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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new rider to the track and I'm looking for some advice on downshifting into turns. I've done a few events at VIR and I'm starting to get very comfortable with running around the track, however I seem to always find myself screwing up getting ready for a turn as I brake and downshift, mostly coming off of a long straight. What I have been doing to date as I prep for a turn is to start easing back on the throttle when I come up on the brake markers, usually the first one since I'm still a sissy
(but I'm not chopping it so I get hit in the a$$). As I roll off the throttle slightly, say I was in 4th coming up on the turn, I will begin applying brake pressure to get to a speed I feel I can safely make the turn at, then I will do two quick downshifts to second, release the clutch as smoothly as possible, roll into my turn and then start applying the throttle again. The problem seems to be that as I release the clutch, the bike starts wobbling hard sometimes, too much RPM for that gear, or stutters as I don't have enough RPM for that gear. Either way, it is preventing me from being smooth into the turns since I don't have the chassis settled down as I start turning. I've tried engine braking, but this gives me incosistent results on my entry speed and usually a hard wobble as well.
I'd like to get this more smooth and under control so I don't have to fight the bike going into turns after long straights. As a crutch, I've started going into the turn at a higher gear and fortunately the bike has enough torque to pull me though, but I'm not getting good drive on exit.
Is there a better technique? Or do I just need more track time to smooth it out?
 
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Discussion Starter #2
are you using the throttle during your downshifts to match the engine rpm to the lower gear?

if not you need to blip the trottle while the clutch is in to bring the rpms up to match the rpms that the lower gear wants to turn the engine. to do this you need to use a 2 finger braking method (fore finger and middle finger) to apply the brakes and use the rest of your hand to give a quick rev of the throttle. this will help match rpms and reduce back end wobble. it may seem weird at first but you will quickly get used to it...trust me


...or if you're lazy and got the cash you could go spend a cool grand on a new slipper clutch?
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

option a: "blip" the throttle right before you release the clutch to get the rpm's up to match your gear and speed

option b: plunk down $1k and get a slipper clutch

option c: use that tail wagging to your advantage and start backing it into the corners
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

get a slipper clutch or learn to blip the throttle more. I seem to have the same problem on my 998 entering turn 1 at VIR. Not as bad on my R6 as there is much les engine braking involved.

Oh yeah, Welcome to the madness!!
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (YellowDesmo998)

WOW, three of the same replies as I was typing! I love this place!
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

For example using VIR south.. Into T-1 ("the bitch")... This is what I was doing...
At my breaking marker I get as hard on the breaks as I can with out disrupting the suspension to much as your traveling fairly fast from the front straight, so you need to be as smooth as possible.. I then start bliping the throttle going down through the gears. This bliping will help match the engine speed of the down shifts to the rear wheel speed. Get use to bliping the throttle. The best scenario is us a slipper clutch. I also try and have my body position in a neutral position (not letting the slowing of the bike force me forward). If you have not read it get a copy of keitch code twist of the wrist part 2. Its a good reference ... for me at least... My
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (YellowDesmo998)

WOW me 2!!!!
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

As with most things, there are different ways to enter a corner. But, matching engine speed to wheel speed is very important to all those ways. For the most part, "practice makes perfect".

You could get a slipper clutch to solve some of your problem... but that's just going to mask the problem right now for you.


Opinion: I think you'll find it easier to blip the throttle as you go down one gear at a time.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Blipping the throttle works to steady the bike and avoid the rear wheel from sliding or skipping. Braking and blipping is something you can practice on the streets so the only thing you need to adjust at track is how much you blip.

Another option being taught by one of the riding schools is to do at least one downshift before you even brake - preferably all your downshifts. This works as you release the throttle so that you have a few RPMs as margin and you don't hit your limiter when you do this. The theory is that you can do a quick downshift before you brake which increases the revs, but since you are still have speed on your side, the bike does not get too upset.

Seems to work, but it's hard to retrain yourself once you get used to a certain sequence.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Downshifting into turns (Mental998)

Oh yeah, as stated above, one down shift at a time...
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

I’m going to be the odd man out here and say all this throttle blipping stuff is not necessary at the level of riding you (and I) do at a typical track day. I’ve passed lots of guys on my way into a turn as they are blipping, hanging off and basically trying too hard.
The key is to be smooth and get your braking done before you start to turn in. gently apply the front brake as you also downshift thru the gears 1 at a time. roll into the corner as fast as you feel comfy with and let the engine braking help you here. V-twins are great at this. Match the revs with the wheel speed and you won’t get any wheel hop on entry or bogging on exit. roll the throttle back on as you exit and ride all that Ducati torque down the track. it's a beautiful thing. Practice, practice, practice. You’ll get faster each lap as your confidence increases. another tip: Don’t make the mistake of trying a track record attempt during your last session out. Lot’s of guys do great all day then bin it during the last session when they are tired, over confident and just trying to go fast 1 more time.
 
