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What NOT to do when hitting gravel in a corner

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by DrewBytes, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Wasn't sure whether to put this here or in near misses, mods feel free to move if necessary.

    Had a very scary moment today riding to work. We had a lot of rain on Mon/Tue, I always ride the same route (approx 150 times in the 7 months I've been riding), and the particular corner I encountered a problem with today was clear yesterday of debris after the rain. We had a very windy day yesterday, and this must have blown dirt/gravel on to the road, and this I wasn't expecting after it being clear after the rain.

    Despite having done an advanced riding course 2 weeks ago (highly recommended), I did exactly the opposite of what I knew I should do. This corner is a 90 degree left hand turn which I normally take between 50-60kph and it's very safe and within my limits at that speed - that is unless you encounter gravel as I did. The road in this spot is sort of light brown rather than regular black tar (end of a concrete bridge) and this helped hide the brown dirt/gravel until it was too late to avoid it.

    So what did I do? Instead of continuing to look through the corner and maintain the throttle, I looked at the spot and lifted off the throttle. The front end skipped/slid, I thought "oh shit", and it took me wide on the corner so I went over the centre line slightly onto the other side of the road - luckily no traffic coming the other way and very lucky also not to low-slide.

    I believe I was following the correct line through the corner as taught on the advanced course. However the gravel was in the centre of the lane between the tyre tracks. I hit it in the spot where you cross from wide entry to tight finish.

    Things to learn from this:

    1. Expect the unexpected!
    2. Not sure how you do this - but I have fight my natural instinct to slow/ease off in this situation and continue through the corner maintaining throttle.
    3. Slow down. Even though this corner is 100% safe at that speed in perfect conditions - it wasn't perfect conditions today and I nearly come unstuck because of that. If I had being going say 20 kph slower I would have had more time to see/attempt to avoid the gravel.

    I'm sure there is other things to be learnt from this also so feel free to chip in. Hopefully this can help some other new riders.
  2. “Constant vigilanceâ€

    Nice work. The classes are great, but it helps when you put a little brain matter into the equation.
  3. stay relaxed and ride through it, for me that is one of the advantages of getting/hanging off the side of the bike and not sitting on the seat, it allows you to stand the bike up slightly while still cornering.

    Also don't really understand why you were tightening your line on exit if there was no traffic? why didn't you just ride through the turn in the r/h wheel track? It give you the best view of the turn/on coming traffic etc and being a l/h if you need to you can tighten your line :?
  4. Just simply because I only did the advanced course 2 weeks ago and I'm still practicing techniques (such as cornering lines) until they become 2nd nature.
  5. First thing they teach you about cornering at the L's course, let alone the advanced ones (haven't done one, so can't comment) is:
    Enter wide - best view around corner
    Buffer through - adjust line to avoid hazards where necessary
    Exit tight
  6. ok, guess just doesn't make sense in my head as to why tighten a line that doesn't require it.

    For me there are two lines i will run the first is wide till i can see through the turn (see it's clear) find apex aim for it, then exit wide again, second one is generally round r/h turns which is stay wide (normally further into tip in) until you can see through turn, then find and aim for apex and then let it run wide on the exit.

    So you are saying you enter a l/h corner in the r/h wheel track (wide) wait till you can see round the corner then exit in l/h wheel track? :?
  7. That's essentially right. The reason being if you overcook it you are aiming for the inside track, and you will end up in the middle or right of the lane (hopefully). If you're exiting on the right (for a left hander) you have no room for error and if you overcook it you're on the wrong side of the road.
  8. You actually go through the corner with less lean angle, you've done most of your turn on the part of the road you could see and as he said you have a lot of flexibility in the line you take.

    I think he did well.
  9. I should also mention the other reason to enter wide/exit tight as taught on the course. If you exit wide on a corner you're in a dangerous head-on zone as a lot of people cut corners.
  10. mmm...I'm a bit bamboozled by this cornering technique..:)
    It seems to run a very conservative line on the exit, but leaves you way out the there deep into the corner, where someone coming the other way who does cut the corner will have more chance of hitting you, than on a wider exit..(given the choice of the two types)
    It sounds to me like you guys are employing a quick-turn technique, but with an exit variation that runs a more secure (but what to my mind what sounds like) an over-conservative exit line? Probably quite god for reserved riding speeds, but it may not work too good at brisker paces..
    ...mmm..interesting... (No critizism - just curious)

    Anyway...back to your question originally - in your circumstances, what I would have done, given that the corner has good visibility (I think you said that?), I would have eased off the throttle just a tad, stood the bike up as much as I needed to, nursed it through and just let the bike run wide onto the wrong side of the road if necessary. After all...it's there and nothing is coming.

