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Old 7th September 2019, 13:02   #1
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Default Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

Just finished Levels 1 and 2 from CSS at MMRT Chennai. This is not a full on review but I am putting down some broad pointers and a few extra thousand words (via pictures). Hope people find it useful

1. Is it worth it?

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

If you are riding a big bike (any bike but lets assume big bike) there is no doubt in my mind that this will enhance your riding skills. Even more so if you are a relatively newer rider. I felt a better rider at the end of each day, let alone at the end of three days.

Just to be clear - Yes!

2. I don’t ride a sports bike, I ride an [ADV / touring bike / anything else]. Is it still useful for me?

Yes. What bike you ride is irrelevant. It will leave you a better rider. CSS is not (just) about going faster around a race track. (In fact if you do it right, in any session your focus ought to be on implementing the immediately preceding classroom session on the track.)

3. Which bike? Own or their track 200 cc TVS.

This response is my personal take. I was planning to use their track TVS but ended up trucking my Tiger as a last minute decision. I have not regretted that decision for ONE SECOND. I am relatively new to big bikes (22 months and ~7000 kms new, spread between a Triple 765 and Tiger – more on the Tiger). While I would definitely have learnt a lot on the TVS I have no doubt I was better off learning on my bike. I have witnessed first hand in a controlled environment what I can / cannot do on my own bike and I think that would be invaluable while riding on the road.

On a side note, in preparing my bike for CSS, i stripped it of its windshield, fog lamps and mirrors. Just to remove those plastic or glass parts that are removable.

4. The format.

3 days, ~7 am reporting time, alternate classroom and track sessions. The first day starts (after an introductory theory lesson) with basic counter steering being taught on the track to each rider, followed by the first track session. After that its up to 5 theory lessons (usually 20 – 25 mins) followed by 15 – 20 mins of track time implementing the session. Each day ends wiht a common de-brief classroom session.

The classroom follows a sort of reverse pyramid where the most critical aspects (throttle control) are taught right up front following through to bolt on aspects that cover different aspects of better riding, cornering, sighting, braking etc.

5. The instructors

The lead instructor was Steve (from Australia) who took all the classroom sessions. He was supported by 5 – 6 track instructors who had man marked each student (in each track session it was approx. 2 students to one instructor) at the same time on track. Your instructor tagging you on track is the same one through the 3 days for consistency. Students were in 3 broader groups when they went out on track. The instructor would observe the riding and at times lead the student to show how the relevant drill had to be applied and then again observe. Immediately following the track session the instructor would have a quick one on one session with the rider explaining what was right, what was wrong, and picking an aspect and a corner (in particular) to work on in the next session. My instructor was Vikrant Singh (journo) a capital bloke and all round good egg (for you PG. W fans)

6. Food

Nice simple clean food was served (breakfast and lunch) at the track. Cucumber and carrot sticks with nimbu paani was served through the day which was good to keep it nice and light.

7. Gear

The requirements are already listed above. My only added input is leather will definitely give you more confidence than your textile suit in terms of sheer level of protection. But lots of people in regular riding suits as well not leather and its not a deal breaker. If I were to ride a sports bike or do more regular track sessions there is no doubt I would invest in a good leather suit, even if I am on a RC 390 or similar (which incidentally seems like a mad fun bike).

8. Other general points

8.1. Ride within your own limits. The temptation to race might be there but its best to ride in your own comfort zone.
8.2 Ride to the lesson. Each track session has an immediately preceding theory lesson. You are supposed to practice that on the track. The truer you stay to that objective the more youll learn and progress. If you are randomly trying to race on the track in each session then your learning will be compromised.
8.3 Carry the right gear. Its for your own safety and they may not allow you if you are not meeting their min standards.
8.4: One TVS bike did slide off on day 3 pretty badly. The rider was in leathers though and came unscathed. See points 7. And 8.3
8.5: All three days are long and tiring. If you can reach earlier the evening before Day 1 its well worth it. I had a full working day so reached Chennai late night so felt the fatigue on first two days. It is easy to leave Chennai by Sunday night.
8.6: Eat light during the day. Personally I felt it helped me stay sharp and energetic to go carb light – but that’s personal.
8.7: There is usually a healthy dose of journos etc attending whether to enhance skills or for formal write ups. So theres always nice pit lane conversations to be had for us motorheads.
8.8: The end of 3 days has each instructor nominating their most improved student across the batches.
8.9: The program is ended with the instructors doing some hot laps around the circuit fun racing against each other. DON’T MISS IT – ITS AWESOME! Ok I missed it but that’s what EVERYBODY told me.
8.10 Be safe and don’t make dangerous maneuvers on fellow riders. Even if you are skilled the other rider may not be so and you could catch him off guard to both / either’s detriment. You are there to learn and so are others – be safe and have fun.
8.11 If there are no photos / its not on facebook, it didn't happen! CSS has a few photographers on track and they are taking pics right through the 3 days. You can buy these for about 4,000 INR - i got about 400 - 500 pics through the 3 days, a combination of pictures on track and in the other areas like pit lane and classroom. They do not take videos. If you want some videos, ask another rider to take it while you are on track and they are waiting their turn.
8.12 Lots of seasoned riders had go pros mounted on their bikes (one RC 390 had 3!). I guess it helps capture nice footage and you can also review your own body position or bike or track for your own learning.

