Gymkhana

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Vulfy, May 6, 2012.

  1. Motogymkhanaman

    Motogymkhanaman Been here awhile

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    An old timer once told me that it wasn't launching a wheelie that was so much of a problem, it's landing it that counts!

    The key to a good wheelie is accelerating at a rate over 1'G' and so long as that is maintained the front will continue to paw the air. Of course a wheelie is as welcome as a thunderstorm at a picnic on a Moto Gymkhana course as it means that all that energy is being wasted picking the front up when it could be driving the bike forward.

    Maintaining acceleration at or just below 1'G' is the mark of a true pro and that is why you see them move their upper body weight well forward during the acceleration phase. This moves the entire CofG forward enough to keep the front wheel on the ground. A common mistake (I have made it) is to grab a handful of front brake whilst there is little or no weight on the front wheel which makes the wheel lock almost immediately. Keeping enough weight over the front means that the transition between accelerating and braking can be made as short as possible.
  2. TheWall

    TheWall 0 miles and counting

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    Yep -- when doing gymkhana, you want to keep the wheels on the ground. Having said that, you can't deny that this guy's got some mad skills:

    http://youtu.be/7a9VG4N5DfY

    ...and then, there are these guys:

    http://youtu.be/_zPNQAZMVOA

    IMHO, all of them are awesome -- it's a matter of learning when it is appropriate to use which skill set rather than which sub-category of motorcycling is "best" :)
  3. Storm Shadow

    Storm Shadow Thread Ninja

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    Wheelie max on throttle. Give it revs. Off throttle. Drop below power curve. The lean back and gas it. With foot on rear break but No clutch required. The transitoon between weight ballance front to rear pops it up. Ive done it a few times.

    send on a small touch screen by a guy with fat fingers
  4. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    I surprised myself with a wheelie on my DRZ. It wasn't really a wheelie, the front sort of just hovered a little above the ground, I realized that it was off the ground only after the touchdown and a slight jolt. It was pretty cool ! Don't think I managed it ever again though. It happened during one of my GP8 practices.

    I see small power wheelies all the time in Gymkhana, a lot of riders grab a handful of throttle before a straight and it pops the wheel up a bit. Pretty cool. I've seen a number of stopies as well.
  5. TheWall

    TheWall 0 miles and counting

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    I would think that would be pretty common with hard acceleration on small, torquey, lightweight bikes with huge rear sprockets like you see in the YouTube videos of the gymkhana competitions. As Motor-G-man said, good riders will be shifting their weight around to move the C.G. forward and reduce the tendency of the front wheel to lift under power, but with enough throttle and/or appropriate gearing, the rider's weight might not be enough to keep the front tire planted.
  6. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    Oh good, I've done that too.:freaky
  7. nuggets

    nuggets Fries with that?

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    :lol3:amazon:pot

    Oh my. Who knew mentioning wheelie would get everyone going like this. I think it is because this thread is full of bikers who relish improving skills, and holding a wheelie at balance point exceeds the skill envelope for most(I can't hold it for long).

    So, I have thought about it a little more, and I think I understand why I was doing better wheelies after doing some gymkhana. I think it is just the way gymkhana rewards coordination of control inputs with better time. You have to do clutch, front brake, back brake, throttle turn, and balance all together in order to do well. A wheelie responds well to the same concept of coordination of controls.

    Always land the wheelie on the throttle. Let the front start coming down, and get back on the gas. Keep trying, it is stupid fun, and the skills you build are really useful.

    Now if only I could find someplace to practice them without the wrong kind of attention.:mulie

    Since we are on this topic, here are a couple of videos I have found useful for wheelie learning.

    Ryan young trilas training video (wheelie)


    http://youtu.be/iUFVlKF0XXY

    01 The Wheelie - Explained

    http://youtu.be/wEC8dw06WuY

    Now back to your regularly scheduled MotoGymkhana thread...
  8. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    nuggets: thank you so much for posting those links, especially the "Offroad fanatic" one. They have really short and sweet explanations for all of their videos.

