‘Riding shouldn’t be about electronics’

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What’s former SBK and GP racer Simon Crafar have to say about performance-enhancing electronics like launch control and traction control? Well, so long as Suzuki’s paying him, they’re the antithesis of the two-wheeled experience. Agree? I know I can’t slide a 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 like that.

  • Plotts

    Cool video.

    Something tells me they are behind on the electronics package more for money reasons than the fact that a “real” rider doesn’t need them. They haven’t really updated that bike in years.

    • Gene

      I’m sure they’ll use their MotoGP tech… oh wait…

  • kidchampion

    Agree, we know you can’t either.

    • Holden and Annette

      Oh, burn! It takes a real he-man to write a comment like that!

  • Justin [CBR(s):250&F2/3,K6 GSXR1K, XR600]

    Love it! It’s always nice to be able to know what the limit feels like. Starting out on nice bikes can bite you when you get to the edge.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    The video is a load of bullshit. What, exactly, should riding be about? Finding your limits without rider aids? Are we supposed to switch back to narrow tires and carburetors? What about full-face helmets? All these things enable a rider to go faster. Electronics do the same thing.

    High-sides suck. This notion of bikes without electronics somehow being more ‘pure’ is a load of crap. It’s just like a seat belt: if you don’t like it, don’t wear it. But don’t pretend that your outdated bike is somehow superior because it lacks the latest tech.

    • nick2ny

      There’s a huge difference between fuel injection and sticky tires and traction control.

    • Roman

      I take the middle ground on this. Electronic aides make fast easier and require skill less mental exertion. You don’t have to worry about your rear tire hopping along when you drop two gears going into a tight corner. You don’t have to worry about the rear tire stepping out on you when you drive off the apex. You don’t have to worry about front brakes locking up when braking hard after a straight-away.

      All this clears up a ton of mental space for other things (I’m talking in track context obviously). So in some sense, it’s going faster without earning it. In another sense, it makes riding safer and more accessible to more people. It also makes you a better rider because you can concentrate on things like reference points, corner speed, body position, etc… So I dunno, never ridden a bike with electric goodies yet, maybe once I have a chance, I’ll be a convert.

  • aristurtle

    Any technology that Suzuki can’t manage to pull off is unnecessary and probably detrimental, says Suzuki representative.

    Kawasaki managed to keep up with the current decade; what’s stopping these guys?

  • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

    guys, you got it all wrong. he isnt saying dont have those funky doo-dads, he’s just saying to turn them off.

    Simon Crafar supports your RSV4 purchase.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      That’s kinda funny. A bike like the Aprilia RSV4 APRC SE (did I get all those acronyms right?) is a lairy beast set on the lowest level of electronic aid – I think it’s fair to say that even most experienced racers would have a hard time riding that to the limit. It’s like that low aid setting was designed solely for Max Biaggi.

      If the lowest level of electronic intervention is too much for the majority or riders, what hope do we have with no electronic aids? Good luck with that!!

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    I dunno. I think he just convinced me that I should buy an RS4125.

  • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

    There are Luddites in every hobby. Hell, most of the American motorcycle market is based around people not wanting to change or progress or get better.

  • Janak

    I bought the dvd and the book… the emphasis on skill training not relying on electronics to do the work for you. Simply put learn basic then understand the mechanics. Good stuff…

    • adrenalnjunky

      Doesnt California Superbike School specifically use the S1KRR because the electronics allow them to teach students to ride better without the penalty associated with screwups that the bike can help save?

      • http://cynic13th.livejournal.com/ cynic

        Yes the California Superbike School did buy the BMW for those reasons… but what does Keith Code know…

        • matt

          yeah, seriously. that guy thinks he’s all fast and experienced and knows how to teach 1000s of riders and stuff. Whatever.

      • Dan

        Supposedly accident rates at CSS are way down since they switched from ZX-6s to the S1000RRs.

  • http://lightsoutknivesout.tumblr.com/ Scott Pargett

    Apparently these guys didn’t get the memo about mandatory stock cheese rock soundtrack!

  • rohorn

    Riding like that is SLOW and only impresses dimbulbs.

    Engines are also technology – ban them as well – show your real limits and ride a bicycle.

    Oh yes – how many GSXR racers (or bikes ridden by journalists at the track on press day) are running Bazzaz TC units, hmmm?

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Bwahahaha… I’m glad I still have a few bicycles in my garage. Yeah I should gear up and head to the mountains this Sunday – show all those guys on “motorised bicycles” what real, pure riding is all about.

  • Tommy

    Man, I wish I could just slide like that once, just to feel the sensation….just once.

    • DoctorNine

      It’s really easy to slide like that once.
      The trick is to do it over and over again.


