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Thread: Positioning

  1. #65
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    Common sense does seem susrprisingly lacking in my line of work and with people I know, even more so the "average" road user, I bet traffic cops see much more (well less) of this on a daily basis.

    The other aspect is really down to peoples appetite for risk, I think like many I am in the mid region here, in fact to ride a motorcycle you are not going to be at the paranoid end of the scale, although without training many riders do not even recognise the risks, and therefore regardless of their own appetite would still take "risks" purely due to ignorance.

    Many riders have no understanding, or even care to understand risk, my racer mate was a nightmare on the road, flat out most of the time, he thought 70mph through a 30 was fine because it was much slower than the 170 he was doing before entering the village. He is beyond help, fortunately he knows that now and will not ride a bike on the road as he cannot even trust himself.

    I could ride safer, but believe (like most people) I have a balanced approach, some may say I am too fast and reckless, others that I am too slow and cautious, in this regard I think everyone has to find their own level, training helps with working out where you really are.

    Same training will not make everyone ride the same, even if they tried natural ability comes into play, some riders can grind engine cases on R1's, others rarely lean more than a few degrees from upright, better skilled riders have a larger margin for safety, or can just go faster, depends on the individual.

    A combination of training, experience, natural ability and risk profile and probably many other things make each rider (and possibly each ride) different.

    Not sure common sense even exists, perhaps it is made up of knowledge and experience, when you see someone doing something so f***** stupid it beggars belief, I bet to them it seems OK as they know no better, if they did surely they would not be doing it

  2. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by giles lamb View Post
    I can't work you out!!!!
    That's never been my intention.

    Not every rider wants to develop the ability to ride fast, some 'only' want to be safe, that's their only priority!

    Positioning is of course a major contribution to that, if they're simply not prepared to ride fast then positioning, within reason, becomes less of an issue.
    For such rider's there no reason to ever approach say a left hander 1" from the white line when if from just right of centre there's good enough visibility for their speed and they're already safe.

    I've overheard advanced intructors banging on to fairly new riders about approaching bends wide and firing the bike out....the students looked terrified at the prospect.

    That's what I mean about a common sense approach or as 'Rasher' has called it, a 'balanced approach'.

    As far as how and where we ride on the road, personally we're in agreement

    My concern is riders practicing more 'extreme' positioning after reading about it but without supervision when they really will need that abundance of common sense

    I don't know what it's like down in Kent but the North Wales dry stone walls are littered with flowers, many for riders who have had a little training and are out there practicing it.
    KEA

  3. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Rasher View Post
    Not sure common sense even exists, perhaps it is made up of knowledge and experience,

    I learned to ride in the 80's. I remember my first 'big' bike was a VF500FII. There was a particular bend on my way to work, (all urban, living in the Isle of dogs) and every morning, (it was winter), the roads were wet, and I'd get nearer and nearer to the parked cars on my nearside. It was a nightmare! And the more I thought about it, the worse it got, tight arms, holding my breath ....

    I came across a book in smiths or somewhere called 'my first superbike' or something like that. (very 80's!!). Third or fourth chapter?? Countersteering. Whe I read it, my eyes were on stalks, and when I tried it, I realised that I'd spent the last few weeks trying to steer right on my right hand bend, and thats why I kept missing the cars by a whisker. How did I feel when the penny dropped? Angry! Really angry!! 'I've only just passed my test, why the hell didn't they tell me at the bike school?' I remember chuntering!

    OK so I worked it out or myself, but only by buying a book and reading.

    Within a couple of years, I was on a bigger bike and I'd got in with a crowd that were all serious petrol heads. These were the days of RGV250's, RSV 250's, Duke 851's and we'd go to Assen, Donnington, GP500's ....
    I learned loads. I used to sit at the back, and pick out individual riders and see what and how they did things. Two ears, one mouth and all that. I was a sponge. And that's where I learned stuff.

