Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Backing it in: Should you even try?

backing it in
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Spectacular. Very impressive. But does it help you go faster?

it We’ve all seen our MotoGP and WSBK heroes ‘backing it in’ in fast bends, rear wheel skipping and sliding sideways, smoke coming off the rear tyre, exhaust spitting flames. Yes it looks spectacular and yes we all wish we could do the same on our own bikes. Most of the time, of course, it remains just that – a wish. Slinging a 180bhp motorcycle sideways, at very high speeds, is best left to riding gods – mere mortals would probably be well-advised to not try such things at all.

But apart from whether or not most riders have the talent to back it in, does it even work? Should you be trying to get sideways while approaching a fast bend? Richard ‘Badger’ Browne, of the California Superbike School (UK), has something to say about it in the January 2013 issue of Fast Bikes magazine:

“Backing it in is a result of several things; the rear wheel rotating at a slower speed than the front due to engine braking, hardly any weight on the back wheel and a small amount of steering input through the bars. It all sounds simple, but add to that the fact we’re approaching a corner, with all the distractions this has to offer, as well. When riding, we only have so much attention to share on everything we have to do,” says Browne. “How much attention would you give to the back of the bike when the rear wheel starts stepping out on the way into a corner? If you attention goes to the back wheel, some other part of your riding will suffer. Your turn point, for example, which would be compromised, and therefore the rest of the corner as well,” he adds.

“As you can see, this technique would require the rider to be very confident in all the other aspects of their cornering skills. It’s something that could cause more problems than solve. The majority of MotoGP and SBK riders don’t back it in, which would suggest it’s not the ideal way of approaching a turn. Even in supermoto racing it’s less extreme than it used to be. Although it looks cool, is it better to have the wheels in line and be able to hit your turn point, apex etc.? This is what slipper clutches were developed for – to allow riders to do just this,” concludes the Badger.

Source: Fast Bikes

Yes, it looks good and, yes, it's best left to the professionals...
backing it in backing it in backing it in backing it in
...but if you absolutely must do it, here's how you can give it a shot

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