04-07-2013, 08:00 AM
What will break next
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Colonial Beach VA
First off, most lessons or nuggets of information provided as part of RawHyde’s Next Step program I had heard or seen at least once before. A few of the exercises were variations of the same techniques taught by Shane Watts as part of DirtWise. The big differences however were the coaches and the location. Shane taught from a racer’s point of view. The fundamentals were the same, but the perspective was different. The RawHyde coaches brought a trail riders perspective. Finesse on a big bike is much different than on a small bike…and they addressed that well.
There were a few things that really “clicked” during the class…
Some of these make perfect sense in hindsight, but had never noticed previously.
You can use your rear brake on a downhill or use engine braking, but you can’t use both at the same time. If you are engine braking on a downhill and apply rear brake, the amount of brake applied is magnified due to the engine compression and you will quickly lock the wheel…if the wheel doesn’t roll and the clutch is still out, you stall.
The best technique I found during the class was to feather the clutch and engine brake for the straight down hills, but pull in the clutch and use the rear brake for downhill turns. If the turn was tight, I would intentionally lock the wheel and pivot, then feather the clutch to pull away from the turn.
Throttle and Clutch balance. Most of the time I have ridden, I tend to rev the motor a bit for tight stuff and release the clutch slightly…almost like little pushes to the bike through those tight maneuvers. When we were doing the counterbalance exercises, Jeff offered this suggestion and it worked well and made those tight or tricky challenges much easier. It was simply to move my throttle hand out to the end of the grip where my little finger could rest on the barkbuster. Using that, he suggested that I hold the throttle at lower RPMs (like 1500-2000) and only feather the clutch to move the bike. This resulted in a much more even application of power to the rear wheel and made the steering lock turns and figure eights much smoother and easier. It also worked well when we did the uphill re-starts.
Sand…I’ve never ridden much sand, maybe 20-30’ here and there while on a trail…normally these were straight shots and I would just power through. Learning about the “dabbing” technique to steer through the sand was a rear eye opener. That was something I had never heard of and likely would have never though of.
Del, Jason, Jeff and Mark were fantastic. They took the time to learn about the rider and made corrective suggestions one step at a time. The really remarkable part for me was they all said the same thing. If two of the coaches gave you suggestions for the same challenge, they were saying almost exactly the same thing. They also made it fun...When I dropped the bike in the first 10' of the first challenge, I didn't get a lecture or a I know what you did wrong attitude...I got a "nice tuck and roll, but the dismount could have been better".
They were a great bunch of guys to ride with...and learn from
The RawHyde Adventures property has just about every terrain challange you could run into on the trail. (Though I didn't see a rock garden... I wouldn't be surprised if Jim had one out there somewhere). This made the lessons much more practicle. The variety of terrain allowed the coaches to increase the difficulty of exercises in stages. This really helped build confidence. Previous classes I've attended had to make due with the area provided. At times there was no transition...just straight into the challenge. With these, some students in other classes chose not to attempt the lesson and lost out on that skill.