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Old 07-13-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
WB81 OP
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Question Almost spilled yesterday... Seeking advice.

Not sure if this belongs in the Face plant thread as I didn't really crash and I'm looking for advice.


Yesterday I was driving on the High Road to Taos (New Mexico) when I encountered some fine sand / hard to spot gravel before a turn. I was already setup for the curve when it happened. The outcome: I straightened the bike and stopped *past* the shoulder. By setup I mean having my butt on the side of the seat and leaning over moderately. Two months ago I almost always sat completely straight on my bike, so I'm still very new to leaning off the bike (BMW R1200S).

It all happened so quick that I didn't even downshift while panic breaking. If there would have been a guard rail this would not have ended well.


Question: is there any agreed on advise on what should be done in case the front wheel looses grip in a turn?


I've heard that hitting the throttle can help off-road riders. But what can you do if your front slips in the middle of a curve that has no shoulder but an unfriendly guard rail?!?


The GoPro video (chest mounted) seems to show me lowering the center of gravity (the camera dives for the tank) straightening the bike and hitting the brakes hard. I wonder if it would have been wise to try making the turn again after the bike stabilized. I believe the ABS kicked in once when the road ended and the shoulder began...


Thanks for your input!
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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I can only say, slow the eff down, perhaps in general, till you fully get used to the weight of the bike, not only in turns, but how the weight affects your ability to stop or slow down, without loosing control or crashing.

The ABS is most cool, yes, but it's not a magic angel all the time, maybe some of the time in your case

Not only WATCH for sand, gravel and loose shit-bits on curves and turns, learn to EXPECT that sort of thing. Then enjoy the ride when it's NOT there (no sand).

If you plan or figure it's there ALL OF THE TIME, or most of the time, you might run slower and safer, but stay upright, in control, etc. Staying alive is COOL.

Tipping over, well.... not so good.

Fine choice of bike my friend. Keep it nice and do not crash please.

It's like watching for deer- expect them EVERYWHERE, then when you see one, you can just honk and wave at him.

If I was on a snowmobile, I might have hit the throttle, put some weight into it and got it to turn- but on that bike, not me.... if you guess wrong, your going down- and might end up under the tyre of some POS truck or old ladies Caddy.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
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Almost crashing is like almost getting pregnant. You dodged the bullet, now work on not getting quite as close to the line of fire next time. Necessary margins to maintain safety on the road are a personal thing........Some people are more willing to accept the possibility of a crash than others. Leaving enough margin to survive sand in the middle of a corner may make you look slow to your buddies, but crashing will not help your reputation. Take your time, work your way up to 80% of your limits, and try not to exceed them. Good luck.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Best thing to do is nOthing abrupt. I would squeeze the clutch and coast through, you may loose traction for a second but you'll regain it in a second unless it's peppered throughout the turn. To avoid it entirely slow more before the turn and set yourself up to the outside so you can see it sooner. Glad you kept the rubber side down!!
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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so a few things:

in a panic stop don't worry about downshifting.
If it was before the turn who cares, just delay your turn in a bit.
If it's mid-corner, the bike is just going to run wide a bit don't worry about it.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your replies. I'll be looking at the video a bit closer tonight. I'd love to see whether I can tell what I really did. I was amazed how fast the bike was able to come to a full stop.

Regarding ABS - I've never triggered it before on pavement. A few weeks ago I somehow failed to make a curve (distraction / target fixation?) and drove straight into a gravel parking lot at a slow 45. ABS got in the way but I was able to keep the bike up and stop before I ran out of gravel and grass. Yes, it's no magic bullet but I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. I'm aware that they are strong feelings for and against it. Saw some other forum threads errupt at the news that BMW will include it as a standard on all their bikes. Sadly, it doesn't work too well when your bike is not fully upright.

In regards to slowing down - is there any safe speed to hit unseen sand or gravel?

I'm extremely vary of rail guards and slow down more on left turners.


Regarding riding buddies - I believe most are aware that I'm pretty new to sport riding. And the fact that I'm (still) wearing a somewhat dorky one piece high visibility suite (Olympia Phantom) probably shows that I'm more concerned about safety then how fast or slow I look to my pals.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WB81 View Post
In regards to slowing down - is there any safe speed to hit unseen sand or gravel?
The speed where you go over it and don't crash...

I mean no one can answer that question.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:49 PM   #8
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Nothing wrong with dressing for success (and safety) as you get comfortable with the bike. I did the same thing, and actually went from the traffic vest thing to a lime green Tourmaster coat. In two years on the most recent bike and 20,000 miles, I count far fewer close calls on my bike than in my SUV, where I totally blend in vs. sticking out.

Nothing wrong with just slowing the pace a bit.

