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Old 09-24-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
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I wanted to write about this weeks ago but got busy... (long)

At Cresson I had a much better track day than at the one previous. Those of you who knew or remember me posting about it will recall that I had a terrible morning going clockwise at Cresson, made a gearing change, and then had a great afternoon.

Let's go back in time a bit to that day... In the morning I was frustrated, working really hard to improve my speed, and the bike just felt weird; under powered and "heavy". Funny how changing my gearing made such a difference, but that was only after many consultations with John about my tires (which looked fine), phone calls to my suspension dude, and a general look-over of my huevos which appeared small that morning . In the afternoon, I was riding with Wade (he was on his ZX10) and we were having a great time! Back and forth passing each other, lap for lap, almost like a race. He'd get me on the brakes coming in to "Tombstone", I'd get him 'round the outside of "Little Bend", and he'd shake me off in the exit of "Rattle Snake" to come on to the front straight in to "Big Bend" where he'd consistently run faster than I did all day. Funny thing was that the track was reletively empty in the afternoon as several folks packed it in early due to heat and a boundless supply of track time that day. Even funnier was that with our back and forth "show" during the last two sessions of the day, we'd drawn a crowd at the fence and in the little stands! even Blair got a ton of photos of us together (that I still need to order from Hart photography) and really didn't shoot any other riders too much! It was fun, and I guess it looked good too. One day I'll be as fast as Wade... facking "Mr. Smooth", that dude looks like he's going 10mph when he's doing 150... effortless.

Anyway, back to what I wanted to write about which is the last Cresson event we had. After Sunny made some suggestions to me about my slipping slipper clutch, I was eager to see if the "fix" worked on the track (and it did, thanks Sunny!). Cool thing about that was that my bike instantly felt like it had a lot more power. I think the clutch has been getting more and more out of adjustment over time and I didn't really notice it until it got really bad. Either that or the conditions were just right for the bike to make a lot more power for some reason plus the clutch wasn't slipping any more- the "perfect storm" so to speak. I was running very respectable (for me) laps with the Experts, and was moving through traffic quite well. One thing I forgot to mention was that I didn't ride all morning due to rain and a work issue I was forced to deal with up until lunch, so I felt like I was a bit behind the "curve" of getting up to speed. That proved not to be an issue at all though, I was on pace right away and things felt good; all the stars aligned. One place in particular always gives me fits though, and that's the "Rattle Snake".

Going counter clockwise at MSR in to the Rattle Snake has always been my nemesis corner. I give big respect to former team mates (like Dirk Anderson) and fast dudes (like Ronnie Hay) for being able to navigate that set of corners expeditiously. They make it look easy and lose me every time I go in there with them. Sometimes, at the top of Rattle Snake, the pavement feels a bit slick- it's because it falls a bit off camber and has a slight hump in the pavement as you ascend, crest at the apex, and then decend slightly- very challenging to control your throttle hand and proper weighting of the bike there while trying to get through with the fast dudes.

So I knew I was going to work on the Rattle Snake. Another "problem" developed this day too though, and that was the dreaded front end chatter in Little Bend. I've never had issue in Little Bend in this direction, and clockwise it's probably one of my stonger/ faster corners where I do a lot of passing. So I was a bit surprised I was having chatter there. This is the point of the story that I recognize I am a dumbass when it comes to how my bike acts and I have to rely on my support systems. I KNOW that when they see me walk up with a puzzled look or they see my number in caller ID that they sigh or groan a bit, knowing that I'm going to ask why it's the tires/ suspension/ bike's fault that I'm having issues or riding off-pace, and clearly it's not the nut connecting the seat to the bars.

So I walk over to John, "Hey man, can you look at my tires? I'm having issues with chatter." John's always happy to come over and look at my tires, at least he acts like it (Academy Award goes to... ). Anyway, he asks some questions, "What's it doing?", "How's it feel in Big Bend", "Is it spinning up?", "Are you losing grip?", etc, and usually followed with drop/ add a pound/ two in the front/ rear/ both and see how that does, or "the tires look fine, you might want to look at a suspension change" or "Looks fine, you could just man-up and ride through it!" He doesn't actually say that last one, but I think he's thinking it...

So I call my suspension guru. Same questions kinda, but different. Anyway, straight answer from him as, "Fack mate, if the tyres look good, and the only place it's having this issue is one corner, sounds like you need to make a change to yourself- you'll probably fack up the bike in other corners if you fack with it for just one." Made sense, but what to do? I don't like chatter. Call me a fajina, but I get the feeling that I'm going to lose the front when I get chatter in high-speed corners.

