Dealing with wind - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Dealing with wind

Being that the 2008 Kawasaki Versys is my first bike, I have been doing plenty of riding on fair weather days. I know the Versys is rather light for a motorcycle and while I am riding on a highway/interstate, I find that I am easily blown around in my lane by crosswinds. Once I start feeling uncomfortable, I slow down and therefore everything on the highway is now passing me.

I'm not very experienced of a rider, but I was wondering how many Versys riders here handle wind. I know there are people here that travel cross country and deal with lots of highway. My versys is stock, no bags or accessories that can act as a sail. I wear a mesh jacket as opposed to a leather one that I used to wear.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 09:53 PM
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I don't think that the V gets blown around any more than any other bike with the exception of c rockets because of the riders posture. I don't get moved by the wind any more now than I did on the FJR. It was 625 curb weight.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 10:13 PM
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I'm not very experienced either. It does seem that i have to learn to stay relaxed in the arms and shoulders and...all over. Sort of maybe to relax and let myself learn to respond in a non-tense way...while still feeling free to grip the tank with my knees while standing on the pegs or taking a hand off the bars...
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 10:17 PM
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Riding in the wind sucks...Riding in super gusty winds really sucks. But leaning forward a bit and using a bit of countersteering (not leaning) helps a lot. I still get the heebies riding in the stiff stuff...You are smart to slow down until you feel more comfortable with Mr. Wind though...

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 10:56 PM
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Ditto what contractor said. The V is a pretty stable ride, but is still only has two wheels! Don't worry about your speed. Riding when you are not comfortable is a good recipe for disaster. When your distracted & something unexpected happens your likely to freak and forget. That was the result of my one and only accident. Freaked and forgot how to ride.

I also recommend taking highways not interstates for less wind. On the east coast this may not be practical as the towns are so close together. But out west there are a lot less trucks on the highways. So a lot less buffeting. As you grow in confidence and experience you will get the speed.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 11:03 PM
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As others here have posted on other threads, it helps to hang out a knee on the windward side. Good idea to tuck everything else in as much as you comfortably can. Also watch out for temporary windbreaks like passing cars, trees, houses, etc..., and learn to read the grass and leaves. Being able to anticipate the wind takes some of the drama out of it. Eventually you get more used to and comfortable dealing with it, but sometimes you have no choice but to slow down or even seek shelter.
Crosswinds do seem to feel a bit worse to me on the V than they did on my other (heavier) bikes, but not terribly much so.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2009, 04:32 AM
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I found crosswinds harder to deal with on my KLR than on the V. But it helps to remember and trust the gyroscopic forces which are operating in a bike, particularly when it's going quickly. The turning wheels as well as things rotating inside the engine help keep a bike stable while underway. Once you begin to notice how the bike almost self-corrects when hit by a side wind it'll become less of an issue, maybe still an annoyance but not as stressful. I also think it's important to push your comfort zone a little bit while riding because if you always stick with the safe bet sooner or later you're going to get caught out in conditions you're not familiar with and that's when you can get into trouble. Pushing our comfort zones, well that's how we develop our skills, isn't it?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2009, 09:23 AM
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Read this thread, you'll find a lot of useful info here:

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=2861

Gustavo


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-02-2009, 10:58 AM
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If you guys think the wind affects a Versys a lot, try riding around on a Ninjette....it's an experience. The best way to deal with it is to keep looking where you want to go and keep your arms loose and relaxed. If you stiffen up, the bike is going to go wherever the wind pushes it.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 11:59 PM
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Winds are Naturally Cross

One of the things I do on a new bike is head out
on the highway and find a nice big 18 wheeler
in a crosswind to test the bike's handling. The
Vs is more stable than most other bikes I've
ridden. I would probably not do this on wet
pavement, but not doing it and getting caught
in a storm could spell disaster.

