Face Plant - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Face Plant

I am wondering if any one else has done a face plant on their Versys ? Sunday i was riding along about 15 MPH ( road was perfect ) got on the brakes a bit ( dog ) and the front end just went out from under me ( bike to the left and me to the right ) slammed me down on my head ! Now im a little paranoid ! So im reading reviews about riding gear and one of our fellow riders seem to have had the same thing happen to him, amazing how the circumstances are very similar ... So let me hear if any of you all have had this happen, Thanks Bulldozer > FYI bike is fine crash bars and hand guard worked perfect. My helmet has a big gash , jacket ( First Gear ) worked perfect and still usable_ my right knee is gonna take a few weeks to heal up and im body sore . But i cant sleep trying to figure out what i did wrong or if this is a bike issue ? Thanks

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 08:08 AM
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I'm sorry to hear this, glad you are mostly OK.

Any crash will make anyone have a fright, this feeling can last longer or shorter depending on the person and the circumstances.
Give yourself time to recover mentally, but don't fret and lose sleep over it. If you don't feel like riding for a while, don't ride. If you really want to try to find some answers, go check out the road surface where you went down and also go over your bike's brakes, tires, cables, etc.
After you check your bike and don't find anything wrong, consider it safe. In the end it could be that you went on the front brake a bit more forcefully or more abrupt than you thought, or there was a small patch of sand right where your wheel was when you braked for the dog. If you don't go back to trusting your bike again, you will not be safe or comfortable riding it.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Pret, I actually spent 30 minutes at my crash site yesterday, examined every inch of the road and been over my Versys with a fine tooth comb and one of my ridin buds went over it with me ( pain meds might have caused me to miss something ) cant find anything on the bike or the road that would have caused this to happen ! I have logged about 10,000 miles on cruisers this year and have locked up the brakes many times with no problems ( actually had my Voyager on a serious slide for 40 or 50 ft and managed to keep it up ) this deal was almost instantaneous and im positive i didnt lock up the front brake, or maybe i did > no doubt it will drive me nuts for a while.. I really like my Versys and i will be back in the saddle soon but way more cautious !!!!

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 09:06 AM
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Yep. Had the same thing happen. Damage to the bike ~$300. Damage to me now around $70K.

In my case I feel that a whole bunch of factors were involved:
- I was not used to riding with disc brakes. Every bike I had ridden to this point was not a disc brake bike. This is 100% my fault for not taking the time to get used to the bike before I jumped into riding. I got a bunch of riding in but the first time I was faced with a bit of a panic situation the lack of familiarity bit me...hard.
- Too much adrenalin equaled to much energy in the braking grab with the right hand
- I was worried too much about the vehicle behind me that I couldn't see adequately in the mirrors (too much vibration and the left mirror had come loose and was not properly adjusted.
- Rear brake pedal as set up by the factory/dealership was not where I was used to the rear brake pedal being which contributed to the confusion as my right foot was going for what was not there.
- Dealership had set the bike up for me, in theory, but had actually the front forks up entirely wrong. I am a big guy and instead of setting it up for a big person they had it set for a very light person (set at max light). I didn't catch this in any of my pre-flights. The rear suspension was set closer to correct.
- I feel the seat pushes me too far forward putting more weight forward which contributed to the problem.

I have since lowered the pegs an am playing around with the seat to move things to the rear about an inch. This feels WAY more comfortable to me but now the bars need a riser.

Lowering the pegs fixed the brake pedal issue.

Moving to bar-end mirrors but also did a bunch of work and added extenders to the mirrors to fix that problem.

Set up the suspension properly.

Spent about an hour in a parking lot doing those first brake exercises from the MSF course getting used to my brakes and the rest of the bike setup.

Playing with seat mods more to get an idea as to what I want in the seat before I send it to Baldwin to have it done right. For now I think getting it to where it doesn't jam the boys into the tank and moving my arse back about an inch is going to be close to perfect. But we are now out of riding weather here (too much ice on the roads) and I want to get more miles on the seat before I finalize things.

Hope my lessons learned help someone else.

Kevin

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SWM Engine Guard; Windscreen de Jour on a MadStad bracket; Motowerk Peg Lowering kit & Stand Big Foot; ProTaper ATV Low bars; Stebel horn; KTM Duals Rear Rack; Coocase 36L topcase...and more to come


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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 09:12 AM
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I had a similar experience making a left hand turn at a light. I slowed down to wait for a truck to clear the intersection, but as I began to turn as the truck went by I noticed that he was pulling a trailer (it was dark out) that had no lights on the side. I grabbed the front brake and went down between 5 and 10 mph. No real damage to the bike, but I twisted my ankle a little and had a little fabric burn on my knee. I was in full gear!

When you have sudden or abrupt control input the bike doesn't have anytime to load the front wheel, so it has a lot less grip than if you can apply gradual pressure to the front brake. Not a Versys problem, but the geometry, front shocks and front brakes probably compound the problem.

Glad you are mostly ok.

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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 09:13 AM
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You may have broken front tire traction without complete lockup. There isn't much centrifugal force holding you upright at 15 mph, especially if locking up (or partially) the front. Your front tire likely slid out from under you when suddenly braking, from the element of surprise while high on pain killers which greatly numbed out your control feedback.
Stock tires aren't the greatest, especially the front which washes out easily in unfavorable conditions.

Last edited by invader; 12-07-2010 at 09:16 AM.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 10:05 AM
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Invader, I think he was on pain meds when inspecting the accident site (not before the accident).

Bulldozer, I had a similar accident during the past summer, but at 45mph. I had on all my gear and walked away; but had a sore right knee and right shoulder for a couple of weeks. About $150 to fix the bike; $50 to fix my gear.

