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Tips for intermediate riders

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by raven, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. I've started this thread specifically aimed at intermediate riding levels.

    So you fairly experienced guys, who may have some gems of knowledge that such rider should take on board, please post it.
    Let's share the more elevated knowledge you have. :)

    Noobs looking in - these tips are not for you, YET. take them onboard, make notes for later on

    As an intermediate rider, I am thinking that you can capably negotiate all types of corners, in both wet and dry conditions, and are basically established with your body position and know your limits along with that of your bike.

    Let us begin...

  2. Be careful though any tips deemed dangerous or just wrong will be cleansed so use your commonsense.
  3. At this level of riding IMHO, you should looking at riding, as being the management of what is at your disposal.

    One such matter is grip management

    Grip management is a bit of a balancing act, which involves the constant trading of grip
    Ie: braking grip, cornering grip, acceleration grip etc...
    The magical figure of 100% of grip isn't often distributed to just one area - in fact it is usually divied up between at least two of these grip perameters. AND!... the 100% percent of today, this morning, on this surface, etc...can very easily be different, the next day, on a different corner, etc etc.

    So!...it is up to you to judge just how much grip you have in total, so for that approaching corner, you are aware beforehand, and to some degree, just how committed you can afford to be. Or how much grip you can designate for cornering grip.

    There you are.... all set up, everything is within your judged grip perameters, but o-ohhh, the corner is tightening up. Suddenly you realize that you need to reduce speed fairly quickly, but you have already turned in, aiming for what has become, a too early apex.

    The position you are in is going to require line adjustment, which in turn will require you to commit to a new amount of cornering grip!
    In addition you are going to have to trade some THAT cornering grip, into braking grip. And because you're likely to need a steeper lean angle, which you are going to have to hold the bike down to, against the braking forces wanting the bike to stand up, and in turn demand more cornering grip, which you just committed to braking grip. Getting the idea now?

    Starting to see how riding a bike at more experienced levels requires you to think in terms of management :)

    Now after all of that, you've realized that you are going to have to hang off more to try and reduce the lean angle, thus altering the magical balance you just took a second to compute, and implement....

    So you can see quite clearly that grip management is an ever evolving, "process", of judgment calls. Not a once off decision.

    How do you get it right, I hear you ask! :)
    Well firstly, by now you should have the necessary judgment skills, to get it right most of the time, and then adjust as required, on the whole.

    But that experience requires specific knowledge to...which is critical.

    How well do your tyres handle this road surface in this corner, is the tyre pressure going to help or hinder you in this corner...how do the tyres feel at the very edge of grip, so you'll know if you can hold this line or need to allow it to run a little wider with a little less brake, or transfer some of you braking grip to the rear tyre to take the front tyre off it's limits.

    There are a few bumps mid corner, so how will the suspension reaction to those bumps effect your designated grip apportionment...

    Clearly, you REALLY NEED to know your bike intimantly, under a wide and diverse set of circumstances. Know your tyres, and know yourself, to give yourself the best chance to be able to make the right choices.

    Yep, as usual it's all down to experience, specifically on the outer limits of your skillset and your bikes performance envelope.

    There's alot more but that's enough to get you started off in what I believe is the right direction

    John( scuse spelling mistakes - I'm on my I-phone.)
  4. I'm going to pinch a couple of diagrams and some text from another site.
    I'm going to put up a link to a UK car site, talking about doing track days. Their particular focus is on trail braking but what they have to say is very informative about trading off grip, managing grip, the concept of the grip circle and so on. Now it was written for cars (hawk, spit) but pretty much everything they say is equally relevant to us.

    This is a grip circle diagram.
    You can have full side grip or full braking grip, or a balance / managing act between the two. Note that half braking combined with half cornering still leaves you near but not on the edge of the circle.

