Someone teach me how to flat track.

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#1
All this talk about sliding turns in the front brake thread has got me wanting to know more about flat tracking. The trouble is, I've got nobody to teach me. I've been experimenting with different things on my local track. There is a 3rd gear, slow right hander which I am staring to be able to slide all of the way around with some consistency. It's hard for me to experiment with things in the faster turns, though. The same track has a fast, 4th gear left hander. It's so hard to try things out when running at the top of 4th because if you don't do it right, it could really hurt. A couple of times I have hit this turn going fast enough to slide, but both wheels break loose after which I need to take a few calm down laps. I've been breaking the bike loose with the breaks. How do you flat trackers do it? The races I've been to, it seems like the riders are entering the turns at full throttle.
 

Ol'89r

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#2
76GMC1500 said:
I've been breaking the bike loose with the breaks. How do you flat trackers do it? The races I've been to, it seems like the riders are entering the turns at full throttle.
76GMC1500.
There are as many different ways to take a turn as there are different turns and track surfaces.

On some of the loose, 'cushion' flattracks like the one's in Ohio and the East Coast, you do enter the corner at full throttle. Some of them you never shut the throttle off all the way through the turn. As you enter this type of turn, the power will cause the rear tire to break loose upon entry and by countersteering you keep the bike in that position until you enter the straightaway. If you were to shut the throttle off in the middle of the turn you would slide out to the fence and in some cases, through the fence. :nod: Don't ask me how I know that. :yikes:

If you go West to the dry, slick and sometimes 'blue groove' type of track, you enter the turn by shutting the throttle off and tapping the rear brake inorder to get the rear end to step out. As soon as the rear end steps out you have to get right back on the throttle to keep it out and then drive through the turn under power.

The whole idea of sliding a turn is to enable you to go around the turn faster than centrifugal force will normally allow you to do. If you try tracking around the turn, or in other words, not sliding either wheel, you can only go so fast until centrifugal force causes one or both of your wheels to loose traction resulting in centrifugal force pushing you off the track.

The idea of powersliding is to keep the bike at such an angle as to where the rear wheel is pushing you in toward the inside of the track while centrifugal force is pushing you toward the outside of the track. This enables you to go much faster through the turn than just tracking around the corner. There is a delicate balance of throttle control, body position and traction feel required to do this and all the while keeping your forward momentum going.

Learning how to do this will help you be faster on all types of tracks, flattrack, tt, mx even road racing. Many motocrossers don't slide. They only bounce off of berms. If you can master how to slide, it gives you a big advantage over these other riders in the corners. While they are all lining up to hit the berm, you can slide under them and use the other parts of the turn that they are not using. It freak's them out too because they think your crashing. ;)

Even in road racing learning how to slide is important. Our current Moto GP World Champ is Nicky Hayden. Nicky started out riding flattrack.

To learn how to do this, I suggest finding a big open field of loose dirt and setting yourself up a little short track. Practice going in to the turn and locking up your rear brake. When you rear tire locks up, countersteer in the direction of the slide and slide to a stop. Do this several times until you are comfortable with sliding to a stop. Then practice applying throttle while you are brake sliding inorder to keep the bike sliding. You have to be fairly aggressive with the throttle to make the transition from brake sliding to power sliding. Otherwise the rear tire can bite in and high side you.

To get comfortable with power sliding try going around in circles. Start with small circles and apply more throttle while trying to keep the radius of the circle the same. Apply more and more throttle until the rear wheel kicks out under power. Practice throttle control and balance to keep the rear wheel sliding while keeping the same radius in the circle.

Hope this helps. :cool:

Ol'89r

Disclaimer: Be sure to wear all of your saftey gear and practice all suggestions at a low speed since you will most likely crash several times learning this. Also, if you are dumb enough to try something that you heard on the internet by some old fart that cant even find his glasses and you hurt yourself, well, don't blame me. :laugh:
 
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gwcrim

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#3
I learned to powerslide in a grass field. It's slippery enough to let you get the basics down w/out the high speed needed for hard pack dirt.
 
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#4
Cool, thanks. I was going to go practice some tommorow but it rained. It will be a while before our blue groove comes back. The track is unrideable when it is wet.
 

