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Old 02-21-2020, 06:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ontherearwheel View Post
Track days will only help you go faster on the street, it will not help you on roads you donít know. Why......cause track riding does reflect real world street riding. Only riding on the street can do that.
Disagree. Track riding will let you explore the limits of what you and your bike are capable of in a known environment. At the track you have the chance to very quickly build up skills on braking and cornering that would take years to build up on the street. I rode two-up to my first ever track day with my wife on the back of my Harley DynaGlide. Had a great time at a Harley-only track day that included instruction.

On the ride home my wife said she could immediately feel the difference in my riding.

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You can not practice hard braking to a stop that is needed on the street on the track.
Disagree. Many people never practice hard braking; or if they do, itís something they do once or twice in the spring after a long winter off the bike, just to make sure they can still do it. As a result, many street riders (especially newbs) are afraid to brake hard because they donít want to tuck the front, or loop the bike.

Track riding gives you a chance to gradually work up to threshold braking in a predictable way because as you become familiar with each corner you get a feel for how much you can do. This builds confidence as well.

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You can not practice quick evasive moves that are needed on the street on track.
Iím not sure how you ďpracticeĒ evasive moves on the street. By definition theyíre something thatís not needed until they are, and then you either know it or you donít.

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There are truly no blind turns on a track. Why, because the course is known, it is in your brain. Even thou you canít see Turn 3 exit at Thill, you still know where itís going, and if there is any on track incident, the corner works are there to let ya know.
True. Then again, a lot of cornering skill has to do with learning how anticipate and look through the corner, and, most important, have confidence in your skill and the bikeís capability to get you around on your chosen line. Just like braking, a track day gives you a chance to learn what your bike - and you - are capable of in a controlled environment, ideally helped with coaching and other riders. You will gain years worth of street riding experience in a single day at the track on this front, and it will make a huge difference on every corner you ride from then on, blind or not.

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Some of those roads, the line through them all depends on the bumps and dips. This never occurs on track.
Oh really? After lapping a day at Sears Point ask people about that. I havenít ridden there in a few years, but last time I did there was a nice little bump at the pavement seam coming out of the carousel (T6) onto the drag strip. And another one coming out of the bus stop on T9 - during one race that one upset my bike enough to put me on the ground. And FWIW, I once rode over the inside curbing at the top of the hurricane at T-Hill, three abreast on the first lap. That stood the bike up some, for sure.



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Old 02-21-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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Disagree. Many people never practice hard braking; or if they do, itís something they do once or twice in the spring after a long winter off the bike, just to make sure they can still do it. As a result, many street riders (especially newbs) are afraid to brake hard because they donít want to tuck the front, or loop the bike.

Track riding gives you a chance to gradually work up to threshold braking in a predictable way because as you become familiar with each corner you get a feel for how much you can do. This builds confidence as well.

Iím not sure how you ďpracticeĒ evasive moves on the street. By definition theyíre something thatís not needed until they are, and then you either know it or you donít.






I agree on the braking skills on the track are all about smooth.

And that smooth braking helps you perform better quick stops. However, I think if you are practicing quick stops on the track you are going to get black flagged and your butt chewed!

I don't understand why you think you can't practice evasive maneuvers: swerving. It is pretty easy to set up a swerve exercise and practice.

I think the most important thing for all riders is to always accept the fact that you can always learn more riding skills that will make you a more skilled, safer rider.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:13 PM   #18
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I don't understand why you think you can't practice evasive maneuvers: swerving. It is pretty easy to set up a swerve exercise and practice.

I think the most important thing for all riders is to always accept the fact that you can always learn more riding skills that will make you a more skilled, safer rider.
True enough - they do teach countersteering swerves in MSF classes, too.
And yes - the learning never stops!
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:08 PM   #19
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Disagree. Track riding will let you explore the limits of what you and your bike are capable of in a known environment. At the track you have the chance to very quickly build up skills on braking and cornering that would take years to build up on the street. I rode two-up to my first ever track day with my wife on the back of my Harley DynaGlide. Had a great time at a Harley-only track day that included instruction.
Good post. I'd add that track days have readily available access to ambulances and medical personnel in the event one does get hurt. That beats almost all accidents I've seen friends involved in on the street.

