Help critique my riding/body position/whatever - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Help critique my riding/body position/whatever

In an attempt to keep from mangling the track pics thread any further I thought I would start a place where people who are looking for critique on their riding style, body position, condom size...whatever.

One of the great things about this forum is that there are more than a few exceptionally skilled teachers and I am hoping they will consider offering their advice here as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sbk1198 View Post
PSlo, what am I doing wrong here?

This was posted in another thread but it brings up a great point: There are ALWAYS exceptions to the rules. This is terrible body positioning by the book but clearly, it works. All we can try to do is to get as close as possible to what we know to be right.

THE THREE GOLDEN RULES OF BODY POSITIONING
1) The rider should have uninhibited access to the controls at all times
2) The rider should be in a comfortable position which interferes the least with the motorcycle.
3) The rider should put himself/herself into a position which free's up traction when it is needed most.

A quick breakdown of the above:

1) The rider should have uninhibited access to the controls at all times - This simply means that your body position needs to allow you to be able to work all of the controls.

I often see people leaning far off to the left in an effort to be Marquez-esque however their right arm is fully straight with no bend in it. What happens if you hit a bump and get a wobble? Suddenly that bar has a ~180lb rider attached to it that it has to move and bad things happen. You always need to be free and loose on the controls, and your body position should support this, not hinder it.

2) The rider should be in a comfortable position which interferes the least with the motorcycle. - This is really two parts but "4 golden rules" sounds dumb, so work with me here

Comfort - Your BP should be comfortable. I am not talking couch-like, but it should not put a strain on you just to maintain your body position. It should feel natural and require no thought to maintain. If you have doubts whether or not your BP is comfortable enough, run 20 laps at your favorite track and tell me how you feel :-p

Interfere the least - Basically this means that your weight needs to be distributed in such a way that it does not impact what the motorcycle is trying to do. For me, that usually means 75% of my weight is on the pegs, and 25% on the seat. Those numbers change as the track demands but overall, those are some good numbers. (5% legs, 95% seat on long straights or 95% legs, 5% seat over really bumpy sections).

Note that nowhere on this list are hands/wrists. It should be the goal of every rider to keep weight off of their hands/wrists if at all possible. There are of course exceptions to this rule...heavy braking for instance. It is virtually impossible to keep weight off of your hands under heavy braking, but by definition, if you are braking hard, you are straight up and down and so we do not really need to be light on the bars when straight. Still, we want to keep as much weight as possible off the bars.

3) The rider should put himself/herself into a position which free's up traction when it is needed most. - This gets a little more complex.

Your front tire has 100% traction that needs to be divided up between cornering, braking forces, and bar input.

If you are going straight and need to stop, you can devote 100% of that traction to braking and be fine, right?

Trail braking is when you are cornering and applying the brakes at the same time. If you are braking with 20% of your available traction, then you theoretically have 80% left to corner with, right? I say 'theoretically' because there is no such thing as having zero bar input. There is always some.

Some schools call it "steering input", "light pressure", or at Penguin we call it "thumb and forefinger" pressure. In the above example it would ideally be something more like 20% braking, 78% cornering, 2% bar input. That 2% is necessary to keep the bike carving through the turn.

Here is a quick example of why this is so critical:

Rider 1 enters a turn. He is skilled and has excellent body position. As he approaches the turn he trail brakes as he begins to lean the bike. 30% brakes/ 68% cornering/ 2% bar, then 20/78/2, 10/88/2, and finally at the apex he releases his brakes entirely and is 0/98/2.

Rider 2 says "well shit, he can do it, so can I!". Unfortunately for Rider 2 his body positioning is not as good. Since they are at the same speed, Rider 2 will need to use the same braking and lean angle. Upon entering the turn he hits 30% braking, 68% cornering, except because his BP is not as good he is using 5% on bar pressure. He starts to slide the front end but is likely used to it though as he has to keep up with these guys regularly. At 20/78/5 that slide becomes a lore more pronounced. The more you lean, the more that slide gets closer to the inevitable. At 10/88/5 the drama starts and he is really pushing wide at the apex. In desperation he lets go of the brake but needs to tip the bike in to make the turn at the speed he is at. 0/98/5 is a really polite way of saying that he just lost the front and is crashing.

Same speed, same lean. Rider 1 successfully navigated the turn due to superior BP. Rider 2 is in the med center.

Bar input effectively creates an artificial ceiling of traction, and believe me when I say that 5% is VERY minimal bar input. Most students that I see are in the 20%-30% range.

THAT is why I am faster than some people at my local track. It isn't because I have a faster bike, or because I have bigger balls. It is because when I get to a turn I do all that I can to free up traction by NOT introducing unwanted bar input.
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post #2 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 11:39 AM
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Lots of good points. So, I feel really good in turn 1 at Jennings. My favorite corner actually. What could be changed on my bp? Also, what am I doing right?

