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I've been riding for about 6 months now. As of yet, I think I've done a good job pacing myself. I'm never uncomfortable on the bike and I work steadily to push myself.

About two months ago, I started riding in some twisties. There is one near my house that I rid virtually every other day. However, I'm scared to push myself or the bike any faster (and for reference, I'm not going all that fast, about 25 to 35 mph when speed limit is about 35). Sometimes, I enter a turn a bit quicker than I want (just a bit, like +5mph) and rather than lean more, I find myself braking just enough in the turn to slow down and be comfortable. This is not ideal for a variety of reasons. Any advice on how to carve a little smoother and trust the lean? Any input on how I can keep working my way up?

Additionally, I've been recommended by a few people to try out my bike at a track. This sounds like a super fun way to improve my skills and push myself to go faster, lean more, and work on my lines in an environment where I don't have to be worried about riding off a cliff if I run wide. However, how do I know I'm ready to ride at a track? How do I know if my bike is ready for a track? Are there some courses (under $500) I should look into that will significantly improve my skill set?

In both cases, are there any mods I need to make to my R3 to be safer and better equipped for such riding? My bike and my tires (stock tires) have 2k miles on them. Can I trust these tires at great lean angles?

Any advice is appreciated. If people think 6 months is not enough motorcycle maturity to consider going to a track, please tell me. I like my bike and my skin, not trying to lose either just to go a bit faster.
 

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Pick up a copy of the book twist of the wrist by keith code and/or watch it on youtube. As for track days, super easy to get started with little to no modifications to bike. Where are you geographically?

gsr
 

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like gummy shark said pick up a copy of twist of the wrist 2 and or watch the yt vid of it and secondly why would you want to push yourself on a road with traffic and walls that is more likely to **** you and the bike up then go learn on a track?

we have track day teaching session over here that are like £50 more then the track days but they teach you what you need before doing a full on track day where you ain't going to teach yourself much.
 

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I thought I was experienced. I assumed I was a well seasoned rider. Luckily I never had any accidents.
I rode 30 years and 250,000 miles on the street before I ever actually learned to properly take curves. We just don't have a lot of good twisties here in MN to learn on.

I went on a group ride in SW Wisconsin about 10 years ago, to some very curvy roads. I quickly realized I didn't really know what the **** I was doing. A few of the guys gave me some good tips about looking thru the corner, to where I wanted to go, and other suggestions that helped me survive that day.
After that I understood what everyone was talking about as far as going to the track to learn to properly take corners.

I got Keith Codes books, and signed up for advanced riding schools locally. I am grateful that I finally took the advice and got my azzz to the track.
Now that I've done dozens of actual track days, including several camps with California Superbike schools at Laguna Seca, I realize I still am by far an expert. But I have better confidence and skills to help me be successful. 🙂
 

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It was late last night and I was laying in bed, so I was brief, but here's a full answer, in addition to what I said about TotW.

So I creeped your profile and see that you're SoCal. If I were there, these are the guys that I would try first. There are going to be orientation sessions as well as complimentary coaching throughout the day for a very reasonable price with a low prep requirement. Once you've done a TD and if you are serious about it, their season pass is a **** good deal if you are planning on making it out to at least 6 weekends, and assuming everything doesn't get cancelled like it did this year. Fundamentally you should understand that track days are not about going out and racing other riders, they are about rider education. Ego is what often limits us as riders. Additionally, I would shell out for Code's California Superbike School as able just because he literally wrote the book, and they have a nifty slide trainer I've always wanted to try, but I'd start with the much cheaper track days.

To your specific questions:

However, how do I know I'm ready to ride at a track?
If you are willing to learn and are seeking out information, then you are ready. Track days are broken in to skill-based groups, and you will start out with other new trackday riders of comparable level.

How do I know if my bike is ready for a track?
The link that I posted will have tech info, but generally all that is needed at the novice level is to remove your mirrors and put painters tape over your lights. 90% tire tread, good condition chain and sprockets, and no leaks and you're good.

Are there some courses (under $500) I should look into that will significantly improve my skill set?
California Superbike School Streets of Willow is $440 for single day when they run there.

