speed.
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    gary, at what point are you off the rear brake? does it occur when you begin to lean into the turn or when you reach the apex and are about to get back on the gas?

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    You smoothly let your foot off the rear brake as you start to lean your bike and rotate it...I would say just after your turn-in point and as you are translating into you trail braking....This is a hard question because every corner is different.

    Good Luck

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    A wise man once told me "you can't exit a corner faster than you entered." I try to think about that when I asses each corner at a track.
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    Two things...

    Discussion of when to get on and off the brakes makes sense but leaves me wondering about front verses back braking. Do you always get on and off both brakes at the same time and what about pressure differential are you always just trying to keep the bike balanced or do you use the front to help dive into corner or to help bring the back around. (hey, I'm just asking)

    I went to watch at Morongo and spent a lot of time watching how the pros were cornering. One thing I found interesting is that most of them, on left handers, were braking with their foot off the peg. They were lifting their heel off the peg as they braked with their toe. Since then I've played with braking this way and it seems like I have a little more control braking this way.
    Anyway, is this as common as it seemed and is there any benefit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainMoto View Post
    Two things...

    Discussion of when to get on and off the brakes makes sense but leaves me wondering about front verses back braking. Do you always get on and off both brakes at the same time and what about pressure differential are you always just trying to keep the bike balanced or do you use the front to help dive into corner or to help bring the back around. (hey, I'm just asking)

    I went to watch at Morongo and spent a lot of time watching how the pros were cornering. One thing I found interesting is that most of them, on left handers, were braking with their foot off the peg. They were lifting their heel off the peg as they braked with their toe. Since then I've played with braking this way and it seems like I have a little more control braking this way.
    Anyway, is this as common as it seemed and is there any benefit?
    Going on brakes I go on with both brakes at the same time if its straight line braking. If its leaned over braking I use only the front brake. When I finnish my straight line braking I release the rear brake smoothly and meet with the engine braking (even on a twostroke!). Front brake will stay on untill I go on the throttle again.

    When you master front wheel braking you can switch lines if you entered a little too early by sliding the front a little bit. Even better you could slide both the front and the rear wheel. I think there might be a video of me doing this last weekend in spain, I'll be getting some videos by post in the near future and if it is I will upload.

    I am a "whole leg" brake'er (foot off peg), its just what felt most natural for me. This is probably because the boots are so stiff. If you do this kind of braking, leave your boots on when you drive to/from the track, it will help you with your rear brake control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlleR View Post
    I am a "whole leg" brake'er (foot off peg), its just what felt most natural for me. This is probably because the boots are so stiff. If you do this kind of braking, leave your boots on when you drive to/from the track, it will help you with your rear brake control.

    I guess I've been riding off-road for too long. I leave my foot on the peg when I brake, whether it's to the left or the right. But, it's just habit.

    BTW, thank you very much to both Gary and Olle! Great information that I hope to be able to use soon!
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    Here is what I have learned in Gary's classes.

    Look at the below slightly exagerated/primitive diagram for reference of the "U" into a "V."



    1) Hard on the brakes while upright. (Mainly front)

    2) Increase rear brake slightly to allow back end to swing out which will shorten the radius of the turn.

    3) At apex, push the bike down to about where the outside edge of the seat is about in the center of your butt, pivot the bike under you as you release the front brake/smoothly open the throttle and continually roll on to full throttle as you stand the bike back up onto the meat of the tire.

    Here's a few examples of #3. They make it look soooo easy.









    I still have more work to do. (below)


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    The corner you painted is ok if the straight is very short and theres a right hander comming up very shortly after the first corner. If AMA riders do every corner like that I will have no problem passing down the straight

    This is how I do a U turn on asphalt with a long enough straight in both directions. Where red transfers to green I go down to the highest lean angle for the corner and after that lean decreases and throttle increases. Apex is late to get a good acceleration out of the corner

    Found a paint of when you want to brake deep when I added the first file so I'll attach that too.
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    Default Where is the apex?

    OK, maybe I just wanted to draw a picture too, or maybe I got mixed up in the semantics. I assumed that the apex of the turn is the part of the turn with the tightest radius. I have, however, heard people say it's where you come closest to the inside of the corner.
    It could be that both are true, just our pictures suck.
    Anyway, in my picture (turning from right to left) I would say the the blue line is an Early Apex and the red line is a Late Apex. That would be with the green hash being the apex of the turn.
    The other case being calling the apex where you are closest the center (orange hash) then the blue would be the Late Apex.