    Then it was Iam, Rospa, teaching, current job, blah bla blah....

    Now, from time to time, I see some really good riders. And many of them have had no training what so ever. But the best riders I see, you take out and sit behind, and think, 'nice, really nice rider - wonderful road sense - turns it on when it's safe, backs off when it isn't ... lovely positioning, always in the right place at the right time...' those guys, when you get chatting to them, have nearly all invested in some sort of further training.

    *Sorry Tim, just seen your reply. I gotta admit, when I was teaching, (albeit it was only 125's), I never mentioned positioning until they came back on their new 600 and did a couple of days of further 'big bike' stuff - little knowledge, dangerous thing and all that ... *

  4. #68
    This is good stuff.
    I must admit to lurking, but it's good reading.
    I've only signed up to read this stuff TBH.
    Keep it up and thank you.
    \v/

  5. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by giles lamb View Post
    I learned to ride in the 80's. I remember my first 'big' bike was a VF500FII. There was a particular bend on my way to work, (all urban, living in the Isle of dogs) and every morning, (it was winter), the roads were wet, and I'd get nearer and nearer to the parked cars on my nearside. It was a nightmare! And the more I thought about it, the worse it got, tight arms, holding my breath ....

    I came across a book in smiths or somewhere called 'my first superbike' or something like that. (very 80's!!). Third or fourth chapter?? Countersteering. Whe I read it, my eyes were on stalks, and when I tried it, I realised that I'd spent the last few weeks trying to steer right on my right hand bend, and thats why I kept missing the cars by a whisker. How did I feel when the penny dropped? Angry! Really angry!! 'I've only just passed my test, why the hell didn't they tell me at the bike school?' I remember chuntering!

    OK so I worked it out or myself, but only by buying a book and reading.

    Within a couple of years, I was on a bigger bike and I'd got in with a crowd that were all serious petrol heads. These were the days of RGV250's, RSV 250's, Duke 851's and we'd go to Assen, Donnington, GP500's ....
    I learned loads. I used to sit at the back, and pick out individual riders and see what and how they did things. Two ears, one mouth and all that. I was a sponge. And that's where I learned stuff.

    Then it was Iam, Rospa, teaching, current job, blah bla blah....

    Now, from time to time, I see some really good riders. And many of them have had no training what so ever. But the best riders I see, you take out and sit behind, and think, 'nice, really nice rider - wonderful road sense - turns it on when it's safe, backs off when it isn't ... lovely positioning, always in the right place at the right time...' those guys, when you get chatting to them, have nearly all invested in some sort of further training.

    *Sorry Tim, just seen your reply. I gotta admit, when I was teaching, (albeit it was only 125's), I never mentioned positioning until they came back on their new 600 and did a couple of days of further 'big bike' stuff - little knowledge, dangerous thing and all that ... *
    Cracking little life story...

    I think that many of us are lifelong bikers and have learnt with a few scrapes along the way. I taught for years in the 90's and was sick of all the holes in the "up to test" training. I made it my training ethos to teach "advanced" stuff if the student was receptive and ready. i incorporated some simple stuff into all training as it seemed common sense "stay alive" advice.

    As i have mentioned somewhere on here before, I worked a BMW dealers and went to a inquest for a fatal accident involving one of our bikes. I am not going into detail but the case revolved around training and the lack of formal "countersteering" training in the DSA manual. I only loosely used this manual and "countersteering" was definitely part of my approach. The area DSA manager said that in her opinion "it doesn't exist", and she had a CBR600. i was f'ing hopping mad and I vowed never to go near the DSA again.

    There are many approaches to training but keeping it simple and levelled at the experience/comfort/understanding of the student is vital.

    The most important thing is that whatever you are trying to do with your bike you try to keep yourself safe from becoming an accident stat. Some of us ride quick, some slow, but whatever you are trying to achieve, you have to know where your limits of riding or understanding are. I never want to stop learning, have learnt things from my own students (off roading etc), and am never too proud or stuck up my own arse to listen.

