Riding tip: Positives-
1. Eyes looking forward into entry
2. Using front brake as indicated by front end dive
3.Body slightly back to stay balanced
4. Standing up to absorb bumps and have more leverage on bike and brake control
5. Finger on clutch ready to use
6.Knees against bike for control and for less upper body tension
7. Overall posture
Negatives- Not knowing, not practicing
Mental block. Why do we have them? Fear, anxiety, past failures, they can add up and therefore keep you from your best. No one is exempt including myself. But how do you deal with them, that's the question.
As a coach I can see potential in people, I have an idea of what they can do. I never think that they can't or won't accomplish. I focus on the good and the progress. If I ask you to do something on the track, I expect you to do it because I know You Can.
There will always be some risk and you must learn to face the challenge. Don't be afraid and if you are, let your faith be stronger. I put my rider on my bike with me to show him he could do it. Physically took him over the jump so that mentally he would know he could do it. After that, he got on his own bike and did it, it worked. I won't always be there to do that so you have to have faith yourself! Mine comes from above and it works like a charm for me. Believe and face your fear, you can with the right outlook. :)
December Riding Tip: Get Low:
Everybody wants to get low but most are refering to jumps and not corners. In order to get low in corners you need to have speed, good technique and throttle control. Although this is a soft compound tire, the nobs are all coming off because of me getting low in the corners and using the speed and technique I am talking about. As far as staying low on jumps, that's great, but I prefer to absorb the jumps and focus on stayiung low in the corners more. Remember that corners are the most obstacles on the track and more time and practice should be on that.
November riding tip: Sometimes it's faster to stand in the beginning of a corner and sit at the end. If the rut fades away early in a corner this is a good technique to keep speed and get traction as your coming out. As the rut goes away and becomes more flat, you can sit and get better traction. The start of the corner is like an extension of the straight and as the rut goes away you transition to the seat and compress the suspension. Time that transition as you hit the flat part of the corner so you have traction as you go through and out. Again this applies when the corner starts with a short rut entering a corner then goes away around the halfway point. This is a fast and seamless way to go through a corner with a short rut and not only that, it's easier.
Ok with more time on the bike, I have learned a few more things on my suspension. The shock is the same, I only need to make small adjustments on the rebound or compression clickers, according to the conditions or the track. The air forks have a revised setting that feels better than my initial settings, so I want to share the changes with you to help dial in your own KX 450. My new setting allows me to corner faster and give a better feel on the bumps and landings. The inner chamber psi is a little less from the previous 185 down to around 180 -183. Outer chamber is down from 10 psi to a new setting of 5 - 7 psi. The balance chamber was set from a previous 180psi to a higher setting of 190 - 194psi. I'm still working on my rebound clickers but you'll be in range from anywhere from 9 to 13 clicks out. I still have 10 clicks out on compression.
Shock- The stock shock with a 5.4 spring rate was too soft for me. So after initially breaking the bike in, I went to a stiffer rear spring. The 5.7 spring rate is perfect for me and we didn't need to revalve it, so I'm happy with how it works with just a spring change. I run 12 clicks out on comp and 12 out on the rebound, and with this setting i feel very comfortable with how the shock soaks up bumps and lands off of jumps, pretty simple. The air forks took a little more time but if you understand what the 3 chambers do, it makes it a lot easier to find your setting. The inner chamber is like your spring rate, so the more air you run the stiffer the forks are overall. The outer chamber will effect your bottoming the most, so the more pressure the more bottoming resistance you have. The balance chamber works against both the inner and outer chambers as just that, to counter balance the forces of those chambers to give the right overall balance to the fork. The MORE pressure you run in the balance, the MORE it pulls the forks down for a lower ride height. Therefore, the LESS pressure you run in the balance, the higher the forks run, so if your forks are diving too much coming into a corner, the LESS pressure you run the better because the forks will stay up higher in the stroke. So for me at 6 "1" and 192 lbs, my settings are this: Inner chamber-185 psi, Outer chamber-10 psi and balance chamber-180 psi. The compression is 10 clicks out and rebound is 12 out, so with this I have a great balance front and rear. Remember that this is good for me at 192 lbs and pro level riding, so make your settings according to your weight and level.
