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Old 07-02-2013, 12:36 AM   #1
Bubbachicken OP
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Tennessee
Oddometer: 30
Cry Embarassment because I know better...

Well, as a noob, I guess that this one is my first real face-plant post, the last one was too minor to count, in my opinion.

Monday of last week (sorry, in hospital then catching up on work and school kept me offline to some extent) I managed to find out why it is so important to ensure that throttle cables are well-maintained, and probably this applies to the bike overall, for that matter. I also learned to NEVER leave whatever safety gear you wish to wear at home.

So, here I am, heading to work, on a paved and well maintained dry road I travel every day I work. I come up to a 120 degree turn in the road, you know the kind, the ones with all the arrow signs mounted every 4-6 feet that tell you "turn now and stay that way!!" Yeah, that kind of turn. After 4000 miles as a newbie, I do understand that bikes can take corners sharper than many riders would think, so as I am not a sport bike rider ('81 Honda CB650C Custom), forgive me if I did not wipe out scraping pegs or in the oncoming vehicle's lane.

About 75 yards short of the turn, I say "self, 45 is too hot for that turn, slow down" and I release the throttle. Bike does not slow. At all. Not even a LITTLE. Then I press the clutch in, try the brake while fiddling with the throttle once, and I am about out of road, blind corner, hard left needed, and I mean NOW. The alternative (Plan B) was going straight, leaving the road surface across even but descending grassy ground, to a service road with intent to recover braking then, and as I started to countersteer I realize that at my speed, I am going to catch most of those damned signs dead across the front tire. I opt for Plan B.

So, I leave the roadway mostly upright partway into the turn, front tire passes so close to the hidden culvert opening so closely that I thought I jumped it somehow (yet did not, so it was a good thing I was into the turn already instead of hitting Plan B immediately while still aimed over the culvert ditch, which was faced with hidden 4' concrete walls), I crossed the grassy area, AND the service road (still close to 40 MPH from the feel, was too busy staying upright to check), and departed THAT roadway in perpendicular crossing fashion, to THIS TIME jump a 3' deep steep-walled dirt lined ditch. Rear tire landed on the far edge of ditch, and front slammed rather hard onto the pavement of the upcoming parking lot. Bike instantly went down to right, and my azz and seat parted ways.

Leather scrubbed, bike dinged up substantially above the steering head and on the case bar, plus windshield, speedo, etc.. I got a severely bruised rib, and otherwise not much damage to self. Was doing about 15 at impact (check the speedo pic, I looked, and the needle is actually pinched in that position, not resting against the ding) with ground, though, so managed to slow her some along the way. Kill switch was turned off someplace in transit, not sure where.

Cranked bike up, rode her home (steers just fine!) and now to reassemble those hard to find parts, and apply custom paint job (maybe)! Damage appears mostly cosmetic and control related (note master cylinder, case guard bar, top triple-tree, and handlebars).

I was tempted to leave the jacket home that afternoon because it was over 95 degrees out. At the last minute I thought the better of it, and wore it anyway. Result? Nice racing scrub from front bottom of jacket, over and including right shoulder (ground away epaulet snap) and down the back to the belt-line. I will never be tempted to leave gear at home again. That was first and only time. Chaps scrubbed too, one snap at ankle ground completely off, boot side ground away, almost 1/8 inch deep. Gloves scrubbed, but other than my impact with the windshield support and a mysterious bruise under the back of my right arm, no other obvious or painful marks on me. Slid only 8 yards on the pavement, but oddly, the building door I was aimed at when I came to rest was only ten or fifteen feet away. It was the local Baptist Church. Wife said it was a "sign."
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:40 AM   #2
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Prince William County, VA
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So how'd you ride home with the stuck throttle?

You sure got lucky
2003 Suzuki Bandit 1200S
2009 KLR650
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:48 AM   #3
Bubbachicken OP
learning fast!
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Tennessee
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The trip home

That was the weird part.

I fired the bike up, and it instantly shot to what I assume was about 3/4 throttle, steady. I toyed with the grip a few seconds, something "gave" and it fell right down to the soft purr that was normal. I revved it up several times and off, and it was just fine then. I think one of the cables itself caused this, as upon later examination I saw that one of them had separated the sheath from the nut that locked it to the bracket over the carbs, allowing the sheath to travel independently of the bracket, and it also was resisting movement within the sheath a little along the midpoint of travel. I am sure that is the culprit. Had I been properly inspecting the bike each time I rode it, I likely would have caught the issue and at least understood what was happening in time to address it BEFORE crossing the fruited plain in search of the purple mountains majesty.

I am replacing ALL cables and brake lines on the bike (the brakes with steel braid at that) because it was all original, and for a 30+ year old bike, it just seems like I am holding a grenade now with a loose pin. That wreck could have gone SOOO much worse... After I replace all the cables and lines, I think things will be a bit safer.
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:01 AM   #4
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If your throttle was stuck open then why didn't you pull in the clutch and hit the kill switch? If you "didn't have enough time" then you were riding beyond your skill level. JMHO.

