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Ear plugs and your concept of speed

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by jhammy, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Has anyone else found that riding with ear plugs in really distorts your concept of how fast your travelling?

    I've been riding for a few years on and off, but i'd never decided (until last night) that I should wear ear plugs. I have been thinking about it recently and the noise on a medium/long ride has to be damaging to your hearing so I grabbed a handful from work yesterday and popped a pair in on my way home. I’ve worn in-ear headphones before but this was totally different. It was actually quite relaxing.

    So what I discovered when I set off was that I was taking corners and generally travelling along faster than I realised (i.e. too fast), and I was really surprised by how listening to the engine must really affect your concept of how fast your travelling.

  2. When I did my roadcraft course a few weeks ago a suggestion was made to use ear plugs to give u a sensation of things slowing down. I have noticed I tend to drift over the speed limit more with them in but it sure makes my corners smoother
  3. Nup. It's the added sound of the wind and how the brain responds to it.

    How I understand it is that wind noise from riding is an exceedingly large information input of the classical senses. The brain can only handle so much information at once before it reaches a point where it hits overload and too much information is being inputted. Signs of overload are your standard survival reactions (SR's).

    Wind noise is one of those contributing inputs that combine to form your sense of speed, and the faster you go the more information the brain is processing due to the louder wind roar. Using earplugs greatly reduces this input and moves the brain a long way down the line from the overload point and hence allows you to travel at a much greater pace in considerably more comfort. Riding without earplugs results in the brain heading toward overload is very tiring and will contribute to rider fatigue, hence riding with earplugs considerably reduces fatigue while riding. It gives your brain more room to focus on what you are seeing ahead without the distraction of what you are hearing which makes spirited riding quite a bit safer imo.

    With earplugs you will need to rely on the speed of the passing roadside - this is generally inaccurate as the brain is quite susceptible to conditioning. A better measure of speed is the force of the wind on your body or combining the two. You could also retune yourself to engine note at various speeds which shouldn't be difficult.
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  4. Interesting - I'd say this matches my experience of riding with and without earplugs.
  5. Please note that other inputs also contribute to sense of speed, such as speed of scenery, use space around the rider and road and these increase with faster pace as well, not just wind noise. It all adds up. Even things as minor as the gear you are wearing, their thickness and whether you have exposed skin.
  6. Quite normal. Give it a week and it'll be back to normal, as your perception adjusts to the differences.
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  7. Doh that's a butt plug not an ear ........lol
  8. Or you could just look at your speedo...
  9. funny bastard hey? Please explain how that helps fatigue.

    edit: damn tapatalk doesn't show up bolding. However, the point remains that if you want to get some gauge of how fast you are going through your private bit of twisty driveway the last thing you want to do is look at the speedo.
  10. Riding out of Hay toward Deniliquin is a good example of this. You feel like you're doing no speed and labouring up an endless incline.

    I shudder to think of my years spent riding without ear plugs (maybe that's why I need to hold the phone on my left ear when outside - the opposite side to my exhaust ear).
  11. Don't ride anywhere without 'em!
  12. It's nothing to do with fatigue.

    Why would you want to look at your speedo when you're flat out through the twisties?
  13. Yeh, tapatalk didn't show you had bolded the last line, I only saw that you quoted to whole post and replied with 5 words or however many it was.

    It's not a good idea, but some people like to know.
  14. I've been meaning to try earplugs for ages, I'm doing a big ride on Sunday so I'll try then.

    As for looking at your speedo when in the twisties IMO it's a bad idea. All I care about is what gear I'm in. My mate on the other hand (who is a respectably quick rider) actually sets his entry speed by the speedo which I think is a terrible way to ride.
  15. No.

    Cut out the wind noise, you cut out a lot of the fatigue. I've been riding with plugs in for years - I still want to be able to hear for years to come.

    You're taking corners faster? That just highlights that your brain has more computing power now that it's quieter. Keep an eye on the speedo when you need to and your hip pocket and licence will appreciate it.
  16. Yep as simple as this.....

    Adapting to changes you make whether it's earplugs, different helmet, other gear, mods, etc is normal...

    A noob mate of mine who started riding a cruiser said he decided not to wear gloves because the clutch and throttle feel different and he doesn't like it..

    Gave him one of my dorky looks and said "what's wrong with getting used to it"!
    He didn't ride much thru the winter....:LOL:
    Oh well his loss....
  17. Yea i've really found it helps with my confidence, especially as i've only recently upgraded to a R1 from a Daytona 600 with a gap of nearly a year of not riding in between, so i've been easing myself into the new bike and taking it easy. Cuz I know if u don't respect anything with that much kick you're going to get a face full of road.

    I've become quite attached to the skin on my knuckles to be honest.

    It does makes one hell of a difference. I'd now defiantly recommend it. It's so peaceful not hearing the constant wind roar, and you can still hear the sound of your engine which I like to hear.
  18. Ok when you know the corner, perhaps mate...I do it in specific sections of twisties that I know very very well...just a glance for the first corner to set up my pace so I'm not chasing it later into the corners...but out on the open road, what if he gets it wrong? eeek!
    I could'nt do that...would not want to...
  19. forgot to say earlier...once cocooned in the "cone of silence", my mind settles and relaxes. I can still hear all or most of the usual cues that are important feedback, without the windblast distorting all the other sounds. Anything else, I am using the mark 1 eyeball.
    And a higher level of situational awareness.
    Every now and then I'll keep the plugs in my pocket for a section, and the assault on the senses at highish speeds is abnoxious and annoying...get up to fastish speeds and my brain gets too hyped by the screaming wind noise..when you get to speeds above $2.00, my adrenaline is pumping and I am amped up way too much for what I'm doing.

    Ear plugs all the way for me...and jammed in tight! :)
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  20. why kind of ear plugs to you guys favour? Cheap replaceable ones? Expensive moulded ones?