Hope you enjoyed the read - some pics below for your viewing pleasure.
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Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai-whatsapp-image-20190831-9.09.29-pm.jpeg  

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Last edited by Axe77 : 7th September 2019 at 13:06.
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Old 8th September 2019, 07:39   #2
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Default Re: Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

Thanks a ton for sharing, Axe77! Moving your very useful post to a new thread + going to homepage .
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Old 8th September 2019, 17:19   #3
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Default Re: Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

It looks like you had a lot of fun and in the process learnt a lot. Will surely attend one day. How much did it cost you?
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Old 8th September 2019, 17:54   #4
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Default Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

Quote:
Originally Posted by yesyeswe View Post
. How much did it cost you?

The course fee for levels 1 and 2 (spread across 3 days) was 60k INR including taxes etc. This includes fuel for your bikes and breakfast and lunch (and the snacks I mentioned in between). This also includes the cost of their TVS should you choose to use it. The price remains the same even if you bring your own bike.

Stay is separate and to be booked on your own. The recommended place close to the track is Pleasant Days Resort.

If you are not riding down, the cost of trucking your bike will be extra. This can be a meaningful amount depending on the number of bikes you can muster together.

General side note. The next sessions are likely to be in Jan / Feb for anyone who wants to give this a go.

Last edited by Axe77 : 8th September 2019 at 17:59.
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Old 8th September 2019, 20:42   #5
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Default Re: Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

Although I am not a big fan of bikes, reading your experience I would really like to attend it once I get my license.
Just a random question-Is there something like this for cars?
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Old 9th September 2019, 10:49   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazaar25 View Post
Although I am not a big fan of bikes, reading your experience I would really like to attend it once I get my license.
Just a random question-Is there something like this for cars?
Thank you. Unfortunately although there are lots of such schools for bikes I am not aware of something similar for cars for the hobby driver.

This site has some interesting offroad options but I don't think they are training based activities. More like joyrides. http://www.offroadadventurezone.com/activities/

I believe some brands have also occasionally organised similar activities for prospective customers (Mini had organised a track day at MMRT Chennai that a friend of mine from Bbay attended. I think BMW has done mini versions of this at Gautam Singhania's tiny track at Thane). Again this would really not be a structured training format but more on the lines of track experience with some basic guidance.

Sorry this is not directly helpful but just put whatever information I do have. Happy for other readers to weigh in if they know something more specific.
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Old 9th September 2019, 11:03   #7
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Default Re: Review: California Superbike School @ MMRT Chennai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axe77 View Post
Just finished Levels 1 and 2 from CSS at MMRT Chennai.
Glad that you attended it, was on your cards for quite some time.

Were you in same group as Varun Painter (Powerdrift), OggyF (vLogger) and Anis Shaikh (photographer@Overdrive)?

Quote:
It will leave you a better rider. CSS is not (just) about going faster around a race track. (In fact if you do it right, in any session your focus ought to be on implementing the immediately preceding classroom session on the track.)
Very valuable & logical advice.

Quote:
My instructor was Vikrant Singh (journo)
I think Vikrant was instructor for Anis shaikh as well.

Quote:
7. Gear
Did you borrow Leathers? Where from & at what cost?
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Old 9th September 2019, 11:03   #8
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Quote:
I believe some brands have also occasionally organised similar activities for prospective customers
Can anyone enroll for such events or you have to be owner of a Mini before?
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Old 9th September 2019, 12:56   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
Were you in same group as Varun Painter (Powerdrift), OggyF (vLogger) and Anis Shaikh (photographer@Overdrive)?
I am not sure about the other two but yes - Anis was in my sub batch of riders. Awesome rider Anis - he was properly belting the TVS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
I think Vikrant was instructor for Anis shaikh as well.
Yes - Anis and I were both tagged by Vikrant for on track observation. On that note and I'm sure Anis will vouch too - have to reiterate how good Vikrant was with us. He would go over very methodically and with a lot of specificity over what he observed, what we did well as well as the mistakes we were making and help us come up with the area to work on in the next session. The specificity of advise in each of these 1 to 1 sessions really made a huge difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
Did you borrow Leathers? Where from & at what cost?
.

No I didn't rent. I took my textile mesh type riding gear by HELD. For these to be eligible as per their track rules, they have to be capable of being zipped together. I think they have the option to hire leathers at 2k per day but they don't give much information on what size etc they have in stock and you have to take your chances on arrival. Not worth taking that risk - you would rather go pre-packed with what works for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazaar25 View Post
Can anyone enroll for such events or you have to be owner of a Mini before?
Hey Nazaar. I imagine if they take you are a serious prospective customer, they may try to woo you by sending such invites. At the time, my pal was very seriously considering the mini cooper so the sales guy invited him to this event in Chennai. Existing brand owners are sometimes called for these two and my BMW sales person had called me to similar events at Thane that I mentioned. I don't want to go too OT from this thread standpoint but I will be very happy to give whatever little info I have on this aspect via DM perhaps or any other more direct thread.
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