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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Close call

Had a close call on a recent ride, in a small town somewhere in Central Thailand. Was navigating a sharpish bend at a fairly slow speed, about 30-40 kmh when all of a sudden, it became a 140 degree decreasing radius turn.

Before I knew it, I was staring at a large patch of gravel a few feet in front of me and a guard rail beyond that. I was already at a lean so instinctively, I push harder on the right handlebar. Simultaneously, my wife screamed (or could have been me in my helmet), bike wobbled for a second or so but thankfully straightened out.

I'm thinking that I should have also gassed it more at the same time. Is this correct? Luckily I was travelling just fast enough that the centrifugal force overcame the gravitational pull of the bitumen but the wobble had my stomach in my mouth.

Any advice from you more experienced riders? The thing is that all this happens in an instant so there is no time to think, but just react.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:38 AM
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So it was a right turn, and you countersteered while sliding on the gravel?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by invader View Post
So it was a right turn, and you countersteered while sliding on the gravel?
Yes, it was a right turn but I had not hit the gravel patch yet. I saw it in time and managed to countersteer away from it but the bike wobbled quite a bit whilst I was still leaning over.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 06:30 AM
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1. Unknown corner. You were travelling too fast.
2. By never riding at the edge of your bikes traction you have the extra lean angle available when needed. Continue to look through the corner where you want to go. We all have the tendency to get fixated on the situation (in your case the gravel and guardrail) and that is bad because we go where we look.
3. The bike wobbled because you upset the suspension. You probable chopped the throttle at the same time since that is a natural instinct. Keeping the throttle steady and then accelerating to start bringing you out of the lean is optimum but difficult in a scary situation. Glad you were able to pull it through. Expecially with your wife on the back. When my wife is riding with me I ride like I am carrying precious cargo, because I am.

I had to make a quick move one time on my Concours because the truck and trailer was taking my lane. I accelerated and focused on the white line and snapped the bike over to the line without going over it. Felt like what I assume those TT bikes feel like when they go over that rise and the whole bike twitches.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 04:10 PM
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Sounds to me like you did the right thing. You countersteered aggressively to avoid the gravel. As twowheeladdict said, keeping a steady throttle (since you were able to go around the gravel) would have been ideal, but I don't understand why you felt you should have given it more throttle.

Aggressive countersteering to avoid the gravel is the right move if you can do so. If it's unavoidable, perhaps all the way across the road, then I would aggressively countersteer to change my line and then stand up the bike to go across the gravel at less lean, then lean again when on pavement to (hopefully) avoid going off the road or into the other lane.

Visit www.theridesofar.com to learn more about my book, The Ride So Far: Tales from a Motorcycling Life, published by Whitehorse Press. Read a sample chapter of the book or check out the blog.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
1. Unknown corner. You were travelling too fast.
2. By never riding at the edge of your bikes traction you have the extra lean angle available when needed. Continue to look through the corner where you want to go. We all have the tendency to get fixated on the situation (in your case the gravel and guardrail) and that is bad because we go where we look.
3. The bike wobbled because you upset the suspension. You probable chopped the throttle at the same time since that is a natural instinct. Keeping the throttle steady and then accelerating to start bringing you out of the lean is optimum but difficult in a scary situation. Glad you were able to pull it through. Expecially with your wife on the back. When my wife is riding with me I ride like I am carrying precious cargo, because I am.

I had to make a quick move one time on my Concours because the truck and trailer was taking my lane. I accelerated and focused on the white line and snapped the bike over to the line without going over it. Felt like what I assume those TT bikes feel like when they go over that rise and the whole bike twitches.
Yup, agree with your points. However, I'm still a little unsure as to what actually caused the bike to wobble. I don't recall chopping the throttle. Is this what generally causes the highside crashes that we see or is it the "too aggressive" application of the throttle that causes them?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by motociclista View Post
Sounds to me like you did the right thing. You countersteered aggressively to avoid the gravel. As twowheeladdict said, keeping a steady throttle (since you were able to go around the gravel) would have been ideal, but I don't understand why you felt you should have given it more throttle.