    Browsing through their upload library, I stumbled on this one.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kxcbHkbsGNs?list=UUCutfCgEnlHxih0c9Nh5etA&amp;hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    What caught my attention is the "outside elbow" up. I wonder if this will help in Gymkhana as well, as I sometimes struggle with uneven pressure from my hands in a full lock turn. I can feel my hands struggling with each other, both pushing opposit ways, making the run really awkward and stiff, and not being able to hit a full lock.

    So in continuation of this, can we talk about body position in Gymkhana riding?

    I know for acceleration and deceleration you move your body forward/back to compensate for G-load, to keep wheels on the ground, as well as keep load off the hands and bars.

    For fast turns, butt stays in the seat for the turns, and we move our torso on the inside to offset the COG.

    For slow turns, we lean to the outside to counterbalance the weight of the bike leaned into the turn.

    I also remember somebody commenting that twisting shoulders and even hips into the turn, helps them turn faster.

    Another thing I've heard about, is running a course with just one hand. Yes running the course with just right hand on the bars for throttle and brake, and no left hand. One, teaches us to proper use of brakes, rather than clutch to control our speed. Two, full control of the bike, as the hands are not battling each other, canceling pressure and therefor control of the bars. Lee Parks talks about this too, controlling the bike in the turn with just one hand. Obviously not taking the other off, but applying all the necessary pressure and corrections throughout the turn with just one hand.

    Head is also something we constantly talk about, look where you want to turn. However I see different approaches to that too, on some Gymkhana riders. Some look where they want to go, some snap their heads at the last moment. Some even look the other way.



    So can we get a discussion going on theories of best body positioning on the bike for slow and tight turns, such as Figure 8. I mean EVERYTHING, feet on pegs, knees, hips, torso, elbows, shoulder, neck, head.





    .
  9. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    One handed eh? When I was taught the evasion maneuver I ended up having to do it with one hand, the other held up the air to avoid cheating... The maneuver is jinking hard left or right to avoid a collision & immediately swerving back into lane, bit like a slalom.
    Initially using one hand was really hard because to counter steer you have to PULL the bar as well as push which leads to opening up the throttle, quite startling!!! This then led too weighting the footrests for a faster, smoother turn. Noticeably quicker regardless of what Keith Code says.
    To do it you have to be loose on the bike & move your body weight into the turn to weight the inside foot rests alternately, quite a work out.

    One of the main reasons I binned the DT recently was having my body weight too much into the turn rather than leaning out to counter balance the bike. I was being aggressive, weight forward & into the turn. Rigid with determination you could say. Or leading with my face.. Unlike the guy in the vid on the 1600 BMW, that's where I should have been......:rofl

    Vulfy, I think you may have hit the nail on the head with your question. Apart from actually using the bike controls which is hard enough, trying to move smoothly around the bike is bloody hard as the speed creeps up. Trying to co-ordinate the whole lot properly is still a long way off for me.
  10. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    Well in defense of that, I think he was just proving a point that counter-steering should be the main technique to steer the bike. Body position and weighting, definitely play a part in steering, but they are an addition to counter-steering. As "The twist of the wrist" is a beginner / intermediate riding book/movie, I think he just wants to get the point across that you should use the handle bars to steer your bike, not foot pegs. Aaaanyways.... :D

    Back to MotoGymkhana and body positioning on the bike.
  11. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    Fair call. Doing the exercise brought to mind the scene with the guy trying to steer with the footpegs & gradually moving off line. Combining the two makes a much bigger difference.:freaky

    In a previous post you mentioned that it sometimes feels as if your hands are fighting against each other. That describes exactly what I feel when doing my full lock 8's through the 1 mtr gate. Technique goes out the window & I end up wrestling with the bars & get tense. It's bizarre, the bike is obviously happy to fall over through the turn so I must be fighting myself to make it turn, half of me is making it run wide the other half fighting against that.

    Learning to pop a wheelie might be easier.:D
  12. TheWall

    TheWall 0 miles and counting

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    I can't seem to find the video right now :baldy but there was a clip on YouTube from one of Keith Code's videos where he shows a guy with a modified bike proving his point. There is a set of "handlebars" welded to the frame above the real handlebars. Because they are welded to the frame, you can push and pull on those bars all you want without affecting steering. Anyway, Code has the rider hang off the side of the bike while holding on the welded bars, and the bike ends up in the grass on the outside of the corner the rider is trying to negotiate. Do the same with the real handlebars, and the bike darts around the corner of the track as you would expect. Code explains that, when you position your body on the bike, you are in fact pushing and pulling on the handlebars even though you don't realize it, and that pressure on the bars is what initiates the turn. Sure, the bike curves a little with body weight, but not as significantly as I had thought (I've practiced shifting body weight to swerve around obstacles without -- intentionally -- pushing on the bars).

    If you think about it, this makes sense. I'm like 170 to 175 pounds bare-*** naked (sorry for that mental image, everyone! :lol3 ) first thing in the morning, so I'm *maybe* 190 in full leathers and gear; my bike, on the other hand, is probably over 500 pounds all up. Is shifting my C.G. a few inches to the inside of the turn REALLYgoing to affect our combined C.G. very much on a bike that weighs more than 2 1/2 times as much as I do? Sure, it helps, and in gymkhana or on a track, every little bit adds up. However, it seems to me that countersteering, intentionally or otherwise, plays a much more important role than just shifting body weight a few inches.
  13. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    Yup. No question about that. I remember that clip too. What fascinated me doing the evasion maneuver was how much weighting the footrests helped the turn, particularly transitioning from one side to the other to get back into lane, would make bugger all difference without countersteering but together it's epic. My trainer is a clever lad & he builds one technique onto another so we started with normal steering, then went one handed, then we introduced the foot rests still one handed & finally put it all together with both hands on the bars.

    An hoo, body position.....
  14. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

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    Well yes, nobody is contesting counter-steering.

    The scene you are describing is from "Twist of the Wrist 2" movie. I have it on my phone actually, I watch it from time to time on a train, when not commuting on my bike.

    So yes, that scene basically shows that "body steering" is not efficient enough to move the bike into a turn.

    It still affects the bike's direction, but counter-steering is the main mode to control the bike. So that is established and done with.

    Additional movement on the bike, simply add TO the counter-steering, be that to tighten the turn, to balance the bike or to increase/decrease lean angle. ALL of that is complimentary to counter-steering.

    Harvey: yes, very often I feel frozen on the bars. One hand pushing one way and the other, opposite. It usually happens when I'm going beyond my comfort / skill limit and I tighten on the bars. I am fully aware of it mentally in my head, WHILE doing it, but its extremely hard to get my body to do what my conscious mind wants.

    It is bizarre, sort of an out of body experience, where hands are doing what you do NOT want them to do, and you can't do anything about it.
  15. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    That sums it up perfectly Vulfy. I've chucked my toys out the cot a few times now because of it.

    Both my bikes have wide bars & a lot of lock, especially the DT. Sometimes it feels like the front wheel is almost at right angles to the bike. Next time out I'm going to have a look at my body & arm position on full lock and see if I can shed any light on this.
  16. ohgood

    ohgood Long timer

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    Ok, something is broken here. You're a good rider, set and determined to be great, or better than great... this should -not- feel like a tensing up of limbs and torso!

    Are you jamming music ?
    Buddies hanging out and watching/laughing/helping ?
    Gotta be somewhere in an hour ?

    Something is broken! It should start awkward and wobbly, or tense, and leave you loose as a goose and grinning by the end of the practice. If you need to change music to jazz or freaking gull calls, do it ! If you need a pair of tits , find some ! I swear by the end of a practice I'm ready for a hot tub / beer and a snooze. That loose, that relaxed.

    Stretching helps at the beginning, maybe yoga ?

    I keep thinking about how it feels like I'm killing the course, and (LAUGHING to myhself) how lame and slow the video will look ;-)
  17. Harvey Krumpet

    Harvey Krumpet Been here awhile

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    It's a weird thing Oh good. I love doing it but it takes me right out of my comfort zone, I've just been riding bikes for years, all of my thought has been about road craft not riding technique. I guess pretty average really. Getting into motogymkhana has really opened my eyes, like a hot fork stabbed into a butt cheek wide.
    Scraping a footrest through a constant radius corner at 100kmh is one thing, scraping a footrest at 20kmh with the bars at full lock is off the scale.
    You do have a very good point, though. When the DT & i had a wee lie down I was angry & that translated into aggression in my riding. I WAS going to do it! no if's buts or maybes. Thud.
    Now that I have reached a stalling point, again, I'm going to have a good look at what I'm doing, where my technique needs practice, body position & awareness of my course. Fighting myself is just about re-training I think. I think it is a case of more practice, getting the co-ordination & balance to be second nature & creeping up on the limits of braking & grip as I get better.
    When I get home from a good session I usually let out a loud happy sigh as I open a beer too. No hot tub, though...
  18. Storm Shadow

    Storm Shadow Thread Ninja

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    what do we think, motokhana to music or silence?
  19. Motogymkhanaman

    Motogymkhanaman Been here awhile

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    Can of worms alert!!!