    Also note that this diagram has plots / points where a racing car got to, over several laps. There are times when the car achieves peak cornering figures greater than it could achieve for consistent cornering levels. Now on a road bike, it's usually the other way. You run out of clearance or confidence before you run out of tyre grip. A typical trace for a typical intermediate level rider, at a track day or having a fang on a favourite stretch of *private road* would show the dots well within the circle most of the time.
  5. Rather, leave them up to be shot down so people aren't left wit the wrong idea.
  6. raven-that sounds like a spiel from a race day school.
    Might be a bit hard to use for every day riding ,unless the rider knows every corner.
  7. Another tip for the intermediate rider. You don't have to discover everything yourself. Other people have been there before you, and written down what they learned. Some of it is of questionable relevance, because they don't ride like you do, and what works for them may not work for you. Also remember that not everyone will give you good advice and that may be on purpose, especially if you start racing, and especially if you ask some old salt in front of his mates. The risk to life and limb (yours) caused by his bad advice means nothing to him compared with the points he scores with his mates by being a cruel + funny old b@stard and telling you stuff that could get you killed. If somebody tells you stuff and it doesn't sound right to you - don't go out and try it, ask someone else. I have been given some VERY bad advice, and sometimes I was able to spot it for what it was, and sometimes I wasn't. The hardest one to spot is the bloke who believes he's right, but isn't. He's not lying to you - he just thinks he knows something and he's wrong.

    I completely recommend to all intermediate riders who want to get better, that they get hold of everything ever written by Keith Code - starting with 'A Twist of the Wrist (#1)'. Read it in chronological order. Think about it. I don't know that I agree blindly and completely with everything he says, but 95% of it is perfect, and the other 5 ... I'm probably wrong. But then I have my own style, and it's not quite the same as Keith's. What works for him may not be quite right for me, and whatever...

    The other, and last for tonight, thing I can't encourage you to do enough, is watch bike racing. In particular, watch superbikes, and moto2 and motogp. Over the years I've not only been thrilled and elated, devastated and entertained by racing, I've learned SH1TLOADS about advanced bike control from Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi, Wayne Rainey... and a cast of thousands.

    When you get to about year 9 in high school, they introduce you, in English, to a fella called William Shakespeare. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of them is that by the time you've studied this subject for this long, you should be pretty good at it, and maybe it's time for you to see what the best there's ever been could do with it. Old Bill was the finest technician and craftsman this language has ever known. Now if you want to study motorcycle riding, you live in a golden age, because four of the best riders who have ever lived are in battle for supremacy of the sport, and you can tell your awe-struck grandchildren that you were there to see it. You could even cough up a few bucks and make the pilgrimage to the Island, and watch the gods of speed receive homage from the high priests in person, cheer on our own alien, and tell your grand children with pride, that 'I was there on Stoner's day!'

    Jokes aside - if you want to get better, there are dumber ways to go about it than watching with rapt attention while the best in the world go hammer and tongs at it. Nobody ever taught me to hang off a bike or get my knee down - I learned it from watching Doohan and Lawson and Rainey and Schwantz. Then I went out and tried to do what I'd seen them doing. ...and failed. But I kept trying, and I kept loving it.

    And as my fifth glass of cheap red sails gently into the sunset, I think I might wind this sermon up and put my sore foot up for the night, and bother you all again in the morning.
  8. For those who ride on the road and want to stay alive, I offer the opinion that you need to get hold of a copy of Motorcycle Roadcraft. Read it, understand it and put it into practice. It won't teach you to get your knee down or put up fast times through the twisties but it might just keep you alive on the road for long enough to learn to do those things for yourself.
  9. Good advice that.
    Watch a few Gp's,Try to do what they do and fail.
  10. NO!, nothing to do with raceway school, as you're suggesting. Track riding is far easier. Every corner is easily visible, and if you somehow missed a double apex on a race track, I'd say you're a goose
    I'm drawing from my own personal experience, sports riding on regular roads!

    Of course, any technique, skill, or experience will be equally as valuable on the track- that's obvious.
  11. well, as you started this thread and pitched it at intermediate riders,
    I will be interested to hear from any of them as to whether they actually understood any of your post.
    It was a tad complex.
  12. I guess I'm "Intermediate" at this stage? I understood the physics of it. I think its something you slowly start to figure out yourself anyway as you start to become more intimate with the behaviour of your bike in different situations, but having it explained is useful.

    I'll try to summarise into a TL;DR version:-

    Each tyre only has a certain amount of grip at each moment in time, and the amount of grip you have left is a product of how much you have committed to holding a particular line, what other forces you are applying to the tyres (acceleration or deceleration) the quality of the surface the tyres are in contact with at the time and the condition and pressure of your tyres.