In both cases, are there any mods I need to make to my R3 to be safer and better equipped for such riding?
Safety mods are unnecessary until such time as you advance into A group, at which point the organization will dictate bike prep. Interestingly the CSB bike tech requirements are actually less stringent than the TD tech.

As far as mods to help you become a better rider, input mods so; Rearsets (~$400) Clip-Ons ($200) and Tank Grippers ($50) Understand that these are wholly unnecessary for you to go out and enjoy a track day...I am simply answering the question at hand. You're better off running what you have and learning that way, especially since trackside vendors will often cut you a deal once they get to know you and you will have a better idea of what you are looking for out of new controls anyway. Also (arguably) the R6 throttle tube (~$20) down the road, but stick with the stocker while you learn to become smooth. If you become serious about going to the track, then toss on a good set of front pads and a stainless front brake line but, again, unnecessary for your first season or so.

My bike and my tires (stock tires) have 2k miles on them. Can I trust these tires at great lean angles?
The tires will outperform you until you get to A group. #Sendit.

I like my bike and my skin, not trying to lose either just to go a bit faster.
Track days generally require full leather. This can be a barrier to entry ($1500-$2000 for full suit, gauntlet gloves, tall boots,) but a lot of orgs rent them or you can buy second hand. It's worth the investment...pick up a two piece with a full circumference zipper if you want to use the same gear on the street and they'll last you a long time and keep you safe.

As far as protecting the bike, you can add sliders ($80,) case guards ($200) and fairings ($700) if you want to keep your stock plastics pristine, but you shouldn't be spending a lot of time on the ground in novice group.

Have fun, shiny side up!

- gsr
 

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From your alias and the sound of your post, you likely already know this, but it is best to brake before entering the corner and then actually accelerate slightly while traveling through the arc -- increasingly so out the other side. I would describe cornering on a street bike as essentially flying through the corner yourself and pulling the bike along with you, almost as if you're late for work and mildly irritated that your buddy (the bike) is slowing you down. You want your body (head, shoulder, elbow, knee) down/out and to the side of the bike (obviously toward the same side as the direction of the corner) -- as well as scooting your butt off the side of the seat just a little toward that side, and you should be exerting a light pulling force on the bars (pulling them such that were you at a stop or going very slowly, the front wheel would turn in the opposite direction to the corner) -- e.g. if you're doing a lefthand turn, you'd push the left bar forward and to the left while simultaneously pulling the right bar back and left.

I'm definitely not a pro racer or anything, and I taught myself how to ride pretty much without any reading or input [probably not the smartest idea, in hind sight, but I survived], but I never really road with anyone on the street who could get through corners faster (after I had been riding for some time). I don't know how much that really means, since I never road on a track or anything (of course there will be many who are much faster, out there somewhere...), but anywho... Since lefthand corners are most natural to me (being right handed), and because it will align well with the above, I'll just give a quick rundown of how I approach a typical LEFTHAND CORNER on a street bike. Obviously, a righthand corner is all "the same" except a mirror image...

A) Look ahead toward and through the turn as you approach it to judge approximate angle and entry speed into the corner, determine if it is a decreasing radius (tightening up), etc.

B) Assuming you're hustling a bit, begin braking at an appropriate distance to reach the desired corner entry speed at the right point (obviously this requires judgement and practice to get right and do well...and these variables will change considerably depending on the bike you're riding, the particular corner, weather conditions like temperature and obviously rain etc., and any potential hazards like gravel on the road, a car that might pull out into your path, etc.). As long as the bike is perpendicular to the road surface and you apply an appropriate front/rear bias to the brakes (much more pressure on the front brake than the rear, since the rear will lock up easily if you smash on the foot brake), you can brake quite hard and slow down rapidly, especially on a light bike like the R3.