Tracks also have very generous runoff/ safer impact zones. Tracks aren't perfect, but they're well better than street impact zones.

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Originally Posted by motomania2007 View Post
And that smooth braking helps you perform better quick stops. However, I think if you are practicing quick stops on the track you are going to get black flagged and your butt chewed!

I don't understand why you think you can't practice evasive maneuvers: swerving. It is pretty easy to set up a swerve exercise and practice.
I've always viewed braking drills as a control drill meaning they don't need to be practiced to a stop, but rather, as a control. Initial lever pull, feel, let off, etc are the things to be learned at the track that will help significantly in an emergency situation. I'd guess most front end crashes happen when a rider panic brakes and locks their eyes onto a target...that they're gonna ride right into. Track riding teaches the skill of keeping one's eyes moving when other riders make mistakes (and pile). Racing REALLY teaches this skill...
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:15 PM   #20
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Good post. I'd add that track days have readily available access to ambulances and medical personnel in the event one does get hurt. That beats almost all accidents I've seen friends involved in on the street.

Tracks also have very generous runoff/ safer impact zones. Tracks aren't perfect, but they're well better than street impact zones.



I've always viewed braking drills as a control drill meaning they don't need to be practiced to a stop, but rather, as a control. Initial lever pull, feel, let off, etc are the things to be learned at the track that will help significantly in an emergency situation. I'd guess most front end crashes happen when a rider panic brakes and locks their eyes onto a target...that they're gonna ride right into. Track riding teaches the skill of keeping one's eyes moving when other riders make mistakes (and pile). Racing REALLY teaches this skill...
And I agree on all your points!
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:16 PM   #21
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Track riding has *definitely* made me a better/safer street rider, because it taught me how to control a motorcycle for realz. If track riding were only about being good in known turns then how is it that great racers can show up at a track they’ve never seen before and kick everyone’s ass within minutes?

List of ways track riding has improved my street riding:
1. Learned how to be smooth with the controls, cracking the throttle and loading the front tire during braking
2. Learned to trail brake
3. Learned to use correct body position to reduce lean angle
4. Learned various eye skills including looking ahead and wide vision

Bottom line was that after years of street only riding it was a race track that showed me I actually didn’t know how to ride when I thought I did. Turned out there were situations in my riding where I was being unsafe but lacked the knowledge to even realize it. Track riding forces knowledge, and well, knowledge is power.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:19 AM   #22
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Ever come around a blind corner on track and have a UPS parked 1/2 on on the road? I have on 84.......and no corner workers to warn me.

Ever just have a deer jump out from nowhere on the track? I have at the bottom of Moody road.........where there is no run off and max braking was needed. The type of braking I never had to do on track.

Ever see a low hanging power line on the track?

Ever come around a blind corner on track and see water running across the road?

Never seen any lane splitting on track.

These are street conditions that require your attention while street riding but not so on a track where the track conditions are known and controlled, therefore your attention can be used all for going fast.

One does need to do any track riding in order to be a safe street rider.

If you want to be a fast street rider.....track will help.

But it is not needed to be a safe street rider.

Next time on track, say Thill.........say, at the end of the front straight......brake hard to a stop as if doing a emergency stop on the street.....oh wait that can’t be practiced on track yet is a very necessary skill on street.

Next time on track.......try practicing quick evasive moves as if a car is coming out of a parking lot and didn’t see you......oh wait you can’t on track....but a necessary skill on the street.

Track riding and street riding are two different environments requiring different skill sets.

As the poster stated.......not interested in track days.

And from his post, it just sounds like he needs more time on the bike not commuting and more time on unfamiliar roads. You ain’t gonna get that on the track.

One skill that is critical to street riding is being able to read the road. Something that can not be learned going around a track, but from miles and miles of street riding.

On the track, you ride for speed, on the street you ride for survival.

Consider this......how many motorcycle police do you think do track days? The skills used to negotiate a police training course is never needed or used on the track.

