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by Motorcycle.com Staff

How can I get faster?

By Sean Alexander, Feb. 29, 2004
I received an email from a polite reader in Georgia. Ren is asking how he can improve his riding skills and gain speed, without drastically increasing his risk.

Before I show you the email, Id like to congratulate Ren for being smart enough to know his limitations and not push out of pride. Many a bike and rider have been lost due to the fabled "Red Mist" when they find themselves being passed or left behind by their faster riding buddies. As we all know, riding is an inherently risky activity (like walking the dog, or commenting on your mother in law's weight gain). However, you can significantly reduce those risks, through rider training and exploring your limits in a safe and controlled environment. Large dirt fields and roadrace tracks are best for this. If youve never been on a racetrack, Id recommend taking an organized track school, before you start doing open track days. In addition to track days, please dont under-estimate the benefits of riding a dirt bike. To get started on his sportbike speed/skill improvement, Ren might want to try the Kevin Schwantz School at Road Atlanta, since its in his neck of the woods. -Sean

________________Ren's Letter:_________________

I want some info from my fellow subscribers, but I'm not sure what the proper format on MO is to do this. I've been with you guys since the non-sub days, and a subscriber since it started. Here's my issue. Last weekend, I went riding with four buddies up in the North Georgia mountains. I'm 38 and they're all older than me. I've been riding (a lot) for 14 years, and I've taken the MSF Class & the experienced rider course, but I've never had a track day. I'd classify my riding style as safer than a squid, but not particularly timid either.

(please click the "Read More" link to finish this story)

Anyway, these friends of mine left me behind, and had to wait for me at the next main intersection again and again. Two were on sportbikes, but one was on a damned V-Rod, for cryin' out loud! I was on a BMW R1100RT and while I know that the RT is no sportbike, I wasn't scraping the pegs yet, so it could have been ridden faster. Am I right? (Yes, you are correct. The issue here has little to do with the bikes and almost everything to do with rider skill and the fact that you are smart enough not to push on public roads. Sean)

My question for you (and the MOFO's) is: How can I get faster? I don't want to crash, and I don't like to scare myself. I don't mind a bit of the adrenalin rush now and then, but there's got to be a better way to improve my speed than just "trying harder" or "going faster", either of which, I'm afraid, might get me into a bad accident. I think I should be able to keep up with my riding buddies without endangering my life. Any suggestions? (My favored recipe for improving the speed+safety of MO staff members is: Freddie Spencers 3-day Advanced School, coupled with at least two track days per year and a healthy dose of dirt bike riding. Sean)

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