[[[ ASIDE: It can't hurt to intentionally lock up the rear brake just slightly somewhere a few times before any of this, to see how much pressure that takes -- making sure no cars are anywhere behind you at all...or any other hazards, and of course making sure the bike is completely perpendicular and you're holding on and all that common sense stuff...and starting out mildly with the intention of just barely getting it to lock up for a second. You can also do this with the front brake, but it can be more tricky and difficult -- not recommended unless you're very comfortable with the bike and riding in general. Depending on the bike you're on and the manner in which you apply the front brake and such, this could cause you to either endo or slide fairly abruptly/harshly. ]]]

[[[ ASIDE 2: I wouldn't recommend aggressive down shifting and rev matching until after mastering other aspects of cornering. Initially, start with the bike in a gear that will put the motor at a fairly high RPM at the corner entry point (maybe 7 to 9 thousand RPM) -- well before the corner entry, perhaps even before the initial braking point. ]]]

C) Before initiating upright-position braking, you should generally be toward the right side of the lane...set up body position [see the introduction paragraph^^ to this little...article that I've apparently written at this point, LOL...] and begin leaning over into the corner at the point of transition from braking to corner entry (where the corner starts...).

D) As you flow through the corner, try to maintain a steady throttle input that gradually increases speed through the corner; be careful to NOT be "herky-jerky" with the throttle (aka "whiskey throttle")...steady and smooth is the name of the game here. This is a good case for a bike like an R3 instead of learning on an R1 LOL, but I digress.

E) The typical line is to (again) start out on the right side and then gradually move across toward the left side of the lane as you travel through the corner, such that you are positioned all the way on the left side of the lane at the apex -- the point exactly in the middle of the corner, between the entrance and exit. Then simply continue the same arc toward the other end of the corner (the corner exit), but this time moving gradually back toward the right side of the lane until you reach the exit.

F) As you move toward the exit of the corner, begin raising the bike back to an upright position (perpendicular to the road surface) and moving back to an upright body position while simultaneously increasing throttle input (again, how much throttle you can get away with without breaking the rear tire loose requires judgement and practice -- be extra cautious in certain circumstances or in the presence of various hazards such as olives on the road from a roadside olive tree [yea, been there, done that...], gravel or dirt, uneven/rippled/buckled road surface, potholes, etc. etc. as obviously any of these kinds of things can ruin your day). Upshift as needed for maximum drive when sling-shotting out of the corner exit :)


Again, this is just what I learned on my own, so...disclaimer: you can't sue me, because this does not constitute professional advice. LOL. Have fun and keep doing what you've been doing [being cautious and not dying or wrecking your bike!].




Sometimes, I wonder why I make these ridiculously long and detailed posts on forums that barely anyone even bothers to visit, let alone actually read anything on. Ah well. Maybe someone will. If not, whatever...I'm reinforcing my own knowledge LOL.
 

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Listen to Gummy Shark, don't listen to kj7687. Go to a track day. If you can ride successfully on the street, you can do a track day. The motoamerica jr cup is full of 14 year olds who blow the pants off every single person on these forums, they all started the same way, on the track.
 

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Listen to Gummy Shark, don't listen to kj7687. Go to a track day. If you can ride successfully on the street, you can do a track day. The motoamerica jr cup is full of 14 year olds who blow the pants off every single person on these forums, they all started the same way, on the track.
If you're going to insult someone or the points they've made, next time at least offer some kind of valid counterpoint(s). Otherwise, you just come off as a douche. I gave fair disclaimers, and the OP is a big boy and can decide for himself whose advice he wants to follow or not.
 

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From your alias and the sound of your post, you likely already know this, but it is best to brake before entering the corner and then actually accelerate slightly while traveling through the arc -- increasingly so out the other side. I would describe cornering on a street bike as essentially flying through the corner yourself and pulling the bike along with you, almost as if you're late for work and mildly irritated that your buddy (the bike) is slowing you down. You want your body (head, shoulder, elbow, knee) down/out and to the side of the bike (obviously toward the same side as the direction of the corner) -- as well as scooting your butt off the side of the seat just a little toward that side, and you should be exerting a light pulling force on the bars (pulling them such that were you at a stop or going very slowly, the front wheel would turn in the opposite direction to the corner) -- e.g. if you're doing a lefthand turn, you'd push the left bar forward and to the left while simultaneously pulling the right bar back and left.

