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Note: if you are fast and good, this article isn’t really for you. This is about us slower non-expert racers.

Too many (riders, shooters, drivers, musicians, etc.) will confuse ownership for proficiency. High-end gear with high-end mods does not actually make you good at any of these technique activities. It may even make you worse for a couple reasons

Masking mistakes. Especially with new high-end bikes, having a pile of nannies and a lot of available power may turn serious mistakes into non-events. This is great as far as survivability, but prevents skill advancement. Since mistakes are harder to spot, and easy to fix, riders may be under the impression that they’re more proficient than they actually are.

Managing the bike rather than riding it. When a rider has too much power, they have to spend too much time and brainpower on making sure they don’t twist the throttle too much, or squeeze the brakes too much. Or the rider may spend more time trying to find the right “mode” for their activity rather than making what they have work. This may interfere with all the other actions they need to take (whether physical or mental). There is enough to do on a bike (look for hazards, plan lines, position the bike and yourself, ride the bike, etc) without having to be super precise on the throttle input.

Too much invested; Too much to lose. I’ve stolen this quote from my friend Jason and use it a lot. “Learning is difficult when failure is expensive.” If the rider is more worried about dropping their new shiny expensive bike, it’s much less likely they’ll practice and explore and expand their limits. “I can’t afford to crash this bike going to the track” is a ridiculous statement that prevents many riders from actually going out and making themselves better.

“I can only do that on my bike”. So you’re good, or think you’re good. However, hop on a lesser machine and suddenly you’re struggling. Sure there is something to be said for proper setup, but in many situations, it’s because the equipment was doing the work for you.

Instead of investing in the shiniest fastest equipment, long-term it will be more effective to spend that same time and money on the rider. Make yourself a better rider and the bike will stop being so much of the equation. A good rider on a clapped out sv will run circles around a guy who hasn’t practiced but is on a hp4.

https://www.mad8v.com/blogs/blahg/practice-and-proficiency-vs-ownership
 

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I agree 10000%
When I used to be a race instructor I would constantly see guys looking at all the wrong things when they were trying to improve. Mostly it was " If I had more power I'd be faster". They would spend thousands on their motor and end up going slower. For casual track day people and newer racers/track day riders:
1. Make sure your bike is basically mechanically sound and set up decently
2. Have good tires
3. Just get out and DO LAPS----LOTS AND LOTS of laps.
Seat time is what makes you fast, not money.

Mad
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Seat time is what makes you fast, not money.
i'm gonna have to steal that for a later post heh.

spec racing is where it's at btw. if someone passes you it's not because they spent more money. it's cause they know something you don't. so follow them and find out what that something is.
 

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it's entirely possible for people practicing without instruction (or with poor instruction) to learn bad habits. practicing doesn't always make you good.
 

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practicing doesn't always make you good.
In a completely different context, one of the top shooters in practical shooting, and a top instructor as well, used to say that "practice doen's make you perfect, it only makes permanent. If you practice badly, you only make bad habits permanent!". ;)
 

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PERFECT practice makes you perfect.

Sergei, great article!
 

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Seat time is what makes you fast, not money.
Mad
I remember a launch report from the 80s about the then-new Kawa GPZ600R (Ninja 600R in the USA) sportsbike. The journalist wrote that he and and all his fellow writers were on the new 600, being shown around the Jarama GP circuit in Spain by former 250 & 350cc World Champion, Kork Ballington.

The thing was, Ballington was on a Kawa 454 LTD custom, which was also being launched at the same event. The journalists would catch up with, and even pass him on the straights, but at every corner Ballington would simply take yards out of them and be in front again.
 

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I remember a launch report from the 80s about the then-new Kawa GPZ600R (Ninja 600R in the USA) sportsbike. The journalist wrote that he and and all his fellow writers were on the new 600, being shown around the Jarama GP circuit in Spain by former 250 & 350cc World Champion, Kork Ballington.

The thing was, Ballington was on a Kawa 454 LTD custom, which was also being launched at the same event. The journalists would catch up with, and even pass him on the straights, but at every corner Ballington would simply take yards out of them and be in front again.
And stuff like that is true across the skill spectrum. Years ago I was at a track day at Hallett. In the Novice group was a lady on a Virago (I think a 750). She was faster than most of the guys in her group, the vast majority of them on sport bikes. It was a hoot to watch
 

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I remember a launch report from the 80s about the then-new Kawa GPZ600R (Ninja 600R in the USA) sportsbike. The journalist wrote that he and and all his fellow writers were on the new 600, being shown around the Jarama GP circuit in Spain by former 250 & 350cc World Champion, Kork Ballington.

The thing was, Ballington was on a Kawa 454 LTD custom, which was also being launched at the same event. The journalists would catch up with, and even pass him on the straights, but at every corner Ballington would simply take yards out of them and be in front again.
100%

Where I live its cost prohibitive to track our bikes (Have to ship them back and forth to Sepang or Zhuhai) so our local group goes to a track in china run by a retired Yamaha factory racer and they provide all riders ninja 300s. That way we have to focus on technique rather than tuning. I didn't realize how poor of a rider I was until I stared racing these little 300s. If there are any other folks in HK/southern china let me know and I'll send the details for the track ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
yep, and spec classes are awesome anyway cause if someone passed you it's cause they know something not cause they spent more money
 
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