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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by cellige, Oct 6, 2013.
Could this also be caused by a loose chain?
Remember most of the time at the track they will ding you for less than a 1.5 inch chain sag at tech. You ALWAYS run the chain loose so that it doesn't bind the rear suspension.
If the throttle is being that agressive that you can't roll in (and I don't mean from 1,200 RPM more like 4 grand) smoothly you can always drag the rear brake a bit, its something that I have done for years since my Speed Triple is pretty bad with driveline lash.
If you aren't completely off of the throttle it won't lock the rear.
On my Concours 1400 with slipper, I sometimes on the street go down multiple gears without releasing the clutch. I do the same on my KTM 560 SMR and KTM 525 EXC. More so the KTMs than the C14, as the C14 is the street bike and ridden the least aggressively.
Here are the advantages:
The engine braking effect is pneumatic and will never lock the rear tire (unless you over-downshift and release your clutch quickly). While you are holding the clutch in, you have no engine braking effect. Your deceleration to reach entry speed relies only on the brakes. That is fine as long as you don't use much rear brake and lock it.
You are sure that each downshift has actually happened and you have boosted engine braking effect after each one. There is harmony between the speed of the bike and the rpms' of the engine. Downshifting without the feed-back of the clutch-out and the resistance on the rear tire is pneumatic can be dangerous if the final actual gear rate does not match your expectancy for any reason (false shifts or false neutrals or just counting mistake). The danger comes from a locked and sliding rear tire. The inconvenience comes from ending in the wrong combination and slowing down. The blipping technique to match rpms' and rear wheel spinning is more difficult to do properly when you drop multiple gears while keeping clutch-in.
All the downshifting process is done before the bike is leaned over; hence, any mistake leading to locked rear tire or upset suspension is more forgiving regarding a slide and downside (or even highside) fall. Carefully clutching-out while already leaned over may be good for a smooth deceleration-acceleration transition (regarding suspension and loads on each contact patch), but it takes attention away from the tasks that correspond to that moment: quick flick, relaxed upper-body and arms input to the handlebar, line trajectory, road hazards and throttle control.
Bikes that have fuel injection or excessive slack in the throttle cable, chain and sprocket's coupling may show a rough transition from deceleration to acceleration.
A brief overlap of rear brake application and throttle opening can reduce that jerk effect and smoothly transfer the weight from the front contact patch to the rear.
Trail braking and clutching-out into the turn and after leaned over are fine and delicate techniques not suitable for riders of limited experience.
I downshift because I like to have my engine spooled up a bit before entering a turn. I let the clutch out between each shift so I can judge whether I am in the right gear or not, one gear too many could over rev the engine or possibly cause the rear end to step out.
I've never taken any race training, but I like to have the motor wound up in a curve so that I can get some good engine braking if needed and get some good acceleration on my way out. I think that when the motor is spooled you have to stay on the throttle to keep speed, and that keeps driveline lash to a minimum.
This another reason I would like to take a track class some day. Dragging a front brake while in a turn or leaned over goes against everything I have been taught and taught. I understand the theory which is fascinating.
You get style points for doing it clucthless THAT is a real bitch to get right. I almost always clutch unless I'm having a really good day.
...and trailing on the track varies by corner, some corners you do all of the braking straight up and down then tip it and back on the throttle, some you trail pretty deep, some S-turns you you "chop" instead of going wide in wide out you hug the inside after the first corner, and if you do it right you aren't really completely off the brakes until the second apex.
Then you have that rat-bastard lightbulb at NJMP, we like to call it never ending right and never ending left, the right is triple apex 3rd and forth gear into a heavy decreasing radius.....just to swap to never ending left which is 210* 2nd gear and decreasing radius. That third apex you are coming in 4th gear hanging off the bike as far as possible to brake and get downshifted for the decreasing radius, and there isn't room to stand it up if you are going faster than parade lap pace.
Fuck up never ending left you just lost like 3 seconds because its WTF all the way to turn one there.....and its wide enough that there are about 12 different line you can get through the left on.
I think everyone should spend some time at a race track learning how to corner. I just about live at race track for 6+ months of the year and I've done a few different schools. I'm not the fastest, but I'm not slow and anyone who I race with will tell you I'm super smooth.
So my take on braking/downshifting:
Blipping isn't the only method for down shifting and matching revs. The method I pick up from Pridmore's Star school really works best for me. (you can find videos of it on his site) In short, you down shift before you roll off. Sounds odd, I know, but it works. It took me the better part of a two day school to get it, but once I did I wasn't bouncing the back tire on my R6 anymore.