A great riding chum of mine had great advice. When I got my bike two years ago, he said "go ride it alone for a month-- I don't want to ride WITH you until then." I didn't get it at first- I had years of riding experience (but it was from 20 years ago and on a Harley Road King) then and not a "dirt bike with luggage".

A month later, we took some trips and stuff together. He later qualified his statement and said, " I didn't want you to be self-conscience riding with another bike or riding with a group if you are new to a bike. A month on the pegs alone and I knew more of the bike's stopping, turning and emergency maneuvers capability, and knew more about my own capability- and learned to constantly look for escape routes in the event my "intended forward motion or path was otherwise interrupted".

End result, if I am riding with a group or another bike, the little man on my shoulder taps me and says "too fast for your level of experience, dude"-- and I slow down-regardless of what my chums are doing. It takes a month of riding alone to grow the little dude on your shoulder- and then try to listen to him.

Ps: I actually am a fan of ABS, and hope to have it on a future bike.

Ride Safe.

Unstable Rider screwed with this post 07-13-2012 at 12:54 PM
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crofrog View Post
so a few things:

in a panic stop don't worry about downshifting.
Bad advice as most panic stops happen on public streets. If you're not ready to take off, it's a good way to get rearended.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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I think its a good idea to study the road ahead and do not over ride your sight lines.

I have never done what you did, which is run off the road while riding.
40 years and it never happened, and I won't say I go slow when I ride...

Go faster then you can react for and you just have to live with the results....
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:26 PM   #11
tedder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Bad advice as most panic stops happen on public streets. If you're not ready to take off, it's a good way to get rearended.
Would you prefer to get stopped without skidding the tires, or would you prefer to be in the correct gear but have skidded or not stopped in time?

Generally, the answer to "how do I avoid going over that sand in a corner at too fast of a speed?" is to be going slow enough BEFORE the turn to give a comfortable safety margin in case things happen. To put it another way, only go as fast as you can see and react to problems. The street isn't a racetrack

Dirt is a fantastic place to play around at "too fast" of speeds too.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:01 PM   #12
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Sand, gravel dirt is normal

Quote:
Originally Posted by WB81 View Post
Not sure if this belongs in the Face plant thread as I didn't really crash and I'm looking for advice.


Yesterday I was driving on the High Road to Taos (New Mexico) when I encountered some fine sand / hard to spot gravel before a turn. I was already setup for the curve when it happened. The outcome: I straightened the bike and stopped *past* the shoulder. By setup I mean having my butt on the side of the seat and leaning over moderately. Two months ago I almost always sat completely straight on my bike, so I'm still very new to leaning off the bike (BMW R1200S).

It all happened so quick that I didn't even downshift while panic breaking. If there would have been a guard rail this would not have ended well.

All we are talking about here is control of the bike which is so much more than what they teach in the motorcycle courses. We are not including all the traffic, road reading, judgement (another beer before we head off), etc, etc.

Question: is there any agreed on advise on what should be done in case the front wheel looses grip in a turn?

My advice is - learn to weight your foot pegs. Go practice on grass, or gravel, etc, etc. When the bike starts to slide if your body does not do everything it needs to do to keep the bike going around the corner without even thinking you need to practice more - which is doing the same thing but thinking about it.

It helps to have a lighter smaller bike to practice on as it will slide around a slower speeds and hurts less when it falls on you.



I've heard that hitting the throttle can help off-road riders. But what can you do if your front slips in the middle of a curve that has no shoulder but an unfriendly guard rail?!?

Look up and where you want to go - into the corner - practice that. Power keeps the front wheel light so does keeping your weight back.


The GoPro video (chest mounted) seems to show me lowering the center of gravity (the camera dives for the tank) straightening the bike and hitting the brakes hard. I wonder if it would have been wise to try making the turn again after the bike stabilized. I believe the ABS kicked in once when the road ended and the shoulder began...


Thanks for your input!
The bike will regain traction after a bit of sand or gravel so not reacting (over-reacting) is a good strategy but be ready to react if you have to (can)

If you drive that bmw around the world a couple times in the 12 months or so - which is why they made it and why you should have bought it your going to get this all the time and 100's of times worse.

A bit of gravel or sand,, or a lot of sand and lots of gravel or water, mud, or a flat tire, or 2 flat tires, or a moose, etc, etc, etc is just par for the course you can learn before or you can learn on the way (if you feel lucky - we have all done that don't feel bad)

The other thing I would add - we all did this as kids is practice your balance skills - can you walk on a 2x4 laying on the ground. Raise it up 1 ft, then 5 feet off the ground.

I would also try down hill skiing - if you can not downhill ski at speed fairly well you probably should limit your biking to slow speed (i.e. slow down on corners a lot and trust to ABS to save you in straight line stops at speed), well traveled roads.

Find a safe place to practice, practice practice - everything - lock the back wheel, lock the front wheel, go up hills, go down hills, go too fast in a corner, etc, etc, etc, Learn to fall too - better to try it on grass, soft ground then asphalt

Watch 1000's of hours of video of pros and non pros, and stunts and crashes (thanks you tube)


Good Luck
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:35 PM   #13
WB81 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I think its a good idea to study the road ahead and do not over ride your sight lines.
I set my speed by sight distance and have a horrible habit of rarely glancing at my speedometer. The little red LED light I had hooked up to the radar detector doesn't help that bad habit.
I drive at a pace that feels comfortable. I prefer coming into a corner too slow and accelerate out hard then trying to adjust my speed while leaned over... At the sight of animals, vehicles or pedestrians I slow down dramatically when riding solo.

There was no issue with seeing into the curve. The sand was just not visible...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mfgc2310 View Post
The bike will regain traction after a bit of sand or gravel so not reacting (over-reacting) is a good strategy but be ready to react if you have to (can)

If you drive that bmw around the world a couple times in the 12 months or so - which is why they made it and why you should have bought it your going to get this all the time and 100's of times worse.

[...]

Watch 1000's of hours of video of pros and non pros, and stunts and crashes (thanks you tube)


Good Luck

There have been days this year where I've not been slammed and lacked motivation. I believe I've watched every recorded motorcycle crash video out there. I'm amazed how riders sometimes go down when there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason. I also have the twisted (?) habit of inquiring about any motorcycle accident. If something went wrong, I want to know what it was and see if I can learn about it the "easy" way.

The R1200S is due for a 24k mile service on Tuesday. I've almost ridden it 11k miles since I received it last August. That's as much as my previous R1100RS that I had owned for a season and a half which happened to my first bike. Wish I had time to ride it more... My work allows me to work on a 4-10 schedule so I can drive my favorite roads with almost no traffic once a week.


Tomorrow I'm going to hit the track where I'll hopefully not encounter invisible, slippery stuff. It'll be my first full day at the track. So far I've only had two half-days on the bike and noticed that I had zero lean when I scrapped the engine guards in a slow curve...

I'm also signed up for both Total Control courses in August... So far I've had trouble finding anything between the MSF classes and race "school".


This little mishap was an eye opener of what it feels like when the front tire slides in a curve. As said, I'm worried about something similar happening near a rail guard or a sheer cliff (planning to hit the Million dollar highway in two weeks!).

If I'll be experiencing this more often, I really need to teach my body to react correctly. Apart from one near-miss head-on accident (contact was made) and a bike spilling out under me I've never had any crashes. Knocking on wood that it stays that way...
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfgc2310 View Post
The bike will regain traction after a bit of sand or gravel so not reacting (over-reacting) is a good strategy but be ready to react if you have to (can)

If you drive that bmw around the world a couple times in the 12 months or so - which is why they made it and why you should have bought it your going to get this all the time and 100's of times worse.

A bit of gravel or sand,, or a lot of sand and lots of gravel or water, mud, or a flat tire, or 2 flat tires, or a moose, etc, etc, etc is just par for the course you can learn before or you can learn on the way (if you feel lucky - we have all done that don't feel bad)

The other thing I would add - we all did this as kids is practice your balance skills - can you walk on a 2x4 laying on the ground. Raise it up 1 ft, then 5 feet off the ground.

I would also try down hill skiing - if you can not downhill ski at speed fairly well you probably should limit your biking to slow speed (i.e. slow down on corners a lot and trust to ABS to save you in straight line stops at speed), well traveled roads.

Find a safe place to practice, practice practice - everything - lock the back wheel, lock the front wheel, go up hills, go down hills, go too fast in a corner, etc, etc, etc, Learn to fall too - better to try it on grass, soft ground then asphalt

Watch 1000's of hours of video of pros and non pros, and stunts and crashes (thanks you tube)


Good Luck
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:18 PM   #15
Harvey Krumpet
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Oh, been there.
Our local Council has started using a scoria on the roads which is impossible to see. You only notice it with your ears as it pings off the bike & mud guards.
I hit some in a bend last summer & ended up right on the centre line at full opposite lock trying to steer back into my lane & brake.
When my heart rate dropped & I mulled over what had happened & what I could do to prevent it happening again I realised that prevention was a limited option, the gravel is invisible & I had done everything right anyway. Not handling the slide but being in the right place to handle it to begin with. My braking was done & dusted as I entered the corner, I follow the most visible line into a corner so I can see hazards..... I was on the gas going through which is why the butt went out, not the front & somehow I had the presence of mind to keep looking where I wanted to go & use the brakes gently before reapplying a bit of throttle to stay on my side of the road. All within a few metres of road so it was not done consciously.

It reinforced in me that you ride a road as a road, no deep braking, no racing lines & looking as far ahead as possible. It also brought home that the more varied your riding then the better your reactions to deal with "moments".
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