Knee Dragging 101 : Yamaha R1 Forum
» Insurance
» Yamaha R1 Prices
» Sponsors

Technique & Riding Want to kneescrape? Go faster in corners? Smoother riding? Anything about how to ride goes in here please.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-28-2006, 09:47 PM   #1
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
Knee Dragging 101

INTRODUCTION

First off, I do not claim to be an expert rider. I've never been to a track (but I yearn to), and I do not race other bikers. I do however, have a love for carving up corners on my R1 - to me, it's better than sex. Well, ok, maybe not THAT good, but you get the idea.

I've learned a lot by following what everyone here has posted about dragging knee, so now it's my turn to give back a little. The intended reader that I'm targeting are those that have not yet "touched down".

Most of this is going to be rehashed information for the experienced rider, but maybe some of it contains something that you haven't thought of before. Either way, I hope it helps you in your quest for scraped-up pucks.

Lastly, I consider this a "work in progress" and will gladly accept any suggestions or additions, including photos which will help make this document more clear.

Please feel free to post to this thread with your thoughts, PM me, or e-mail me at skankster@gmail.com to send any files.

Thanks everyone! Ride safe!

-Skanky

Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-28-2006, 09:48 PM   #2
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
Knee Dragging 101

SECTION I - PREPARATION

1. Wear Your Gear, Be Safe, and Practice, Practice, Practice
No other explanation necessary. Don't push your limits - ease into them. Learn at your own pace. You're into sportbiking for the long-term, right? Don't make it a short-term stint (ie, wrecking). I've been in 2 motorcycle accidents, both of which I believe could have been avoided if I had either had more experience or better judgement at that time. Luckily, I've survived and learned from it.

If you're not a "gear wearing" kind of person, then in my opinion, you have no business being a "knee dragging" kind of person. Case in point. Besides, wtf you gonna do after you drag knee in your jeans and rip a hole through them and/or your kneecap?

Being safe means a LOT of things - knowing your surroundings, knowing the curve of the road, knowing your limits, etc. It's a combination of situational awareness that sums up to one statement: "use some common sense". You're doing something dangerous just by being on two wheels. Anything you can do to minimize the additional danger involved with taking corners fast is a good thing. This includes going to a track and keeping it off the street, which I highly recommend if you have the ability to do that. However, if this is not possible or very impractical, I urge you to make damn sure you do not do anything that will endanger anyone else sharing the road with you.

I recommend riding with one or more people as long as they are aware of the safety issues and are not idiots. If someone does go down, there will be someone else to assist or find you if need be. If you do ride with others, don't forget the golden rule: Don't allow yourself to struggle to keep up with the faster rider. If you're slower, just be slow. A respectable rider in the lead will either slow down or wait for you down the road. Trying to keep up will get you into SERIOUS trouble.


2. Confidence / State of Mind
If it feels unsafe for you, it is. If you're just not "feeling it" at any point, stop pushing it. Go cruise, or go home. That simple.

Get the BEST tires you can or can not afford. Pilots, Qualifiers, or Diablos, or at least do some research here first. This is not a "What's the best tire" thread, but suffice it to say, you don't want to be slipping and sliding around when you are still learning the basics. Having confidence in your bike and your abilities means you won't freak out when something unexpected happens, and I guarantee you, it will happen eventually.


3. Find a good practice corner.
  • What to look for:
  • constant radius
  • good smooth road surface
  • good visibility throughout the entire corner
  • not too tight, not too sweeping
  • the longer the curve the better (more time in the corner)
  • uphill is usually easier than downhill
Also, note what is beyond the shoulder of the road in case you lowside. Flat gravel / grass = good. Anything else = Bad. Anything embedded into the ground = very, very bad.

Now, if you have the right equipment, the right corner, and you're feeling good, it's time to practice...

Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2006, 09:49 PM   #3
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
SECTION II - PRACTICE

1. Practice, Then Pracice Some More
Ride through the corner slowly at first REGARDLESS of how well you know the corner - this applies to EVERYONE of EVERY ability. You never know what might have mysteriously appeared on the roadway since the last time you were there!

Before you hit the road, make sure to read the next few sections on body positioning, focus, Counter Steering etc.

When practicing your cornering, don't assume you'll be dragging knee at the end of the day just because you "have figured it out now" from something you've read or heard. Take it slow - good practice is methodical and time-consuming. It took me months before I ever touched down for the first time. After that, it was weeks before I did it again.

Don't be alarmed when you scrape your knee the first time either - it WILL surprise you as it does everyone. Enjoy the rush and don't forget that you're still in practice mode when you attempt it the next time.