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post #3 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 12:02 PM
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Just put this up in the other thread but figured I'd add this here as that "exception to the rule" you mention....

Sometimes it's just a person's riding style but they're still fast. We have a control rider that's a little older than me... probably pushing close to 50. He rides a ZX10 and if you were to look at his body position there'd probably be things to critique.... until he goes past you drifting both wheels as one of our most experienced and fastest coaches.

Look at Kevin Schwantz... 500cc Grand Prix World Champion and had some of the worst BP in history if we were to really dig into it. Seriously.... we would call this dude a total noob if we saw this up on a canyon road.







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post #4 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 12:08 PM
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Funny this came up.....I was thinking something similar whilst watching the tt....noticed the riders do often ride crossed up (usually a term for poor form)....guessing it's down mainly to give their head clearance so as to not head but someone's house at 180mph lol.....anyone else noticed how much difference there is in tt/road racers to track racers in terms of body position?
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post #5 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 12:45 PM
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I have heard that the bike you ride will react better to different weight distribution and body position. The older riders have similar positions just like the newer style riders are all the same.
Just like Rossi has had to evolve his body position over the years based on what the progression of the bikes is.
The Evolution of Motorcycle Body Position - Page 2 of 2 -TheRideAdvice.com | Page 2
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post #6 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 12:50 PM
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This looks like a good thread. I'll come back to read it all later tonight when I get back from checking out some museums/memorials in DC

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post #7 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 01:00 PM
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While riding at slower speeds (though the speeds increase as I get more comfortable and introduce less bar input), I take turns with only my right hand on the bar -- this forces me to keep my bar input to an absolute minimum because any weight you put on the bar creates very noticeable effects (because you can't offset the pressure with the other hand). It also feels much less stable when pressure is maintained on the bar after making the initial steering input -- something just feels wrong, whereas this is much less noticeable with both hands on the bars. The solution (I've found), is to shift your body to the inside of the turn so that the weight is balanced -- then, if it weren't for needing to keep on the throttle, you could take both hands off the bars and be just fine.

Obviously, if people are going to do this, make sure your turn is clear of everything...
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post #8 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 01:06 PM
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I dunno....I just throttle up during the turn and as I pick up speed and the bike wants to stand up, I hang off of it more and try to pull it down. Its an ongoing battle
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post #9 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaksears08 View Post
Lots of good points. So, I feel really good in turn 1 at Jennings. My favorite corner actually. What could be changed on my bp? Also, what am I doing right?

Honestly you have textbook body position,better than mine for sure. The only question that I have because I can't tell from the pic is if you are pulling on the bar with your right hand. I don't think so but it's the only question that comes to mind.

Great job.
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post #10 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerGroove View Post
Just put this up in the other thread but figured I'd add this here as that "exception to the rule" you mention....

Sometimes it's just a person's riding style but they're still fast. We have a control rider that's a little older than me... probably pushing close to 50. He rides a ZX10 and if you were to look at his body position there'd probably be things to critique.... until he goes past you drifting both wheels as one of our most experienced and fastest coaches.

Look at Kevin Schwantz... 500cc Grand Prix World Champion and had some of the worst BP in history if we were to really dig into it. Seriously.... we would call this dude a total noob if we saw this up on a canyon road.





And my response from the other thread


Gang, believe me, I get that there are many ways to ride. Everyone has their own style that works for them and yes, those exception 's that everyone loves to quote are certainly fast but they are just that. Exceptions.

I am sure that everyone here (myself included) would like to believe that they are the next Troy Bayliss but the odds are overwhelmingly against that.

We are all after the same thing;to push our skills and speeds to the limit. There are some certain accepted truths about how to go and do that, and because none of us here are the next Bayliss we must strive to do all that we can to follow that path.

In the end I am here to help, and not to tear people down. It is why I haven't really posted anything like this in the several years that I have been a part of this forum. Without voice inflection it is difficult for me to come across as anything but a know it all arrogant dickbag.

My criticism is intended to be constructive which is why I don't offer it unless asked. People can either take my advice or decide that I'm full of shit and ignore what I say. The choice is yours...
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post #11 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 06:21 PM
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Good write-up as usual PSlo! I have a couple of questions that maybe you can elaborate on or help with:

1. First off, are you saying that if I can't do 20 laps without feeling like I'm going to pass out, I have terrible BP? I'll be honest, I've never been able to do that. Best I've ever done, at any track was 15 laps and it was in my first race ever, and I'm guessing the adrenaline is the only thing that got me through it because I felt like I was beat up after those 15 laps, and I haven't done it since then lol. But I always attributed that with being an out-of-shape fatass, not so much that I have terrible BP.

