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Old 07-13-2014, 08:27 AM   #1
wadenelson OP
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Afraid of Lowsides

Twice now I've nearly low-sided on bikes when leaning them over in a curve. Or felt like I was going to....

The first was on a CBR929 when I didn't see some dirt & very small gravel on a corner. The corner happen to be cambered the wrong way, so I had that working against me as well.

The second, a few days ago, was on my Kawasaki Concours. Only doing maybe 35mph, cornering, I went over a "Tar Snake" --- a patch of sun heated (liquified?) asphalt used to repair a crack, and the rear tire briefly lost traction. The "snake" was perhaps 2" wide x 2 feet long. Very common on many roads.

Both times scared the hell out of me to where I slowed down and rode practically upright for several hours afterwards.

Both losses of traction were MOMENTARY, but terrifying to me. How do you get USED to momentary, SMALL losses of traction like that without panicking?

do you have to have ridden dirt bikes as a kid not to freak out when the rear starts to slip?

I can't spend the rest of my life riding upright, but the fear factor is killing me.

The only thing I can thing of to allay the fear is to put on all sorts of armor and maybe go take a week at a track course to where I lose rear traction repeatedly and condition myself not to brown my shorts when it happens.

Hell, the fun of riding a bike is laying it over in curves.... otherwise might as well be in a car!
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
everready
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Left hand turns with negative camber really mess with my head. They terrify me. I'm not quite sure why though.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:35 AM   #3
UtahNoob
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Here in Utah the tar snakes are super squishy, so the same thing happens every time. And every time, I have to practically clean my pants. Don't really know of a solution, but I'm going to start riding dirt bikes so I can get used to how it feels to have the ass end sliding around. I've heard from other riders that it helps. We will see.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UtahNoob View Post
Here in Utah the tar snakes are super squishy, so the same thing happens every time. And every time, I have to practically clean my pants. Don't really know of a solution, but I'm going to start riding dirt bikes so I can get used to how it feels to have the ass end sliding around. I've heard from other riders that it helps. We will see.
I have a 2013 Vstrom and a DR411. The stuff that would freak me out on the Vstrom I just roll over when I'm on the DR.

I'm not quite sure why.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
k-moe
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Trust.
Trust your abilities.
Trust your tires.
Trust your bike.
Trust your gear.
Trust that a highside hurts far, far worse.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:24 AM   #6
wadenelson OP
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Admiral Nelson's Battle Strategy

So Admiral Nelson is about to go into battle against the French fleet.

This is where they, you know, sail big wooden ships alongside each other and blast away at point blank range with cannons, muskets, etc. Forget the cannonballs and grapeshot, the flying splinters alone must have been hell.

About engage a French Man-O-War, Nelson calls to his ship's captain and sez, "Send your First Mate to my quarters and retrieve my Red Shirt!"

"Of course Sir, but why?"

"Well, if I get hit by splinters I don't want the crew to see the blood and panic, and think their admiral is going to lose heart!"

The Captain of the Boat turns to his First Mate and sez:

"In that case bring me my brown pants"

Maybe I need some brown pants for cornering on roads with Tar Snakes.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:54 AM   #7
Bill Harris
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You need more stick time and a better sense of situational awareness. You should be able to ride a road with irregularities and deal with the ones you can't avoid.

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Old 07-13-2014, 11:02 AM   #8
wadenelson OP
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Quote:
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You need more stick time and a better sense of situational awareness. You should be able to ride a road with irregularities and deal with the ones you can't avoid.
I think you're right, Bill. I have no fear whatsoever of going over debris in the road, but a little bit of rear tire slippage unnerves me. Hopefully that changes with more experience.

From the dozens of motorcycle vs. deer videos I watched it appears the single most important thing is to try and keep the bike upright AFTER the impact --- another unavoidable "obstacle."
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k-moe View Post
Trust.
Trust your abilities.
Trust your tires.
Trust your bike.
Trust your gear.
Trust that a highside hurts far, far worse.

I'll go with this.
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Opinions are like internet connections- everybody has one.
http://www.wadenelson.com/noinet.gif

To be poor in America today means to have to rely on public transportation and WIFI
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:58 PM   #11
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I wonder if there are many riders these days who went directly to a liter bike without experience on a light machine. There is a great deal at stake with a big tourer when some control is lost. Rear wheel slippage doesn't faze me at all, but losing traction with the front wheel is disconcerting. A pretty rare experience, too. I have always ridden light, low power machines, by today's standards.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wadenelson View Post
http://www.wadenelson.com/noinet.gif

To be poor in America today means to have to rely on public transportation and WIFI

How did you quote a sig line?

Anyway, the salient point was about highsides.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:58 PM   #13
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Short of riding a dirt bike to help when those moments occur (and they will), I got nothing.

I feel your pain. My faith in tires sucks.
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:06 PM   #14
Tim McKittrick
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I think the answer here is back to basics- a small dirt bike. I learned to ride on a 250 enduro on gravel roads where the tires were pretty much ALWAYS sliding. If the OP can wrangle more seat time on a small, slow machine that is skittering about he'll go a long way toward learning how far things can slide before they become a big problem, and how to control a slide once it's begun. With enough practice one's reflex to a tire drifting away is no longer an "Oh Shit!" panic and becomes one of trying to DO something.... be that shifting ones weight, adding throttle, maintaining steady throttle and widening ones line, etc.

A track day will probably not help in this regard as the speeds and cost of failure are too high- better to screw up and fall at 20 than at 60 or faster, especially on a bike that will need little more than a new handgrip to be brought back to life. A cheap DS on slippy tires can teach one a LOT, and at low speeds that won't hurt as much if it all goes wrong.

FWIW I never got over my fear of front tire slides until I had spent a few seasons Ice Racing, wherein I spent a LOT of time pushing the front tire around turns because my riding technique was so bad. A front slide on the street still gets my attention but I no longer thing I'm about to experience instant death.
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:17 PM   #15
gearheadE30
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I'll go with the dirt thing too. I started out riding on the road on vintage Honda twins and the like, and I wasn't able to attack corners or really deal with anything that felt loose or out of control until I got my XT350 and started riding in the dirt. Suddenly, I was much more confident in the curves. Heck, even taking a road bike to a gravel lot or something and getting the feel for brake lockup, sliding, that sort of thing - that would probably help too.
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