2. Throttle / Speed Control - Be Smoooooooooth...
I think one of the biggest mistakes new riders make is that they lack good throttle / speed control. When taking a corner, you do NOT want to suddenly slam on the brakes, nor do you want to hamfist the throttle. Let me tell you a little secret that will help you remember...

GET YOUR SHIT DONE BEFORE YOU GET TO THE CURVE!!!

If you're going too fast before you hit the curve, BRAKE HARD and smooth it out before you start countersteering. Trust me, you do not want to attempt to slow yourself down while leaned over. You're alreay probably freaking out by this point, and will probably **** it up since you're not thinking straight. When I'm riding the twisties, I rarely use my brakes at all - I try to maintain my speed at a constant for each corner. This has helped me focus on other aspects of knee-dragging since I don't have to think about slowing down suddenly while leaned over.


3. Entry Speed
Don't be afraid of that corner! Obviously, you don't want to go into any corner too hot, but you'll never get your knee down if you ride like grandma on every curve. Get used to the feeling of your bike leaned over past the point where you think it's safe. The only thing that helps you overcome this fear is practice, so just keep at it. You'll get there eventually. It took me years to realize that when I thought I was really pushing my bike over, I still had TONS of angle left to lean.



It's not just entry speed, but knowing what CONSTANT speed is good for the curve. You just don't want to make corrections either way while your leaning it.

If you are afraid you're going too fast to make a corner, first RELAX, and don't freak out. Trust your tires, trust that you will not lowside, and just take the corner. I learned this fact early on, the hard way, so trust me that I know about it. You'd be amazed at how far you can push your bike through a curve and it will do just fine. You may be scared shitless afterwards, so learn from your mistake and don't let it happen again.


4. Focus
Make sure you keep your eyes focused on the road FAR ahead - not closer. Look as far through the curve as you can. This allows you to know what's coming up (especially cars / other bikers / obstructions, etc.) and helps to smooth out your cornering.

Take a look at this guy's eyes to see what I'm talking about. As a matter of fact, look at just about ANY of the pics taken at the Gap convention and you'll see that most everyone has their focus way beyond the front of their bike.





5. Body position
This is the last part of the equation, and it's a tradeoff of course. "Hanging off" will allow you to drag knee easier, but it's going to compromise your control over your bike through the curve until you get used to this new position. At a minimum, slide over to the point where half your ass is on the seat, half is off. Keep your back hunched over, racing style, with your head looking "over" your rearview mirror. It should all feel natural, and if done correctly, is quite comfortable. Again, practice, practice, practice. Don't try to hang off like a monkey the first time you do this. You'll look silly, and may look like more of a monkey when you run your bike off the road cause you weren't ready for it.

Some people lean off more than others. I do not hang off very much which results in much greater lean angles for the same speed as others who hang off more. I've reached the point where I know that I need to get off the seat more to gain more corner speed - any faster will require a greater lean angle, and there just isn't any more left (see example next section).

So, which should you do? You can drag knee using either method, but my suggestion would be to go ahead and get used to getting more of your body off the seat. Ultimately, it's safer for the beginner and does not require faster speeds to get your knee down.


6. Body Positioning (EXAMPLE)
Here's me and Kendall (RansomKJ) on the same corner, rear shot:




These two pics are almost identical in location, camera angle, etc. with the exception being our body positioning on the bike. Notice how two different body positions result in different lean angles. A more upright "stance" (mine) gets the bike leaned over farther than if you hang off more (Kendall). Remember, it's a tradeoff as far as knee-dragging is concerned. Kendall's knee may be closer to the ground in this pic, but his body position is more "unnatural" in that you have to move around more to obtain this stance. Either way will result in knee-dragging - do whatever is most comfortable to you starting out.


Here's the same corner, same two riders, looking at the front view:



Kendall = hangs off more, less bike lean, still gets the knee down
Skanky = hangs off less, more bike lean, still gets the knee down

I think this pic definitively shows that our R1's are way more capable of making the corner than we as riders are. Believe it or not, when this shot was taken, I was in no fear of lowsiding at all. The tires were sticking like glue that day. However, after reviewing the pics, I've decided to try to avoid these extreme low angles and hang off more to avoid the possibility of a slide. Again, KNOW THE ROAD before you do anything like this.
Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2006, 09:50 PM   #4
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
SECTION III - PRACTICE TIPS

Counter Steering
Knowing how to counter steer is essential for all bikers. If you don't know how to properly counter steer, you're not ready yet. Trust me - you gotta be able to control that corner, which may mean shifting your lane position quickly from one side to the other while you're leaned way over. A good way to learn this (and to keep a good "feel" for it) is to ride on a wide, open stretch of road (with no traffic), and simply push/pull your handlebars in one direction. Then, you'll "feel" what your bike does in reaction. For example, riding in a straight line, without doing anything else, just quickly nudge (GENTLY!!!) your left handlebar (turning your front wheel clockwise). Your front wheel will immediately curve to the right, but it will cause your bike to lean to the left, thus turning to the left. Do this in SMALL nudges for obvious reasons. The goal here is to get a feel for what the bike does when you push/pull on the grips. It also reinforces the involuntary motion of countersteering which is extremely important for those times when you will need to do it, but don't need to consciously think about it.


