I’m curious how you approach riding a bike for the first time. As a test rider, you probably spend more time on someone else’s bike than your own...speaking of which, do you even own a bike? From Garage Builds to New Bike Intros to Dialed In bikes, do you charge out on to the track like you stole it, or do you need a few laps to get a feel for it and see how it responds?
You’re right, I spend way more time on test bikes and project bikes than my own machine. I do have a couple bikes that are “mine.” My two favorite bikes this year were the 2019 KX450 and the 2019 TC 250 so after I built projects with them, I kept them in my garage. Technically they belong to the manufacturers and I’ll have to give them back this summer, but until then my story is that I own them.
It’s never a good idea to go charging out onto the track. It’s important to get your body, your mind, and your bike up to operating temp and ready to go fast. It’s smart to complete as least one slow lap to make sure the track is clear and, when you’re testing a new bike, you want to make sure the setup is close enough that you aren’t going to crash your brains out when you do turn it up. Between my years of racing and now my years of testing, I can tell pretty quickly if the bike is balanced, if it is over/under-sprung, how the brakes work, if the controls are close to where I like them, and if the engine is running properly. Those are the key points I start with when I hop on a new bike. I can work on the chassis and suspension settings once those other things are verified. And I typically only do a couple laps at a time when I’m testing so I don’t get lost in the setting or change. It’s very easy to get used to something and talk yourself out of your initial feeling. Good questions, Dave, thanks for writing in!
So I have to drive up to moto city in Anthem from Chandler, AZ, to pick up my forks. Eff me… two hour drive. No problem, put on The Whiskey Throttle Show and my road rage dealing with Scottsdale traffic all but disappears. Back home before I know it. Didn’t even pull out the Glock one time. Great show. It’s an interesting dynamic: The riders really respect you two and these guys are alpha dogs. Grant has serious credentials that deserve respect and you were no slouch yourself, but your IQ and wit are holding the show together. Keep up the good work your moto podcast has immediately climbed the charts to number the #1 spot in my book and I bet many other hardcore fans as well. I hope to go to a live show one day.
Victor in the desert.
Thanks for listening and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying them. I’m pretty sure you were kidding about the Glock, but you never know over there… seems like everybody is carrying. Please don’t shoot anybody if you can help it.
The show has been a lot of fun and we have some interesting guests coming up. Next week Ryan Hughes joins us and I can guarantee you it’s going to get weird. Ryno texted me assuring me that he had lots to say and he planned on saying it. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I’d make sure you have some popcorn ready. Then, on March 8, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg joins us at the Troy Lee Designs Saloon for one of our live shows. I don’t know if you can make it over for that but it’s going to be a great time. The live shows start out with a couple hours of party, which has been my favorite part at times. Fans get to chat up the guest and drink free 805 beer while we play corn hole and ping pong and just enjoy the end of the work week. I’m sure Twitch will be good fun. You can buy tickets at road2recovery.com or just pay $20 at the door. Hope to see you there, Victor.
Thanks for the always great answers and comments. I raced from the mid-seventies to the early eighties. Whenever I went off a jump I somehow automatically closed my eyes. It was not a conscience choice to do that. I bought a vintage bike a little over a year ago. Last summer I raced five times. I am still automatically closing my eyes. What's up with that? How do I stop doing it? I have watched other riders live and on television and it doesn't look like anyone does that. When I land my eyes automatically open again…. Which is helpful. I just want to know how to keep them open all the time.
60 and over.
I’ve been involved in this sport for 40 years. Four. Zero. And not one time have I had somebody tell me they close their eyes when they go off a jump. So, congrats on that I suppose. That has to be one of the worst, if not THE worst, habit I’ve ever heard of. The moment when you want to be fully immersed in the moment and making clear, concise decisions is when you have your peepers shut, taking a little mid-air siesta. That is no bueno, amigo.
The tough part is that I’m not sure what to tell you aside from keep your damn eyes open. Seriously, with your eyes closed your sense of balance diminishes and you can’t focus on body positioning or where you’re trying to land—those are important things! I don’t care of you have to tape your eyes open with Scotch tape, make yourself keep them open. I think you’ll feel a sense of control that you’ve never had when you leave the ground if you can figure it out. Start on a small jump and don’t think about anything but keeping your eyes open. Gradually work your way up to bigger jumps once you sort it out. Keep me posted. All I can picture is a vet rider sending it off a jump with his eyes shut and soaring off the track like Stevie Wonder in an X2 Sky Cycle. Be safe.
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