Home Bike News California Superbike School Level 2 & 3: Diving Deeper

California Superbike School Level 2 & 3: Diving Deeper

by caradmin
California Superbike School Level 2 & 3: Diving Deeper
GalleryIntroductionLevel 2Level 3Is CSS worth it?


Level 1 of the California Superbike School focused on learning the basics of cornering, the logic behind them, and practising on the track to understand the benefits. While some of the level 1 curriculum sounded familiar, levels 2 and 3 took an astoundingly deeper plunge into the art of cornering. In fact, the lessons sparked a far-fetched imagination that I was preparing to become a professional racer. Before delving into levels 2 and 3, check our previous article on CSS if you haven’t already, which explains the overall format of the school and the level 1 curriculum.

Level 2

Four out of five sessions of the second level are related to vision, and they were profoundly eye-opening for me, no pun intended. ‘Look far while taking a corner’ — I’ve heard this advice thousands of times to date. However, level 2 revealed that it’s a shallow piece of information, and things go beyond that. While looking right in front of the front wheel is definitely hazardous, looking too far around a corner can cause you to run too much on the inside. The first four sessions aptly addressed these issues.

The first session was about picking reference points around corners, and this exercise set the precedent for the next session called 3-step, which is a more advanced level of 2-step. For picking reference points, every batch went out on the track in a queue for a low-speed recce to pick their imaginary reference points. It could be a small sand patch, shredded piece of tarmac, skid marks, or anything that one can remember and use later.

Now, the second session was called 3-step because it involved visually tracing a line through the turn marker, reference point, and the apex. Once you’re confident about hitting the marker and shift your focus to the reference point, it’s crucial to keep the marker in your peripheral vision until you cross it and follow the same for the reference point and the apex. It allows your vision to smoothly flow from one point to another, thereby allowing the brain to collect as much data as possible in advance.

The 3-step helped me get a better line around C10 of MMRT, which is a tight and slow left-hander. I identified a line cutting through two different shades of tarmac as the reference point. And every time I hit that point after the turn marker, I could stay close to the apex for most of the corner.

The third and fourth sessions include wide view and wide-view transition, respectively. These techniques demand you to actively use peripheral vision to have as much visual data as possible, even when you’re focusing on one of the three aforementioned elements around a corner. This gives you a better sense of speed, location, and line. If done correctly, you also get a sense of having more time to act around corners. Plus, in the real world, this helps with detecting dangers on the road in advance.

Level 3

The third level was physically taxing as it’s all about body position. I was looking forward to this one the most because correct body position makes you look great in pictures and videos. So, the first session was about setting up your body for a corner before actually entering it. And it was not as simple as getting one side of the posterior out.

The correct way to do it is to move back on the seat and move the pelvis out, keeping it parallel to the handlebar, with the help of the inside knee. Once you start braking, squeeze the tank with both knees to prevent yourself from sliding forward. Then shift the upper body on the inside when you start steering. Doing all of this while entering a corner can make the bike unstable and be disastrous.

The second session included an exercise called knee-to-knee. It’s helpful in shifting your body from one side to another while going through a quick succession of opposite direction turns. Suppose you need to take a left-hander, which is immediately followed by a right-hand turn. The technique here is to press the outside (right) knee into the tank once the bike points to the next corner and smoothly slide your backside onto the right, followed by tilting the upper body on the inside of the next corner. For a firmer grip on the tank, it’s recommended to shift the outside toe rearwards on the peg. Knee-to-knee made my transition from C4 to C5 much smoother than before.

The third session was a more intense version of knee-to-knee. It was called hip flick and was useful through fast-flowing chicanes. During the transition from one bend to another, you need to briskly move the hip outside before the upper body while maintaining a firm lock with your knees onto the tank. This was almost impossible for me to execute correctly. However, a coach’s confession that he had to practice this for hours to crack gave me enough consolation.

The fourth session, hook turn, was quite technical but worked like magic. It involved dropping your upper body further on the inside while being leaned over around a corner to tighten the line. What was fascinating about it is that you neither add a lean angle nor steering input but tighten the steering rake by putting weight on the front. I could consciously try it through the long sweeper from C6 to C7, and the tightening of the line was surprisingly evident.

The last session was about exiting a corner and picking the bike back up from a lean. It was as simple as pushing the outside bar and rolling on the throttle simultaneously while exiting a corner. You must also keep your upper body leaned over on the inside for a bit to avoid destabilising the bike. This exercise straightens up the bike quicker and enables faster corner exits.

Is CSS worth it?

Yes! It’s worth every penny. If you perceive motorcycle riding as something more than just a way to go from point A to point B, CSS is a must. It acquaints you with the fundamentals of motorcycling, which, if practised and applied in the real world, will not only make riding motorcycles immensely fun but also be life-saving for you. Honestly, attending the first three levels made me feel truly enlightened. There’s so much more to motorcycling than just rolling on the throttle and applying brakes!

Photography by Aditya Bedre


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