So... trying something different...

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Tourn46
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So... trying something different...

Post by Tourn46 »

Bit of a story which I thought I'd share...

In August 2017 I was out for a ride on my Yamaha R6... I absolutely love that bike, it's fast, nimble and (imo) one of the prettiest bikes ever!

However, buttoning it down around a blind corner coming into the village near home, I came across a foreign motorhome on the wrong side of the road (in the UK we drive on the left, most of Europe drive on the right). I managed to skirt serious injury by about 20cm but in doing so I ditched myself and my bike onto the grass verge.

Fortunately, I was going maybe 45mph at that point and was just thrown off the bike over a grass bank... the damage done to the bike was a few scuffs on the fairing, broken indicator and mirror, but it totally annihilated the rotator cuff in my shoulder. Coming up to 2 years later I still have a little trouble with my shoulder, the bike is pretty as ever... but the accident has totally ruined my head.

It sits in my garage on sunny days, I just no longer want to take it for a ride on the road. Part of me just feels like it's not worth the risk when I have 2 little boys at home. At the same time, I really miss riding bikes, there is nothing else like it!

So... I've picked up a KTM 250SXF and decided to see if I can find my buzz away from traffic. Hopefully to build up some confidence again and to get my thrill of riding motorcycles. Turns out there's a track about 20 minutes drive from my house, which I can use whenever I like as often as I like all year round for a £70 membership fee... awesome!

I took my GoPro along and took some footage of my second visit to the track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dv4M7p54B4&t=74s

It's such a different way of riding (I haven't ridden offroad since I was about 8 years old), the track is pretty slippery in the dry as the ground is quite 'gravelly', but I am having an absolute blast riding again! Although I need a bit more fitness and bravery (which will come with time), but I am not used to wanting the back wheel to slide... resulting in very slow cornering :lol:

The question now is... do I keep the R6...

Apical
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Apical »

I say keep the R6. Track days are safer than public roads. Enjoy the dirt !
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

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JanBros
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by JanBros »

last august, I "celebrated" my 25th (and 10th with my KR1S) crash. That's counting crashing motorcycles on tarmac (+/- fifty-fifty racetrack and street).
If I include Moped cross, pitbiking on cart-tracks in and outdoor and off-roading , think I'm close to a hundred :mrgreen:

but not once I thought I'd stop because of the danger. One "get's used to it" , probably you need to crash some more :lol:
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Tourn46
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Tourn46 »

I wish that was the case for me too JanBros, but I really just don't look forward to going out on the road at the moment. I've no issue with myself or the bike... I just don't trust other people!

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JanBros
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by JanBros »

I only ride for pure fun these days. and never in WE's.
I always take a day of from work and ride in the Belgian Ardens (+/- 100km from home). on weekdays I see no more than +/- 30 other bikes while riding (500km trip), all the nice roads are hardly used and because of that, no cops to look for speeding.

Oh, and I "trust" that I'm the only "idiot" on the road and everybody else is behaving nicely. If you can't do that, indeed it's better not to ride :cry:
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kenup283
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by kenup283 »

First off good on you for getting back into riding. That's a nice looking course, good sense of natural elevation and has a look and feel like your going somewhere verus just back and forth across obstacles.

These places will often have a small kid course, or at least will have some space for beginners to ride, so first thoughts are sell the R6 and get some small dirt bikes for the kids and a trailer to haul them with. If they're still really young get a used 50cc, if a bit older the 100cc 4-stroke category is good place to look, the larger being somthing you can also ride with them until their ready to move up or just act like holligans on.

The case for keeping the R6 depends on getting it on track. Before selling you may want to venture down for at least a visit to track day. It may be the closest thing is couple hours away. Generally this takes just a little more gear than you may already have and a way to get to track, typically rent a van or trailer. First exposure could just be to ride to track and check it out to see what it looks like.

https://www.knockhill.com/trackdays/bik ... sion-may13

In the end it comes down to what is most fun and accessible. You can't beat the price off road and I started as a kid on a dirt bike, KX60, and had the most fun. Now latter in life I'm going back that route as kids come along and so I picked up smaller bikes for kids and myself to play on. The street bike still around but gets used less and less and has become a fair weather commuter, the dedicated track bike used occasionally for that fun weekend. Most times just taking kids to a field or back trails has replaced my own solo rides.

