Thursday, 29 April 2010

Keith Code Article

Keith Code and the California Superbike School regular mail out articles.

His most recent is 'Electronics Or How a Chip Can Save Your Bacon'

In it he details the development of the various training bikes and rigs he's developed over the years, including teh famous 'No BS Bike'.

But this article is about what he considers the most important bike so far . . .

As a purist, my viewpoint on competing with sophisticated electronics on road racing motorcycles is: get rid of them. On the other hand, they’ve cut down on highside crashes and injuries, a real blessing in that sense. However, my area is rider training so let’s talk about how computer chips and an obscene amount of horsepower can help you become a better rider.

Several months ago it was announced that the California Superbike School was going to put students on the new BMW S1000RR. Hold on - you’ve got to be joking - that’s the most powerful liter bike ever produced for public consumption. It is the only one that puts over 180 bhp to the ground and will propel it through space at 200 mph. I wouldn’t call the reaction to that announcement actual hate mail but let’s just say there were some strong opinions concerning Keith Code’s sanity.

My current unequivocal statement: For track-based, high performance rider improvement, this ultra fast bike (which also handles with the best of the class) tempered and tamed by its state of the art electronics is the most fantastic training aid ever developed—period!

. . . in 1984 when I built the first training aid, the Panic Braking Trainer. oach riders on recovering from a locked up front wheel. Two years later in 1986 I built the first On-Board Camera Bike which gives the closest-to-real view of how you are riding.

. . . 1997, I conceived and had built the Lean & Slide Bike trainer. It provides rapid correction of body position problems and trains riders on how to save rear-end slides due to misapplication of throttle.

In 1999 . . . I began work on the electronic Control Trainer. It’s a stationary bike, connected to a computer, that walks the rider through all of the combinations of braking, downshifting and upshifting, both with and without the clutch. I’m still working the bugs out of that one.

. . . No BS Bike which has two sets of handlebars . . . gave riders a definite feel for how their unconscious bar inputs affect the bike and how positive and accurate the steering is when only using the bars to change directions.

And finally, . . . designed another stationary training bike we affectionately call the Fukka. The bike flicks side to side on air rams to simulate steering and lean and a variety of body positioning techniques we’ve developed . . .

Add to those 6, the S1000RR and you’ve got all 7 proven training aids that exist and the last is, by far, the best.

So far this year, over 400 or our students have run 49,000 track miles at 4 tracks in 13 days of riding. The training was conducted in all sorts of weather, including rain, on our 2010 BMW S1000RRs fitted with Dynamic Traction Control and Race ABS systems. Yes, we run the first session in Rain Mode which limits the power output to “only” 150 bhp. After the first ride students are allow to go for the full power.

The bike provides an electronic cushion that forgives the rider some of the more common errors. This curtails panic; riders have that cushion and it provides time to gather themselves together before it escalates to out-of-control proportions. At the same time, NO, the bike cannot and will not forgive truly stupid riding.

Here are the results. Compared to the 600s we’ve used for the past 30 years; 12 million miles of track training; over 125,000 students; at 106 tracks around the world…our crash ratio has reduced by 400%. In real world numbers it looks like this: Last year we had 1.2 crashes per per school day average. This year so far, it’s down to a very convincing 0.3 per day.

Let me point out once again, bone stock, these bikes put out 193 bhp, add an Akrapovic pipe and that number is 204.5 bhp. Horsepower is not the cause of crashing and the S1000RR is the best high performance rider training aid ever invented. I rest my case.


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