    Think about how you would emergency brake (spesh in the wet), avoid a car at short notice, ride over a plank of wood at 70 on a busy motorway, get round a corner after coming in a bit too hot, not crash on diesel or a wet manhole, tightening your line to avoid an oncoming artic etc, etc. If you are a bit ????????? then further training would help. If you are confident of all the above, than you probably have your own "system".

    It's got to be simple, make sense and not be some exam passing mantra that bores the shit out of everyone.

  6. #70
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    Training, any training, be it motorcycles, computers, flying, plumbing et al can only ever be just that ... training! It's a base for you, the individual, to start from, to work from and to build upon.

    You start off with no experience and a bag full of luck, and if you're lucky you gain all the experience you'll ever want ... before your bag of luck is empty

    I get associates whinging that they have had five different observers and all have told them different things. I tell them that they are lucky and stop whinging

    It's impossible for everyone to sing from the same hymn sheet, use the same words, the same accents and syllables, the same do's and don'ts. Long may it be that we all dot our i's and cross out t's differently. It would be a horrible place if we all did everything the same. I tell those associates that they should be better than any one of their observers, that they should take out of the experience what they like, what works for them ... and forget that that doesn't. They should then have the collective experience of all five ... great eh!

    I don't know if Schtum is self taught, or been tutored, but I've ridden with him a few times and I'd ride with him anywhere. I chased him on a wet B7068 from Lockerbie to Langholm one day, he never showed a brake light, the lines were perfect and we'd broken away from the others and left them well behind. It was a joy to watch and follow, and it showed quite clearly that there is only one way to ride

    Magnet on here will probably jump in at some point, because she also broke away from the group to come play ... and did

    My training, my manner, is controversial ... I make it so (It comes easy). If I can get someone to think about what they're doing, and why, then that's all I ask. CBT and DAS teach you to pass a test, just that. People indicate when there's no reason to ... "No problem, it's just in case, it doesn't hurt to do so!" Well fair enough, but to indicate automatically misses the point. We need to look to see if there is anyone that can benefit, rather than not give a dam if there is or isn't

    I passed Police Class One in the early eighties and went on for my Instructors/Examiners Royal & VIP escort etc. and went on to refine, redefine, develop and enhance my way of doing things. Note 'My Way' not necessarily that of other Police Class 1 motorcyclists! I was lucky though, I had a head start, I was taught by the best

    We show others that we're advanced motorcyclists by the way we ride, not by the badges on our jackets and 'bikes. You'll not see a green badge on my jacket or bike in case I want to play naughty but nice on occasions

    Cornering - Positioning .... try riding a regular and favourite stretch of road, full of twisties, on the pace, without using your brakes. The only way you can do this is by having excellent concentration and observations, excellent planning and anticipation coupled with accurate use of the gears and throttle.

    I know of IAM Examiners (ie Police Class 1) who will say "Use ya flippin' brakes, that's what they're there for, I don't go with all this crap about not showing a brake light"

    MmmmmmmmOK

    So where did you learn to ride like that Schtum ?
    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  7. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    So where did you learn to ride like that Schtum ?
    Sir is much too kind.....

    Worked it out mesen, Mick - had to, there wasn't a lot in the way of advanced training back in the 70's. Although I once did a bit of the Jeff Crookbain race school at Brands Hatch in '78 - until the race-kitted CB400/4 I was riding broke down. I did the Ron Haslam race school at Knockhill a few years ago and was highest scoring pupil of the day. I did Bikesafe with the Lothian and Borders force in c. 2000 and the only thing the copper who observed said was "I have no problems at all with your riding". He was less than pleased that I noted one major fault with his. However, I don't think I learned much from any of those.

