Throttle Control: Part II
So, when exactly do you want to get on the gas?
Think about it like this, when you get on the gas will determine where the bike is the most stable. If you wait until the apex or after the apex like a lot of people advocate, then your bike is unstable for over half the turn. The sooner you get on the gas in a corner, the sooner you have the suspension in the right range. Sounds simple enough right? Well, there are a few things to remember here.
First of all, if you get on the gas while you are still leaning the bike over, it will run wide. So, what that means is that you have to wait until the bike is at the lean angle you want and pointed in the right direction before you start rolling on the gas. As Code puts it, “get on the gas as soon as possible once you have the bike turned. Each moment you hesitate in cracking the gas and getting to the 40/60 weight distribution, reduces your average speed through the turns, lessens control and handling, and increases lap times.”
And remember this, if you are too greedy with the throttle and apply too much too fast then the bike will run wide or risk sliding the rear. If you are lazy with the throttle and only crack it on but don’t continue to roll it on, then the bike will not achieve the correct weight distribution.
The most important thing about your throttle control is that is should be smoothly and consistently applied.
The way you enter a turn will effect how early and well you are able to apply the throttle. If you enter a turn too quickly, it is nearly impossible to force your right hand to get on the gas. You end up coasting through the turn, or rolling off mid turn because you are freaked out that you are going too fast. It’s better to approach the turn a little slower, roll off the gas, brake, set your speed, get the bike turned and then roll on the gas as soon as possible.
Good throttle control is also helpful in dealing with poor surface conditions. Take a wet road or a sudden encounter with gravel or a slick surface. If you freak out and chop the gas or apply some brake, you will transfer too much weight to the front, reduce your traction and possibly end up sliding down the road on your ass. Your survival reaction in these situations tells you to roll off the gas, but in reality, you will improve the situation greatly if you roll ON the gas. That being said, remember that on a wet or slippery road, it will become even more important to have smooth throttle control.
Good throttle control also helps with maintaining a predictable line. If you follow Keith Code’s throttle control rule number 1 then you will have a predictable, consistent and smooth line through a corner.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, rolling on the gas does not make the bike run wide.
The bike will only run wide if you apply the gas too much, too early in a corner or before the bike is fully turned. And if you made a mistake at the entrance of the turn and feel yourself running wide, the worst thing you can do is chop the gas, which can cause the bike to want to stand up, and essentially run you wider.
Lastly, there are a few things you can do with your body position to ensure that you are able to achieve good throttle roll on. Maintain a relaxed position on the bike with your arms bent and wrists relaxed, like wet noodles. Sit back in the seat a little bit and pinch the tank with your knees to reduce any weight you might have on your arms or hands. Any extra pressure on the bars will reduce your effectiveness in feeling the throttle and achieving the perfect roll on that you need to make it through the corner the smoothest and safest way possible.
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