The new 2017 kx 450f: Motor- the strong point is the mid range. Although the bottom is ok, it could use more torque when you first roll on the throttle. But in defense the track was more sand so the load on the bike was more than normal. Hardpack it would be just about right, but in the sand I used the clutch to compensate which is pretty normal anyway. The top-end was ok but it doesn't rev very high, designed probably to protect from all these modern rev limiter riders😚. I kinda like it myself, as it eased the tension in my arms but wasn't too flat. Very rideable on top and if you want more just shift up because I only got it into to 4th and couldn't imagine ever hitting 5th except on the Glen Helen start maybe. Btw I had the green plug- in on which is the neutral one. The white one had the strongest pull and like the manual says is better for sand. The black plug-in toned the power down for sure and if you're new to a 450, it would be good to start out on... Next week I'll do a suspension review as that will give me more time to test and dial it in. But so I don't leave you hanging, I think it's pretty good for stock, air forks included😁. Pic thanks to Mr.Warner👍👍👍 Track-212 land socal, Stock gearing 50/13
May Riding Tip - Maintaining form:
Here David Bailey has perfect form in the most intense situation. This is the start with 39 other professionals going into the first corner, all on 500cc machines. You can see David relaxed, looking forward with his inside leg out front and his head and body leaning forward. His bike is driving forward with his smooth throttle, controlling his rear tire and being very efficient. To emulate Bailey's technique, maintain your focus and form throughout the race from the start to the checkered flag. This gives you the best chance to compete your best and be more consistent than your competitors.
September Riding Tip: Balance:
My weight is forward of center only to counter my hard acceleration. Both wheels planted, looking forward and relaxed as indicated by my throttle hand. I have my finger ready to use the clutch and in this standing position I can use my legs, which allows me to absorb the track. This pic demonstrates full control and efficiency as I see the next obstacle ahead and continue to repeat the process lap after lap.
August riding tip: Finger on the trigger:
Sometimes it's good to use the clutch while your landing. If you want to smooth out the landing, a flick of the finger on the clutch as you land with a flick of wrist (throttle) will help smooth the transition from the air to the ground. This is used more in Supercross, as landings may be shorter and abrupt, with a corner shortly after. Your body should be forward of center to balance the quick but hard acceleration when your landing. Practice on a tabletop and get the timing down so that you have a good feel of how this works... Try it!
July Riding Tip: Face it:
When going up the face of a jump, you want a balanced position on the bike. It may appear I'm forward but actually I'm in a central position for a foundation to do what I want, once in the air. If I go up the face in this position with a smooth throttle from the base to the lip, my bike should be level in the air. If I want my bike to angle down to match the downside of a jump, I'll let the throttle off in the last quarter of the face of the jump. Generally you want your bike level or angled down in the air, depending on what's needed and this is a simple but effective way to do it.
June Riding Tip: Wrist and forearms:
Get your wrist and forearms in shape by doing this exercise. Make it yourself by getting a stick about 28 to 31 inches. Drill a hole in the middle and attach a rope with a weight on it. I have a 2½ lbs. weight but you can go up to 5lbs.
Hold the bar straight out, it should be around chest high with the rope fully extended at the bottom. Roll the weight up and over the bar only using your hands, keep your arms and body in place. Continue to roll it down with control. The workout I do is 3 sets of 3 to 6 reps 3 times a week.
After each rep, I like to stretch my arms by pushing my hands together and lifting my elbows upward for 15 sec. I then put my arms behind my back to open my chest and pull my shoulders back just to feel recharged and ready for the next set. I include this in my routine of jump rope, rowing machine, back extensions and shoulder press. I finish with a quick run around the block for a workout that takes me around 45 min total.
