Drafting

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CaptUglyDan, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

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    Ok, I'm not a drafter most of the time, and i don't do it on interstate hwys, but riding a little 250 Sherpa I've found it works well for me behind most big rigs or motorhomes, my biggest problem is wind of course, it beats me down to 55 or so, but when i can get behind a rig and run 65 or so it solves a lot of it. I'm on way home from Panama to Seattle just wondering what works for most.
    #1
  2. avgas

    avgas amateur

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    I don't know if I'd risk it, I like to see and be seen. I'd rather stick to doing 55 and enjoy the view.
    #2
  3. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    I don't recommend this, but between the vehicle in front of you and the turbulence, there is a pocket of relatively smooth air. Getting that close behind another vehicle is risky for a few reasons including poor forward visibility (and other traffic not expecting you there), reduced distance available to react to issues or obstacles in the lane, debris kicked up by the tires and/or incase the vehicle shreds a tire.

    I would just ride a comfortable speed without drafting. For the limited benefits from drafting, there are many things that could go wrong.
    #3
  4. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Used to do it on small bikes as well, it does work and it works well, but ....

    Pete
    #4
  5. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Awesome way to get dead in a hurry. Lead vehicle could straddle a 2X4 or a cinder block and it'd pop out right under your front tire. Could blow a tire and send the tread caps into your face. Could stop suddenly for some reason and you'd find your face flattened on the back of it. Etc...
    #5
  6. genespleen

    genespleen Been here awhile

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    Such a bad idea. Your stopping distance is greater than the vehicle you're sitting just behind, and your sight line is deeply compromised. No offense intended, but it's time for an expectations-adjustment, a new bike, or...er... a burial plot.
    #6
  7. willis 2000

    willis 2000 neo-quixote

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    There's a science to the draft. My take on it here:
    [thread]789297[/thread]
    #7
  8. okennon

    okennon Been here awhile

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    1980something outside Atlanta following a tractor trailer too close...unaware that someone in front of the tractor had dropped a mattress....Oh Shit. Someone was watching over me. Of course ,being the real man I am, I was wearing shorts and flipflops ...absolute worst scenario. I think I closed my eyes and rolled right over it. Made it home and changed clothes. ATGATT convert ever since.








    Hung like Einstein , smart as a horse.
    #8
  9. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Let's see, first there was the sheet of plywood that blew off a truck and sent me off a causeway on my XT. Then there was the chunk of steel that fell off a truck on I-97 and destroyed my Toyota's windshield right in front of my face. Then there was the semi blowout that threw off a smoking hot road alligator and almost nailed me on the bike. And I can't even begin to remember all the road crap that has appeared in front of me from under trucks. So I stay as far from trucks as I can.
    #9
  10. Turbo Ghost

    Turbo Ghost Been here awhile

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    As a former truck-driver, I can tell you you don't want to be behind big trucks! First of all, if you're close enough to truly draft, you're too close to stop if the truck has to stop suddenly. Don't think for a second you're reaction time is quick enough! True drafting of a big truck is within 20 feet or less. Also, as mentioned before, if the driver sees an obstacle in the road they will straddle it if they see it in time and you won't see it until it's too late! If they don't see it in time, all kinds of debris can be hitting you from everywhere as it gets shattered by the tires! Another little tidbit you won't hear much about is a certain breed of drivers that drive as teams. They have an access panel in the sleeper floor and do their business through that rather than stop. You really don't want to be behind them at that point!

    All that being said, many, many years ago when I was young, I drafted a truck for about 20 miles on the interstate at about 10 feet behind. It was after dark in the summer. I noticed a few tiny drops of water on my windshield but, it had rained earlier so, I figured it was off the road. After I realized I should probably get out from behind the truck, I cut into the left lane to pass and discovered I was in the middle of a massive rainstorm! While behind the truck, I had no idea of the storm and also, I was barely above idle-throttle to maintain about 70mph! It's very effective but, not worth the risk!
    #10
  11. Griffin44

    Griffin44 Been here awhile

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    Exactly. Even a benign thing like a pot hole can't be seen or avoided if you're drafting.

    Trucks are to be avoided and kept as far from as possible.

    If you're riding a small, underpowered motorcycle, don't expect to be able to safely and comfortably ride at highway speeds. If you want to safely and comfortably ride at highway speeds, get a bike better suited to it.
    #11
  12. Retro

    Retro Just the Facts Ma'am Super Moderator

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    I'm with all the people who are telling you this is a dumb idea and a very good way to test the crash worthiness of your bike, gear, and body. You're just asking for it.
    #12
  13. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer

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    More to drafting than staying close to the vehicle (and in danger). When behind a slow vehicle, drop back before passing, when you are ready to pass, speed up, (that is at the proper time) and then pass the vehicle when you have a nice head of speed. This depends a bit on knowing the road.

    Learned this driving a 240 ci Ford Pickup... and it works well on a WRR250R too.
    #13
  14. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    the deer carcass that the bus just deposited with is front bumper, appears from under the rear bumper mighty quick, @ 60mph, nearly 50 feet is covered every half second

    treads from exploding tires appear even quicker

    3 second rule for me
    #14
  15. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    The only time I drafted a big truck was 30 years ago on a trip to Florida.
    It got cold at night, I did not have good gear, and I drafted the truck for an hour to keep warm.

    Cars and vans I can see through I draft as I have an under powered bike.
    Not real close, but closer then is 100% safe.
    If I can not see ahead, I do not do it.

    When traffic is heavy and fast, the entire hiway gets a big draft going and adds 10 mph to my bike.
    #15
  16. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    I have tucked in behind big rigs out on the plains on the interstates. The speeds are 75-80mph. Usually a quartering headwind too when heading west. I wouldn't call it drafting because I'm not that close, but those big box trailers can carve a hole in the wind for you to ride in. The problem is it can be fairly turbulent and tiring.
    #16
  17. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    Drafting just seems like playing Russian Roulette...
    #17
  18. Griffin44

    Griffin44 Been here awhile

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    If headwinds or quartering winds are bad, I just lay out on the tank and tuck tight behind the screen. I can do that for hours with very little fatigue and my bike is not much affected either mileage wise or handling wise. I realize that some bikes handle wind worse than others, but tucking in behind a moving billboard of death seems like a bad idea to me.
    #18
  19. Mgbgt89

    Mgbgt89 Long timer

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    Learned this on my CB350F. Drop way back, drop 2 gears and get a good head of steam rolling while the oncoming traffic's still coming. Time it right and you're ready to change lanes by the time traffic's clear. Always did the same thing when i knew a passing zone was coming on the road. Southern ohio passing zones just aren't long enough for a 350F sometimes without a little pre planning. On the KTM 625 motard... the world is your passing zone :rofl.
    #19
  20. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Just be careful in gusty cross winds. You may find yourself blown back into the rear end of the vehicle you are trying to pass. Luckily, when this happened to me I was on a sportbike with strong brakes.

    The only thing I will draft behind is my buddy's R1, and only because I know he isn't going to brake check me. The pocket is really small though. (wait, that didn't sound right :huh)
    #20