Taking Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

During the warmer Ohio weather months, April through October, my blog posts may include information about taking my motorcycle to some road course tracks (and now even a cold month or two).  I take my bike to open track days where (mostly) amateur riders can get on a proper race course. There are people on the track for the first time and people who race professionally.   They will generally divide the riders into several groups, Novice, Intermediate or Advanced.  The control riders/coaches at the track will help you to determine what group you should ride in and then help you throughout the day.   Below is a video of a control rider that is also a professional rider at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.  (Don’t mind the music, it’s not my cup of tea either.)

For the novice group there are classes after each session, as well as skills practiced in every session.  This is to help teach the beginning track rider that the same habits you use on the street are not meant for the track, as well as how to be as safe as possible while being on the track.  This is the most watched and controlled group due to the fact it generally has the most riders and they are all the newest to the track.

For intermediate group there are optional classes and you just run your own pace.  They step up the skill level by not enforcing you to focus on a skill during each session or requiring you to go to a class after each session of the day.  The pace is considerably faster than novice and the only ways to get instruction are to either ask a control rider for it or if they see something to help you with they will generally stop you and coach you on how to do it better.

The final group is advanced, or race class.  This has the same elements as a professional race minus the grid at start-up.   There aren’t really any passing rules and the control riders are mainly all professional racers or former racers who can still make your head spin as they fly past you.  Similar to the intermediate group the only way you will get help is to ask for it.

For the past two years I have been running in the intermediate group and it is a serious meat grinder.  You will have people in there that are fast enough to be in advanced group, but are too scared.  As well as having people who let their ego and pride tell them they don’t need to learn anything from a novice class and should really be in novice learning as much as they can.  I stayed in Novice for over the first year of track riding that I had done.   Some people choose to never leave the novice group because that is exactly where they are comfortable.  They don’t want to worry about the other classes and are perfectly fine with not even being the fastest person in Novice.  This is perfectly acceptable for some, but I had to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to really enjoy the entire experience.  Even though I have been to the track several times now I am always out of my comfort zone in intermediate because there are always new people showing up and you never know when you will running with a group that should be racing, or a group that should be getting coached in novice.

Here at EXAIR we have customers that could fit into each of these groups also.   The customer who doesn’t know what an engineered solution is and doesn’t understand the cost of compressed air.  The intermediate user who has used some of our products in the past but is encountering new issues and knows that we can help lead them in the right direction.  As well as the advanced users who know exactly what they need and sometimes even request a special unit to fit their exact needs.

No matter the case, we can help as well as coach even the most advanced users of our products on how to use compressed air better.  If you are reading this and you don’t know the difference between a Super Air Nozzle and an open pipe, then give us a call.  We will help teach you the differences as well as make sure you understand the need for engineered solutions on your compressed air system.  It may be out of your comfort zone for the first few calls but we will make sure you get to the level you want to be so you get back into your comfort zone.

Brian Farno
Advanced Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

 

Quality Of A Knock Off and Racing Motorcycles

That’s right folks, the first track day of the year is getting close.  The first for this year will be held at Putnam Park Road Course, with Midwest Cafe Racers Association.  We will be heading out on Friday, April 19th, for the weekend.  The preparations already began a few weeks ago, actually over a month ago.  This year I am not only prepping my track bike, but also my friends track bike.   The best part is, I am learning more and more about his bike, and the bells and whistles that it has.

One of the many parts to prepping the bike for the track was changing out the coolant to a non-glycol based coolant, changing the tires, removing all glass / plastic from the bike.  Not to mention drilling and safety wiring the oil filler cap, oil drain plug, and oil filter.  Those are simply the necessities, we have taken it a step further and changed out some other stock parts for nicer track ready parts.  The main obstacle has been that he elected to go with a non-branded rear set foot control.  These were copies of a very large name brand rear set foot control.  Everything seemed to fit together until I went to install the shift linkage.  The linkage length should be 9″ long, the one they sent with the new set was actually 9-5/8″ long.  Because of this it actually placed the shift lever about 3″ too low and will not work.   Luckily, I have the knowledge and ability to modify things like this.  After cutting the extra length off and re-tapping the hole, the linkage is now to the correct length on the bike, and ready to go racing.

IMG_2363 IMG_2364

The point to the story is this:  my friend went with the company who said they were just as good if not better than the big name brand, yet considerably cheaper and not made locally.  In the end the quality of the product was not what they made claims of over the internet and they don’t have near the level of support that the brand name does.  After some fixing, the units will work but it could have been a costly replacement as the manufacturer of these doesn’t stand directly behind their product.

Here at EXAIR we have instilled quality into our product and customer service.  If you were to receive a part that doesn’t work, we will be here to help figure out why, and then make the correct actions to remedy your problem as fast as possible.   So don’t always believe what you read on the internet about how great some products are when they are so much cheaper than a well established, market leading brand.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Prepping For The Heat. (Not Solar Flares)

Well, the first day of Spring is right around the corner.  It’s hard to believe that the Summer heat isn’t that far out for us here in Cincinnati.  Of course the first thing on my mind is hanging out outside with my daughters, and track days.  What isn’t on my mind is the heat that most production environments feel.  It most likely isn’t on your mind either, and won’t be until the heat is here and the machine is shutting down.

High Temp Cabinet Cooler

Why not be proactive and fill out a Cabinet Cooler Sizing Guide so that we can help to prevent that down time in the Summer months?  Even though the temperatures aren’t as hot as they will be in a few months, the temperature differential will still allow us to calculate the heat load that is generated within the enclosure.

Sizing Guide

There’s no better time than now to start preventative measures to keeping your machines running.  Whether that is by installing a thermostat controlled Cabinet Cooler System, using a Chip Trapper to filter coolants or a Cold Gun Aircoolant System to keep a cutting tool cool.  All methods will help you to keep production up and lessen the down time and the costly replacements of your equipment.

If you have any questions on how we can help, feel free to contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Time for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

This Sunday afternoon I will be leaving for a two day trip to The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for two straight days of Motorcycle “Racing”.  It’s my second track riding event of the season and isn’t even actually a race.  For those that ride though they may understand how amazing it feels to be out on the track without having to worry about drivers that are distracted by cell phones or not seeing you.  This is because it’s only motorcycles and they even divide everyone one up per their skill level.   Here’s a good video of one of the Coach Riders having some fun with the Intermediate and Advanced group.  (Yes, the reason I chose this video is the music and I know the rider.  Also, yes, those are his dreadlocks you can see every now and then. )

The last time I was at Mid-Ohio I ran in Novice class on my SV 650.  I was told then that I should be running in Intermediate but the class was too full so just hang out and work on passing.  This year instead of going straight to intermediate I am hanging back in Novice for the beginning of the day just because I am still learning the ins and outs of the 600RR race bike I will be riding this year.

Along with the bikes the three of us going will be taking all of our protective gear, lots of snacks and drinks to keep our energy up, and an entire workshop of tools.   This is because we never like to be at the track and not get to ride because something breaks or comes loose.  I can guarantee our EXAIR E-Vac Motorcycle Brake Bleeder will even be in the tool box.

As long as everything goes according to plan I’ll be right back here on Wednesday and start working on another Friday blog that I can hopefully entertain all our readers with.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF