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Attended California Superbike School on my Triumph adventure bike

Shyam and I, along with a Doctor from Chennai (on a Tiger 1200)- were the only outliers in the entire school with adventure styled motorcycles.

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The California Superbike School Experience

So as mentioned in the earlier posts, I completed CSS L1 to L3 last weekend at MMRT, Chennai - along with BHPians deepfreak15, shyamg28, and Narula123 as well. Overall it turned out to be a brilliant experience - and the confident feeling at the end of Day 2 and Day 3 was unforgettable. You learn that the limits of the bike far exceed that of your own, and your own limits can be pushed so much with just minor corrections to vision and posture.

Deepak brought his KTM RC 390, Shyam did it on the Suzuki V-Strom 650, and Varun on his Kawasaki ZX10R. The motorcycles were largely divided into three batches based on the cubic capacity - so Deepak was in the green batch, Shyam and I were in yellow and the 10R was in the white batch. Obviously, the white batch was the most spectacular one to watch - with the Daytonas, 10Rs, and S1000RRs going full throttle down the main straight! Every single time - it made me wish for one and maybe, just maybe - the Tiger Sport could be succeeded by a supersport and not another tourer - just to scratch that childhood itch! Fingers crossed

That said, talking of the Tiger Sport 660:

Since this is a riding school - and not a quest for better lap times - I think I made a good decision to take my Adventure Sport motorcycle instead of taking a rental from the CSS folks. Now I understand my bike far better and would be better prepared to push its limits in case a situation arises! That said - I had an absolute blast on the track as well - the Tiger Sport 660 never posed any limitations for a rider with my skill level. I guess it did manage to surprise some people who rode together with me in my batch!

Shyam and I, along with a Doctor from Chennai (on a Tiger 1200)- were the only outliers in the entire school with adventure-styled motorcycles and we were naturally quite apprehensive when we started off! What cooled us down was the fact that there were no expectations from us - like nobody to say "You are riding such a track-ready motorcycle, why are you riding like this then?". Just turning up with such a motorcycle was considered a plus, and anything we did thereafter was a bonus! Talk about having no pressure and being able to learn at our own pace! Lol!

The Trident (and previous generation Street Triple/Daytona) derived 660 motor was an absolute hoot - just like a triple is expected to be! 80hp turned out to be more than enough for my amateur skills and experience - and it screamed to 10k rpm without any fuss every lap after lap. Even the somewhat average quick shifter experience during touring rpms turned out to be a non-issue, both up and downshifts working perfectly at higher rpms. Hitting 9-10k and seamlessly shifting into 5th gear at the main straight was quite a joy indeed!

As mentioned in the previous posts, one of my main concerns before this event was the tyres - the Michelin Road 5s already had completed 15k kms before the event and still had good amount of tread depth left! After consulting with a few BHPians - I finally let it be and attended the event with the same tyres. Frankly - the amount of grip on offer just blew me away - the Michelins allowed lean angles utilizing the full depth of the 180 sections without causing a second thought! Overtaking much more powerful motorcycles through a corner taking a safer and faster outer circle turned out such a confidence booster. Not many comments on the brakes - as we didn't have to push the limits of braking, since once again - this was a school, not a track day.

If I have to point out one main weakness, it would be the suspension - the softness of an adventure-style motorcycle can't be ignored. After the main straight of MMRT comes a long sweeping right hander which is quite wallowy and you really have to be loose on the bars and let the bike do its thing - otherwise it is quite easy to get rattled by the up and down movements of the suspension in a fast corner that sees speeds of around 100km/h. There is also some suspension sag under heavy braking - so you have to early on the brakes and release them slowly before the corner, or else the bike can get unsettled while entering the corner. Once again, just keep in mind that the bike was not designed with the track in mind at all - and you will do quite well! Considering the touring capabilities of this machine - I am frankly very deeply impressed by how it handled the track.

Overall, having ridden all of the competing motorcycles in this segment - I still feel that the Tiger Sport 660 is the most fun among the lot if you plan to keep yourself on tarmac for most riding requirements

Coming to the school format and coaching:

All three days had a very similar format - starting with a briefing session, followed by classroom sessions and 20 minutes on the track to implement what was taught! However, the absolute best part of the sessions was the world-class trainers. I am absolutely thankful to have received coaching with TT. Siddharth, who turned out to be an excellent coach - riding behind you and monitoring what is going well and not - and provided precise feedback during the debriefing sessions. The detail they are able to extract when riding behind you is quite unbelievable - and Sid especially balances the good with the improvement areas so well - you get a huge confidence boost while heading out into the next lap.

And boy - seeing them ride redefines your definitions of speed! If you think you are a fast rider on the road, you must be just taking more risks! You end up realizing what real speed is - on the track and how slow you are in real compared to some of the track veterans. It is best to keep benchmarking yourself and keep chipping away towards minor improvements each and every lap!

I did take my recently bought leathers to the event, but many including Shyam attended the event with textile riding gear and it was perfectly adequate. Thankfully, the weather in January was suitable for walking around in leathers provided you ensure to have tons of water and fruits provided. I am not sure how to do this in the mid-year Chennai heat!

We arrived at the track on the 26th morning to be greeted by this beautiful sight - such desirable machines all around!

Three outliers to be seen - the only adventure-styled motorcycles around were my Tiger Sport 660, Shyam's Suzuki V-Strom 650, and one Tiger 1200 from Chennai

As mentioned earlier - we did start off questioning our life decisions once again, at taking touring machines to the track. This sort of company doesn't help either! That said - it was easier once we turned the pressure around - after all no one would ask us "you are riding such a track-ready motorcycle, why are you riding like this then?" Lol!

The full class attended the morning briefing session. Those with keen eyes might spot a few familiar faces!

All the trainers introducing themselves - a truly international team of trainers here at CSS:

Tech-inspection in progress! They check a few parameters including tyres, brakes, suspension sag, etc. I wonder why he has a smile on his face. Lol!

Big sigh of relief once the Tech Inspection was cleared!

Triumph is an official sponsor for CSS and most of the trainers rode around on their Street Triple 765RS and Speed Triple 1200RS bikes. The track-spec Daytona at the last was a treat to watch and hear though!

The rental bikes were ready to roll out, there were also many RTR 200s for the event, not just the 310s!

shyamg28 rolls on the track, followed by my bike in the background:

Thanks to the official photographer Aditya Bedre and his team for making us look good in all the images!

deepfreak15 rolls out with the Green batch:

Narula123 attending steering drills on Day 2 before the sessions begin:

Steering drills in progress for me:

Some images from the pits:

Some images from all three days of track sessions:

Parting image, the full batch at California Superbike School - India, January 2024:

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