March Riding Tip: Braking:
This is a shot from a corner clinic, where I'm racing down a long straight and coming into a tight s-turn. I can come in fast, as I'm confident that I can stop in time because I know I have 3 key elements to bring my bike down to a speed where I can make a clean corner. 1- the front brake which is around 70% of my stopping power, 2- rear brake, that I apply with just enough pressure that i don't lock the rear end up, 3- engine braking, when I let the throttle off and/or shift down, I have engine braking that works in a subtle but effective way to slow me down. When I use the combination of all 3, I have maximum stopping power that allows me to come in fast but smooth. Practice this on a section of track over and over, and you'll get a better feel of how to do this on a high level. See the video on my Facebook page:
February riding tip: Starting Position:
Generally there are positions on the gate with a slight advantage. If it's a tight first corner, the most straight, shortest distance is a good place to line up. If it's a faster more sweeping corner, a little on the outside could be a good place. Look for those places on the starting line according to the first corner. With those in mind you can also watch where the front runners are starting from. Although this particular start (at this 1988 Gainesville National) is a 180 degrees, it's fast and sweeping, so that opens up more opportunities to start from. I'm #33 and from my angle, it looks like I started from the middle, where there's no bottle neck and I can keep speed/flow through the corner..
January riding tip: Look ahead:
When you think about flow, you should think about this tip. Looking ahead not only helps with flow but helps you pick good lines too. After all my years of riding, I still focus on this one thing more than others. So if you want better flow and lines, just keep your head up and you'll SEE! #Philippians3:13 #Proverbs4:25. Here's to looking ahead in to 2015, good luck
December Riding Tip: 44 AMA outdoor races, 62 AMA supercross main events, plus numerous races in Europe and various other races in my pro career. I've learned a lot in that time and continue to learn some things, and experience is something that can't be taken away. But I will say that it's what you Believe You Can do in your mind that makes for a consistent and successful race, along with proper training. Pay attention to what you put in your mind and believe what you want to do! #2Tim1:7 #Col3:2 #Phil4:8
November riding tip: Sweepers:
This is a high speed corner. To be fast and efficient you need front and rear end traction. Body position on the bike makes this happen, and I'm doing this on a CR500 at Glen Helen Raceway. I'm sitting in the front center of the seat and my head is over the bars, this allows me to be on the gas but also be able to make the turn for a great balanced position. With this I have traction, speed, control and with a smooth throttle, all the pieces of the puzzle fit together for a perfect high speed corner.
Everyone always talks about entering a corner, but can forget about the exit. Notice the attack position I'm in. This position is the same as a start, where I'm forward, can apply the power aggressively and get some speed early down the straight. So think of doing a start exiting a corner and watch your lap times come down! See the full video on my Facebook page:
Watch and learn, when I'm training kids or racing, I like to observe. I always pick up on lines or a certain rhythm or just get motivated by watching someone with determination. Pick a rider that you like, learn something positive from it, then apply it to your race. There is always room to get better and this is one thing of many at the track that I do!
Get on a team! Be around people who support you, encourage you and stand by you. Oh and yes they can criticize you but I say criticize the performance not the performer. The Bible says when two or more agree, consider it done! Look and surround yourself with a winning team..
Angles- My body and bike are on the same angle as the track. When I land, I can keep my forward momentum going without any hesitation. If I was straight or upright, I would land and need to wait a split second for my bike to square up before I could gas it and keep my speed.. So look forward and Lean With It!
Have style! If you train with good technique, your riding style will improve. With that will come timing, rhythm, flow, and FUN! Enjoy your dirtbike, work on your technique and all these things will get better on the track. Find someone who can help you do it!
What are you thinking? When your on the line before a race, are you being positive or negative?, you can't be both. I like to focus on my technique, my lines, the feeling of going fast on the track, making sure I perform to my God given abilities all the way to the checkers! It varies but I've learned how to win every time by doing my best and racing smart. I may not always win on paper but as long as I ride like I know I'm capable of, whether I feel good or not, I win.. Give yourself the opportunity to RACE your best!!
Landing off jumps with a straight away after.. To keep the momentum going, you want to land with the rear wheel first to get the power down and make the landing smooth. #7 (John Dowd) is demonstrating this and I've already landed and am looking toward the end of the straight. Even with a landing ramp, you can land on the same angle of the jump (front tire will be lower than rear) but use the same concept with your rear hitting the ground just before the front so you can power down the straight. A double jump or jump with a corner shortly after you can land front wheel slightly first so you can brake and point the bike where you want to go.
Notice how far my bike is leaned over approaching this corner. I'm using speed and a good line/angle which allows me to use centrifugal force, so I can be as smooth and fast as possible. A beginner approaches slow and upright and cannot use the natural force I just described. Tip- speed, line, commit.