TEAM Arizona Exclusive Movie Event: Hitting the Apex

HEY MOTORCYCLE MOVIE FANS!  Here is your chance to watch the highly acclaimed “Hitting the Apex” with 80 or so of your closest motorcycling friends.  Spread the word and tell your motorcycling buddies about this AWESOME event!

The film is by Mark Neale who also created the fantastic motorcycle films “Faster”, “Fastest”, and “The Doctor, the Tornado and the Kentucky Kid”.  The film is narrated by Brad Pitt and focuses on the most recent go-fast guys in the MotoGP series including Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, and Jorge Lorenzo.

TEAM Arizona will be providing several cool giveaways in support of the viewing, including a gift certificate to an Advanced Rider Training course!

To buy your tickets for this EXCLUSIVE event, click the image below!

TEAM Arizona Movie Exclusive Hitting the Apex

To buy tickets for the December 3, 2015, showing, CLICK THE IMAGE!

Here is the “Hitting the Apex” movie trailer:

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: The Downside to Dragging Hard Parts

Dragging Hard Parts Motorcycle

“So I was barreling around this corner, really going at it, and then SCCCRRRRRRAAAAPE!  I was dragging my peg in the corner!  It was awesome!”

This was a direct quote from a participant at a recent event we attended.  We’ve heard it before.  We’ve been there ourselves.  We felt that rush of accomplishment the first time our peg touched down.  May as well be a rite of passage for motorcyclists.

The more we get comfortable with leaning a motorcycle over in a corner, the farther we want to lean the motorcycle.  The conventional wisdom is that we’re not “real riders” until we lean our motorcycles over until we’re dragging hard parts.  Unfortunately, conventional wisdom has it all wrong.

Matrix Dragging Hard Parts


The issue at hand is the more lean angle we use, the more we think we’re demonstrating skill.  Unfortunately, it is just the opposite.  The challenge is to keep more of your ground clearance and lean angle in reserve when cornering on the road.  The more lean angle we have in reserve, the safer and, if necessary, the faster we can be as riders.

The downside from dragging hard parts is that we run out of options.  If we need to tighten our line mid corner what will happen if we’re already dragging hard parts?  The picture above shows what will happen. If that rider would have kept some lean angle in reserve, they possibly would have been able to tighten their line and avoid the upcoming fate.

Dragging hard parts means we risk leveraging the motorcycle off of the ground or lightening the load on our tires which may reduce or eliminate traction.  Next thing ya know, we have an unplanned meeting with Mr. Asphalt.  Not fun.


The panacea for dragging hard parts may initially sound simple.  Slow more before the corner, use a path of travel that reduces the need for lean angle, and try to be on the throttle near the apex of the corner so that we are raising our suspension to increase ground clearance when we need it the most.

Additional cures include advanced riding techniques include trail braking to manage suspension position and body position to change the center of gravity of you and the vehicle.  Courses like Advanced Riding Techniques and Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic are great for learning the proper application of these techniques in a challenging yet safe environment.


Matrix red pill blue pillRemember the scene in the Matrix movie where the protagonist is offered two pills?

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

We have a choice to make as motorcyclists.  Taking the blue pill means we as riders will continue to do what we’re doing; growth stunted.  Taking the red pill means you are actively making the decision to advanced your skills by taking rider training.  What choice will you make?  Will you let TEAM Arizona show you how deep the rabbit hole goes?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE


Kelly’s Korner: Zen and the Art of Motorcycling (Through A Layoff)

Kelly's KornerI saw the layoff coming. I just didn’t think it would happen the day after my 12-year anniversary at the company, and I didn’t anticipate so many other people losing their jobs, too.

Kelly Gets Fired by Donald TrupAh, Corporate America, with its pre-holidays downsizing. I could have chosen to dwell in shock and fear and use the unexpected time off to binge on Netflix. But no. I was up at six the next morning, networking my booty off, and starting my long-simmering book. Exactly one week after the layoff, I landed the position I wanted. Then my husband and I used the severance check to get us a big step closer to our goal of moving to Chandler from our out-of-the-way suburb. Now we’re preparing the house for a sale as I wait to start the new job.

