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

 

The Paradox of Speed and Control

Have you ever noticed a paradox with riding street motorcycles and racing, from the lowest to the highest level like MotoGP?!

Did it come to your attention that the front runners of all MotoGP categories leave the crashing to the riders in the backfield most of the time? That’s happening even though the race leaders are faster and have a dog-fight for the victory. Hm… right?!

I remember when I was a professional racer and I had only eyes for my riding performances. I remember there were many crashes behind me at Assen TT Circuit/NL, and I couldn’t understand why and how some slower racers were crashing, while I was marking every entry and exit with black lines to take a trophy home. Hm… right?!

There are beginner riders struggling with low speed maneuvers and don’t know why. Maybe because they are going so slow that their wheels lose any gyroscopic rotational force, and therefore stability. Hm… right?!

A less experienced rider recalls more likely what I call a ”protective reaction”. This is decision making, mostly wrong, triggered by pace. A feeling of “too fast” ends up in the dirt for actually no good reason most of the time.

Let’s consider another example. Here is track day rider Joe who is riding C group level and gets pulled by an instructor to a pace he’s never ridden at before. Those instructors are often short on teaching skills, so Joe goes back out again with a sloppy pointer that his body positioning sucks and with the muscle memorized pace. BUT… with the instructor is also the matching line for the higher pace gone, and Joe is- or could get in trouble.

Or let’s say you don’t know what counter steering is. Never learned it properly because you read it in a book and decided that you got this. You become faster and faster, but you can’t hold the lines like others and you are massively in danger all the time. It might be because the way you use to steer the bike can’t keep up with your mid-turn pace anymore.

So the two elements ‘speed and control’ found each other paradoxically at a certain rider level, correct? Also, it’s not always the most obvious reason to point out, isn’t it?!

This is not at all an invitation to just go faster! We need to understand that a certain momentum is needed to create stability in a beginner rider, even though it sounds paradoxical. We need to take time to let our eyes and brain get used to higher paces, so that we know what to do before doing a track day. We need the knowledge, skill, and experience to master our bikes first- and only then to reach out to the stars :-)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

I really don’t get it

Imagine, there was a class where you could ride all day on a race track for only 49 bucks. No hassle, no distractions, no drama. And now picture all of this would be perfectly organized in level groups on a track which wouldn’t be too far away from you. How cool would that be?! Let’s take it further… imagine that you could add a workshop to it and to get your bike dialed in at the same time by a professional- or even better- you would also get the knowledge, tools, and a helping hand to learn how to do that stuff on your own. That would be killer right!?

I’ve seen riders struggling with their bikes- or in bad cases- they even get hurt just because of lack of reach-ability. How’s this possible?!… well, you can go install a light switch too high for someone to reach, and see how long it might take to turn the damn light on. And yeah, the subjects seem complex and the fear of wrenching the bike is big. This is why we’re there to check on your baby in regard suspension, lever adjustments, tires, throttle free play, and lots of other stuff. Together with you, we’ll make significant changes for the better. Let me tell you some stories and literally terrible things we’ve discovered in the previous… …classes. There was a female rider in our workshop, and her throttle didn’t return at all. Her answer–“I’m used to it”– is not helping, but we’ve fixed it for her. Another rider installed an aftermarket front brake lever and didn’t even notice that the damn thing hit the starter button housing, which restricted the full potential of the brake down to 30%! Another rider just got a racing rear shock installed for about $2 grands incl labor, The damn shock didn’t work at all and was as stiff as a stick. The rider thought it was all in the setting, but it wasn’t. I bet if he would have lost traction and to crash, he wouldn’t even know that the shock/shop was responsible for a possible injury.

Quite frightening huh?! But that’s not all by far… missing bolt in the master braking cylinder, cracked handle bars, loose steering stems, leaking seals; and top on the list… a fully destroyed rear sprocket where the f’d up chain just skipped all those rounded teethes. Oh yea, and the rider actually assumed it was a broken gearbox!

On the suspension side in previous workshops, we helped riders to find their bikes more agile and holding the line better. Some report to literally have a new bike feel. Bottoming out, lack of grip and overly worn out tires they complain about; even after they have had ‘specialists’ working on their bikes. Why?!… because with them, you can’t go out on a track and learn to report- learn to ‘what to focus on’ while going through specific sectors- then to come back and to directly work on issues. With the Superbike-Coach ‘Workshop & Track Time‘ class… you can do all of that and have a fat grin on the face at the same time!

Now… you wanna blame me for pointing things out in all honesty, or the shop which makes a front brake work on 30% only?! Your choice.

Our next Workshop is coming up on 7/15/2018, and you can sign up here for it.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Sacramento 7/4/2018

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