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Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from a trip to the BRP and I found I really sucked in the twisites.
I didn't do anything dramatic like drive off the road and I think I may have only crossed a double yellow once. But I found myself straightening up and having to hit the brakes to often and taking shitty lines into corners and have to pick another line halfway through. I've been riding for 15 years and by riding I mean 3-5 per week pretty easy. So I wouldn't call my self a newb. But I'd say 90% of my riding is city commuting stop and go type stuff or dirtbiking. So roads and rides like the BRP and dragon are pretty new to me. I also live in the low county so hills and curves are pretty sparse. So how do I improve my riding and cornering in a place where the roads and straight for the most part?


Dom
 

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I strongly recommend you take the MSF advanced rider course. I thought I could ride pretty well until I took the ERC (experienced rider course). I really learned a lot from that course.

Do you know about counter steering--push left to go left/push right to go right? Pushing on the inside of the handgrips. Makes turning a lot easier and safer. Also, try shifting your weight to the inside do a curve. You see the racers do that in an exaggerated manner on the race course. It's also important to carry a little throttle to help keep the bike balanced through a curve.
 

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While the MSF experienced rider course is good practice, it's mostly just a review of all but the most basic parts of the beginning rider course, and it won't help much with riding at speed. Skip it and take a Total Control course instead if you can, or at least read the book and practice the exercises in it. One of the important topics addressed is fear, and how to learn to trust the bike. It made a huge difference for me.
Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic

Lee Parks (Total Control author and founder) on a strom:
 

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Maybe not totally specific to your post but I’ve been trying to ride “The Pace” lately.

The Pace - Nick Ienatsch - Motorcyclist magazine

I mentioned this to a riding friend of mine and his comment to me was “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. I believe this is true. Slow and smooth helps develop skills and once developed then speed can then be increased.

I don’t really know but I’m giving it a try. :yesnod:


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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the feedback guys...keep it coming.
 

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IMO, you have to follow someone. They should know you and preferably like you. Miles are the answer, lots and lots of them.
 

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How does a runner train?

He/She runs.

How does a swimmer train?

He/She swims.

How do you train for the twisties?


You ride twisties.


Years ago a fellow from out of town got into a a New York Taxi, and asked, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall" to which the taxi driver replied, "practice, lot's of practice"!
 

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I've taken courses and read lots of stuff about being smooth and fast in the twisties. Ultimately, though, the biggest thing I lack is sufficient practice in them. Roads around here are mostly straight and boring, with occasional little bits of twisties mixed in.

The first thing I would say is: slow down and get smooth. First you get smooth, and then you get fast. Concentrate on setting reasonable entry speeds that you're comfortable with, selecting the right gear, and picking turn in-points. Don't overcommit and dive way in to the apex (from the outside of your lane in the corner to the inside) until you know where you will finish turning. If you're riding unfamiliar roads, blind corners, etc, this will generally mean going slower. Concentrate on these things and higher speeds will eventually come - with practice. Or not, if you don't, or can't, get the practice. Racetrack schools, or track days, might help in this regard, if feasible for you.

I would also recommend Keith Code's books, despite the fact that they're race-oriented and (IMO) unfortunately marred with Scientology-inspired teaching "tech" (as they call it). He talks a lot of sense about things like survival reactions (SRs), your attention "budget" (or something like that - been a while since I read it, I should get it out and read it again). And the stuff he teaches about turn-in points, lines, throttle control, etc, makes sense (used appropriately) on the road as well as the track.

Just remember (as I sometimes fail to) that the road is not a racetrack, and poor judgement and mistakes can have much more severe consequences on the street.
 

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Unless you ride curvy roads frequently, you'll never get as good as you'd like to be on them - it's that simple. Riding roads like the Dragon and BRP is all mental - your bike is way more capable than the pilot, but you know that already! If you want to get better on curvy roads, you must ride curvy roads - ride the curves more than once every odd vacation. That said, there's still a lot you can do to bring your brain's navigation system up a few notches. You have to think about how you ride, and once a year is a poor way to train your brain.

I think dirt bike riders tend to bring a bit of the moto-style into their street riding [I find myself doing it - good thing the Strom has great ground clearance!!!]....you know, leaning the bike into the corner, stuffin' it in, instead of the rider moving off the centerline of the bike and towards the inside as proper road technique would prescribe. Sure, leaning off like a roadracer has no place on dirty crusty public roads, but proper body positioning strategies for road riding in the twisties is available if you look for it. The biggest mistake riders make is overcomitting to cornering, hangin' off draggin' the knee ballz out, and finding that halfway thru a corner, it suddenly tightens up and a greasy center section appears with a nice coating of gravel and sand debris right at the apex - the road is no place for elegant racetrack style. Don't get lured into posing yourself to proper technique at the expense of safety, always remind yourself to hold some handling in reserve.

The Keith Code books are great, as are the MSF advanced courses, but the MSF advanced courses could be lacking in one regard - they rarely leave the parking lot, and venture onto the backroads. Decreasing radius, off camber S-curves are rarely practiced in MSF courses, but are common in twisty public road situations. This is where you've probably thought to yourself "gawd, was I klunky getting thru those curves!"

