V-Twin Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's either rained (almost 10"), been cold (down to 30 degrees) or cold and windy (30 - 40 mph gusts) for the past two weeks. Finally today, after a 2-week hiatus, I was able to set my cones and practice again.

It felt like starting all over! For almost an hour, I tried and tried but could not make a pass without touching, running over, or knocking down a cone.

Finally, I made ONE consecutive perfect pass in a row. Then about 10 with lots of mistakes, then a couple in a row. At 2 hours, I was back in the groove. At that point, I took this video:

www.callairco.com/ken/OffSetConeWeaveBikeCam1.wmv

You can tell by my clentched lips in the picture that I was concentrating and working hard to not goof up. At one point, the motorcycle leaned way too far, but I clutched out of it with a few extra engine revs.

Cars had parked in my normal spot. My new lay-out was over some really rough, broken pavement. Man, talk about distracting one's concentration. Finally, I was able to tune out the bouncing motorcycle while leaning through the first gate.

I stayed for another hour or more, the sun set, so I had to pick up my toys and go home. I got in a good 3 hours of practice. (I lose all track of time when I'm enjoying myself.)

Ken
 
G

·
Ken,

Looks real good.

You could make it easier on yourself if you'd look further ahead on your path. You're doing what is called "late head and eyes". This is particularly true when you're setting up for left turns. If you could focus further ahead, you'd find it would smooth out even mor for you.

On the plus side, your head and eyes are up, which pays off in your great motor positioning, and ability to correct like you did, when you had that rough spot.

The Otis Redding is a nice touch.

Harris
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,941 Posts
Hey Ken-

My computer is not accepting the video data very well ( I happen to have an apple ), so I cannot see what you're doing.

From what Harris is saying, it sounds like you're looking ahead cone to cone, instead of two cones ahead, which is what I do. Thus, as you are starting at gate one, focus ahead to gate three, and as you come through gate one, your focus should be on gate four, not gate two. As you come through the second gate, your focus should already be well ahead, on gate five.

Ultimately, you will want be looking waaaaay down the path, beyond the cones all together, just as you did with the slow cone weave....but this takes time...it'll come.

Also, remember to set up an odd number of gates, and to reverse the procedure so that your weak side gets the needed attention that it deserves.

I set up seven gates, starting at gate 1, through 7, and then turn around, starting at 7, and ending at 1.

I do not have to tell you that the off set is a rhythm exercise, meaning that as I round through the first, or seventh, gate, I can usually tell if I have enough "slack", to negotiate the entire exercise.

Thus, it really helps to keep the phrase, "slow is smooth, smooth is fast," in the forefront of your mind, when practicing.

You'll know when you're in a really good grove, because you'll hear the kick stand and floor boards scraping more often. This is not desired, but it does mean that your circles are becoming more tear dropped, in their shape.

My prediction....You will be back , and then beyond, your former peak by your third practice session.

Now don't forget to ride for fun!, good luck!...:)

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
That looks like a fun challenge and you did it very well.
What are the dimensions of the the course. I'd like to try it.
I ussually just find an empty parking lot and practice tight circles, figure eights and quick braking.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,941 Posts
eglide1 said:
That looks like a fun challenge and you did it very well.
What are the dimensions of the the course. I'd like to try it.
I ussually just find an empty parking lot and practice tight circles, figure eights and quick braking.
Hey E-

You should e-mail Harris, and take the entire course! :)

David
 

·
Still in one piece
Joined
·
269 Posts
Just as a guess, do you always hit the cones on the left hand turns? If you watch your video closely you'll see how you are shallow on the left hand gates. You hold the turn longer after the left gates putting you in a better position for the next right hand gate. Set out some extra cones like the diagram. After going thru the gate, TURN YOUR HEAD, focus on the single cone to help you hold the turn, then midway to the next gate bring your attention to the gate. Do not look at the cones but use your peripheral vision. If you look at the cones you will hit them. Contact your local P.D. and ask them if they have a motor unit. The motor units usually have regular training and will let you watch and will usually offer tips if you ask. Your riding position looks good, if you find yourself having to over accelerate to keep from falling it's usually caused by dropping a shoulder in the turn. Stay upright and counter balance. Hope this helps. Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Man, I'm trying really hard . . . . .

