Riding in a cross-wind-Does this work??? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Riding in a cross-wind-Does this work???

Saw this on another forum-does it work. I was in very strong winds in the Mojave Desert on Monday, 40+mph! It was amazing the sand blowing across the road obliterated the road, it was like floating. Lying across the tank did help a bit.

I like to think of myself as a reasonably experienced rider but it struck me yesterday that you are never too old to learn new tricks!
I was reading a Dutch web site about touring Europe when I came across an excellent tip for riding in strong cross winds.....something which is not uncommon in the UK.
Any way the tip was this.....if you stick your knee out to windward and let it flap about like a rudder, the bike will apparently stay rock steady and upright.
This is a new one on me but now I cant wait for the next windy ride to try it out.! There may , of course, be other considerations when riding with your knees flapping around but I am definitely going to try this.
Anyone else found it works?

Machog


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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 09:02 PM
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Do it all the time. Works well in strong winds.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 01:18 PM
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I found that if I do it for a long time, my groin gets VERY tired on that side, and it's hard walking after. The side feels REALLY weak.
Ed
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 01:39 PM
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I may or may not have tried it once when there was the hardest cross winds I ever dealt with when I had a 3 hour ride. The news said the gusts got up to 60 mph. I was leaning so much just going straight, I was praying hard that my tires kept their grip. So from fear, my knees may have been shaking , but next time I'll try what you said on purpose.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 05:24 PM
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Riding in strong winds

We live with strong winds and plenty of rain on the Isle of Man (a good site to look for live wind info. “http://www.xcweather.co.uk/” - it also covers USA) and one thing I was advised by a very experienced biker is "don’t' slow down when approaching traffic lights -approach the lights quickly and stop sharply -then you don't get blown over doing slow speeds" I find it good advice.

John
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 06:36 PM
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GDONFN, you remind me of one of my trips that was windy but it was mainly behind me. Anyway, I pull of the hwy to a frontage road to get gas but the gas station is tricky to get to. While I'm looking and riding, I notice a motorcycle approaching the frontage road I'm on and then I look how to get into this station. When I looked back to the road, the biker is down on the ground.

I pull over and went to help him. After helping, the guy pulls off his helmet and it’s an old man. I ask if he is ok and he says he thinks so but he says does not know what happened. He said he has be riding for 40 something years (can’t remember exactly) and he is 87 years old!!!!

He said again he couldn’t understand what happened and I told him he very likely was slowing to make a stop at the stop sign just before the frontage road and the wind which was blowing to his right blew him over just when he cleared the gas station and then slowed to stop. So you make a good point to stop quickly.

But…another boring memory of being caught on a high over pass and the traffic was just crawling. The wind was very strong, the tilt on this overpass made my left leg real short and my right real long. I hate being forced to go real slow in high winds, on a tilt and way up high.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 06:41 PM
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Yep, it works. Other longriders I know call it "dropping anchor". Try it.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 07:15 PM
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Great story on the bike trip to Alaska - I like the idea of popping out on the bike and returning 5 wks later after 10,000 miles!

John
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 10:59 AM
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I tried the rudder idea in a really strong cross wind and it seems to work! It certainly didn't feel uncomfortable like I thought it would.

My only real experience with different bike, however, is with a KLR. The Versys is much more stable, perhaps because it has a lower center of gravity with the weight of the exhaust so close to the ground. I feel much more confident on the Versys in adverse weather.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 11:56 AM
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This week I was riding across MO hwy 44 to go back home in TX when I hit very strong cross winds and then a bad rain storm to add to it.

I was carrying a large duffel bag on my back seat that held my camping gear so that added to the surface to catch wind. One gust was so strong and lasted long enough to blow me off to the shoulder. Then it hit me and I remembered this thread and stuck my left knee out into the wind and it helped to keep the bike in more control when those gusts hit.

What really ticked me off after going through hours of riding like that, all my pockets on my waterproof gear filled with water even though it kept me dry, so when I handed the toll road money collector on OK wet dollar bills, he gave me a bunch of complaints about how rude I was not giving him dry dollar bills. What a JERK!!
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 01:04 PM
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When riding in a crosswind, the angle of lean is the resultant vector of two forces, the first being gravity, and the second the side thrust of the wind. Stability comes from the gyroscopic effect of the wheels turning, which is why it gets wild and wooly when coming to a stop and the gyro effects stop as well while the wind continues. It's really kind of impossible to fight, and I just consider it as a normal thing and go on my way leaned over.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 02:47 PM
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It sort of works, but as mentioned above, it can be rather tiring.

The way it works is by creating aerodynamic drag on that side, pulling the bike in that direction (with your other knee). It helps you lean the bike in, but you can achieve the same by pushing on the corresponding side of the handlebar. If you are riding in areas where the wind direction changes (think Columbia Gorge and other canyons) it wont be as useful because it makes it harder to do quick corrections to the side you need to push the bike too.

Most bikes are actually pretty stable in all types of wind. It's usually the rider that is unstable and the source of most of the "problems". As the wind pushes you around, your upper body moves and it moves your arms too, this leads to unintended inputs at the bars and that's what makes the bike feel unstable. If you sit close to the tank, make sure your arms are very relaxed and hold the throttle steady most of the "instability" goes away. Better still, if you have a throttle lock, try locking the throttle and keeping minimal pressure on the bar(*). You'll see the bike leans into the wind becomes a lot more stable. I let the bike lean in but sit up straight (think dirt riding position). I have ridden across La Ventosa (isthmus of Tehuantepec) where tall buses and trucks regularly get overturned by the strong cross winds and that is the best solution to the stability problem.

Gustavo

(*) - This method should only be used by professional riders under controlled conditions in closed circuits. If you follow this advice, you do so at your own peril. Serious injury may occur. Don't try this at home, much less on a public road.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 06:37 PM
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I use that trick on the Wilson Bridge all the time. Works like a charm.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 07:03 PM
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I have tried it in winds gusts up to 120km/hr (80mph) and seems to help dampen the gusts. Seems to help at slower wind speeds but over 60 mph you have a hard enough time keeping the bike upright I wouldn't recommended fooling around with dragging the wind unless your comfortable with what your doing!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AlbertaJeff View Post
I have tried it in winds gusts up to 120km/hr (80mph) and seems to help dampen the gusts. Seems to help at slower wind speeds but over 60 mph you have a hard enough time keeping the bike upright I wouldn't recommended fooling around with dragging the wind unless your comfortable with what your doing!
By trying to keep the bike upright, you're working against the laws of physics, and destabilizing it in the process. Let it lean over and ride on, unless it gets to the point where pavement adhesion is compromised. Then stop and get a room until it lets up.
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustavo View Post
It sort of works, but as mentioned above, it can be rather tiring.

The way it works is by creating aerodynamic drag on that side, pulling the bike in that direction (with your other knee). It helps you lean the bike in, but you can achieve the same by pushing on the corresponding side of the handlebar. If you are riding in areas where the wind direction changes (think Columbia Gorge and other canyons) it wont be as useful because it makes it harder to do quick corrections to the side you need to push the bike too.

Most bikes are actually pretty stable in all types of wind. It's usually the rider that is unstable and the source of most of the "problems". As the wind pushes you around, your upper body moves and it moves your arms too, this leads to unintended inputs at the bars and that's what makes the bike feel unstable. If you sit close to the tank, make sure your arms are very relaxed and hold the throttle steady most of the "instability" goes away. Better still, if you have a throttle lock, try locking the throttle and keeping minimal pressure on the bar(*). You'll see the bike leans into the wind becomes a lot more stable. I let the bike lean in but sit up straight (think dirt riding position). I have ridden across La Ventosa (isthmus of Tehuantepec) where tall buses and trucks regularly get overturned by the strong cross winds and that is the best solution to the stability problem.

Gustavo

(*) - This method should only be used by professional riders under controlled conditions in closed circuits. If you follow this advice, you do so at your own peril. Serious injury may occur. Don't try this at home, much less on a public road.
Exactly~

I live in Hong Kong and it's windy with monsoon happens. When crossing bridges, winds are coming from various angles. Relaxing the upper body is a great way to keep the bike feel stable.

Also, check tire pressure more frequently.


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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 12:59 PM
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I'm not so sure the knee acts like a rudder, but I would say that shifting your knee out probably shifts your weight over a little which in turn would help keep the bike straight up in a cross-wind.

I find simply relaxing my grip on the bars fixes most wind problems.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ttpete View Post
By trying to keep the bike upright, you're working against the laws of physics, and destabilizing it in the process.
I agree. Just let her flop around. No problem. The moto wants to right itself and go straight. It will. (Eventually) Best thing I learned to do in the wind was to loosen grip on the bars and let her blow and just slowly countersteer her back.

When I was in the early days of riding, I used to try to keep her straight. Did the leg thing. Got tired. Now, I just let it kind of amble around like a drunk. It is kind of like an amusement park ride. Wind tires me a lot, so I do not hold the leg out for protracted periods. I do use the trick on bridges, though.

As with everything I post, your mileage may vary.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 08:12 AM
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I agree with "dancing" with the wind you obviously have to lean the bike into it and suddenly lean it more when the gusts hit, but when it's raining cats and dogs, I'll only let the bike lean so much, and there has been a few times, one being last week, that I decided to let the bike wander onto the shoulder a short bit rather than take that much of a lean.
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by atgatt View Post
I agree with "dancing" with the wind you obviously have to lean the bike into it and suddenly lean it more when the gusts hit, but when it's raining cats and dogs, I'll only let the bike lean so much, and there has been a few times, one being last week, that I decided to let the bike wander onto the shoulder a short bit rather than take that much of a lean.
I have been there too. Rain intensifies the scary thing a lot.

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