Motorcycle notes / track riding
- Tire stuff
- Using the minivac / brake lines
- Ken Hell’s Podcast:
- 16 How to Find Your Limits:
- Track tips
- General tips
- Tires / Slicks
- Mid corner:
- Corner exit
- Body positioning
- Grip limits
- Four fundamentals
- Work on closed throttle turning instead of trail braking (much safer and used by Simon Crafar!)
- Tips from reddit
- Order of importance
- Body positioning tips
- Feedback tips
Notes that I’ve collected over the years from Reddit / online forums / advice from track riders.
|Name||Tires Cold PSI||Hot PSI|
|Dunlop Q4 Front||32||34|
|Dunlop Q4 Rear||30||32|
|Dunlop Q3+ Front||32||34|
|Dunlop Q3+ Rear||30||32|
|Name||Tires Cold PSI||Hot PSI|
|Dunlop Front KR448F 2662 (Soft)||33||35|
|Dunlop Rear KR451 0455 (Medium)||21||23|
- Take PSI rating right after getting off the track, there should be a very tiny difference in temperature.. adjust accordingly (up or lower warmer PSI) in order to have predictable PSI from start to finish off track
- Dunlop’s don’t like ground temp below 20c
- Sun comes out +2psi, clouds -2psi, windy -1psi, watch for cold tears
- 38psi hot always for front
- 19-20 psi starters for rear
Using the minivac / brake lines
- Turn on air compressor + connect minivac to brake nipple, grease up the end to make sure it creates a suction!
- Press the lever down (use the metal hinge to keep it down)
- Open brake nipple and bleed until you see old fluid come out
- Top up MC
- 400, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit sandpaper
- 3-5 cans of rattlecan paint (built-in primer if your’s isn’t primed yet)
- 3 cans of clearcoat (I only had to use 2 and it looked great, 3 if you’re OCD / really want it to shine)
Light 400 grit light all-over the fairings (sand 400 then 600 for gas tank plastic since it’s hard as fuck…)
- 2-3 light (VERY light! it’s really easy to make it drip) coats, wait 5 minutes each coat (check can for time between coats)
- Wait 1 day before proceeding for it to fully dry
- Light 1000 WET sand all-over (don’t dry sand!)
- Wash with light soapy solution and rinse
- Let it dry thoroughly, dry with a tack cloth too. Ideally, let it dry out in a place with no dust.
- 3 light coats of clear-coat, wait 10 minutes each coat (check can for time between coats). Again, SUPER LIGHT. Clear coat is the easiest to make drip. It’s okay to do more than 3 coats all-over.
- Wait 24 hours before proceeding (clear coat takes a while to fully dry)
(Rest of steps is OPTIONAL. Your job may look great already with the clear coat, but if you wish to make it shiny even more, proceed below..)
- Wet sand with 1000 grit, then 1500 grit, then finally with 2000 grit. 2 passes over entire part each stage
- Quick rinse before rub / polishing
- Rub: Run 3-4 passes over whole part with rubbing compound with a microfiber cloth (apply compound to surface, spread using cloth, when compound and water are thrown aside and absorbed by the foam pad, mode to next panel!). I’d advise against a microfiber wheel
- Polish: Run 3-4 passes over whole part with polishing compound + microfiber cloth (apply compound to surface, spread using cloth)
Ken Hell’s Podcast:
16 How to Find Your Limits:
- For brakes:
- Coasting is the worst possible way to negotiate a corner.
- Biggest tip: look ahead, do NOT target fixate, focus on where you are going and go towards it.
- make corners as SHORT as possible. drive in fast, turn hard, roll on the throttle hard.
- Further you look ahead, the slower everything will feel.
- the smoother you are, the faster you’re going to go, seriously. be very very very smooth.
- be comfortable on the bike, let it do the work for you, follow these tips to keep yourself in shape: https://www.reddit.com/r/Trackdays/comments/b7dctk/getting_tired_at_trackdays/
- be super loose and relaxed! seriouslyyyy
- upper half up, legs open (butt off to one side), outer leg gripping tank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgguClO3cT0
- be smooth as fuck.
- look THROUGH the corner… #1.
- balls to the tank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l04TUNLO3Pg much more comfortable than having your ass all the way back. more control and more feel. Have good body position BEFORE the turn in because moving around while committing to the turn = unsafe…
- be comfortable with your body position. pivot your hips from the front of the bike.
- http://onedowntwoup.com/2016/10/22/technique-turning-on-a-closed-throttle/ Closed throttle braking. Close your throttle until the apex. Use engine braking. Do this instead of trail braking..
- Trail brake (not too much, seriously!)
- One big thing too, the uneven puck wear is because I’m pushing my leg out TOO much. I need to lean more, put my knee out less and cause more even wear..
- LEAN MORE!
- If I’m coming in too hot, try to AVOID braking. Turn, carry your speed and if you think you’re running wide, drop your chest / head a little bit lower and you’ll be surprised how much more you can turn. Weight the inside peg
- Seriously look with your eyes more. I stopped doing that at the end of the season. Look where you want to go.
- LOOK WITH YOUR EYES. Look exactly where you want to go, look up the track as far as you possibly can.
- Only half-buttcheck, it’s way easier to turn yourself like that..
- When braking, don’t brake “gradually” brake FULL and hard and let off brake towards the end, there’s zero point to be braking softly and then hard.
- You can lean a tiny bit while braking full, but don’t start trail braking yet..
- “Steer -> Line -> Gas. That ‘gas’ can be pre-apex, apex, post-apex – just as soon as the bike’s on the right curve a smooth roll on will stabilize everything as well as give you more speed (even if your roll on is super soft, you’ll at least decelerate less than you would by coasting/holding).”
- “Remember the fastest lines around the track are the ones that allow you to get back on the FG (full gas) or WOT (wide open throttle) the soonest. If you’re on full gas quicker than your rivals, all other things being equal, you’ll be faster.”
- Seriously, just work on lines, get the leaning / speed in. Work on getting to full gas or wide open throttle the quickest / soonest. Lines are the KEY.
- eyes up and ahead
- work on lines / being smooth with the throttle BEFORE working on body positioning!!!
- keep bars nice and light, put grip / weight onto outside peg / locking into the tank, supporting your body through your thighs.
- use visual markers for braking / turning instead of “guessing”. use them so you can brake later and turn better.
- Lean AS LITTLE as possible for the speed you are traveling, get off the bike, lean less and work on technique until you are able to achieve more speed.
- “The goal of steering is to get through the turn accurately, with as little lean angle as possible (for the speed you are traveling).” Twist of the Wrist II, Chapter 15, paragraph 5. Page 46
Tires / Slicks
- keeping checking front tire, make sure you actually HAVE chicken strips all around… chicken strips on front = good, rear = not so much
- ALWAYS check to see that they’re hot before going out
- On high setting on warmers
- You will warm them up by accelerating HARD and braking HARD. Zig-zagging / cornering won’t do you anything.
- First couple sessions take it easy and then really go ham
- On max lean through a corner, relax your arms, let the bike turn for you, if you require to put input on the bars while turning, you’re doing something wrong.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvHxUkiLRa0
- Neautral throttle throughout the corner, staying on your line.
- It’s not whose first on the gas, it’s whose first on FULL gas.
- Remember to have NO FINGERS on either the clutch or brake… focus on just turning
- Use the throttle to decrease or increase the turning radius. Use it very very smoothly.. mm’s of input, not a handful. No fingers on clutch or brake.
- When you reach max lean angle: You will feel your maximum lean angle when the rear tire gets a bit squirelly… another is knee’s scraping. However.. you should try to MINIMIZE lean angle through turns, by maximizing the radius as well as bodypoitioning.
- To adjust your line in-corner: the lean is set at the beginning of the line. to adjust, DONT push on bars, simply increase or decrease your throttle. DONT coast. it will feel uneasy, either always be braking until the apex, or on the throttle.. you STEER WITH THE REAR WHEEL. Set your lean at entry, decrease / increase line with throttle
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlUmKCjIYBI Seriously open the throttle ALL the way… Grit your teeth, shout at the bike and let it RIP.
- get my ass more back in the seat on straights, try to experiment with putting my ass more in the middle for corners to see if it’s more comfortable, otherwise, it’s just personal preference!
