Loc: Vienna, 2nd rock left.
My name's Helmut and I'm a Gas Addict.
So, I feel much better now.
But seriously: Most of you here know me some way or another, which isn't unrealistic to expect given my post count here. What most of you maybe don't know (besides those who frequent the racing forums) is that I'm no longer the same guy I was two years ago.
I used to be an Aviation Photographer, Journalist and Flight Sim Player. I enjoyed everything related to aviation, I spent lots of time flying virtual missions, and in real life eventually made it on a fully operational modern aircraft carrier for two days. Complete with an arrested landing and cat shot under my belt (yeah, in a Greyhound ) And then it all became boring and anti-climatic.
Yet at the same time (Summer 2010) I dug headlong into racing sims. Okay, still "sim lights" but I found something that once had been there and lost since I was 10 or such (when I used to race my Uncle in Geoff Crammond's GP4). So two years later I have mostly dropped all involvement with aviation and see myself turning into a 100% racing fan.
So this is what has been keeping my virtual ego busy for almost two years now (video is not by me)
SBK-X racing the virtual Triumph 675.
I've always had a motorbike license in real life, but for the first nearly ten years I spent my time riding a 40HP 500ccm KLE500 enduro, not exactly a bike that "forces you to learn to ride". We're talking barely 130km/h (80mph for you imperial types) at the redline here. All I did was some cruising around. Then in early 2010 - BEFORE the race bug hit me - I bought a new Twin-Cylinder Kawasaki Naked Bike with 72HP. You can see it here together with my old one in the background and my stupid grin.
So that was a "proper bike". It could do 200km/h given enough space, very nice grunt from mid-range (Twin Cylinder) and it would have served me wonderfully for City Commuting and Countryside trips. But then my friend and I had to take it onto the local and in Summer 2011 freshly reopened Red Bull Racetrack (former Österreich Ring)
(That's his videos, on the exact same type bike which he bought at the same time as I).
He managed a very awesome 2:05 and I totally was the moving roadblock for the weekend at 2:30 and higher.
Being somewhat a sucker for pain and humiliation, I then took him to Pannonia Circuit (in Hungary) just a month later, July 2011.
In the "Beginner's Group" (this being only our second ever track weekend) he ended up overtaking each and every other rider, including guys on circuit-modified Litre Bikes - with his funny little road-legal 72HP "Beginner Kawasaki", ending up with a 2:29 (the Pro Racers do 1:55 there, and anything under 2:15 is considered pretty good).
Again I was hopeless coming in at 2:50 and above - but at the end of the second day, I started to see the light. I started to understand how to align the bike, my body and the laws of physics to maybe not be a bloody roadblock. But most important of all - I had the most awesome weekend of my life as a grown up (okay, meaning, non naked). I hadn't grinned so hard ever since I was standing in 2007 on a defunct Russian ATC Tower with Flankers and MiGs turning 6G just 50 meters above my head.
But yet, I knew the bike had to go. That wonderful little orange monstrosity that so faithfully had carried me trough two weekends of racetrack abuse had to part ways with me.
Not that I could blame the material for my own faults - but if I wanted to make a hobby out of this, I didn't want to give myself any excuses. My mate was doing his 2:29 on the foot pegs and exhaust in every turn, so definitely there was a limit to what I would get out of that frame and engine. I also knew that I didn't want to be the odd-one out at every trackday meet, so something more properly attuned to racing was in the cards. Even more important, I always had lusted after a Triumph, and after months of virtually trashing the bloody 675 Daytona around in SBK-X I was in love with that bike. I was NO longer in love with any Naked design that would see me sitting in the open and feeling lifted off the tank by the sheer force of wind at any speed above a 130 (again, 80mph for you imperialist bastards).
So, with a big leap of faith in my ability to pay the bills (having taken on a new job in August 2011) I ordered a Triumph Daytona 675 "Jet Black" in October. And she arrived barely a week ago:
So, I'm a man on a mission now.
The first trackday weekend is already booked 11/12 June for Pannonia Circuit. Two more to follow this year if things go as planned (like...not wrecking the bike. Or my joints. I like my joints).
I really want to eventually (not likely the first time...) beat the lap set by my bloody best mate on his bloody japanese ricer (<- I can say that now, can't I? )
I have to lose another 8 pounds to properly fit into my new leathers (the textile clothing from the pic above obviously had to go, having no place on a Supersport cycle with a heritage traceable back to King Arthur - it'd be an insult really).
The bike will have to stay street-legal for three reasons: I won't afford a trackday every other weekend, my GF would kill me if I did, and I have no car and thus no trailer to move a non-street homolgated bike. Besides, it should be fun and good entertainment to whoop some circuit-built bikes with what still barely qualifies as road tires and a numberplate on the back they can swear at.
Eventually (maybe start of 2013 season)I want to move up and out of beginner's group for being too damn fast to stay there.
I'd really be a boon to bring the bike and me home in the same number of parts we left.
In summary that gives me about 8 weeks still to get to know the bike on open country roads (I believe you can learn a lot about handling a bike even at very legal speeds, I believe in riding responsible in public traffic). And to lose my 8 pounds body-fat while gaining the necessary mental and physical fitness. And to get the bike race-ready (meaning protective parts mostly, as well as to fit the GoPro Hero HD which I'll need to record my historic attempt at not being the absolutly slowest runner-up in the beginner's group).
Obviously this isn't rocket science. Lots of "everyday Joes" spent their weekend at the racetrack being much faster and much more fearless than I. This isn't about setting any world records or even national not-so-breathtaking not-so record lap times.
At the end, it's about the one thing that motivates me to get up in the morning and spend another day at work instead of in bed: The chance to face and overcome my fears, my shortcomings, my lack of knowledge and my lack of experience in any given field of my choosing, to eventually reach a goal set with realistic expectations but also a good portion of challenge.
And since winning against yourself is boring when no one else is looking - I invite you all along for the ride.
So, if there's enough "Likes!" on this introductory posting, I'll put up part 2 soon - on the first day out on the new bike and how it feels to become one of the "bent's" (which is the local nickname for the guys not sitting really upright on their not so comfy motorcycles. My back is still hurting).
If no one likes the writeup, I'll still try not to crash and beat his bloody laptime. But then the bike will never be reborn in SimHQ Race Livery either... (design by James McKenzie-Smith)
Loc: Vienna, 2nd rock left.
XBOX360 pad. But it's driving me mad (in a not so positive way) because the controls are not fine enough to run full simulation mode without relying on luck. Basically the sim will require lots of fine attention to the relationship of lean angle and braking but the controller won't register such fine details.
It seems you have found the fault in Motorcycle games. Now since we are talking real life lets talk about what is going to matter for you...Handling.
The average factory motorcycle is manufactured for a rider that is around 180 pounds. A small zip tie added to one of your forks tubes is a nice way to gauge how much suspension you are using. It is paramount for you to enjoy yourself that you adjust your suspension for your particular weight and riding style.
If you have not learned this yet look at the wear pattern on the tires. Are you wearing more on the front tire or the rear and is the wearing more to the right or the left. Now understand I'm talking about the edges of the tire here for if you see harder wearing on the front and not the rear it usually means your style is a blitzer to where you dive in hard brake late and square off the corner but if you see more wearing on the rear it usually shows your not pushing that hard into the turn but go like hell once you hit the apex.
WE could sit here for ever and a day but what really counts is you. You see riding a Motorcycle fast is simply 70% mind 30% throttle when you crash is when things go to 70% throttle 30% mind and trust me I have had a few times in my life when I was 110% throttle and for that many Dr's here in America owe me for their houses cars and boats
If you want to see how a Motorcycle movie is done take a look at On Any Sunday and for what it's worth that kid on the bicycle in the beginning grew up to become ME Bruce was a genius when it came to filming to bad the rest of the world passed on his genius.
If you got time to set the bike up PROPERLY might I suggest you take your forks off put the tubes in a box and send them to Race Tech with a note that says Fix Them... A gold Valve kit installed is only around 200 usd and will take you a long way in keeping you safe for the factory suspension has left a lot to be desired.
Good Luck Mr Wags
Watching your video now lol. My only concern is you didn't hit the rev limiter once:) Your on a track so drive that damn thing like ya stold it lol they will make more parts.
You were getting into it after a few minutes and you will find consistency will win in a long race but bat out of hell will always win the sprint.
You are now well on your way and bang that rev limiter a few times and see how your corner exit speeds increase thus your lap times.
Loc: Vienna, 2nd rock left.
Thanks for the suspension tips which I figure is a science in itself.
The stock forks and rear shock have slow/high speed compression and single speed rebound adjustment as well as spring preload. Yet supposedly the difference is not so clearly noticable between just a few clicks, so to tune it you end up turning a lot of clicks just for some effect.
I will take advantage of one of the race weekends where someone dedicated is on site to advise on suspension setups as a service by the organisers.
Maybe I'll consider aftermarket modification or even an Öhlins upgrade in the future but right now I'm nowwhere near good enough to warrant that detail.
For the vids there's a mistake - these are from my friend who really wasn't very slow given his bike and the competition. I was far from his times.
Well you see Race Tech will Gold Valve your forks and replace the shims for your weight and riding style.
Please understand your abilities have NOTHING to do with the upgrade of your equipment your are simply making it a better fit for you. You see I was a Factory Yamaha and Cagiva tester and rider and have done so since the age of 3 when I had my first race. You can see pictures of this in the Fanatec Wheel tests pole for verification for the internet can create many a bench racer.
As far as the video goes the boy was flying and had good brake points I had simply noticed he was not dancing on the tach's red much and for doing so will drop your lap times as long as your are doing a sprint,The style he was using was more for an Endurance Race to make better use of the equipment be easy and make it last the 3,6,12 or 24 hours that the race required.
The suspension YES is a science but as I said when the time comes (if they are still living) I have folks that you can talk to that will ask you a few simple questions to better set it up for you. Weight,riding style,street or track.
The picture that you showed us of you Triumph is a good example as if you look at the fork tubes you will see there is a good 3/4 of an inch or so of front travel that is not being used so either your braking like a girl (I doubt that) or its to stiff and if so after a few laps your gonna get BAD ARM PUMP and won't be able to grip the grips very well. How close am I?
Ohlins are some of the finest there is BUT they COSTS a fortune but as always speed cost money so how fast you go depends om how much you got to spend and as with Factory machinery they are built with a special metal called unobtainium.
As I told Darren when I signed up,I'm not much of a bench racer I would prefer to show ya but as far as being able to direct you in the right direction I assure you I'll save you a lot of time and a whole lot of money.
Race Tech also makes a nice inexpensive shift kit with a stronger spring for your shifting cog. Until sequential trannys make it to production bikes (why the Hondas are so fast in Moto Gp) we are stuck with old technology. But with a 60.00 shift kit a clutch is only gonna be needed for launch and the only gear you will miss is the one's you left at the truck
Loc: Vienna, 2nd rock left.
It's really great to have someone here who know's his stuff.
The Daytona hadn't even been on the street yet with me when the pic was taken, it was used as a Demo/Try Out Bike at the dealership and I hadn't ridden it until last weekend.
How can you tell the unused front fork travel - from the look of the clean/dirty rods?
I now also get what you mean with the zip tie - so to mount it such that it will push down lightly and set the max. travel of the pistons?
My first very short street experience on the bike (bad weather, cold tarmac) made it feel as if it was going down a LOT in the front, but I'm not used to the sitting position and such strong brakes. Is there even a reasonable chance that I can "check out" the suspension on open roads at normal speeds, or is this too different from track use?
Oh, and second stupid question: What is ARM PUMP exactly? I hear the term a lot recently, but I can't fit it into my mostly German language knowledge of bikes.
Sorry for the questions - but I really appreciate someone who knows what he is doing to be here.
Arm pump is when you forearms swell up go numb and you cannot feel your hands. There are exercises that help and surgery that takes the nerves out but a good suspension set up is the best.
The ONLY question that is stupid is the one you ask the third time ok?
On Sunday's I have some roads that I get up early and go backroad blitzing. I go early for the only ones you need to worry about are tractors and trust me coming over a hill and seeing a plow in the middle of the road will make your butt pucker so what you do on track day's is probably the best.
It's sad to say BUT with sport bikes riding in groups can be an issue as well for if you say go play hard and have more than 5 bikes one of them will come home on the truck usually and is why I usually ride alone for I'm a bad influence. They see me do it and think they can but forget I have been racing since I was 3 so to me it's second nature but will still say that group riding is dangerous unless you know them all well. Buyt even if you do one of them will always think today is his day and try to be Ricky Roadracer and get hurt.
The zip tie is correct simply put in on the fork tube to show travel usage.
In your picyute you look as if you are a tall chap.?
If over 6 foot I bet you look like a monster on the middleweight. It is IMPORTANT that you get comfortable B4 you go to hard or else you will end up on your head. Remember that 70% 30 % we talked about and live it.
A little baby powder on the seat b4 you go play will help it slid around when you need to and DO NOT USE ARMOR ALL for you will slid off.
But more importantly have fun be safe BUT look over the edge every now and then
Also race the clock not the guys around you. Drop the times as the day goes on and all will be well.