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S1000RR Rider Training


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I had the privilege of attending the level 1 California Superbike School under Keith Code at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham AL yesterday. I had read about this class in a motorcycle magazine several years ago, and have wanted to enroll ever since. Several months ago, CSS traded all their Kawasaki sport bikes for the 2010 BMW offering.


The class was everything I had hoped it would be. There were 42 BMW enthusiasts with a 2:1 student:teacher ratio, plus additional staff at the corners to keep an eye on us and report improper cornering techniques back to the instructors. We had five ~20 minute sessions on the track, with one-on-one coaching and seminars during our off times. The instructors were friendly but firm, and quickly zeroed in on my bad cornering habits. I was not even aware of them, and now have some new skills to practice. There were 2 crashes, but no significant injuries so far as I know.


The S1000RR is a beast, but a tame one. It is wickedly fast and handles beautifully. The electronics can help to offset subpar riding skills. It is a surprisingly easy bike to ride, comfortable (for a sport bike), and took no time to get used to. We were all required to use Rain mode for the first session or 2, and then I was able to move up to Sport mode.


The class was all about learning how to corner well. At my level, there was no instruction on braking or clutch control and very little on body position. I guess those come at the later levels.


The facility is truly a national treasure. The track is perfectly maintained, very entertaining, interesting and challenging - 2.4 miles, 14 turns, 80' of elevation changes and almost 50' wide. There are enough straights to open the throttle up all the way for a few seconds at a time. I also visited the museum, which is very classy and alone is worth a trip. It has 5 stories of (mostly) bikes artfully and tastefully arranged in all sorts of interesting presentations. Most all of them are right there for you to closely study and smell if you want to. Many of them have zero miles. A few cars, boats and various engines are on display too.


Thanks to BMW for helping to offset the cost of this class, and to David Bloodworth of Bloodworth Motorcycles (of Nashville) for somehow finding me an enrollment slot, even though there were none left. :thumbsup:



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Thanks for the report.


I'm attending the same class this weekend, though at Willow Springs.


Looking forward to the info.



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Thanks for the report. I'm gonna do the class at VIR; unfortunately, the will not be using the full 3.27 mike course.

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The class was everything I had hoped it would be. There were 42 BMW enthusiasts with a 2:1 student:teacher ratio, plus additional staff at the corners to keep an eye on us and report improper cornering techniques back to the instructors.


Were there 42 in Level 1 only, or 42 total through all levels?

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They formally had us all at level 1, though those who were experienced on the track were allowed to do whatever we felt comfortable with in terms of speed and skill development. With one coach per 2 riders, the teaching was highly individualized.


For example, I was told that I was rolling on the throttle too early in turns. They wanted me to quickly and smoothly get the bike leaned at the turning point with a single steering input with the throttle either off or held steady, THEN roll the throttle on once I had the bike fully tilted for the turn. I was not even aware that I was rolling the throttle on too early, but the corner coaches noticed it right away. I worked on timing those inputs better, and this did seem to stabilize the bike better in turns.



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Well, I doubt I am reprogrammed yet. I was doing pretty well (I think) by the last lap of the day, but haven't ridden since then other than my 350 mile interstate ride home right after we finished for the day.


I expect that I'll have to be very deliberate in timing my inputs until the new steering "algorithm" becomes a habit. I am anxious to ride some Blue Ridge twisties this weekend and see how this strategy works out on familiar roads. The fact that I was unaware of the bad habit may make it harder to break without often reminding myself to think hard about how I am cornering and make sure my inputs are done as I was just taught.



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Here are a couple of my favorite photos from the museum:


Mine was the only motorcycle left outside at closing time.



The museum if very classy and artfully laid out.



One of the most gorgeous bikes I have ever seen.



One of the rarest bikes there.


Thanks for looking!



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Hey Jay,


OK -- I am officially envious! If you have hear the saying "once taught is twice learned", will you teach me what you learned when I get back? You will be so much smarter when you are done.


Sounds like a great trip.


Back in September.





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