    Crikey, I go and have a nice kip and all hell breaks loose! Never mind, the body position/steering question is worthy of study although the subject is vast in scope.

    First things first, let's take a look at assisting the steering of the bike by 'weighting' one or other of the footrests.

    For all intents and purposes a bike and rider forms a 'closed' weight system and apart from weight loss due to fuel burn, sweating and tyre and brake pad wear, what weight you start out riding is all you have got to play with. (the picky amongst you will notice that I haven't factored in any increase in weight due to G forces, but as G increases/decreases effects all the loaded weight equally it can be ignored for now)

    You cannot ADD weight to such a system so to make any change in the balance (CCofG) of the bike any loaded weight has to be moved.

    You can put as much 'weight' (pressure) on a footrest as you like, but unless the rest of your body moves, it will have absolutely no effect.

    There is a simple experiment you can do to prove this the next time you are out on your bike. Simply ride in a straight line (the bike isn't a sentient being, so it doesn't know whether it is upright or banked over) and keeping the rest of your body still, press as hard as you like on one or other of the footrests and apart from a tendency to lift your butt off the seat, absolutely nothing happens. Repeat the experiment only this time take your feet off the footrests and move your head laterally to one side or the other and hey-presto, the bike starts to turn (albeit slowly) in the same direction.

    Making a bike steer requires that the rider displaces the CCofG to one side or the other of a line connecting the two tyre contact patches thus forming an out of balance couple. This can be done in just a few ways which are turning the bars, laterally shifting the CCofG (or having it shifted for you by an external force such as an uneven road or gust of wind) or changing any centripetal forces acting on the bike during a turn by varying the throttle or the brake. Turning the bars has by far the biggest effect on the relative position of the CCofG, but in Moto Gymkhana the other two methods play a crucial role especially at slower speeds.

    The steer with one hand method as detailed by Lee Parks certainly has a beneficial effect on our riding because our bikes have a dirty great hinge in the middle which must be allowed to move freely during the steering process. A little acronym that you should remember is FAST or Fear+Anxiety+Stress=Tension. Any tension in our arms and upper body reduces the ability of the bars to move freely and instead acts like a form of crude steering damper which slows the steering rate down. By reducing the fear, anxiety and stress we feel we automatically reduce the tension which improves the steering which helps reduce the fear and so on in a virtuous circle. Steering with one hand goes a long way towards this pleasent state of affairs as it reduces any undesireable forces on the steering by 50%!

    To further reduce the undesireable forces acting on the bars, our Japanese friends promote a basic body position of Butt Back, Knees In, Elbows Out and Head Up. With the elbows out there is much less likeleyhood of one or other of your elbows crashing into your upper body as the bars turn. To see what they mean try this experiment whilst sat at your computer. Hold both hands out in front of you as you would if holding the bars and point your elbows down. Now move one of your hands back towards you until your elbow hits your upper body and note the position of your hand. Repeat the experiment only this time stick your elbows up and out and this time you will see that your hand comes much further back towards you than was previously the case. Notice also that with the elbows out the wrists become bent somewhat awkwardly on the grips, so you will need to change the angle of your grip from 90 degrees to about 120 degrees. At this angle the grip no longer lies along the line of your knuckles but follows the creases in your palm instead.

    Vulfy wants a discussion on EVERYTHING which is quite a big ask, but it's certainly worthwhile having the discussion as there is a great deal to learn.
  20. ohgood

    ohgood Long timer

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    usually just ear plugs, sometimes pandora celtic stream, or something else that makes people roll their eyes.

    so long as I can smell when the rear brake is about to ignite, my ears don't need much input ;-)