I'm definitely not a pro racer or anything, and I taught myself how to ride pretty much without any reading or input [probably not the smartest idea, in hind sight, but I survived], but I never really road with anyone on the street who could get through corners faster (after I had been riding for some time). I don't know how much that really means, since I never road on a track or anything (of course there will be many who are much faster, out there somewhere...), but anywho... Since lefthand corners are most natural to me (being right handed), and because it will align well with the above, I'll just give a quick rundown of how I approach a typical LEFTHAND CORNER on a street bike. Obviously, a righthand corner is all "the same" except a mirror image...

A) Look ahead toward and through the turn as you approach it to judge approximate angle and entry speed into the corner, determine if it is a decreasing radius (tightening up), etc.

B) Assuming you're hustling a bit, begin braking at an appropriate distance to reach the desired corner entry speed at the right point (obviously this requires judgement and practice to get right and do well...and these variables will change considerably depending on the bike you're riding, the particular corner, weather conditions like temperature and obviously rain etc., and any potential hazards like gravel on the road, a car that might pull out into your path, etc.). As long as the bike is perpendicular to the road surface and you apply an appropriate front/rear bias to the brakes (much more pressure on the front brake than the rear, since the rear will lock up easily if you smash on the foot brake), you can brake quite hard and slow down rapidly, especially on a light bike like the R3.

[[[ ASIDE: It can't hurt to intentionally lock up the rear brake just slightly somewhere a few times before any of this, to see how much pressure that takes -- making sure no cars are anywhere behind you at all...or any other hazards, and of course making sure the bike is completely perpendicular and you're holding on and all that common sense stuff...and starting out mildly with the intention of just barely getting it to lock up for a second. You can also do this with the front brake, but it can be more tricky and difficult -- not recommended unless you're very comfortable with the bike and riding in general. Depending on the bike you're on and the manner in which you apply the front brake and such, this could cause you to either endo or slide fairly abruptly/harshly. ]]]

[[[ ASIDE 2: I wouldn't recommend aggressive down shifting and rev matching until after mastering other aspects of cornering. Initially, start with the bike in a gear that will put the motor at a fairly high RPM at the corner entry point (maybe 7 to 9 thousand RPM) -- well before the corner entry, perhaps even before the initial braking point. ]]]

C) Before initiating upright-position braking, you should generally be toward the right side of the lane...set up body position [see the introduction paragraph^^ to this little...article that I've apparently written at this point, LOL...] and begin leaning over into the corner at the point of transition from braking to corner entry (where the corner starts...).

D) As you flow through the corner, try to maintain a steady throttle input that gradually increases speed through the corner; be careful to NOT be "herky-jerky" with the throttle (aka "whiskey throttle")...steady and smooth is the name of the game here. This is a good case for a bike like an R3 instead of learning on an R1 LOL, but I digress.

E) The typical line is to (again) start out on the right side and then gradually move across toward the left side of the lane as you travel through the corner, such that you are positioned all the way on the left side of the lane at the apex -- the point exactly in the middle of the corner, between the entrance and exit. Then simply continue the same arc toward the other end of the corner (the corner exit), but this time moving gradually back toward the right side of the lane until you reach the exit.

F) As you move toward the exit of the corner, begin raising the bike back to an upright position (perpendicular to the road surface) and moving back to an upright body position while simultaneously increasing throttle input (again, how much throttle you can get away with without breaking the rear tire loose requires judgement and practice -- be extra cautious in certain circumstances or in the presence of various hazards such as olives on the road from a roadside olive tree [yea, been there, done that...], gravel or dirt, uneven/rippled/buckled road surface, potholes, etc. etc. as obviously any of these kinds of things can ruin your day). Upshift as needed for maximum drive when sling-shotting out of the corner exit :)


Again, this is just what I learned on my own, so...disclaimer: you can't sue me, because this does not constitute professional advice. LOL. Have fun and keep doing what you've been doing [being cautious and not dying or wrecking your bike!].




Sometimes, I wonder why I make these ridiculously long and detailed posts on forums that barely anyone even bothers to visit, let alone actually read anything on. Ah well. Maybe someone will. If not, whatever...I'm reinforcing my own knowledge LOL.
You asked for it...

