The April issue of Inside Motorcycles is 80 pages of two-wheeled bliss! You'll find out 2014 Adventure/Dual Sport and Touring Buyers’ Guides, exciting new Kawasaki and Victory model impressions, a story about touring in the hills of Colorado and profiles of champions from the worlds of drag racing and vintage road racing. Throw in a couple of intriguing technical articles and our usual mix of insider columns, news and product reviews, and you've got another killer issue of Inside Motorcycles.
The recent MotoGP test at Sepang, Malaysia, provided the first real chance to see how the new rules for 2014 have changed the structure of the class and how the performance of the various machines compares. Since 2012, the class has been filled out with bikes under the CRT (Claiming Rule Team) clause, which ostensibly meant production-based engines in prototype chassis. However, this year the Claiming Rule has been dropped and a new two-tier structure introduced.
We have been approached twice in the last year by 'Phantom Sponsors' and, I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it. For those who are unaware, my family is made up of racing enthusiasts with a son who is lucky enough to live his dream of racing flat track. As we are also very much a middle-class family, Braden couldn’t race without the generous support of great sponsors.
I need to be careful not to complain too much about the off-season since, for me, it only lasts two months. However, it has only been two weeks since I have been on a motorbike and I am already feeling the need for speed...
In the current issue of the magazine, my article covers the importance of thrust, or actual driving force to the rear wheel, and why it is an important measure. You can find an Excel file to make your own thrust chart (and other helpful downloads) http://www.datamc.org/downloads/">here. Thrust and anti-squat are related because it is driving force at the wheel that for the most part provides the anti-squat tendency.
I have talked several times before about dynamic geometry and how rake and trail change as the motorcycle goes around the racetrack. Under braking, weight is transferred to the front end, compressing the front suspension and decreasing rake and trail measurements. Likewise, weight transfer to the rear under acceleration causes the front suspension to extend and the rear to compress, increasing rake and trail.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, recent advances in tires, chassis and electronics have put more emphasis on corner entry and trail braking rather than corner exits, as this is currently the part of the track where riding skill and technique can make the most difference.
In my previous two blog postings, I have covered the importance of corner entry and the actual mechanics of how to trail brake into a turn and improve that particular skill. This week, I will show some data from a GPS-based lap timer that can be used to keep track of your progress.
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.