Superbike-Coach! Keeping Your Skills on Track

Dec 07, 2015 View Comments by

I take riding seriously. I maintain my motorcycle: tires inflated, chain lubricated—check. I wear protective riding gear: armored jacket, leather boots—check. I believe in rider training: I have a coach—check. Wait—a coach?

RoadRUNNER at Superbike Coach

While proper motorcycle upkeep and safe riding gear are essential, refining skills is often overlooked. My mechanic has my motorcycle covered, and“Coach” Akkaya has my skills covered. Founder of Superbike-Coach, the former racer and factory test rider has the credentials and experience to help build and better anyone’s skills. After taking the Superbike-Coach Cornering Skills class in Stockton, CA, my good game became great with some coaching.

Can, or Coach as everyone calls him, has a simple philosophy—mix a little classroom learning with a whole lot of track time, and then throw in a dose of individualized coaching to make lessons more pertinent. Class starts with Coach assessing the skill levels and concerns of participants, whose experience levels ranged from a few months to a few decades. Several were returning students, eager to work with Coach on growing their skill sets.

RoadRUNNER at Superbike Coach

Riders are divided into three groups: advanced, intermediate, and beginner before gearing up to hit the track. The Round 1 assessment is a strategically laid out course that features hairpins, straight sections, and decreasing radius turns, which allow Coach to examine strengths and weaknesses. After rotating through the three groups, we return for a reflection and honest evaluation of how we did. Coach infuses a healthy dose of humor and creates a classroom experience where students feel they are learning as much from each other as from Coach and his insights. Another brief classroom discussion leads to practice on trail braking—an often feared and misunderstood technique. While it may seem counter intuitive to brake while leaned over through a turn, smoothness and speed replace the herky-jerky rhythm of previous sessions a few laps later. Compressed front suspensions allow us to avoid that dreaded pogo-stick effect of diving into corners. My riding partner, Patrick, notices immediate improvements with his Suzuki V-Strom’s longer forks. We finish this session feeling something akin to amazement.

RoadRUNNER at Superbike Coach

Our next meeting (which involves counter steering) is similarly enlightening. Being on a track allows us to divest our attention from the usual road worries of vehicles, rocks, and wildlife to home in on the skill at hand. Donning his leathers and mounting his super moto, Coach, knowing our riding styles, smoothly inserts himself into the game. Finishing the day, all groups filter through the track with Coach seamlessly sliding in front of each rider, tapping his tire to indicate the favored line, and leading us like the Pied Piper around an initially daunting track that now seems more like a familiar weekend road.

Superbike-Coach is actually a bit of a misnomer. Coach Can offers many different classes from wheelie lessons for the closet hooligan to individualized training, to tours of California. Sure, I felt like a sharp knife going into class, but I came out feeling like the rust had been skillfully removed. That left me as a better and safer rider. Thanks Coach!

RoadRUNNER at Superbike Coach

Text and Photography: Chris Phillips

Tags: Categories: Chronicles, Motoholic, Technical Tips, Touring & Safety Tips