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Staying shinny side up

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by UDLOSE, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. I'm constantly hearing about accidents due to hitting gravel, oil, water or cold tyres etc. Alot of bike riders seem to have the mentality that one day you'll hit a bad surface and you'll crash and that it's inevitable.

    Ive been riding for 4-5 years and am getting close to 100,000km in the saddle and have never come off a bike. I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet with this I could bin it tonight I always dress for the crash.

    The other day I was thinking about why that is and I figure it's because I'm overly cautious when it comes to traction.

    There's 2 sides to it the first being prevention/hazard perception and the other handling the bike when you do lose traction.

    With the latter I've been lucky enough to save myself from a highside on a number of occasions but all of them have been when riding very hard. For the n00bs and especially guys getting off their restrictions and onto their first big bike this is a situation you don't want to be in, there's things you can do to save it (I can explain it if anyone wants) but it all requires fighting survival reactions and staying super calm which only comes from experience, so if it comes down to this you'll probably find yourself sliding down the road.

    The best approach is to avoid the situation all together through hazard perception or as me and my mates put it "being a biatch".

    The first thing is to understand the obvious technical stuff. When your tyres are cold and more importantly not up to pressure they don't handle and perform the way that you are used to. If your tyres have the incorrect pressure or are bald or square you are also not giving yourself a fighting chance. The other obvious thing is that a wet, oily, cold mossy, dirty road provides far less traction than a good clean warm one.

    You need to pay attention to the road surface and identify areas where you believe there are reduced levels of traction. A major one is surface changes and dodgy council patch ups.

    Train yourself to constantly look for low traction hazards and avoid them if you can. If you can't then that's when you have to biatch out! Do your braking before the poor surface and make sure it's released when you run over it. Ideally you want light steady throttle. You want to keep the bike as upright as possible. Hazards are often mid way through corners, this can mean standing the bike up briefly while you cross the hazard than leaning it back in directly after and taking a wider non textbook line. It might look stupid to the guys behind you. The point is most of these hazards arent that bad but some are really nasty. If you treat them all as nasty you'll have a good chance at staying on it.

    You have to trust your gut and go "hey this patch looks like shit I'm going to biatch out and take it wide" sometimes you can't even identify what's wrong with it but if your second guessing it , take it easy.

    As an example the other night I was leaving my house for a bit of a rowdy ride with 3 of my mates. A few mins in a get to a roundabout and come belting into it track style then realized "cold night, cold worn tyres wtf am I doing" so I braked heaps harder that I intended to into the roundabout, didnt quick flick it like i'd planned then ran it really wide and close to the gutter on the exit. I knew my mates would rip on me for it after but once I tell them my reasoning they won't.

    Edit: the other major thing is always operate your controls delicately even at the racetrack. That's means squeezing the brakes and clutch, not grabbing them and winding the throttle on and off, not ripping at it. The releasing of the throttle brakes and clutch smoothly is the part that's often overlooked and greatly affects stability.
    • Like Like x 18
  2. Nice read Marty.
  3. Really good and timely post mate.

    For emphasis - udlose is telling you to be smooth on the controls at times when you suspect reduced grip ahead, and of course, reduce speed as much as is practically possible, beforehand.
  4. Like a lot of aspects of motorcycling, shit can happen to anyone and it can all turn pearshaped. But good riders will do as much as they can to keep the odds of shit happening as low as possible.

    Skills like being smooth are one aspect of this, road craft including looking for hazards and continuously planning escape routes, is another. Ideally we should have both as highly developed as possible.
  5. Exactly the kind of post that made me sign up, cheers mate :)
  6. Great post and read Marty.............very helpful.

    Your so called bitching out would be hero mode for most of us thought lol................
  7. Like that one pal.

    Now that im relatively settled up here in (looks outside) rainy QLD, ive got a deposit down on the next bike and pick it up ~end of sept.
    2009 STrumpet like i was after, and ill be getting onto it after (by then) 4 months off bikes, so itll be an interesting first time - likely nervous and full of noobwobble :D. I know well enough to pussy (my word for bitching it) it around for a while to get the feel of the bike and get my roadcraft back gradually, but a post like this was a nice reminder, thanks.
  8. :cough" that's staying SHINY side up too :LOL:
  9. Thanks Hornet :) where was my damn autocorrect?
  10. nice read thanks UDLOSE

    another trick is to stay on the gas through the corner using alittle rear brake to correct understeer, keeping your weight off the front wheel....better to slide the rear end then the front end!

    just found out it works great turn 1 at EC!
  11. My post wasn't targeted at track or fast riding it was more for general road riding.

