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Help! Advice please on riding schools

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by treefrog, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. I am not a new rider, I have been riding for years - but I have had my share of minor accidents in the past and, after a 6 year hiatus from riding, a degree of fear has crept in and I have totally lost my motorbike mojo.

    Yesterday, riding up the Numinbah valley Rd, we came across 2 separate motorcycle accidents. One had an ambulance in attendance to a harley rider down on the road, and a few kms further up the road another guy (sports biker) was being airlifted out in the rescue helicopter - it was a really sober reminder of how everything can turn to crap so quickly. And it has made me want to do something about my cornering ability.

    My fast corners are fine, its the 45s and under - the low speed tight ones - that freak me out. I just cannot lean it over -the last cm on either side of the tyre have never touched the asphalt. I am terrified of coming into a corner too fast, and panicking. So I constantly go into them too slow, and I know I can just do them a lot better, but I am afraid to try it on the road.

    I would really love to learn to corner better - to know that I can lean the bike right over if I have to - and to get rid of that awful panicky feeling. So I am thinking I need to go to some sort of track, where I can learn to do this in a safe environment.

    I live in Northern NSW, so I am wondering if there is some sort of school in Brisbane or the Gold Coast? I can do emergency stops etc fine, so I really don't want to pay to learn things I already know. But I am also nervous about doing a course full of hot-shot riders on big bikes and feeling intimidated by them and thinking that I am holding them all up.

    So....any recommendations? Anything out there for people like me, who are not new riders, but need to learn some better cornering skills?

    also - do you ride your own bike on these days?
  2. Googled - looks like I will have to go down to Sydney for this stuff. Is there nothing in Brisbane area?
  3. There is no reason why anyone should have an accident on a motorcycle unless they are pushing the limits, thats my philosophy, any accident after that is just real bad luck.

    For you im going to write out a script for the California Superbike School, a school that teaches you the art of cornering, highly recommended. http://www.superbikeschool.com.au/ and theres no need to be intimidated by one of these schools, anyone can go.

    Just out on interest treefrog, are you familiar with the concept of countersteering?
  4. I recently did my pre-learners course up here (I am in Lismore...) and the company that provides it (a branch of Wheelskills) do other courses as well. They had a poster up which advertised what they did, from memory there were intermediate and advanced courses, and some other specialised stuff as well. The instructor told us that the intermediate course is designed for P platers and as an easy refresher course (I don't know if that’s what you're after, but it should give you an idea :wink: ).

    Obviously, due to the small number of people up here, the courses are more or less run on a per-request basis, but this does mean that the course can be easily tailored to your own needs. I have a brochure from them somewhere, if you want, I'll have a look for it and give you their phone number.

    It's also good to see another FNC rider :) - even if I am still a total newbie!
  5. Do you mean placing opposite pressure on the bars to produce a swerving action to avoid say a pothole or an oil spill? Yep - I am good with that stuff. And I am great with emergency braking too. I just experience a fair degree of anxiety when I have to lean the bike over too far.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't want to ride at a crazy speed - but I do want to ride well and I have a psychological block at the moment that keeps making me pick the bike up when I really should lean it over. Or I panic and keep my foot on the back brake when I know that is the worst thing to do. So then I go into the next corner so slowly its ridiculous. It ruins my enjoyment. I never used to have a problem with this, so I know I can do it. I think I need a day in a safe environment like a race track to get over it.

    I phoned the superbike school and had a chat with them. It seems to be exactly what I need - but I have to ride down to Sydney to do it. At this point I think it would be well worth the trip to get my confidence back. They told me they had someone there on a scooter last week, so I won't feel so out of place on my xj600.
  6. Hey petmonkey! I will look into the local training providers. I have a feeling it won't provide what I need, but ya never know :wink: Thanks for the info.

    And yeah! great to know there is another rider nearby! If you want to go out for some rides, just pm me. I ride with a couple on 250s, and one is very nervous. So newbie riders always welcome along.
  7. To turn any corner requires that you use counter steering whether you are aware of it or not. So yes, you are aware that you can use it to say avoid a pothole, but are you also aware that you use it every time you turn a corner? The only time counter steering isn’t effective is when you’re below speeds of about 10km/h.

    If you go to the superbike school you will be taught this thoroughly. Maybe you have to be taught to utilize it better to make your cornering crisp and clean.