    I used to get a lot of flak from my riding mates back in the 70's for taking "funny lines" when they were all taking "racing lines" - glued to the kerb on left handers and way over the centre line on right handers. The thing was that I've liked going quickly ever since I was a kid and used to take my push bike to the top of the highest hills around Langholm and PLF on the way down to get old mechanical speedo past 40 mph. However, although I love going fast, I've got a major aversion to pain; so I had to find a way to go fast safely.

    It's become a balancing act between getting the required visual information about potential hazards and opportunities and making the best progress. Actually, that day out we had was a good example where the visual stuff was slightly less important and the emphasis shifted to feeling out the grip with my hands and arse. Because of the wet, speeds were lower at times and because of the visibility it wasn't possible to scan so far ahead. Also, balance becomes more important than mechanical grip in the wet.

    However, I think any of us is only as good as our next coming together with a solid object. We might reach a good standard of machine control and reach what is for us an acceptable balance of safety and risk but it'd be folly for any of us to be deluded into thinking that we're infallible.

    A few weeks after I was out with you and the other guys that day, I went out with Rennie Ritchie, who I'm sure you know. I dropped the bike coming out of a petrol station with Rennie behind me. He helped to pick the bike off me....

    More recently, I came very close to binning it in California a couple of months ago - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=635380

    We'll need to do the riding together again at some point.

  8. #72
    I agree with everything!! And in particular, agree with the take this, bin that, use this, don't like that..... from different riders. You've got to be you on a bike, have your own character and style. And you most definitely get that from mixing your riding with a host of different riders and picking out the bits you like. I've certainly been doing that for years, and long may it continue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    I know of IAM Examiners (ie Police Class 1) who will say "Use ya flippin' brakes, that's what they're there for, I don't go with all this crap about not showing a brake light"

    The 80's seemed to really represent this era of 'don't show a brake light'. It was when I was doing all my civvy training, there were regular tales of bods adjusting their rear brake light plunger connector thingy so they could have a dab with out it showing. Whilst I certainly never did that, I learned a style that was, well errrr, 80's!!

    Fifteen years later, the instructor on my advanced course (on his 30+ now..) was pulling his hair out! - "You ponce about in this nicey nicey, itsy bitsy style of yours.. for fecks sake just get on with it ..." he would shout!!!!

    One afternoon he went ballistic. I came into a sharp right hander (very sharp) Brrrumm, (gear), Brrummm (gear), Brrrrrrrrrruuuummmm (gear)..... That was it, he was past me in a flash, pulled me over, 'Follow me....' he shouted, and we did a u turn and went back 500 metres.
    Lid came off, smoke coming out of his ears!! (Oh Gawd ... now what ...) "Giles, what the fukc can you see down there?" (pointing the way we had already been once..) "Err, a long straight followed by a sharp deviation sign and a 90 degree bend ..."
    "THEN FUKCING GET UP TO IT, AND STOP PONCING ABOUT ON THE ROAD TRYING NOT TO SHOW A FUKCING BRAKE LIGHT...... "

    "Yes Gary, sorry Gary ..."

    We are good mates, he's a cracking rider, and its just like you say, different styles but same song sheet. I'm now half 80's half, noughties and have my own style. I might ride for miles and miles without braking (especially on these boxers), but I'll also occasionally think, "Nah, just fukcing get up there and brake ...."

  9. #73
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    Good thread this, unfortunately lots of riders trying to do better often miss two vital parts in my opinion.
    It has been mentioned about how some really good smooth riders rarely seem to use their brakes. this only worke of course if you are good, ive seen many tryers overcooking a bend just trying not to brake. Nothing wrong with a bit of early " comfort braking IMO until you reach that stage where you can do it without touching the brake.

