Monday 18 August 2014

Twist of the Throttle

The cornering bible... 
I'm currently reading Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist.  I've been looking for an intelligent description of motorcycle operation that accurately explains the dynamics of two wheeled riding (which differs significantly from three and four wheeled operation).

I listened to an interview with a senior Honda engineer (I can't remember where) and he said that after World War 2 the engineers that couldn't go into aviation (because of the U.S. embargo that prevented a Japanese aviation industry from re-inventing Zeroes) went into motorcycle engineering because the dynamics are similar (motorcycles work in 3 dimensions like airplanes).  Victory in World War 2 meant the end of allied motorcycling manufacturing as they knew it... an irony of victory, but I digress.

The Ninja takes a breather at Higher Ground, the lovely
coffee shop at the top of the Forks of the Credit in Belfountain.
Professor Code's book explains the dynamics of motorcycle riding in better detail than anything else I've found.  The video explains the psychology and physics of riding and dismisses many of the misconceptions.  

I spent this afternoon riding over to one of the few curvy roads in the farming desert I live in to practice my throttle control and make a conscious assessment of my fear reactions to riding.  I'm determined to get rid of the 'chicken strips' on my tyres.  I got down to my peg feelers on a couple of the long corners, finally.

The distance between driving a multi-wheeled vehicle (which I've got a lot of experience on) and two wheeled vehicles is massive.  You have to fight a lot of habit and psychology to give the bike what it needs to corner well; the dynamics are completely different and counter-intuitive if you're overly four wheel focused.  Even the process of approaching and exiting a corner is much more complex on the multi-axis two wheeled conveyance.  Driving and riding are two very different processes, and I'm frankly enjoying the complexity of the simplicity of two wheels by comparison.

Reading/watching Twist of the Wrist should be a requirement for anyone wanting to take on motorbiking, it'll make you aware of the mechanics of riding.  

I really need a track day, not for the speed but for the ability to focus on process without worrying if the person coming the other way is texting.