I toyed with the idea of alternate lines, braking points, adjusting my weight differently on the bike (I tend to ride the front tire), hang off more, hang off less, etc. Nothing really changed it and I continued to run respectable laps, but nothing to write about.

So, here's how I fixed it: Jeff Grant. Yup, the hair-care specialist. Jeff came in to Little Bend with me and proceded to just motor around the outside. In true "you can't do that to me" fashion, front end chattering all the way to this point, I rolled on a bit more throttle... and viola! Chatter goes away! FAAACK! There ya go. Throttle fixes everything. For the rest of the day I toyed with a bit more throttle and changed my entry a bit to Little Bend and all was right with the world.

But what about Rattle Snake? How did I do with that you say? Well, I've always heard that "If you want to be a 'Pro', you have to work with the Pro's. If you continue to work with the 'Amatuers', you may be the best Amatuer, but you're still and Amatuer." Who is one of the fastest guys I know in the Rattle Snake... Ronnie Hay! Me, "Hey Ron, fancy a run-around of the big track mate?" Ronnie always obliges. A few laps of me leading Ronnie around and hearing that big 1098 "thump thump" running up my tail pipe pushed me harder and harder through Rattle Snake. I was feeling my huevos get bigger each time, but was still uncomfortable with the entry speed and apex of the left-hander. Ronnie passed, I followed, and this time tried to put my trepidation to rest and match his entry and apex speed in the Rattle Snake, each lap saw more improvement. I'm still not "there" yet, but it's getting better! Maybe at the next track day after the season is over on the 3.1, coupled with the continued support from John, my suspension dude, and great riders like Ronnie Hay and their advice, I'll get that Rattle Snake wrangled.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit. I know it's not as dramatic as the tire shredding, spinning wheelie stories I've told in the past, but to be honest, that wasn't all that much fun. It's a lot more fun to have control and ride faster... but the pictures ain't as good!
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:35 AM   #2
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Always good reading Tom.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:50 AM   #3
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Great read Tom. As always.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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That was a good day! I felt bad for the folks who bailed due to the weather forecast. Typical Cresson by ~11 things were good. And they were great after lunch!!
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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great write up tommy boy
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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When I saw you, Jeff and Wade out there I was thinking something may be up. Glad you "fixed" it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:56 PM   #7
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Good Huevos Story.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:58 PM   #8
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thanks for the read Tommy boy!
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irak View Post
Good Huevos Story.
I dig me some huevos... 'specially the rancheros.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:04 PM   #10
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you could of switched to michelins, problem solved! 4 seconds faster : )
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe View Post
When I saw you, Jeff and Wade out there I was thinking something may be up. Glad you "fixed" it.
-Gabe
Yeah, when you saw us out there it was our out lap and first lap of the day- we were scouting for water and slick spots!
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowjacket View Post
you could of switched to michelins, problem exacerbated! 40 seconds slower : )
Fixed

Nah, all of the tires these days are really, really good. Way better than my old Cheng Shins in '87 were! None of the tires made now look as cool as they did though. They cut little tear drops in to make them DOT "legal".

Now that I think of it, they looked just like the Dunflops do now... huh.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:30 PM   #13
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now Tom maybe you can help I have raced cresson 1.7 mile on my shifter kart and guess I never really thought about it I would just go ahead and adjust tire pressures.. I have heard the track can be the devil if it doesnt warm up. The track is very temperamental because of the specialty asphault that it is paved with. How big of an impact could this have on your tires pressures tire wear... Im not nervous about the october date but it does spark an interest on what to expect. Im really excited but heard the 3.1 is a monster.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #14
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awesome write up
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
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now Tom maybe you can help I have raced cresson 1.7 mile on my shifter kart and guess I never really thought about it I would just go ahead and adjust tire pressures.. I have heard the track can be the devil if it doesnt warm up. The track is very temperamental because of the specialty asphault that it is paved with. How big of an impact could this have on your tires pressures tire wear... Im not nervous about the october date but it does spark an interest on what to expect. Im really excited but heard the 3.1 is a monster.
John can answer this question best, but in my experience, it is hard on tires when cold. Cold means that the temps outside need to be 60* or less. In those temps, I was constantly checking pressures and adjusting as needed.

Now this is going to sound biased, but the only tires I see at Cresson that do well and won't there are the Bridgestones. This is from endurance racing with DOTs and slicks. It seems that some of the endurance riders are having luck with the Pirelli lately (Jeff and Wade have had some really good luck with their Pirellis), and once Michelin figured out they have to run extraordinarily low tire pressures, they seem to hold up OK.