    Does that sound about right?

    It really doesn't sound like something you'd be consciously trying to work out in your head while trying to negotiate a corner and you discover there is a cement truck halfway over your lane coming your way, but I think it's desirable to understand the physics involved when you're on a motorcycle, as not understanding them at least partially can be fatal when you expect certain things to happen, and they don't.

    Much like countersteering is a misunderstood subject by even experienced riders, I suspect the physics behind grip is too, and I think Raven is trying to go beyond just saying "push left, go left", and taking it that little bit further. Its a good idea. I'd like to see where this thread takes us.
  13. It depends what you call an intermediate rider. If you mean someone who just passed their Ps test or just got off their restrictions then yes it's overkill but I would argue that they are n00bs. IMO I class intermediate as someone who has heaps of ks under their belt and while the are experienced and competent on a bike they need to learn some more tricks to unlock their abilities. I would say this would have been about 1 year after i got my "fulls" or 30,000kms of riding for me.
  14. I'll have a crack at this, my topic - Reading road direction.

    Quite often when riding in the country you will come up a slight crest and will be wondering where the road goes after the crest. Does it go left or right or straight ahead. Here are some of my tips for reading what the road is going to do. All tips revolve around looking at the scenery ahead to give you visual clues.

    1. Look for power lines and see what direction they go. These quite often follow the line of the road. Not a guarantee of direction as power lines do cross the road from time to time but it normally gives you a good idea.

    2. If the road is lined with trees, you can quite often follow this line as well. Look at the top of the trees to follow this line

    3. If you are on the side of a mountain, it is very hard for the road to turn directly towards the hill. Knowing this and using the tree heights, you know which way the road can and can't go. If the tree heights suddenly dip or rise, then you could be coming to the end of the mountain and the road could go in either direction.

    4. (and this should be #1) - Set your speed to cater for anything before hitting the top of the crest.

    5. Occasionally you can follow fence lines but this is harder to do as fences noramlly sit a lot lower than trees and power / light poles


  15. I comissioned this thread and understood Raven's first post. Keep it up guys/gals..

    In regards to the progression from noob to intermediate to advanced.. It's a bit of a grey area. It would depend on a few factors, kays under the belt, experience in all riding conditions, type of riding, street/dirt/commute/touring/track. Training, riding a range of bikes, and the intensity of self analysis...

    Keep the advice flowing and positive. Cheers
  16. [-( I thought you were ignoring me. :D
  17. I am an intermediate rider and my best tip for others is - Approach your limits with more caution, the better you get the faster things go bad and the less you can do about it when they do. Oh and if you don't understand and on some level didn't already know what was in Raven's first post then you are a beginner. (or an idiot 8-[ )
  18. roughly, yes. It is called "Grip Management", and how you as a rider manage the grip you have at any given time.
    I went into some detail about it, so riders could not misunderstand the fluid nature of managing grip.

    Actually, I have to disagree with this little bit Chrome. :)

    The whole idea of grip management is that it becomes something you analyze and adjust for, instinctively...but before you can really get in tune with the merry dance going on underneath you, one has to first be conscious of all the different aspects of a corner that you are required to assess, and how they all inter-relate. And then when it's committed to the subconscious through practice and experience you KNOW that you'll instinctively react the correct way.
    If you have to think about it, then it's already too late.

    Maybe I'm an oddball?...but I am always aware when I approach any corner, of how my grip will be distributed "initially". (does'nt everyone?), and it's usually going to be approx 80% cornering grip and 20% braking grip, as a starting point. And I will be ready to redistribute my grip percentages "on the fly" as the corner reveals itself, or things develope.

    There's nothing mystical, or particularly hardcore about it...it's a simple conscious recognition and acceptance that it is a management process, that needs to be understood and practiced till it becomes instinctive just like anything else you train for in riding if you expect to progress.

    Intuitive and reliable grip management allows a rider the confidence and freedom to press on in safety, when others are backing off because they cannot function at that level.

  19. If grip/traction is the hot topic, have a read of the link I posted up earlier.