2. I can say with confidence that my biggest struggle is and has always been putting too much pressure on the handle bars. I know that because not only that I just feel it when riding, but also because my hands/wrists are what fatigue the fastest. I've had to come into the pits a few laps sooner than I planned at times only because my right hand was so numb that I could barely feel feedback from the brake lever and throttle, and I was starting to make mistakes.

But the question is, HOW do I fix that? I know the problem, and I know what you're supposed to do (pretty much what you stated above), but I seem to have a big problem with actually doing it. It's sort of like with golf...I know exactly what I need to do to hit a good shot, but I can only do it about 1/5 times. So do you have any tips on how to actually fix that? Also, once you start turning into a corner, when you obviously need to apply some pressure in order to turn the bike, do you just back off that pressure and only use the minimum amount required to keep the bike leaned over? Thing of a longer corner, like a carousel type where you're at full lean for a good 5+ seconds. Can you elaborate in more detail on how you distribute your weight in longer turns like that? I think part of my problem might be that I'm not anchoring myself well onto the bike, so in longer turns at full lean it feels like I'm about to fall off the bike and I use my inside hand to hold myself on, which is less than ideal. Sometimes I wonder how I don't crash with as much pressure I put on the inside handle bar....must be because modern day front race tires are just freakin awesome!

EDIT: also to add to the above, what about bar input under WOT on straights? Am I the only one that feels like I'm doing pull-ups when going full stick on the straights? I feel like i'm holding on for dear life or else I fly off the back of the bike, and that's while at full tuck. It was especially bad with my liter bike, but even on the ZX6R is pretty close to that. Don't know exact numbers, but figure these bikes can pull at least 0.5 G on acceleration if you do it right (in the power band). So holding on the bars at that is like holding half your weight in your hands. So at 220 lbs, the hands are holding a force of about 110 lbs, or 55 lbs each hand. So basically on every straightaway, it's like holding a 5 gal bucket full of water in each hand for about 10-15 seconds or however long it takes to travel the length of the straightaway. Then on the brakes, the G-force is even higher since the brakes are more powerful, so now it's like bench-pressing 100-150 lbs and holding it there for a few seconds (duration of braking zone). Granted, you use the tank to distribute that force a lot more so only a part of that is actually on the hands, but still adds up.

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Last edited by sbk1198; 06-09-2016 at 06:29 PM.
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post #12 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 07:11 PM
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Good stuff again.
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post #13 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbk1198 View Post
Good write-up as usual PSlo! I have a couple of questions that maybe you can elaborate on or help with:

1. First off, are you saying that if I can't do 20 laps without feeling like I'm going to pass out, I have terrible BP? I'll be honest, I've never been able to do that. Best I've ever done, at any track was 15 laps and it was in my first race ever, and I'm guessing the adrenaline is the only thing that got me through it because I felt like I was beat up after those 15 laps, and I haven't done it since then lol. But I always attributed that with being an out-of-shape fatass, not so much that I have terrible BP.
A year ago when I was straining to try to hold onto the bike I would have died doing 20 laps in a row. This year since I've found a position that lets me lock on the bike and relax, when I did the MCRA 20 lap race at Hallett the other weekend it was no problem at all. I was thirsty, but not very fatigued. There are a few people out there at the CMRA rounds that aren't exactly athletes, but they can do it and it all comes down to being able to relax on the bike.

I did have to build up some forearm endurance though! I'm using a 19x18 MC and EBC pads so if I really needed to I have a few options to dial up the power. But, it isn't really a problem any more.

That has been my experience at least.
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post #14 of 115 Old 06-09-2016, 07:51 PM
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It doesn't seem to be a problem on my 500, but any bike that's much faster than that, it becomes a problem. It's the hard braking and hard acceleration that gets me tired (at least my hands/forearms) and makes me put too much pressure on the handle bars.

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post #15 of 115 Old 06-10-2016, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerGroove View Post
Just put this up in the other thread but figured I'd add this here as that "exception to the rule" you mention....

Sometimes it's just a person's riding style but they're still fast. We have a control rider that's a little older than me... probably pushing close to 50. He rides a ZX10 and if you were to look at his body position there'd probably be things to critique.... until he goes past you drifting both wheels as one of our most experienced and fastest coaches.

Look at Kevin Schwantz... 500cc Grand Prix World Champion and had some of the worst BP in history if we were to really dig into it. Seriously.... we would call this dude a total noob if we saw this up on a canyon road.





There's a reason that body positioning is the last thing taught and least important according to Ken Hill. It barely matters until you have mastered the other fundamentals

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