As strange as it sounds it's easier to plan a weekend to be gone to go to track than it is to just up an go out for a ride spontaneously, that is unless of course you can take the kids with. :)

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Tourn46
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Tourn46 »

kenup283 wrote: These places will often have a small kid course, or at least will have some space for beginners to ride, so first thoughts are sell the R6 and get some small dirt bikes for the kids and a trailer to haul them with. If they're still really young get a used 50cc, if a bit older the 100cc 4-stroke category is good place to look, the larger being somthing you can also ride with them until their ready to move up or just act like holligans on.
This is kinda what has been going through my mind... sell the R6 and use that to fund something for the lads (they're 7 and 4). The track does indeed have a small separate track alongside the main one for children/beginners and I think they'd be keen to give it a go. The fact it's something so accessible and nearby, that we can do as a family, it's very appealing!

I mean, I can always get another motorcycle for the road in the future if I wanted to.

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speeddog
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by speeddog »

They'll only be young once.
Do it.

bikermike
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by bikermike »

Glad you're in one piece.

re the kids, my local bikeshop is trying to flog me a little electric bike for my lad (I am doing my best to resist at the moment...)

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Tourn46
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Tourn46 »

bikermike wrote:Glad you're in one piece.
Dunno... depends if I do silly things like this often enough :lol:

Still not entirely sure how I managed it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQmXjXGBjX4

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Tourn46
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Tourn46 »

speeddog wrote:They'll only be young once.
Do it.
Yeah... The R6 is going to be put through a service, new front tyre... and then sold. Decision has been made!

hdot
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by hdot »

Man this thread was well timed for me. I rode my bike on the street for about 20K miles... did my first track day in September 2017 and my bike has been sitting ever since. I had such a blast I just lost all desire to ride on the road. What's the point? You get orders of magnitude more risk for next to no reward. We had our first kid then (and I crashed my CAR on the track) so I've just taken a break.

I'm finally prepping it to sell but I do want to go back to the track on rentals. My question is if anyone does this and how rusty they get between rides. I do a good bit of road cycling year round so I'm not totally absent from 2 wheel life, but I know the local track somewhat well enough and do a good bit of karting and sim racing to maintain my track vision/reactions. I guess I can just ease my way in on the track days but I figured I'd ask. Thinking about heading back to the track this September.

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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by bikermike »

I used to race, then life intervened. I do an annual trackday with my club. 2017 I did it and binned the bike, I hadn't fixed in time for 2018. I'm not going to do 2019 (it clashes with my lad's first week at school). SO I'm booking a track school for 2020 to get back on it.

At some point some element of being allowed to honk powerful i/c bikes round tracks is going to get banned. So I'd keep the wherewithal to do it now

hdot
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by hdot »

bikermike wrote:I used to race, then life intervened. I do an annual trackday with my club. 2017 I did it and binned the bike, I hadn't fixed in time for 2018. I'm not going to do 2019 (it clashes with my lad's first week at school). SO I'm booking a track school for 2020 to get back on it.

At some point some element of being allowed to honk powerful i/c bikes round tracks is going to get banned. So I'd keep the wherewithal to do it now
Do you ride on the street at all?

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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by bikermike »

Not for a while - rode to work in 2017/8, but not since. I found that it didn't help my track-riding as life-saving road reflexes (like riding to sightlines) didn't help on track.

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speeddog
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by speeddog »

I ride nearly every week, ~100 miles usually on Sunday.
If I miss a week, I'm noticeably rusty the next time I go out.

IMO if you're doing less than a trackday a month, your skill level is sliding backward.

Apical
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Apical »

Thanks everyone.
Yes I ride on the road. Sometimes even get to ride for work. Also ride a bit on the dirt, unsealed roads, firetrails that sort of thing, on a CRF 250 Honda
Thank you Speeddog. I've done some racing, but never ridden a track day. A couple of training days at the track.
Been considering track daze since forever.
Speeddog you've inspired me to pull my finger out & get on with it. Will invest in some new gear & a bike trailer.
Anyone have any experience with airbag suits ? Last time I heard there was no ability to service them in Australia.

My riding buddy has been back riding seriously for 18 months now. She has expressed an interest in getting onto the track recently. Has ridden for years, but we were down to one bike for a long time. She had a shoulder injury that was a problem. OK now.

