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We Took Superbike Lessons (!!!) with DB Racing

Look at this insane thing we did that you can do too...
2023-03-27 15:00:00

We've got a thirst... a yearning... and unquenchable desire. Yes indeed, gentle reader! We've got the need! The need for speed!

Check out how we did -- and you can as well do -- superbike lessons in Shanghai!

For real.

So, you've seen these before. "Superbikes" are the ones that reach speeds of 250mph (over 400km/h) with engine displacements of 1000cc or higher. These things REALLY GO. And at that speed when you're turning, you're basically leaning RIGHT OFF the damn thing with your damn knee right on the damn ground!

It's insane.

Like Formula 1 cars are to car racing, superbikes are to motorcycle racing. Basically, this is the fastest you can go on two wheels.

Want to learn how to ride one?

In Shanghai?

Introducing DB Racing...

Established in 2021, and based at the Tianma Circuit in Shanghai, DB Racing Academy is the first Italian motorcycle team and training center in China. Their passion is speed and they offer a serious but open and welcoming training environment and members' clubhouse to connect motorcycle enthusiasts of all levels.

At their Academy, they offer English (and Italian and Chinese) language motorcycle training courses at beginning, intermediate, and professional levels, as well a safety and motorcycle maintenance instruction.

This is an aerial view of Tianma Circuit where DB Racing's clubhouse is based. It's a real scene, man. You gotta check it out. We went out early on a Sunday morning and in half-hour slots all kinds of crazy souped up cars and bikes were just roosting on this thing. We're talking constant Doppler Effect all morning.


For classes, depending on your skill level, you will be assigned a coach and a motorcycle to suit your abilities. As it turns out, we were bringing ZERO ability to the table. Hey-o!

(I mean, I've got a scooter, but I've never even changed gears on a motorcycle before or even ever really been on one for that matter.)

So, my man Jian here started us off at the entry level "Amateur" classes. Your morning begins in the classroom, learning the basics of safety. Here's Jian explaining the importance of all padding on the motorcycle space suit we're wearing, warning us that we'll need it because we'll "probably fall at least three or four times this morning."


The very first lesson for superbike training is learning the body positioning for turning. You know that thing we were talking about earlier -- leaning off the bike and dipping your knee so it scrapes on the track. That thing. You learn to do that thing. This is us practicing the body positioning at zero miles per hour, my ideal speed.

This is the part of the suit that's going to touch the ground (allegedly). For students, DB Racing provides all the gear -- suit, helmet, motorcycle, boots, back brace, everything -- you just have to bring with you your willingness to defy death.

The classroom prep takes about half an hour and then it's down to the garage to pick up our motorcycles. Their in-house bikes (with rental options for licensed riders) include the Yamaha R1, Yamaha R6, and Aprilia RS 660. Those all go around 200 mph. Very serious business indeed.

For the Amateur class, we stuck with a smaller lightweight sports bike: The DB 190 Pitbike. 190 cc; 25 horsepower; 70 kgs.

Again, lesson one is learning how to turn, and the smaller, more lightweight bike, with its smaller wheel base, is the one you train your brain and body on before moving to the big bois.

So, the two-hour lesson is done in the pit area of the track and, basically, we're just driving around traffic cones trying to get the correct position of the body down to lower our knee on to the track while turning. It's a mental thing as well as a physical thing. The key to doing it is really fighting your brain which is urgently asking you the whole time "hey WTF are you tryna do man!"

But that's kinda the thrill of it.

With each successive attempt Jian would film it on his phone and then we would go over what I was doing wrong. Which was quite a few things.

But physics! It's all physics! Isaac Newton stuff! Forces and weights counteracting each other. Or something. Even though your brain doesn't want to let you do it, if you're positioned right, the physics of it all work out to result in not-death.

After about an hour and a half of trying I managed to do it on my right side. (It was way harder on my left side.)

But... you'll have to take my word for it because we don't have a picture. Alas...

Hey, this is me doing it wrong. My body is twisting away from the ground when I'm supposed to be more of at a 45-degree angle. This is what it looks like when your brain is really not cool with what you're telling it to do.

For some people starting out, they're able to master the turning quite easily and move on to the next levels, which is an increase in bike cc and permission to ride on the track.

I didn't get that far...

(First lesson, c'mon man!)

So, we'll round this out with some pictures of some real speed demons who are obviously further along in the training than I am. Speaking with Coach Jian, everyone is different and everyone learns at a different pace.

And it really helps if you are Italian.

That said, it's quite a quick process for most people. Maybe a lesson or two at the Amateur level before moving up...

Wanna try it out?

SmartTicket is handling sign-ups for DB Racing's Superbike Academy. The entry level lessons are 1500rmb per session. Probably a pretty good birthday or anniversary gift for the crazy person in your life? All the information and booking available right here. They also do bike rentals for licensed riders.

Bonus: Hey check out this car! No idea what this even is but sweet LORD it was loud!