All of my down shifts are complete within the first 10% of braking. But I don't fully release the clutch until I'm ready to tip in. At that point I'm trailing the brakes until I'm comfortable with my speed and that I know I'll hit my apex.
Once at the apex, it's easy to start to pick up the gas as you take away lean angle. Once you can see your exit point and the bike is about upright... it's WFO.
I think you never want to freewheel corners in any vehicle. You want the motor connected to the driving wheels as much as possible. Sure, if I am coming to a stop I will simply pull in the clutch and downshift all the way while using the brakes to stop. But never on a track; and almost never if I am not coming to a stop.
Matching gears: Downshifting is a big part of my fun when riding in a spirited fashion. I like to use mostly the front brake when on the tar. I like heavyish front wheel braking with a constant pressure on the lever, while blipping the throttle with the same hand. While I am not a road racer, both of my sons are and I learned that little technique from them. And BTW, they had slippers and speedshifters to help. But the downshifting is a bit of an art that is special for me.
I am pretty abrupt with the clutch, though. I have a bad habit of popping it out. Like bang! A bad habit.
The brain can only think of one thing at a time. Where there is more than one thing happening, we can give each item slices of attention. The more we have to think about any one thing, the less time we have to think about other things.
My mechanic said to do clutchless downshifts only in the winter when he needs the money--he's plenty busy in summer.
It can be learned to squeeze the brake lever and roll-on a blip of throttle at the same time for smooth downshifts while braking.
One, its easier to count, but more than that its feel. Counting is the correct way to do it, knowing which gear to be in for every corner, but for us non-track junkies the gear number isn't as set for each corner and we don't have to try and think 'was it down two here, or three?' on the ever so critical corner entrance. This way we can ride by feel too, not just math. Sure, I've gone one more gear than I should have and ended up with a bike redlined before the corner exit and no more to give, and I've done the other way too and ended up putting out of the corner. But at least I had that feel of the bike and engine before I made that decision. I would rather have that then end up getting a great drive off the last corner and find now the next corner is a bottom of third corner and not a top of second corner like it was last time AFTER I let the clutch out in second (track noobs here remember).
Two, your still letting the engine spin down some in that last gear before you tip in. Blip it and let it spin down while your finishing your braking. You don't blip and downshift exactly to the RPM your going to run the corner with (not us noobs anyways), so get it done early and focus on the more important parts, like smooth throttle application, and entry points, don't try and smash all that in at your most critical moment.
The blip takes a while to learn, but is possible on near every bike. But, increase the displacement and lower the number of cylinders and the margin for error gets smaller. I can blip a 600 inline like nothing, my 1000 CC twin was a bit harder, and my single took a while to learn (yes, I blip an XRL). Just practice blipping it without the brakes, completely slowing down to 1st by engine alone. Once you get that down, work on adding some front brake in, a little at first and then work you way up. But, if you can't blip one gear at a time, what makes you think doing 2 or 3 will be better.
Now, the kicker. Not using the engine to brake is better, and typically faster, from what I have heard.
I do something like that, but only on the street, I can't say I've ever tried that at track pace. I basically clutch with the throttle steady and it just sort of "falls" into the right RPM.
Of course I don't usually blip and brake at once in traffic, not enough tension on the brakes to do it smoothly.
This is as good a place as any to pose this question:
Do you have more traction in a turn when you are coasting with the clutch in or when driving the rear with maintenance throttle.
It seems to me that coasting does, because you aren't consuming traction at the rear to overcome wind resistance, but I have been wrong before.
ooh ooh.... This one is easy.
NEVER coast in a corner. You have a harder time turning in if you are coasting and you have less clearance if you are coasting mid corner.
Much safer to be on the gas.
My scarest moments at the track have been when I've hit a false netural or actuall netural and couldn't get on the gas in the turn. It's the only time I've dragged hard parts in a corner. (well, before I started racing the 250, but that another story)
I know you asked about traction, but if you don't have clearance. Traction doesn't really matter. It's also easier to lose the front coasting, need to get more weight transfered to the back tire, (larger contact patch) as soon as you can.
Exactly! Unless you play with it, it is rather hard to wrap your head around it.
an example of what coasting through a corner is like verse what being on the gas is like...
IT's a couple of laps around the local track. You can hear a downshift not blipping in the first 10 sec. The the going to netural, then a couple more corners, then more downshifting.
Never ever ever ever ever ever Short shift
If I'm coasting through a corner the bike is broken
....and that is why your name is familiar, the 675.net =D
There are places where it can serve you well. There are a few tracks where short shifting in a couple of the sections can keep you from highsiding yourself to the moon.
Yup... That would be me. I love racing that 675.