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Old 12-03-2012, 06:59 PM   #458
Fajita Dave
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Barboursville, VA
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Originally Posted by mdubya View Post
Drif and JNRobert have done a good job describing the technique. And yes, a mere mortal (painfully mortal) like me can do it. Best to practice in the dirt.

As you hopefully know, if you are not actively braking or actively having the throttle at least cracked open in a turn, you are going to crash. On a dirt bike, you brake early and get on the throttle early. So try getting off the brakes as you enter a turn, give a little throttle as you normally would, and then simply roll the throttle closed and this will induce the front end to slide. You will want to snatch the throttle open again pretty quickly so you don't eat dirt, but as you get more and more comfortable, you can milk the slides to be longer and more lurid.

The technique is pretty much the same on pavement. I have only done it on a supermoto bike, never a sport bike, which I gave up about 10 years ago. You can do it without cracking the throttle and simply by releasing the front brake where you might normally still be trail braking. You have to be pushing hard enough that you might feel you are into the turn too hot.

Using the front end slide to scrub off the excess speed and then using the throttle to right the bike will open your eyes to getting through the corner faster and tidier than you ever imagined. It will also give you a big thrill because you will now be in possession of an over the top, very advanced technique.

For me, it is a very subtle thing and probably all but undetectable from a bystander, but you will know it when the front starts to slide.

What starts as a panic move to stop a sure crash turns out to be a very useful and effective technique.

I had not done this consistently for a few years on the supermoto track, but this past summer started doing it again, very sparingly. I use it mostly through a third gear (65 MPH) left hander that is slightly more than 90 degrees that needs to be finished tight so that you can straighten out a chicane which follows it.

I practice my supermoto skills in the dirt first.

I have not raced for many years, so the skills I like to learn are purely for cheap thrills and for having them at my disposal should I need them.

I look at track riding as an artistic expression; slides, wheelies, excessive and unnecessary lean angles are all part of that expression.
As far as putting out the fastest possible lap time goes that is still a ridiculous way to do it with a much easier way around it (the way Moto GP racers do) to scrub speed.

Carrying maximum corner speed involves having the tightest turning radius that traction allows for (maximum lean angle). How do you reach maximum lean angle? By evenly loading both the front and rear tires or slightly favoring the rear. If your sliding the front tire than your not at max lean angle which is reason #1 why that technique would only make your lap times slower. Reason #2 is sliding in general isn't a very effective way of slowing down. For example try skidding the rear tire under braking compared to modulating it to maintain traction.... which stopping distance ends up being shorter? On a correct corner entry the front will be fully loaded and only slipping slightly, at this point the rear usually has a lot of traction left to give. So if you want to scrub just a little speed why not simply use the rear brake? (which is what Moto GP riders do by the way). This way there's no sliding involved or weird on/off throttle chopping. Sliding the front is very risky and doesn't have any benefit to lap times what so ever.

There's plenty more reasons why purposely sliding the front would make your lap times slower but I'm not going into all of that. Just for an example think about this one. At 80mph your traveling at 117 feet per second. In the time it takes you to make your throttle blip (maybe 0.5 seconds) you've traveled about 50ft. Now imagine what would happen to your lap time if you simply adjusted your racing line to be either on the throttle and accelerating or at maximum lean angle for that 50ft instead of sliding the front tire and pushing wide.
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