Frequently-Asked Questions

Forums Champ U Champ U General Discussion Frequently-Asked Questions

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    Roland Ducommun

      Hi there

      Thank you for the excellent online riding school opportunity!

      So much food for thought. Just as an example, why do we learn at riding school not to brake in curves? You give the explanation which makes totally sense. Trail-braking is in my riding technique a game changer!

      Despite the comprehensive online riding school, I personally miss a section about riding in a rainy condition for streetriders. The questions I have are: Should I apply trail-braking in rainy/wet conditions?, in wet curves use front brake or rear brake or both? etc…

      Last question for you. I live in Switzerland where we have alps with sometimes hairpin curves. In downhill hairpin curves, should I also apply trail-braking? And if yes, front brake or rear brake? Some riders told me use in those situations only rear brake, otherwise I would crash.

      Thank you in advance for your feedback.

      Best regards

      Nick Ienatsch

        Thanks for the note. During a beautifully sunny school in Las Vegas, Freddie Spencer (three-time GP World Champion) was asked by a student, “Will you ever teach us to ride in the rain?”. Freddie paused, and then answered, “That’s all I’m doing”.

        And this “rain lesson” is in 100 Points of Grip…so yes, we will do all the same things in the rain that we do in the dry, but a lower level of application because our grip maximums are lower. Slower speeds, less lean angle, less brake pressure. In short: riding in the rain or running the lap record on a dry track put us close to the ultimate edge of grip, so everything we teach counts.

        Regarding riding downhill hairpins in the Alps, you wrote, “Some riders told me use in those situations only rear brake, otherwise I would crash.” Welcome to the reason we created Champ U at a price anyone can afford!! You can use front or rear brake, but as you probably already guessed, the front brake is not just a better stopping device, but it more closely controls your steering geometry and front-tire contact patch. Also, we have better feel through our fingered gloves that booted foot. Yes, trail-brake in the Alps, Rockies, Pyrenees, Smokies…okay all the world’s mountain ranges, hills, slopes, rises, dips, galleys, valleys, peaks …uphill and downhill.

        And students, remember this please: Great motorcycle riding is not a majority-rules endeavor. You will hear a lot of advice, but if it can’t be proven to be consistent when the pace is up or the grip is down, it’s wrong; wrong hurts. -Nick I. PS: My last name, Ienatsch, was Jenatsch before being Americanized when my great grandfather emigrated to America from Switzerland.

        Burt Prior

          Nick and Team,

          I just completed the entire ChampU course and I wanted to congratulate everyone on their amazing work. Certainly the best motorcycle training on the planet.
          I will now start over, internalizing everything I learned, and go out and practice, practice, practice all the “drills”.

          I would describe the two most important things I learned was:
          1) proper technique that works everywhere, all the time.
          2) confidence.

          I hope more courses are in the works. I will happily purchase them.

          Lastly, I was wondering if the school will ever be taught at Laguna Seca? At least that’s drivable from where I live (in Milpitas, CA)

          Thanks again,

          Nick Ienatsch

            Burt, thank you for the note, for taking the time to write…we’ll pass it along to the team.

            Yes, we have more Champ U programs in the works.

            Yes, we are in talks with Laguna. Note that we’ve just posted our ’22 schedule on and we are booked at Thunderhill, which might be the next closest track to you? Stay tuned and fingers crossed for Laguna, love to see you at Thill..Nick I.

            Alastair Bain

              What’s required to be able to complete the drills in this course? Do they need to be done on a track or can they be done on public roads?

              Nick Ienatsch

                Hi Alastair…No racetrack needed for the drills. Parking lot, garage, street will work…track will work too, but not needed. Hope that helps…NI

                Dennis Barrasford

                  I got back into riding around 10 years ago after recovering from cancer, got past my bike test and I have been riding an ST4 for touring and have an 06 fire blade that I’ve done a couple of track days on. I started the Champ-U course last week and I am buzzing with excitement for the winter to end and the track days to start again, it’s a superb resource and exactly what I needed. The way you guys have broken down and explained each element is incredibly powerful and so clear. As a high mileage car driver in my day job I am now consciously thinking about tyre loading as I start to brake,( the first 5%) and trading grip points as I turn into bends and accelerate out it’s total common sense. I Just wanted to say thanks I will read and re read and practice on the Bikes as soon as the weather breaks. Dennis a 60 year old teenager?

                  Nick Ienatsch

                    Dennis, thanks for putting smiles on our faces! You’re now driving like every motorcycle road racing champion drives, and every mile is bike practice. Glad you’re enjoying the classes…stay teeny…NI

