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Lost the front

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by McLvn, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Hey everyone. Just wanting opinions/advice on what happened today.
    1st real moment I thought I would be joining the tarmac club.

    I commute to work daily on a vtr250 in good condition. Same route every day for 6 months. Quite competent with all the hazards along the way and only fang around sometimes.

    It was raining this morning ( I'm comfortable with that ) As i was coming over a crest, slight decline toward roundabout, I was 20 - 30 mtrs away, car entering on the right and I slowly squeezed the brake on. I was in the right wheel track, didn't look down for oil ( usually I would ) as it was I don't recall any. The bike locks up and front drops to the left. ( I was at 50km/hr. )

    I actually remember thinking word for word " OH shit! I'm going down!"

    My feet left the pegs, I let go of the brake, traction, pulled back right, clutch was in, going too fast, car was still in roundabout 10 - 15 mtrs away.

    Tapped the brake, lost it to the right, clutch still in, traction, pulled back left, still hot, car's rear end in front of me 5-10 mtrs away.

    Tapped brake, lost it to the left, left foot touches ground for an instant, pulled right, clutch out, traction, balance.

    Started laughing so hard at my luck, as i floated through the roundabout, a safe distance away from the car in front. (not the 1st time I've laughed at inapropriate times)

    Having written this post and reflected a bit, maybe clutch out?
  2. Personally I find that if I'm in trouble I can control the bike easier if I have drive to the wheels. Heck, I can't even corner properly unless I have drive to the wheels.
  3. 1. Great mental processes for you to be able to segment and analyse the whole event so clearly.

    2. Blind idiot luck that you got away with it with no drive to the rear wheel :LOL:.
  4. +1 Hornet - you must think fast to remember everything in that level of detail!

    Sounds like you had a lucky one, well saved.
  5. that would be pretty damn scary.

    good job on staying upright. I'm definitely still learning to keep in gear when I brake. It's a bit scary at first, but stalling is better than falling I reckon.
  6. Oi, most of us refer to that as 'skill'. :evil:
  7. The next step is laying it down to avoid an accident,or in other words crashing
  8. You lucky bastard! :LOL:

    Good save! Not sure what advice to give, i tend to think that staying on the power is the thing to do when you lose traction but you said you lost it under braking so... hmmmm, not sure man, i'm far from rossi
  9. You lucky bastard! :LOL:

    Good save! Not sure what advice to give, i tend to think that staying on the power is the thing to do when you lose traction but you said you lost it under braking so... hmmmm, not sure man, i'm far from rossi
  10. Why is it, that you went for the clutch?..were you changing down a gear?

    You probably realize this, but by declutching, you increased the stopping distance required(and decreased the stability of the bike), at a time where distance was a critical commodity for you.
    And by the sounds of it, you managed not to hit the car because the car fortunately got out of the way just in time.

    Not nitpicking you, because I fully understand how quickly things can go from rosey to shite...but in this case, it was not your riding that saved you - just plain good luck. (which we all need from time to time)

    Ideally, you would not have pulled the clutch in, and when the front slid the first time, you would reapply it more gently, and if you ran out of space tried to steer around the car enough to miss it.
    I said "ideally", because that's a hard thing to attain in the heat of the moment without alot of experience, and even then, there are no guarantees...

    Point is...you missed.... stayed upright....and continued on your way - it may not have been pretty, but it was still a success! :)

  11. Thanks for the replies guys much appreciated.

    I do feel lucky(80%). I also feel some of it was due to my natural balance(20%).

    I forgot to mention the road had been re-laid approx. 3 weeks ago and coming back tonight, not sure if it's because I'm spooked or haven't paid attention, but it feels slipperier than normal roads. Any insights to newly laid bitumen?

    I usually grab the clutch to gear down in sync as I brake, but when I lost it, forgot about gears as I was struggling to stay up until it came together.
    I don't ride that hard so when I brake and gear down, I'm usually at good revs where the transition is smooth.

    I really don't know what to make of it and how to evolve. Maybe just a simple lesson in Traction?

    Do you think I would have been kicked off if I had geared down( From 4th to 3rd I think it was)
  12. Lucky save but the above is part if not most of the problem.
    The 6 month on the road period catches a lot of riders. Cocky but not experienced :wink:

    Congrats on analysing the events but you need to practice being smooth especially in the wet/damp. You weren't going quick and to lock up 2 or 3 times suggests you are grabbing a handful.

