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Old 11-27-2014, 12:26 PM   #1
Colorado_Rider OP
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Race track experience and evasive maneuvers on the street

I did a lot of track riding in my 20's, but gave it up after about 10 great years. Today, I'm convinced I'm able to slow my bike down and evade collisions far better due to my track time. It trains your nervous system to deal with extreme forces and quick decision making, while remaining relaxed. Every single emergency braking I've done on the street, I squeeze the tank without even thinking about it, it just happens. Repeated heavy braking time after time coupled with mild experimentation of steering input is never going to be a bad thing. Body positioning, target fixation, basic motorycle controls, EVERYTHING changes when something unexpected happens and having a better understanding of how your bike is going to act at different speeds in invaluable.

Riding around at a street pace probably won't help very much, so it does take at least a small personal affinity for speed, which doesn't apply to a decent amount of riders here, as well as a bike suitable for track use, but it sure would be nice to see more intermediate to advanced riders sharpening their skills at the track. It can also be wicked fun while you're at it.

Like I said, I do think you have to push yourself to gradually go faster and faster, to the point where you are making small mistakes, becuase that's when you really start to learn. I'd like to know how many motorcycle accidents could be avoided or minimalized impact with better training between the ears. In this age of distracted driving, pretending you're invisible used to be enough. but not any more.

Ride safe either way, just here to help
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Old 11-27-2014, 03:55 PM   #2
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There are no surprises on the track unless you are racing, or you go to pass someone and they happen to be practicing imaginary hazard avoidance.

I just don't at all see how track days can help you to avoid road hazards.

Swerving around cars, potholes, pinecones and roadkill yes, riding the same spotless corners over and over again, I don't agree.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:16 PM   #3
Vertical C
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GP winner Norifumi Abe was killed when a truck turned in front of him.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
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GP winner Norifumi Abe was killed when a truck turned in front of him.
Well that settles it then.
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:29 PM   #5
farmerstu
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no doubt track time and pushing limits makes one a better rider on the street. it isn't that you are learning to avoid obstacles and erratic traffic, but rather when the bike gets squirrely unexpectedly you avoid that split second of panic because it isn't the first time you've experienced it. track is different that the street, that doesn't mean skills learned and practiced on the track aren't transferable.
track time,off road time, street time, all makes one a better rider. all experience is learning experience.
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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Track riding makes you a better rider on the track at high speed.

Riding on the road with traffic makes you a better rider on the street who is aware of real street hazards and can learn to "read" traffic better.

You don't learn how to avoid potholes on the track. You don't learn what to do when there is sand in the apex of a corner on the track. You don't learn how to react to those subtle clues about what drivers are going to do on the track. You don't learn how to watch for animals and children who may run into the road on the track.

You learn how to ride fast in optimal conditions on the track. Probably fun if you are into that.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by farmerstu View Post
no doubt track time and pushing limits makes one a better rider on the street. It isn't that you are learning to avoid obstacles and erratic traffic, but rather when the bike gets squirrely unexpectedly you avoid that split second of panic because it isn't the first time you've experienced it. Track is different that the street, that doesn't mean skills learned and practiced on the track aren't transferable.
Track time,off road time, street time, all makes one a better rider. All experience is learning experience.
+1.
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:08 PM   #8
Albie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiebrian View Post
Track riding makes you a better rider on the track at high speed.

Riding on the road with traffic makes you a better rider on the street who is aware of real street hazards and can learn to "read" traffic better.

You don't learn how to avoid potholes on the track. You don't learn what to do when there is sand in the apex of a corner on the track. You don't learn how to react to those subtle clues about what drivers are going to do on the track. You don't learn how to watch for animals and children who may run into the road on the track.

You learn how to ride fast in optimal conditions on the track. Probably fun if you are into that.
So much fail. Track riding is very good training for street riding. Only people who say different are the ones that have never spent any time on a track.
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:17 PM   #9
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what racing teaches you is how to think. Ben Bostrom said motorcycle racing is 90% mental and 10% physical. To be a good racer, you have to be able to think clearly and extremely quickly while overcoming doubt, stress, and fear (or at least not letting fear kill you).

The ability to mentally operate at a high level while your life is on the line directly translates to being able to survive bad situations on the street.
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:08 PM   #10
hippiebrian
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Originally Posted by Albie View Post
So much fail. Track riding is very good training for street riding. Only people who say different are the ones that have never spent any time on a track.
So, how exactly will track riding make me a better street rider? Does it teach how to read traffic? What to do if you hit sand in the apex of a curve? How to look for and expect pot holes, rocks, and oncoming traffic crossing the line in blind corners? Does it teach traffic scanning? Does it teach slow speed maneuvers?

What it teaches is how to ride fast when you have no obstacles to worry about. Every thing else is learned on the road. Again, I say if you want to be a fast rider at the track, the track is the place to learn that. If you want to be a good alert and ready street rider or touring rider, that is best learned with long hours on the seat in the street. Want to learn the subtle traffic cues? The track is not the place to do it. Ride in the city. A lot. It is hard to learn what speed to enter a corner expecting oncoming traffic, sand, rocks, etc. if you are riding in places where those obstacles have been removed, i.e. the track.

Being a fast rider on the street does not necessarily make you a better street rider, although with experience with the bike will make you a faster rider having figured out exactly what you can get away with. What makes one a better street rider is a lack of single vehicle wrecks and a reduction in "not at fault" wrecks through learning to read traffic.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:58 PM   #11
LimitedSlip
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hippiebrian, how much track time do you have?
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:10 AM   #12
Rucksta
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I did my track days on an unsuitable bike with unsuitable tyres
had a ball.

Instead of wondering how far I could push the bike I found out
Instead of worrying about what would happen if "something bad" happened I found out and figured what to do about it.

Does it make me a better street rider? Don't care
It sharpened me off road.
If I can wash out both tyres at 85mph cranked over and not die what's a little bit of traction loss in the dirt at lower speeds.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:14 AM   #13
JohnCW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC950 View Post
you have to be able to think clearly and extremely quickly while overcoming doubt, stress, and fear (or at least not letting fear kill you).
Sounds just like my every day commute in heavy peak hour traffic in a major city.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by LimitedSlip View Post
hippiebrian, how much track time do you have?
None. Have 40 years of road time, however.

Crashed twice, both times my fault.

How much road time do you have?
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albie View Post
So much fail. Track riding is very good training for street riding. Only people who say different are the ones that have never spent any time on a track.
Riding on track has 2 benefits.

1. It develops very, very good mental focus.

2. It develops very, very good bike handling skills.

So yes, having excellent mental focus and bike handling skills will arguably make you a better rider on the street.
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