The Evolution of Riding Styles

Discussion in 'Access Norton Pub' started by Bernhard, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Bernhard

    Bernhard Well-Known Member

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    One of mankind’s greatest achievements occurred with probably little or no fanfare. The event? The moment that some freewheeling prehistoric man — he could have been named Oog or Grog, it doesn’t matter — decided it would be better if he lifted his knuckles off the primordial ground when he walked, ran or even stood. Through that single action, mankind took another step forward in the evolutionary process that led to the species Homo sapiens, eventual masters of the Earth — and all thing motorcycle.
    Of course, wouldn’t you know that with the advent of motorcycling came a step backward in our evolutionary cycle (pun). Blame the reverse process on the second motorcycle, actually, because when its rider came up alongside bike number one, you can only imagine that a race ensued. Nobody wants to be the slowest motorcyclist on the planet, and so the two riders diced it out. More racing followed, until eventually the civilized world endorsed sanctioned events, among them road races. The faster road racers developed all sorts of riding techniques to guide their bikes faster through the turns, and it was probably a British road racer who figured out that by placing the tip of his inside boot onto the pavement while negotiating a corner at speed he could better judge his approximate lean angle to remain on two wheels and, in the process, lead the race. The accepted word for those toe draggers was “scratchers,” which became a common term during the 1960s. Two-time AMA champ Dick Mann, seen at left on his BSA triple at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1971, was a scratcher
    Wouldn’t you know it, the reverse evolutionary process kicked into a higher gear, and by the 1970s racers were dragging their knees through the turns. Technology played a key part. The advent of slicks prompted Kenny Roberts, seen above at Riverside Raceway in 1977, to adopt his knee-dragging style in the 1970s and today MotoGP greats like Marc Marquez are dragging their forearms, elbows, even shoulders (!) through the corners, because, well, their bikes’ tacky tires and snappy steering allow them to perform those antics. It’s all in the interest of being leader of the pack. Oog or Grog, or whoever, would be proud.
     
  2. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    The bike dictates your riding style and you tend to adjust to it's deficiencies and advantages. With my own bike, I know what it does in corners if I gas it hard when I am halfway around. So I anticipate where it is going to end up as I come out of the corner. If it did not tighten it's line so much, my riding style would be very different. With most of the older bevel Ducatis, the geometry imposed a wide line in corners, so it was arse hanging out, lumbering around the outside of the competition at very high speed using lots of power.
     
  3. Bernhard

    Bernhard Well-Known Member

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    You are right about the bike, after a foray into the two stroke world where I had to change my riding style to suit and adapt to the screaming highly tuned engine of the 2T, I came out a much better rider in understanding counter steering and doing all the breaking upright then keeping the power on all the way round the corner whenever possible, as it was the only way to ride it especially in the wet. We live and learn.
     
  4. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    SUPER-SMOOTH and relaxed is always a good way to go. These days when I ride, there is no mental effort and certainly no anxiety. There are no more ways remaining for me to crash. As soon as it starts to happen, I react correctly because I have been there previously. I wouldn't race a bike that requires counter-steering. With my bike, you think where you want it to be and it is there.
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    When I first started racing, one of our good guys told me 'you need a lot of racing miles under your belt and the bike has to do something for you'. That latter part of his comment is extremely important. In the 60s, none of us took much interest in the Lightweight (250cc) capacity class. The best bikes were Italian and had superb handling. And that is what Stan Hailwood bought Mike when he was starting out. If you watch this video, it is Mike at Mallory on the Ducati in 1978. Where he makes his moves is always the high line - going over the top rather than under. He must have been so conditioned by the bikes he used to ride, that he had supreme confidence. That high line at high speed can be a real test of nerves.
    With a lot of bikes, the difference between good and bad is the steering geometry. With a Manx, changing the yoke offset is difficult, but with that weight distribution and standard geometry, the Manx tightens it's line slightly anyway, when powered when cranked over. In the early days a Manx would train any rider to ride well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LnNP7mw7XY
     
  6. baz

    baz Well-Known Member VIP MEMBER

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    Thanks for posting that link I'd sort of forgotten how smooth Hailwood was,I remember thinking I was him on my 860 GT ducati ,ace bars and drilled out dunstalls
     
  7. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider Well-Known Member

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    As the power of the bikes rose, the tires had to get wider, that meant the rims got wider. Wider tires and rims moved the outside of the contact patch farther from the center line of the tire. A contact patch farther from the center meant that the forks' steering geometry had to be tighter/quicker with less rake and less trail in order to restore the rider's ratio of leverage on the contact patch. A rider who hangs off gets more benefit on a bike with wide wheels than he does on a bike with narrow wheels. Hanging off co-evolved with the evolution to wider wheels/tires.
     
