Bike falling over through corners? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Bike falling over through corners?

First of all, I absolutely LOVE my Versys I'm so much more confident on it than I ever was on my SV650, it's a bucketload of fun and even though on paper it should be slower than the SV650, I'm a fair click quicker on it due to much increased confidence

Now, my question:

Went for a big ride last weekend, and for the first time ever felt confident enough to push myself and my riding capabilities through the corners. The bike leans well and swaps from side to side easily, although I'm not scraping pegs or anything yet and don't know if I'm even close. I've however found a rather disturbing behaviour on my Versys and I'm not sure what is causing it, or how to fix it. Might be the bike, might be the set up, might be the way I ride, might just be the way it is.

When I start to lean the bike over more than usual, it leans, it leans, it leans and it feels great, and then all of a sudden it seems to "fall over". Almost feels like the front is washing out, although I'm not sure if this is actually happening. When this happens I sort of panic and stiffen up a bit and stand the bike up slightly, and keep going. I tried it in both directions, and it seems to happen in both directions. Tyres are about 10000k's old (stock tyres), and I've got about 1mm left on the right side to the wear indicator, and about 2+mm on the left side (which is strange since I'm a lot more comfortable turning left, and a fair bit quicker turning left). Wear on it is primarily over the middle 90%, although there are scuff marks all the way to the edge of the thread, not sure if this is from running out of thread or just general wheeling the bike around though. As far as I know the bike has never been dropped.

Any ideas as to what is happening?

Thanks

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, as far as suspension, it's completely stock, although the front forks have been dropped about 10mm through the triple clamps. I've got a lowered seat, but I don't think this would affect handling. Preloads etc are set more or less at 0 front and rear as I only weigh in at about 55kg at best, and it was the only way I could get the sag etc close to what I'm told is "ideal".

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 03:22 AM
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have the tyres started to square off? I get that sort of feedback when they do that, you reach the end of the flat bit and then suddenly you go on to the remains of the 'good' tyre.
the fact one side has less tread than the other suggests heavier wear on one side.. usually culprits for that int he UK are right side wear due to going round roundabouts

10k Kilometres is about 6K miles, so it sounds to me like your OEM tyres are goosed or nearly goosed.

you can remove the squaring off by going for a thrash round the twisties, honest officer
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 03:24 AM
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I have also noticed this, but as a fairly novice rider did not really want to show my ignorance by commenting. Could it perhaps be the result of the V's very high centre of mass?

"Only dead fish go with the flow"
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 04:14 AM
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G'Day Demuire,

IMHO, maybe it's time to change tires. 1mm rubber is not much.
Also, I personally don't have much confidence in the OEM Dunlop tyres.

TheWitch pointed something interesting too. If you have the petrol tank at half, try sitting on the bike and just slowly move side to side. This momentum is caused by liquid's (petrol) free surface effect. Maximum when a container is half full. The V tank does not have a flush plate to prevent the sloshing.

That said, I think it's caused by tyre wear.
If we discuss riding styles, IMHO, the Slow, Look, Lean and Roll is the key.
Gently roll on the throttle is to prevent the bike's feeling of stalling (dropping down) in a turn.

We are all here to learn from one another. Hope it helps.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:51 AM
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i noticed this also. the stock tires have decent grip but i never got comfortable with their feel when leaned over. i would get better tires. also when i dropped my forks it made that feeling much worse. dropping the forks makes the bike steer quicker but you will have less stability. i have Perilli stradas and there much better but i going to try a set of Road Smarts next. they have a nice feel on my sv.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:54 AM
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I would replace the tires...



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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, it sounds like perhaps it's time to start thinking about new tyres - or at least a new front. stlee: it's got 1mm to the wear indicator, so it's probably got about 2 or 3 mm before it's actually bald. Still close to time to change tyres...

Here are photos of said tyre:




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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:20 AM
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I'm with everyone else. It sounds like it's time for new tires. I was starting to get the same feeling you are talking about. I replaced the stock rear tire at 5,000 miles and the "falling" feeling went away. I still have the stock front tire on.


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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm, that's another thing that I've found strange with this bike. The front tyre is almost worn out, however the rear still has about 50% thread left. I'm wondering if the rear was replaced before, or if the front has just worn out heaps more than the rear? I bought the bike as an ex-demo, so I have no idea how it was ridden (or serviced) prior...

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:30 AM
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Rear tire grip is way more important than front one. You should probably replace both. Although I've never felt what you are talking about, so it could be caused by another thing.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 09:40 AM
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New tires will make a world of difference. Replace both.