What would be nice would be public access to the police motorcycle course out by San Jose Airport.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:27 PM   #23
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You don’t think track riders practice emergency stops? We may not literally go to the stopping point, but we practice hard and emergency braking more than anyone. Every time I go to the track I practice braking so hard my rear comes up and slides around under me. I would have freaked out feeling that on the street before I got very used to it through lots of track practice. It’s also definitely not all carefully planned braking either. Probably every day at the track has at least one emergency situation where someone cuts in front of me and I have to brake as an emergency at very high speeds. Beyond just straight braking in track situations I learn to find the exit path and take evasive action. The practice I’ve gotten in braking and evading obstacles at very high speeds in an environment that is much safer than street emergencies has been invaluable to my street riding.

Is track riding the only way to acquire these skills? No, of course not. And if you’re just not interested in the track, them great - you do you. But riding on the track is definitely effective for both learning to be a faster *and* safer street rider. I think many are like me where I actually became a slower street rider from my track experience, partly because I have a go-fast outlet and partly because I learned a better understanding and respect for what things are risky as a rider.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:27 PM   #24
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Ever come around a blind corner on track and have a UPS parked 1/2 on on the road? I have on 84.......and no corner workers to warn me.

Ever just have a deer jump out from nowhere on the track? I have at the bottom of Moody road.........where there is no run off and max braking was needed. The type of braking I never had to do on track.

Ever see a low hanging power line on the track?

Ever come around a blind corner on track and see water running across the road?

Never seen any lane splitting on track.

You seem to feel like you know a lot about the relative merits of track riding in the context of street riding, and that there isnít much to be gained from track riding for those who are only interested in improving their street skills.

You then go into a point by point assessment of various real world street hazards and situations that riders need to have the skill to safely navigate, and make an attempt to drive home your point that these skills canít be built by riding on the track.

Take your point about deer. I was going to share with you the fact that tracks in the upper Midwest all include a deer flag in the corner worker stations, because deer have been known to cross the track during a session or a race; and riders have been known to hit them. Or on your point about random water running across the road, I was going to share the time I hit unseen coolant on the race line in the middle of the carousel at Road America doing 90mph and nearly highsided to the moon, but hung on and didnít. Or regarding your thoughts about lane splitting skills and how those canít be gotten at the track, I was going to mention something about learning how to control your lines well enough that you can hit a spot the size of a quarter at the same place on the exit of every turn, and how being able to do that at race pace helps you learn how to put your bike exactly where you want it anytime and any place you want to - a valuable skill when lane splitting.

I was going to mention all these things - and a few more - but I decided Iíd hold off and see what I can learn. Thereís usually always something.

Thanks for sharing with us, ontherearwheel.

PS- I donít know that motor officers donít do track days. But I do know they spend a great many hours on the range drilling all manner of things, and then tandem riding with a mentor to practice in the real world. In other words, what they donít learn on the track they learn from hours of practice that pretty much no street rider ever gets.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:12 PM   #25
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Track days will only help you go faster on the street, it will not help you on roads you don’t know.

Why......cause track riding does not reflect real world street riding. Only riding on the street can do that.


Just as seat time is important in being fast on the track, seat time riding in a variety of roads and conditions can you only become comfortable dealing with the unknown that occurs in street riding.
Thanks for pointing this out against the typical "go ride track" advise. Street and track are two very different environment, with different goals.

To the "go ride track" guys, why not tell the OP what you learned about dealing with dirty/gravel pavement? Not just how to pick the line to avoid gravel, but how to deal with slides when you hit dirt/gravel unexpectedly.

I deal with slides (front, rear or both) on pavement by thinking thru the physics and visualize what I'd do. Sure, I actively try to pick a clean line, but I've hit gravel in the turns and slid unexpectedly a bunch of times, some of those at night. When you start sliding, lean angle increases and the bike wants to fall. To counter that, you want to counter-steer and straighten up a little (light on the bars, nothing abrupt) to NOT let the lean angle increase out of control, and NOT let the bike slow down abruptly. When you slow while leaned, the bike loses stability and wants to fall; not good during a slide. When you maintain or increase throttle slightly to NOT LET THE BIKE SLOW DOWN AND FALL, you maintain stability. "When in doubt, gas it" doesn't mean giving it a handful of throttle; it means giving it just enough throttle to maintain (or gain) speed and stability. Keep looking at where you want to go and re-steer toward that once you're out of the slide. Maintain loose but secure grips on the bar to allow the bike to shake and regain stability on it's own. While sliding on a heavier street bike at higher speed on pavement is much scarier and more dangerous than on a dirt bike at lower speed on dirt (i.e., not exactly the same experience), riding and sliding a bunch on dirt does provide the muscle memory to make it easier to react correctly on a street bike.

