Throttle and brake control exercise – be smooth
March 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm #3791Gary856Participant
To maximize traction and control, it’s necessary to have precise and deliberate throttle and brake “feel” and control. Try the following exercise in a parking lot:
1. In neutral, starting at idle, slowly rev up the engine to 5000 rpm, and then slowly drop it down to idle. How slowly and smoothly can you control that rise and fall of rpm? Can you make the rpm “creep” up and down slowly and smoothly? Can you stop at any rpm you choose, hold it there for a second, then go up 100 rpm, then down 100 rpm?
2. Speed up the up/down revving – can you maintain the same level of smoothness?
3. Put the bike in first gear, repeat the above exercise. Focus on revving up and down smoothly WITHOUT making the front end rise and dive abruptly. Speed up the throttle movement after a while, and still focusing on being smooth. (This was the first exercise they made us do in Lee Parks’ Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, Level 1 class.)
To make a really “fine” on/off throttle transition (important in a cornering transition), you’re not even moving it 1mm. Instead, imagine moving it “just a hair” to take up the slack in the throttle cable. Instead of moving the wrist, just curl up the fingers to put a little pressure, rather than movement, on the throttle, and feel how the engine changes from coasting to driving, and vice versa. On some bikes if you move the throttle off/on abruptly you can hear and feel a “clunk” in the drive line; focus on being smooth to avoid that clunk.
Brake (front or rear):
Same idea as throttle control – smoothly engages, smoothly squeezes, and smoothly releases the brake. Can you avoid making the front end dive (brake on) and rise (brake off) abruptly?
Do the above exercise slowly to learn the “feel” of being smooth. At higher speed, the movements become faster, but the emphasis on needing to be smooth remains the same.March 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm #25140JackTradeParticipant
That’s a great exercise…I recently realized that it’s been awhile since I’d been to my favorite local parking lot to practice (I usually get to ride after work, and during the winter it’s too dark by the time I get home), so I’m going to add this to my workout.
I remember doing a basic version of this in my BRC in the beginning, as we got used to how a bike works. Funny how it’s such a basic, foundational skill, but you rarely see people remembering to practice it. I sure didn’t.March 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm #25147
Excellent suggestion, my apologies for continually relating things back to Trials, but on long steep mud hills or big slippery rock climbs, I can often foretell that a rider is going to get stuck, (or need a catcher) just by the sound of their throttle control. Four strokes are particularly vulnerable to ‘blipping’ the engine, it’s a really bad habit that inexperienced riders adopt and it results in less engine performance and loss of overall traction control.
Sidenote: on that ‘clunk’ between acceleration and deceleration, many bikes have chain primary drives, instead of gears. That clunk is highly destructive to the primary chain and is a significant item to consider when you inspect a used bike.March 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm #25152eonParticipant
I’ll slow race ya for pink slips. You’re probably the only person I know who might stand a chance of beating meMarch 25, 2010 at 12:33 am #25157
…have collected a lot of rally trophies for slow race but never against a tripod. Maybe if you ride my trials bike and I ride my K100RS, normal rules you can’t stand upMarch 25, 2010 at 12:56 am #25159Gary856Participant
Those trials bikes have no seat so how do you not stand up? Just curious, do those slow races end up a contest on who can do track stand longer?March 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm #25172
They make me ride my K100RS at the slow races now, last time after three run offs, I still beat a guy on a vintage Bultaco trials bike, he was not pleased. You’re not allowed to stand up, but I was heating up the clutch and transferring my weight to the pegs like crazy.
My buddy Josh didn’t let on he was a champion rider when he did his BRC and grabbed the only dual sport bike when the class started, when they said walking next to your bike turn it around 180, he pulled on the front brake, pushed on the bars to lift the rear wheel into the air and let the back end flip around on the spot. The instructor was impressed but had him walk it around in a circle anyway. After winning the fist slow race they started him half way up the field, after the second they started him 3 feet from the finish line, finally the instructor rode up next to him and pushed him over. That’s when one of the riders said “what are you a feakin Trials Rider” lol He really enjoyed the course and was teaching half the class skills by the end of the week. …only disappoint was they wouldn’t let him ride up on top of the garbage dumpster.March 26, 2010 at 12:19 am #25195
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