Author, Test Rider, Racer, Riding Coach

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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

 

Poll For Rider/Passenger Class

We have some requests in regard a Rider/Passenger class, and I actually like the idea. I am hoping you help us out with a poll and to see if there is interest for such class:

  • Held on Little 99 Raceway in Stockton
  • Only ones per year
  • Full day
  • All rider/passenger levels
  • 3 level groups of 10 bikes each
  • For all 2 seated bikes: Sportbikes, Adventure bikes, Touring bikes, Chopper/Cruiser bikes
  • Classroom/track sessions
  • Content: sitting pos., awareness, synchronized dynamic, weight management, emergency braking, etc
  • As usual free sport photography by Dean Lonskey, snacks, drinks

I believe that a class like this can help both, rider and passenger, to make their hobby even more enjoyable and to gain safety massively. There is actually so much you can do on the passenger side. I just can imagine how much of a fun especial couples are going to have on our track.

Please help us and give us an idea by polling 4 quick questions: https://forms.gle/7pfsAiMF2PbgiQfR8

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

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

Let’s un-dung that Garage

So, have you ever cleared the dung out of your garage?! I mean, that kind of stuff you horde throughout the years and glue on you from move to move. Not even stuff which doesn’t belong into a garage/shop. I’m talking about all the parts from previous and current projects which are catching dust. You know- those which are either way semi-broke or just not ‘enough’ to sell. Or all those tools you’re collecting, like dozens of same size IKEA allen keys. That weak cordless drill which delivered you for years just enough power to make that one hole- then another one- and another one, and each time you think why the hell are you not just go get a new one.

When you are just like me, then you also like to “MacGyver” things. Not just because you want to save the money- you also do this based on impatiens, because you need and want ‘it’ NOW. So also stuff like Velcro, aluminum profiles, steel materials, blade rollers, foam, and whatnot. That kind of stuff you find a place for on top of shelves, in drawers and boxes. You know you have it somewhere when you have a craft-impulse, but each time the search for it consumes time and motivation.

So yea, to un-dung the Superbike-Coach shop took a week, but I can assure you that it wasn’t even messy as you might think it was. We have lots of bikes to maintain and to clean, and that doesn’t go without order and discipline. That’s not the problem, but the overload was.

The dung is just one of many things. I also wanted to change some things for a better workflow. I mean, if you have to stand on a chair to find the right bolt on top shelf- or to have to use a flashlight in the dark corner- or to walk to the tool shelf a thousand times…

After filling 1 ½ recycling bins of dung, the cleaning was next. The dirt you bring in with those tires is phenomenal actually. Re-organizing was next. Two big shelves are helping to store oil, gas and all those boxes which we need for classes. Those were parked alongside the wall, so no more moving them out of the way anymore. Every bike has its own box now, and no more stationary tools- instead they are movable wherever they are needed. Additions were a self retracting power source- light fixtures- new carpets- a parts washer, and yea… a f’n new electric drill. I actually was considering to tile the floor, but I’ll postpone it. Instead I’ll put together a computer the MacGyver way, because there is a pile of e-dung in the office that I can use somehow :-)

There is one thing I found in a drawer though. Somewhere deep beneath the dung, there were my daughters working gloves. She wore them when she was 3 years old and when she helped mom in the garden back in Germany. She didn’t do anything with them because she didn’t want to make them dirty, she said. There were too many bugs in that bush anyway, she said :-)

These gloves will never ever leave me!

#contimotousa #bikemaster

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

 

 

Pro-Tip for the Better Business Bureau

We had the team of the Sacramento Better Business Bureau over for a video take. They asked me give a Pro-Tip, and this is what I came up with :-)

(Yep, I know that the preview pic looks cheesy. Not my choice :-) )

This video is presented by Racer Gloves USA

Superbike-Coach is rated A+ at the BBB btw :)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp