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Old 03-15-2007, 09:16 PM   #1
andre3k
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California Superbike School Review

I took the class today and thought I'd do a writeup on the school and my opinions of it. You are told to arrive to the track by 7:00, typical fare if you have been to any trackday. We arrive and twenty eight 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R's are lined up and pretty much ready to go, all bikes had 0 or 1 mile and were fitted with Dunlop Qualifiers. Other riders also showed up with their own bikes. The class is cheaper if you use your own bike, so this option is pretty much for the local guys. They inspect each bike that is brought and explained on taping up the street rides. Breakfast is provided while you wait on folks to register and get their bikes inspected.

478153o

3ydiofk

Once all of the administrative stuff is taken care of you are divided into levels 1 - 4. Every rider starts off at level 1 regardless of experience. The level 2 and above riders did their own thing so I can't comment on their traning. I do know that all of it is based upon what you learn in level 1.

First class session, the CSS staff introduce themselves and you are assigned an instructor that works with you the entire day. each instructor has around three students to work with. Each class session is about 25 - 30 minutes and then you get about 20 minutes of track time. Each classroom & track session
focuses on one aspect of cornering. This ENTIRE level one school teaches you who to negotiate a corner properly. Everything else seems to be secondary to this and may be taught at the upper levels.

Drills

Drill #1 - Throttle control - 4th gear only, no brakes at all

This drill focuses on using throttle control only to negotiate the track. 4th gear only keeps the speeds down and not being able to use brakes also helps with that also. You really learn to be smooth on & off throttle and making the transition between the two. Not using the brakes makes short order of gauging turn entry speed. This drill alone made me realize how late I was getting on the throttle. By the end of the drill I was working on smoothly rolling on the the just before my apex point.

Drill #2 - Turn points - 4th gear, some 3rd, no brakes at all.

How do you pick a good line? You gotta pick a turn in point first. This drill showed you the impact of different turn in points in a turn. Too early, you run wider than you have to. Too late you have to increase lean angle to complete the same turn. The instructors mark the turn entries with big yellow X's on the track. The instructors never showed lines per se. Only stating that a good line is the one that allows you use all the principles of throttle control, which you learned in drill #1.

Drill #3 - Quick Turning - two gears of your choice (3/4 usually), light braking.

So you have throttle control down, know your turn in point, but how do you actually go about turning the bike in. Lean farther? Countersteer more? Hang off? At this point the instructors work with you on body position, countersteering, and basically diving into the turn. This is as opposed to slowly or lazily turning into them. This one made it much easier to hit your midturn markers, which was explained in drill #5.

Drill #4 - Rider Input - three gears, light braking.

By this point things are starting to come together for most people. Lap times were dropping considerably for those that rented timers. This drill is focused on being light and relaxed on the bike and focusing more on how you are giving input to the bike itself. Are you jumping from side to side, in anticipation of dragging knee on that next turn or purposefully turning the bars without having the death grip. This is a problem that I had coming into this class. I would focus so much on the track I would tighten on the bike with a rigid grip, basically working against the suspension. After I loosened up on the grips my turn entry was much better and I used less track.

Drill #5 - Two-Step Turning - all gears, braking as you wish

This drill relates to drill #2, turn points. On this one you pick a secondary point that is midturn, and helps to guide you through the turn and to your exit out of the turn. So you're riding keep a visual on the turn in, dive in towards your secondary turn point, and if you applied the correct the throttle rules, you have created a good line.

Laguna - The Track

Laguna is a very technical track with no really long straights. The biggest adjustment coming from the tracks I've been to (TWS (Texas World Speedway) & MSRH) is the elevation changes. There are about three really good turn thats are completely blind coming into them. Until you do a few laps and pick some markers, you can be off course really easy. The surface is glass smooth across the entire track, with the one exception being at the bottom of the corkscrew. John Hopkins spoke of this in the DTK movie. Well, its really there!

The corkscrew is everything that its supposed to be. You come into it completely blind and then it drops about 15 - 20 feet into a cambered right hand turn. Its cool because you have to accelerate going to into a blind turn, very counter intuitive. This also helps to unload the front suspension to prepare for the bumps at the bottom of the turn.

Lastly, the scenery is breathtaking. I found myself initially just looking around enjoying the view. You also had to watch out for squirrels and woodchucks running onto the track. One ran in front of me, he would have gotten hit because I wasn't going to wreck over a squirrel.


