Had a accident on the V Friday. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Had a accident on the V Friday.

I need some advice, I suppose.

Sitting here fairly numb from the pain meds after getting into an accident Friday on the way to work. After getting the police report and searching my memory this is what I can piece together.

I've been riding (finally!) the V to work all week. I work second shift so the weather has been great going in, around 40 going out. I bought a warmer jacket a month ago to deal with the cooler temps and it's been great. I can take a few different routes to work but the shortest involves the HWY and then a stretch of straight road with the SL 55, 45, 35 (into a small town), and then back to 45 before the entrance into the plant. I ran a few errands before heading into work noting the nice weather (70 degrees) and being aware that people were getting out of work on a Friday and in a bit of a rush. As I was approached the light where the SL changes down to 35, I noticed that a truck to my right was slowing to a stop. I know now that he was slowing to allow a car from a side street to turn left... right into me!

I'm going to digress a little here to vent about how this occurs all of the time around here (Michigan) when people think that they are being helpful by letting someone in, when in fact they are setting up an accident. I used to do this myself before I realized the dangers involved.

Ok, vent over.

So I was going slow enough to see what was going on and was able to avoid hitting and being hit by the car. I swerved to left, taking note that I was heading into the left turn lane and then I applied the front brake, not realizing that the front was turned in. A few micro-seconds later I was staring up at the clear blue sky with an intense pain in my left shoulder blade and the sound of squealing tires.

WTF!

I won't go into all of the rest but after a visit by the EMTs from the local FD and a ride in an ambulance, I'm left with a banged up bike, body, and the phrase, "grabbing a hand-full" circling around inside my head. Below, I'll post pictures, but here's where the advice request comes in. After I get done beating myself up over what I should have done differently, what can I do to the V (aside from getting a 2014 or later with ABS) to improve the brakes or at least find a way to tailor them to me? I know that it was definitely my fault that I grabbed them too hard and it probably would have been all right had the wheel been straight rather than turned. The brakes and lines are stock. Is there improvement to be had in changing either, or both, so they won't lock up again?
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 10:26 PM
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Do you still have the original tires? That left footpeg mount is a weak point. I made my own cover out of welded steel plate to replace it.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Do you still have the original tires? That left footpeg mount is a weak point. I made my own cover out of welded steel plate to replace it.
Yep, stock tires. It looks like I will be able replace/fix most damage fairly cheaply except for the mount. Do you have a picture or a link that shows what you did?
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 10:42 PM
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I won't go into any bike modifications - there are wrenches a lot better than I that can comment on that.

I will say - don't beat up or second guess yourself night and day about this. The important thing is that you're upright and able to start thinking about getting back on the road. You'll have time to look at the accident objectively after you heal up a bit.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 10:48 PM
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Breaking while leaning not advisable and if you do it has to be very very very gentle, I learned it the same way you did, only on a bigger bike and I got a city tour in helicopter.

When you braked chances are that the front locked and in that instant the bike dove into the ground, it is so fast that you can't react/correct the situation.


The best advise is to ride more and get more experience, in some time you will realize by yourself what would have been the best reaction for that situation, unfortunately some times there wasn't a better action.

Personally I don't touch my front brake anymore in a curve, I might just use slightly the rear but that's it. If I have to brake straighten the bike and apply both brakes and if the rear locks keep it locked.

Get well soon fix her and back to the saddle.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-03-2015, 11:22 PM
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Yep, stock tires. It looks like I will be able replace/fix most damage fairly cheaply except for the mount. Do you have a picture or a link that shows what you did?
Beside braking technique, better tires would help as well... Mine is a 2007. Plate may look a bit curved from the camera shot, but it's very straight. Do you still have the piece that broke off?

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Here it is finally unveiled, with painted aluminum vanity plate, and without:



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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 12:15 AM
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ABS would help the most, stickier tires a little, but really it's a training issue, not an equipment issue. The brakes on the V's are very effective, and need a light touch.

Don't beat yourself up, locking the front in an emergency situation is probably the most common thing that everyone does.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 12:27 AM
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Damn, sorry to hear man. Always try to straighten your wheel before braking to stop, if at all possible. Sometimes you panic and react, and there's nothing you can do about it, so don't blame yourself, just fix her up and keep riding.


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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 05:31 AM
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Heal up, and just tell people you jaded tout jerk down. (Damn electronic keyboard)

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 05:32 AM
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Beside braking technique, better tires would help as well... Mine is a 2007. Plate may look a bit curved from the camera shot, but it's very straight. Do you still have the piece that broke off?
Unless your putting on SS tires, not so much.

