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Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

We have a resident rant and raver here at ZXRworld, come and say hello to Jamz.Wanna join him? got something to get off your chest? let it all out................
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Jamz
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Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

Post by Jamz » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:05 am

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You’d think that riding a motorbike would be a universal skill, with the same style and technique used by riders everywhere in the world.

Looking at the vids on YouTube, and those of friends, I have come to the conclusion that this is certainly not the case.

Now, I could be here all day poking at people, but for the sake of this I’m going to just include sportsbike riders. More specifically, those from the US and those from the UK.

We’ve both got equal representation overall in World class racing, and let’s face it – we ride sportbikes to emulate out on-track heros.

When I got my first Yamaha TZR125 from the off I was concerned how far I could lean the bike over. If you’ve never ridden a bike, then the answer is that you can lean a bike over to an unbelievably stupid angle that your brain simply does not allow you to do without significant practise and experience.

Many bikers, myself included, have crashed where we could have made the corner safely had we just leant it over more instead of panic-braking or going straight on. Even my 1991 TZR would have been awesome in the corners had I had the skill back then to exploit it. I’ve always said that I’d love a go on a 125 again just to see what they’re like in the corners when you can actually RIDE a bike!

Sadly, most of us move on and up the cc’s well before we have any real riding skills…

Even though, I did try to get my knee down on that TZR! A lot. For a year.

Then I tried for another year on a Kawasaki ZXR400 with no success. I actually did it for the first time on a 1988 Honda VFR750 FG streetfighter with raised bars and a 130 section rear tyre! Once I’d done it, I could do it. I still had the ZXR, and once that was back on the road on the very first run I took it on I could scrape my knees on any corner at any speed at will! I still have memories of riding around The Redditch Cloverleaf with my footpegs scraping as well as my knee – when my knee was still tucked into the tank!

Anyway, my point is that doing the two-odd years of my trying to scrape my knee, I read every article and watched every video I could about how to do it, and the biggest factor other than leaning the bike more was Body Positioning.

On a bike your body position is vitally important for it’s stability, and in my opinion it’s the first thing any rider should look to perfect to improve their rising skills as a whole. I’ve followed many mates who should have been able to get their knee down but just couldn’t get down that last inch or two whatever they did. Just like I was on the TZR and ZXR.

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Which brings me to the ‘Merkins.

There is an excellent poster on YouTube called rnickeymouse, who films riders on the irrisistable road that is ‘Mulholland Drive’ in California.

Unlike the Brits, the Americans seem able to jump on a brand new sportsbike and lay that sucker over on its side like most Brits never build up the balls to do.

The problem is that their body position is absolutely terrible! This has the unsurprising result that solid bits of bike touch down whilst the rider sits bolt upright, or twisted in the saddle at an obscene angle, and the bike either grounds out or the suspension runs out of, err, suspension and they highside or lowside. Often without even the lightest scrape of a kneeslider.

The idea of getting your knee down… well it’s for fun! But the original function, and as used on a racetrack, is to gauge how much further you can lean the bike over before solid bits of it hit the deck and you crash.

So is it that the Yanks just don’t have that same thirst as us Brits for getting their knees down? Maybe they just have no interest in studying how to ride, and just want to get out there and thrape it?

Or are Brits too scared to lean their bikes – and could our weather and crappy roads be the cause of that?

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Who needs tyres when you've got knees!! :twisted:

View my Blog: http://blog.myspace.com/nastyevilninja

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RedexRobB
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Re: Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

Post by RedexRobB » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:54 pm

Nice pic of Doohan!

Dont know about the americans, but im going to stereotype and say that all thier roads are straight and most never really see a corner??



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Re: Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

Post by ancozxr » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:19 pm

I read your post.

Because i dont know very good English, if understand correct.

U compare to body-position styles, one with a guy with a GSXR machine, and the other with Doohan on NSR 500.

And U said that Americans ride above the fuel tank (if understand right) and English's ride with the body down?

If U compare this, Mick had a GP bike, and he can do anything on it, anything bad and wrong,

(Mick in this photo, is from the accident and later, for that reason ride this ways)

Knee down, in this days is optional and with traction control, lean angles and full throttle exits are very easy.

In this days the major problem is trail braking....how to avoid low side under heavy braking.


Racing for the fearless....!!!!

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Jamz
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Re: Merkins Vs. Brit Riders

Post by Jamz » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:32 pm

Hi Ancozxr!

I put the pic of Doohan at the end just to prove there is always an exception to the rule. If you look at that pic there is NOTHING right with his body position! If you or me tried to ride like that we'd crash quite badly lol!

RobB - having had a think about this a bit more, personally I think the difference is the weather. The 'Merkin vids i was talking about are filmed on Mulholland - a very twisty section of road in California that unsurprisingly attracts hordes of bikers. In the UK a lot of our weather is rain and other crap that means leaning the bike over is Not A Good Thing To Do, because lack of grip means we either scare ourselves or come a cropper!

Somewhere like California almost always has warm, dry, sticky roads, so perhaps it's natural that those 'Merkins (even total rookies) will have the confidence to lay the bike down that some experienced Brits never achieve, and because of that they find working on their body positioning to be a secondary thing?

Here's a classic example, and if you click the links there are loads more at this corner alone!:



Who needs tyres when you've got knees!! :twisted:

View my Blog: http://blog.myspace.com/nastyevilninja

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