Roll off: True Newbies Read - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 11-07-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Roll off: True Newbies Read

Please forgive me if this post makes no sense, because I'm a little tipsy (Read: Jameson), but I thought of this when I was on a ride this weekend and still think it's a good idea, somehow. I've seen some new riders popping up here and there, so maybe this will be handy. Of course, it was so cold that my brain might have frozen, so maybe you should move on....

I would love if the expert riders would contribute, clarify and correct me where necessary (I've much to learn, too!).

I wanted to bring up a riding technique (specifically, a throttle control technique) that is vastly underappreciated among new riders. Specifically, the number of videos I see of riders with all the right gear and nice bikes that end up plastics down due to sudden throttle chops has driven me to the magnanimity of elucidating the point: roll off (do not chop) the throttle.

Briefly, by a roll-off I mean you don't let the throttle slip closed or jam it closed suddenly. Instead, you keep your grip and close the throttle with control, specifically actuating it to decrease the amount of throttle mindfully.

Remember that even given the presence of a slipper clutch on your modern, high performance cornering device, the engine slowing the motorbike achieves primarily wear on the engine, but secondarily and most importantly drag forces over which you have no control.

The reason the strongest brake is in your right hand is that your hand, being more dextrous than your foot, will provide the most precise control of the drag forces slowing your motorbike. The rationale for this is that slowing the cycle will transfer the weight to the front (your thinner tire, with the smaller traction patch), so you want to be very precise in doing so.

However, when you chop the throttle, you allow the engine to brake with no deference to your will. Not only is engine braking out of your control, but it is sudden, ever present and nigh unpredictable since the degree of drag will vary with your current speed. The brake allows for the precise application of drag, the engine applies it at a constant rate based on its friction regardless of your input.

Particularly in cornering, this will destabilize the bike, result in the wrong weight distribution and, if you're at your traction limit on the rear tire, possibly produce a quick high-side.

The point? A slow, or at least smooth roll-off with the throttle will reduce the sudden impulse of resulting drag. In mid corner (upon noticing a hazard or finding traffic) it will give you an opportunity to hold your lean angle rather than standing the bike up and going wide (an immediate result of increase weight and drag on the front tire).

The place to practice this, I have found, is on the highway. With long straights where all you have to consider is the joy handle, it's easy to attentively practice the roll off and notice the results. With a smooth roll-off, you will notice the forces throwing the bike forward, even at highway speed, aren't as pronounced. The bike will feel stabled and controlled, and so will you. You'll become accustomed to this there, and when you're mid-corner and come up on a minivan moving 20 mph slower than you are you'll be ready.

As an added bonus, the smooth rolloff will require that you anticipate your moves on the highway, which I found enhanced the precision of my negotiation of traffic. Remember that one of the downsides of your weightless machine is your ability to change velocity unpredictably. If you're smoother, other drivers are (slightly) better able to anticipate your path.
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post #2 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Right, I forgot

Actually there was one more thing I wanted to mention, and it was sort of important to the point. So, Jameson is back in hand.

To experience this, go to a big, empty parking lot with plenty of room in front of you, and throttle in to a sweeping, wide turn. I mean wide: Don't do this in a sharp turn or you'll crash. Stay in low gear and don't get going too fast (basically, be in a speed and gear where you're turning smoothly and comfortable at 6000 rpm). Brace yourself into the bike with your knees so that forces won't move you forward or aft. Mid turn, without providing additional steering input, let the throttle snap closed.

You will feel the bike begin to right itself almost immediately, since the force of deceleration (which you don't control) is now transfering all the weight to the front, adding drag that forces the bike to correct to the path of least resistance, decreasing the friction by attempting constant velocity.

At this point, if you try to provide too much steering input to correct the change, you will absolutely destabilize the bike, forcing the front tire to bear a greater load than it was intended to.

After this, attempt the same excersize, but this time roll off smoothly and try to keep the line. With a smooth rolloff, you can spread the drag on the front tire over time, reducing the amount of friction and making the steering effect less dramatic.

I feel sort of bad suggesting this, but I tried the same excersize myself with both throttle and brakes to get used to it. I would only stress that you attempt this with very shallow lean angles and tons of room on and off your intended path.
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post #3 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 07:20 PM
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There is a saying I always hear from the really fast guys: "Smooth is fast".

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post #4 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 09:07 PM
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This thread deserves more attention and as such, I've made it a sticky.

When I was first learning how to ride, my mentor once described motorcycling as counter-intuitive. As I've worked to refine my skills, I've found that much of it actually becomes intuitive; in that I mean that when I am operating the controls of my bike, I'm fluidly giving input without consciously dissecting every move. I do it by feel, if you will. I have found that the right-hand function is very much like a delicate balance of chemistry: too much in either direction, too abruptly under the wrong conditions can lead to an explosive adverse reaction.