I'm trying really hard to look down the course, but really make a mess of things when I do.

Right now, I'm having my best luck looking at the center of each curve through a gate to help me to continue the curves into teardrop shapes. I find myself then looking through the gate in front of me until I've cleared it, and then look towards the center of that curve to extend the circle to set up for the next.

(if you can figure out what I just said, you're a better man than me!):dunno:


I can feel the resulting jerkyness and sometimes poor lines through the gates.

I'm printing out the suggestions and will take them with me today for my practice session. I really have a burning desire to become very good at this and appreciate the help and even the criticism. It's all constructive.

Ken


Harris said:
Ken,

Looks real good.

You could make it easier on yourself if you'd look further ahead on your path. You're doing what is called "late head and eyes". This is particularly true when you're setting up for left turns. If you could focus further ahead, you'd find it would smooth out even mor for you.

On the plus side, your head and eyes are up, which pays off in your great motor positioning, and ability to correct like you did, when you had that rough spot.

The Otis Redding is a nice touch.

Harris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Harris has an entire safety course.

eglide1 said:
That looks like a fun challenge and you did it very well.
What are the dimensions of the the course. I'd like to try it.
I ussually just find an empty parking lot and practice tight circles, figure eights and quick braking.
Harris has a course that he's happy to send to people (via the Internet). It includes basic beginning clutch friction zone work, cone weaving, and offset cone weaving in addition to motor safety exercises, graphics, etc. that help keep motor cops safe on the roads. Although I'm concentrating on this one exercise, I also work at his controlled braking exercises. (they're scary)

I strongly suggest that you go to the first "sticky" thread in this section of the forum to order the course.

I found 1-foot cones on the eBay for $3 apiece. Also found little 6" cones for $2.50 each. Half tennis balls will do for markers, but negotiating cones is much more difficult and require better handling.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
IT does help, Jim.

fresnohog said:
Just as a guess, do you always hit the cones on the left hand turns? If you watch your video closely you'll see how you are shallow on the left hand gates. You hold the turn longer after the left gates putting you in a better position for the next right hand gate. Set out some extra cones like the diagram. After going thru the gate, TURN YOUR HEAD, focus on the single cone to help you hold the turn, then midway to the next gate bring your attention to the gate. Do not look at the cones but use your peripheral vision. If you look at the cones you will hit them. Contact your local P.D. and ask them if they have a motor unit. The motor units usually have regular training and will let you watch and will usually offer tips if you ask. Your riding position looks good, if you find yourself having to over accelerate to keep from falling it's usually caused by dropping a shoulder in the turn. Stay upright and counter balance. Hope this helps. Jim
I have contacted the local PD motorcop unit. A couple of the senior motormen are retiring soon and are thinking about setting up instructional classes soon. I told them to count me in. ~!Awesome!
Wish our local cops rode Harleys.

About left turn gates vs right turn gates. You must have watched the video several times to see this. You're right, I more trouble through those left-turn gates. :eek:

You probably already know this, but the gates are not evenly spaced, but are staggered (offset). There's 18 feet of "fall line" space for the right-hand turns and only 12' for the left-hand-turn gates. That provides a lot more room to set up for any of the right-hand-turn gates when going through the course in this direction.

Ken
 

·
Still in one piece
Joined
·
269 Posts
You probably already know this, but the gates are not evenly spaced, but are staggered (offset). There's 18 feet of "fall line" space for the right-hand turns and only 12' for the left-hand-turn gates. That provides a lot more room to set up for any of the right-hand-turn gates when going through the course in this direction.

Ken[/QUOTE]

The exercise you are doing is refered to as the 'switchback'. It is intended to improve balance, clutch control and eye placement and slow speed control of the bike. (Comes in real handy at the beach when you are trying to get somewhere.) Eye placement is critical in making turns such as u-turns. The cones are usually set up in a parking lot similar to the diagram attached. Normally the gates are evenlly spaced but offset is a good exercise also. If you watch the Motors do it, they usually set up about 20 gates and will also place a cone on the radio box. If it falls off during the exercise......the backing up exercise comes next. Jim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,941 Posts
Ken R said:
I'm trying really hard to look down the course, but really make a mess of things when I do.

Right now, I'm having my best luck looking at the center of each curve through a gate to help me to continue the curves into teardrop shapes. I find myself then looking through the gate in front of me until I've cleared it, and then look towards the center of that curve to extend the circle to set up for the next.

(if you can figure out what I just said, you're a better man than me!):dunno:


I can feel the resulting jerkyness and sometimes poor lines through the gates.

I'm printing out the suggestions and will take them with me today for my practice session. I really have a burning desire to become very good at this and appreciate the help and even the criticism. It's all constructive.

Ken
Ken-

You're off to a wonderful start. Don't beat yourself up so much.

My suggestion.....get off the bike, and physically walk the exercise on foot a few times.

As you walk through the exercise, pretend that you're on your motorcycle and keep your focus two gates ahead..i.e..as you're approaching gate one, you should be looking at gate three, and as you're coming through gate one, you should be looking at gate four, as you're coming through gate two, you should be looking ahead to gate five...etc..etc..

Don't worry getting through gates, that will come.

Focus instead, on leading your hands, with your Head AND eyes. A motorcycle goes where you look, so don't forget to turn your head AND eyes.

when you begin to focus correctly, the handle bars will disappear from your field of vision, and when you stop seeing the handle bars, your handle bar steering, will improve dramatically.

Remember, the more you turn the handle bars, the easier the exercise becomes.

Keep telling yourself to " Turn, The, Handle, Bars", when you practice this exercise,..physically do this with your arms, as you're walking through the exercise.

You should be approaching each gate, in a perpindicular way, not parallel.

For example, on a good run, just before I approach gate two, I can physically feel the left side front fork, locking up against the left side of the steering head, as well as my kick stand dragging, but I cannot see this because my head and eyes are way down at gate four.

At this point, I can usually negotiate the entire exercise, because the motorcycle is in an optimal physical, position, in relationship to the remaining 6 gates.

Remember, start at gate one, and walk the exercise all the way through, to gate seven. Then turn around and work your other side, begining at gate seven, and finishing at gate one.

when I'm doing the exercise correctly, it doesn't feel like I'm on a motorcycle at all. It feels much more like I'm flying a small plane 3 feet over the cones, because I'm always looking across the exercise, not down at it.

I hope this helps you.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks, David. So much to think about!

I like your analogy:
"When I'm doing the exercise correctly, it doesn't feel like I'm on a motorcycle at all. It feels much more like I'm flying a small plane 3 feet over the cones."

I used to fly sailplane competition. It was most satisfying when the aircraft felt like part of my body.

I've also noticed that I do best when I go through the gates perpendicular to the two cones; and can tell when I'm going to not be able to make gates further down because I'm cutting through the current gate instead of passing through smoothly. I'm working on that.

I think the hardest thing about this exercise is head and eyes. It's harder than figure 8's where you only have to shift your head and eyes once per figure eight. I'm thinking that it takes four head-and-eye shifts per each series of odd and even gates.

Also, I have learned that it is very important to actually use a tape measure to set up the course. Walking or stepping it off results in too many errors. Yesterday, I had help. We measured every cone location and double-checked before painting little bitty spots on the parking lot (that no one will notice). I found that I had been setting up the exercise about 4' longer over 9 gates course length. It made a big difference. ^rolleyez^

The wind was blowing and gusting so hard yesterday that it added another degree of difficulty. Officially 20 - 30 with higher gusts. It was blowing left to right across the exercise lay-out. I had several powerful gusts that caused me to have to clutch out instead of risk falling. At these low speeds, wind makes a difference to me.

Ken
 

·
fourty three and seven...
Joined
·
3,465 Posts
Thanks for posting the vid.

Now let's try those cones in the wet!

Roll on and slip slide some opposite lock.

Bring on the skid pad.

Great stuff guys....keep it coming.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top