Beware of car washes

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by jesse v, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Last September, my wife and I took our bikes to the Black Hills. We towed our bikes--an SV1000 and an SV650--to her cousin's house in Rapid City, SD (free lodging!). Even after driving for 6 hours from Sioux Falls, SD, I was anxious to get out on the 2-wheelers. It was a perfect mid-seventies and sunny day.

    Within the residential area where we were staying, there is a 90-degree corner with a car wash. The car wash was situated on a lot that is elevated above the road. Not thinking anything about it, I go around the 90-degree corner at a normal, casual pace, and WHOOOAAAA!.... I can feel the rear end slowly sliding out from under me... Like I was driving on ice.

    Next thing I know, I'm on the ground and my bike is on it's left side sliding a few feet, with the wheel turned hard right. No injuries--not even a mark on my riding pants. But my SV1000's lower fairing was scratched, as well as a broken clutch lever, brake fluid reservoir, and a dent where my right handlebar switchbox hit the tank.

    I passer-by stopped to help me pick up the bike, and he explained to me how he has dropped his Harley in that exact place TWICE. He explained that the car-wash runoff is to blame. it makes an invisible layer of soapy, sudsy evilness waiting to prey on motorcyclists.

    Luckily I had an extra lever with me, and zip-ties for the brake fluid reservoir. (The reservoir's mounting point snapped off, but no spillage.) I can hear slow-going cars screeching around this corner as I'm replacing my lever.

    The repairs:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I didn't let it ruin my weekend in the black hills. :D Still had a great time

    Moral of the story is two-fold. First (obviously) is: Beware of car washes! But secondly, I can't help but wonder if I let me excitement for riding my motorcycle in the black hills get the better of me, possibly compromising my judgement. There's no way to know for sure, but perhaps if I would have taken a breather after that 6-hour drive, I would have recognized the potential danger of riding by a car wash.

    In the future, I will definitely be more aware of my "excitement factor" and not let it get the better of me. I still blame the "black suds" though. :)
    #1
  2. joef

    joef Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    584
    Location:
    Western Ct.
    We all learn from our mistakes and hindsight is 20/20, how would you have known about it? Point is you handled it well and did not let it ruin your weekend!
    #2
  3. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    :ricky
    #3
  4. khager

    khager Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Granbury, TX
    Thanks for the tip. It never would have crossed my mind either. Sorry it happened, but I would rather learn from your mistakes than my own.:D
    #4
  5. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,884
    Location:
    Bridge over Troubled Water
    Wonder if some of the run-off was mixed with the armor all people use on their tires?

    I've noticed that stuff is like ice on the pavement around do-it-yourself car washes..
    #5
  6. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    That's why I read Faceplant too :lol3
    #6
  7. khager

    khager Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Granbury, TX
    Yeah, most of it is the same old stuff, going into a corner too hot, or left turning cage, etc... When I seen the title of your thread, I was already thinking you washed the bike and was pulling out of the wash bay, or into the street, or maybe you were coming around a corner and hit some soapy water runoff near the car wash. But every once in a while I learn something new here. Good for you for getting the bike back together and not letting it ruin your trip. :freaky
    #7
  8. malott442

    malott442 Loud, yet refreshing

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    650
    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    Sounds like the liability isn't on your shoulders. Who would someone contact over going after that car wash? I guarantee they know about the problem........
    #8
  9. falcn

    falcn Squidless Soul

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    395
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    You shouldn't do motorcycle repairs on the OUTSIDE of a 90 degree turn with your back facing oncoming traffic.

    What if another motorcyclist came along and had the same crash as you?
    #9
  10. TanasiRob

    TanasiRob Squid Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,144
    Location:
    Tanasi
    Occasionally I use the services of a full service car wash that will shine your tires for you. When it rains there is a sheen across the road at the entrance/exit from people who just had them shined.

    I habitually cross up my F250 even if the street is dry when I leave just for fun.

    :D
    #10
  11. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,396
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast
    Why do people think they need shiny tires,?
    #11
  12. malott442

    malott442 Loud, yet refreshing

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    650
    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    cuz its perdy!
    #12
  13. RichBeBe

    RichBeBe All Hail Seitan!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,343
    Location:
    NYC
    Glad you are OK. I used to work for a Yamaha dealer and were were across the street from a car wash and I have seen a few small crashes because of it. The owner told me they used to be next door to the same car wash years back and they had almost weekly crashes. They tried signs, warning people, etc but it didn't matter.
    #13
  14. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Third lesson learned.

    @Richbebe: Good to hear I'm not the only one! But it does make me wonder if there should be signs posted by car washes, just like "slippery bridge" signs, etc.

    Lastly, I should have mentioned that this little incident also inspired me to ditch the lower fairings on my SV. Looks much better now anyway. :D I sold the damaged lowers and used the money for motosliders frame sliders.
    #14
  15. stefan tilden

    stefan tilden Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    100
    There was a car wash right next to my apartment. I had to remember that shit every single day for 3+ years LOL.... glad you and the SV are good, and well played on the fairing mod.
    #15
  16. divimon2000

    divimon2000 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    628
    Location:
    Lake Champlain, Vermont
    I love it when we're self-sufficient getting the pieces back in place and back on the road. Nice pics too- makes it seem like it really happened :evil
    Scratch the gear at all?
    #16
  17. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    No, actually. My left hip and arm contacted the ground, but no marks on my pants or jacket. Yet another piece of evidence of how slippery that asphalt was I suppose.
    #17
  18. FJracer

    FJracer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Natchez Trace Area, Tenn
    I had no idea, but thanks for the info. I only remember carrying a spare clutch lever on a Trip one time when I had just replaced with Pazzos. You are better prepared than I.
    #18
  19. seniorasi

    seniorasi Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    816
    Location:
    Edge of the light
    Glad you came out of unscathed with a positive attitude. The even greater lesson is being prepared for such a mishap with not only the tools but the parts to get the bike functional again. Kudos!
    #19
  20. ken williams

    ken williams Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    sunny warm 12 months riding St Pete Fl. USA
    The fact you had an extra lever with you saved your day. I never thought of carrying extras , but good idea, since it is very easy to break them if going down. I am ordering two immediately and will carry. thanks. PS remember to change your brake fluid yearly, since it absorbs water easily. Braking is very important, as we all know.
    #20