  8. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    I suggest road-race bikes evolve in two directions - moderns usually take the high line and use lots of power - classics take the tight line which requires less power. With a Commando, if it naturally tightens it's line in corners and presents the option to go under the other guys, it creates confidence and you can give it much more stick from way earlier in a corner then you can with a modern bike.. With my bike, I brake about a third of the way into a corner, turn a fraction, then get straight back onto the gas - the bike does the rest. It is very difficult to beat that regardless of whatever else you might be riding. It worked for Suzuki in MotoGP in 1993 when they won the world championship. - More torque, tightening line. However there is a limit to how far you can safely go with it. With the Hondas just after 1993, similar happened - they increased the torque and raised the centre of gravity so that the bike rocked end-wise a bit more, to get it to tighten it's line as it was gassed - steering on the throttle ?
    The main thing is to find out where your bike goes naturally in corners when you relax and gas it hard, when half-way around - so pick a safe spot if you try it, you need plenty of room to crash if it goes wrong.. Once you know where the bike will go, you can use it to advantage every time.
     
  9. Bernhard

    Bernhard Well-Known Member

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    Hailwood was old school who raced against the likes of Bob Mac in the late 1950s, he mainly adopted his riding style to suit the bike he was on, but was one of the smoothest around all types of corners , I watched him in the British home internationals in the pudding basin Honda six era-but I also saw him race once on a Norton 500 Manx, (at Oulton park against Phil Read-ask Readie who won that one!) a Seeley 500, a Yamaha tz350 the last two in the Mallory park race of the year. Also at the post TT there. I also saw him at Brands Hatch Race of the South and Hutchinson 100. I did not see him make his race comeback in 1978 after an 11-year hiatus from mainstream motorcycling, Hailwood performed a now-legendary comeback at the Isle of Man TT in the Formula I race, a class based on large-capacity road machines. On the TZ350 I was standing at Devil’s Elbow when he swooped around the out side of the 350 Word champion Jarno Saarinen, both on TZ350s who followed Hailwood for 4/5 laps until Hailwoods engine broke-guess who picked up all the racing lines around Mallory from the master and won the ROTY next time? Hailwood nearly always went past a rider on the outside of a corner or coming out of a bend, now that’s class.
     
  10. Bernhard

    Bernhard Well-Known Member

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    re; "Thanks for posting that link I'd sort of forgotten how smooth Hailwood was,I remember thinking I was him on my 860 GT Ducati ,ace bars and drilled out Dunstalls[/quote]

    mmmmmmmmm, here’s Hailwood on the Honda 6 showing how he tucked his frame onto a small bike, but what looks like he is airing his scrotum :!:

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0
     
  11. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    That high line either takes a lot of guts or extreme competence. If you even twitch while doing it - can lead to a biggie. I helped Hailwood have a ride on Dunster's Manx at Winton in the 70s. What impressed me was his smoothness. He made it look so easy. Surtees was similar at Amaroo. I still believe it is the result of conditioning - 'practice makes perfect' ? As with aircraft 'there are bold pilots and there are old pilots. There are no old bold pilots.' The guys with the big balls usually have big crashes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL3Yv_GXnrw
     
  12. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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  13. holtcorseaux

    holtcorseaux Member VIP MEMBER

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    Hello Everybody,
    I bought some old Motorrad mags from the 60s and 70s today. Well dozens actually. Bargain 1 SFr each. Nostalgia trip. Even though it was my era, it seems like a different world now, the style and focus are so old-fashioned. Anyway there are a lot of great photos and articles.
    Here for example on this topic PW really tucked in on the Arter-Matchless on his way to 2nd behind Ago in the 1970 Senior. Marvellous.
    Have a nice evening,

    Martin.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    What amazed me about those two races at Goodwood was how competitive the modern Manx Norton is against the MVs.
     
  15. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider Well-Known Member

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    In Hailwood's day they emphasized light weight - frame, forks, swing arm, wheels, tubes and tires, especially rotating and un-sprung weight. That was logical, given power levels that by today's standards are pitiful. As power went up, the components had to grow more robust. If Hailwood had "hung off" on those light narrow wheels, he would have folded them into potato chips. More than adequate for straight up and own loads but not for side loading.
     
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  16. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    After I fitted 18 inch rims to my Triton to get good rubber, I had to hang off it to get around tight corners. Because a bike is modern, it does not mean it is the best answer. How much power do you need to go fast, if your bike out-handles all others ? One of the things Peter Williams knew was, if you can get on the gas really early when coming out of corners, you have the run on the other guys. Try it on a modern bike and you will probably hi-side.
     
  17. acotrel

    acotrel Well-Known Member

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    Whenever I watch road race videos, I always take note of where the riders get on the gas when coming out of corners. Many of them are often too late. If you do it super-early, it feels really wrong however it is very effective if you want high speed down the next straight. Whenever I practice, I work up to the corners and also concentrate on coming out of them really fast, with minimum 'rolling' in the middle of the corners. If I am not braking, I am accelerating.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

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