A) If you're going to start going faster around corners, go around them slow and learn the road / track BEFORE you start pushing it. Looking through a corner isn't going to tell you any valuable information about the layout of the corner and which speeds you should be taking them at. For a newbie, this is good information with the absolute wrong explanation. You look through the corner to look where you want to go, not to judge the radius of the turn...

B) Not sure what the point is your saying here, brake before the turn? No value added to this point.

Aside 1: Absolutely terrible advise. Learning to lockup the rear does nothing to anything learning to go faster. The faster you go, the harder you'll brake with the front, the less weight that will be on the rear and the MORE likely it will be to slide the rear around. Learning that x lbs of force will lock up the rear and then going into a turn and using the front and the rear will absolutely end up in sliding the rear. Terrible advice, you're going to get people hurt by giving them false confidence in the rear.

Aside 2: Bad advise, a newbie should be going into a turn, clutch > front brake + downshift > front brake + release clutch slowly > tip into turn

C) The rider should be on the OUTSIDE of the turn before the turn, go into the INSIDE of the turn then accelerate to the OUTSIDE of the turn. This is basic MSF stuff, don't know why you're using directional nomenclature. Also bad advise in general, stick to a track, stop talking about lanes and refer to the racing line.

D) No problems here, the R3 is small, so unless your trail braking you'll need what's referred to as "maintenance throttle" to keep enough speed through the corner.

E) The apex is not exactly in the middle of the turn, it depends on the turn. Increasing radius turns will typically have an early apex while decreasing radius turns have a late apex. Some turns have more than one apex.

F) Wrong, wrong, wrong. Begin increase throttle starting at the apex. The increase in speed will decrease the bikes turning radius and essentially stand the bike up. The lean angle of the bike is controlled through the throttle while in a turn. Do not apply steering input to the bike in a turn.

Source: Racing an R3 for 4 years all across the midwest with coaching from MotoAmerica racers / winners.
 

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Keep the pushing on the track where the environment is controlled.

On the streets there will always be unknown road conditions ahead of you. (Cars overtaking on a double yellow, oil on the road, animals ect)
 

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You asked for it...

A) If you're going to start going faster around corners, go around them slow and learn the road / track BEFORE you start pushing it. Looking through a corner isn't going to tell you any valuable information about the layout of the corner and which speeds you should be taking them at. For a newbie, this is good information with the absolute wrong explanation. You look through the corner to look where you want to go, not to judge the radius of the turn...

B) Not sure what the point is your saying here, brake before the turn? No value added to this point.

Aside 1: Absolutely terrible advise. Learning to lockup the rear does nothing to anything learning to go faster. The faster you go, the harder you'll brake with the front, the less weight that will be on the rear and the MORE likely it will be to slide the rear around. Learning that x lbs of force will lock up the rear and then going into a turn and using the front and the rear will absolutely end up in sliding the rear. Terrible advice, you're going to get people hurt by giving them false confidence in the rear.

Aside 2: Bad advise, a newbie should be going into a turn, clutch > front brake + downshift > front brake + release clutch slowly > tip into turn

C) The rider should be on the OUTSIDE of the turn before the turn, go into the INSIDE of the turn then accelerate to the OUTSIDE of the turn. This is basic MSF stuff, don't know why you're using directional nomenclature. Also bad advise in general, stick to a track, stop talking about lanes and refer to the racing line.

D) No problems here, the R3 is small, so unless your trail braking you'll need what's referred to as "maintenance throttle" to keep enough speed through the corner.

E) The apex is not exactly in the middle of the turn, it depends on the turn. Increasing radius turns will typically have an early apex while decreasing radius turns have a late apex. Some turns have more than one apex.

F) Wrong, wrong, wrong. Begin increase throttle starting at the apex. The increase in speed will decrease the bikes turning radius and essentially stand the bike up. The lean angle of the bike is controlled through the throttle while in a turn. Do not apply steering input to the bike in a turn.

Source: Racing an R3 for 4 years all across the midwest with coaching from MotoAmerica racers / winners.

Alright, one or two half-decent points, but judging by some of your responses, you seem to struggle with basic reading comprehension and make a lot of ridiculous assumptions about many of my statements. Also, some of your "critiques" of my points are just plain nonsensical.

