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SR's are a GOOD thing sometimes

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Ljiljan, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Tonight I remembered there is a difference between cars and bikes.

    It's a bit wet and greasy here in sydney tonight and I was transporting a car load of youth group kids. Coming to an intersection that has a corner that I have been known to enjoy occasionally and set up for it, making note of the wet road and set my entrance speed. Next thing I notice is massive understeer and straight lining at a gutter. What I forgot is there were five people in the car, not one. It's amazing how much the dynamics of a light car change with an extra 200-250 odd kilo's. Don't panic, you'll be fine, keep the throttle on and keep steering in, you'll be around in a jiffy.

    Yeh, doesn't work.

    About a foot and a half from the gutter with foot depressed and almost full lock my brain kicks into gear. "YOU'RE GONNA CRASH!!" Jump right off the throttle and the tyres grip with a ferocity that put the back end out (similar to Vettel on the weekend - but I didn't lose it because I have better car control than him), straightened up and continued. Have not had many closer calls than that.

    There are many areas in which riding has helped my driving tremendously, particularly with hazard perception, but I found out tonight that a combination of riding conditioning and not much driving has negatively affected my driving to the point where it almost resulted in a seriously bent axle and possibly worse. Don't neglect your driving skill set folks.

  2. Well, on a bike, you would have been leaned over for that corner and rolling off as a result of an SR would probably see you going for a slide.

    SR's aren't a good thing.
  3. actually i don't drive at all because it's so vastly different than riding.
    if i alternate between bike and car i think it compromises my being accustommed to either.
    i don't own a car, but fatty has one... and when she had some time of work, i borrowed hers for a week so i could get work done on my bike... the first couple of days was weird, like piloting a room around, like you've got to always worry about where all four walls are.
    i mean you adapt quickly, but you do need to adapt... i guess it's a spacial awareness adaption.
    then the following week, back on my baby again (finally) and first couple of days my riding was pretty terrible.

    never again, cars suck.
  4. FWD car?
  5. Isn't the definition of a SR something that you THINK you should do but will most likely always result in the opposite of what you intended? That's how I view them. In this instance, getting off the throttle in a car when you are going too fast on a wet road to make a corner may have been the correct thing to do, whereas on a bike it's the wrong thing to do.

    My first company car was an 1.6l Astra wagon (UK). Used to handle like poo, but was really predictable and the limits were so low they were laughable. Going into a wet roundabout and understeer all the way through it. And if it all went pear-shaped you're going so slow it's not a problem (and it's someone elses car :) )

    Next car as a Citroen ZX 1.9 (based on the 205GTi) with handling to match. Now we have a car where the grip was amazing, but the speeds much higher too. Lose it in that and it was quite scary. Sometimes slow bikes/cars are more fun.
  6. Well I gotta say, I hope you learnt the lesson, other people in the car, slow down! I've got a good sized, well powered car etc. And even on the highway with 4 people in it, you notice it. You need to adapt to it. Not do silly stuff you would do when it is just you.

    I've been thinking about this a bit more. Saying SR's are bad I think is a little wrong in my opinion. I think its just you need different SR's for riding to driving. While they won't work all the time everytime, neither will having no auto defences.

    Say for instance I've got myself to the point in the car, nothing locks up in an emergency, ie arms legs stay loose to operate the controls. On the bike, same situation. Legs lock in to the tank, feet stay loose, arms stay loose. Getting there with the not slowing down mid corner one. They are both so different, in my head at least it is like a switch between the two.
  7. But on a bike there would not be five passengers messing with the dynamics of the machine.

    Like Lilley said, *sometimes*.
  8. SR = survival reaction, an instinctive automatic involuntary response to stimulus or circumstance.

    Overstating the obvious here but the dynamics of a bike are different from the dynamics of a car. SR's on a bike are never ok, or seldom helpful.

    If Lilley approached that corner hot on a bike, in the wet, cranked over & SR'd, it may not be a good story.

    I'm surprised a car whose weight was increased by 15%? behaved so poorly. That's extra traction to assist cornering... Unusual that so much understeer was experienced with the addition of passengers who are usually distributed around the CoG.

    Right response though, slowing down allowed traction to do its thing whilst also throwing weight forward to help increase traction.
  9. Its only extra traction if the suspension is any good, I guess. Assuming that Lil isn't driving a race car, I'd say all the extra weight did was make the body roll more severe.
  10. I think a survival reaction can be described as your instinct reaction. Sometimes SR's are good if they mirror the right course of action for the situation. Not everyone has the same SR's. I believe SR's are determined by many things including experience, threshold of fear, panic and knowledge.

    As for your SR here, it was wrong. A FWD car coming in too hot should GRADUALLY decrease throttle and keep the wheels pointed where you want to go. In the wet you can get away with being a bit rough getting off the throttle because the traction transition will be smoothed a little by the water on the road. Still if you are too quick off the throttle the car will bite harshly resulting in a severe weight transfer to the most loaded tyre causing the rear to step out.

    The addition of passengers to any car will alter the way you must drive to drive quickly. You need to be mindful even though the passengers appear central there are forces being produced by they're presence. A stationary car with 5 people inside will drop in ride height which is an indication of the stored enery the passengers add. Whilst cornering this energy is moving around the chassis and suspension affecting grip levels not only at the drive wheels but all others.There is no extra traction added by weight in the car. That principle only applies to acceleration in a straight line. Think of the effects as a G-Ball under the car that is super heavy pushing the vehicle around. Understanding weight management and transition are paramount for complete car control and is the most overlooked aspect of racing.
  11. IMO a typical SR in Lilley's situation would be to slam on the brakes

    OH SH1T! I'm about to hit a gutter..........Press brake.....still going to hit......press brake harder........hit gutter.

    Taking your foot off the go forward pedal (accelerator) and not pressing the brake was not an SR but an implemented thought process (for lack of a better term).
  12. When would an SR be helpful on a bike?
  13. In my definition, never.
  14. The one which prevents me getting on a Duc 1198.
  15. There was one time on my old 250 when I was going round a tight left corner at maybe 30km/h or even less. I hit a patch of loose leaves on the ground that were hidden by the corner causing the front tyre to slide out.

    My instant reaction was to turn into the corner and lift the bike up again almost like you would with a dirt bike.
    Definitely not the best decision I admit, but I did manage to come out of it upright. Had I done nothing then the poor bike would have been considered a write off a lot earlier than it was.

    As mentioned earlier survival reactions are different depending on the person and situation, it won't always be the same thing.
    When reading stories of a car merging ontop of a bike, quite often the rider will stick his boot out to kick the car. In my opinion this is an extremely bad thing to do, as pushing on the car is likely to throw you off the bike, or at least unsettle it.
    What I've done in the past is just blast the horn whilst still looking straight ahead and moving away from the car whether it be just moving sideways or e-braking if theres noone behind me. I've never felt the need to stick my foot out.

    Having an idea of what to do in different situations and even practicing emergency manouvres/vehicle control would greatly improve someone's reactions should they need it.
  16. In a front wheel drive car, they will by design understeer. Get off the throttle and they will eventually turn, or once traction is regained they will effectively pull the front end out of trouble.

    Rear wheel drives are a bit different... They will "push" through a corner if the front grip is lost, by the rear wheels. A completely different dynamic.

    Getting off the throttle in a front wheel drive usually reduces traction loss due to power reduction . In rear wheel drive loss of the front end is purely a loss of grip. Slightly different reasons that require a different approach for correction. But both first require less throttle.

    On a bike, in the same situation, you'd have on the ground in a milli-second more than likely. All over before you do anything.

    SR's are purely brain generated. Thought is not part of the equation because it is purely the brain reactively (at the cerebral level where thought is not part of the process), trying to save it's own arsk! :)))

    In this situation, I don't believe you'd have be able to ride it out, as it was too late to apply and skills to prevent a crash. The skill would be in unvolved during the approach to the corner.
  17. Same here Cejay
  18. SR's are the unconscious brain reactions - deprogramming them is an important part of ongoing skill enhancement. We r talking abt the classic set of SR's, rolling off, braking, tightening up, tunnel vision, target fixating...
  19. What I think is it is more so REprogramming, rather than deprogramming. So you give yourself new SRs which are benificial. So when the situation arises you automatically do the right thing.

    That is my take on it, if you don't retrain them, how do they work?
  20. Yeh, but I wasn't on a bike.

    I didn't immediately jump off the throttle, it was about half a second later when I realised staying on the throttle wasn't working. I did say that implicitly though. The standard SR (for a bike) in this situation actually helped me, hence the title.
    yeh, a little mirage.

    There seems to be a bit of confusion about my OP so I'll break it down.
    mistake: entered corner to hot. Wasn't really going particularly fast, it was wet after all, just forgot to factor the extra load.
    effect: understeer - I said it went straight on which wasn't completely true, did turn just very slowly, too slowly.
    reaction: more accelerator and more steering input (fighting sr)
    effect: nothing
    brain starts working: got off throttle. Someone posted saying it would have been better to gradually get off throttle which is true, just didnt really have the time.
    effect: front grips, pull through corner, crisis avoided.

    hope that makes things clearer.

    davidp: yep, a standard SR for untrained drivers would have been to jump on the brakes which would have been a definite accident.