Edit: About 10 years ago when I was still a relative nOOb in terms of riding skills I target fixated myself into a ditch. At the time I didn't know what target fixation was and considered the accident "unavoidable." Several months later I learned about target fixation and looking through the turn and think that if I'd known then what I know now I probably could've made that turn and stayed out of the ditch.

duck screwed with this post 07-02-2013 at 09:08 AM
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:25 AM   #5
Joined: Sep 2010
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Your bike has two cables, open and close, so if you twist the throttle closed, the throttle closes, it can not stick.....

Maybe you just went too fast and target fixated?
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:33 AM   #6
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Toronto, Canada
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many riders are too embarrassed to share this kind of stuff and while this isn't something you can be too hard on yourself for its a great reminder for those of us who sometimes take stuff for granted.
sorry it happened, heal up quick ride safe and thx
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:27 AM   #7
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OK, what do you think you could or should have done differently to have prevented the crash? I can think of a few, one in particular. How about you? What can you gleen from the experience so you don't repeat it?
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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This is a good post. It shows just how a distraction from something that can be easily remedied (stuck throttle -> clutch and kill switch) can have significant impacts if the rider is not experienced and ready for it. All the more reason to ride a CB500 instead of a CBR1000RR as a first bike.

With the clutch in, it should have been easy to slow down using the brakes and turn the bike sufficiently to make the turn. But you'd have to ignore the engine noise/throttle. But when the sh*t hits the fan, it's not always easy to process all that, especially as a newer rider.

Glad you're ok.
"What do you guys think is the best kind of car? To me, you can’t beat motorcycles. They’re small, and dangerous." - Creed Bratton
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:24 AM   #9
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Shit Happens. Sometimes you can ride it out brilliantly, sometimes you can't. Sometimes you're an accident waiting to happen, sometimes you're innocent.

You did well.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:10 PM   #10
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Is that blood on the top end of the speedometer needle?

Great to hear you escaped relatively unscathed. Any crash you can walk away from is a fine one. You learned several lessons that will now serve you forever. Good luck bud!
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:15 PM   #11
Bubbachicken OP
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Location: Tennessee
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What several have posted about confusion in a bad moment is precisely the situation.

I have not had issues with fixation, but as I keep thinking through the accident and reflecting on things moment by moment in my head, as some have suggested here I did have a problem with sorting through the variables as the time ran out. I did have a focus bordering on panic as engine noise increased as I depressed the clutch lever, I did have a confused moment attempting to figure out why that was (decreased pressure against the transmission), and it did make for a loss of a certain amount of time and straight roadway that was too quickly evaporating.

Second, I was noplace even close to the limit of skill level riding, and knew full well the potential issues of collecting all those "<" signs should I have gone through them, as well as the effects of a head-on collision with the cars and trucks that occasionally blast through that corner (while leaning into my lane) as it was not my first time here - on this turn, you get half of a lane, the outside half of your own, only, and it is a blind curve and sharp as hell at that. I was not speeding, I was clear of head when it all started, I just was surprised and had not played "what if" with a stuck throttle (as I am sure many here have not either, despite their far greater experience level than mine, after all, I have only been on the road for 6 or 7 months, as opposed to those here with a half century or more of experience). I also agree with the fact that a liter-bike is a horrible idea for a first bike, especially a sportier one. Mine is only 627 cc and is PLENTY (dare I say a bit much even) for a starter bike.

I did, once I realized turning was not going to work, interrupt my turn and straighten up, so missed the culvert accidentally because of my initial turn attempt, and at the same time missed the first sign base by inches on the other side. I don't even remember seeing the signpost for that sign as I passed by it, because by then I was searching for a safe area to aim at ahead. Had I been able to slow faster, I would have been able to proceed through the turn, but the cable was still stuck at that point. It did not free until after I lifted the bike and played with it some.

Actually, by all rights, I should not have attempted to ride it back home either, especially with nobody around as the same thing could have happened going the other way so I got lucky there too...

Looking back, number one is making sure the cables (and all else) on the bike are in good repair before riding it (these were not only in disrepair, they needed replaced even before I bought the bike, but I was too new to realize it, and after I bought it too complacent about the situation because they had worked so far, despite the warnings from my MSF instructor plus many years in the military to the contrary about pre-flight inspections).

Ditto for the brakes, because while the shoes and pads are new, and I have dual front calipers that together with the rear especially will stop the bike quite well, a potentially negative situation still exists. The situation there is that when I apply the front brake while lightly pinching the line between thumb and forefinger, the line swells slightly (30+ year old rubber lines - all original) so I am losing at least some sensitivity in the brake, and also have potential of a comprimise in the brakeline now or later, so I am going to be putting on new braided steel. I don't want to have a brake failure at some point, and lose what slowing I was able to accomplish here.

Number two is remembering that when a clutch is squeezed, engine noise will increase but brakes WILL eventually have an effect even if just to stall the bike. I don't remember if I let the clutch lever go before the kill switch was hit or not, and I don't remember if I let it go as I hit the 2 inch road shoulder or not. It happened danged fast once things started going wrong, and I was preoccupied, as I said, with staying upright as a survival instinct I suppose. If I released the clutch before hitting the kill switch, it would have negated the brakes to some extent, and as stated before, I don't recall just when I hit the kill switch. When the bike finally stopped, the engine was off, and the switch had been activated. For all I know, it was by accident, because when all this is going on for a noob, upright and slowing are foremost, engine and switches and knobs come distant seconds, it seems, while in the moment. Simply understanding that about the situation should better prepare me if it were to happen again, through benefit of hard-earned experience (and desire to never again feel a bruised or cracked rib. let alone a broken bone or worse).

Number three is akin to number one, maintenance on these machines is key to successful operation, especially when things do go normally.

Number four is ATGATT is not just an acronym stated by people who are afraid to "fully experience riding", it is an acronym stated by people who don't want to "fully experience impact." This is something I had already determined for myself long before purchasing this bike last December, but that I had not truly experienced, not really, before that moment. I was amazed I came away as well as I did, as I lifted myself from the pavement, and everything was still attached to my body, and nothing was actually broken (other than my wallet and pride) or even scraped. It was a good thing too, because from the moment I left home to the moment I returned, not a SINGLE car or truck passed me and the parking lot is in a hole relative to the banked turn and by the time you would be looking at it a good driver would have been looking into the upcoming turn in case someone was wide or entirely in the wrong lane, thus I was almost out of sight for the roadway, and I could have laid there a LONG time...

Number five is that if I want to ride, I NEED a cellphone, tied to number four above.

I am also glad I was NOT speeding or under any sort of influence, because had I been going faster I would likely have struck the brick church, and had I been relaxed (intoxicated) enough to attempt the turn I would have at least collected a host of those signs, or I might have attempted to recover late anyway and launched myself through them into the field NEXT to the church, which was elevated about 4 feet and filled with holes, cornrows, and things that were invisible from the roadway (assuming I made it across the 4' concrete walled ditch that was exposed at that point in the turn to people stupid enough to attempt to cross it at that point in the turn, but that is ALSO hidden from driver view - I managed to cross on the only decent place, though it was not by skill or intent; it was pure luck or divine providence, nothing of my own doing in any case).

I am satisfied with the way things went after I departed the roadway, I am satisfied with the way things went before the cable stuck. The part in the middle is the part I have issue with, and replacing the cables will be the first part of it. Having experienced this moment of confusion before my moment of contusion should prove beneficial in the future as well...
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #12
Bubbachicken OP
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Originally Posted by ManiZ View Post
Is that blood on the top end of the speedometer needle?

Great to hear you escaped relatively unscathed. Any crash you can walk away from is a fine one. You learned several lessons that will now serve you forever. Good luck bud!

No, not blood, it is what was left after 32 years of the original red tip paint. Now you mention it though, it would make an excellent poster graphic to tell people you don't have to go fast to get wrecked on a motocycle or bicycle for that matter. Even slow speed can kill if you aren't properly geared up.

For instance, the rib issue was caused because the prong holding up the windshield spun around when the shield shattered, and my chest then was impacted upon it (good thing it was not sharp...). I have a perfect match to that round terminal end of that support imprinted on the right side of my chest, and a perfect circle of crushed tissue under it. The bruise is subsiding, but at its peak, was black and the size of a grapefruit. It now looks more like a bullseye, and the circle is going to apparently scar there. That was AFTER the bike was on its side, AND through my very thick leather jacket... I cannot imagine what a tee shirt, shorts, and (dare I say it) flip-flops or tennis shoes would have resulted in. It may well HAVE been blood on the speedo, as well as all over the rest of the bike, had that been the case...
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:43 PM   #13
Bubbachicken OP
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Location: Tennessee
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BTW, thanx to all who sent wishes, I just hope people learn from my mistakes. Maintain the machine, wear the gear, be prepared for unexpected issues, and remember the kill switch FIRST, then clutch and brakes, and keep straight as you come to a safe stop, all in, all down (well, then perhaps one up, to get back to neutral if needed). Of course, this assumes that there is nobody behind you... I can hear my MSF instructor even now...
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:17 PM   #14
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Location: Seattle (Berkeley with rain)
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BC: Well, you learned a few things without getting too banged up and both your pride and bike are repairable. We all F up now and then.

I don't know what's taught in MSF or what's "right" (and I know other people have different opinions on this) but out of habit or whatever I always use the kill switch to turn my bikes off. One advantage of this is that when the throttle does get stuck or whatever, using the kill switch is already built into your lizard brain/muscle memory so using the kill switch becomes a reaction, not something you have to think through when the engine is going wonky.

Just my .02.
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:31 PM   #15
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Number five is that if I want to ride, I NEED a cellphone, tied to number four above.
T-Mobile Pay As You Go. Pick your phone, throw $100 worth of minutes on it, and any minutes you buy from then on are good for a year. Had it since I started college, and no complaints so far.

...and remember the kill switch FIRST...
Thumb, key, gas. Thumb, key, gas.
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