Looking through a corner doesn't give you any information about how fast you can go through it? Really? So if you can see that you're approaching a 90 degree curve and you're going xx mph, you're going to take that corner at the same speed as you would a 20 degree corner? No, you're not. Of course it's better to know corners well first before hitting them fast -- did I ever say it wasn't? No. You made an assumption. This guy isn't only talking about track riding -- he's also talking about general street riding, and no one is ever going to become intimately familiar with the layout of every twisty road in America. Also, regarding why you look through a corner...notice the "etc." at the end. [ Etc. -- an abbreviation meaning "and so forth; and so on"]...that means "and other similar things" like, gee, looking where you're going to go would probably be included in that list of other things, right?

You say it's terrible advice to learn how much force is required to lock up the rear and mention that using the front brake will change that variable...assuming that I don't know that, or that I would NOT provide that advice to a new rider who HAS ALREADY experimented with rear-wheel lockup. Just because the lockup threshold can change with different variables does not mean that learning the most basic threshold FIRST and experiencing what lockup feels like isn't valuable. You've obviously never ridden dirt bikes either, judging by this comment. Or if you have, certainly not very well. That was an ASIDE, by the way. Got it?

No value in judging how much you need to brake before a corner -- taking all variables into account? So there's no value in recommending that a new rider be cognizant of potential mid-corner hazards that can have a major impact on how fast it's safe to take a given corner? Corners on the STREET can present many such hazards. Being wary of them is definitely a valuable thing to have on one's mind while riding street. If you don't think so, well, you're probably going to die soon if you ride street much.

Regarding corner positioning/line description...again, OP is NOT just talking about the track. On the street, you're in a LANE.

"Begin increasing throttle starting at the Apex...". That's what I SAID in that paragraph: "As you approach the corner exit", I said...meaning increasingly more throttle from the apex to the end of the corner.

You basically just went through most of my statements and tried to find some reason as to why they are "wrong wrong wrong" or "terrible advice". Again, one or two legitimate points...the rest? Assumption-fueled drivel and ridiculous statements basically unrelated to my previous statements. Here is where I will emphasize what I said about making VALID counterpoints. Nice try though.
 

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You've both made some valid points and provided some good information. But the same could have been done without the insults.... Make your points and agree to respectfully disagree. Please continue to enjoy and contribute to the Forum. But it would be helpful if you toned it down.
 

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Agree with airhead83. However, I'd like to also backup the advice on looking through corners. It's motorcycling 101 for both track and road. See below for some references:


"This is another step in cornering that seems unnatural, but you need to turn your head and look in the direction you want the motorcycle to go. I am not talking about turning your eyes in the direction of travel, I am talking about pointing your nose in the direction you want the motorcycle to go. Look at the photo at the top of this page, it is a photo of 6 time Moto GP World Champion Valentino Rossi. This is a photo I took at Circuit of the Americas race in Austin, TX. Notice where one of the best riders in the world has his head and nose pointed as he rounds the corner. That's right, if the best riders in the world are doing it maybe you should too. " - Source


"You really have to look reasonably far ahead, and look really where you wish to place your motorcycle. And this process of looking and scanning far ahead has to be constant, in tune with the speed of your motorcycle. It’s one of the very basic principles of motorcycle riding." - Source
 

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Agree with airhead83. However, I'd like to also backup the advice on looking through corners. It's motorcycling 101 for both track and road. See below for some references:


"This is another step in cornering that seems unnatural, but you need to turn your head and look in the direction you want the motorcycle to go. I am not talking about turning your eyes in the direction of travel, I am talking about pointing your nose in the direction you want the motorcycle to go. Look at the photo at the top of this page, it is a photo of 6 time Moto GP World Champion Valentino Rossi. This is a photo I took at Circuit of the Americas race in Austin, TX. Notice where one of the best riders in the world has his head and nose pointed as he rounds the corner. That's right, if the best riders in the world are doing it maybe you should too. " - Source


"You really have to look reasonably far ahead, and look really where you wish to place your motorcycle. And this process of looking and scanning far ahead has to be constant, in tune with the speed of your motorcycle. It’s one of the very basic principles of motorcycle riding." - Source
Fyi.. At triple digies I countersteer with my big fat head.
 