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepe View Post
Rear tire grip is way more important than front one. You should probably replace both. Although I've never felt what you are talking about, so it could be caused by another thing.
I completely disagree with this! You can loose the rear and "back it in" if you have to, but if you loose the front you are done. A lot of riders will run a sport touring rear tire and a sport front. I did this also on my SV (Conti Road Attack rear and Sport Attack front).
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 11:26 AM
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+1 by Red Herring. Best to replace both tyres to really gauge the new found bike handling. There many 17inch tyre models and makes to chose from.

, Demuire.

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:31 PM
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theres something very odd about this, seeminlgy your tyres still have plenty of life left in 'em. if you are not on the wear mark then there is plenty of life left in 'em. legally you have to replace the tyres when they reach the wear mark. in the UK the legislation is when tyre tread is less than 1mm over 75% of the profile of the tyre, and I'd expect that to be a common international standard.

I'm just wondering if by dropping the front suspension by 10mm you have affected the handling, and by doing that there is more load on the front tyre.

If the front end has been lowered it may also need the same trimming off the rear to maintain the chassis
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:35 PM
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I'm not sure about your experience riding, but is it possible that you are NOT using push steering enough? Possibly turn handle INTO the turn and causing the bike to wobble/slip? When I first started riding I noticed I naturally push turned at slower speeds, but had to consciously tell myself and control my arms to do it at higher speeds when it wasn't natural. I would try a few laps around the neighborhood, find some good turns and practice to make sure, it's what I did. It could also be tires though! Good luck!
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:38 PM
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Tires are cheaper than what crashing will cost.

I would replaced both front and back.

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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbarend View Post
I completely disagree with this! You can loose the rear and "back it in" if you have to, but if you loose the front you are done. A lot of riders will run a sport touring rear tire and a sport front. I did this also on my SV (Conti Road Attack rear and Sport Attack front).
Yes, you can back it in if you're a pro. And how often do you see someone losing a front? And the sport touring rear and sport front I would believe has a lot to do with tire wear, rears usually wear twice as fast as fronts.

Still, the point remains, if you think it has to do with tires, replace both. But I would make sure it is not because of the way you're riding or your perception before doing so.
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:44 PM
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So they buy sport fronts just so they will wear faster? You can easily recover a slipping rear, but not a slipping front. The front is half as wide as a rear and has a much smaller contact patch. Ther rear will come loose if you get on the throttle too early or smack a peg. You might see newbies loose the rear more because all they ever use is the rear brake. Most lowsides are caused by too much throttle too early or the front breaking loose from some small imperfection in the road.

I have had two 40mph lowsides in the twisties. One was from digging a peg in too hard and the other was because my front broke loose when I wasn't counter steering enough.

I agree get some new tires.

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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbarend View Post
I completely disagree with this! You can loose the rear and "back it in" if you have to, but if you loose the front you are done. A lot of riders will run a sport touring rear tire and a sport front. I did this also on my SV (Conti Road Attack rear and Sport Attack front).
I agree, I've lost both the front and rear before (at different times, not both at once!) and I've found it much less disconcerting to lose the back. I guess it's a bit like a car (I used to drive rally cars), when you back it in you still have some level of control (even though the consequences of getting it wrong are potentially higher), but when you understeer in you're just hanging on and praying...

stlee: At the moment I'm planning on getting some Pirelli Scorpion Sync's. I want to have the option of riding dirt roads (Australia has HEAPS of those), and they're the only "dirt oriented street tyres" that are legal for the Versys here. There are a few others that do fit, but are too low a speed rating... I had a Scorpion Sync front on my SV and loved it. Not cheap though

healdem: Yes, same law here. And yes, the tyre is mostly still "good" legality wise, but the front is certainly getting there. I only got the bike about 3000k's ago (which was when the forks were dropped, they were at stock height prior), and the front was already significantly more worn than the rear, so I don't think the wear has to do with the fork height.

redrabbit and pepe: Yes, am completely open to the idea that I'm a total noob and not doing it right I *think* I'm doing the right thing and countersteering etc... Maybe I need someone to ride with me to watch me and tell me if I'm doing it all wrong. I went on a rider training course thing about a year ago on my SV and the only feedback I got from them was that I wasn't moving around enough on the bike, so I've been trying to lean off the bike a bit more. Works going left, I'm still a bit hesitant and stiff going right...

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