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 Motorcycle Safety
 Sharing of Lessons Learned
 A year later...
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JanK
Male Junior Member
76 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

F650CS
Peer Review: 2

Posted - 07/06/2015 :  9:30 AM                       Like       
Exactly a year ago I had my first major motorcycle crash and thought that the anniversary would be a good time to do a writeup.

The previous crashes were mostly during PLP, resulting in minor bruises, although once I fell on my chest, resulting in painfully bruised ribs for a few weeks. Two of the crashes were in traffic. One was during a ride home from an extensive PLP on great surface. On the very first sharp corner at a crossing, even though the speed was low (around 10-15km/h) the muscle memory commanded a handlebar turning rate that was too high for the non-great surface. A low-side and some bruised ego resulted (and I never repeated the same mistake). The other was in rain at 25-30km/h in the right lane of a two-lane road in front of a pedestrian crossing. A car in the left lane obscured an apparently dreaming pedestrian then braked sharply, when the pedestrian wandered onto the crossing. At that time I was practiced braking with the rear brake so, instead of using a proper brake technique, I used the rear brake only. The wheel locked up and I felt the slide too late. I released the brake and did a high-side.

In all these cases I picked up the motorcycle, straightened the mirrors and rode on. However, the crash a year ago had the potential to be a life changing event.

It happened during a ride home from a weekend at the sea. My partner and kid were staying at a campsite while I had to work, so I rode there on Friday and back on Sunday. The weather was perfect, a bit below 30 degrees (Centigrade, of course), the sun was behind me, but not so low as to blind the oncoming traffic. The motorcycle, a Honda Hornet 900 (known as 919 in the States), had been serviced two weeks before, had 9000km old Pirelli Angel GT tires in good condition, properly inflated (checked before the ride with a handheld manometer) and nicely warmed up after a 150km ride from the coast.

The accident happened a few km from the town of Postojna, on a major road that used to be the main connection of the centre of the country with the coast until the highway was constucted. The location can be seen on Google Maps https://goo.gl/maps/gHFMz. Riding in the easterly direction, there's a slight left curve and a hill just before the houses and a slight left-right S where the road crosses the Pivka River. The speed limit is 90km/h

I still don't recall all the details, but as far as I do, I came around the left curve at around 80-90km/h, saw that I was gaining on a car that was around half way between the curve and the houses located to the south of the road and decided that there was enough space to overtake. I checked the mirrors again (I tend to check them after every corner exit), turned on the indicator, did a shoulder check (for any crazy locals doing 150km/h and passing me), moved into the left lane and started to accelerate past the car. Just about the time that I was starting to pass the rear fender, an oncoming car appeared apparently out of nowhere. In reality it was hidden by the S, which blocks the view of the oncoming traffic.

That's where things started to go wrong. Instead of braking properly I jumped on the front brake and promptly blocked the wheel. I realised immediately what was happening and released the brake. I might have gotten away with it, but for a combination of two factors. After the accident I went back to the scene and saw that just after the skid the surface roughness increased markedly, which you can see clearly in the Google Street View https://goo.gl/maps/FEHLv. The other factor was the Hornet's tendency to shake the head. In fact, when the speed was in the region of 60km/h while decelerating without brakes, you needed to keep hands on the handlebar, or an unpleasant oscillations would tend to develop.

In normal riding and during 50km/h braking drills at PLP that was never a problem. But when the sideways pointing wheel hit the rough surface, it induced oscillations that were beyond control and a full tankslapper developed. I remember feeling and then seeing the handlebar go wild, then nothing until I woke up at the side of the road. I seem to recall someone saying that they thought I must be in very bad shape after being thrown from the motorcycle, so I assume that at some point I was ejected from the bucking motorcycle.

There were already some people around (from both of the cars and from a few cars that drove up to the scene) when I came to, so I must have been unconscious for few tens of seconds up to a minute. I could sit up and take my helmet off (stupid, in retrospect), but when I started to get up, they told me not to and that the ambulance was on the way. They were quite supporting and helpful, not to mention that I saw them gathering up the stuff (including a GoPro camera) that was ejected from the hardcase. Later on I got all my stuff back at the local garage to where the motorcycle was hauled.