    But in t1 I've found if I throw myself far enough off the bike and take the low line that I can overcome the understeer. I've always been a bit wary of some of these rear brake tricks people are very divided on it. On my VTR1000 I find that I have to use the rear brake to stabilize it (more due to not being able to work the front brakes as hard as I'd like and aggressive trail braking) but on 600 supersports bikes I don't go near the rear brake. I wouldn't mind giving some of these ideas a try though.
  12. three wise sayings that have personally made me a mucher safer road rider:

    'the road is NOT a racetrack'

    'expect the unexpected'


    'a motorcycle is NOT a car!'

    i found by trailing my rear brake while apply throttle really helps on tight turns you find on urban streets such as right turns on round abouts. try it, it really works.

    i used to have a problem with right hander's on round abouts because i used to close the throttle to slow down transferring weight to the front end & causing under steer. i find if i apply throttle & rear brake at the same time i can avoid transferring weight to the front end & be able to smoothly negotiate the turn.
  13. Yeah, great post Marty. We'd all love to have a record like that. I suspect this requires a real mental discipline to maintain a certain level of concentration, especially for a skilled rider such as yourself. Do you have some mental strategies apart from these very useful techiniques? How do you avoid the complacency factor?

    And I'd love to also hear a bit more about avoiding the highsides, as you seem to be describing me. Just 5 days left on restrictions and thinking about getting a street triple or something similar in the near future.

  14. I haven't done anything fancy I just learnt from doing lots of km and slowly getting more adventurous and try to look at what I'm doing (gopro is your friend). By doing that it doesn't push you as much mentally so your not getting overwhelmed, if your brain starts to fall behind you've gotta slow down. I feel pretty calm when going flat out but when things go pear shaped I got plenty in reserve to try and think my way out of it.

    The best thing is to watch Twist of a wrist II DVD. But here's a couple of things that I do.
    When exiting a corner the goal is to smoothly roll on the throttle throughout the corner. As you roll the throttle on you'll feel the bike accelerating, where it gets tricky is we've all noticed that bikes can have flat spots or dead zones in the power curve where you increase the throttle percentage but the bike doesn't lay down any more power. The catch is on a powerful bike if you keep pushing through the deadzone it'll suddenly come on really strong (this is a way to do wheelies). So back to the corner when your banked over you need to keep track of what your asking for with your throttle % and what the bike is giving you. I wouldn't push more than around 15% more than the bikes giving me because if it breaks loose the revs will jump up to your real throttle position, giving you more wheel speed. +10kph shouldn't bring the bike offline providing you detect that it's spinning and handle it. So by limiting how much you push past the deadzone limits how much the wheel speed can increase if you break traction.

    So how do you detect wheelspin? You have to pay great attention to your bike, through feel and by listening to it. You can feel the bike starting to squirm in the rear under acceleration. That's what I would call the safe limit. You don't want to purposely spend time at that limit if your not comfitable with it (I'm not). The other way I've found more effective is to really listen to your engine and you'll hear a slight increase in revs - that's entering highside territory. But when things go really bad and you hit a really bad surface etc that's when you'll see the revs jump thousands of rpm and feel the back violently kick out! At that point your well into a highside but not not stuffed. Ive had all of these things happen many times.

    The most important thing is detecting that your in highside territory, staying calm and doing the following. Stop your throttle roll on immediately. That means leave the throttle percentage exactly where it is and stay loose on the bike it'll stabilize itself. Cutting the throttle or continuing to increase it is what will throw you off it. If your mid corner you can try and bring the bike more upright if possible.

    The good news John is that the 675 engines are very linier with their power delivery so you get alot more direct response from your throttle inputs than a normal 600.
  15. You're not going to be complacent if you are riding aggressively. That is far more likely to happen when you are taking it easy. You can lose focus, the mind wanders off to ponder the perils of landing on mars, and you're a goner!