The MSF courses are great, if a bit weird southern California lingo-wise, but do not teach enough real world sketchy situations - this is where reading material and videos bridge this gap. Some MSF courses do have classroom components where they do venture out onto public roads, but those classes are in the embryonic stages - I imagine the logistics for such a course would be daunting for the instructors.

Don't give up, and don't rush it. I'd say you're ripe for finding an advanced riding instructional course. Check around your area - some racetracks have weekend courses you can sign up for that instruct on proper cornering, etc, and most of those don't require you to purchase a $1000 race suit!
 

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I am a fan of fast curvy roads and for an old non-racer I am thought to ride faster than average, and I do it for the fun of it--I really like it. I agree with most everything written so far, but have my own "take" on the subject.
1. Track days will give you a whole new perspective on the capabilities of your bike, and you will soon learn to use the new info, and you'll become faster. Remember there is a world of difference between a well used (sticky) track and the unknown factors around every corner on the street/road. On public roads there is no way to anticipate every danger, so you must be far more cautious on the road.
2. Speed is a relative thing. Some are fast road riders, and then you meet someone who is FAR faster and you wonder how he got those skills? Usually he paid dearly for them with tons of practice and perseverance, and good equipment too. Don't ever be lured into a race on public roads, unless you have huge skills and are a gambler at heart. Its very dangerous to say the least. You ride your ride and let the fast guys go. But if they are co-operative they can teach you a lot if you follow them and learn from them. But it's also easy to get in over your head without knowing it, so be cautious and don't try to learn too much too fast.
3. Speed comes with an elevated level of confidence. You will have more confidence the more you concentrate on your skills. Some have a supernatural talent and go fast right away, and others (like me) learn more slowly. But most of all, just enjoy it. If it gets too intense, don't be embarrassed to back off. Go and learn at your own pace. Don't let someone else wreck you.
And lastly, 4. Learn to feel comfortable moving around on the bike. Take a "fast'' position on the bike, bring your chin near the inside mirror, and you'll be in a high-performance position. This is the time to have excellent skills with the brakes, too. No panic braking will do, but you need to be able to control your front brake well so it doesn't bite you in a curve.
Wow this has turned out to be a lengthy post, and I haven't hit very many of the main points--fast riding is just a wonderful way to zip through the world with skills most people will never have, and the experience is hypnotic--I am addicted at 61 years old, worse than I was as a young guy.
 

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practice, practice, practice....

Also dont pay attention to the speedometer when trying to up your pace, sometimes seeing those big numbers is enough to make you nervous, thinking you are going to fast. Just go at a rate that is comfortable to you

The wife bought me Kieth Codes: twist of the wrist II for christmas last year, it is a pretty good read, it is geared towards track riding but most of it can be used in the street
 

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A day spent on a track is a good investment. Specially if combined with a course. The repetition of doing the same curves over and over is what will give you the skills and confidence you want.
 

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I have personally got a lot out of cornering courses. Certainly practice is key, but practice alone means nothing if you just reinforce your bad habits. At some courses, I have seen riders with well over 100,000 miles - and they're awful! Some are still safe because they ride well within their capabilities (good for them), but they aren't good. But some things just aren't intuitive and most won't learn it on their own.

Although the courses have made me a bit faster, they have made me realize how much more the bike can give me. So when I screw up a turn, or a car is over the line, or whatever, I know the bike will give me A LOT more. Being able to push your bike in a safe/controlled environment does wonders. The street isn't the place to ride near your limits.

It's funny how some people speak of "scraping pegs" as a badge of honor. I'd wager most of the time a rider scrapes his pegs, it's not due to being near the edge of the bike's capability, but poor technique on the riders part. In cornering courses, I have scraped my pegs a couple times - and had my technique been better, I would have been faster, smoother, and not scraped the pegs.

But props to you for realizing you can still learn more even with a lot of experience under your belt.
 

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Riding twisties well (and I'm not the fastest rider in the world) is simple, IMO. As with many things in life, tho, the hardest to learn is the least complicated.

1. counter-steer
2. overcome fear/ timidity about lean angle
3. LOOK THRU the turn, head UP.

#1 will happen almost automatically, and certainly automatically if you can master #3.

#2 will come with practice, which you can get in a big empty parking lot or cemetery- going slowly and gradually building speed

#3 is the hardest for me - I always find myself sight-seeing or watching for potholes or something. When I can muster the focus to keep look thru the turn, and NOT look down, it's amazing how much faster/ less fearful it is. I'm amazed how often I need to remind myself of that, tho - it's a self-discipline issue.
 

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It's funny how some people speak of "scraping pegs" as a badge of honor. I'd wager most of the time a rider scrapes his pegs, it's not due to being near the edge of the bike's capability, but poor technique on the riders part. In cornering courses, I have scraped my pegs a couple times - and had my technique been better, I would have been faster, smoother, and not scraped the pegs.
+1 on that! Very appropriate insight.
 

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I live 15min off the BRP and ride it almost daily. I'm not a good rider and have about 40k miles. What helped me the most was reading and trying to keep up with my 16yo son. Some of the guys in our local club are excellent riders and do track days often. I don't want to get that good. Just good enough to be fun and be safe. I don't feel I'm there yet. But the info everyone put in here is right on. I have to remind myself to shift my weight, look though the turn etc. I just don't feel like riding a MC fast is a natural thing. At least not for a 58 yo like me.
 
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