Looking forward to it. There is nothing like being on the racetrack. By the time I get a bike ready etc the worst of winter will be over in Oz.

Thanks for the inspiration people.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

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speeddog
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by speeddog »

My riding began at 12 YO, with 5 years of dirt bike riding/motocross racing, averaging ~6 practice or race days a month, and some street riding as soon as I had a license.
Did two motocross school days.
Occasional dirt riding and a good bit of street riding when I was in college, some dual sport for a while, then mostly street since then.
I've done two trackdays at Streets of Willow.
I've been riding for 45 years.

So, I've got a heap of mostly anecdotal experience with a tiny bit of professional instruction.
Doesn't make me particularly an 'authority'.
I may state things as fact, but as always for everybody, it's IMO.

Starting out dirt riding at 12 with that riding frequency was absolutely the best way to start, earlier might have been better, but later definitely not.
Learning in the dirt, primarily closed circuit, provided repetitive exposure to the same obstacles, with the tires 'hooked up' seldom if ever.
So you learn the bike dynamics and limits at slow speed, and can make big mistakes without being squashed by a truck or yardsaling your bike and body.
Those responses and techniques become hard wired, so when the bike does something unexpected there's far far less of "Oh shit what do I do Bang Thump Crunch Ow F@#K!"
Numerous times on the street I've had the front fold on dirt/snot, and the learned response of straightening the bars back to where they were and pushing the bike more upright has saved my ass every time.
That technique is impossible to learn on 'tarmac only' riding.

Additionally, with those techniques hard wired, you're not spending 90 cents of your dollar controlling your bike, 5 cents freaking out and only leaving you 5 cents to avoid that car turning in front of you when you really needed 30.
It's more like 25 cents on the bike, leaving 75 cents to avoid the threat, so you've easily got the 30 needed.
Riding is a lot more fun when you don't need more than your dollar.

There's two downsides to learning the way I did.
Dirtbiking body/bike positions are seldom useful beyond 15mph or so on a street bike.
Beyond that, they're wrong.
So it takes extensive training to correct that.

Second, closed circuit riding allows you to spend 99 cents all the time with near impunity.
Because you see the same obstacles every single lap and there's no dog running out from that driveway.
You can ride street or trails that way, but you're gonna crash big.

Just to clarify my statement in my previous post, as it was done very late at night and not in the best frame of mind.
And to bang on a bit more as I'm feeling like it....

My intended sentence was more like this:
If the only riding you're doing is trackdays, and you're doing less than a trackday a month, your skill level is sliding backward.

IMO, the ideal riding schedule for skill improvement is ~2x-3x a week.
Minimal time in between, so minimal rust.
But enough time in between to allow thought and reflection about how you're riding.

Riding daily there is skill improvement as you're building seat time rapidly.
Unfortunately you tend to repeat the same mistakes without realizing and they turn into bad habits.
And you just ride mostly the same, no variation.

Riding only once a month, a lot of rust forms, so you're using the vast majority of the ride just getting back to where you were at the end of the last ride.

Generally, don't use pro racers as a 100% example of riding training.
Frankly, I don't see how the MotoGP boys do it, seeing how seldom they get to ride their race bikes.
If I rode on that sort of format against riders of my ability, I'd be lucky to make it through FP1 and certainly wouldn't see Q2.

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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Apical »

So Speeddog we started about the same time.
Early seventies, I was about 13. Dirt bikes, I was OK in the bush, on the flat track or sand. Hopeless at jumps. My brother was so good at Wheelies I gave up for years.
Bro raced MX & supercross. I did a bit of suspension & was a spotter for him.
Became a motorcycle courier after finishing my metal trade.
Courier or despatch rider for our English friends.
So I've had more crashes than some. One night in the pub we tallied them up I stopped counting at 200 on the road. Almost all involved cars, several where I chucked it down the road due to too much corner speed or overbraking on sh1te road surfaces.
That's not counting my 4 crashes on the racetrack.
Didn't take long to get my 1000 hours of practicing poor techniques when riding 5 days a week for work and riding most weekends.
Then I began riding faster bikes. Took myself to get some lessons from real riding instructors.
Started racing 250 production 1983 kept that up until the divorce threw a spanner into the works.
Continued as a courier. Got back on a roadrace bike about 1989, on a borrowed Ducati. Learned a heap more mechanical stuff keeping that running. Borrowed another Ducati TT F2 owned by a lady doctor & was astonished how reliable it was.

