The truth about motorcycle riding gear

The truth about motorcycle riding gear

We’ve been all 18 years old ones. Lacking on reasonable decision making big time, and the only thing slowing us down was the size of balls. Back then, when I started riding on the street, I was not thinking in terms of protection, and it actually didn’t seem anyone would care, really. Also I didn’t freeze money to be able to buy riding gear along with that motorcycle. A ridiculously cheap helmet and a not even real leather jacket should do the job. Guess what… I’ve learned it the hard way.

I was knocked out and woke up on the lap of a Dutch lady who gave me water. Even though I hit that guardrail pretty hard, it seemed I got away without fractures. To give you a measure… the chassis of my bike broke in three pieces. My helmet flew off my head even though the strap was closed. My ‘alibi leather’ jacket ripped apart on the left side, as well as my jeans and sneakers. Positive aspect… that EMT didn’t had to cut much to get me out of the rest of my clothes. The pain of 3rd degree burns is something you’ll never forget, and the treatment is is a journey. Nurses pulling asphalt pieces with pin setts and literally washing your wounds with iodine. I’m sure today you’ll get a partially anesthetization and a trophy just for attending… I got a wood stick to bite on back then. Then they patch your open wounds up, which gets renewed every day. Done that ones?! Well, at least there the hair ain’t grow anymore.

Akkaya Replica by MJL Leathers

Akkaya Replica by MJK Leathers

Needless to mention that my interest for proper riding gear was triggered immensity. Since then, the quality and efficiency of my riding gear has priority and is top notch. I actually can look back through decades of development of riding gear and to be somewhat part of it when I got into racing. One of my early sponsors developed my racing suits in an impressive speed, and upon lots of fan requests they made a street rider version, the ‘Akkaya Replica’, which turned to be a bestseller for MJK Leathers in Europe. It was quite a pleasure to autograph fan suits in the paddocks :-)

But enough of me, so let’s see what’s suppose to be “real” motorcycle riding protection here. Let’s see what I can give you on the way here from what I’ve learned with all this, and with the things I still get to see with about 1500 students per year. First off… when do you need the best riding gear possible? How about during the time when your riding level is not that good- or if your balls are bigger than your ability to judge ‘distance and speed’?! That’s when you’ll need it the most. Don’t ya?! Now where are you at? How do you see yourself leveled objectively when you take ego out of equation? That seems to be impossible for the most, so how about we don’t put the gear question based on level and prioritize this.

MotoGear USA and Superbike-Coach

MotoGear makes affordable custom suits

I’m guessing you are not a professional rider, so you do a regular job. You have Mondays to do- a family to feed. Someone is waiting for you at home and you want to be safe as possible. Now what is the safest motorcycle riding gear… real leather! Tight sitting and sweat tearing leather- from the neck down to your feet. At this point it doesn’t matter if it’s a one-piece or two-piece leather suit as long as you can zip them together. Why leather over textile? If you watch MotoGP, then you see them getting up 90% at a time, and sometimes running back to the garage to keep going with the session… in the suit they just crashed with. I’ve seen riders crashing in textile on a parking lot which made that stuff useless. Just this comparison should ring the alert bell.

Even if your textile gear sits some kind of snug- the flex in there and the fact that it burns through (so things come lose then) doesn’t keep all your protectors in place. They turn away at first contact with the asphalt and so your knee, elbow or shoulder is receiving full impact. Non of the textile like materials can deliver the strength, flex and heat resistance leather can give you. I’ve seen riders actually getting injured by the protection. He was in kevlar jeans. The ‘alibi’ knee protector slid away- he broke his knee cap, and the protector cut so deep into his flesh so that his leg bone was exposed. Yea, no shit!

Snug leather is more sexy anyway, isn’t it? Yup, I know it’s hot- I know it’s more expensive, but you guys need to finally understand to add another 1500 onto this subject… your health over horsepower.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Shouldn’t I See A Bigger Percentage?!

Shouldn’t I See A Bigger Percentage?!

Yep, I can feel you might think that I’m sales pitching. I ensure to you that I’m not. I leave a final opinion about this to you of course, but I need you to look right into a ongoing problem. Let’s have a peek what I got to see within all the years I’m coaching countless 1on1’s and tons of classes on road and track…

The beginner rider

I bet that you personally have hundreds of stories yourselves, about friends who made their motorcycle drivers licenses. Then you might know on what kind of rider level they’ve been released into the wild. Beginners who shouldn’t have get a license that quick actually, getting it almost effortless by paying around 300 bux and 2 days in some parking-lot-tiptoeing school. The “training” is basically useless and counterproductive actually. It creates anxieties for using brakes- and it gives the rider a hard to remove picture of how schooling looks like and keeps most people away from even looking. Besides this- I have to unfuck pretty much everything they’ve been taught.

