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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
10 Ways to “Look” Like a Pro | Riding in the Zone


This article is written by the chief instructor instructor Ken Condon at Tonys Trackdays here in the Northeast. Along with his book, Ken also instructs MSF, works at Twisted throttle and a long time writer for MCN. His life is all about motorcycles and he loves to give back to the community so I wanted to share some of his knowledge. I think this is a fantastic read as I always stress to new riders: #1, 5, 6 and 10.


If you would like to discuss, please feel free to do so. Even if one person benefits from reading this, I think it's mission accomplished!


His other blogs can be found here: The Zone Blog | Riding in the Zone
 

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Cheap Bastid
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#1 everyone in those pics are grossly over doing it.
You never see the guys on a motogp grid riding like that.
Sure you do.




But you bring up a good point about vision and the NEED to look through the turn as exaggerated as the pictures in that article depict...


Yes, the photographs in that article are exaggerated examples and yes, you don't often see MotoGP riders looking QUITE that far through a corner. So why not? Well, you gotta remember that most of the guys at the GP level have been riding those tracks for a decade or more and are intimately familiar with the course. The more familiar you are with the details of a particular circuit the less you have to look deep into the distant future. I know my vision has come in a lot over the 10 years I've been riding and racing my home track... but at tracks I'm less familiar I find getting my vision further out helps a ton.

*MOST* turns don't require that much head turn as they're not long enough of a turn to warrant that much of a drastic head turn to see all the way through. But in the case of the first picture in that article, however, that's a case where that much of a head turn is excellent technique... The rider is a friend of mine and she's going through a very, very long and tight left hand turn at NJMP, a track she probably wasn't very familiar with at the time. But she knew enough about it to know that spotting the exit point as early as possible is critical for a good drive out of that particular turn.

In a 180* hairpin should I look behind me?
Yes... yes you should :D
 

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the joke is in your hand
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That first pic in the article, that rider isn't even looking ahead. That's like looking at the crowd as you ride by.
 

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I was hoping to find a piss-taking article brimming with satire, but all I got was all serioussy.:explosive
 

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Are we not men?
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OK, so I finally clicked on the link and it's as spammy as I figured it would be.
 

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Cheap Bastid
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That first pic in the article, that rider isn't even looking ahead. That's like looking at the crowd as you ride by.
Did you see my comments above about that photo in particular?
It's about a 40-50mph 200 plus degree turn (turn 10 on this map) with a partially blind exit. And it's important to get that exit right in order to carry maximum speed back onto the front straight. Unless you know it it VERY well, you need to really turn your head & spot the exit early or else you'll run wide in the second half.

Can't tell you how many students I've worked with at that track who have had that exact issue and solved it with a solid head turn such as the one pictured. It may seem stupid to you, but I think it's very commendable for the rider in that photo to get her head turned as much as she is.

OK, so I finally clicked on the link and it's as spammy as I figured it would be.
Could you elaborate on why it's spammy? I can communicate your opinions to the author in the hopes of making it better.
 

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Short Yellow bus rider
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Could you elaborate on why it's spammy? I can communicate your opinions to the author in the hopes of making it better.
There is nothing 'spammy' in the original link. Looks like the old geezer has to clean up his computer. :)
 

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Giant on a Motorcycle
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Cool, not a bad read. There was a turn back home at Race City when it was around called the Carousel which was a sharp 180 degree turn that was confusing as hell until I started looking all the way at the exit. The second I adjusted my gaze I instantly started going faster through it. A lot of times our brains get in the way of how a motorcycle should be properly ridden.
 

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the joke is in your hand
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Did you see my comments above about that photo in particular?
It's about a 40-50mph 200 plus degree turn (turn 10 on this map) with a partially blind exit. And it's important to get that exit right in order to carry maximum speed back onto the front straight. Unless you know it it VERY well, you need to really turn your head & spot the exit early or else you'll run wide in the second half.

Can't tell you how many students I've worked with at that track who have had that exact issue and solved it with a solid head turn such as the one pictured. It may seem stupid to you, but I think it's very commendable for the rider in that photo to get her head turned as much as she is.


Could you elaborate on why it's spammy? I can communicate your opinions to the author in the hopes of making it better.
Yeah I seen your other post.. I just hope a new rider doesn't take that pic and try to apply it everywhere. We can't see why that person is looking so far ahead. But I suspect they're trying to see the exit as they're going into the corner?

That's a bad way of doing it isn't it? I've always read and heard to look for the apex first then the exit.

Mid Ohio has a turn like that. Turns 4-5 and you dont see the riders look that far ahead.
Well you can't. The hill blocks it
 

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Cheap Bastid
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Yeah I seen your other post.. I just hope a new rider doesn't take that pic and try to apply it everywhere. We can't see why that person is looking so far ahead. But I suspect they're trying to see the exit as they're going into the corner?

That's a bad way of doing it isn't it? I've always read and heard to look for the apex first then the exit.

Mid Ohio has a turn like that. Turns 4-5 and you dont see the riders look that far ahead.
Well you can't. The hill blocks it
The turn she's in is kind of a "double apex" corner.... The first apex is very close to the corner entry. The second apex is pretty much at the exit. It's difficult to judge precisely within a few feet of where she is in the corner, but seeing as there's dirt on the inside of the corner and not the first apex curbing, I'm very confident she's past the first apex and is looking for that second apex... the exit.

While this ONE example of a head turn is an exaggerated one, her 'exit spotting' is actually the sort of thing I would LOVE a new rider to try and apply everywhere. I wouldn't want the rider to be SO exit focused that they completely lose track of where they CURRENTLY are, but that's extremely unlikely to happen anyway. When so many riders don't look far enough through the turn to begin with, spotting the exit as early in the corner as possible is an excellent goal to strive for, especially if you find yourself a corner you're not 100% familiar with.



While I don't have an "eye tracker" in my helmet, I often try to think about what my eyes are doing as I go around the track so I can communicate that eye activity to my students in the hopes it will help them with their own vision. The best way to describe it is a rapid Up and Down (or "Out and In") scan. I spot my target, then look up to the one after it AND the one after that if I can... then work my way back to the target I'm approaching and back out again... continually repeating the process as I navigate each turn. I'm looking as DEEP into the future as I can, then back to the present... deep into the future and back to the present. This helps me constantly monitor where I am, where I want to go and what I need to do to get there.

Here's a snapshot of some ugly, talentedless guy showing my... uh.... HIS... normal head turn through a very familiar turn... turn 6 at NHMS, a 190* banked corner. I'm at the apex, have already spotted the exit mark & am looking at the apex of the next corner after that. Then I scan back in to the exit mark, then back out into the next corner & into the one after that. Rapid up & down.

 

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Cheap Bastid
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One more note... I think it's worth saying that the article is a lot more than just a few pics showing extreme examples of head turn... The words contained therein contain a much more valuable message.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One more note... I think it's worth saying that the article is a lot more than just a few pics showing extreme examples of head turn... The words contained therein contain a much more valuable message.
^This. Knowledge is key in this sport.


Thanks for the back-up Pete, I was busy getting my tan on at the beach today. You've explained things much better than I. :high5
 
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