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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I got to take the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. Here is my review of it.

The day consisted of a classroom portions and a riding portions. The main focuses of the day were throttle control, vision, and body position. This was all to help us toward learning proper cornering. You had to use your own bike, which can make one more nervous than using a rental bike like the BRC, but more on the benefits of that later.

The first two riding exercises focused on throttle control. We started with practicing smooth acceleration and deceleration for adjusting speed without upsetting the suspension. Then we learned basic trail braking, only in a straight line.

The third riding exercise focused on vision, looking through a corner, 180 degrees. This was done by riding around a large circle of cones 1.5 times while looking across the circle. Lol, this scared me at first, I was afraid of running over the cones. Eventually I got more confortable with looking through the turn and just trusting in my ability guide the bike around the circle.

One of the key ideas of the class I really liked was to “be a good passenger”. Not letting oneself interfere with the bike. The vision exercise emphasized this. Me letting go of the fear of looking so far ahead into the corner and just letting the bike do it’s thing. Relaxing my body, and flowing through the turn.

After lunch, we did a suspension for dummies session, which was very enlightening. Then, it was back to riding. The next riding exercise was all about the proper line. The circle of cones had one extra cone to the side of it for the turn point to initiate the turn. This exercise was a good Segway to the next exercise. Same circle with extra turn-in cone, now the focus was on body position.

Prepping for the turn-in and then turning in was pretty stressful lol. Trying to juggle all the steps as I rode to the circle. My first try was meh, but I started getting more comfortable with the turn setup and going for the quick turn-in.

The last two exercises of the day added to utilizing good body position for turns. For the first one, we had to do two turns in succession, basically two curves connected by two straightaways. One of the guys low sided during this exercise, why? He looked down while in one of the turns. One thing I learned and witnessed was that when you look down, you slow down subconsciously. Your eyes and your hands are connected. He and bike came out okay and was able to keep riding, but it is amazing on how important looking where you want to go is.

The final riding exercise was riding in a large figure eight, transitioning your body position from one side of the bike to the other in-between turns. Lol, talk about a lot going on, but I did get a decent feel for transitioning quickly for S-turns.

The Total Control: ARC course was better than I expected it to be. The instructors said that this course was a good Segway into doing track days. I completely agree. I learned a lot of skills that I can take to track days (when they come, hopefully late summer). I highly recommend this course, and want to take the two follow on courses, this was only Level 1. The next levels grow and combine the skills we learned today like combining trail braking with turning.

The one thing I really loved was how comfortable I became with riding my bike. Doing all this on my bike was an awesome way to grow the connection between rider and machine. I rode it tonight and just felt so much more connected to it, and more confident in what it is capable of. A day of pushing your comfort level, facing your fears, and building new skills will do that. If your on the fence about taking this course, I hope this write up will convince you to do it, this is great skill prep for your first track day.
 

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I've often thought to do this. I've done a track day already and did decently, and I'm OK on the street. It's just that on this bike, the slow speed, quick maneuvering techniques are a bit dicey. I wonder if this would help me in that aspect. But awesome review, though. Thanks.
 

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I took this course on my 650R and i loved it, and I have been dying to retake the course again with my 636. All of the skills and lessons they teach you will actually use pretty much every day you ride sometimes without even knowing it. It is a bit nerve racking to use your own bike because you are afraid of screwing something up and going down, but it is a great way to build confidence and a bond with your bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've often thought to do this. I've done a track day already and did decently, and I'm OK on the street. It's just that on this bike, the slow speed, quick maneuvering techniques are a bit dicey. I wonder if this would help me in that aspect. But awesome review, though. Thanks.
The class really isn't about slow speed maneuvers, no figure-eight in a box here. However, what you learn and the confidence you build in looking and leaning in corners can help with slow speed maneuvers too. It will help you grow more comfortable on your bike.
 

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ARC on May 5th for me. It's different from this class, which I feel is a bit more comprehensive, but hey, it's free in PA. It's 8 hours and I did it last year and loved it.
 

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I did the same course, and have the same great stuff to say about it. I took the course on my '87 Ninja, and the failings of the suspension were very apparent. No matter how smooth I tried to be on the throttle, I would get lift and dive out of the front end. Or maybe I just lack skills, but I don't have that same problem on my other bike....