2h2pp8y

The 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R, Quick Review
I own a 2006 ZX6 so I feel i can make an opinionated review of the two. Overall I really really like the bike. Its feels narrower and lighter. The school bikes had race bodywork so that may be affected it a little bit. Its looks like they used 05-06 uppers (trimmed to fit of course), with no lowers, and a stock tail and all the plastic odds and ends on the tail removed.

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Suspension was excellent, but then again Laguna is a very smooth track to begin with. I still prefer the feel of the Penske rear on my R6, but the forks seemed to be sprung pretty stiff from the factory. I had their mechanic turn down the rebounds a few clicks and its was very responsive from that point on. Campared to the 636, the new engine is lacking on the low to mid range. That 36cc difference is noticeable, I don't care what Kawasaki says. For track use I would definately lower the gearing a bit. The transmission is like butter! Its sooooooo smooth. My only complaint about my 636 is the clunky transmission, which they really revised on the new ones. The new tach and gear indicator is nice, I think they also dropped the the lap timer nobody uses.
Overall I really liked it, its very track oriented. But I wouldn't sell my 06 636 to get one.


So, Is this class worth it?

Blunty, Yes. His instructors are top notch. It takes three years for them to become a full time instructer. Code has his own training curriculum that they have to follow. His program is very structured. This school is about cornering. Nothing else. Its either the code way or no way. For the drills you do it just as they teach it. Every instructor teaches the exact same way, its almost like they are robots, albeit very good and fast ones. Codes scientologist beliefs shines through in his training technique. If you are in level 1 and try to see what level 2 is learning, they will politely ask you to leave or step away from their conversation. He even provides these booklets (free of charge) at the table where they sell all of his gear and books. Its titled something like "How to achieve true happiness" copyright L. Ron Hubbard.

None of this bothered me, I even got a booklet to read on the plane trip back. But I know that it bothered some people b/c they felt like they were being tricked in scientology beliefs, I disagree but a few christian conservatives felt that way.

Last edited by andre3k; 03-15-2007 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:27 PM   #2
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Wow,
Awesome write up there man. Can't believe you guys got to learn on brand spankin new bikes. Post up tommorrows review please!
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:46 PM   #3
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Nice write up Andre

I'm not sure if it' you just yet, but you got to ride LAGUNA!!! :notworthy
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo
I'm not sure if it' you just yet, but you got to ride LAGUNA!!! :notworthy
I think everyone must make the pilgrimidge once in their lives.
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpio
I think everyone must make the pilgrimidge once in their lives.
+1

Andre...post'em if you got'em
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:08 PM   #6
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Nice stuff!! So happy for a fellow houstoninan to ride at Laguna
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:43 PM   #7
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great writeup!...
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:01 AM   #8
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looks like a great vacation
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:58 AM   #9
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looks like fun!!! how much this trip set you back for?

dang....YOU GOT TO RIDE LAGUNA!!!!!
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:02 AM   #10
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my friend from cali took that class and hes making me jealus that i couldnt go =(
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofpain
looks like fun!!! how much this trip set you back for?

dang....YOU GOT TO RIDE LAGUNA!!!!!
The class is 350 with your own bike. 650 with their bike. I found a nice motel in Monterey, bout 10 mins from the track for 38/nite. Thats a good deal even in Texas. I'm sure its already booked for motogp. My wife paid for the class, it was my x-mas gift. I covered air, hotel, and rental car. So 1k total.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:03 PM   #12
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:44 PM   #13
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nice writeup!
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:40 PM   #14
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That sounds like a lot of fun. Glad you enjoyed it and great write up.
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:42 PM   #15
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any crashes?
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
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any crashes?
+1
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:46 PM   #17
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Did you get to bring back any videos?
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:57 PM   #18
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nice little vacation there BJ
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:04 PM   #19
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awesome mang!
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moody
+1
Only 1 crash throughout the whole day and it was in the corkscrew. It was a guy that brought his own bike to ride.

I didn't get any video. It wouldn't have been too impressive anyway. Most of the drills are relatively low speed, mainly using 3rd or 4th gear. I didn't get above 100 till the last two sessions.

Didn't get too many pics either b/c we were along the front straight and it was hard to get a good pic.

Oh yeah, this chick was my coach. She was very good.
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