One of the things I've noticed is that the bike
often needs to realign itself when a crosswind
gust hits it. If you fight that you may lose the
battle. Go with the Force, Luke. Let the machine
move under you as it wants to; just guide it as
if you'd been in that new attitude all day.

Eventually you'll learn to let the bike find
it's own stance and enjoy the buffet as just
another challenge to be mastered. Tensing
up makes it worse. If it really bugs you, put
a little weight on your pegs so your butt does
not feel so threatened. Stay loose and focused
and the trepidation will pass as you master
the ride.

It's just another skill set you should have...
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potus2012 View Post
As others here have posted on other threads, it helps to hang out a knee on the windward side. Good idea to tuck everything else in as much as you comfortably can. Also watch out for temporary windbreaks like passing cars, trees, houses, etc...,.
+1... Tried this tip on my last windy ride and works well for me
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvaChava View Post
One of the things I do on a new bike is head out
on the highway and find a nice big 18 wheeler
in a crosswind to test the bike's handling. The
Vs is more stable than most other bikes I've
ridden. I would probably not do this on wet
pavement, but not doing it and getting caught
in a storm could spell disaster.

One of the things I've noticed is that the bike
often needs to realign itself when a crosswind
gust hits it. If you fight that you may lose the
battle. Go with the Force, Luke. Let the machine
move under you as it wants to; just guide it as
if you'd been in that new attitude all day.

Eventually you'll learn to let the bike find
it's own stance and enjoy the buffet as just
another challenge to be mastered. Tensing
up makes it worse. If it really bugs you, put
a little weight on your pegs so your butt does
not feel so threatened. Stay loose and focused
and the trepidation will pass as you master
the ride.

It's just another skill set you should have...
A very good description. Believe it or not it can be very pleasurable once you get the confidence to ride relaxed in strong winds. This is however, bodily relaxation and not mind relaxing. You do have to anticipate gust strikes coming through gaps in hills trees and around other vehicles. I also keep a careful eye on how close the gusts are taking me to the central reservation (or white line), if they are taking me too close I slow down. It's a fairly obvious thing to say, but ride closer than you normally would to the edge of the lane from which the wind is blowing.
Mike
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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Whoever said crotch rockets were better in the wind hasn't ridden one lately. They are worse than the V. I just relax and lean into the wind. Riding at 80 MPH+ in the wake of an 18 wheeler is a good way to get used to the feeling. It's kinda like riding in the grooved roads or on a bridge with metal grates- it feels weird, but is not dangerous unless you are riding in the Cannonball run. Just relax and go with the flow dude. It's a light bike that will get thrown around some- it's the same thing that makes it flickable. Buying an aftermarket shield (not the vario) but the $125 ebay verson helps make riding more comfortable as well.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 11:31 PM
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My comment about crotch rockets being better in the wind was not from first hand experience. Only that the posture of the rider would have less resistance than an upright position. I very often lay on the tank to some degree to lessen the effect of a side wind. I'm getting a lot of practice as of late because this is the windiest spring in my memory in Montana.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 04:35 AM
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I was quite impressed at how my ZX6 would react instantaneously to varying crosswinds, leaning in and out of it on its own while maintaining a perfectly straight line... On a previous trip out in the prairies on a GPz550, cruising speed had to be reduced to under 60 mph in a varying 50+ mph crosswind that had me at near maximum leaning angle against wind gust peaks.
The Versys seems fine in the moderate winds experienced so far. Contractor mentioned countersteering. Being aware that countersteering (pushing steering in the opposite direction) is actually always how a motorcycle is steered, to maintain desired trajectory, to veer (change direction), as well as for accident avoidance, makes a big difference. Start by trying it at low speeds and see how responsive it can be... If done more vigorously at city speeds as for an unexpected obstacle avoidance, you can actually throw the front wheel clean off the ground from a right turning lean angle, quickly to a left turning lean angle, perfectly positioned and without any drama. The powerful gyroscopic forces are inherent to motorcycle control dynamics.

Last edited by invader; 06-06-2009 at 07:08 PM.
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