Practice and Proficiency vs Ownership


Note: if you are fast and good, this article isn’t really for you. This is about us slower non-expert racers.

Too many (riders, shooters, drivers, musicians, etc.) will confuse ownership for proficiency. High-end gear with high-end mods does not actually make you good at any of these technique activities. It may even make you worse for a couple reasons

  • Masking mistakes. Especially with new high-end bikes, having a pile of nannies and a lot of available power may turn serious mistakes into non-events. This is great as far as survivability, but prevents skill advancement. Since mistakes are harder to spot, and easy to fix, riders may be under the impression that they’re more proficient than they actually are.
  • Managing the bike rather than riding it. When a rider has too much power, they have to spend too much time and brainpower on making sure they don’t twist the throttle too much, or squeeze the brakes too much. Or the rider may spend more time trying to find the right “mode” for their activity rather than making what they have work. This may interfere with all the other actions they need to take (whether physical or mental). There is enough to do on a bike (look for hazards, plan lines, position the bike and yourself, ride the bike, etc) without having to be super precise on the throttle input.
  • Too much invested; Too much to lose. I’ve stolen this quote from my friend Jason and use it a lot. “Learning is difficult when failure is expensive.” If the rider is more worried about dropping their new shiny expensive bike, it’s much less likely they’ll practice and explore and expand their limits. “I can’t afford to crash this bike going to the track” is a ridiculous statement that prevents many riders from actually going out and making themselves better.
  • “I can only do that on my bike”. So you’re good, or think you’re good. However, hop on a lesser machine and suddenly you’re struggling. Sure there is something to be said for proper setup, but in many situations, it’s because the equipment was doing the work for you.

Instead of investing in the shiniest fastest equipment, long-term it will be more effective to spend that same time and money on the rider. Make yourself a better rider and the bike will stop being so much of the equation. A good rider on a clapped out sv will run circles around a guy who hasn’t practiced but is on a hp4.


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