    The other bit is the inability of many to sacrifice the " line" in the interest of safety. Left hand bends, out to the white line and a feckin great artic comming the other way. poor road surface, why stay on line rather than look for a better bit of tarmac even though the line might not be perfect. It really is a case of making it up as you go using all the info you can gather.
    I find it is a art that you can practise and get a lot of pleasure from it when it all goae right, annoys the shit out of you when you dont get it quite right though.
    by way of intro... Police grade 1 in 1978, taught with a couple of training over the years but now just for my own pleasure.

  10. #74
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    Shit hot everyone... a great shake up of ideas and a lot of sense coming out of it even if it's a bit different. That is one of the biggest things to be learnt for inexperienced riders... There are things ot have a bit of a read about and things (many things) to work out yourself according to how you want to approach it.

    I probably learnt more in 2 years as a London courier and have been refining the experience for the next 20 I love to have a blast but want to stay alive...

    I like to hang it out on lovely sweeping roads and get the brakes hot on the tight stuff Brakes and gears, brakes and gears etc I had a very abused CBR6 many years ago that I refined the double down change on Obviously not needed on the GS

    I always think follow a rider through a corner or 3 and/or a traffic jam and you have an idea. I hate all this do-right crap and just like to ride the bike and know you can't learn how by only reading the books etc, they only help...

    Best diversions going south for me include the Aberdeen-Braemar-Perth run and the old A7 outta Edinburgh to Langholm way. I enjoy riding in the rain and it always brings the best outta folk

    Cheers for the good thread and comments. Better than crapping on about "which oil"

    PS I'm not Police trained or any of that but once talked with a trainer chap in Devon who said "join" as they needed some guys who could ride all the year round as it was not the fashion in this modern age of biking... Didn't 'cos i couldn't be bothered with the 2 years of pub fights 1st...

  11. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrigsby1 View Post
    Best diversions going south for me include..............the old A7 outta Edinburgh to Langholm way.
    For God's sake man, that's almost a motorway! There's a far more interesting route from Auld Reekie to The Muckle Toon.

  12. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by giles lamb View Post

    "THEN FUKCING GET UP TO IT, AND STOP PONCING ABOUT ON THE ROAD TRYING NOT TO SHOW A FUKCING BRAKE LIGHT...... "
    Totally agree Giles, but there's a difference! On steady nice twisties with no real straights in between then that's one thing, but decent straights with sharp bends at the end is another. Failed a guy for his IAM test this week he was down to the speed limit 30 or 40 some fifty to eighty yards before the sign. His positioning was OK but always very late and very abrupt ... one hazard at a time, deal with this one errr mmm now what's next.... OK I now need to be errr mmm there, so off he'd swoop for the next

    It's knowing the difference that makes the difference.... some people have great difficulty differentiating between using throttle control and use of gears for accurate adjustment of speed, and use of gears for slowing down. There is a difference. Had a guy one day, nice overtake, but to fit in between the cars, nice gap, nice guy, no probs, wanged it down a gear to drop in to the gap without showing a feckin' brake light

    I said on de-brief, remember that overtake when you wanged it down a gear to slow in to the gap without showing a brake light ... "Bugger" he said ... "I din't think you'd seen that"

    "I feckin' heard it" I said ... "... and the gear you dropped it down to should have been the feckin' gear you should have started the feckin' overtake in!"

    Knowing the difference makes the difference ...



    Quote Originally Posted by Schtum View Post
    For God's sake man, that's almost a motorway! There's a far more interesting route from Auld Reekie to The Muckle Toon.

    Wrigsby, not the A7 FFS
    Have a look at Mike's B7608 twixt Lockerbie and Langholm ... you'll not have as much fun with your trousers on

    Thanks for your previous Mike ... I didn't know where you learned to ride, but from what you say, and without having formative training you learned your skills by dint of self analysis... analysing your own riding, what felt right, what didn't, and analysing the riding of others, as per my 'It's Not Rocket Science' article which I wrote before I knew you!

    You don't need megga money or a rice burner, you don't need training or courses, but if you're willing to watch and analyse, learn, take on board, work things out, refine and define, pick out what works and what doesn't, and why, then you're on to a winner
    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  13. #77
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    Don't get this do not show a brake light bollox myself.