- John
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did the same course, and have the same great stuff to say about it. I took the course on my '87 Ninja, and the failings of the suspension were very apparent. No matter how smooth I tried to be on the throttle, I would get lift and dive out of the front end. Or maybe I just lack skills, but I don't have that same problem on my other bike....

- John
I feel the same way about my GS500. The throttle just seems choppy at low RPMs. I did most of my exercises in 1st gear cause my throttle input felt much smoother than in 2nd. This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to upgrading to a liquid cooled, DI bike this summer. Something smother, and not as cold blooded lol.
 

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I did the same course, and have the same great stuff to say about it. I took the course on my '87 Ninja, and the failings of the suspension were very apparent. No matter how smooth I tried to be on the throttle, I would get lift and dive out of the front end. Or maybe I just lack skills, but I don't have that same problem on my other bike....

- John
This is really pretty standard when you get on the throttle hard. That's why a lot of people use steering dampners to help minimize the effects of this. I however embrace it (of course, will be getting a dampner for safety purposes). However, poor suspension that hasn't been serviced in awhile will also contribute to this issue simply because of the weight transfer onto the rear under heavy acceleration, but poor suspension definitely contributes to it! The best thing to do under such circumstances is to stay light on the handlebars, and accelerate through any head shake you may get upon the front settling back in.
 

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After reading the reviews, I think I'm going to sign up for the Total Control course, I've been riding since 1987 and have alot of mile under me but I know I've picked up some bad habit and have gotten kind of complacent. I think I could use this course to bring my skills back up to par...or at least help me identify where I've gotten a little lax. Thanks for posting about the course!!! I'm just lucky they offer it here in TX, too
 

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This is really pretty standard when you get on the throttle hard. That's why a lot of people use steering dampners to help minimize the effects of this. I however embrace it (of course, will be getting a dampner for safety purposes). However, poor suspension that hasn't been serviced in awhile will also contribute to this issue simply because of the weight transfer onto the rear under heavy acceleration, but poor suspension definitely contributes to it! The best thing to do under such circumstances is to stay light on the handlebars, and accelerate through any head shake you may get upon the front settling back in.
Hi T,

The point of that particular exercise was not get on the throttle hard at all, but to be as smooth as possible. The coaches were all watching you like a hawk to see if you were getting lift or dive, with the goal of zero change to the bike attitude. I just couldn't do it, and the rest of the group could. The idea was to make all of your control inputs as smooth as you can to keep the suspension in the most effective part of its range.

- J
 

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Hi T,

The point of that particular exercise was not get on the throttle hard at all, but to be as smooth as possible. The coaches were all watching you like a hawk to see if you were getting lift or dive, with the goal of zero change to the bike attitude. I just couldn't do it, and the rest of the group could. The idea was to make all of your control inputs as smooth as you can to keep the suspension in the most effect part of its range.

- J
Oh okay, gotcha. Definitely a difference. Getting on it smooth and hard will make the weight shift, but just trying for smoothness is a different story.
 

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Those course are like sub 30mph, if one has headshake with their bike at those speeds they have major issues.
Yes, the low speeds might seem disappointing at first, but it works out great. Everything you learn is perfectly transferable to higher speeds, but 30mph is safer for people trying new techniques and allows the coaches to be on foot and still see everything, be able to coach you in real-time, keep everybody confined to a parking lot, and keep waiting times between students to just a few seconds. You just couldn't do this at a track.

This way, your training for speed is reserved for another time, and you drill and drill on technique. By the time you get to working with high speeds at a track, you are pretty good already, and that's the way I want to go. I think the third ARC class is only at a track.

- John
 

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I took that course to rid a ticket, my background I found it more a hassle and hard on brake pads. But most beggining street riders, may never see this kind of work out, cause the street just doesnt require it, in general to make it from point A to point B. Do I think most there needed the work out, absolutely. My course was all on the course, 95% on the bike, and 10% question class room session, right on the course. The total control class, will vary from area to area, as its a franchise set up. Some places may have a more elaborate class room set up.

In the past, Id normally taken definsive driving to rid tickets($30), this judge required the motorcycle one($80).
 
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