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

can akkaya headcoach perfection

Addicted to Perfection

As usual, I want to describe scenes from professional racing. That doesn’t mean this is about racing and doesn’t apply to you, so go grab a beer and listen closely, cuz’ you get something for free from a professional…

can akkaya about routineFor the most professional racers I know, and that included myself- EVERYTHING needs to be 100% in order. In the right place, at the right time, and in a complete routine. Only THEN it can channel positive energy to make the moment count and also to be ‘perfect’. The moment when your team leaves the starting grid and you are on your own. This routine literally restarts after a race- winding back/up for the next one. It doesn’t feel this way, but it’s there. While the racer goes for some Supermoto and lots of mountain biking… he already dials towards that moment of perfection next Sunday. He’s talking to his friends and laughs. It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s there. It has begun already. The bike gets prepared down to look at each bolt. The office works to organize travels for each member. The team arrives in the paddock and sets everything up. There is fun- lots of fun so that it doesn’t feel like it… but it’s there. Practice sessions- qualifying sessions and warm up… it surly feels different all the time, but all and everyone is following routines. A routine that chases perfection. Now you’re standing on your starting grid again. Warm up sign comes up and the pace car leaves, and so your team members. You are on your own and all you think- all you feel is “…everything is perfect. I am ready!”.

The finish flag falls and you are relieved for a couple of hours before it all restarts… the strive for perfection- for that particular moment.

It’s almost like a solid OCD isn’t it? But do you see what I am pointing out here? It all channels to ‘a perfect moment’. Nothing is perfect forever ones you or someone else decides to have ‘reached perfection’. But that’s something most of you are chasing… to be perfect forever. Nothing is perfect forever. There is always something better you could do or have done. There is always the next bike you want to have- the ice cream you eat- the helmet you wear. I could go on forever one this because this one goes in all live directions.

Let me tell you something which philosophy I decided to follow. Perfection is an illusion! Don’t ever decide to have reached perfection- cuz’ where to go when you’re there? Unless you have the urge of a professional racer to chase and to channel positive energy up to THAT MOMENT, which allows you to snap into the competitor you HAVE TO BE… for you my friends, I hope you never reach perfection.

Because the moment you think you did- that moment is dangerous because you stop searching, you stop striving. Your journey is over. Just make sure you keep that strive in a healthy balance with ‘fun’, because too much of chasing and the feel to never be ‘like that guy’ (or whatever you categorize to be perfect) can lead you right into dark rooms. I’ve been there, which is why I know. A room enriched with frustration, confidence breaking energies and not knowing where the f’n door is out of the darkness.

So don’t chase perfection, cuz’ you never reach it anyway. It’s a dilemma. Instead- enjoy your imperfections. Learn to laugh about yourself, because perfection means pressure! :-)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Bikemaster chain superbikecoach

Two More Teeth

Bikemaster chain superbikecoachYou guys remember my article ‘Motorcycle Sprocket Job: More Power‘? That’s where this one extends it a little.

So finally time has come that I can also ramp up the game on our Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro. When it’s time for a new chain- that’s also a good time to make these upgrades, and so I took advantage of it.

“Indy” is going to get 2 more teeth on the rear. Does this bike really need more torque?… oh hell no, but pure acceleration and even better ride-ability can’t hurt. The gears were a touch too far apart in my opinion, so that bigger rear sprocket gets them closer together and that gives me more options in regard gear choice on corners. BikeMaster had all the stuff I needed to get the job done, and quick as usual and their pricing is right!

First you want to loose up all sprocket bolts, before you get the rear wheel out. That makes things easier. Now the wheel comes out and the new BikeMaster sprocket replaces that extremely cheep looking Ducati OEM part. I mean… look at it!

Bikemaster chain superbikecoachNext step is the chain. For that reason you put the wheel back in and cut the old chain. Don’t pull it out though, because you want to connect the new chain to it and to pull it through the swing arm and over and out of the front sprocket housing. That way you can save all the work with it. Now put the wheel/axle in the mid range of your chain spanners, which gives you wiggle room for your chain adjustments later. Ones done, you lay the chain up the sprocket to determine the length and so where to take links out. I recommend to look twice which and where you take it out. Now you close the chain with a lock (comes with the chain) and adjust its slack. Don’t forget to tighten up your rear axle… and you are all done.

You can’t add power and torque in a cheaper way. Do yourself a favor and do it. Thank me later :)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Superbikecoach Panigale 1199

GomotoTrip Fairings For Cleopatra

Sometimes a seemingly perfect motorcycle loses its perfection. The reason doesn’t necessarily have to be a crash. Years of track abuse leaving marks on her. Things crack, split or melt. It was time to put some fresh cosmetic on ‘Cleopatra’s’ face again, and I am glad that GomotoTrip not just delivers the actual fairing kit, but also a almost spotless paint job.

Raven Synthetics and Superbike-Coach

On that route I also made some necessary repairs and upgrades. An O-Ring at the starter motor had to be replaced. So the oil change was literally one thing then. Only top notch stuff goes in there. Amsoil full synthetic from Raven Synthetics is the best motor oil you possibly can get.

Also from Amsoil is the radiator coolant. Flushing the entire cooling system was overdue anyway. The Dominator Coolant Boost keeps the temperature 8 Fahrenheit lower then any other option. Who ever rode a Ducati 1199 Panigale knows that ever temperature point down is a good thing.

The brakes needed to be maintained as well. Amsoil DOT4 Synthetic Racing brake fluid is way to go. New race brake pads with an extreme high pitch but linear stopping power has been always my choice. That ain’t cheap pads, and YOU should NEVER go cheap on those as well! Added to the brakes are a set of rotor air ducts and a set of caliper air ducts. That should help keep my brakes a little cooler under aggressive braking.

Then it was time to finally unbox the new fairing kit from GomotoTrip. This is each time quite exciting. I can tell you that the fit, even on a tightly designed bike like the Panigale, is top-notch. Not a single hole needs to be modified. Everything is in the right place. Besides a absolute fantastic paint job, the kit comes with pretty much everything you need and also includes bum-stop, windshield and heat mats.

An entire fairing kit like this cost about $675, and that includes a custom paint job and shipping. I mean look at it… it can’t get any better than that!

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp