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Old 03-10-2011, 12:23 PM   #1
Lost Rider OP
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Ventura County, California Republic
Oddometer: 3,327
F800GS Front Fender Failure Caused Catastrophic Crash

I was in Death Valley, just riding down the road, enjoying the scenery, and watching fighter jets buzzing around when I heard a CLUNK!
Next thing I know I see my fender shoot out in front of me, then I hit the ground hard @ 50 mph and while sliding down the road, bouncing off of rocks I watched my GS's white parts explode and tumble down the road with me.
We finally stopped sliding, the bike laying there running with the rear wheel spinning as a massive cloud of dust caught up and blanketed me for a moment. I crawled over to the bike and leaned my back on it, in shock, not believing that I was very seriously hurt.
There was a dull, yet growing pain everywhere, but nowhere specific, like my brain was telling my body something must be broken after seeing what I saw. I checked all around and didn't feel any bones sticking out and finally leaned over and turned off the bike for the last time.

It was eerily quiet, all I could hear was my heart pounding.

This was to be my lucky day, really.
First off, I had just invested in a THOR Impact Rig SE protective suit, which sustained damage and undoubtably saved me from further serious injuries. If I would have been riding with my normal street gear on things would be much different.
My Arai XD3, Rukka gloves, Sidi boots, and BMW city pants all had fulfilled their purpose, protecting me from more serious injury, and show the damage they took in my place.
I do have some road rash where there's a gap between the Thor and the pants, and where I burned thought some armor on my forearm, over my tire track tattoo (should make a nice scar) , and I've possibly broken my wrist, but I consider myself very lucky to be able to walk or just be alive.
I remembered everything and was glad I hadn't blacked out.

Unlike most of my solo Adventures, I was with two good friends out riding this time, and was in the middle of the pack of 3, so a few minutes later inmate kpick came along, and being a calm, cool, and trained guy, he did some basic feeling around, and asked me some questions to confirm I'm not more seriously injured.

He then went ahead to get our other friend, and came back 10 minutes later.

It was obvious the bike wasn't going to be ridden out, even if I could ride, which, honestly I could not, with more pain starting to ensue.
I did have my Med kit with me, so some Narco's would help me with the pain for now...

They came back 10 minutes later and we were talking about the plan to get me and my bike out of here, we were about 25 miles from pavement, or cell service.
I did not have my SPOT with me.

The road we were on was a seldom traveled one, but low and behold a pickup truck was coming our way heading towards town and more importantly, empty.

Standing in the road, bleeding, bike on it's side, I waived him down, asked if he would be so kind as to take me and my bike to town.
Allen, being a good church going man of faith said no problem.

Turns out Allen was supposed to be camping for 3 more days out here, and wouldn't be driving on this road, except that the night before, a Burro (wild donkey) had stolen his backpack with all of his stuff in it while he was sleeping! He found some of his belongings and a book half chewed up, and tracks but never found his stuff.
So thanks to the thieving Burro, Allen was here to save me, and it get better.
He lives in LA, and could drive me most of the way home, where Nancy, my girlfriend would meet up with us with a rental pickup.
So basically 20 minutes after crashing in the middle of nowhere, 300 miles from home I was in a truck with my bike in back, pain meds kicking in, on my way home, after surviving quite a violent crash.
These are the kind of experiences that can give a person a lot to think about spiritually.

On to the cause of the crash... Here's the best thing, I just bought a Drift 170 HD Stealth helmet cam, and happen to be rolling in 60 frames a second high speed HD video at the time of the crash!
I do a fair amount of riding, some of the time I push the limits, some of the time I test myself, go too fast, or go places I shouldn't.
This is not one of those moments.

As you can clearly see in this video, I was on a normal gravel road, nothing too rough or hardcore. I was just riding along when my front fender broke off for no apparent reason, and immediately after the fender broke the brake crossover cable caught the knobbies and stopped the front wheel, throwing me to the ground quite hard.

I have more to say, but for now, here's the video...

Lost Rider screwed with this post 04-01-2011 at 09:40 AM
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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Glad you're ok, Chi.

Can't see video without a password.


I clicked again and it works.

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #3
Lost Rider OP
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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Holy shit, dude. You hit that rocky road HARD!!

No warning at all, just fender flying and BAM.

How you feeling? How long ago did it happen?


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Old 03-10-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: central USA
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Glad you are writing this, I looked at the rocks in the road as you were sliding along, and it hurt me.

any good photos of the fender and other peices as to why it broke off???

Again, glad you are writing, heal well.

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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Wow, that was a seriously painful looking get off. Sorry that happened. Thank goodnes there was not a semi or anything following you. Can you imagine if that happened on the freeway at rush hour (or a bit before when the speeds are above 2 mph)?

Glad you're alright.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #7
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is it just the back/lower half of the fender that broke? i'm guessing it got stuffed into the knobbies for some reason, then pulled up/through the remaining fender and forks causing the sudden stop?

edit - or a rock caught the fender and broke it while trying to get pulled through? freak...

wow...glad you came out of it about sudden impact!

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #8
How hard can it be?
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Location: Louisville, Co.
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Glad to see your OK! How the F did the fender fail? Not liking this.
I'll have one if you do.....
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #9
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Glad you are relatively ok. A lot of guys I know don't wear a proper "pressure suit" like that and would have been hurt terribly. Video shows your head narrowly missing (I think) a big rock. And just look at all those rocks you are sliding over....

I take it this is the lower fender you are talking about??? Hard to tell from the video...

Could it have been taken off by a rock?

What a freak accident.

Good luck healing and such.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:52 PM   #10
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Location: St. Louis
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I'm glad you're only moderately banged up, sorry about the bike.
If you don't fall you're not going fast enough?
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:54 PM   #11
marty hill
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Horrible! Glad it wasn't worse. Heal fast.
ride till you can't.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:55 PM   #12
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Joined: Feb 2003
Location: Ashland, OR, USA
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Damn, that looks scary as hell, Joe. Glad you're not worse off than you are. Could the fender have been caught by the tread on your front tire somehow? I know we used to take of the little rear fender on my old R1100GS whenever we mounted knobbies just to avoid that sort of thing. Man, that sucks.


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Old 03-10-2011, 12:57 PM   #13
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Hesperus, CO
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Sorry to hear about this but you seem to be typing very well if that is any reason for hope.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:57 PM   #14
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Location: Blacksburg, VA
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Wow, that video was crazy.

Glad you're ok! Keep us informed as to what exactly failed, and on any broken bones and whatnot.
Semper Fi
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:00 PM   #15
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Location: Nature Coast, Florida
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This could have easily been an entirely different thread and we'd be hearing the story written by someone else.

I'll be giving my bike a thorough checking before my next ride, and a lot more often. I get complacent and just hop on and go. I've even ridden a few miles across town lately in shorts and t-shirt.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying I think this was in any way preventable, ChiTown. It just reminds me that I really need to be safer all the time.

I can't stop thinking about going down like that in traffic.

Hope you feel better soon and your wrist isn't too bad.


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