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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 11/27/2010 9:47 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I work part time at the local BMW dealer in the Green Bay area, Nick's BMW. One of the best parts of working there is I am the main demo lead rider. When customers come in for a demo ride, I lead them on a preset route in the area around the shop. We do demo rides late into the season as long as the roads are clean. And today, at about 3pm a customer came in to test ride a used K1200LT. Rather than get out one of the other demo bikes to ride, I told the shop owner I'd ride my own bike since I rode in that day anyway.
 
The demo route I do has a few turns so the test rider can at least get some idea of how the bike ridden handles. Some of the turns are simply 90 degree county highway to county highway, others are two-lane backroads with moderate easy turns. The temps were low, about 35 degrees, and the following rider was riding slow and very cautiously, so I backed off my pace to match his. About four miles from the shop was the first 90 degree turn, one I had taken MANY times through the season, sometimes at "enthusiastic" levels because I know the turn and bikes so well. But today I backed off what I thought was enough. Wrongo!!
 
I entered a right hand 90 degree turn, braking done, in 2nd gear and setup for the turn/steady throttle, pressed firm on the right grip to set the bike into the turn, and the front tire totally washed out into a lowside! I'm sliding briefly on the pavement, maybe rolled once, watching my bike slide and spin on the RH saddlebag and valve cover. DAMN! Everything came to a stop quickly, riding gear scuffed, bike still runnning on its side, I'm fine. It was maybe a 30mph lowside at most. I got up and ran to my bike, shut it off, then picked it up. The following rider caught up to me saying "Wow! I just saw you go down! You ok!!??" Yeah.
 
I briefly looked over the bike, checked myself, looked over the turn, and found nothing to cause the lowside. Got the bike started and we completed the demo ride, while in my head I am trying to figure out what I did wrong. I had taken that same turn MANY times in the past FAR more spirited than I had just done. All I could think was, cold tires. After about an hour back at the shop, I rode back out to the turn, with a infrared thermal reader with me. Before I left the shop I checked the front tire, 20 degrees (center of the tread) on 27 degree pavement (oh by the way, NO frost or moisture involved). I rode the four miles to that turn and stopped there, checked the tire again. Center of the tread was already at 55 degrees, not bad. BUT!! The RH side of tread, just 1.5" off center, that I had leaned into was ONLY 25 degrees! 30 degrees cooler!! As I suspected, cold tire with less grip. The rear tire was at 55 degrees, and 45 degrees off center.  
 
I rode back to the shop, another four miles. Got off the bike and the front tire was already at 75 degrees in the center of the tread. But 1.5" off center it read only 54 degrees, still at least 20 degrees cooler. If I had more time I would have ridden 10 miles, then 15 miles, then 20 miles, and each time taken readings on the tread center and off center to see how the front tire builds heat. My tires are new Avon Storm sport-touring tires with maybe 2,000 miles on them. Good tires, well rated for grip, with variable compounds in the material for better grip off center. But, I did not get enough heat into the WHOLE tread to take that corner like I did. So what was learned from this?
1. If you ride in cold weather, ride conservatively for at LEAST ten miles before expecting ANY normal grip.
2. Even after ten miles, off center of your front tire may be considerably cooler than the center.
3. BACK IT OFF, until your brain is "warmed up" for the ride as much as your tires. Or perhaps, COOL your brain and actions until your tires have warmed up.
 
So now I have to do some ebay shopping for a used RH valve cover. New winter project also to repair the RH saddlebag. Spend some bucks on getting my scuffed jacket and riding pants repaired. Reset my ego, perhaps do a little reality check in my noggin. And say "thanks, Lord" for the protection of riding gear that let me learn from a low-side witout even a scrath or bruise. Rememer, learn from EVERY ride. good and bad.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 11/29/2010 1:31:57 PM GMT

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RedDog
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   Posted 11/27/2010 10:03 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Sorry for your spill, Andy. But you're safe and sound.

Riding in cold weather sure has increased warm up challenges. Interesting note with the big temp difference between center and 1.5" off to the sides. That was a lot!

But the Badgers and them Packers are doing great!


RedDog
Think Ahead! Travel Light & Leave Your Fears Behind You!
Normal People Scare me! Travel Light and Leave Your Fears Behind You!

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PowerG
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   Posted 11/28/2010 9:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Interesting experiment, for sure. I would have thought the pavement would have warmed up more by that time of day, but obviously it would reflect the ground temperature of the "frozen tundra" up there.

Glad to hear you're OK.


2007 V-Star 1300 

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louemc
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   Posted 11/28/2010 11:50 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks Andy, for doing the research on this.

I had no idea, this was so possible. Now I'll run out and get one of those thermal reading goodies (I've seen them advertised for a very low price, just never saw a reason to have one, before).

This is a real eye opener. It will be fun to play around with it.


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

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MichaelD
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   Posted 11/28/2010 12:21 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Wow great info. Who would think there would be that big a difference within a inch and a half. I ride all year as long as there's no ice or snow no matter what the temp. Guess my luck is its about 10 miles of straight dirt roads and hi-ways before I enter any curves or turns. Glad it wasn't more serious and your OK. Egos heals fast.


In God We Trust, All Others Must Submit Objective Evidence


South Central Kansas

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Smitty
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   Posted 11/28/2010 3:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Makes sense to me in the matter of tyres still not warmed up.  After all my roads are the roads hacked through the mountains & so often they are over a pass between the saddles of two mountains & YES even in hot weather you can feel the dramatic difference in  some cooler tempertaures.
 
Obviously when I take off in the morning I spend some time on the bike to see the engine warm up, but then also easy on the roads around this small town as so many are without paved sidewalks, SO the answer is to take it SLOWER for who knows as it might be adults doing a bit of hiking, possibly walking their dogs to some kids.  Correction for recently the town went in for some round-abouts to also sidewalks on both sides of the major roads (though most of the roads used by us tax papers are still of the old design in the 60s---no sidewalks) to some stupid concted paces in the center of these roads, making them narrow, for flowers, shrubs, & work for some of the local corporation staff.
 
By the time I am on the hwy the roads up into the mountain roads have really warmed up the tyres so I do not have to think or give thought about tyres not being warmed up. 
 
Still the part out, to some place, is riden with a bit of caution, though coming back & knowing the twisties were clean of sand, gravel or such-------that is when I scoot along with a sensible place & knowing so many cages might be ahead of me clocking all of city speed limit in their worry------that is something I have to be thinking about just so I will not do something wrong in finding some are crawling when I am clocking a much faster pace & we all know you cannot hit the brakes in the twisties.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 11/30/2010 1:06:32 AM GMT

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GAJ
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   Posted 11/28/2010 3:23 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for posting Andy; that is a big temp diff.

Wonder if lower pressures would be warranted in those kind of temps that I don't ride in personally.

Yeah, my BMW has heated grips, I have a heated vest and an Aerostich, but I refuse to to ride in temps much below 40.

Again; thank you for the informative post.
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Smitty
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   Posted 11/28/2010 6:32 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
On another board year or so ago a chap took off from home with his bike & upon the first left turn down he went KNOWING he had not warmed up the tyres in the 1st case.  So what your typed Andy should make sense to all of us.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 3/26/2011 12:45:27 AM GMT

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GeoffG
Instant Classic



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   Posted 11/28/2010 7:03 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Wow...glad you're OK. Hmmm...any chance the shop might help a bit with repair costs, seeing as you were actually working at the time of the accident?

That's an interesting point about tire temps. I don't ride in the cold...I only insure my bike for part of the year, and I have to set the end date when I buy the insurance in the spring, so I usually only take it through to mid October or so. There is a great twisty road only a minute away, and it's the one I pretty much always take when I'm going anywhere...thing is, it's in a very narrow little valley, with some steep sides--in places, there is barely room for the road and the creek between the two sides--and by the middle of September or so, the road can be cold, damp, and slick even on warm days in these spots where the sun doesn't reach it. I'm always very aware that the traction may not be good by that time of year...but one of these days, I'll take out my own IR temperature reader to check (I have one for work, just never thought to measure the temp of my motorcycle tires with it).

Right now, of course, I'm not riding at all...put it this way, there was a guy riding a snowmobile down the road in front of my house today :-)
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RedDog
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   Posted 11/28/2010 7:13 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
There's always something when an experienced rider go down, and not only an experienced one, one of our top gun ...

In one way it's scary, can anyone here say: "Yep, dudes, I knew that!"

I saw Rossi at Indy, coming into this right hander and slipped, just like you did, front just lost its grip. Even Rossi could not fathom what happened, but he changed line ... Well, that's something we don't do, even in the aftermath when you know what patch you slipped on, and that patch was OK.

This is what I learned from your story: In cold weather, ride, man, miles ( how many depends on how cold) before trusting good lean. In my years of riding through Winter, I always took it piano. 32 and below, I took it easy, just enjoy the ride.


RedDog
Think Ahead! Travel Light & Leave Your Fears Behind You!
Normal People Scare me! Travel Light and Leave Your Fears Behind You!

Post Edited (RedDog) : 11/29/2010 2:00:30 PM GMT

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 11/28/2010 11:01 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Glad my experience and post are worthwhile to learn something about riding. In that sense it was not all a loss. Boy was it a surprise though! It happened so fast after I pressed into the rh turn that I had no time to react once the front tire went out from under the bike. I contacted the ground on my right forearm, shoulder, sde of my knee and hip. I think I held onto the handlebar as the bike went out from under me, which may have minimized the fall for my body. No bruises or sore spots today, other than the ol' ego. So, learn from it and move on.

I bet it freaked out the rider behind me on the demo ride. Just goes to show how easy it could happen. Once I knew I was ok, and the bike was fine, I quickly turned back into the demo rider/sales mode, asking him what he throught of the bike, any questions, etc, and we continued on.  It would be great to learn how traction and tire temperaure are related, to at least learn how traction is limite by tire temperature. I DO know now that cold air temps means at least ten miles of riding before expecting much from the tires. I may contact Avon tires to see if they have any supporting data to correlate my findings with tire traction.

The saddlebag is repairable, and I might get a replacement/used valve cover from the shop since I was "on the clock" at the time. I won't even contact the insurance carrier since I have a $500 deductible anyway, not that much in damage if I do the work myself. Good thing I wasn't on a shop bike, I guess. So far, I'm the only one at the shop that has not dropped a shop bike.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 11/29/2010 1:34:31 PM GMT

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lionlady
-----Mistress of Novices. -Total miles: 85,000+



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   Posted 11/29/2010 2:17 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Wow Andy. Just WOW! Glad you weren't hurt - and that you were able to check out the "why" for us. Hmmm. Do I detect the subject for an upcoming tech article for BMW ON, perhaps? Something to think about. Share your experience and research with the wider cold weather rider community.

P


ATGATT: Because walking away in disgust, beats riding away in an ambulance.

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 11/29/2010 6:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for all the supportive responses and concerns. Does prove that anyone of us can go down, so dress for the fall. This experience is a bit a reality check for me also. In the past two years I have experiminted with my cornering techniques, and at times pushed it to see how the bikes react. In fact, on a very similar corner in early fall I got a R1200GS to power slide a nice smooth 2nd gear drift. Neat feeling, and I learned some cornering feedback from that.

But,....I'll dial it back from those levels from now on, leaving the experimint for the dirt riding. I am 53 after all, no need to find out how tough the bones are.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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Casper
The teddy bear of doom,,,



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   Posted 11/29/2010 2:35 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Wow, you just found out that that whole "Daytona tires" thing is for real huh. Glad you and m'lady came through this relatively unscathed.

www.beemerboneyard.com
Ebay,
Pinwall
Re-Psycle

Ask me how I know... :-)

I paid $40 for a slightly scuffed LH valve cover. They're out there. Happy hunting.


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full of funny people,
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Easy Rider 2
Central Illinois / Central Florida

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   Posted 11/29/2010 2:49 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
on 27 degree pavement (oh by the way, NO frost or moisture involved).
With all due respect, if those are F. temps you are quoting, there is no absolute way that you can be sure there was no "frost" involved.  Even a little pile of bird "doo" can be deadly.  shocked
 
I think that riding when the reported temp. is 35 F or below increases your danger about 500%; below 30 F., more than that.
 
 


 
 

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Smitty
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   Posted 11/29/2010 6:12 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

GeoffG is correct that in the B.C. Province & especially as so many of us live in these mountains our riding season is darn short compared to so many Americans.  Even in spring you wait for the roads to warm up a bit, along with no gravel, sand & such they put on in the winter months for the cage drivers.

A few yrs ago I was in the latter part of October & injoying the ride, to come out of these twisties to the top & did sort of panic for on each side of the road was SNOW along with possibly some BLACK ICE ahead, but fortunately it was just melted snow that was wet.  That is when I made a save about turn, to home & put the bike away for the rest of the season.

Se simply cannot challenge the COLD ROADS that are paved, expecting to stay upright no matter what.

Obviously we do not buy our LP & insurance EARLY in the spring till the next year with dreams we will be riding in the winter time.  We are chopped down to a short riding time I will have to admit.  I know some newbies will buy a new or used bike with a LP & insurance for a full year around, but they soon learn-------sort of something we with a bit of experience know about.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 11/30/2010 1:16:15 AM GMT

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Triumph Guy
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   Posted 11/29/2010 8:27 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks Andy, it's much easier to note anothers mistake so you don't repeat it. I have a thermal infa red gun that I use for the turbo temp. Now have another target to monitor. may I assume that the heavier your bike is the quicker the warm-up? 


Asphalt the greatest tattoo remover.