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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by david3921 View Post
I need some advice, I suppose.

Sitting here fairly numb from the pain meds after getting into an accident Friday on the way to work. After getting the police report and searching my memory this is what I can piece together.

I've been riding (finally!) the V to work all week. I work second shift so the weather has been great going in, around 40 going out. I bought a warmer jacket a month ago to deal with the cooler temps and it's been great. I can take a few different routes to work but the shortest involves the HWY and then a stretch of straight road with the SL 55, 45, 35 (into a small town), and then back to 45 before the entrance into the plant. I ran a few errands before heading into work noting the nice weather (70 degrees) and being aware that people were getting out of work on a Friday and in a bit of a rush. As I was approached the light where the SL changes down to 35, I noticed that a truck to my right was slowing to a stop. I know now that he was slowing to allow a car from a side street to turn left... right into me!

I'm going to digress a little here to vent about how this occurs all of the time around here (Michigan) when people think that they are being helpful by letting someone in, when in fact they are setting up an accident. I used to do this myself before I realized the dangers involved.

Ok, vent over.

So I was going slow enough to see what was going on and was able to avoid hitting and being hit by the car. I swerved to left, taking note that I was heading into the left turn lane and then I applied the front brake, not realizing that the front was turned in. A few micro-seconds later I was staring up at the clear blue sky with an intense pain in my left shoulder blade and the sound of squealing tires.

WTF!

I won't go into all of the rest but after a visit by the EMTs from the local FD and a ride in an ambulance, I'm left with a banged up bike, body, and the phrase, "grabbing a hand-full" circling around inside my head. Below, I'll post pictures, but here's where the advice request comes in. After I get done beating myself up over what I should have done differently, what can I do to the V (aside from getting a 2014 or later with ABS) to improve the brakes or at least find a way to tailor them to me? I know that it was definitely my fault that I grabbed them too hard and it probably would have been all right had the wheel been straight rather than turned. The brakes and lines are stock. Is there improvement to be had in changing either, or both, so they won't lock up again?
I've crashed too by locking the front brake. It's easy to do in a panic situation as your instinct is to grab more brake even though the logical part of your brain says not to, and why ABS is so valuable in the same situation.

I've since installed Gaffer SS lines. They do make a subtle improvement as do better quality pads but are not really a replacement for ABS.

Heal up, hope you were wearing good gear as it makes a world of difference, if you do crash, on how your body will fair. Heal up quick.

As for the bike I would suggest purchasing a Plastex kit to repair any broken plastics with. You can rebuild broken tabs, attachment points, cracked fairings, etc. with it. Then get some auto body glaze to fill the scratches. You can get color matched paint from Colorrite. Lots of youtube videos on fairing repair. A welding shop can probably repair cracked metal.

Last edited by twowheels; 05-04-2015 at 06:22 AM.
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I've crashed too by locking the front brake. It's easy to do in a panic situation as your instinct is to grab more brake even though the logical part of your brain says not to, and why ABS is so valuable in the same situation.
I have too and ABS would have prevented mine. I had a school bus that was in an intersection turning left, slam on the brakes for no apparent reason. Not wanting to get rear ended, I moved over to the shoulder and hit the front brakes. It was spring and there was still a lot of silt left over on the shoulder from the winter's deicing efforts. Front tire slid about 8' before I got off the brake and tried to save it. The handlebars jerked around a few times and threw me off as the bike planted itself neatly under the gas tank of this bus full of screaming kids of migrant workers.

I don't think ABS would have helped the original poster though. If the steering was turned very far, he had to be moving quite slowly. He was also presumably on good pavement. I doubt the ABS would have ever kicked on. Perched way up high, the low speed handling is semi-unstable to start with. Throw a quick change from braking and you're at gravity's mercy.

If I were going to suggest anything, it would be to look forward and anticipate everything. At some point, the rider on such a tall bike, should have been able to see a car trying to turn onto the street. Best to anticipate that he will and prepare yourself accordingly, before you get next to him.