My point? This turn of events has proven an absolute sign from the universe that I was ready for growth, and that I can help propel that momentum by re-examining and resetting my priorities. Including riding more. I didn’t realize how much I had let riding slide down my priority list.

And thanks to the layoff, ridden more I have. Almost the only time I felt calm during that first jobless week came while on the bike – so I rode a helluva lot. Fueled by Cartel coffee and a strange sense of excitement about the unknown, I found that meditation and intuition flowed as I zipped around the Valley. That level of introspection doesn’t happen for me in a car unless it’s a long trip; yet, riding gives me almost immediate access to that sixth sense that helps me figure out next steps.

Motorcycle Riding ZenThe experience felt uncanny – I’d sit alone with my thoughts, yet present on my Triumph, sifting through the noise of my life. Along the way, on various freeways and thoroughfares, I’d pinpoint specific areas where I’d lost sight of what I consider truly important. I’m making adjustments as a result and am grateful for the chance to do so. I’d begun to coast through certain parts of my life on auto-pilot. That’s no good.

I think I’ve racked up more miles since Oct. 15 than I have all year. Full-time telecommuting kept me home a lot, obviously, but I didn’t register how much it was keeping me off the bike. That will change with commuting in my life once again. In the meantime, I’ve further realized the extent to which I need to beef up those all-important basic skills. My swerving and hard stops need work. I’m lucky, though, to have the right tools at my disposal, along with the willingness and desire to use them.

Sometimes the universe frees us from ourselves by removing something we thought we needed to survive. This layoff revealed many truths to me: how I was holding myself hostage to a job I loved but had outgrown; to the idea that I had to work from home; to some peoples’ very wrong perceptions about my capabilities; to the “need” for some luxuries to which I had become accustomed; to my own fear of change.

No more limitations. You can count on that. So, thank you, Company X, for the 12 years and the lessons learned. What’s next will be even better, including more riding time to reflect on it all.

In what ways has your life changed without your permission, and how did you rely on riding to help guide you through the shift? As always, I’d love to hear from you; send me an email at

Kelly Teal Signature

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Gene Kuhn: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month November 2015!

Gene Kuhn TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month

Gene Kuhn carries a dual distinction this month.  Not only is he TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month for November 2015, he’s also a winner of Rusty Creed’s Sedona Vacation Prize Giveaway!

Gene’s riding history is quite impressive.  Recently he went on a two month trip where he put 13,350 miles on his motorcycle.  He visited several states including most of the West and some of Canada.  He’s put 55,500 miles on his 2013 Yamaha FJR1300 and has more than 600,000 on a motorcycle since he started riding on the street at the age of 16.  His earliest motorcycle tales started with a Honda 50 that he purchased with paper route earnings.  Sadly, while he was away at school his Dad wrecked it, broke the handlebars, and dented the tank!

When asked why he rides, Gene says he loves the freedom of riding; he’s totally hooked on it.  Gene is self motivated and doesn’t mind clicking off the miles.  At one point he completed an Iron Butt (1,000 miles in 24 hours) and traveled to all four corners of the lower 48 states in 12.5 days.  Yeah, we’d say he’s hooked!

Gene is a fan of rider training.  He came to TEAM Arizona and Rusty Creed based upon a referral from a friend.  Lucky he did!  He ended up being a big winner!

What did Gene win? Check out this AWESOME package:

  • Overnight stay in Sedona
  • $100 Fuel Card
  • $100 Dining Card

If you want a chance to enter to win for the last quarter of 2015, simply visit

Gene Kuhn Rusty Creed Sedona Prize Winner

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill ( )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE


Craig Smith’s Triumphant Return

Craig Smith Returns

A road side shot of Craig on a ride through Salt River Canyon.

We love a happy ending to an unfortunate situation.  If you’ve been following our newsletter, then you’re aware of Craig Smith’s recent misfortunes.  Good news!  Craig is back in the saddle and is geared up to ride again and we were with him on his first major outing:  a ride up The Devil’s Highway.

Craig smilingWhenever a rider experiences a crash, the possibility exists that motorcycling will be in the rear view mirror for that rider.  Not so for Craig Smith.  With pure resolve he decided, almost immediately after his crash, that we would return to riding, learn from the experience, and come back to motorcycling an even better prepared rider.