The intermediate rider

They are finally through minor operation essentials so that this doesn’t block learning, but since they that watching “Bad car drivers vs motorcycles”, or “Road rage in America volume 155” YouTube videos all f’n night- they don’t see the necessity for professional schooling (especially not since they remember what that was like). Also their riding buddies are all “experts” and tell them that they ‘don’t need this shit’. That’s the time when they create and manifest bad habits, self taught or from that riding buddy who is oh so fast and so must be a good rider and therefore an ‘instructor’.

The advanced rider

They have lots of miles on them meanwhile and went through some riding books. Also are more particular with the YouTube video choice now. Why, because they gained some knowledge of how it suppose to look like. Shouldn’t just this ring the bell here?! Anyway- They begin to look for professional schools now, but most of them end up in a “advanced riding clinic” for 350 bux- and of course tiptoeing again on some parking lot. And I still don’t know what the fuck can be considered to be advanced there. No clue!

The advanced plus rider

Thinks that they need to go to the track now, because they’ve heard that ‘you learn more in one track day than riding for a year on the road’. The actual learning effect is to get to see what total chaos on C group looks like. Yes it’s exciting, but since we can’t admit to our friends that we’re actually overwhelmed- we keep doing this and get to crash for a while. The need for professional schooling is now totally numbed, because there are “instructors” who tell something like “you look great out there” and then this within 5 minutes “just stick your elbow more out”.

The expert rider

Yes they are faster now, but that’s almost happening naturally, surely not because they “stick their elbows more out”. They drag knee now, and so they think that they’ve ‘arrived’. For the majority- this marks top league and there is not much more to do here. Speed indicates goodness. Does it really?! So here and then we’re looking into books again because we stuck. I wonder why….

The expert plus rider

Thinks that there is nobody and nothing out there who can teach one or two things. We keep crashing, are frustrated and lose fun riding. He/she spends now 10.000 dollars on a fancy racing school for all 4 levels but still stuck- finally calls me and asks for help. Yea, I’m still not sales pitching. I just make a point!

The comparison

So… I know that you somewhere see yourself in this picture as well, but please understand that I don’t want you to feel bad with yourselves or even offended. THIS is just the way it goes nova days. You guys learned the wrong things- in the wrong order- at the wrong time- and in the wrong manner. Go ask me how I know!!!

I understand that some of you will hate when I run a comparison to me, and I actually don’t like it myself. But without a direct comparison- there ain’t no conclusion. However, here is the thang… I’ve learned it all from the scratch and made my carrier from a street rider to amateur racing- to international pro racing and almost up to top gun- MotoGP. Today I am still a professional rider and coach. All of it basically learned without any influences in a high volume competitive environment. No books- no schools- no videos- no coaches. Not that I didn’t wanted it this way- it’s because there was nothing like it, besides one totally senseless book.

Yes there is always this ‘well, coach has the talent’ excuse coming, but I can tell you right up… nobody is born with a ‘Racing DNA’ and with that word, you would actually only discredit what I did there giving my heart, soul and blood. So please don’t do that. Just compare my way to your way…

superbike-coach tip of the weekThe conclusion

Cut of wish-thinking and you see that there is nothing else to learn on a damn parking lot ones you can shift through the gears. There is also a very low outcome of learning ‘advanced slow maneuver techniques’ all of those schools came up with, cuz’ in fact this is all they actually allowed do on a f’n parking lot. If you still believe this, you might live in a denial there.

Also your riding buddy knows shit actually. He just became naturally faster than you, so it appears to be a good and free source. I know you might feel offended here with this word and suggest that I’m sales pitching. I’m not… I’m just the one telling you the truth. Truth is a damn sharp knife- It cuts best. Take it.

Reading books about it doesn’t help you much. This is not Math, which you can learn from a book if you’re smart enough. This is more like reading a book about climbing the Eiger North Wall, and then go there to f’n die. And yea, you are guided by your riding buddy who seem and act to know how to get all the way up that Eiger mountain while he actually has no clue how to hold your ropes him selves. Tough thang with that truth huh?!

Same goes for watching all those videos. Why?… even if you read or watch an episode of how to counter steer… who says you got it right or still wrong??? You??? No, because there is no quality control after all for you, right? Another aspect here is… What’s the quality of that information. You don’t even know that YouTube channel guy who believes to be a Rock Star.