    Also ignore the clutch in that situation. Even if you lock the rear the engine will fire as soon as the brake is released.
  13. Was there still that fine gravel on the road after it was re-laid?

    Here in the Adelaide Hills, the council has recently done a round of re-laying. My local road, the one "around the block" (very windy and about 4km long) and a couple more between Norton Summit and Summertown.

    Anyhoo, after being resurfaced, the roads tend to have a very thin layer of very fine gravel over them, for a few weeks. While I've never ridden a bike on a relaid road (not game enough), I can tell you that a car is loose enough on it that we get a fair few locals stealing road closed signs, closing roads, and having sort of mini rally comps :)

    So, what I'm saying is, it's amazingly easy to end up sideways driving a car on a newly relaid road if it's a windy one, so a bike it's probably much worse.
  14. That newly layed section of road, has'nt "aged" yet...it still has all the oils etc that go into creating the bitumen mix still there on the surface. Once it has aged a month or two, it will selttel down....Nevertheless...there are a few things that you can learn from it...One is that you might be grabbing to much of a handful on the front brake (sounds like it), as 2wheelsagain suggested.
    Also you should have downchanged smoothly to gain a little more engine braking.
    But most importantly...while a little bit of luck helps HEAPS, if it does'nt come to you JUST when you need it, it's gonna hurt.

    So practice your braking control overall...aim to get competent enough that luck has little to do with it, and your braking/avoidance skills are what get you through the next event...
    Keep riding - keep gaining experience - Keep paying attention to how you are riding, and learn from your own self-diagnosis, or ask questions..:)

    Anyone can manage to sit on a bike...but aiming to ride WELL, is what makes you a true biker. :) Go to it..:)

  15. In regards to grabbing too much brake:

    I remember as I was initially slowing down, I reminded myself it's wet so easy does it. I could feel the road in this braking procedure, wet and slippery. I literally tapped the brakes following the loss, my fingers were hovering over the lever. I know I didn't grab the brake.

    After reading that it could have been road surface, I do feel that caused the problem, but what a goose in not letting the gears do their work.

    I don't blip down, usually I just wait till the revs drop before changing down to assure smoothness.

    It seems the more I consider what happened, the luckier I feel and it really does highlight that yes I can get from A to B, but I need more experience for that unfor-see-able X.
  16. I dont have a whole lot of experience on the road but ive been on dirt bikes since I could walk basicly.
    What I do coming upto something that seems a bit slippery or when traction could be an issue I brake with the most pressure being applied to the rear break. Its a lot easier to control a rear lock up then a front one and a lot easier to recover from as you still have some balance.

    Just .02c even if some may disregard it.
  17. :LOL: I love dirt riders balls of steel!

    I might add to this, if people who aren't used to having the rear go sliding, don't smash the rear brake! Tiny little love taps sum it up well and..... stay on the power! If you back off the power when you lose traction, you unsettle the suspension. The bike's easier to control when there's more weight on the rear.

    Not sure what relevance this has to McLvns situation though as he lost it whilst braking.

    As a rule of thumb i like to use the brakes as little as possible and when i do use them i use them sparingly.
  18. Just in case someone takes your advice as correct for road riding, I'll just super-clarify your remarks...
    This is/can be a typical method for dirt-bike riding off-road, or even for motard riding in many circumstances, but is NOT the way to ride a road bike...
    If that's the way you are riding your road bike, I would suggest that you are asking for trouble, and need to learn how to brake correctly, rather than try to apply skills from one style of riding, incorrectly into another.
    If you are worried about your front locking up, then learn not to do that, rather than rely on a rleatively useless rear brake, on the road. :shock:

  19. #19 twistngo, Apr 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    I agree completely. On the road a front lock up is relatively easy to control. Just release the front brake. The rear can be a sh&t once it gets out of line. Have you seen anyone highside?

    here's one
  20. While many useful points have been brought forward re: safe braking, there may have been a more preventative measure, it depends on a few things that I do not know though, so it is just a suggestion.

    Usually when I go over a hill crest as the OP mentioned I slow down considerably to maintain a visual buffer. Is it possible that you may have not left enough of a buffer being unable to see the situation over the hill which may have put you at a point where you were forced to brake excessively for the rainy conditions?

    I know that personally I have a bad habit of approaching roundabouts too quickly when I'm not thinking straight, it forces you to react too quickly.

    This is just a suggestion and I realise that it is debatable as to whether a reasonable buffer would have been sufficient if it were an oil spill or something other than braking contributing to the loss of traction.