    There is over-braking and comfort braking and I see many riders who appear to be keeping morse code alive and kicking...

    ...but on the other hand I cannot see the point in rolling off 300m before a corner, dropping four gears, bending all your valves just to avoid a few seconds of light braking.

    I find the GS ideal to leave in top gear and use the torque and I can still flow quite smoothly with a little bit of braking here and there, certainly a lot less fuss and hassle than going up and down the gearbox like Bradley Smith, I thought I left all that behind when I sold my RG500.

  14. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasher View Post
    Don't get this do not show a brake light bollox myself.
    Not a problem Rasher, it's not a total 'no no' I agree with your comment

    Like I said, on the twisties not using the brakes serves to train and hone our very responses!

    Nürburgring Course, a very wet day, our instructor said that for the next few laps we would not use our brakes

    'No matter' I thought, 'He'll be at front leading us round'

    Wrong... he set us off and he followed. "I watch zee brake lights come on" First lap or so not gonna brake ... oooooh yes we are

    After a couple of laps we weren't using the brakes... why build it up to 95mph and then brake, lose speed, lost energy, lost effort, when by knowing the track (road ) you would accelerate maybe to 80/85mph, ease the throttle, snick it down a gear and accelerate away ... no brakes no fuss no drama

    Use the brakes ... don't use the brakes .... no real difference in the lap times

    Training yourself not to use the brakes is a errr mmm a training exercise. That's it ... just a discipline, take it or leave it ...
    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  15. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schtum View Post
    For God's sake man, that's almost a motorway! There's a far more interesting route from Auld Reekie to The Muckle Toon.

    "Wrigsby, not the A7 FFS
    Have a look at Mike's B7608 twixt Lockerbie and Langholm ... you'll not have as much fun with your trousers on"

    Now, now... I was talking covering miles quickly for a shortcut "sooth"

    Last year i had to ride Aberdeen to Cornwall return a few times and any road which isn't an m-way is a bonus. I did the B709 outta Langholm once on the way back up which was a crack but the Aberdeen ferries at 1900 latest

    To be honest some of the best roads for a bit of all round fun was when I was down in the SW. Scotland's got some top roads as long as your going to more Scotland

    Derbyshire etc has some great roads and as long as it's raining it isn't too busy.

    Most of the time i am trying to get somewhere distant and haven't time to chat or stop for a pub lunch...

    To be honest after somewhere like the Picos with a zillion bends, most of the UK gets a little average. It's the only place where I have actually tuned around and ridden back 30 miles to do it all again The cliff drops keep you honest too...

    I've looked up the B7608 and sadly mostly I have to go up and down and not just across mind it's only a tiddler and the A7 IS a M-way for the last 50 miles

    If I have time to waste the roads north of Ballater are always a good fun addition to the run up from Perth. And when down in deepest Cornwall a round trip including the coast road from Lands End to St Ives is a crack while Corrie is on the Telly

  16. #80
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    I very much agree with "no brakes" as a training excersize, first lesson on the California Superbike School", they use it to help with "perception of speed" and to reduce riders using the brakes as a first instinct.

    I certainly found panic sets in quickly and I was previosuly doing a lot of unnecessary comfort braking.

    On many runs I will roll on / off and keep speeds down a bit between bends to avoid having to brake a lot, I don't think laptimes are the same without brakes or Rossi would save a few more grams and a bit of drag by throwing his away, but they can be surprisingly close when you compare effort of full on braking with the few seconds a lap it gains you.

    Also try going down many Alpine passes with no brakes, ok you may be able to lock the bike up with the gears, but without trashing your engine or putting in more effort in not using brakes than it does to use them you are not gonna go from top to bottom of the Furka without them - well you might do so very quickly without them - but would also need a parachute.

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