Alex Gurney 'scratching' on Alligator 00

Alex Gurney riding his father Dan's original Alligator on the Ortega Highway, Southern California in December 2011. The Alligator has a small but useful seat back, but it's clear from this photo that Alex doesn't make any use of it at all when seriously 'scratching' in a turn. PNB
Photo: © Paul Blezard
UPDATE 2024. This photo of mine was used – without credit! – in the 9minute 2023 WeirdBike video all about Dan Gurney and the Alligators. It's a very interesting video with a lot of great photos and video footage, but also a little bit of bollox and some weird distortions of the English language – enough to make me think that AI was involved in its making.
It's well worth a look though, here:

Alex Gurney 'scratching' on Alligator 00

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FF Definition

Perhaps the definition of an FF should include being able to reach the steering device, whilst having the back firmly supported. I notice Arthur Middleton's machine is ridden similarly to the Alligator on track.

Handlebar reach

I can easily reach the handlebars while supported by the seat back and leaning my torso into the turn. I reduce the lean angle by a few degrees by leaning in (not as much as on my conventional SV650 because on that I can hang off a lot more). I will check on Monday if I can still feel the edge of the seat back when leaning in like this. I used to, but now that riding it like this is a habit I can't actually remember what I do re the seat back. My back is not supported, as you can see, but I found early on that all I need is to to benefit from improved feedback feel the edge of the seat back.

Hanging off/leaning in is to me more of a psychological than technical benefit because I'm not good enough to reach the edge of the performance envelope without falling off.


Seriously Paul? you are going to persue this line of argument?

OK. I just can't be fucked to deal with your level of ignorance.

Ride what you like
Believe what you want.

I really have better got things to spend time on.


I suspect what Arthur has mentioned is quite relevent to most bikers (I ues the word biker deliberately). For those who have grown up on bikes rather than FFs, it seems likely that they have got used to dealing with high cornering forces in a particular way. i.e. Leaning and gripping with the knees.

As someone who has taught car driving skills for a long time I have noticed that the biggest issue is a tensing of the body due to fear of the unknown at higher speeds.

I would imagine (from my own experience in cars) that Royce's assertion about a well supported back being very helpful (essential) for best control is quite correct. I remember going much slower when my multi point harness came loose on an event once.

Better support would allow the rider to relax rather than wrestle the machine. The problem seems to be that even those who run FF's near the limit while cornering still ride them like bikes rather than adapting their positioning to ride them like FF's. The issue is psychological.

To get the best from an FF would probably need time spent training oneself to ride the vehicle like an FF and not like a bike, concentrating on technique and gradually building up speed.

Making the practice of being supported by the steering all but impossible would obviously be enhanced if the steering were as close to the seat back as it is in a car, if not closer.

However, as Arthur says, he (and probably most others I would warrant) are unlikely to reach the edge of their performance envelope without falling off. I suspect that the envelope would be larger when ridden like an FF, but who am I to say, never having ridden a performance bike or an FF.