IndyMX

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#5
76GMC1500 said:
Cool, thanks. I was going to go practice some tommorow but it rained. It will be a while before our blue groove comes back. The track is unrideable when it is wet.

There are riders around here that would be out on that wet track...

Some like it hard and dry, some like it almost muddy.

My dad and uncle raced flat track here in Indiana back in the 60's and 70's. They were pretty good, and if you raced back then in the Midwest, you probably got beat by my uncle a time or two.
 
- a d v e r t i s e m e n t -

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#6
Oh, I'll be out there, but I won't be able to make more than 5mph. I ride rain or shine, I love it so much. I might change out my balding Dunlop 752 for a Michelin something really agressive looking I picked out of the dumpster. Maybe that will hook up better in the mud.

Speaking of who 89er has run against, you ever run against someone with the name Joe Huff? He ran in California a while back, then moved on to hill climbing in the 80's.
 

IndyMX

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#7
76GMC1500 said:
Oh, I'll be out there, but I won't be able to make more than 5mph. I ride rain or shine, I love it so much. I might change out my balding Dunlop 752 for a Michelin something really agressive looking I picked out of the dumpster. Maybe that will hook up better in the mud.

As 89er said though, Don't come lookin for $$ if ya get banged up...

I was only passing on info.. ;)

I wouldn't get anything too agressive on the back end, it might hook up a bit much and toss you on the ground.

That would suck!!
 

Ol'89r

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#8
IndyYZ85 said:
My dad and uncle raced flat track here in Indiana back in the 60's and 70's. They were pretty good, and if you raced back then in the Midwest, you probably got beat by my uncle a time or two.
Indy.

Yes I did race in the midwest in the early 70's. What is your dads and uncles names? I raced mostly AMA and also some Badger fair circuit stuff. Some great tracks back there and some of the best fans on the planet.

GMC. I don't remember a guy named Joe Huff. But, I can't remember what I had for dinner last night either. :ohmy: BURP! Oh wait. It's coming back to me now. Burgers. Mmmmmmm. :nod:

I would not recommend practicing your sliding in the mud. Like gwcrim suggested, wet grass works good and also gravel or any loose surface where you don't need to use a lot of speed to break traction. You want to find a slick yet predictable surface. The faster you go the easier it is to do but, when your just learning keep the speed low. Use the worn tire until you get the hang of it.

Body position is also very important. When entering the turn you want to be up on the gas tank. This gives you better traction on the front wheel and less traction on the rear. Makes it easier to break the rear end loose. When you are exiting the turn you want to slide back to give yourself better traction on the rear. If you are in the middle of the turn and you want to break the rear tire loose, slide forward more or lift your butt off of the seat. If you want better traction, slide back or weight your outside foot peg or both. Also, try to keep both feet on the pegs as much as possible. This will give you better balance and feet-up slides look cool too.

Let us know how it's workin' for ya. :cool:
 
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#9
Well, the TT track was closed today. I was wondering about the feet, so when I see the guys on TV dragging their foot are they putting pressure on it or no? Someone recently told me about not putting your foot down. He said if you're going to put it anywhere, put it up by the brake rotor. This has made a huge difference in my cornering speeds. I used to drag my foot for no reason, I guess. I can ride the slide once I get it started, it's just hard for me to put the bike sideways at 40+mph.
 

Ol'89r

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#10
76GMC1500 said:
Well, the TT track was closed today. I was wondering about the feet, so when I see the guys on TV dragging their foot are they putting pressure on it or no? QUOTE]


TT track! You must be going to Hollister?

No, we really don't put our feet down in the corners. If you notice in photos, you'll see the skid shoe just skims the ground. It is there to use as an outrigger in case you start to slide out. Then you can bear down on your foot to keep you up. That's why we wear steel skid shoes so they skim the track and don't bite in. If you wear regular boots and put pressure on your foot to stay up, the sole will stick to the track and you will kick yourself in the back of the head. Especially on tacky surfaces. There are some instances where we do rely on our left foot in the corners and that is on a loose or very slick short track. For the most part it is only there for balance and just-in-case.

Learning to slide with your feet-up teaches you the balance so that you don't have to rely on your foot in the corners.

If you are really serious about learning to flattrack, check out this link. www.americansupercamp.com
 
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#12
Ol'89r said:
Indy.