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Old 02-22-2020, 09:20 PM   #26
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I have always viewed track riding two ways:
1) controlled environment where you can push 100% to the limit to push your skills to the limit and learn you can probably push them further.

2) controlled environment where you can ignore 95% of the "street distractions" (cars, road surface, cross traffic, etc.) and focus just on your technique and being smooth, precise, relaxed, without pushing limits.

It can be both at the same time. Newer riders benefit most from the second but often get caught up in speed, rather than technique.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:47 AM   #27
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But you can’t ignore distractions on the street or you die. It’s that simple.

You really can’t learn to change your line mid corner on a track, but that is technique needed on the street. The rule on the track.......hold your line, something not always possible on the street.

Why is it assumed that people that start riding want to go fast, to push their limits? How many that buy Harley’s, Goldwings really think that?

If ya want to be a fast, safe street rider, then the track is the only way to learn that, but again, not everyone is interested in going fast on the street.

I knew a x AFM fast guy............but couldn’t lane split worth a shit, never road in the rain.

Oh yeah........how many track days are done in the rain? One of the most dangerous conditions up in the hills is moisture on the street from trees......ever experience that on track. I’ve never had to think.......is that just a shadow or moisture while being on track. On track, they have a flag for that.

My point is.......you do not need track time to become a safe street rider, but parking lot time. A big empty parking lot is great for practice and that is what is takes to be a safe street rider.

Practice hard front braking only. Practice braking using just rear. Practice using both.

Practice in quick steering maneuvers.

Practice slow speed maneuvers using the rear brake as speed control.

Practice lock to lock figure 8

Theses are street skills that can not be practiced on a track and it takes focused practice to become a safe street rider.

Never seen a manhole cover on track come to think of it............nor a big chunk of missing pavement on the line through a corner either.

It takes seat time on the street to learn to become of aware of those distractions that can’t be ignored.

I do not want riders to think that just because they go to the track to be a better rider that they are safer rider on the street. And that is the message being implied by just saying.....take it to the track to learn to be a safer street rider.

It’s dishonest.

PS.........track riding will only help you go faster on roads you know........it’s useless on roads you don’t know.
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Old 02-23-2020, 03:05 AM   #28
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My last post on this.....

Just remember...........it was a Botts dot that took out Gary Jaheane.
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Old 02-23-2020, 07:37 AM   #29
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The track allows riders to focus on just riding in predictable conditions. This allows the rider to develop their foundational riding skills.

Is the track everything for the street? No, it isn't. Didn't see anyone saying it did.

If a rider doesn't have good foundational skills of smooth on the controls, timing and technique for cornering, using their eyes properly, etc., then they won't be able to deal with all the other stuff they will encounter on the street as well as they could.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:19 AM   #30
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Most of the advice in this thread can help a rider become safer on the street. None of it is a sole solution.

Doing certain drills in a parking lot will increase those maneuverability skills. Time on a race track can allow the rider to learn how to optimize traction, develop visual skills and learn that the limits are higher than they usually need to be during legal street riding. None of those environments are the street, but they do support developing relevant skills in isolation.

As I have more experience in track based training than other venues, I'll add this: Becoming a skilled track rider doesn't always equate to becoming a safer street rider. It absolutely can, if safety is a priority for the rider. Some riders are adrenaline junkies though. Adrenaline production is a physiological response to danger and fear. If I help an adrenaline junkie become more proficient, he'st still an adrenaline junkie and will now have to do crazier shit on the street to self stimulate.

If safety is your goal, absolutely work on physical skills. They increase the envelope and make you more comfortable in situations that require drastic inputs. But work on your judgement too. Cultivate keen situational awareness. Consider the implications of blind turns. Anticipate what other drivers may want to do. That stuff isn't as sexy as a track day, but is critical to your safety.
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