Welcome!! Gotta Question??

Forums ChampU ChampU General Discussion Welcome!! Gotta Question??

  • This topic has 49 replies, 27 voices, and was last updated 1 day ago by Nick Ienatsch.
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    Nick Ienatsch

    Hi David…All things being equal (tire compound, tire temperature, environment), the more rubber touching the road, the more grip we have, *with one possible caveat, see below. We are spreading the traction load across more molecules of rubber, but for simplicity’s sake, we say it’s more grip.

    So…a knobby or dual-sport tire has voids between the rubber blocks, so that means less grip than a less-voided tire in the same environment*. Tire companies can compound dual-sport tires to have a lot of grip due to soft rubber, but lose longevity. To take this to the pinnacle, a racing “slick” tire has the most grip due to zero voids.

    *The caveat is in an environment with low traction. In the rain, for instance, the voids between the rubber blocks (called snipes) are designed to funnel water out of the way to allow the rubber to touch the pavement. A slick in the rain is almost unrideable, while we will habitually drag knees in the rain on a “rain tire”, a tire that looks a lot like what you have on your GSA! The rain tire is heavily sniped and features a very soft compound, a compound that becomes almost unrideable on a hot, dry track!

    So…your 100 point scale of grip is lower than a sporty street tire on dry pavement, but higher than that tire in the dirt, where the voids allow the rubber blocks to sink into the road or trail. I would be hesitant to write “…and your tires will have more grip in the rain…” because rubber compound has so much to do with wet-weather traction.

    Hope this helps, fun stuff to think about…Nick I.

    Waylon Bennett


    I bought the course last year and really thoroughly enjoyed it and feel I’m much safer having done it than I would’ve been otherwise, so thank you for that. I recommend the course every time I meet another rider, especially new ones.

    Sometimes, approaching a corner a little too hot, I go to the brakes, apply a smooth linear input just as taught in the course and feel confident in the application of brakes, but when I tip in, I wonder if maybe I let off more pressure than necessary. I understand the concept of trailing off pressure but having learned the concept online and not having felt it in practice on the back of a big bike with a pro rider, I’m not sure how much or how fast to trail the brakes off. I understand 100 points, but all the points I’m able to be aware of are the points I’m willing to test – what if my 100 points are actually only 70 of the points available? I get that that’s part of the point, using comfort and familiarity to breed cautionary riders and making a measuring stick so that grip stays balanced well between braking, accelerating, and cornering loads and the rider stays safer. I hear the tire can take a tremendous load but not an abrupt one – and that’s comforting and has let me brake mid-corner to avoid obstacles and it’s all well and good – but, how tremendous? How hard can I brake during tip in? I can’t help but feel like MAYBE, when I trail off brake pressure, even though I can keep my brake light on all the way through the turn, I might just be taking too much brake pressure away as I turn in. Usually, not being a racer, I’m not braking at 100 percent for a turn, so how much can I really brake as I tip in? It isn’t abrupt when I trail off pressure, I’m not upsetting the suspension as best I can tell, but I wonder often if I’m leaving some braking power on the table by releasing more pressure than is necessary too early, and I’m scared to test that theory. I’ve seen rear tires coming off the ground at tip in in racing clips. I know that’s 100 points, but I don’t know what the numbers between 0 and 100 look like as precisely. Any advice or drills or concepts or content to help my understanding of brake application? Thanks!

    Nick Ienatsch

    Hello Waylon…Every question you asked is being asked by every top racer in the world. Those who win races are closer to the limit of their tires (100 points) more frequently than those they beat. Stay well under 100 points and you are safe, but slow…racers care about that but street riders must always leave “points” on the table for the unexpected.

    In other words, you are on the correct side of the equation. You are also in the worst place to experiment with the limits of tire grip, and it sounds like you realize that. Welcome to track days. This is the environment to play with limits.

    We realize getting to track days isn’t easy in certain parts of the country. If that’s your situation, think about an annual “vacation” to one of the tracks closest to you. You can fly into certain tracks and rent bikes, call the track day orgs about that. You can book time at a school. All these options are cheaper than crashing on the street while playing with limits.

    Once a rider visits a track day, it becomes clear how important “riding with a margin” becomes on the street.

    Okay, enough preaching: We cannot tell you how much grip you have, how quickly you can add or release brake pressure or throttle or lean angle points. This is the beauty and challenge of the sport. You will rarely get it 100% right. For many of us, this challenge is the joy of our lives, especially in this increasingly-digital world.

    Cars now come with ABS, Traction Control, Yaw Control, Lane Change Warning, Radar Cruise Control, Automative Collision Avoidance, Automatic Headlight Dimming, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers, and we’re working toward eliminating the driver all together. Meanwhile, we have the joy and challenge of riding motorcycles, asking the very questions you are asking. Finding the answers is a wonderful, life-long journey.

    Remember this: A warm tire at the limit will communicate to you if your inputs are smooth and linear. You wrote this and that means you are on the path to survive a loss of grip because that loss will be progressive and linear, giving you a chance to adjust brake, throttle or lean angle points. Go to the track to find the ultimate limit…but keep doing what you are doing on the street.

    Thanks for the support of ChampU…-Nick I.

    Ted Sohier

    Great course, but I have a question — I wonder why you suggest that we break when we’re “nervous.” I brake when the situation requires it. If I waited until I was nervous, very bad things could happen. Is this really what you mean?
    – Ted

    Nick Ienatsch


    We always seem to return to the #1 place we’re dying on motorcycles: Running wide in corners. Riders close the throttle when approaching a corner because they are concerned/nervous/unsure about making the corner with the throttle open, and we’re saying “don’t just close the throttle, but initiate braking” when you feel like that. Kid running across the yard toward the street, left-turning car beginning to roll, last corner of your best-ever lap, trying your friend’s Kawi HP2, approaching an unknown corner, popping over a blind rise…

    Plus…it’s memorable and in the heat of the moment those simple edicts can be grasped…Thanks for the support of ChampU…Nick I.

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