Yes I did race in the midwest in the early 70's. What is your dads and uncles names? I raced mostly AMA and also some Badger fair circuit stuff. Some great tracks back there and some of the best fans on the planet.

GMC. I don't remember a guy named Joe Huff. But, I can't remember what I had for dinner last night either. :ohmy: BURP! Oh wait. It's coming back to me now. Burgers. Mmmmmmm. :nod:

I would not recommend practicing your sliding in the mud. Like gwcrim suggested, wet grass works good and also gravel or any loose surface where you don't need to use a lot of speed to break traction. You want to find a slick yet predictable surface. The faster you go the easier it is to do but, when your just learning keep the speed low. Use the worn tire until you get the hang of it.

Body position is also very important. When entering the turn you want to be up on the gas tank. This gives you better traction on the front wheel and less traction on the rear. Makes it easier to break the rear end loose. When you are exiting the turn you want to slide back to give yourself better traction on the rear. If you are in the middle of the turn and you want to break the rear tire loose, slide forward more or lift your butt off of the seat. If you want better traction, slide back or weight your outside foot peg or both. Also, try to keep both feet on the pegs as much as possible. This will give you better balance and feet-up slides look cool too.

Let us know how it's workin' for ya. :cool:
Other than making a big mess of your bike and tearing the ground up a bit, what is the downside of going sideways in the mud?

I grew up in So. Cal. and loved riding my 250 scrambler where they were doing dirtwork for a new development, big lots, terraces, dirt streets, etc. Especially when it was raining or just had. That's where I actually learned how to hang it out. It was more slippery than snot!

Firm wet sand works well too. I can't resist a nice big field of snow either! Have the same fun, and bike and rider are squeeky clean after! :)
 
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#13
I can think of one reason for not practicing in the mud. The speeds are so low that you don't get the gyroscopic effects from the wheels that keep you upright. It's too easy to lock up the rear wheel which really messes things up.
 

Ol'89r

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#14
dezryder said:
Other than making a big mess of your bike and tearing the ground up a bit, what is the downside of going sideways in the mud?
QUOTE]

Nothing really, except that when a person is learning to slide, it is better, imo, to have a more predictable surface. You have to develop a feel for the traction on the rear wheel. In mud there is very little traction.

Also, good call on the gyro effect GMC. A motorcycle is just like a big gyro. Actually, a bunch of little gyros. Everything that goes round and round like your wheels, crankshaft, clutch and other parts in the engine give you a great gyro effect. On mile dirttracks where you are entering the corner at 120 to 130+ mph, you have a tremendous gyro effect. The bike feels very stable, almost like you can't fall off. Almost. ;) This is why it is easier to powerslide at higher speeds since the gyro effect helps your balance and makes the bike more stable.
 
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IndyMX

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#15
Ol'89r said:
dezryder said:
Other than making a big mess of your bike and tearing the ground up a bit, what is the downside of going sideways in the mud?
QUOTE]

Nothing really, except that when a person is learning to slide, it is better, imo, to have a more predictable surface. You have to develop a feel for the traction on the rear wheel. In mud there is very little traction.

Also, good call on the gyro effect GMC. A motorcycle is just like a big gyro. Actually, a bunch of little gyros. Everything that goes round and round like your wheels, crankshaft, clutch and other parts in the engine give you a great gyro effect. On mile dirttracks where you are entering the corner at 120 to 130+ mph, you have a tremendous gyro effect. The bike feels very stable, almost like you can't fall off. Almost. ;) This is why it is easier to powerslide at higher speeds since the gyro effect helps your balance and makes the bike more stable.

Hey, if you know Sam Ingram, you must also know his boy Danny. He ran National Number 31 until abou 93 or so.

He was one hell of a shoe..

I was in a bar the other night, a couple of guys next to my brother and I were talking about him. They had a stack of
photos of him riding.

The guy said he was there to meet Ron Burton, a really good painter. Ron does work for the Indy 500, and has for decades.

He's going to do one of Dan. The pick they chose is awesom.

He's coming out of a turn on a mile, got his left toe draggin back by the wheel, the front wheel about 6 inches off the dirt, and the front end is still locked dead right.

One bad a$$ picture.

I can't wait to see the final painting.. When he gets it done I'll get a photo of it and post.
 
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