I too did a lot of thinking about what happened. In my case, I had been riding over two hours; was following a line of cars down a shallow hill on a sweeping right hand turn. I think I was mentally tired, had my mind on other things, lost my focus on the ride. The lead car stopped unexpectedly to do a reverse turn, and I responded without thinking, and cranked down hard on the front brake. The bike went left, I went right; as you did.

I'm now quite sure that my spill was caused by squeezing the front brake too fast and too hard; which in turn was caused by my sub-conscious reaction, since I was not focused on what was happening around me. Since the accident, if I find my mind wandering, I simply remember the spill and get focused again. Next spring I also plan to practice emergency stops and take the Advanced Rider MSF course with my V.

Of course, you have to decide how to manage the risk with your riding. For me, riding the V is a nice part of my life, so I'm going to keep looking for ways to be safer and have fun. Lots of people ride for years, accident free. I'm going to try to emulate them.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 10:09 AM
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Invader, I think he was on the meds during the crash site inspection. At least that's how I read it. Hopefully that's the case...Argh!! Scotty, you're too fast on the draw!

I find that if I just cover the brake with my middle finger(same way I ride my mountain bikes) I get just enough force to stop nicely. Had a car back out in front of me, snatched a finger full of front brake, applying some rear as well, and stopped with a little room to spare. I also try to gear down at the sme time to utilize the massive engine braking the V seems to have.

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Last edited by jsquared; 12-07-2010 at 10:14 AM.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 10:12 AM
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Invader, I think he was on pain meds when inspecting the accident site (not before the accident).
Haha, of course jsquared! That makes sense, to kill the pain inflicted by the shunt.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 10:23 AM
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Believe the main problem is too much front brake too fast. I've really cranked on the front brake hard but steady and was susprised the front end didn't wash out. In the case of the dog i've had that happen just stand on the pegs pull up on the bars and hit the dog you go right over it. the dog i hit was a full grown rottie.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 10:31 AM
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That's right, better run over it than crash... I was slowed down to a trot when this kid's tall clumsy dog turned in front of my path at last moment for a friendly greeting. My WR426's front wheel just smacked his head out of my way, with the kid yelling "You hit my dog!" frantically checking it for injuries... My friend on ADV640 stopped to comfort him.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 11:26 AM
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Along with others here, my suggestion is to "cover" your front brake lever with just TWO fingers. That way, in a surprised reaction, you will tend toward NOT being able to lock-up the front wheel, but in normal circumstances you'll be able to use more or less 'finger power'.

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 03:53 PM
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My style I ride using front brakes 95% of the time. Ride with 2 fingers on lever and have adjusted lever from stock postion to drop it down which means i have to roll off throttle to applly brakes, the reason for this is in a higer speed emergency brake riders will grab brake while still haveing a handfull of throttle and hear the engine revving and let go of brake again. In a higher speed stop in a straight line you should not snap your front but load up suspension then after that you can bite a lot harder and should stop in a very short distance very safely.

At 15mph was just wondering if there was a stone or small rock you run over at same time or you just turned your front and braked at same time which would not go well, brake straight.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 04:58 PM
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Exactly Kiwi.
Happened to me once while I had a lapse of concentration.
I didn't roll off the throttle and squeezed the brake but bike wouldn't stop. My first thought was 'something's wrong with the brakes'.
Fortunately, it wasn't anything dangerous, just stopping for the light.
Lesson learned.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 06:40 PM
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Target fixation, tucked with brake and turn, and she threw you.
A buddy did the same in the 60's for a sheepdog, and a VW in the opposite lane thanked him for his efforts.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 08:02 PM
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Target fixation, tucked with brake and turn, and she threw you.
Likely scenario. Hard braking with handlebars turned, even slightly is not good.

Glad it was not worse.
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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I definitely appreciate all the opinions cause this accident is a total mind f*#k ... ! I really have alot of riding experience and dodging dogs, chickens, cows and drunks is just normal everyday stuff.. The dog in question was a good 50 yards in front of me, the stretch of road i was on had guard rails on both sides and the pavement was in excellent shape > no gravel, sand, rocks that i could find. i LITERALLY just touched the brakes to be ready and boom i was eatin pavement.... OK i will get off my soap box, Thanks again guys.. Bulldozer

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09 Voyager its cushy and smooth
08 V 900 hers and all tricked out
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 08:22 PM
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What kind of dog was it?
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of dog was it?
Well Wladziu i just dont know , it seems i have CRS disease not to mention i was pickin pavement outa my teeth and wondering where my knee cap was but rest assured the little fart ran off... Gotta get me some of them Kevlar jeans ya think they woulda helped ?? And for you youngsters CRS stands for Cant Remember Sh#t , its a horrible affliction .. Bulldozer

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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-07-2010, 09:18 PM
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Gotta get me some of them Kevlar jeans ya think they woulda helped ??
Pure speculation on my part, of course, but I think a 15 mph crash is a scenario when the Kevlar jeans would be virtually worthless. The additional material at the knees provides abrasion resistance, not impact protection, like armor does. At 15 mph, you're not going to slide very far, but you can still bang your knee on the pavement plenty hard enough to hurt. I can attest to that from personal experience and I have the ACL surgery scar to prove it.

This is why my personal opinion values armor more than abrasion protection on the street. If you're going fast enough to slide a long way, you'll probably hit something before you slide that far. Of course having both is best.

But then as I said, pure speculation. Crashes are incredibly random. Gloves you can't pull off with your hand will fly off on their own. Etc. Thus the old saying: Tell me what kind of crash you're going to have and I'll tell you what to wear.

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