Ten years ago my best mate gave me a Yamaha DT175 and I rode the thing, got back into dirt riding.
When the DT was flogged to the point of being unridable I parked it.
Later decided it was easier to by a new Honda dirt squirter than fix the DT.

There are many riders a lot better than I ever was or ever will be.
Some have different skills. All riders have different experience.
Doesn't mean Jack.

Yes ride. Doesn't matter what or where or on what surface. Just ride a motorcycle.

Two wheels good.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

Apical
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Apical »

Track days !
27 years of no circuit riding, just public roads & some dirt. Then 2 track days within a week.
Fun! Track days are lots of fun.
I took my 600cc twin to a circuit I had never ridden before, 3 sessions in a half day, knocked off before I got tired.
A week later took the litre twin & did 5 sessions over a full day. 10am till 4pm. Need to keep working on my fitness!
Good practice for lines, learning lines, improving precision & consistency.
Good for practicing HARD braking.
Good fun.

I was pleasantly surprised how well road tyres work & don't wear too much on the track. After 50+ laps still good.

Next I will upgrade my riding gear.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

kenup283
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by kenup283 »

Apical glad to hear your enjoyed it. Good thoughts if your noticing time to upgrade your gear.. they’ll be lots of opinions out there, budget does come into play too, id just say don’t overlook gloves and boots followed by good back-protector. I only say this cause sometimes I’ll see people with super expensive new leathers and top of line helmets of their favorite riders and not be on par with the rest. Gloves and boots are your connections to the bike and protect some of the bones and joints that are most critical to ridding and can be hardest to heal.

Apical
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Apical »

Thanks Kenup 283, I have a fresh set of boots that now fit well. Also a brand new pair that are a bit too snug. I know how to fix the tight pair.
Gloves yes definitely need good gloves. I took 4 pairs with me, four different brands, used one pair all day. They fit well after some time. about six months of wearing them for 15 minutes then taking them off. Also breaking in a new helmet. "playing dress ups".

Yes, back protector. I need one thanks for the reminder.

All the gear all the time. Doesn't matter how good it is if it doesn't fit well. Prefer to try before I buy. Anyone have experience buying gear online?

Another track day next Tuesday. May be a challenge to get going on Monday morning after a late night watching Misano MotoGp Marco Simoncelli.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

kenup283
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by kenup283 »

For buying gear online my favorite is sportbiketrackgear. They are on otherside of planet for you but they do excelent youtube videos and fit advice that has done me well. May be a useful refernce to you if nothing else.

https://www.sportbiketrackgear.com

Also if you haven't already somthing in mind, I highly recommend reading Twist of the Wrist II. Great little booklet you can buy a copy or find a pdf online. Enjoy your next trackday.

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Albert
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Re: So... trying something different...

Post by Albert »

Tourn46 wrote:I wish that was the case for me too JanBros, but I really just don't look forward to going out on the road at the moment. I've no issue with myself or the bike... I just don't trust other people!
An old friend of mine (ex Motocrosser and avid road rider) recently decided to quit road riding after almost being wiped out by a kid in a Mini Cooper!
His words, "I trust myself, but these days you never know when some little prick is gonna come round a corner a little too fast and drift over onto your side of the road."
He blames companies like Seat for putting performance vehicles within easy reach of guys who have just passed their test and are still too full of youthful testosterone!
I believe I'm growing sceptical of cynicism!

Apical
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Lets do some bench racing.

Post by Apical »

Shall we start a new topic or simply continue talking motorcycle stuff?

Riding on the roads What a phecking nightmare! My craziness is nothing compared to those other road users!

Track days are safer than the public roads.
Although I've done a million miles on the road & only had 200 or so stacks. Only a month in hospital.

Racing is safer than track days.
Depending on how well run yer track days are. C & D grade races were known as crash & destroy when I was in D grade.
Reckon the higher the level of racing the safer it gets, maybe. I never progressed beyond c grade so what would I know?

Whatever and wherever we ride there is always some risk.

Everybody dies eventually. Best to enjoy life while you can.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

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