    It’s surprising how many riders actually don’t know or understand what counter steering is.
  8. So Nicholas, in the case of a tight corner, would you use countersteering to effectively "drop" you into the corner quicker? In all the years I have been riding, no-one has told me to use countersteering for cornering. I have been aware that some riders when coming up to a tight corner, will make a little opposite move before they go into the corner - that is what you are talking about??? far out - I just thought that was about riding style, not about greater cornering effectiveness LOL

    The trouble is, I spent most of my riding years on the road alone. I never had a riding partner to tell me what I was doing wrong.
  9. Tree Frog

    Counter Steering is everything when cornering, it is the back bone of how you steer and lean your bike. Some people will say in order to lean the bike you have to shift your weight or apply pressure onto the pegs which is true to a certain degree, however you will only do this to aid in the counter steer, without being able to counter steer no amount of weight into the lean or pressure onto the pegs will turn your bike.

    Like I said before, any speed through a corner that is over 10km/h will require an application of counter steering. You will do this every time you corner whether you aware of it or not, the laws of physics make it so. You may just not know how to utilize it properly, but once you know how to I guarantee and I mean I guarantee you will be riding like a Moto GP rider. And it is so easy once you know, and it will make you a safer and better rider and you will probably get back your riding mojo once you discover the art of it. Go to the superbike school, you will learn much about it.

    I discovered it all by myself through reading about it then going out an applying it, I found it so extremely effective in progressing my riding ability. I then discovered that they teach it at the superbike school which only reinforced how crucial it is to use in becoming a better rider. They teach these techniques to the pros.

    I warn you though, once you become a topgun rider, and you will if you follow what I’m saying, the riding experience becomes very addictive.
  10. Probably not precisely, but you never know (at least there is a very good chance that you would get a one-on-one session with a local trainer). The lack of comprehensive local training is a little disappointing, and probably hurts new riders (like myself) more than anyone else, as it almost invariably means we have to travel to Brisbane or Sydney, a huge and daunting ask for us poor newbies :( .

    But, for what it’s worth, training will show you your limits, and probably give you a good confidence boost, but practice on the corners which give you trouble will probably be the best training you can get! (well, that's how I am approaching my education :p ). Of course, considering the condition of most of the roads out here, not to mention the terrible drivers (which Byron/Bangalow seems to get more of than even Lismore!), I don't blame you for being a little over-cautious on those corners.

    With regards to counter steering, I found, much to my delight, that I am doing it instinctively, and I have only been riding for about a week! Must have picked it up when I rode a push-bike (which was 10 years ago :shock: ). Perhaps you should pay extra attention to what you do with the bars next time you’re riding, though be careful, I found paying too much attention to what I was doing naturally almost caused me to override it!

    I think I need a few more posts under my belt before I can PM (15 or so I believe), but I will defiantly take you up on your offer, I haven't had much luck finding friendly local riders, especially those willing to put up with a new learner.

    Haven't made my way towards Bangalow yet, but as I did the highway to Casino last Saturday, I may actually try my luck at Bangalow rd this weekend.
  11. Treefrog, you say you feel you're going to slow into corners. So does that mean you're doing everything else right?

    I mean, are you setting up before the corner - right gear (if not correct speed), is your entry point correct, getting off the brakes prior to entry, are you keeping your head up looking into the corner and picking your future line of travel, weighting the outside peg, getting body english right, keeping a little throttle dialed in through the corner, keeping a constant lean and therefore clean line, starting to straighten up and rolling on the throttle on the exit, or setting up for next corner?

    If you are saying "yes" to the above, try riding chosen corners at your safe slow speed and then gradually increase in 1, 2 or 5kmh increments until you feel confident at each new level. Please DON'T forget that the road is not the race track!

    If you are saying "no" to any of the above, keep your current speed and practice those points you are not getting right - one at a time - whenever you go for a ride. Over time you will see an improvement.

    And invest (yes, it's an investment in you) in training. All the best and ride safe.
  12. I do actually try to do all those things - I try to be sure to look through to the exit point and keep my head up. I try to be sure to get all my braking done before the corner. But I find myself sometimes dropping in to too low a gear because I am so apprehensive about the corner. What you are saying about gradually increasing my speed through the corners is really sensible advice, because it is fear that is stopping me more than skill (I think) - I will make a commitment to taking the bike over the range every day this week till I feel I am getting it right. And I will try to be aware of the countersteering thing.

    Thanks for the advice everyone - I have really appreciated it.I think its the superbike school for me :grin:

    Nicholas thanks for the links - I will go and check them out now.
  13. We would be glad to have you along. I don't think I can PM yet either actually :roll: