We caught up with KTM's Mike Sleeter to take you through the basics of rollers and help you get through as fast as you can while keeping it safe. Mike talks us through the many different ways to go through the rollers as well as how to approach them from both the inside or outside of a corner. From body positioning to foot placement, Mike goes over it all in hopes to make you a better rider on the track.
For more How To videos, click here!
What's going on everyone? It's Mike Sleeter. We're all out here at Pala Raceway, it's a beautiful day and we're going to take you through a couple segments of rollers. There's a few, two different sections, we're going to go through. Each one of them have a turn entering and a turn exiting. As we go through this I'll talk your way through it.
Rollers on tracks, there's all different types and styles of rollers. They're so different in the fact that the way you come into them, the way you exit them. There's probably three or four ways you can get through them:
- Double through them
- Triple through them
- Hammer through them
- Manual through them
- Wheel tap through them
It all depends on your entrance and your exit at the turns. The rollers here at Pala today, there's not very many of them; but it's very critical how you will get through them in the sense that there's a inside line and a outside line, and you straighten up that segment from point A to point B as best possible so that you can have momentum all the way through.
This first section here at Pala, the dirt here at Pala is an anomaly in itself. It looks very tacky and very welcoming, but it's quite slippery. You'll notice as I go through them I tend to lose traction exiting the inside of the turns, so what I like to do is make sure I have plenty of pressure on my outside foot when I'm exiting the turn.
As I'm entering the turn, I make sure I'm very light on the front brake so I don't tuck that front end and go down. Biggest things that goes down with rollers is, especially when there's a turn, is guys seem to swap out and they let off but, if your knees are tight and you have a good core stability and your head is over the bars, you virtually cannot crash. Getting through the turn consistent, getting your straight shot, and once you're straight, you drop the hammer and point and shoot where you want to go.
It's very important we talk about our knee placement. If you're on the bike and you're looking like a duck, there's no way you can grip the bike because you just can't get your legs to go in. If you get your toes at a straight angle, matching the frame, on the balls of your feet, you've got to be on the balls of your feet, you can get a complete contact with this bike, and squeeze it completely.
Virtually you can get almost just steer it like a road race bike just pushing it with your hands. The tighter you hold that bike with your ankles, your feet, all the way up to contacting your boots into your knees up into your groin, and it goes up into your quad and in your chest. You shouldn't be death gripping with your arms. This is all tight from bottom to top - you're homestretch all the way through.
When you're going through a roller section you always want to start your body forward, and then adjust your weight back and forth. As you enter it could change based on hit a kicker or the bike move a little bit, so if you're going to do a wheel tap in the middle or if you're going to jump or double, let it come to you.
If you're all the way back here going in and you're head back, you have two places to go:
- Off the back of the bike
- Over the front if it kicks or loops out
What you want to do is have your balls of your feet, your butt back, core tight, head over, and as you start going then you can modulate the bike back and forth with the body, kind of work it. Once again, using your core, your glutes, your quads, your calves, all that's very important. You're not really controlling the bike with these guns. As you can tell I don't have any, so it is possible to get through them.
On the first segment of rollers worked on there is once again, two options:
- Tight inside rut
- Outside rut
When I went to the inside I didn't have enough drive to get double in or carry a bunch of momentum, so what I've done is I get my head over the bars, finger modulating the clutch, as I rolled over that first roller I bent at the waist, got my head over the bars and I just dropped the hammer with the clutch to get a nice squirt to enter the whoops.
When I'm on the outside, I have carrying momentum. So I make sure I'm off the seat, cool, tight, legs tight, head over the bars and as I come through there I start adjusting my body positioning to find that traction. You don't just instantly want to get back, where want to have your weight forward. As you go through there you'll feel it, try to treat it like you don't have suspension, and let your body do some of the work and then the bike will come to it.
This is Mike Sleeter. I hope I helped you out with the rollers today, and once again, remember this is two segments of rollers. Every rollers are different. There's sand, there's hard pack, there's gravelly type, there's ruts in them, there's mud in them. You have to treat each segment of rollers in its own certain way. The biggest part of these is remember and plan ahead, like any part of the track. Got to set that section up early from the beginning to the end. It'll make your life a lot easier.