I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I have come to enjoy refining the specific craft of throttle input and braking.
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post #5 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 10:13 PM
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Not gonna lie, I chop the throttle mid corner anytime I see a hazard. Usually sand. I think the difference is that I know what happens when I chop the throttle so I'm countering those actions at the same time.

I honestly can't think of another good way to react to sand mid corner. Mind you, this is before getting in the sand. If I notice it to late then I stay on the throttle and try to stay as relaxed as possible.
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post #6 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 10:14 PM
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It's good that you pointed this out and explained it the way you did. Even I learned something new. I've even experienced this myself. Going through a turn too fast and I began to panic. Luckily for me I didn't grab the brakes. Rather, I slowly closed the throttle and ended up getting through the turn without any incident. But I didn't give it any second thoughts either.

I've ridden dirtbikes for years so I'd have to attribute that to instinct to some degree but I'm also still new to riding street. Just like counter-leaning. At first I couldn't comprehend it but as I rode I realized I was doing it instinctively.

Good stuff man, good stuff. Thanks to you as well MoM for making this a Sticky, it definitely deserves it.

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post #7 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 10:32 PM
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Thanks for the good read bro.
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post #8 of 29 Old 11-08-2012, 10:41 PM
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I haven't been riding for a long time so any help that I can get is great. This is why I like this forum. Really informative in all aspects of the beauties that we enjoy so much riding. The other day I went into a familiar turn too hot (over confidence ofcourse) and I chopped the throttle. She stood right up, but luckily I got my composure back and corrected myself. So this advice is going to help me out. I am definately going to put this into practice. Thanks to everyone that given good advice on here. I am a better, or let me say, safer rider for what I have read on this forum.... Thanks again.
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post #9 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 01:30 AM
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The old Keith Code mantra - once the throttle is cracked open it must be held steady or opened. I try to stick to that. But yeah, sand - um, steady state and ride through it IMHO.

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post #10 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 02:15 AM
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My buddy did not waste time telling me....DO NOT CHOP THE THROTTLE! I have kept that in the back of my mind, yet it is the hardest habit (at least for me) to break. There are a set of twisties 5 minutes from my house. I have hit those turns smoothly (felt great and i was confident) and i have hit them when i chopped the throttle(oh shit, this feels awkward). Lately i have been practicing downshifting smoothly, setting myself up before i get to a turn so that the chance of possibly chopping the throttle will be minimized. I appreciate you posting this OP, thanks.
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post #11 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dremers View Post
I have kept that in the back of my mind, yet it is the hardest habit (at least for me) to break.
It's tough because it's a relatively precise movement that comes in most handy in panic situations. I like MoM's description,

Originally Posted by MistressOfMayhem View Post
I'm fluidly giving input without consciously dissecting every move. I do it by feel, if you will. I have found that the right-hand function is very much like a delicate balance of chemistry: too much in either direction, too abruptly under the wrong conditions can lead to an explosive adverse reaction.
because, though I'm not as experienced, this is what I'm striving for and starting to feel. Once you get used to it, you'll naturally treat the throttle as the analog input it is (as opposed to the morse-code On-OFF) at all times, and the roll-on/roll-off will be replaced by smooth, semiconscious modulation. Once you hit this point, I dare say you'll be better off than most riders.
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post #12 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 05:26 AM
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great write up man thanks for your time writing all that

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post #13 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 05:57 AM
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Good stuff Venge, thanks. As a newb, this is exactly the kind of stuff I need to read, so thank you.

I think we can all agree that you should hit the Jameson more often if it makes you write up stuff this good!

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post #14 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 06:21 AM
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This is a great read! I've found out the hard way what chopping the throttle mid-turn can do on my previous bike
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post #15 of 29 Old 11-09-2012, 06:48 AM
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So, I'm pretty new to riding, but since day one I've been applying this "roll off" technique. No one taught me, no one told me, it just felt more stable and comfortable to me. I deal with explosives for a living, so a steady hand is kind of second nature to me.

I don't know about everyone else, but my eyes stay on the road at all times while I ride so everything else is done by feel. I don't look down to see if I'm going a certain speed to make a turn, I just feel it. If it feels too fast, I roll off. If it feels to slow, I open it some.

It just seemed like common sense to me, to keep things smooth instead of trying to abruptly get my bike to do something. As with my experience in combat, panic leads to bad things.

I did a lot of roll off stuff this past weekend with PowerGroove & M.O.M.
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