    So, which is it?
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    OK, after a bit of Googleing and reading I see I was way off base.
    Please disregard my previous post.
    It really is all about where you start your turn; push it in deep before you start the turn = late apex.
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    It doesnt really matter when you're riding

    I am sorry for mixing it up

    I think me and Gary has the same thought of how the corner should be done, just different explainations

    The most common explaination of apex is where you are the closest to the inner part of the corner
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    Gary & OlleR, explain the transition from hard braking to backing it in please. On a fast straight away, how much brake are you applying when the rear kicks out? Have you eased up on the brakes much by then? What about the forks, what are they doing during this transition? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by restukey View Post
    Gary & OlleR, explain the transition from hard braking to backing it in please. On a fast straight away, how much brake are you applying when the rear kicks out? Have you eased up on the brakes much by then? What about the forks, what are they doing during this transition? Thanks.
    I ease up the brakes as I go into the corner but when I initiate the slide I'm on the front brake as much as in a straight line. Its a very fine line from overcooking and sliding out and staying in control when you are hard on the front brake. Most of the time its not worth the effort but sometimes it really is

    Forks are loaded but I think they might extend a little when you get the wheels out of line. I havent done any research on it tho.

    The higher speed (in km/h, mph) the easier it is to slide because you get more time to do it
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    So still a bit confused about what trail braking is other than what I should be switching to before the apex.
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    Trail braking is the final braking as you enter the corner. It is a small amount of brakes...that keeps the bike compressed and balanced. If you go hard into a corner and stop braking at your turn-in point the bike will start to decompress and become harder to turn.

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    i have a question on performing down shift.

    (assuming you have a slipper)

    when do you begin down shifts?

    do you use the clutch?

    what about more the one down shift, do you perform them as quick/smooth as possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by motobum View Post
    i have a question on performing down shift.

    (assuming you have a slipper)

    when do you begin down shifts?

    do you use the clutch?

    what about more the one down shift, do you perform them as quick/smooth as possible?
    This is a good question and there are different ways to approach this. I like to downshift as I am going into the corner 1 gear at a time, matching the gear with the speed I am going. So, if I am in 5th gear down the straight and am going into a corner that I will exit in 2nd, I will downshift 3 times, once when I start my braking and 2 more, one at a time as I get closer to the apex. I like doing it this way because I am always matching actual speed with gearbox speed and thus am never in the wrong gear. I do not count my gears up or down as I ride because I only worry about being in the right gear at any given time.

    Another way people do it with a slipper is pull the clutch and drop all the gears at once. In the same senario as above the rider would be in 5th gear, when he started to brake, he would pull in the clutch and instantly hit down 3 gears. Then you would feed the clutch out as you aproach the corner again matching the ground speed with how much the slipper clutch can compensate the difference. Again, I do not do it this way because it involves counting gears and I have never done that.

    Good Luck and I hope this helps!

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    and with out the slipper clutch? (did I mention that having this as a way to learn the basic idea of techniques is awesome and thanks for taking the time ) From the 5th gear to 2nd? drop gears as you slow down into the turn bit by bit using engine braking to the fullest and never coasting on the clutch right? or is the deceleration supposed to fast enough that you are going in 5th then brake and drop gears and bam you at the apex in your second gear and ready to rock out of it? (I cant think of how I do it now, I will pay atention next set of turns i drop into)
    thanks
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    Without a slipper it would be the same process as I use...downshift as you get closer to the corner. The clutch work is to match the wheel speed with the ground speed. With a slipper it does it for you...with no slipper you need to slip the clutch yourself. If you pull the clutch in too much as you are entering a corner, you will pick up speed and probably go past where you want to be. If you do not slip it enough you will get rear wheel chatter. The art is finding the sweet spot and mastering the clutch without a slipper. You feed the clutch into the corner always matching the ground speed and the rear wheel speed. I hope that help or answers your question.

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    Darn this automatic log out thing!

    So my second try.

    For experienced riders it is fine to use trailbraking and sliding the rear to get the bike piointed. However, to become a master, you first have to be a student. So i would like to give some more info more beginner related.

    First some clarifications:

    Start braking point: Where you start letting of the throttle and start getting on the brakes. Not binary, but analogous. Les throttle means more brake and vice cersa.

    End braking point: Your Start braking point is determined by this. This is where you are done with braking and are ready for turning. And transitions from brakes to throttle

    Turn in point: Where you make the BIGGEST steering change. This is where you go from (alost) straight up to full lean, as quickly as possible to not waste time and space.

    Apex: Where you are closest to the inside of the turn.

    This is how i would recommend beginners approach their turns:

    It would indeed be wise to start any riding with as little braking as possible and only use throttle. Be relaxed and try to take up as much of the road as possible. Where are bumps, cracks, etc etc. Camber, good pavement, bad pavement. Radii of the turn etc. This is where you fisrt make your plan for a given turn.

    You have to first determine your end braking point, turn in point and apex before actually riding the curve full stop.

    Coming to a turn, this is what it should/ could be: (with a constant radius corner, no camber, or other variations to keep things simple)

    You've determined your end braking point. This means that for your speed you will have to determine a start braking point. This start braking point depends on your speed. One lap you could approach the turn (a lot) faster or (a lot) slower. Your end braking point remains the same. Your start depends on your speed. Do as much braking in the beginning of your braking and with the bike as straight up as possible. Get most of the braking done in about 2/3. leaving 1/3 for correctly setting your turn entry speed. Beeing lighter at the end of braking makes it easier to correclty judge your speed and therefore correctly adjust your speed.

