i2i Machine Control

by Ian Dunckley

Having started with CambsIAM, I was aware that I needed to get to my riding skills to the next level. I’m a great believer in coaching to accelerate learning and getting great results: i2i Motorcycle Academy‘s Machine Control course looked like it would help me achieve a big step forward as it is about the fundamentals and the group size is small (strictly limited to a maximum of 10 riders)

Machine Control proved to be very useful: it focuses the rider’s skills around the physics & dynamics of the bike (as opposed to the perceived knowledge and style preferences of the rider). I came away with many new skills, a fresh perspective, improved confidence and a sense of excitement about developing my riding further

images © i2i Motorcycle Academy

In particular, the course has improved my skills at –

  • Slow-speed riding (below 5 mph) & manoeuvres such as U-turns
  • Cornering generally, which I now approach with more confidence & speed
  • Braking in a straight line
  • Braking whilst cornering

Building the knowledge & experience obtained from the course into my riding is having a positive impact on my confidence and my ability to control the bike in different situations. As this becomes muscle memory, I believe I will have created more time and space to manage the uncommon & emergency situations which riding presents. It seems to me that that even riders with many years’ experience would benefit from Tom’s insights and expertise: we all need a good skill level in a range of techniques and approaches which we can call on as the situation demands

It surprised me that I had not previously thought about my riding, and the bike, in the ways Tom Killeen presented things during Machine Control . Afterwards I wondered why I hadn’t brought my analytical thinking to the task; perhaps others in CambsIAM could benefit from the explanations and demonstration which Tom brings to this complex and dynamic subject

The majority of attendees had some years’ experience but felt that they could learn more. One rider was there to address a specific issue (he kept dropping his bike at low speed). Tom, who is clearly passionate about his subject and an expert communicator, has honed his delivery and inspires by demonstration and humour. His use of personal experimentation and practice are really powerful. He advocates membership of IAM or RoSPA to improve roadcraft. I didn’t see much personal coaching, aside for those struggling, but he was open to questions and adapted his routine around the needs of attendees

i2i offer a third course called Knee Down, and although I don’t feel the desire to scrape my knee –  or maybe don’t know the advantage of this yet? – I’m considering signing up. There is clearly more I can learn to advance my skills

The real value of the i2i course lies in the demonstration, experimentation and practice on offer. I have concluded that to be a successful advanced motorcyclist I need to be confident – and competent – in my riding skills as this will give me time and space to successfully combine the twin aims of making progress and being safe. Attendance at the i2i course has left me with increased confidence, particularly when stopping in a range of situations. I’ve come away positive and determined to practise & improve the new skills I picked up