    Under different circumstances I would just allow the bike to ease wider to reduce the amount of grip it needs to stay upright, while getting it a bit more upright to help things along.

    Certainly no front brake involved in either case..:)

  11. Thanks for your comments raven, I was hoping you'd see this and comment.

    Yes, good visibility for around 100m or so before another corner. What I didn't do was brake (thankfully!), just eased off and I guess I did stand it up somewhat and that's part of the reason I went wide along with the loss of traction.

    I can only go by what I was taught on the course as I'm a new rider. On one corner they had 3 sets of cones setup (tight left hander very similar to the corner mentioned) to show the line through the corner and we did 20+ laps practicing going through the cones to learn the lines.

    But to me it did feel like a very quick tight turn from wide entry to tight finish rather than a more gradual turn in. They were trying to stop us from what they called "50 centing", changing the line once in the corner by standing the bike up a bit, then lean in again.
  12. The cornering version they were teaching you is not wrong...it's just a little too rigid to being using that method on every corner by default, IMHO.

    The "quick-turn" as I interpret it, use it, inherently keeps you out to the far side of your lane as you approach the corner, to give you the greatest visibility of whats lurking through the bend, and to assist in getting the correct apex. In road riding, I will only really use it on unknown corners where I am not too sure of the apex, or on sum 90deg corners where there is a decent straight section afterwards, and I wanna hot the gas hard.

    I then pitch over reasonably quickly - this effectively gets the bike down, and then back off it's edges quickly, to allow me to get on the gas harder/earlier...
    Of course, I am aimed through the apex at my exit by this time...and whatever my exit strategy is, will depend on what follows - another corner, straight, kink etc, since I am endevouring to set myself up for the next corner..

    But that's just ONE way of cornering, matey...:)

  13. If I may play Devil's Advocate for a moment; Starting wide and ending tight may be conservative for isolated corners, but it is good advice for S-curves where the exit of the current turn immediately becomes the entry to the next turn.

    Choosing the wrong line through a series of S-curves was even the subject of an RTA safety campaign here in NSW (where the rider starts wide, ends wide... and runs off the next corner because he's entering too tight). :)

    I suspect they were taught enter-wide -> exit-tight simply because it is conservative, and good practice for rapidly-alternating S-curves.
  14. i still don't follow, we are talking about a turns you can see through....so that means you can see whats on the exit of the turn, you can see where the road heads too so you exit with that in mind but i get the feeling the OP is saying you must exit every turn on a tight line..... imo this technique is way over kill when you can see through the turn, i mean what are you looking at when you look through a turn, if not too see whats coming up?

    I can understand the road positioning on blind corners but for the rest, i am not sold on
  15. the quick turn line is basically the qualifying line racers use but they give it a few more beans off the apex then we do. tight out is conservative but its not compulsory. However, it does give some room for error and gravel patches.

    better than in tight and out wide if thats what you do.
  16. nope i ride wide to wide, unless i need to position myself for the up coming turn in which case i will keep it tighter but like i have said on a lefts i run wide to increase vision find the apex (look for dangerous objects/exit point), if nothing i will use all of my lane. :)
  17. Just wondering where in canberra this was, glad to hear you came out of it ok
  18. Thanks. Coppins Crossing bridge heading south. For anyone interested here is a pic I got from Google Maps with the red X roughly where the gravel was.

  19. thanks, much appreciated, i was on that two nights ago and will be going through tomorrow morning. Definately know what you mean by harder to spot gravel on that bit
  20. I have an idea!!!

    1.Why not enter the corner in between of the right track and centre of the lane at a nice "cruisey" pace and exit in between middle and left track.
    Simple :grin:

    2. Seriously when I was racing gokarts and trail bike's thats what I was taught enter wide till u see apex come in tight exit left and out to the right and plant it!!! but hey that's a race track we are talking about public roads here. So I'll stick to my 1st comment.

    No Stoner or Rossi here :grin:

    Oh and another thing isn't 90 degree turns usually 35kml speed limit??? so weather you can handle going thru doing 60 or more surely your asking for trouble???