As is typical with the generous and supportive motorcycling industry, several partners stepped up to help Craig with his return to two wheels.  RideNow Peoria helped fit Craig with the bike of his choice; a 2015 Yamaha FJ-09.  Drayko Jeans shipped out pants to Craig at no charge.   Craig was able to acquire high-end riding gear at significant discounts through TEAM Arizona parts suppliers.

What do you think the first thing Craig did with his new bike and gear?  You got it.  He hit the training range to gain an understanding of his bike’s abilities and to make sure his mental state was in the right place.  Always a wise idea to practice on a training range a) after an incident b) whenever a rider acquires a new-to-them motorcycle.

We’re excited to have Craig back on two wheels.  Do you have any questions for him?  You can reach out to him at

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Writing to Improve Your Riding

Riders, no matter their level of experience, all face points in time where they hit plateaus in their skill development.  These plateaus have their roots in various places.  Fear, motorcycle limitations, physical limitations, or other sources currently unknown to the rider can all play a factor.  How can rider achieve a breakthrough with their riding?

One simple approach is to keep a journal regarding your experience.  The content in the journal will differ from rider to rider, but one thing is for sure, being able to reflect upon your experience and mental state can help a rider in reaching their next level of development.  Here are different environments in which journaling can improve your riding.


Steve Paladini

Total Control Instructor, Steve Paladini, walks participants through an exercise.

We often hear from riders they just want to work on one thing when they come for advanced training.  It could be high speed corners.  It could be low speed maneuvers.  It could be how to use their vision when riding.  Regardless of what they want to work on, participants invariably leave the training environment with not just one element to improve, but a myriad of elements.  How to sort through it all?

We recommend keeping a log through the training process which is why we provide handouts to keep notes.  Then we recommend just selecting one element to focus upon for practice.  Obtaining a private range session can be critical to making the desired improvements.  Private instruction allows the participant and RiderCoach to work on one element at a time.  By working on one element, we can build a strong foundation before moving to the next element.


motorcycle journalOur experience is that keeping a journal while on the road helps us remember the little things that we may easily forget in the future.  From best practices for packing the motorcycle to road strategies we can use our record keeping to improve future road trips.  A quick glance at a ride journal reminded the author to pack some nitrile gloves in case the ride up to Alpine, Arizona, turned cold.  Sure enough, the weather changed and the gloves came in handy.


Writing down information about the riding experience is nothing new for riders at the track.  For the most part in the professional motorcycling world, data logging and hi-tech sensors have filled in to help the rider understand what the motorcycle is doing on the track.  With that said, journaling can be a great way for riders to understand their mental state when riding around the track.  Where to make passes; where to hold the throttle open longer; where to brake later are all elements riders can write down to help them improve their racing.

Rollie Free Journal

Even in 1948 journals were used by racers to record their activities. Albeit crude, it was still a way for Rollie Free to record his record setting run on a Vincent motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

For us mere mortals who are approaching a track day, we can simplify things and start out by focusing on improving how we navigate just one of the corners at the track.  Before going out for a first session, we might have this as a goal:  Turn 2; Enter at XX mph; Start breaking at brake marker 3; turn point at brake marker 1, hit apex and exit.  

We can then record how well performed at Turn 2.  We can record our mental state, how we felt, and what we think we can do to improve our cornering at Turn 2.


Do you commute?  Do you take short trips on the weekend?  Recording the good, the bad, and the ugly can help you become a better rider.  If you have close calls with motorists, record each incident, analyze your actions and reflect upon what you may have done differently.  How could you change your strategy to maximize your time and space on the road?  How can you improve your riding gear to increase comfort and safety?  What skills can you practice to give you more riding confidence?

A little bit of introspection about these incidents can go a long way towards reducing future incidents.

If you decide to start writing to improve your riding will you keep us in the loop?  Tell us your thoughts:

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: On Halloween and Frankenbikes

Kelly Teal HalloweenWelcome to my favorite month.

October marks the time of year when cooking, baking, walking my dogs, hiking and, of course, riding, all become fun again after a hellish summer. (Although we’re still putting up with 100-plus degrees here in the Phoenix area when we should be luxuriating in the mid-90s. I’m giving the weather another week before I lose my mind.)

Amid all of that, we have Halloween fun to enjoy. For my part, I spend a month, or more, basking in my creepy, cheesy lights and decorations; it probably says all you need to know that I put out the Halloween trimmings this year in mid-September. And thanks to Halloween, October also marks my annual indulgence in B horror, sci-fi and monster movies. I’m talking mostly 1950s black-and-white delight, including “The Flesh Eaters,” “Earth vs. The Spider,” “The Alligator People,” the original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the Vincent Price “House on Haunted Hill,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” and much more, with some ‘40s and early ‘60s awesomeness in the mix.

weird motorcycleMy point? I love October. And creepiness. And silliness. All of which provides context and lead-in to a discussion on Frankenbikes! (Just go with me here.)

You’ve seen them, those cobbled-together mish-mashes of motorcycles that look more like Frankenstein’s monster than legitimate rides. We own one and before the other half got his hands on it, the poor thing looked dreadful. In fact, the bike—a Ninja 650 R—goes by the name of “Fugly.” You get the idea.

We bought the Ninja from a Marine at the Yuma base. This guy, in his very early 20s, had spray-painted the bike with various colors: green, maroon, black, gold, each with inconsistent degrees of coverage. Said young man already had wrecked the bike, too, so Fugly was well on his way to Frankenbike status. He looked terrible, a failed experiment in graffiti or post-modern art.

Fugly bikeNow, given the other half’s talents, Fugly looks more polished and boasts his own brand of coolness. But he’s still a Frankenbike, which is why he remains the go-to motorcycle in our stable for the more accident-possible endeavors such as the track. And that’s the beauty of a Frankenbike. If it ends up on the wrong side of the rubber, eh, not a big deal – for the machine, at any rate. Riding a Frankenbike speaks to the pure joy of motorcycling, no matter the aesthetic. What really matters, as Frankenbikers know, is the two-wheel experience. Not caring so much about the bike itself frees the rider to focus on the freedom, introspection and observations of surrounding oneself with fresh air and the open road.

Tell me about your Frankenbike. Or your love of B movies and Halloween. Or all of the above. And join me in having a great October!

Kelly Teal Signature

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Shade Bradley: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month October 2015!

Shade Bradley ROTM

When the bright red motorcycle streaks into the Sidewinder Subs parking lot, the thump-thump of the Ducati motor is silenced, and the slender female rider dismounts, we know the TEAM Arizona Bike Night can begin!  Shade Bradley is a fixture at our event, a proponent of rider training, and an active motorcyclist who packs the miles (40+k in the last two years) on her Streetfighter 848.  How could she not be our Rider of the Month?

Shade DucatiShade loves to ride a motorcycle and if her sixteen years (16) on two wheels are any indication, she’ll be keeping the tire manufacturers in business for years to come.  She just cannot resist the wind, the sun, and the mountain roads she devours on her road trips.  She’s level-headed about her experience.  She prefers to take things slow and understands the challenges she faces on two wheels today will disappear down the road with a little bit of practice and patience.

What’s next for Shade?  More learning and the racetrack.  There’s a definite interest to advance her skills and face some of the fears she has on two wheels.  We love the fact that Shade, even after 16 years of riding, is looking to advance her skills and improve her riding.  With a positive attitude like that, we’re happy to have her as our TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month for October 2015!

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill ( )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE


Google Review TEAM Arizona And Win!

Welcome to the TEAM Arizona Rider Training Awareness Campaign for 2015!

$100 Gift Card

Want a chance to win one of five (5) $100 gift cards to a supporting Arizona motorcycle dealership?  Winning is simple and easy!

Simply click “WRITE A REVIEW” on one of our Google Review pages (click button below), write a 5-Star review, and make sure to mention:

  • When you went to TEAM Arizona
  • Why you attended training
  • How you found the experience beneficial
  • The simple fact that you would enjoy doing business with us again







Winners will be selected from all 5-Star Google Reviews from now until December 15, 2015.  Winners will be announced by December 21, 2015. Entering is easy, quick, and hugely helpful to the motorcycling community in Arizona.