- Move your body BEFORE braking. No need to stick knee out, but get your ass off the seat while braking / set it up!! (this is important)
- get ass off seat BEFORE braking.
- It’s honestly best to brake hard, let go of the brakes and let the bike run. Utilize closed-throttle-turning to the max…
- Brake HARDER! So look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSajbqGjwCk I should be getting that “wriggling” feeling on EACH corner…. that’s the gauge of the limits of braking.
- you shouldn’t “coast” to the turn. go from throttle to max braking (smoothly).
- brake hard and you’ll find that you can move your brake marker much further, doing all your braking before you ever start your steering.
- do all downshifting / braking before corner
- ease on the throttle throughout corner
- Weight the inside peg
- Ball of your foot on the peg.
- Know the “grip” limits. Literally best way to warm up is hard braking / acceleration. Learn to feel the “slide” of the rear when it looses grip.
- The front will get twitchty / doing a tiny head shake if you’re going to lose the front. Sign to add no more weight to front end and to hang off more (head lower, relax bars, etc.)
- Obviously when braking hard the rear will “lift” since you’re braking so hard on the front, if this goes wrong, you’ll end up with a front-end tuck
- You can tell when your tires are cold as it “squirms” when you accelerate.
- Losing grip on the rear: Your “butt” will start to swing around but you’re still pointed in the same direction. Smooth sensation.
- Losing grip on the front: Jerkier / jerking of the front
- Too tense on the bars. Have a nice relax grip
- Rear limit: Experience small slides on turning
- Trail brake all the way until the apex! Keep on the brake until maximum lean angle.
- Body position. Chest down, elbow down, use “screwdriver grip, put ball of foot on peg.
- Smooth as fuck on acceleration on corner, max acceleration when straighting up the bike
- Use your legs hard when changing direction. Move your legs then chest.
Work on closed throttle turning instead of trail braking (much safer and used by Simon Crafar!)
- downshift and use engine braking, closed throttle, no braking
- if you do not use all the lean angle available, when you’re off the brake and closed throttle, you’re not using the bike to it’s full potential.
- if you fuck up: you can use a TINY bit of throttle to adjust your path, but do NOT accelarate, get your line right.
- keep pushing your brake marker until you no longer need to use throttle to “get” to your turning marker. keep adjust your brake marker until it’s brake -> closed throttle -> accelarate.
Tips from reddit
You’re not braking hard enough. Not nearly hard enough. I suspected as much throughout the video then at 2:40 my suspicions were confirmed.
Visualizing the track
You need to draw the track if you’re not already, judging by your braking markers, turn in points, and other factors my assumption is you’ve maybe never drawn it.
Get out a notepad and draw the entire track on one page, two parallel lines, every corner, pit entrance and exit. Draw from memory. Then go look at a picture online or from your track, memorize some more. Draw it again. Now this time draw your lines around the track. Put dots along your line with the initials BP(braking point) TP(turing point) A(apex) FG(full gas). you can use x’s (x) or dots doesn’t matter, but whichever you don’t use you can use for spacing out braking markers before the turn. If the turn has 4 braking markers make 4 x’s (or dots) with the correct spacing.
Next. Draw each corner on one page. So the last exercise was the entire track on one page, now it’s one corner per page. Really make it big, you want to get a feel for how you see yourself coming into corners. Do this every day you’re not at the track, and do it at the track at the end of a session. If you’re as addicted to racing/track riding as I am. You’ll have no problem doing it almost every day. Share your drawings with some more of the skilled guys at the track and ask for input as to how you might better negotiate turns. Remember the fastest lines around the track are the ones that allow you to get back on the FG (full gas) or WOT (wide open throttle) the soonest. If you’re on full gas quicker than your rivals, all other things being equal, you’ll be faster.
This amount of skill, knowledge, and confidence you’ll gain from this exercise alone is indispensable.
How to practice:
Next practice session, try and do this when there isn’t a ton of traffic and work on being able to brake at maximum.
Pick out your brake marker for a big corner that has a good runoff tons of space and when you get to your brake marker, after your set the brake and the front has dived, really brake as hard as you can. You want your back tire off the ground a couple inches. You will most likely stop or get to your corner speed WAYY before the corner.