The Non-Dragging Ride
Here's a good confidence builder for you and your bike. On your next ride down the twisties, don't hang off at all. Just sit firmly planted in your seat and feel the curves when you go through them. Keep your knees up against your tank at all times. Of course, don't go at a fast pace when doing this if it's new to you. Again, use some common sense. So, why do this? Well, first of all, it's fun. Second, it really gives you a sense of how much your tires will really grip the road surface and how you can actually be fast through curves, even without hanging off. If you do this, and can get really low, beware that you are probably pushing the limits of your lean angle. Don't forget the reason racers lean off in the first place - to change their center of gravity so that they can keep the bike upright and on the tire tread rather than on its edge.
Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2006, 10:02 PM   #5
streetjester
Revenge is a biitch
 
streetjester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Bikes: R1 05 Blue
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 5,055
Skanky looks to be a good write up. I will read it later.
__________________
TEAM: SO FAST SO CLEAN
R1-016 'Venom' Squadron

Rocalotopus: For a mad scientist you're dumber than fvck.

Anubis: I'm inventing a new word; Gripshit. It's like a dipshit, but worse.

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE.. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the forum YOU accepted.'
streetjester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2006, 11:15 PM   #6
blackstarninja
R1's all the way !
 
blackstarninja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Bikes: 1998 R1
Location: auckland , newzealand
Posts: 136
good write up skanky .
Man , that front on pic of you above looks like that front tyre is about to tuck in on you if you leant it over 1/10th of a inch more !
Cool stuff
__________________
"that goddamn american ninja , he fights like a tiger!"
blackstarninja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 12:41 AM   #7
Aussie Pete
I eat my R1
 
Aussie Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes: Blue '05 R1 - Sold
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 561
Good write up

Agreed about the lean angle !!!!!
Aussie Pete is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 06:02 AM   #8
SydneyR1
I eat my R1
 
SydneyR1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Bikes: GSX-R1000 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 2,394
Nice writeup and nice pics.
SydneyR1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 06:11 AM   #9
Bogie
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2
Nice write up bro!! Put into print and sell it!!

Your lean angles were insane!!


Do you have the Vmax version out in print yet??!!

Bogie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 07:52 AM   #10
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
Quote:
Originally posted by Bogie
Nice write up bro!! Put into print and sell it!!

Your lean angles were insane!!


Do you have the Vmax version out in print yet??!!


I have the vmax version, but it's the size of a buisness card.

Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 08:38 AM   #11
Cataclysm
I eat my R1
 
Cataclysm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Bikes: 2005 R1 in red.
Location: Alberta
Posts: 350
Here are some critiques of body position. There are a few club racers on there that do it right, but I cant find their pics, so I used AMA racers.

Doing it correctly allows greater speed per given lean angle. This is safer, as it allows you to remain away from the limit of the bike for a given speed, and it allows more throttle input coming out of the turn.

At Freddie Spencers, they were telling me to have my head the lowest while driving out of the turn, and to actually push the bike away from me, so that I could stand the bike up more, and therefore give it more throttle without the worry of spinning the tire up and going sideways. One guy (the fastest of our group) decided he didnt want to, and the rear end slid out from under him. Only resulted in a lowside....but he was lucky.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	lesson1-rear.jpg
Views:	4916
Size:	82.2 KB
ID:	250134  
Cataclysm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2006, 08:39 AM   #12
Cataclysm
I eat my R1
 
Cataclysm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Bikes: 2005 R1 in red.
Location: Alberta
Posts: 350
AMA racers doing it right....
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	8psfsxsm9t_1150856398.jpg
Views:	5826
Size:	63.7 KB
ID:	250136  
Cataclysm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2006, 08:50 AM   #13
soudry
bla bla bla...
 
soudry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Bikes: 02 yz 125(sold) 05 cbr600rr(sold) 05 r1(sold)
Location: jersey
Posts: 254
__________________
i have nothing to say
soudry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2006, 08:11 PM   #14
bestman77
Back From the Dead
 
bestman77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Bikes: 03 R1 Limited, 05 R1 Blue
Location: Pocono/Allentown PA
Posts: 3,622
wicked lean angle skanky .. VERY nice write up bro!
bestman77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 07:57 AM   #15
Skanky
I Can Has Wheelie?
 
Skanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Bikes: 2002 R1
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 12,001
Quote:
Originally posted by Cataclysm
Here are some critiques of body position. There are a few club racers on there that do it right, but I cant find their pics, so I used AMA racers.

Doing it correctly allows greater speed per given lean angle. This is safer, as it allows you to remain away from the limit of the bike for a given speed, and it allows more throttle input coming out of the turn.

At Freddie Spencers, they were telling me to have my head the lowest while driving out of the turn, and to actually push the bike away from me, so that I could stand the bike up more, and therefore give it more throttle without the worry of spinning the tire up and going sideways. One guy (the fastest of our group) decided he didnt want to, and the rear end slid out from under him. Only resulted in a lowside....but he was lucky.


You're absolutely right, and for the right reasons. I wasn't trying to write an article about being fast, but how to get a knee down. If you're wanting speed, I would HIGHLY recommend you get off the bike and keep it (the bike) as upright as possible. Sorry about your friend's lowside, but it makes a lot of sense the way you described it. If he was at the limits while leaning off, it's no surprise that he slid when he tried to take the curve with a greater lean angle at the same speed.


Does anyone feel like I've left anything out, or maybe needs more explanation? I consider this a work in progress.

Thanks again everyone.

Skanky
Skanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 11:05 AM   #16
Cataclysm
I eat my R1
 
Cataclysm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Bikes: 2005 R1 in red.
Location: Alberta
Posts: 350
I like you Skanky.....you have a brain on them shoulders.

There is a problem with using max lean angle for street. Since you are at the limit for a given speed, if something unexpected happens that requires a line change, you only have the option of going wide (into traffic / off road....bad idea). Trying to turn harder when already using max lean angle will cause you to lose the front end (especially if you use countersteering to force the bike over more......) or drag parts lifting your rear tire off the pavement. If you were off the bike with less lean angle, you can avoid an obstacle or make a decreasing radius turn with the lean angle you have left over. Just a thought for safety perspective. Using less lean angle give you OPTIONS....which is especially important for street riding.



Cheers
Cataclysm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 11:10 AM   #17
Blaze83
2nd Gear is my friend....
 
Blaze83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Bikes: 97 600 SRAD(sold), K6 GSXR 750(Street) SOLD, K6 GSXR 750(Race) SOLD maybe a ZX-10 or S1000rr
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 1,776
Sweet.......
Blaze83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 11:10 AM   #18
ando11
WahWahWeeWAH
 
ando11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Bikes: Blue 2000 R1, R6
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 2,405
Quote:
Originally posted by Cataclysm
I like you Skanky.....you have a brain on them shoulders.

ok let's not get carried away.
ando11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 11:11 AM   #19
Blaze83
2nd Gear is my friend....
 
Blaze83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Bikes: 97 600 SRAD(sold), K6 GSXR 750(Street) SOLD, K6 GSXR 750(Race) SOLD maybe a ZX-10 or S1000rr
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 1,776
Quote:
Originally posted by ando11
ok let's not get carried away.
Blaze83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2006, 11:12 AM   #20
Cataclysm
I eat my R1
 
Cataclysm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Bikes: 2005 R1 in red.
Location: Alberta
Posts: 350
Sure sure. I just like the fact that Skanky didnt take my comments as an insult or anything negative. Rare on a forum where people jump off the deep end much too quickly.
Cataclysm is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.2

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:45 AM.



Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Motorcycle News, Videos and Reviews
Honda Grom Forum Harley Davidson Forum Honda 600RR Kawasaki Forum Yamaha R6 Forum Yamaha FZ-09 Forum
1199 Panigale Forum Roadglide Forum Honda CBR1000 Forum Vulcan Forum Yamaha R1 Forum Yamaha R3 Forum
Ducati Monster Forum Harley Forums Honda CBR250R Forum ZX10R Forum Star Raider Forum Yamaha Viking Forum
Suzuki GSXR Forum V-Rod Forums Honda Shadow Forum Kawasaki Motorcycle Forum Star Warrior Forum KTM Duke 390 Forum
SV650 Forum BMW S1000RR Forum Honda Fury Forum Kawasaki Versys Forum Drag Racing Forum Ducati 899 Panigale Forum
Suzuki V-Strom BMW K1600 Triumph Forum Victory Forums Sportbikes BMW NineT Forum
Volusia Forum BMW F800 Forum Triumph 675 Forum MV Agusta Forum HD Street Forum Suzuki GW250 Forum
Yamaha Motorcycles Victory Gunner Forum Honda Vultus Forum