Jump to content
  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 11 Guests (See full list)

    • There are no registered users currently online

Getting out of town...


Recommended Posts

I had gotten that feeling. You know that feeling, the “I got to on a ride” feeling. The “got to get the hell out of town” feeling. Plus, Ive been reevaluating my riding style and realized I needed to make some changes as some bad habits have crept in from years of riding a 94 Seca II. Plus, I also lower the shifter a little and tightened up the throttle cable. I needed to see how all this was gonna work out. Boy, did it all work out. 

So, Sunday, I satisfied that feeling with a short, little 375 mile ride. The weather was ideal, warm, but with a coolness to the air that felt so refreshing. There was still green to the hills, with areas starting to turn brown which, along with various types of flowers in bloom, provided a nice patchwork of colors. 

Because of where I live, freeways are required to get to the good stuff. In this case, the start of the good stuff is highway 25 heading south out of Hollister. Then connecting to Peach Tree which hits Indian Valley into San Miguel then ending up in Paso Robles for a break. 

Leaving Paso Robles, I took Peachy Canyon, OMG, to Vineyard to Adelaida to Chimney Rock to Godfrey to 101 to 198 to 25 to back home. These went through Paso Robles vineyards west of the town. First time in ever on some of those roads.

The route provided a wide mix of riding. There was the freeway droning, long ass lane splitting, there was the fast sweepers, the flowing series of curves, there was some long straights( secret high speed testing sites), there was single lane roads. All with varying degrees of road surface condition. 

Now the ride...I got gas in Tres Pinos cause there aint no more on the roads till San Miguel. 25, Peach Tree and Indian Valley roads are in the middle of nowhere. Which is very nice. 

There is a hang glider site at Tres Pinos and as I was leaving town, I noticed a hang glider not too high up and noticed he had what appeared to be a hawk flying just a little on front of him. I thought how cool that must be. 

In reevaluating my riding style, I realized I was still in Seca mode. Well, the Tracer is no Seca, plus I had been riding around a fueling issue that the Seca had.

On this ride, I really focused on what gear I was in. Something I had noticed watching motorcycle racing was how much 2nd and 3rd gears are used plus Kevin stating he used 2nd and 3rd on the ride we did. Where he was using 2nd and 3rd, I was using 4th and 5th. Where he was using engine braking to control entry speed, I had to use the brakes......plus, I had to use more throttle on exits.

Wow, what a difference using 2nd and 3rd makes when the roads get twisty. I got a feeling of being more connected to the motor using those gears to set a fast pace. It was less work also. This is where I have no words to fully describe that feeling when everything  is just right. Its magic......something that can never be planned, but something motorcycle riders are always looking for.....that perfect ride.

Being in the right gear at the right time, the series of esses that appear on 25 just came and went.....I just flowed through them with greater ease than what gears I was using. Im getting a big ass grin just thinking back. 

Sorry for the long winded post. I just need to share with those that truely understands.










Edited by duckie
  • Thumbsup 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peachy Canyon is well a real peach of a road. Its only bout 12 miles long, but that is 12 miles of excellent pavement, every type of turn you can think of. Its what I call a rhythm road. It takes a good sense of rhythm to ride it really well. It flows.

The others I mentioned are just as fun,  but the pavement on Peachy is unreal. It is a fresh repave. Smooth, no patch work of questionable quality of repair work. You know the type of patched road, the type of road that the line you take all depends on the bumps.

They are all in the hill county west of Paso Robles. There are elevations changes but are mostly up and overs as I call them. Nothing like the passes in the sierras.

This route is now on my list when leaving Paso after visiting kin. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a good twisty road, being in the right gear makes a lot of difference.  Like you described, I prefer to be in a gear that lets me roll on and off the throttle while rarely, if ever, having to use the brakes, and still carry a good bit of corner speed.  

This is what is described in Nick Ienatsch's article "The Pace".

  • Thumbsup 2

There is nothing like spending a day riding with friends in the grip of a shared obsession.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the pace many, many years ago but overtime just plain forgot about the concept. Plus riding the Seca for so many years, I just got sloppy in my riding.