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Re: Downshifting into turns (mikeinwi.)

I read in one of the books(TOTW 1/2 or techniques) that you could also let the clutch out slower, instead of blipping the throttle, to match the engine speed. IIRC they said BBoz uses this technique. But I would imagine he has a slipper now so I guess they were talking about before he got big. But I also remember the book saying that is why BBoz's tail wags so much on corner entry.

No experience talking here, though, just something I read. I blip the throttle.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Learn to blip the throttle, even with a slipper clutch

Always let the clutch out slowly

If you are super smooth on the controls, you can trail brake all the way to the apex, back it it in using the clutch and even down shift while leaned over.
 
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Re: (trussdude)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by trussdude »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Learn to blip the throttle, even with a slipper clutch

Always let the clutch out slowly

If you are super smooth on the controls, you can trail brake all the way to the apex, back it it in using the clutch and even down shift while leaned over.</TD></TR></TABLE>

Ditto, learn to blip the throttle and brake at the same time first instead of throwing money at it. You should also think about your posture while you are braking too.

In reference to T1 at VIR North if you are braking at the first marker you should have plenty of time to downshift, brake to the entry speed that you are comfortable with, get your butt off of the seat, and LOOK THROUGH THE TURN.

Next time try working with a control rider and try the tips that these guys have and select which solution works better for you.

Great discussion guys


-Tifosi
 
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Re: (Tifosi)

Thanks for all of the input. I'll put it to good use when I hit VIR in a few weeks for the Ducati track days.
 
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Re: (trussdude)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by trussdude »</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Learn to blip the throttle, even with a slipper clutch

Always let the clutch out slowly

If you are super smooth on the controls, you can trail brake all the way to the apex, back it it in using the clutch and even down shift while leaned over.</TD></TR></TABLE>

Thank you! With all this talk about slipper crutches - err... clutches
- it's a wonder we managed to race all those years without one!


Seriously, learn the proper technique before buying mechanical aids to cover up bad habits. It just takes practice - and smoothness!

Throttle blipping is by far the most common technique, but as Jager mentioned, several top racers (Eboz, Tom Kipp, etc.) use the slow-release method. You pull in the clutch, keep it in while you do all your downshifts to the gear you want, and then e-a-s-e the clutch out until the motor catches up. I think it comes from the two-stroke style, where engine braking isn't such a factor. It works fine if you do it right, but it's harder to do with a four-stroke twin.

Your best bet would be to learn the blipping method.

As far as body position goes, try gently sliding your butt to the side while you're still tucked in on the straight. Then, as you begin your braking and downshifting, raise your head up but keep your knees against the tank. This helps to keep you stable and under control. As you lean into the turn, you can then let your knee fall to the inside.

It's all about smooth, fluid, deliberate motion. No jumping off the side into your hang-off position. No jerking your whole body upward out of your tuck. No flicking the bike over to its maximum lean angle. All that stuff looks dramatic, but it causes big problems with stability.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry guys but I'm going to have to dissagree with the downshifting more than one gear and letting the clutch out slowly. And this is not just my opinion, see Cycle World April 2005, page 134 "Wacking off." Downshifting more than one gear damages your transmission and letting out your clutch slowly increases clutch wear and shortens its life. Proper throttle blipping does not require slow clutch let out, because engine/wheel speed are matched and slow let out gives time for them to become unmatched and defeats the purpose of matching them. Professional racers may use those techneques but they rebuild the above mentioned components on a regular basis. I throttle blip on every down shift on the street (except at really slow speeds from 2nd to 1st). It saves the clutch from excessive wear, it's practice for when I really need it and it sounds cool. See "Sport Riding Techniques" by Nick Ienatsch.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Downshifting into turns (Spork)

Ah, but no one's addressed the crux of your problem - "wobbling". If I blow a downshift without a slipper clutch and run the RPMs to the moon, I don't get a "wobble" - I might get the back hopping or sliding or weaving Ben-Bostrom style, but I don't get anything I'd classify as a "wobble".

What bike are you talking about, and what RPMs do you see when you get this "wobble"? I'm wondering if the RPMs are really too high for that gear, or if something else is going on with your downshifting technique and suspension setup.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Re: Downshifting into turns (JeffKoch)

I have an 04 749s and based on your description, of the back end hopping around and sliding, that is more of what I am experiencing (really bad once when I over downshifted and dropped it into 1st....)

"wobble" is probably the wrong word there. The RPMs are spiking pretty high, but I'm not looking at them at that point, just trying to keep the bike settled. From this discussion, it sounds like I need to pay more attention to being smooth, throttle blip and only do one gear change at a time. That would also prevent me from downshifting multiple gears quickly and accidently hitting first.

I have two days on VIR North in a couple of weeks to work on blipping and sort it out! If that doesn't help out, I can start poking around on the suspension. I don't want to make to many changes all at once without a good understanding of the cause/effect of each change.

Thanks
 
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