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Some valid points have been made here but perhaps forgetting the OP is a newbie, cornering well below the speed limit, so in that regard I'll add a few.
1. Before worrying about hanging off the bike learn to corner smoothly with minimal changes in steering input. In a constant radius corner you shouldn't have to change your lean angle at all. You do this by finding a few curves you are familiar with, enter the corner and stay in the left or right tire track, your choice, throughout the corner maintaining a constant speed. You should start with a lean angle and maintain it throughout the corner.
2. Hitting the apex on the street isn't always the best idea. You generally want to start at the outside of the curve and stay there so as to better see around any obstacles in the bend, essentially taking a late apex if any at all.
3. A newbie lightly braking in the corner isn't all bad in that it teaches what braking in a corner feels like i.e. the bike wanting to stand upright. Having said that if you find yourself going wide in a turn you need to lean the bike over more instead of braking as the front tire can either brake hard or corner hard it can't do both.
Criticize away folks.
 

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Some valid points have been made here but perhaps forgetting the OP is a newbie, cornering well below the speed limit, so in that regard I'll add a few.
1. Before worrying about hanging off the bike learn to corner smoothly with minimal changes in steering input. In a constant radius corner you shouldn't have to change your lean angle at all. You do this by finding a few curves you are familiar with, enter the corner and stay in the left or right tire track, your choice, throughout the corner maintaining a constant speed. You should start with a lean angle and maintain it throughout the corner.
2. Hitting the apex on the street isn't always the best idea. You generally want to start at the outside of the curve and stay there so as to better see around any obstacles in the bend, essentially taking a late apex if any at all.
3. A newbie lightly braking in the corner isn't all bad in that it teaches what braking in a corner feels like i.e. the bike wanting to stand upright. Having said that if you find yourself going wide in a turn you need to lean the bike over more instead of braking as the front tire can either brake hard or corner hard it can't do both.
Criticize away folks.
Sorry, #3 confuses me quite a lot. Braking in a turn absolutely does not stand the bike up... Braking pushes the front end down, compressing the forks and shortening the wheel base. A shorter wheel base turns faster. This is the entire point behind trail braking, brake hard and gradually release the brakes as you tip in until you fully release at the apex where you add throttle which will stand the bike up as you exit the corner...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm shocked and thrilled by the amount of discourse on this thread. Thank you all so much!

Hearing you all debate the right way for me to approach this progress is actually quite insightful and I personally lots of points on both sides made sense.

To @Gummy Shark Racing, I just ordered a copy of Twist of the Wrist. Thanks for the recommendation. Additionally, your direct responses to my questions and points are super helpful and I'm gonna trust all of them.

Locking the rear on purpose in a controlled environment? @kj7687 I agree with some other individuals that it might not teach me to go faster, but it's clear to me that's not what you meant. I actually think you raise a good idea. I currently have no clue where the limits of my brakes are. I'll read more about this to see how I can do this safely. Learning more about my bike and how it will respond to my inputs will be valuable.

I also really appreciate seeing people give advice on how I can practice cornering on streets seeing as the track has such a financial barrier. Likewise, hearing the repeated support for going to a track does signal to me as a newbie that I really will reap the benefits of such an expenditure. If anyone knows of a good tracks in California that support beginners, please let me know. For reference, I should have updated my information as I moved from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz about a month ago (pretty close to Laguna Seca, but they don't allow beginners).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Lastly, if people wouldn't mind, I have two more quick questions that arose in the last week.

1. I think I am committed to trying to get out to a track in the next year as I believe you are all correct and that I will learn a ton. However, should I try to take an intermediate riding course before going to a track or just go straight to the track?
2. Clearly, I will have to purchase a leather suit before going to a track. While it'll be expensive, I'll try to find a used one (without road rash of course) and I'll just save up for it. Right now, I'm looking into spending some money on an airbag system that I can wear when I ride on streets (the Alpinestars Tech-Air Street is on sale right now). Do you guys think these are a worthy investment along side of a racing suit or would people recommend putting that money into a better suit?

Hopefully this doesn't start a debate. I'm just looking for inputs to get as many perspectives as possible and then I'll make my own decision.
 
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