In my last blog I talked about trail braking and why it is such an important skill to learn, but I didn't go into the actual mechanics of the technique, or how to learn and improve at it. To recap, trail braking refers to trailing the brakes as you lean into a corner, so that there is some combination of cornering and braking forces working together. It's a skill that sets riders apart on the track, and one that can help get you out of a bind on the street.
As I work with more riders using data acquisition and look at more data, the common theme that always rises to the surface at some point is turn entry and trail braking - holding the brakes on while leaning into the corner.
A video released by MotoGP last week (See bottom of the page) shows Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha YZR-M1 in pit lane leaned over on its side to the same angle it reaches on the track - 64 degrees from vertical. It's an incredible sight when shown in this manner; the bike is essentially laying on its side and less than two feet tall. Lorenzo, in street clothes, tries to get into his normal riding position on the prone bike, but without the cornering forces to hold him in position, it's impossible.
Watch any motocross race and you will see the riders going far out of their way to take advantage of a berm, or completely missing the apex of a turn to ride on the out outside, banked portion. This shows the importance of elevation changes for quick lap times in the dirt. But while the slope and camber of a paved race track or a winding country road are much more subtle than a motocross track, it's just as important to take advantage of those elevation changes.
I wanted to steer away from all the excitement and glamour of racing in China and different countries around the world to talk about one of the amazing by-products of motorcycle racing. Yes, we all know the speed, excitement, and chasing for that win are all well documented reasons why we race. However, we all share some similar characteristics that are not often discussed or written about.
The recent events in the Canadian Superbike series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant have prompted me to address the safety benefits of using data acquisition, which are often overlooked and deserve more attention. While I did not know Christian Auger or John Ross MacRae, my thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends.
At the recent Canadian Tire Motorsport Park rounds of the Canadian Superbike Championship, I was at the track helping Jodi Christie, John Sharrard and the Accelerated Technologies/Honda team and continuing my work with the their AiM data acquisition system. At the previous round we had concentrated mostly on suspension setup for the CBR1000RR, and the newly resurfaced parts of CTMP meant this would continue to be the focus for most of the weekend.
At the third round of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship held at Atlantic Motorsport Park, I continued working with Jodi Christie and John Sharrard with data acquisition on their Accelerated Technologies Honda CBR1000RR. At the second round held at http://www.insidemotorcycles.com/component/k2/item/1299-trevitts-blog-data-from-autodrome-st-eustache.html">Autodrome St-Eustache, we started using the AiM EVO4 system and spent a fair bit of time looking at the GPS data and sector times. At AMP, however, the focus ended up being on the Honda's suspension and a chassis setup to suit the track's unique (read: bumpy) character.
One very powerful tool for data analysis - and a very necessary tool when dealing with more experienced riders or bikes close in performance - is the rate-of-change math channel. These math channels are generated by looking at how quickly a raw data channel changes over time, and show graphically how smoothly or how quickly that particular channel is changing. Here we are interested in studying that rate of change in very small slices, and the instantaneous rate of change of any particular channel can be found by taking its derivative.
In my last blog, I talked about working with Jodi Christie and the Accelerated Technologies Honda team in Canadian Superbike this year. At the second round of the series last weekend at Autodrome St-Eustache in Quebec, I had my first opportunity to see some data from the http://www.aimsports.com/">AiM EVO4 data acquisition system mounted on Jodi's CBR1000RR. As I mentioned previously, the EVO4 is a full GPS-enabled system capable of monitoring pretty much any aspect of the motorcycle you want.
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