Thread: Gymkhana
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:12 PM   #79
Vulfy OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: NYC
Oddometer: 574
One thing that should really help is Trail Braking as described by Lee Parks from Total Control.
Here is the excerpt from his book.

"Under braking a forward weight transfer causes the front end to "dive." This has the effect of reducing the rake and trail of the machine, which makes it want to turn quicker and with less effort."
(copyright Lee Parks, all rights reserved)

I can definitely see the potential of this. As you compress front forks, you change the geometry of the bike, lowering the front and rising the rear so to speak. This will make the bike more "twitchy" and more flick-able into a tighter turn.

The whole process does require a steady hand, and a set of steel balls, with Godly trust in your tires.

From my personal experience, there is not a lot of room we are dealing with here. The time frame is also very short. And yet a lot of things are happening at the same time.

As you come up to the cone, you need to start squeezing front brake just enough to slow down, but not too fast, so you don't loose momentum.
As you start to turn around the cone, you progressively squeeze harder on the front brake, while keeping back brake at steady pressure.
Right before the apex you squeeze all you can out of the front, and start applying more rear.
At the apex you are overlapping the action of smoothly letting go of the front and harder push on the rear.
Also, all this front / rear brake malarkey, its smooth but its not exactly gentle. It still needs to be firm and prompt enough to fit into the turn as well as to actually make the front end dip a bit. Which brings up the faith in your front tire and its ability to grip in a turn, while braking.
At the same time you need to adjust throttle to increase RPMs a little bit, as the action of braking AND turning into a tight corner, really slows down the bike, so you need enough power going into the rear wheel to keep it stable and not wobble or fall over.
While all of that is going on, you are pushing with the legs into the tank to lean the bike into the turn, and wrestling with G-forces of braking with your core muscles, to keep your arms relaxed and let the bars of the bike flick into full lock. Also add into the equation the fact, that when you are turning right, your throttle arm is bent, and you bending even more at the wrist to keep RPMs stable, and when turning left, you are stretching throttle arm.

Just typing all of that makes me sweat.

A couple of simple tweaks really make a big difference in comfort level and better ergos.

Adjusting front brake lever angle, so that you can squeeze it, while still being able to twist the throttle a little bit, helps a great deal.
Adjusting play on the throttle cable also helps. Remove as much play as you can while it is still safe for day to day riding.

For now back to the drawing board for me, to lose those extra 5 seconds.
I really am in love with this sport.

P.S. all of the above is just my own experience, so no idea how right or wrong it is in terms of proper technique, so take it all with a grain of salt.
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