    At the end of your braking point should also be your turn in point. When beginning, you could leave some room between the two, to relax and judge your sped and give more time to perform the different tasks. At first keep your turn in point as late and wide as possible. In riding there should be no coasting. you are either braking or accelerating. However, for beginners, after braking, open enough throttle to maintain a constant speed. Even if it is only for a fraction of a second. At your turn in, you try to get your bike turned as quickly and as much as possible. With dry, warm pavement and sticky tires. Slam it in. Cold, wet, muddy. Be easier. But be confident. As you increase lean angle, you MUST increase throttle. When you lean over, the effective rolling radius of the rear wheel will decrease. This means that if you keep constant throttle, you WILL decrease speed.

    At your turn in point, you will try to square off the corner as much as possible. This is the transition from the radius you have following the outside of the corner, to the increasing radius you will have afterwards, going to your apex and the outside of the corner. After your turn in point, you should be as close to maximum lean angle as quickly as possible an be pointing to your apex. Keep the apex late, this will decrease the time you will be leaning over at maximum angle. After the turn in is completed and you ar at full lean. You should be able to increase throttle, and decrease lean. If you cannot increas throttle, your line was not correct.

    I deliberalty kept sliding the rear and trailbraking out. At first i would suggest to keep things neet and the transitions "easy". As you become more confident and experienced. Your job is to get the entry to the corner closer to the inside. Because with a wide entry, you leave a lot of room to get passed. But for beginners, the other competitors are not relevant. You yourself are your biggest competitor. So you gradually but your end braking point closer to your apex. This way you can get the entry closer at small intervals, Instead of trying to keep it tight right from the start and feel rushed and anxious and lot of oppertunities for errors. You will eventually be turning in, while still on the brakes and stop braking, just before the apex to constantly open the throttle.

    Hope this makes any sense.

    Best regards,
    Thanas

  36. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Escort Bayan

    If you get on the brakes early and slow too much, you have to get back on the gas just to have enough speed to make it to and thru the corner. And no matter how smooth you are, whenever you brake or apply throttle you are upsetting the chassis to some degree.

    -----------------------------
    Escort Bayan

  37. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by trachy357 View Post
    Without a slipper it would be the same process as I use...downshift as you get closer to the corner. The clutch work is to match the wheel speed with the ground speed. With a slipper it does it for you...with no slipper you need to slip the clutch yourself. If you pull the clutch in too much as you are entering a corner, you will pick up speed and probably go past where you want to be. If you do not slip it enough you will get rear wheel chatter. The art is finding the sweet spot and mastering the clutch without a slipper. You feed the clutch into the corner always matching the ground speed and the rear wheel speed. I hope that help or answers your question.
    I was watching your video again and I'm still confused. (DRZ 400, no slipper clutch). In order to downshift for a corner I have to disengage the clutch, right? That means freewheeling some of the time, right? Are you saying you don't disengage it all the way even for downshifting?

    For me, a timeline drawing of a corner would be nice. Example, the corner would have a number 1 (approximately)where throttle is reduced, then a number 2 where brakes are applied, then a number 3 where clutch is disengaged, etc. So I know (approximately) in what order and for what duration I'm supposed to do what.

    We don't get enough practice time in Wisconsin.
    2006 DRZ 400 SM

  38. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Waspswatter View Post
    I was watching your video again and I'm still confused. (DRZ 400, no slipper clutch). In order to downshift for a corner I have to disengage the clutch, right? That means freewheeling some of the time, right? Are you saying you don't disengage it all the way even for downshifting?
    You may disengage the clutch for a downshift, true, however you don't need to completely re-engage the clutch immediatly, but progressively engage it at it's slipping point, on-downshift-halfway, on-downshift-halfway, keeping the clutch from freewheeling completely, having part of it engaged and dragging on the engine allows you to simulate the effect of a slipper clutch with your left hand, using your rear brake allows you to slow the rear wheel speed closer to the clutch speed, and closer to the engine speed. Using the rear brake is important to keep constant decelleration while slipping the clutch to allow the drive train to match speeds and also to slow the engine with the effect of the rear brake aswell.

    Remember the design of the clutch and the engine and the sprocket - a multi-plate oil bath clutch is designed to operate in an analog (meaning variable engagement) manner effectively.

    You could simply downshift without the clutch operating - but you would lock the rear wheel and loose control - so the clutch lever partial engagement for slipping the clutch also works for the rear wheel to move independent of the engine but in a way that it is related according to the degree that you are slipping your clutch.

    I hope this helps you reflect on the process your bike experiences while you ride.
    --
    2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto..............| https://flic.kr/p/H9QJ1T
    1993 Harley-Davidson FXRS-SP Custom....| https://flic.kr/p/HfS2Yc

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