Another aspect is, that there seems to be nobody out there who knows in what order things should be taught. You can’t properly learn to trail brake- randomly some-when. Your eyes and brain might be not ready yet and many things have to be unfucked first before this can be served in the right doses and in the right manner at the god damn right time.

Same goes for that B-Level racer who ‘works’ for a free meal and track time for a track day organizer as an instructor (i can imagine how that feels like when I’m saying this, but consider it as a help to improve your service). Some call them professionals… no they are not! He tells you to “stick those elbows more out” and then goes back to race the other instructors throughout C-group and to literally cut into peoples lines (guess why I’m working with my 1on1s at only 2 track day organizers!). That’s what’s happening. That’s the truth. You take it, cuz’ you would love to look like Marc Marquez. It supports what you’re wish-thinking right there and so… it must be right. In fact though- you just been taught the ABC starting with a P.

So…

I get to see all these riders in Superbike-Coach classes and 1on1’s. That’s about 1200 to 1500 students per year!!! I see all levels, categories, characters, ages and genders… all of them should be highly educated when you consider what you guys have nova days- ALL THIS- all those ‘riding schools’, rock stars, ton loads of riding books, and especially those YouTube videos…

But guess what… I don’t get to see that. I don’t see much of a solid fully through operated counter steering. A few I can count of one hand who came and performed trail braking in all those years I’m doing this. A FEW…!!!

Consider all this… shouldn’t I see a bigger percentage?! Now what does this make all those books, schools and rock star videos???!!!

It should make you asking questions actually. Not everything which glares in the sun is gold.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Unlearn to be able to Learn

So I was watching a Moto America race on TV the other day. Truly enjoyed it but less the commercial breaks though. During one of those commercial breaks, there was one of a more or less renowned motorcycle racing school, which appeared to me to operate more on the smarter edge. I’m not to shy to admit that I was wrong…

Fancy production, but still on the cheesy side they explained how Trail Braking works. Goal is to ‘appear samaritan’- but you figure quick that the actual goal is to showcase that they actually teach to Trail Brake in their school. That’s the truth. However, that’s not my problem. What bothers me at this point is, that they blasting critical information with a wide spread shot to riders who mostly NOT READY for such skill yet. Trail Braking separates the men from the boys. This is a skill to be mastered only when other physical skill subjects are sitting well enough and habits are successfully removed beforehand.

You also can’t just drop off only a fraction of the full scoop to a wide spread of people and leave the rest to ‘figure out’. Do Trail Braking wrong and it can turn to a death trap. Quite a risky move on their end if you ask me. To Trail Brake, lots of things will have to be adjusted under control. Only then you can move into it. Trail Braking goes way beyond physical capabilities. This technique demands a solid range of ‘mental coolness’. This can freak most riders out, because throttle, brake, clutch and shifting procedures are different then what MOST riders have learned over years. Change all this and more while you go way faster into turns under Trail Braking could also trigger to panic. Your eyes and brain are not trained and ready for this yet (mental coolness) and that will be the biggest problem.

Things have to be unlearned to be able to learn. Mental coolness has to be established to be able to try and master.

Spreading these information without all of the above is almost like a half-way-instruction on how to climb Mount Everest without a guide. Now how many pairs of ears and eyes who’ve seen that commercial are even capable to climb Mount Everest in the first place… especially when there is no guide?!

Smart move!

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

 

COVID-19 and how Superbike-Coach deals with it

I wished I’d have a solution for all of us. Especially I feel for those families who went- or are about to go through the worse with this Corona virus. So I hope YOU- our students and fans, that everything is fine with you so far.

Personally, I am tired of hearing it… wash your hands and keep 6ft distance. It seems though that some are not getting it and calling up for group ride outs and meet ups on social media. That attitude is to find also with churches etc. I mean… a line around shopping centers for toilet paper is a great way to keep spreading. So my conclusion is that they more likely to risk to catch the virus standing in line- than inability to wipe ass… Is that about right?! Simple risk math: How many shits does it take before heading out to ICU?!

I am worried that stupidity keeps the virus coming in waves as we’re waiting for the vaccine, which is the only way to get to the lives we’ve all had before COVID-19. Stupidity will extend the pain and loss, but that’s not all. This ignorance is extremely disrespectful to all those who try to do the right thing, and to all businesses who HAVE to shot down. Don’t be one of them.