    Best way to overcome that is to not sit on the bike like a bump on a log...ride actively, practice your proper lines, and otherwise remain engaged with what you are doing.

    If you are having a real crack at things, whether it's track or road, complacency is NOT something you'll have to worry about. Out there closer to the edge, you are alert, focussed, adrenalized, and sharp. You can't even get there, if you are'nt. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Here's one for the pot:

    This summer I will be passed by many a faster rider, regardless of the pace I'm setting myself.
    These are the riders that know the road we're on intimately, having ridden it many times before in all kinds of conditions. The odd one will just be a dick with numbered days...
    I do not have that knowledge, and I can't tell which ones are the dicks, so I will continue at my own pace.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Quite right. Out on the roads, don't tangle with other riders. It's pretty easy to tell the fast but commposed and experienced rider, who's on HIS pace, compared to a rider getting beyond himself. So keep to your own pace and enjoy the show. Sometimes you are passing, sometimes, you are being passed...it's the natural order of things.

    I sware...there are times when i'm really pushing hard...right on the edge of what me and the bike can do, and i know that I'm in danger. Hanging off, possibly dragging (which takes alot for a shortish legged bloke, especially on a Daytona!).
    Then a guy sweeps past, (usually on a thou) goes balls out at the next corner and owns it, by taking the line off me. He runs through it as i trail off behind enjoying the view and lifts an outside foot in a polite thankyou. Shish!

    Just better than me, and i KNOW to pull my head in and ease off. I've just been owned by a talented, capable, and composed rider, who knows that road as good as me. And it was a treat watching him do his stuff right in front of me for a bit.

    Then comes numpty on whatever bike, climbing all over my arse, who is'nt going to wait for the right opportunity - just wants to pass me. They can't really, but can run my pace. So i ease off, back out of my own danger zone, and wehoo, numpty has a go and gets passed, and then i up my pace again.
    Problem! Numpty's annoyed that he's not getting away from me, so pushes harder...i see i few chinks in the good ol' testosterone armour. Wiggles under brakes, a bit of smoke of the rear tyre, lines turning to shit as his focus is more and more on me, instead of his ride.

    About there, i back right out of it, slow right down and if it does'nt bother me, i'll turn around and go back the other way. Numpty is an unwanted distraction right in front of me because he's all over the place, and he's so focussed on me that he's gonna go into the scenery. He's probably a good rider, but won't stay within his limits. He's stupid and dangerous to be around, when i'm testing my own limits, so i break contact, having listened to the sickening silence after a big crash once too often.

    Play smart, and as NK says, ride your own ride at your own genuine pace. (as compred to the pace you think you run, with your mates at the pub)
    Best of all...at least be honest with yourself and acknowledge your own shortcomings, and work on them.

    Mmm..i just intended to reinforce what NK said, and ended up writing a bloody novel. Oh well...
  18. I feel like I have toe thank the entire thread :)

    All good and helpful tips.

  19. Before you set that routine up as a habit, if i were you, i'd be looking at other reasons. Understeering on a roundabout, points to too much speed, bad tyres, or pressures and/or your suspension settings need a look at.
    A riunabout is a fairly low speed affair, without actions that would normally cause a bike to understeer.

    If you start advancing your riding, you won't be able to use the rear brake, because you will be out of position to use it at all.

    If you are using it on the roundabout, to help stabilize for the lowish speed, that would be good...but not to combat understeer, in a roundabout?

    In many cases, understeer, or any general failure to get the front to really bite, is because it does'nt have 'enough' weight over the front, as often as having too much, causing it to 'push' wide.

    Then it will depend on wherher you are talking entry, or exit. There is a mid corner factor as well, but if you have the entry/exit grip sorted, your mid corner grip will generally be ok.

    Look at the setup of your bike before you go adopting rear brake drag to keep the weight transfer onto the front causing understeer. That does'nt sound sound right except for perhaps a few LH special corners on a track, that may require more unusual tactics.... let alone roundabouts!?

  20. i broke rule no. 1 yesterday, well with the usual result, ass sliding......

    dragging the rear brake in turn 2 at EC does work well for me, but then again i can't double apex this turn like the pro's do....i think it helps disguise poor throttle control now that i think about it as i can pull off the same turns with out the use of the rear brake, it seems to stabilize you abit during tight low speed turns & counterbalance poor throttle control