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

8 replies
  1. Gary D Lonskey
    Gary D Lonskey says:

    you ar so right.that is the one big reason i enjoy coming just to watch the class progress.when they progress in the class i talk to them and the say they have so much more fun and respect for the motorcycle.Experience and learning increases the ability to have a lot more funwhile on two wheels.keep up the great work,thanks.

    Reply
  2. Dean Lonskey
    Dean Lonskey says:

    As usual, Coach hits it out of the park. I’ve seen this happen at your classes then watch them improve. As long as I’ve been riding, I find myself getting caught up in this at times. I think its what also causes “target fixation”? You get into a situation and “think” your leaned over too much to make the corner when in fact, you’re not even close then you panic…or simply get fixated on where you’re at and simply loose perspective of where you’re at and what you need to do…and panic thus you ride wide, miss the corner, crash or simply make a drastic change on the bike, which causes you to crash. This situation is also caused by riding over your limits, whether on your own or trying to follow someone else who goes at their pace and not at yours. Got to say, since I’ve been a part of Superbike-coach, just watching Coach Can, talking with him, and watching others, I’ve learn to and have gotten even more comfortable.

    Reply
  3. Jonathan Rafanan
    Jonathan Rafanan says:

    Excellent read. As a current student I will work to adopt and understand this mentality and with your help coach, I want to reach this level of understanding to not only be fast, but more importantly know how to control my bike in any situation on and off track. Again, excellent read and something I will read again and think about. See you at day 3 in a few weeks!

    Reply
  4. Todd McClintock
    Todd McClintock says:

    Does this explain why after taking your classes I can ride faster than I have ever gone before while at the same time feeling very calm? I will be inside my head seeing waypoints, hitting the apex, trail braking into tight turns and throttling out and it all feels so smooth and slow. But when I look at the speedometer I can not believe I am actually going that fast!

    Reply
    • PageAdmin
      PageAdmin says:

      That is exactly where it goes Todd.
      All of it creates the ‘mental coolness’ I’ve mentioned in Cornering Day 1.

      Reply

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