NOTE:  If your review is anything less than a 5-Star review, please contact us first.  We want to know how we can serve you better.

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Avoid Going Wide In a Corner

motorcycle_corneringRiding well means learning how to control our motorcycle at speeds faster than what we may have already practiced, especially if the Basic RiderCourse is all a rider has experienced.  Courses like Advanced Riding Techniques and Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic are great for learning proper technique in a challenging yet safe environment.  When we take to the street how can we make sure our learned techniques transfer at higher than parking lot speeds?  How can we avoid going wide in a corner when riding at suggested road speeds?



The ugly side to going wide in a corner

Aside from the obvious answer like a motorcyclist can hit an oncoming car or run off the edge of a road, the less obvious answer is that it denotes a lack of proper cornering technique.  The fundamentals of proper cornering are not being employed.  If a rider misunderstands this simple fact they may be in for repeated and unnecessary trips into the oncoming lane, the hospital, or to the dealership to sell the motorcycle because they’re afraid to ride.


Before we can suggest solutions, we must first look at the causes for going wide in a corner.  The causes may be singular, but often they are connected and come in multiples.

  • ENTRY SPEED TOO FAST:  Entering a corner too fast can cause a motorcyclist to freeze on the handlebars thus slowing or preventing entirely the necessary input into the handlebars.  Can you say, “HELLO FEAR?”
  • LACK OF TURN POINT:  Do you have a plan?  A good plan starts with where you’re going to initiate proper inputs into your motorcycle to ensure a successful path through the corner.
  • EARLY TURN POINT:  Turning in too soon can result in trajectory that puts the rider on a path into the opposite lane.  It is a common issue for riders as we want to avoid road edges or oncoming traffic so we’ll initiate our turn early.
  • INCORRECT VISUAL REFERENCE POINTS:  Often riders are not selecting the proper visual reference points to give the brain a path to follow.  Do you select the turn point, apex point, and the exit points for every corner?  Do you know how to select these points for different types of trajectories?
  • FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE CURVE:  What type of curve is it (increasing radius, decreasing radius, constant radius)?  Does it have a camber (positive, negative)?  What is the slope?


valentino thumbs up

Valentino appreciates what his riding coaches have done for him!

The solutions we are recommending below are results of the causes we provided above.  Nothing beats training for helping a rider understand their motorcycle better.  It is the very reason riders like Valentino Rossi have RiderCoaches.  Even at the highest level of road racing, there are always coaches there to support their development.  Once training is in place, practicing is the best way to cement what a rider has learned.  It may be true that a track, instead of a road way, is the best environment to cement these new skills, especially if it means traveling at speeds greater that what is posted on the road sign.

  • SLOW EARLY, SLOW MORE:   When learning how to ride on the road or you are riding on unfamiliar roads, slow earlier than you might typically in a car and slow more.  Why rush the corner and arouse fear responses?
  • ESTABLISH VISUAL REFERENCE POINTS:  Find the turn point, then before initiating the turn locate the apex.  Before reaching the apex our eyes need to locate the exit.  Locating these three valuable reference points are crucial.  Our brain does a great job of calculating the necessary inputs into the motorcycle but ONLY IF we give it proper reference points.
  • UNDERSTAND MOTORCYCLE HANDLING:  Do you know what your hands and feet should be doing at certain points through a corner?  Do you know the 10 Steps to Proper Cornering?  Do you know what countersteering means?  These ideas should be well planted in your mind before swinging a leg over your ride.

All of these concepts can be cemented in a car.  Why a car?  We don’t have to worry about the negative effects of gravity!  The increased availability of mental processing (bandwidth) will help us with the acquisition of key visual reference points.  So if you wanna improve your riding, maybe it should start in your car.

Having fun on two wheels is a big element to why we choose to ride.  The more we know, the more fun it gets.  The more comfortable we are on the motorcycle, the more relaxed we can be, the better the experience.  This may take practice or even more training.  Are you ready to put in the time?  Who doesn’t want to avoid going wide in a corner and have more fun?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE