Featuring Arai Helmets USA

As a kid you have idols you look up to. Bands, actors, or athletes. Needless to say that they have an influence on us, so I wanted to learn to play the guitar just like Angus Young of the rock band AC/DC. The big goal was, to have my own Marshall Amplifier and to rip it. The problem… those are hell of expensive and totally out of reach for me. That dream never left and today I have the damn Amp.

Can Akkaya on Honda RSR250, Hockenheimring 1987

So my first helmet was a German product, a UVEX for 60 bux. Goofing around the town on mopeds in that way to big helmet- which actually broke my nose on a crash one day. Somewhen then, I’ve stumbled over motorcycle racing while zapping through the four TV stations we had back then, and there was that American racer who looked so different then all the others. His name was Freddie Spencer and he was wearing a Arai helmet. Needless to say that I wanted to have one myself, but the price was totally out of my league. Years later, when I was racing myself… I finally had one, a Spencer Replica RX-V.

Man was I proud for it, but damn it killed my finances. Though, I had comparison to what’s wrong and what’s right, and in this case it’s not just the quality which comes to account. I’ve learned the hard way what difference a good lid can make, cuz’ you’ve got only one head- one life. I lost that Arai in a actually horrifying crash on public roads, when I hit against a static object outside a turn. I would have died in a other helmet. I know!

Making my way through amateur racing, semi-pro and finally professionally- also the sponsorship contracts are developing. Until finding the ‘right’ relationship, I had to wear top notch helmets from multiple manufactures but I ended up with Arai Germany as a coach until I left Europe in 2008. Again… I had comparison to what’s wrong and what’s right, and I was super happy that Arai Helmets USA took over and to continue this relationship till today!

Here are some insights:

#araihelmetsusa #arai

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Continental Race Attack Review

I don’t know what you know- or have been told about Continental motorcycle tire, but let’s reset that. So I had the chance to finally have a set of Continental Race Attack slicks on my Ducati 1199 Panigale for a Track Drill 1on4 at Thunderhill Raceway West. Here is my first impression.

You need to know that I don’t do ‘drama’, and that even if I wanted to- I have no time to do drama when I work with students. Means… tires go on, no tire warmers, no playing with different air pressures, nor with the suspensions. These tires actually helped me to enjoy riding on a track and to work drama-free immensely.

We gave the front 26, and the rear 23 psi and went out on stone cold slicks as mentioned. Continental’s ‘TractionSkin‘, is a revolutionary new micro-rough tread surface, virtually puts an end to tire breakin. And guess what… it truly works. I had the knee on the ground at half a lap on cold tires!

I can’t confirm what their testers are saying about the front tire, which seem to put them more to work with the steering. At this point I don’t know their counter steering capabilities, but I do know mine. Eventually the way the geometry of my Panigale is set just matched.

What I was most thrilled about is their MultiGrip technology. So while other tire manufacturers puzzle 3 grip level rubbers together and causes failures eventually- Conti goes a other route. They use a homogeneous grip grading with a single compound thanks to temperature controlled curing of the tire during the production process. Means… one piece of tire surface and no transitions to deliver softer sides and harder middles to get more mileage. The tire picture says it all.

You also need to know that I use to go way below my pace when I work with riders, but I have my 1-2 laps on each session. So here and then I gave it some aggression into turns, not fully on the limit though. That is the point though, because even going with FORCE- there was still way to go while the front and rear end were totally transparent and neutral. Those tires are an absolute confidence booster and I just can imagine their potential if I would have added drama.

It was hot on the track, maybe about 98f. The performance of the tires never changed. I got older and even much more heavy as I was as a fit racer, but I still have and extreme entry and exit phases, and that’s where these Continental tires deliver, while having a smooth and balanced mid turn arc. The corner speed and lean was on the save side, cuz’ I have work to do right- but the grip range signals that there is more.

Don’t be a fool and go get some too. The price is right as well.

Can’t wait now to do drama :-)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

https://www.continental-tires.com/motorcycle

#contimotousa #tkc80 #contitrack #tkc70

Video: Coach Akkaya on Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill Raceway

Coach Akkaya ‘plays’ on his Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill West Raceway.

A ‘Sensei’ has to be old

If you follow my monthly topics, then you might have noticed the red line to the struggle of riders on mental focus – so let’s stay on this topic and clear something up at the same time. This goes mainly out to the track riders and racers.

It seems that there is a wrong picture of what a teacher has to look like and be capable of. Sometimes I hear things like “Coach is to old”, or “He raced in the 80’s, that was different back then.” The conclusion seems to be that because I’m older, I can’t teach them anything. This is wrong and misguided, so let me throw a light into the dark tunnel for you.

Of course I am not as fast as I once was, but I actually still have the fire of a thousand suns in me when I’m on track, and I can rip lap times at Laguna Seca Raceway that would make active racers quite nervous, even when the years on me have replaced my 6-pack with a beer belly. Even when I am a little hip-lame… I still know what it takes to achieve Pole Positions, International Pro Racing victories, and even lap records. And here’s the deal… besides technology and tires – we’re still fighting the same old element… gravity.

Still not convinced? Remember Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi? How about Yoda? Or Panda’s Master Shifu? They are all old, and they mentor their students to become hero’s anyway. Yea… I know. That’s all Hollywood?! So what about reality- like Coach Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots for example? He’s old and he keeps creating winning teams. Just recently I saw a documentary about Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl ending carrier. Here’s a multi-million dollar NFL player who got hip-lame himself and loaded with mental blocks. This man had a coach on his side- a 72 year old Sensei!

Does that mean that his sensei was expected to throw the damn ball further than record holder Manning? Was it necessary for his sensei to be quicker out of the pocket? Should his sensei have been mentally and physically strong enough to get past a 280-pound linebacker and throw a touchdown anyway? NO, but his sensei helped him on a way different level, and all what that 100 Million dollar MVP and multiple record holder was replying to his sensei was- ‘Yes Sir’ and ‘Yes Coach’!

Still not seeing the comparison? How about a basketball coach who is 2 ft smaller than his player- or a hockey coach who can no longer skate fast and handle a puck like a 20-year old. They may not be able to play the game, but they know what it takes to be a success in the game. They know what to say- when to say- and how to say!

So here is the logic, which I believe got lost with all those track day instructors who believe that a 10 minutes ‘workout’ and a succinct tip in regard ‘body positioning’ is all what it takes to be a good teacher. At a certain level of an athlete, a coach on the sideline is working just fine. I as a coach, see weak spots to delete, strengths to develop, tailor a race strategy, finding details to improve in the skill set and most important to mind set a competitive nature, because I know what to say- when to say- and how to say!

For this, I don’t have to be with the racer on the track to ’skate faster’ to proof credentials. Though, I bet I even can help a Top-Gun racer to drop lap times also with his riding skill set, because I’ve been there too. At that point to mention MotoGP. Even some of those guys have coaches too. Are they riding with them?! No, because how should that be even possible?!

You’re asking why I put this on the mental side?… well, you might shut yourself down with that type of thinking, and might miss out on something that finally could get you on the path you always wanted to walk… the path to success on the race track. If you still don’t see that the problems are between your ears, then you keep fighting wind mills. But if you are ready- come see me and I might help you to become a mighty Jedi.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Sacramento 04/25/2018

How to make a Ducati Panigale more ride-able

After doing an ECU flash (upgrade 9), I was still very unhappy withe the “city” riding abilities a Panigale comes up with. Disappointing, but that’s maybe the difference a customized map via dyno runs can make. But since even this isn’t a 100% solution, I was looking for alternatives- and I found a logic one. It turns out to be cheap and simple as well.

OK, I use to have almost no free-play in all my bikes, so that there is no fiddling around the point where/when the throttle valve opens up. That makes it more predictable at the brake to throttle transition around the apex, and for city riding, where you constantly operate the damn thing on that edge.

Before you refer to any manufacturers manual… let me tell you that I don’t give a shit about their purpose of such a big free-play in the throttle/cable- because it makes lots of things better and your right hand and nerve costume will thank you for it as well.

Now, a row 4 cylinder is almost a Lamp against the Panigale, which loves to open her heart at any occasion. There is much more torque to play with at that low throttle position, and that free play makes you sweatin’ like a dog, so let’s get this solved.

The Panigale, and many other modern bikes, are ‘fly-by-wire’. Means- the throttle is all electronically, and no more via cable operated. These $30 bux spacers (pics) eliminate the free play on the “Joystick” almost at a 100%, and they are super easy to install. I took it out on the street today and the difference is just amazing… almost from Mr. Hyde back to Jekyll

So… if you have cable… turn that free play out by let’s say 80%. If you are flying by wire… research for spacers. If you have Mr. Hyde dressed in Ferrari red sitting in the garage… then this is what you need to do!

Headcoach Can Akkaya