Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: King of Prussia, PA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Downshifting IN a turn? You should be accelerating through a turn; you do all your braking and down-shifting while setting up for the turn.
Pick up Nick Ienatsch's book "Sport Riding Techniques"; there's lots of good stuff in there to practice that comes from racing technique but translates to safer riding on the street (by increasing your skills and ability to react). His section on trail-braking into a corner saved my bacon on my first trip to Deal's Gap.
All that being said, as a 23-year rider (all street), I have momentarily locked the rear wheel of my Versys when downshifting a few times, when I first got it. I was riding it like I rode my VFR, which has tighter gear ratios so the rpms aren't as drastically changed between gears. I nearly bit the pavement on a borrowed Ninja250R during a track day back in 2005, doing just this setting up for a 90-degree left-hander at Carolina Motorsports Park. Luckily, the Ninja was light enough I was able to save it from high-siding on me. Ok, so it was ALL luck.
Set up for your corners earlier, downshifting on the straight. Downshift one gear at a time, blipping the throttle and letting the clutch out through each gear to make sure the engine and wheels are matching as you go. Then accelerate through the corner. Only on a wide-open track - where you have perfect line of sight and nothing is going to cross your path - should you even be trying to brake all the way up to the apex. Again, knowing HOW to do that, though, might save your bacon when a turn tightens up on you unexpectedly, but it shouldn't be the way you hit every curve.
Best bet, though, since you're relatively new to street riding: get with other riders that are more experienced and just follow them. Don't try to keep up, if you're not comfortable with their pace, but let them know you want to follow to learn, and get them to go at a casual pace so you can follow their line, match their corner entry speeds, and basically mimic their technique. Then talk to them about your questions and concerns. Hell, where do you live? I'll ride with ya!
2009 Versys. It blue.
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