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Factors for stability in crosswinds

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by hongyi77, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Rode my VTR250 to Sunny Coast and back today, 240km all up, the way back was almost all gusty crosswinds that keep changing direction. My arms and back were so tired after the ride home! And all concentration squeezed out of brain too.

    Seriously considering a more powerful bike but I am still on LAMS. I don't have a desire to go any bigger than LAMS now as there are quite a few LAMS bikes I quite like.

    Wondering what makes a bike more stable 1) at high speed and 2) in crosswinds.
  2. #2 Fractalz, Dec 30, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
    It's not so much about power as about aerodynamics. A faired bike tends to get buffetted more by crosswinds than a naked and a heavy bike eg harley, will be less inclined to be affected ... but all bikes get buffetted.

    Tucking in (low over the bars) helps as your body presents as less of a 'sail' that way ... as does staying loose on the bars to minimise inadvertant steering inputs.

    Addit: I have also found that dropping back a gear can help sometimes as there is more drive to the rear wheel ... this is subjective though and others may dispute this :cautious:
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  3. Riding a big heavy bike (320Kg) works for me.
    There are a few heavy LAMS rides out there.
  4. I had the same issues riding my VTR250 from Melbourne to Adelaide. Always very windy, and got buffeted a lot. It got quite scary b/c the bike would feel like the bottom was being kicked out from under me - as opposed to the top bending over.

    The advice to keep oneself loose is probably the best, and all you can do to minimise the effect. Keeping low can help too, but didn't do anything for me with the "kickout" effect I suffered. Keeping the arms loose means that the bike has the best chance of quickly recovering from the buffet. Stiff arms makes it worse, and can add input you don't intend.
  5. Bigger bikes also have broader tyres which increase road grip. Dropping the gears helps as mentioned by Fractalz. One place I find that useful is when I see a big truck coming up from the opposite direction or if I plan to overtake one - drop a gear and crouch low. Works. In very strong cross winds the fairing probably does not help too much either. Have felt that recently on the bike I own now. Of course if a crosswind isnt a problem the full faired bikes with double bubble screens probably a way better than a naked. cheers
  6. stick your knee out on the side the wind is hitting you from.
  7. It was very windy on the sunny coast today...35knts on av, and from the south ? this time of year?
    If you go a bit loose, jelly like. You will feel the bike naturally want to lean into the wind. Their pretty smart if you listen to them.
    You will still get blown about a bit and taking a little preventative measure like riding more in the middle of the lane will increase lifespan dramatically
  8. A big clue that you're gripping too hard and not relaxed enough is that your arms are sore after riding. Of course, relaxing is hard to do when you're being blown about - instinctively you hold the bars harder to gain more control, which is counter-productive.
    Remember you have a whole lane to yourself - don't get flustered if you're blown 30cm off course.
    Yes, more powerful and heavier bikes get blown around less and are more comfortable at higher speeds, but upgrading now to another restricted bike is going to be expensive if you think you'll want to get an unrestricted bike when you can. It's up to you, but I'd save the money for the bike I actually want. I rode my GPX250 for a good year after I was off restrictions, including on freeways and in windy conditions, before getting a bigger bike.
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  9. Yes tried this when wind is in one direction and fairly consistent but today was all over the place. I felt like a kite that has gone nutters.
  10. Now that I am rested a bit, I find it is actually my shoulder blades that are hurting. I think my grip was okay because I made a conscious effort to grip with my legs ad have a loose grip on the handlebars, wouldn't have lasted otherwise because I did not stop and did 120km straight.

    Had 2 scary moments of bottom wheel being dragged to one side suddenly when the wind changed direction. Otherwise just stayed in the middle like the advice that has been given. Scariest was when doing sweeping corners because I didn't feel in total control of where the bike is going to end up if the wind flares up in a different direction.

    I get what you mean with the upgrade, my RE finishes mid July next year, maybe take the time to save money and see what bike to get next :D
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  11. you do get used to it and your body learns to adjust for it. the bike sort of moves under you. weighting the upwind footpeg helps me.
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  12. and if the wind is shifting about, stick both knees out.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Is that why the cruiser convoy that passed me looked like they were sitting on a comfy sofa?!

    Does a longer wheel base help?
  14. If you go fast enough then usual wind won't affect most of the bikes much due to gyroscopic effect ;)

    (Just half-kidding)
  15. The bad thing about bikes is they do move about...if your not up to a high level spec. Speed to a degree don't mean much. Anyone here who has done P.I. into a headwind ie SW I think, will know that. You can be on a very high powered liter bike and still have to change down to fifth to keep your speed up cresting the rise on main, trying to get the bike to tip in smoothly for turn one....that is scary stuff.
    Backing off isn't a good thing unless your getting blown out of your lane, and that can happen.
    If it's like that through corners...then your riding too fast for the conditions.
    Oh and you can bump a car quite hard and stay on your bike..long as your both going in the same direction and about the same speed :) never give up cause it hurts if you do anyway.
    Familiarity brings confidence and that's why it's good to get out in all conditions.
    Good on you for trying.
    ps bikes can contort and use muscles a different way. Best tip is when you finish riding do some little stretches. Best one for me is lining up my and only my heels, bum and shoulder blades against a door jam and just push up with your arms as hard as you can for as long as you can. Then while keeping those heels planted you want to touch each bum cheek to the opposing side of the door jam.. this is a great one for shoulders, neck and lower back.
    Oh and don't drop your arms after, just let them down nice and slow and breath out or it will hurt
  16. Did a shocker of a windy ride a couple of years ago.2/3 pulled out after 100ks or so and I was stupid enough to keep going.The effects on a couple of full dressed Harleys was scary to watch.It was blowing so bad and cold,almost summer at The Roberson Pie shop I had to use my balaclarve for the first time in donkeys years.When its that bad nothing much helps except pissing off home.
  17. Can we have a series of photos for demonstration purposes :p
  18. I agree it takes a lot of mental strength to push through and keep focus. Glad I experienced it, now I know what I can do, especially now with the additional good advice here too.
  19. I'm not allowed to put up any more photo's of my scars or open wounds !
    See mouth I have a little form of self control..not much but some :)