Awesome. You now realize you can move your brake marker up. While straight up and down you should be braking at maximum every time.
Go out on the track, forget everything else, and do this. Roll through those corners nice and relaxed, get on that gas early and rinse and repeat for every corner until you have successfully moved up your braking markers to where your maximum braking before you turn in.
Next: trail braking.
You can be at 100% braking power even while a little leaned over. Not a lot, just a touch. Once you mastered your Braking points, or gotten a lot better, start leaning the bike JUST A FRACTION on full brakes. you will notice the bike can move just a little, do this a fraction at a time and there will be a point where you feel your front wanting to tuck, it won’t like it, it will be very noticeable. Awesome, now you know how much you can lean on 100% brakes.
Now as you get better at learning how to push your bike to the limits and learning to really master controls you can begin trailing in. As you lean over, brake pressure and lean angle are inversely proportional.
If you’re at 50% lean (25ish degrees on your bike) you can only use about 50% of the brake. As you get to 75% of maximum lean you can only use 25% brake. If the math ever goes over 100% you’re going to low side. As a general rule most people I’ve see who are learning to trail brake are too scared they are going to crash. Better to crash when you know it’s coming and you’re practicing in a slower corner than the opposite.
You can practice trailing in an empty parking lot. Get up some speed, hit the brakes about 50% and start turning. You can turn quite a bit on just 50% brakes, as you increase lean slowly let out the brake. Really focus your attention on that front tire and feel what it’s doing.
Think slow, think smooth. Good luck out there buddy!
Order of importance
- Bike placement-your line.
- Vision/focus eyes aren’t in play neither is technique
- Motor controls-don’t stab grab yank
- Brake lever control-modulation of lever based on corner radius
- Turn in rate and point-not too late or early or too fast, early turn slow turn. Late turn quick turn, think about body, deliberate movement deliberate action
- Body position-weight off inside arm, inside butt cheek hanging off
Body positioning tips
- Rest outside arm on tank.
- Feet and legs locked in to the outside
- 1 butt-cheeck on the seat
- Arms loose
- Ball of the foot on the peg
- Bend your inner elbow, try to go as far as you can go down
So, the first time you get your knee down, it’s going to go something like this. Approaching a corner, gradually squeeze the brake lever as you put your weight into the pegs and slide one butt cheek to the inside. Swivel your inside knee to point as close to 90 degrees out as possible. Move your torso and head down and to the inside, “kissing” the mirror. Feel your outside arm contact the tank and point your inside elbow at the ground. As the speed at which you’re taking corners increases, you’ll naturally drag your knee in this position. As you begin to exit the corner, push the bike upright as your torso moves further off, rolling on the throttle. If the next corner is the same direction, stay where you are. If it’s the opposite, move across the bike and start this all over again. Congratulations, you now deserve the bike you’re riding.
You’re looking really good. Especially for only your 3rd track day! I’m a racer and track day instructor and I know how the normal learning pace goes. I’d say you’re obviously ahead of the curve. Maybe lean forward more aggressively next time. You’ll need to crane your neck to see better, but that looks like the next step to iron our your form. And it looks like you’re doing this already, but be sure to sit off your tank a little bit so your hips can swivel easily. Everything from your pelvis and up should be angled into the direction of the corner. This will align your body to best handle the bike in the corner.
Also remember this. In order to apply an aggressive body position you’ll want to have the speed and smoothness to justify it. (If you don’t have the speed, it’s still great to practice the good form, you’ll just look over exaggerated.) You’ll want to practice practice practice at being smooth. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Be smooth on the brakes and trail braking in to corners, hitting your proper apex, spotting your exit and powering out to hard to your exit point. Body position is a large part of hitting those top tier speeds, but you can’t go fast without being smooth. My number one tip to be a smoother rider is, look as far out in front of you as you comfortably can. As your speed increases, that comfortable vision spot will reach farther out in front of you. If you’re stuck at a plateau, try forcing your vision out further.
- Smooth (braking, corner lines, throttle)
- Vision (look far ahead)
- Body position (more comfy lean = naturally more speed. You’ll have to go faster to keep from turning too sharp.)