Now sprinting and track days are a whole 'nuther subject and there are so many variables that go in to that. Best bet with track days is to know the tire you're running and know it pretty well. I also rely on John quite a bit and he's always led me in the right direction with tires and wear.

But for me personally, it seems that my suspension, pace, riding style, and tires are working really well at all the tracks *knocksonwood*. MSR has not been temperamental with tires for me at all, and as a matter of fact, the only track I had tire issue was at Harris Hills- and that wasn't a traction issue, it was a tire wear issue- cold tear like a biotch, but the Pirellis were doing the exact same thing.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomLSTD View Post
John can answer this question best, but in my experience, it is hard on tires when cold. Cold means that the temps outside need to be 60* or less. In those temps, I was constantly checking pressures and adjusting as needed.

Now this is going to sound biased, but the only tires I see at Cresson that do well and won't there are the Bridgestones. This is from endurance racing with DOTs and slicks. It seems that some of the endurance riders are having luck with the Pirelli lately (Jeff and Wade have had some really good luck with their Pirellis), and once Michelin figured out they have to run extraordinarily low tire pressures, they seem to hold up OK.

Now sprinting and track days are a whole 'nuther subject and there are so many variables that go in to that. Best bet with track days is to know the tire you're running and know it pretty well. I also rely on John quite a bit and he's always led me in the right direction with tires and wear.

But for me personally, it seems that my suspension, pace, riding style, and tires are working really well at all the tracks *knocksonwood*. MSR has not been temperamental with tires for me at all, and as a matter of fact, the only track I had tire issue was at Harris Hills- and that wasn't a traction issue, it was a tire wear issue- cold tear like a biotch, but the Pirellis were doing the exact same thing.
Ill have to do some research my michelins are fairly new and Im planning on doing a switch in the off season just dont know what I want to try.. My dad will be there with me on his gsxr 600 and I just put some bridgestones on his. I might take his out for a lap.. I cant wait for cresson and to finally meet you Tom. Its ashame I have been booted out of the SV army... But I have a feeling I will be back on an sv sometime soon. Thanks so much for your imput Looking forward to a great weekend and being a first timer with LSTD.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowjacket View Post
Ill have to do some research my michelins are fairly new and Im planning on doing a switch in the off season just dont know what I want to try.. My dad will be there with me on his gsxr 600 and I just put some bridgestones on his. I might take his out for a lap.. I cant wait for cresson and to finally meet you Tom. Its ashame I have been booted out of the SV army... But I have a feeling I will be back on an sv sometime soon. Thanks so much for your imput Looking forward to a great weekend and being a first timer with LSTD.
Come track me down, I'm usually pretty easy to find.

One thing to think about is that with any tire, it takes more than a few laps to get a good feel for them. Lots of things come in to play, and the faster you get the more your needs will change.

As I mentioned, modern tires are all good. Basically, as long as they're fresh, and pressures are properly set, you'll get great results no matter what brand. Not to mention things change pretty fast with technology with them.

For me, the Bridgestones are the tire of choice because I like the feel, the wear, the PRICE, and the consistency. They work great for track days AND racing- there are tons of folks who are much faster than me who can ride the pizz out of them.

I will say this though, I really like the Pirelli as a sprint tire. The feel is very nice. The problem is that I had a hard time setting the bike up with them and the tire was sensitive to pressure changes. Not to mention I didn't like the wear and that they didn't react well as they got very worn. Our endurance team can speak on this though as that has really changed since the last time I tried Pirelli. It seems they've fixed the wear issues.

Now, I haven't tried Michelins for '09 like I normally do every year otherwise. Chris Romeo really likes 'em. I just didn't like the feel or the wear on them either, among a few other things. But they were cheaper too, and that helps some folks.

Dunlops have been pretty consistent over the years... IN PRICE! I used to race them, I liked them a lot then, but I got the same performance and wear out of the Bridgestones for a lot less money, so I made the switch on the race bikes then- saving money and getting the same value is a no-brainer. Now I actually like the Bridgestones MORE than the 'lops. Go fig.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:06 PM   #18
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I've printed it out Tom,
give me something to read on the plane
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:15 PM   #19
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I've printed it out Tom,
give me something to read on the plane
Oh yeah, that'll put you to sleep!'

Travel safely muhman!
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:34 PM   #20
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Oh yeah, that'll put you to sleep!'

Travel safely muhman!


thanks
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