    • Sean Smith

      Go ride an APRC equipped RSV4. Electronics or not, it feels orders of magnitude more awesome than it looks.

    • Scott-jay

      Ride a dirt bike.

  • Edward

    Call me a Luddite, but I appreciate what this guy is saying. It may be safer, but racing is not about safety. It’s about being the best rider.

    Traction Control on street bikes makes sense, but I wish racing was on spec bikes, where the only difference was the rider. Then we would see who was the best, and the racing would be incredibly close, which is when it’s the most exciting.

    • aristurtle

      Racing is half about being the better rider and half about building the better bike, and I know I’m not the only one as impressed by feats of engineering as much as I am by rider skill.

    • rohorn

      Part of becoming/being the best rider IS riding a safer bike.

      There are lots of ex-racers who were very spectacular – which is, more often than not, how they became ex-racers. And sometimes dead.

    • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben
  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    I appreciate the philosophy espoused in the video. Rock on, prodigy superstars. All it takes it practice.

  • oldblue

    I think they skipped over the fuzzy pic of the little kid on the dirt bike a little too quickly.

    Once you’ve mastered sustained, feet-up sliding on a dirt bike, the only things you’ll need to make the conversion to doing it on asphalt are a beaten-up CBR600 that you don’t care about, shagged tyres, a lazy afternoon and an abandoned parking lot.

    You may not get to Crafar standard in just a few hours, but you’ll be able to power slide alright.

    (Not recommended for street riding. May result in death.)

  • filly-fuzz

    I actually liked the vid, Bullshit or not it was well done.

  • FiveG

    Having high sided my DD750 a couple of weeks ago, in large part because in a “panic” situation I locked the rear brake and then released it, I’m having a hard time denying that even with all the training and practice, in the real world it’s kinda nice to have the electronic aids (ABS, traction control) when the SHTF. Yeah, I know what I shoulda done, and I did some of it right, but in the heat of the moment, getting it “all” right may not be as easy for us mortals as it seems. Bike’s damage was basically cosmetic, so once it’s fixed and I can ride again, I’ll struggle with the question of whether I want a safety net and thus, trade the DD for something with ABS (at least).

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

      Yeah, I can’t see anyone arguing electronics for street use – except where there’s an ego battle.

      • nick2ny

        I don’t like the feel of either of the ABS systems I’ve tried so far. They didn’t let me practice backing it in, and then intruded far too easily. No thanks, at least not yet.

        • BMW11GS

          I think you should modify your breaking habits maybe?

  • Liquidogged

    Well done advertising, but in the end, advertising. Still, it’s an interesting point. The endless march of technology means we have to constantly renegotiate how we handle competition in something like motorsport. I think there’s a reason that NASCAR is popular and flat-track racing is becoming cool again. Making things simpler is attractive to fans and riders because it makes it easier to measure who is best. I know I’d rather root for a rider than an electronics package, all the brilliance of the engineers notwithstanding. You have to be a total nerd to understand anything about how F1 cars or MotoGP bikes work, so those sports aren’t big in America. It’s funny this video is from Suzuki, because in some ways it’s a very American point of view.

    Flame suit on.

    • Campisi

      NASCAR is becoming popular again? Damnit, the specter of lower ratings has finally made them start changing stuff…

  • Keith

    I don’t quite understand the reluctance to accept electronic control and a natural progression in the advancement of tech in general.
    I don’t hear anyone complain about better engine , chassis, brake, fuel delivery, tire and aerodynamic design. Why should advanced electronics be any different.
    It’s kind of implied that with these systems, driving is somehow not as engaging and a boring walk in the park.
    For street application, I would be very happy with traction control and ABS.
    For race application,there are still many things a rider has to concentrate on other than traction.

  • Matthew

    Wow, I’m going to have to pull a tape to verify but I’m pretty sure that video contains a shot from my indie movie “Freeze Out.” Any idea of the source? Bear in mind I’m a total fan of the blog and I’m not looking for a license fee for the use just want to make sure there isn’t active piracy going on.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Ahhh… I think MotoVudu.com should be your first stop. That vid has nothing to do with HFL…

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    It’s a pretty cool vid, I’m always for seeing some powerslides and drifting. (Nicest Suzuki ad I’ve seen for a while as well…)

    But it’s a load of horse crap.

    Reason being that there is no need to “take back control”. Because that control has never been taken away from the rider! If electronic rider aids interfered with riding in any way, do you think the best riders in the world would use them?

    So basically, anyone who says that electronics limit their riding ability are saying that they’re better than Stoner, Lorenzo et al. Or at least better than the combination of Stoner and cutting edge electronics. Wow, that’s good!

    And before anyone starts jumping up and down saying that Stoner runs limited/lower setting electronics – yes that’s true, but even he doesn’t turn them off completely. Starting to get the picture now?