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4 weeks on my L's and scuppered by tram tracks!

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by pommydave, May 11, 2011.

  1. Hey all,

    Just thought I would share by first stack experience! I bought a zzr250 and for 4 weeks of joyous riding on my new (2002!) baby, today i had a crash.
    I was traveling up riversdale road at 60km, when the rain hit. Ive tried to get out in the rain as much as possible to practice, so I think I was doing ok and riding sensibly...... Until i had to change lanes and went over the B@#$@#D Tram tracks!
    I skidded on my right side with the bike on top of me for a few metres and didnt even realise what had happened for a few seconds. I got up dazed and confused and feeling a bit sore. I then picked up my bike and tried to wheel it away but the gear lever was buggered and i couldnt get it into neutral. I finally did and managed to get the bike onto the pavement.
    I ripped my new draggin jeans (slix) and my helmet kissed the tarmac, but other than that I walked away with bruises and a bit of a scrape on my hip.

    What Peed me off though, is that not an EFFING single person came to help me! Is this a common thing for melburnians to sit in their cars and gawp at an injured rider?!!

    Also- Tram Tracks.... what the hell did i do wrong?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Im done whingin now......phew!
  2. I'm no expert on Melbourne tram tracks but the wisdom seems to be that you need to cross them at right angles if possible (which it doesn't seem was possible in your case).

    The BEST approach would be to move to Sydney :LOL:

    Glad to hear that you're OK, though.
  3. Wet tram tracks are nasty in the car, too. Never had to deal with them on the bike, but they'd have to be 1000% worse on two wheels...
  4. I almost binned the bike on Riversdale Rd (near Auburn) when I was on my learners as well actually, not entirley/exactly sure what happened (I can have a good guess though).

    Problem with Riversdale is a lot of it is pretty crappy surface wise and it's busy so gets very greasy near intersections.

    Anyway, glad your okay...
  5. Dave, I'm sorry to hear about your off, and glad you're not too badly hurt.

    I don't want to get too technical, but the grip level between wet greasy steel and tyre rubber can be below 0.2, compared to about 0.7 for a good tyre on clean wet asphalt, and over 1.1 for a good warm sports tyre on clean dry asphalt. If you try to cross that rail at a narrow or slight angle, the wheel can drop into the groove, and the available grip to climb up out of it on that low angle isn't high enough, and ... If you can imagine a set of guide rails for shopping trollies, made out of water pipe and bolted to the floor, about 30 ~ 50 mm high, and trying to ride over them at a slight angle, and the front wheel following the rail instead of the road... or riding along a cattle track and having the wheel wash out and try and follow the track rather than stay under you (to cite one that's happened to me many times) then you'll understand what happened to you.

    There is no safe way to deal with the things. Tram tacks are a hazard when dry, but a nightmare in the rain. Try not to ride on them or cross them. If you must, try to cross on a definite angle. 30 degrees is better than 3 degrees. Try to have the bike pretty much upright. Try to not have any significant steering input going on as you ride onto them. Try not to have brakes or power happening as you cross them.

    Buy some oggy knobs.
  6. I ride over multiple sets of tram tracks every day. It's all about the angle and being confident. The greater the angle the better, and once you get more comfortable with throwing the bike around and riding in the wet, it gets easier.

    It also gets a LOT easier on a bigger bike due to having wider tyres. I remember going over tram tracks for the first time when I upgraded from a 250 to a litre bike and I could barely feel the tracks.

    Like the others have said, where possible try to avoid them. Tram tracks are usually on 2 laned roads, so try stick to the lane with no tracks. If you need to get across the tracks to get to the non-tracked lane, then move over away from the direction you want to go to increase the angle and then go back towards where you want to go. Don't swing the bike over, but just ride over them with the bike as upright as possible. And never ride ON the tracks. Always ACROSS them. If possible, you want to get this type of angle =/=
    You probably won't be able to get THAT much angle if you are in the same lane as the tracks, but you get the idea.

    I've never had any trouble with tram tracks in the dry and the only time my tyres have slipped on them when dry is under hard acceleration, and even then it isn't enough to put me off. There is no need to be scared of tracks, but you do need to be super cautious in the wet and always make sure you are crossing them (wet or dry).

    Put it this way, go to google maps and type in "corner power street and riversdale road". If people (myself included) can corner over these bad boys on a daily basis in the wet, then there is still hope for you yet to be able to manage tram tracks. Just takes a bit of time to get used to them.
  7. Just another goddamned reason to hate trams. They hold up traffic, they screw up logical light timing, their tracks are a pain in the ass, and despite all the trouble the stupid cattle cars cause us, they're even WORSE to be on.
  8. Monorail will solve all tram issues..
  9. Can't imagine the cost/benefit analysis balancing very well on that.
  10. Good analysis guys. I also cross tram tracks every day. In fact, large parts of my trip are either crossing or riding parallel to tram tracks. As already said, try to cross them as close to 90deg as you can, but mostly, ensure that your bike is upright and not leaning. If you are cornering over them, lean your self off the bike and keep the bike upright. Keep the throttle even, not breaking or accelerating. If you are travelling parallel, try to stick to the left lane, but, if you need to travel in the same lane, I like to sit between the line and the track. Some roads don't have enough room, but most have quite a bit of room to sit in that space. You'll end up on the outside of the left wheel track. If it's dry, there's no problem to move into the middle if you wish.
  11. Turn right up power st at that intersection every morning....
  12. Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
    Like a genuine,
    Bona fide,
  13. #13 minglis, May 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
  14. Not as bad as turning right from Riversdale Rd into Glenferrie where you have all the tram tracks crossing rather than 1-2 sets.
  15. The first time I came to that intersection needing to make that turn was in a pissing rainstorm on my way to get High Tech Burrito. I was like "fffuuuuu" :rofl:
  16. LOL My first time through there on a bike was in pissing rain, and was the very first time i'd ridden a friends bike which was also a 750 when i'd only ridden 250 mainly! Took about 3 days for the cheeks to relax lol

    Oh and OP... like everyone said mate, take em at as much angle as you safely can, try not to be too stressed about it cos the stiffer you are the more likely you'll have trouble, if you're loose and something slips then you're more likely to recover.
  17. I had problems with the Across over the tram tracks a couple of times. To cross them I tend to ride away from the tracks and the cut across on a larger angle than parallel and shut the throttle to coast over them. You can still feel the tyre slide a little, but nothing to cause any issues. Haven't had any troubles since and always do that.

    What I hate now are roads that have had their top layer of bitumen removed for a new coat and have many grooves on them which the bike likes to stick in and to add to that, one lane would have the newly laid surface sitting higher than the dug up side...leaving a nice height difference where the tyre sometimes struggles to go over.
  18. Yeah that happend to me in my first few months of riding. Bad luck mate but at least you'll know better from now on. Like the above advice says, hit it with a big angle and with the bike upright, I also find keeping off throttle when crossing them prevents your rear from spinning up when it hits the cold slippery and grip less metal that is a tram track.
  19. I had that on the way home last night on Ormond Esp., and to make it worse it was raining... felt the bike trying to wander - a new and interesting experience...
  20. One solution to lessen the degree of tram tracking when crossing tracks/grooves/ruts etc at shallow angles, is to shift body weight to the rear of the bike and apply some acceleration. It's usually enough to lighten the front wheel so it doesn't sit in the rut. If stuck in a rut, don't panic and don't fight it, follow it's course and come to a stop if you have to. Then attempt to get out.