The one thing about this Japanese machinery that really bugs me is the ease with which the friggin footpeg/gearshifts break off. Any mild low side or tip over results in an unridable machine. Not good. A friend of mine had a mild get off into the dirt down in Tenn one year and it ruined most of the day trying to get it welded back together.

cycle pics 009.jpg

Best wishes for the OP's quick/complete recovery.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 09:00 AM
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From you description, it sounds like AWARENESS or lack of it prevented you from avoiding this particular hazard. Riding a bike to work is a no go for me because it is a compulsory destination both to and from. For me, riding is an activity...not a form of transportation simply because riding safely takes more cognitive ability than driving a cage. There are times when I'm not up to the task. Riding safely requires a high level of situational awareness and constant vigilance watching for and predicting potential hazards and imminent threats and then planning for those eventualities. This process continues in a constant loop of activity while you are riding which should repeat itself every few seconds. My advice: Ride only when you are mentally sharp enough to predict the near future (we have all been in the situation where we KNEW the cage next to us was about to change lanes into us before he actually did it). Being that tuned-in 100% of the time is not possible. Learn to recognize when you cannot function at this level and drive a cage to work if you can.

I bet you will be much better with the front brake in the future...You may even cringe when you grab a hand full! Are there any Gymkhana events in your area? The Versys excels at these events and you can amaze yourself at how much control you have with practice.

I'm no diplomat

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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:00 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about that. The stock steel hh brake pads on ss discs are like stopping on ice if you ever get them to catch. I had moments of skidding my front and back wheels stopping: scary $hit.

The EBC copper HH pads were a God-send to me anyway ($105 for all 3 brakes shipped, Rocky Mountain ATV): I don't care how long the steel pads last - I want to stop. I don't know if they would have helped in your case, but those stock steel bit pads are scary. Every thing helps, and they are more than 10 times better stopping control than oem steel pads.

Good luck, and glad you are all right: that is the main thing.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:17 AM
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So, the OP went down as the front wheel locked and your theory is that it was caused by brake pads that lacked in power? In other words, the front wheel locked up, you advise more powerfull brakes. Something tells me your brain doesn't work.

Also, if you were dead set on feel, you should have gone with organic brake pads, not EBC's regular HH pads:

http://powersports-blog.denniskirk.c...ed-vs-organic/

Yes, EBC "copper" brake pads are nothing more than their regular HH pads.

http://ebcbrakes.com/product/double-h-superbike-pads/

"What we have today for the faster rider is the pinnacle of sintered copper alloy engineering, researched and tested in our own laboratories by engineers with over 50 years experience in sintered pad technology."
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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:18 AM
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David, just happy you're able to tell/warn all of us. It was better than getting t-boned. I don't think ABS would have helped. Even going 5 mph, with turned bars you're bike becomes an asphalt magnet with just a little too much front brake. I'm an equal opportunity dropper having done it on both sides, first going into a driveway and second turning to park in a lot. Heal up and leave one of the scars on the bike for a while as a reminder.

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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:25 AM
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I think your best advice you already quoted (somewhat). Never ride around a vehicle you can't see through especially on the right. Heal well brother..
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies, advice, and well wishes. I had my own lane and my view of the car was blocked by the pick-up of the person letting them in...illegally. A simple swerve by me would have serviced if I was sure the car saw me and was stopping. I wasn't sure so I swerved and braked at the same time and she locked up.

I pulled off the scuffed up parts on Saturday to assess the damage. I checked Ebay for some and saw, again, how little there is in the way of used parts. I looked also for the common parts we share with the Ninja and Er6. Not much there either. I do have the plastic repair stuff and am an experienced sprayer so there is that option. There is something to be said about just bolting on new stuff so I ran the parts through here;

http://www.powersportswarehouse.com/

and it came to a little over $500. Their prices are very good, by the way. My neighbor can get me a 10% discount on parts where he works and it still won't come close to touching these prices. I don't have full coverage and if I did, I usually go with a high deductible anyway. We have no-fault here in Michigan (the highest rates in the nation!) so if I could have gotten the drivers name there would have been some recourse. Nobody at the scene got the license nor even a good description of the car. The description on the report was from what I remember before I went down.

Where are all of the people taking video footage I see on the news all of the time?

Last edited by david3921; 05-04-2015 at 10:33 AM.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 12:26 PM
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Sorry to hear it & best wishes on your recovery. Sounds like a tough situation with not a lot of good potential outcomes.

I would add one thought - PRACTICE. Find a nice deserted parking lot and practice braking. You start getting the feeling of impending lockup, and develop the muscle memory to squeeze the brakes instead of grabbing.

This is something that I don't do nearly enough of. After reading your post I'll now be looking for an empty lot on the way home....
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 12:36 PM
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I didn't notice this advice from anyone: cover your front brake lever w/ TWO fingers all the time, and get used to using them for MOST of your stops. That will reduce the tendency to "grab-a-handfull" of front brakes!

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