                    Brandi Creason

                      Hello!! I am a fairly new rider but I practice at least three times a week. I am from SoCal.
                      I love riding so much because of all the little nuances that you actually should learn before you even think you can ride!
                      It’s all in the details for me.
                      One question I do have is about speed of practicing twisties.
                      I just found a few local really good twistie roads that I can practice on that are fairly untravelled and full of stuff that you have to keep your brain aware of like gravel and chunking asphalt holes everywhere. I am getting confident to at least get on these
                      for now, but I am noticing that my app that tracks my speed says that I am going really slow through these turns and I am wondering
                      if I am being too much of a grandma through this practice on the twisties?
                      I know it’s about riding to my comfort level, but some of these twisties that have a long, right, blind corner, I am literally slowing down to like 18-20 MPH….this seems silly to me…..but I guess as conifidence grows my speed will pick up?
                      I just wanted to know if at those speeds I should even continue to practice there? I practice my parking lot drills every time before I go out for my road practice, and I am totally confident on my cornering in the parking lot, going into 2nd and 3rd gears and controlling lean angle, trail braking and throttle maintenance! I’m super confident in the sweeping parking lot. But when I get myself out on those cliff sides, I think my brain may be thinking a little too much instead of trusting in my skills and letting the bike ride.
                      My bike has been wonderful to me! I ride a Honda Rebel and have gotten just over 1200 miles on her since July. Not much, but I am trying.
                      Sorry for my long winded post, but I am enjoying the course so much, I truly wish I could afford to do the in person courses more and I am now striving to get out to do a track day! I think that would just be exhilarating!
                      Oh, I forgot to mention, I am a 51 year female, first time rider!!! Never in a million years did I anticipate loving riding so much, especially in Southern California, but I am hooked and even more so, hooked on learning and challenging myself to become a better more cognizant rider!
                      Thank you Champ U for this awesome course! I was turned onto your course through following MotoJitsu. Those are the drills that I typically practice!
                      Thanks again for this, I keep going back and rewatching the course material just to get it to soak in, since I’m not an engineer type, some things take a while longer to sink in, but I will get it!!!
                      Brandi C / SoCal

                      Nick Ienatsch

                        Hello Brandi, thanks from our team for your great note, welcome to the addiction!! We will be doing ChampStreet classes at Streets of Willow and Buttonwillow, the two tracks closest to you, and it’s an amazingly fun and affordable class.

                        An interesting fact: roadracers have no idea how fast they are going in corners. They know they are too fast when the bike runs wide, they are too slow when the tires aren’t heavily loaded and they aren’t near their maximum lean angle. Point is, don’t worry about the literal MPH. Right now you are slowing to the point of your comfort at the lean angle you use. Good, safe, fun.

                        But perhaps you would like to go through corners a bit faster? We subscribe to a “crawl, walk, run” approach in this sport so please apply that to everything you do regarding speed increases.

                        Here’s the plan: take a magic marker and draw a line from one edge of your rear tire to the other, a line that goes over the center of the tire. Do it at the valve stem so it’s easy to find. This will be your “lean angle reference” line. Go for a ride in the twisties and check how much of the line you are wearing off, how far you are leaning over.

                        We will generally use most/all of the rear tire’s contact patch, edge to edge, when we are carrying decent lean angle at the track or in street corners we know and can see through. We will leave a bit of lean-angle margin on the street in most California canyons due to blind corners and surprises, so some of the line near the edges is okay. Don’t worry about the front, the rear tire is the best to judge on most bikes.

                        Notes: 1-If the line shows you there is safe lean angle available (lots of line showing, only the center inch or two worn off), you will begin to enter the corners faster. Right now you are making the radius by slowing down to your comfortable lean angle…the line will show you that you are overslowing “because you have lean angle available”.

                        2-Your bike might touch footpegs before it uses all the rear tire…don’t worry about footpegs touching and remember that we are increasing corning speed gradually so you are increasing lean angle gradually…so your footpegs touch gradually. No big deal.

                        3-We must leave a safety margin on the street, and that means a margin of lean angle still available in case we need more in an unknown corner. In other words, if you’re dragging hard parts or are at the edge of traction on the street (tires squirming and slipping), you will eventually be bitten by a surprise that you have no margin left to deal with.

                        4-And there’s a place to find limits, something you already mentioned: the track. Street survival and enjoyment comes from insanely good skills (just keep watching Champ U, don’t listen to most online advice…though we trust Motojitsu and Canyon Chasers, among a few others) and leaving a safety margin.

                        Keep us posted, please help spread the word about Champ U! -Nick I.

                        Deny Watanabe

                          I’m 52 (soon to be 53) and just got my first motorcycle today, a Yamaha MT-03. I’ve also just finished the UChamp course and thought it was really good (body position for both street and track was particularly thoughtful and impressive), but was a bit disappointed that there was no lesson on steering and counter-steering. I know it’s a pretty basic concept but I still think it wouldn’t hurt to include it in its own lesson, since you’ve covered clutch smoothness which is also a fundamental. I’ll start practicing the drills as soon as I get my license, it takes a bit longer in Brazil. Cheers!

                          Jeffrey Riecken

                            After the class, can we have access to the track on a normal basis/do you have track days

                            Alex Hatfield

                              Hi Jeffrey,
                              We don’t own a facility; we rent each track for the duration of the school only. We’re happy to help you find a local track day organization!

                              Nick Ienatsch

                                Deny…we talked about counter-steering when we had Chris weaving through some cones…I’m sorry that I don’t remember the exact section, but hope you can find it because counter-steering is a key tenent of motorcycle control, especially on the street where we are not hanging off radically or (usually) braking as hard as we would on the track. Thanks, NI

                                LUCIO NOBILE

                                  thank you
                                  the core curriculum is very useful particularly for new rider but a good set of reminders for experienced riders as well.
                                  I have been applying trail braking quite often for several years now but often my entry speed is too slow and sometimes I need to accelerate after the entry point to be able to apply some trial braking. What is the best way to improve your entry speed. May be is better to improve the entry speed only on the track and not on the street?

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