Aggressive countersteering to avoid the gravel is the right move if you can do so. If it's unavoidable, perhaps all the way across the road, then I would aggressively countersteer to change my line and then stand up the bike to go across the gravel at less lean, then lean again when on pavement to (hopefully) avoid going off the road or into the other lane.
If I didn't countersteer aggressively, I would have been in the gravel patch and then left with two choices - straight into the guardrail or lowsided the bike to avoid hitting the guardrail. So in that sense, all that reading of Keith Code's TOTW and David Hough's Proficient Motorcyling came to the rescue.

I'm just trying to figure out what to do with the throttle the next time I have to countersteer aggressively again in an emergency situation - keep the steady throttle or give it a bit more gas (I know that chopping off the gas is a definite no no).
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yychow0812 View Post
Had a close call on a recent ride, in a small town somewhere in Central Thailand. Was navigating a sharpish bend at a fairly slow speed, about 30-40 kmh when all of a sudden, it became a 140 degree decreasing radius turn.

Before I knew it, I was staring at a large patch of gravel a few feet in front of me and a guard rail beyond that. I was already at a lean so instinctively, I push harder on the right handlebar. Simultaneously, my wife screamed (or could have been me in my helmet), bike wobbled for a second or so but thankfully straightened out.

I'm thinking that I should have also gassed it more at the same time. Is this correct? Luckily I was travelling just fast enough that the centrifugal force overcame the gravitational pull of the bitumen but the wobble had my stomach in my mouth.

Any advice from you more experienced riders? The thing is that all this happens in an instant so there is no time to think, but just react.
If you cant see the apex of the corner, its always a blind spot you ridding into, worst still with a loved ones on your back.

Glad you managed it well and lesson learned.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yychow0812 View Post
Yup, agree with your points. However, I'm still a little unsure as to what actually caused the bike to wobble. I don't recall chopping the throttle. Is this what generally causes the highside crashes that we see or is it the "too aggressive" application of the throttle that causes them?
From my research the 'high side' usually occurs when the rear end slides to the side and then reaquires traction. That is why all the experts I have read say that if you lock up the rear keep it locked until you stop.

You upset the suspension because you make a very quck adjustment when you pushed on the bars. In your situation it is very difficult to stay focused on the turn when the looming gravel patch and guardrail are in view. If you would have stayed focused on the turn and just tightened up your turn because the turn got tighter you would have just glided through the turn and would only have been reporting to us the fact that you successfully navigated a decreasing radius turn with a pucker factor, but you wouldn't have even noticed the gravel and guardrail.

I'm assuming the reason you noticed the gravel is because the bike was starting to drift towards the outside of the curve and you focused on where the bike was heading instead of where you wanted the bike to go. When you realized what was happening you put your focus back on navigating the turn which caused you to make a quick reaction on the bars which upset the suspension. You may not have chopped the throttle, but that is on of the first impulse reactions to your type of situation.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
From my research the 'high side' usually occurs when the rear end slides to the side and then reaquires traction. That is why all the experts I have read say that if you lock up the rear keep it locked until you stop.

You upset the suspension because you make a very quck adjustment when you pushed on the bars. In your situation it is very difficult to stay focused on the turn when the looming gravel patch and guardrail are in view. If you would have stayed focused on the turn and just tightened up your turn because the turn got tighter you would have just glided through the turn and would only have been reporting to us the fact that you successfully navigated a decreasing radius turn with a pucker factor, but you wouldn't have even noticed the gravel and guardrail.

I'm assuming the reason you noticed the gravel is because the bike was starting to drift towards the outside of the curve and you focused on where the bike was heading instead of where you wanted the bike to go. When you realized what was happening you put your focus back on navigating the turn which caused you to make a quick reaction on the bars which upset the suspension. You may not have chopped the throttle, but that is on of the first impulse reactions to your type of situation.
That actually sums it up quite nicely. Thanks a lot. We live and learn, thankfully.
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