Friday, January 14, 2011

15 essential go-faster tips from the Kevin Schwantz School

Revvin' Kevin tells us how to ride fast

Despite winning only one 500cc motorcycle roadracing world championship (as opposed to Wayne Rainey’s three, Eddie Lawson’s four and Mick Doohan’s five...), a feat which he accomplished back in 1993, Kevin Schwantz remains one of the most popular roadracing heroes in the world. With his exuberant, all-or-nothing riding style and laidback, easygoing Texan charm, Revvin’ Kevin won over legions of fan worldwide in the late-1980s and early-1990s. And his popularity with MotoGP fans hasn’t diminished over the years.

Today, apart from the various other things he does, Number 34 runs the Kevin Schwantz School, where he teaches people to ride their motorcycles faster. Some time back, Motorcyclist magazine sent one of their editors – Mitch Boehm – to attend classes at the Schwantz School. He came back with a big list of things you must keep in mind if you want to ride safer and faster. We’ve culled that down to the 15 that we think are absolutely essential. Here we go:

1. Find and use reference points for braking, turn-in and apex

2. Focus your vision way out front

3. Select a gear that uses 60-80 percent of redline at the exit

4. Be loose on the bike and bars, not rigid

5. Get body position set for corners early

6. Hang off slightly – and comfortably – in corners

7. Use your legs to move you around the bike, not your arms

8. In the wet, be super-smooth with all control inputs

9. Ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs at all times

10. Ignore the rear brake

11. Don't apex early; late apex whenever possible

12. Apply smooth but forceful throttle exiting a corner

13. Brake in segments: first 10 percent (to settle chassis), then 75 percent (hard braking), then 15 percent (releasing smooth toward apex)

14. Passing tip: Let off the brakes sooner and carry a bit more speed into the corner

15. If you get in too hot, look where you want to go, relax and will yourself to make the corner

For the full list compiled by Mitch Boehm, please visit Motorcyclist. Also visit the Kevin Schwantz School website for more details about their 2011 classes

The late-1980s / early-1990s is our favourite era of motorcycle grand prix roadracing and back then, Kevin Schwantz was certainly one of the best. And the most entertaining to watch!


Anonymous said...

ignore rear brakes? REALLY!?!

Anonymous said...

Yes, really!! Rear brake is useless when the rear wheel is in the air, and only causes more problems than it's worth the rest of the time. Learn to use the front brake properly, and the only thing the rear brake will be useful for will be holding the bike still while you're putting your gloves on. Most racers don't use rear brakes for much else.

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