Then I went with a ride with Kevin in the Sierras. We were keeping a pretty good pace, but I never saw his brake light come on. I even asked him if his brake light was working. 

After awhile of riding behind him, it appeared to me he was working less than me. He was just flowing, Later at a stop, I asked him what gears he was using and such, plus he mentioned he was riding the Pace.

That ride with Kevin re introduced me to the Pace concept. My mission statement for the Sunday ride down to Paso and back was to concentrate on riding the Pace .

That engine can make one a lazy rider because of the low end torque. But the real magic Ive come to learn is above 5k. I spun the shit out of the engine Sunday.  

And was rewarded for doing so. One thing I like about the GTs dash is being able to change the RPM bar graph color at certain RPM ranges. I have green set to common at 8.5k. I saw green alot with a occasional  orange which is set at 9.5k. 

At that level of RPMs, there seemed to be a direct connection from throttle to engine because of being in the right gear. Id twist the throttle, there was no delay in the engine responding unlike being in higher gears. 

Now, this was all in standard mode, A mode is gonna be much more fun.





Edited by duckie
  • Thumbsup 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Premium Member

The Pace is now the Pace 2.0.  Really pushing the  whole trail braking thing.  I can trail brake but often I find I'm going the ideal speed and don't need the brakes then. After all, I'm not racing.  Also, sometimes  it might be nice to give the following rider a momentary brake light even if you don't  need to slow down much.  Especially when  riding with  someone  new to riding or at least new to you. 

  • Thumbsup 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He wrote the first Pace before he had done any track time. He started track riding and that why trail braking was added. 

I raced and trail braking on the track is all about getting into a corner as fast as possible. 

Street trail braking is more about being able to apply the brakes while leaned over.

If you are trail braking alot on the street.....you are going to fast for conditions........and yes I am guilty of that at times.

If ya ride with someone like Kevin in the hills.....you  will seldom see his brake light, the man is the smoothest rider Ive seen in awhile.  

I rode 108 again recently, OMG, anyway, used better gear selection and the ride was quite enjoyable.......the motor really likes to spin, and you will be rewarded letting it do so.

Did I mention OMG 108 yet.......




Edited by duckie
  • Thumbsup 2
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
14 minutes ago, duckie said:

Street trail braking is more about being able to apply the brakes while leaned over.

I understood Ienatsch to say that trail braking is to load the front suspension, not to slow the bike. Better to trail brake into the corner than coast into a corner with no control over the suspension. 

What I haven't seen him write about is rolling through a corner on "neutral throttle" with just enough throttle to counteract the acceleration of the curve to hold a steady speed vs go in fast then trail brake to the apex. Neutral throttle should set the suspension like trail braking. There will be more weight on the rear, but the rider will be in control. I'm guessing "neutral throttle" is what @fjray is describing.

@duckie - I think pashnit.com had a motorcycle LA TO SF route that went over some of those roads. A few of the roads were hoary, but a group of friends started a December LA to Monterey ride weekend tradition that use some of those roads. Thanks for reminding me of them.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried to ride The Pace since I first read Nick's article (30 years ago??!! Oh my god...) Despite many years spent working in the pits and doing corner work, I've never done a track day. Now at 66 I'm working out to hopefully be in shape to achieve that goal later this year. But with every ride I try to achieve that elusive 'flow'. When it happens, it's magical. When it doesn't, I tell myself I need to go riding more!

As Ducky noted, the bike you ride tends to impact your riding style. My C14 had a magnificent engine, oodles of HP and plenty of engine braking- I hardly touched the brakes. The GT has been somewhat difficult for me to adapt to. I inherited it when my best friend passed, and my body type and riding style are vastly different from his. He'd installed Yamaha's 'comfort seat', which I frankly despise. I have a ride-in appointment at Corbin at the end of this month to get a new saddle done to my spec. (I did a ride-in for my V-Strom and it was well worth it. The opportunity to have every little detail, like custom contouring of the foam, resulted in the most comfortable saddle I'd owned in decades) The GT I trail brake on quite a bit- I'm probably also using too tall a gear selection for best performance. Have to see about that...

