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Relaxing to smooth out your riding (revised from slowing)

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by JP, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. This is my second go at trying to get what I was thinking into words, hopefully I do a better job this time :)
    So first a bit of background information. I've been riding for 7-8 months now and I try to ride at least twice a week. Anything less and I feel like I'm not making any progress in terms of my riding abilities and skills. My favourite places to ride are the National Park and Macquarie Pass, however I ride the Pass more as the road is smoother and there is larger variation of corners (plus a Pie when I make it to the top :LOL:). My riding has definitely improved in the last couple of months, riding with the more experienced guys on the 4 Musketeers trip, following their lines and watching their body positioning played a big role in my riding development.
    Lately I've found myself trying to go a bit faster through the corners. Not in a dangerous way, just trying to get an idea where the limits of my current skills are. For some reason I had it stuck in my head that the faster I go through the corners, the better I'm getting. Not true. What I actually found is the faster I was going through the corners, the messier my lines were, which I think was caused by being tense and a lack of experience. Yesterday I went out for a ride, and headed in the direction of the Macquarie Pass. It was a really nice day, the weather was just right, so before I made it to the bottom of the Pass, I decided I'd just take it easy and just enjoy being on a bike. I think being in this relaxed state of mind instead of an "attack" mentality I usually ride the Pass with is what made the most difference.
    The first few corners I noticed how smoothly I was riding. I was hitting the entries, apexes, and exits perfectly and the bike was tipping over nicely. I found it much easier and more natural to move my body around on the bike through the corners, and even though I was going slower, it was more enjoyable.
    By about a 1/3 of the way up the Pass, there is a corner that feels like it curves 130 degrees to the left. It's one of my favourite corners, and one where you can really get the bike leaned over on. Still riding in a relaxed manner and not pushing it at all, I entered the corner, and about halfway through some part of the bike scrapped on the road. When I got to the top I discovered it was my kickstand. "Haven't scrapped that part yet" I thought, a little bit pleased with myself :grin:.
    So to sum things up a bit for new riders:
    • Being able to go faster in a corner doesn’t necessarily mean your skills have improved. In my case it just meant sloppy cornering.
    • Relax a little, back off a bit and try to smooth things out

  2. Re: Slowing down to improve your riding

    Nice post

    Don't agree with this in a black & white way though. I think to an extent you do need to push your self to get better.

    When I first started I wouldn't go over 95, but I pushed my self to go to 110 on the motorway.
    Tighter cornering is probably a better example. Everyone knows that there will be some really tight slow corners ie u-turns. So you need to push yourself a bit to get used to it.

    I agree with not pushing yourself to extremes or to put it better well outside your comfort zone.
  3. Going too slow in to a corner can mean your line will degrade and you will end up turning to too much.

    often more speed is required to make you hold the line you visualize.

    If anyone is going too fast chances are they are going off the road or breaking during the corner, if so break more before the corner and roll on the throttle slowly during the corner to hold the line you see in your head.
  4. It's a good post...and something that up and coming riders can learn from, but you actually missed the main point. (sorry)

    Apart from the obvious...slowing down did'nt actually do much in of itself...What made ALL the difference was being smoother, and through being smoother you got faster - THAT is the key!, as has been said throughout NR threads many time before...This day, you descovered the truth for yourself.

    !00% commitment could have you ragged, nervous and tense, and all over the place like a mad womans breakfast...whereas backing off to just 95% will have you calm, focused, and relaxed...allowing you to be smoother, with good solid lines, and much better control overall...

    THAT'S, what makes you faster..:)

    Good to see you descovering the finer arts of riding, and putting them into practice...a thinking rider will always do better. Well done. :)
  5. Yea, after re-reading it, I don't think I got the words out properly. Ahh well, I'll edit it tonight after I've had a few drinks, it will probably make more sense then :LOL:
  6. yup, smooth is good.
    starting slowly, you will soon learn what I think is are the 2 key points in cornering........

    good line & correct entry speed.

    every thing else flows from these. If you charge a corner flat out and slam on the brakes one of 2 things will happen

    1) you wont brake enough and/or pick the wrong line and over cook the corner so you'll have a brown trouser moment..... or

    2) you will brake too much, your entry speed will be slow and you wont learn how to judge your entry speed.

    slow in fast out may be safer and therefore ok to start with, but I think the best way to improve your speed is to start slowly maintain a good line (wide entry late apex) and try and maintain your entry speed throughout the corner.

    rough rule of thumb, if you are 1/2 way through a corner and find yourself having to use your brakes to change your line (other than for an emergency situation) then you probably either stuffed up your entry or were goin too fast for your experience level when you entered the corner.

    experience is the key word here. if you learn to ride smoothly to start with, you will be more relaxed when you ride and as your experience grows you will naturally get quicker naturally lean the bike over more, all with a minimum of fuss and those pesky 'brown trouser' moments.

    Big ups to you JP for working this out yourself mate, keep up the good work.

  7. I've experienced some of this too but not in the way you mentioned.

    On many occassions I feel that I am having to slow down behind a rider (on bends) that was extremely keen to overtake me on straight only moments ago. Although I appreciate the rush you can only genuinely acheive pressing a bike, in the majority of cases I am happy to stick to the posted speed limit and just enjoy the ride and my surroundings.
  8. There was a saying "To go fast you have to go slow..."
    which is kind of true in a way. People do things that they do not understand why.

    "Thats always the way I have done it"

    Understanding why I do things in a certain way allows me examine what I do.

    and you dont have to go fast everywhere. and ive seen mac pass. its not one of those places where you can make mistake. solid rock wall or deadfall. take your pick.

    You have to know your limit and push it. a little at a time, but this again is something that you do not want to do on the road.
  9. The saying seems to come from Reg Pridmore who is an instructor in the US. He follows it with "You need to have the patience to do it right before you can do it fast".

    Interestingly, at a recent HART advanced course I did the instructors were repeatedly saying "if it feels fast it isn't"
  10. The only comment I'd like to add is be mindful of who you are following.......its all well and good following someone else that is a more experienced rider.........copying their lines and speed thru corners etc BUT.........be aware that, the difference in bikes, the different weight, the long term experience of that leading rider could very well have you unknowingly, flying into a corner too hot/fast or on the wrong line for you.... :shock:

    whereas, a mentor/ a tutor would never knowingly lead you into a corner like that, placing you in peril.. :( he would be aware of where you are at and what you are attempting to achieve.

  11. Good point rouges,
    the person in front needs to be aware of the experience level of the person following.

    I have these last 6 months been teaching my wife (Melbgirl) to ride and it has made me re-examine my own riding techniques as well.

    I get her to follow my line/speed through a corner. staying about 20-30m in front of her and telling her to keep an eye on the back of my bike means that her eyes are in the right place too.

    My job is to slow down and ride the most rock solid lines so I can set the best example I can.

    all without using the brake in the corner