Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School - Schooled! - Speed Secrets


By: Dave Smith, Mitch Boehm, Photography by Dave Smith, George Roberts

Kevin Schwantz
Suzuki School
5300 Winder Highway
Braselton, GA 30517
Phone: (800) 849-7223
Fax: (770) 967-2668
Track Tips, Texas-Style
30-plus KSSS-approved things to do at your next track day
1.Increase your speed incrementally.
2.Find and use reference points for braking, turn-in and apex.
3. Focus your vision way out front.
4. Select a gear that uses 60-80 percent of redline at the exit.
5. Be loose on the bike and bars, not rigid.
6. Get body position set for corners early.
7. Hang off slightly-and comfortably-in corners.
8. Use your legs to move you around the bike, not your arms.
9. Go slow when learning a new track. Get the flow first.
10. In the wet, be super-smooth with all control inputs.
11. Ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs at all times.
12. Weight the inside peg entering corners.
13. Weight the outside peg at the apex and exiting corners.
14. Perfect practice makes perfect-helps muscle memory.
15. Ignore the rear brake.
16. Walk the track if possible.
17. Don't apex early; late apex whenever possible.
18. Get to neutral throttle ASAP approaching the apex.
19. Apply smooth but forceful throttle exiting a corner.
20. Keep body movements small or smooth while cornering.
21. Braking distances increase exponentially with speed.
22. Monitor chassis feedback through hands, feet and butt when braking.
23. Ease off the brakes smoothly as you lean the bike into a corner.
24. Brake in segments: first 10 percent (to settle chassis), then 75 percent (hard braking), then 15 percent (releasing smooth toward apex).
25. Get hard braking done early; don't wait till you see God!
26. Passing tip: Let off the brakes sooner and carry a bit more speed into the corner.
27. Release the brake more slowly than you initially grab it.
28. Ride a bicycle for leg strength and cardiovascular training; it'll make you a better rider!
29. Control panic by being in control at all times; resist the temptation to go beyond your personal comfort envelope.
30. If you get in too hot, look where you want to go, relax and will yourself to make the corner.
31. Resist the temptation to tuck completely behind the bubble; sitting higher allows you to see more, which helps nail your braking and turn-in points.
32. If you crash, get wide. It resists flipping.

Students Say ...
What actual paying customers think of the KSSS
I could write volumes about how much I enjoyed the atmosphere, training, food, friendship and energy. Can't wait to do it again. -Dennis Santos

There were moments when I was laughing out loud in my helmet because I didn't know I could actually do what I was doing! -Richard T. Brandley

I am a 50-year-old motorcycle addict and love to ride fast. This was far and away the best school I've been to. (I've been to Freddie Spencer's, also very good.) -Frank Stanford

My basics were incomplete and I got out of my zone. Big lesson learned, a humbling experience. I'm disappointed, but am planning to attend the same session next year a whole lot smarter. I've done a lot of cool things, but this was one of the best experiences I've had. -Woody Nepa

Even as a KSSS frequent flier, it never ceases to amaze me how much additional technique, consistency, confidence and, most importantly, reliable speed I can take away from Kevin and his instructors. -Trip Goolsby

I started riding in '03, bought a Kawasaki ZX-10R, wrecked going 130 mph and am fortunate to be alive. This was my fourth KSSS school; they've been truly life-saving experiences. -Cliff Brown

The way the instructors started us off slow and then gradually increased the pace was great. The track walk was immensely helpful, too. I've walked 'em before, and it's helpful. But it's an entirely different thing to watch Jamie James fly through there while you're 5 feet off the track. That was priceless. -Dane Westby

My KSSS experience made up the best three days I can remember. (Don't tell my wife!) Now I'm smoother, more relaxed, faster and more confident [on the street]. -Dave Bardwick

What a thrilling opportunity for a 57-year-old woman who's only had her motorcycle license since '02! I will never race and may never go to track days, but I have brought home skills that will be with me on the road for years to come. -Ann English

Who doesn't want to ride and hang out with Kev Schwantz? Whatever the advice, it has the weight of a hundred gods speaking when Kevin says it. I felt the curriculum could have been a bit better, and the classroom delivery was at times unfocused-though I appreciated the open nature of the classroom discussions. The on-track instructors were great, by far the most experienced I've ridden with. Value? It's pretty expensive. If I hadn't crashed it would have been worth it. I wish they'd offer a credit or something for the time missed due to a crash, though. Everybody makes mistakes. -Dan Projansky

I was the only female in the advanced group, and the slowest. But instead of getting lost when my group left me, I was always picked up by a spare instructor who'd either lead me to another group or stick with me for the rest of the session. Off-track I was literally bombarded with feedback. The thing that impressed me the most was the desire of the instructors to teach me at my level and my pace. -Kim Bernstein

Being a Schwantz fan I just had to do the course. It was a good value. I went there to get my confidence back after a crash at Brands Hatch. -Stu Holloway, U.K.

Beside great instruction, an exciting track and the Suzuki GSX-R600, the best thing about the Schwantz School is the Southern-flavored camaraderie. -Tom Bowers

I really like the fact that Kevin is so active in his school, and that he was so down to earth and approachable. I also love Road Atlanta. -Eric Johnston

By Dave Smith, Mitch Boehm
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