I'm planning to upgrade the rear shock to an Ohlins as soon as I may. The OEM unit has, to me, been a huge disappointment. With COVID, I've been riding a known set of roads in my area several times per month at least rather than going farther afield as often. Twisty enough to be challenging, but not always the best pavement. I found that I can get through these sections faster on my 2005 BMW R1200RT than on the Tracer. Since the RT is just about 100# heavier, with roughly the same HP, this is somewhat annoying to say the least. One corner in particular I always go wide on, as the rear just hops on the bumpy pavement and I can't stick the same line the Beemer takes without a twitch. 

To honor the subject of the thread: last month I made the several hour trek down to my old haunts in San Mateo county. KTM decided to run a Demo Day at Alice's Restaurant. (talk about Nobel Prize winning ideas!) Hardly a bad road to be found, and tens of thousands have tried. And getting to do it all on someone else's bikes was just too sweet. I always try to wind the day up by heading west on 84 out to the coast, then either north or south on Highway 1. Great scenery, decent pavement with LOTS of curves. I started riding here in my teens, and 50 years later it's still one of my favorites. Hoping to hit this again on my way back from Hollister.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can load the front just by rolling off the gas and being in a gear that provides a good amount engine braking. 

Control of suspension can also be done with the throttle. How you ride is what controls the suspension......and of course the road surface and suspension settings.   

Track riding style does not always apply to the street. 

If you are braking, you are compressing the front. What this will do is limit the amount of fork travel......when ya hit a bump mid corner leaned over.

I have never experienced the type of bumps, potholes, mis matched pavement surfaces from bad patch work in mid corner on the track as on the street.

Even on the track, trail braking is all about slowing the bike down first, then turn. On the track,the purpose is to go as as fast as you can......gotta get those lap times down and trail braking to the apex is needed.

On the street......its all about survival, getting home alive. Trail braking on the street is not done for the same reason as on the track. 

The  fact he doesnt discuss rolling through corners, neutral throttle indicates track thinking and not street thinking. 

Consider being on the street, doing some trail braking, then opps where that  gravel from, front locks and who knows what will happen. There are no corner workers on the street to warn ya..........or pick you up.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not had any handling issues with the stock suspension. But I did take 6000 miles playing with the suspension settings to understand what effect the changes I was making had on ride quality and handling. 

Got a pretty good comprise set up now.  And that is all you can do. There is not one set up that can handle all of the road conditions and how you ride in those conditions. 

The “flow”........just stop thinking about how to ride and just ride with no thoughts..


Edited by duckie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you stated Duckie, you have raced. You know your own responses and the nuances of handling in an optimum environment.

I'm 99% a street rider. More 'technical' than 'kinesthetic', but I try. I'm looking at track days as a way to widen the window through which I view the art of the ride. 

One of my close friends is Dave Moss, probably the best suspension tuner I have EVER met. I'm lucky to have him as a resource, and doubly lucky that he owns a GT as well (kept at his winter home in New Zealand, so I can't borrow it for a comparison). He's assisted me with tuning things, but concurs that I need to upgrade the hardware to go farther. Thus, Ohlins. (and trying not to let the wife know how much I'll be dropping on THAT piece of kit!)

Most thoroughly, personally enjoyable bike I ever rode (borrowed, not owned unfortunately) was a 1200s Monster, full Ohlins as stock equipment. The bike was totally planted at any speed and on any surface I could find. Made me look W-A-Y better than I actually am. I'm currently building up an SV1000 which I hope to model on that Duc. Last owner had grafted on a GSXR 1000 front end, which should be more than sufficient. The rear shock is of unknown provenance, and will likely be replaced just so I have a known baseline. Everything else is subject to pillion duty for 'She Who Must Be Conveyed' (any 'Rumpole of the Bailey' fans out there?) but this one will be my personal toy.

The Tracer has good bones, but I tend to always think of any bike as a blank canvas. I find enjoyment in creating the best ride with the fewest compromises I can, to my own personal tastes anyway.

  • Thumbsup 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now