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Blogs

I was lucky enough to be invited to help out at an Arlen Ness dealer event a few years back in China.  Greenstar (licensee of the Arlen Ness brand for motorcycle leathers and riding gear) was one of my sponsors at the time.  I was really looking forward to the…

My last two blogs have focused on the braking and throttle control aspects of riding smoothly; this week, I will look at how the same concepts can be applied to cornering and lean angle to maximize corner speed.
In my last blog I talked about the importance of being smooth when opening the throttle on corner exits. Another aspect of riding smoothly is how you apply - and, just as importantly, release - the brakes entering the turn. Many riders use the brakes more as a simple on/off…
Over the past year, many MotoGP riders and watchers have noted how smooth Jorge Lorenzo rides, and that it is one key to his success in 2012. There is no question you have to be smooth to ride a 260-horsepower MotoGP bike, but the same can be said of any…

Your body position on the motorcycle plays a large part in its handling; where you have your weight in a corner, or how you shift your body in a chicane to help steer the bike, for example, can make a huge difference. But, like most aspects of riding a motorcycle,…
I will never forget the first time I crashed while testing alone on the Zhuhai circuit in China. It had rained earlier in the day, but there was a dry line. I was on a fast lap but ran out onto the rumble strip coming out of a corner, and…
At the EICMA show in Milan, Italy last month, Marzocchi introduced its semi-active suspension system. The company plans to offer the system in the near future as an OEM fitment as well as aftermarket versions of the electronic forks and shocks. The Marzocchi semi-active suspension shares characteristics with both Ducati…

In the current issue of the magazine, my article covers in detail the semi-active suspension systems recently introduced by Ducati and BMW, along with a brief primer on active suspension. While semi-active or adaptive systems have become more prevalent in the motorcycle industry in recent years there has been little…
Just about anyone who has thrown a leg over a race bike has most probably also experienced a crash or two.  Crashing sucks!  It is expensive, dangerous, and sometimes even embarrassing.  Nobody that I know enjoys crashing… period! Unfortunately, crashing is a reality in Superbike racing.  It is a highly…
At the final Grand Prix event of the year, Yamaha traditionally holds a press briefing and discloses some information about that year's YZR-M1 machine and its development. This year was no different, and at the recent Valencia round Kouichi Tsuji, MotoGP Group Leader and YZR-M1 Project Leader, gave this year's…

Quite often when the subject of gearing comes up, many riders and tuners talk about anti-squat at the same time. Gearing and anti-squat are related, and when you change gearing you may also have to make a chassis change to keep anti-squat characteristics the same. When your bike is accelerating,…
As with any setup decisions made at the track, it's nice to have some data to look at to confirm what the rider is saying or even make a change with no input required. A rider may say that he needs taller final gearing after a session, but with some…
In the latest issue of Inside Motorcycles, my article discusses some of the advantages of changing your motorcycle's final-drive gearing. This can make a significant difference, especially on late-model sportbikes that are equipped with tall gearing and very close-ratio gearboxes. For track-day riders and racers, there are some additional subtleties…

Another data channel that shows a significant amount of information about the rider's habits - and is easily generated in almost any data acquisition system - is braking G. This channel shows actual deceleration in units of g, as opposed to brake pressure, which shows what's happening at the lever…
One of the more useful channels to look at when using data to improve your riding is lean angle. This channel can show some interesting detail about what’s happening on the track, and it’s easy to visualize what is actually going on from looking at the data in graphical format.…
Over the last few weeks, several people have asked about the tire's contact patch, and how it plays a role in trail - especially given that the tire is constantly deforming and the contact patch is very much a dynamic feature itself. As most riders know, tires play a huge…

Motegi, Japan: We just completed a very successful test with Team JP (Japan Planning) at the well-known Twin Ring Motegi Circuit.  We immediately found out setup and found the track very easy to learn.  The team was very professional and the bikes we tested well already set up nicely for…
In my last couple of blogs, I've talked about trail and how it changes as a motorcycle moves about on its suspension or leans into a corner. Trail gives a motorcycle its steering characteristics; in general, more trail is better for stability while less makes steering easier. Combining what we…
It seems like just the other day I was bragging to someone about how amazing it is in China. Heck, the few rules that they did have in place were not even enforced.  A good way to describe it is probably like “The good ‘ole Days” that our parents always…

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