So, I already covered how we deal with classes affected by track lock downs. Now I want to take advantage of the ‘extra time’ I’m having and to make videos to keep helping my fellow riders. I’ll also keep writing articles, just like the new one I’ve posted. I want to encourage you to make use of your extra time and to work on your bikes and gear, and to get ready for you to ride again. That way you might get a ‘don’t look back’ attitude, and I am here to answer questions in regard upgrades… or even for some mental support.

Of course, I also want you to know that Superbike-Coach is still here and will be there for you when time is right. Please do your best to slow the spread:

  • Have your own mug when getting a coffee
  • Ride slower as usual- cuz’ you don’t want to go to ANY hospital right now!
  • Have a mask when you know there are people
  • Have gloves when filling up your fuel tank
  • Wipe off shipments
  • Buy your grocery online and pick up, or better have it delivered
  • Call mom and dad!

Hope is good… too much though might blinds you.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Getting Lost in Electronic Riding Aids

I remember testing one of the first Traction Control systems coming out, and it was horrible. Back then, a TC prevented any rear wheel spin immediately. Not in a smooth way, but almost like a light-switch type shut off. That might have helped a less experienced rider, but for those who operating the throttle on turn exits at a level where the rear wheel purposely spins faster than the front- might works against them. It takes smoothness to powerslide and a committed and steady throttle control. An interruption just like a TC causes at that time got me in trouble. That clearly has changed a lot over the years and electronic rider aids have improved immensely. That benefits especially street bikes/riders, and the development ‘department’ is motorsports.

More stuff is coming from there, like: Backing-In control, Wheelie control, Launch control, and even Powerslide control. Other rider aids like ABS have not been developed there because they are not using any ABS. Why not?… because they extent braking travel- ergo- you’d have to brake earlier- ergo- slower lap times. That should ring the bell already, shouldn’t it?!

In motorsports… doesn’t all the electronics take away the advantage the top racers have in terms of riding skill actually?! Where did the ‘surprise effect’ go when the red light turns off and all bikes/cars coming off the start literally equally? How to judge a performance when a TC replaces pure determination and drawing fat black lines on the exits of turns? When mastering a throttle turns to a ‘just hold it wide open’ wheelie control. Does it really give the race more quality this way? Personal preference I guess…

Significance had the computers entering the motorcycle sport. Tons of sensors reading data into the software which truly helps to get closer to the ‘perfect’ setup. Just imagine what kind of advantage this took away from those racers who had the ‘butt-meter’ and the smartness to communicate it to the team engineers. Sure, the top guys are still able to do this, but what does this make the others?

Examples out of Formula One are easier to pick because the influence of electronics is way more obvious as in MotoGP? In the area when Formula One cars had a few driver aids, there was Canadian racer Jacques Villeneuve the only one who took the Eau Rouge chicane at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, flat out. Needless to mention that this didn’t work out all the time but you can say the man was flying and on height of his career. Electronics makes the famous Eau Rouge chicane to a video game everyone can play, well almost. There is barley smoke coming off those fat tires when they start. Launch control took it away from those who could control a almost 900 hp beast, and not to mention traction control which replaces a sharp feel to max out tire grip.

Lot’s of it has been banned meanwhile… luckily, but the technology went over to street cars. Power-steering and stabilization, auto-downforce wings, electronic stabilization- just to name a few- and also to see in motorcycles such as active suspensions, traction control, power brakes, backing-In control, cornering ABS, quick shifters, auto blib and whatnot. Don’t understand me wrong here, because I don’t undergo today’s MotoGP or Formula One racers at all. They are on the highest level of Motorsports for a darn good reason, and to max out these new elements have to be mastered as well.

Sure, the aspect of rider aids in regard rider level quality has no relevance for street legal bikes. Mainly these e-gizmos are helping riders in regard safety, but… is all of it really such a great thing?!!!

ABS for example. Good thing to cover the panic grab, but other than that it actually extends braking travel (which is why it’s not in racing btw). It takes braking power away. So I coached a upcoming CHP Motorcycle Officer ones and when I told him this, he actually choked. He mentioned that the CHP ran statistics to find out why their Officers got more hurt since they swapped from Harley’s to BMW’s, which supposed to be safer rides. They found that Officers ride beyond the pace they use to and that all those electronic aids kicked off a confidence boost and a false feel of safety. Hmmmm…!

My theory also goes into Traction Controls, which are making young riders more likely buying a 230 hp motorcycle. In the end, Joe might rides over his capabilities. Oh and there is a Slid Control now too, which controls a powerslide when exiting turns in lean. You gotta be freaking fast already to even get there and to make that work… but Joe might thing that this is no big deal anymore:

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp