A few years ago, at the end of the day, a student came and said, “I thought I had 20 years of riding experience. I found out that I had 20 years of riding experience in a year.”
In other words, time is not a predictor of improvement when skills are not focused. And while I support earning miles in the saddle, I’m a bigger supporter of pursuing a structured path of improvement. The question is how can you tell if you’re getting better as a rider.
Editor’s Note: Dylan Code is a rider coach and COO (representing the owner’s child). California Superbike SchoolHas 23 years of full-time experience in the field of rider training. He works closely with his father, Keith Code, to develop a curriculum and how to provide students with the best bike riding experience.
One indicator is whether it is faster or slower than a riding friend, or generally faster or slower than a random rider. But on public roads, excessive speed is a measure of how much unnecessary risk a rider is willing to take to gain influence. In my opinion, excessive speed on public roads is a measure of how crazy someone is. In addition, I saw a lot of fast riders with poor technique.
What about safety records if the speed isn’t right? It’s important to have been safe for years, but that doesn’t guarantee a high level of skill. Also, very skilled riders can be unlucky due to the carelessness of others. The safety record is an indicator, but it is not the main indicator used to determine a rider’s skill level or whether he or she is improving.
Minimum required input
I think the best metric or gauge for a rider’s skill is how close it is to the “minimum control input” standard.
At the racetrack, I was able to observe professional racers compared to novice riders. Counting the total number of control inputs for both riders makes a big difference. Beginners will be observed to adjust the braking pressure at the entrance to the corner, perhaps with a few nervous taps. Due to some follow-up steering adjustments, the number of steering inputs per turn builds up after the primary steering action. The throttle sways as the steering is modified.
Casual observers call novice riders “unstable.” Pro riders are observed to have much less control input. In most corners, apply the brakes once, steer once, release the brakes once, and rotate the throttle once. Complex corners such as reduced radius and double vertex corners have more input, but the points are the same. This is the minimum required control input. This became even more apparent to me when I learned how to read the race data logger graphs. I recall that BMW World Superbike engineers said that the biggest difference between professionals and beginners was how the throttle looked in the data logger graph.
Does this mean it’s smooth?
This also brings us to the topic of being smooth. Smooth is a good word, but in my opinion it’s too open to interpretation. I’ve seen riders brake too smoothly and too little. I’ve seen the bike tilt smoothly until the rider runs out of lean angles and crashes, or smoothly understeers and runs wide. The phrase “minimum required control input” will check many boxes if you are trying to see if the rider is competent, improving or smooth.
I’ve also seen riders make errors with too few control inputs. For example, a turn with a reduced radius often requires a second steering input, which may lower the throttle and may be accompanied by a drag on the brakes. When the rider tries to capture the entire corner with a single steering input and throttle application, the rider becomes much easier to drive and the situation deteriorates rapidly.
Where does this guide us in terms of our own horseback riding? For any vehicle, including stores, you should strive for the minimum required control input. This challenge in itself can lead the rider to focus on accuracy and adjust the technique to reduce control inputs to reach the minimum required. Additional control inputs are undesirable and undesirable, but they have uses. These are useful data points and indicate that there is room for improvement. When the rider turns the corner brakes on and off and pushes the lever, he can ask, “What if the first brake input was defective?” Was it too early, too late, too light, too hard, or sudden? This can give the rider some hints on what to do for improvement.
How can the rider determine if it has actually improved? It’s easy. Are they close to the minimum required control inputs?
https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/minimum-necessary-control-inputs-the-standard-for-measuring-your-riding-skills Minimum required control input: Criteria for measuring riding skills