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 11/29/2010 11:22 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
No frost, no moisture, nothing on the road surface I found immediately after I picked my bike up. Certainly, the first thing I was looking for was anything on the road surface that would decrease the traction, frost, dirt, layer of dust, glob of semi frozen slush that had fallen from a car from upper Michigan, anything, but found nothing. It had been dry for a few days before this happened, and the air has been dry too. I know in spring, here in Wisconsin, moisture frozen in the ground and under roads, can melt and perculate up through the road surface, and then freeeze on top if the temp suddenly drops. But that is not the case this fall. Like I had mentioned, it was a bright sunny, but cool day. The sun had been out all afternoon, and the air was very dry. When this happened, it wasn't like I pressed on the right handgrip and felt the front tire grip, slide, grip (I know what that feels like). This was press, bike leaned in briefly, and then the front tire was GONE.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

Post Edited (Andy VH) : 12/1/2010 5:12:20 AM GMT

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el SID
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   Posted 11/30/2010 5:13 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Glad to hear you are ok. Happened to my freind last year he said the same thing,suns out,all was great,tipped the bike in and it was like there was no centrifugual force and it just was gone. On the plus side, if there is one, youve got a winter to fix it. better than the first ride of the spring. Thanks for the thermal infared meter tip. dear santa......


  the best bike out.... is the one your on...
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lionlady
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   Posted 11/30/2010 5:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
A friend was out riding with a buddy on Sunday in similar temps. The buddy went down for no apparent reason. I'm thinking that perhaps he had the same thing happen.

P


ATGATT: Because walking away in disgust, beats riding away in an ambulance.

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Easy Rider 2
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   Posted 12/1/2010 9:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
lionlady said...
The buddy went down for no apparent reason.
I know Andy is aware of this but others reading this thread may not be...........
 
So maybe it should be mentioned that painted lines and "decals" on the pavement become progressively more slippery as the temperature goes DOWN.......and they seem to be the first places that accumulate moisture condensation and frost......making them about as slick as oil on ice.
 
Then there are layers of leaves that retain moisture and are slippery in their own right but can harbor layers of hidden ice too.
 
It really does take a different mind-set to ride safely in at or near freezing temps.
 
 


 
 

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 12/1/2010 9:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Very well put! Its a LOT more than just riding in the cold, because like you say, what seems to otherwise not be an issue now with cold tires may be the combination to put you down! Riding well is defined as being 80% mental and 20% physical. This is even more the case when anything on the road, perhaps not even ON the road, can cause a low traction condition. But the mental aspects of riding is one the great attractions of riding.

With a car you may feel that momentary "side step" of one or more tires as the car moves across the low traction area. On a bike, it may be enough to unload the front tire enough to put you past the point of regaining traction. I have had a few instances of feeling the front tire slide out and regain traction. Even have felt both tires slide out and regain traction. Both cases are enough to cause serious "vinyl pucker" on the seat. But keeping steady even control on the bike will usually bring it back to traction. But that as not the case for me last Saturday.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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Easy Rider 2
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   Posted 12/3/2010 9:24 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy VH said...
Both cases are enough to cause serious "vinyl pucker" on the seat. But keeping steady even control on the bike will usually bring it back to traction. But that as not the case for me last Saturday.
I've actually been lucky with my road riding over the years; my pucker moments haven't resulted in a crash, just good lessons.
 
My major winter lesson was in the early morning at about 30 degrees, crossing railroad tracks at a diagonal to the road.  No hint of moisture or frost anywhere .......except on the steel rails. shocked
 
Good thing that the "pavement" immediately adjacent was treated wood and not more metal.  The tracks were iced up; both tires side-stepped about 6 inches, twice. freaked
 
I was doing about 40 and it was over before I knew what happened.  Could have been really nasty.
 
That happened about 30 years ago; can't stand those temps. now but I still slow WAY down even at 40 F.
 
 


 
 

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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 12/3/2010 3:42 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yeah, we learn as we ride, sometimes the hard way. I once had the front tire slide sideways on a wet downhill slightly off camber back road turn in central Missouri. I was hustling a bit with the group I was riding with and the bike sidestepped maybe a foot and hooked up again. Big pucker time, and I then backed it down and concentrated on smoother riding.

But, the combination of wet, downhill, off camber, turn, all came together to produce the slide. Had it been an on camber (banked) turn I probably would not have felt a thing. These are examples of how riding is much more than just tooling down the road, and why riding can be both mentally challenging and satifying at the same time.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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Smitty
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   Posted 12/4/2010 12:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I was at the grocery store yesterday & the manager & I had a few comments on m/cs naturally though he rides a HD & I am on a sportbike plus when it comes to firerms he uses  one for hunting while my h/guns are used in different manner.

Still he agreed with me that when riding a m/c even to his grocery store, was it starts to become old & that is around the latter part of October he winterizes his HD.  Also agrees that once the cold is around & sunk into the paved roads it is so easy to have the bike go out  from under you as you lean the bike into banking of using your brakes.  So again another rider that knows about cold roads to sad point of cold tyres & NO you do not warm up your tyres by wiggling them like you see during first practice of  road racers.

So like Andy & other posts after his bit, I hope that some riders will find the light has been turned on when it comes to COLD pavement to COLD tyres no matter how good the tyres are.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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