The ambulance was dispatched from Postojna, and within minutes I had professional help. They immobilised my neck, put me on a stretcher and into the ambulance. They determined that I had no life-threatening injuries, so we waited for the police (also very quickly on the scene) to administer the breathalyser test and then I was driven to the University Medical Center Ljubljana for a detailed assessment of injuries, which turned out to be remarkably few. I stayed overnight for observation, since I had been unconscious and had suffered a slight concussion. I had heavy bruising on the upper left arm, very painful left elbow and shoulder, with some scrapes near both of them, a broken proximal phalanx of the left pinkie and some pain in the left ankle.

Later on when I correlated the damage on the gear and myself, I came to the conclusion that I must have landed on the left side, with the left arm absorbing most of the energy, and then slid on the belly towards the edge of the road. The left side of the helmet was heavily abraded in the jaw, ear and temple regions (I shudder to think what the results would have been, had I been wearing open-face helmet). The jacket was slightly torn in the left shoulder and elbow regions (where the scrapes were) and the zipper was destroyed, the left glove's knuckle protector was abraded, as were the left boot's buckles and outer ankle bone protector and, finally, the leather at the toe was abraded straight through, leaving a hole in the boot.

The motorcycle was a writeoff. It hit one of the trees on the south edge of the road with such a force that the rear shock absorber was torn off and the spring thrown 20m away, the frame was bent and the lower part of the engine casing was cracked, leaking oil and coolant.

However, I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have avoided the motorcycle's fate. I came to rest just about in the middle of the sunny area of the gap between trees, shown in Google Street View https://goo.gl/maps/xhYQM. The motorcycle ended up in the last of the four trees following the gap, while I didn't hit the tree before or after the gap, didn't slide into the oncoming car, didn't tumble, but slid along the road, didn't tumble into the ditch, but rested just off the road in the grass,...

And since this is "Sharing of Lessons Learned", here goes:

The first thing is that this accident just reinforced the ATGATT rule, that I followed from the day one. The paramedic commented that she almost never sees riders equipped as I was and that it certainly saved me from further injuries and/or reduced the severity of the present ones. The gear that I used on the day of the crash was:

- Revvit Sand jacket and pants with all the protective inserts removed and replaced by:

- Forcefield Pro jacket and pants

- Schuberth S1 Pro helmet

- Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex boots

- Five RFX gloves

A few notes on the gear. I chose to move the impact protection from the jacket and substitute if with the Forcefield items for two reasons: it protects more areas than the typical motorcycle gear and the protection is fixed by the elastic fabric and is kept very close to your body and in the right places no matter how the outer layers (jacket and pants) move.

Both of the advantages came into play. I didn't mention the damaged pants. I keep box for the custom earplugs in the left cargo pocket of the pants. I put the earplugs into the pocket of the jacket after I removed the helmet, and it was only after I came home from the hospital that I realised that the box was also abraded. In fact the left cargo pocket was totally shredded and apparently I also came crashing down on the left thigh. But I never felt anything, since the pants also offer protection for the calf muscle.

The second advantage is very useful in hotter weather. Protection is of no use if it flops about. But with my setup you can loosen the jacket and pants to have a small hurricane cooling you down and still keep the protection where it's needed. And this was proven in the crash. When I aligned the tears on the elbow and shoulder of the jacket with the scrapes on the skin, it became apparent that the protection in the jacket, had I been wearing it, would have been at least 2cm out of place in both areas, meaning that I could easily have fractured bones, when all I got were heavy bumps and bruises.

Similarly the boots look like overkill, but the only place that really hurt was the outer ankle bone, from when I probably whacked down with the foot on landing. From then on the ankle was fixed and, even though the leather was worn all the way through and various other bits also showed signs of abrasion, I didn't feel a thing. Considering that also in the city traffic the legs are a major "target" in the collisions between cars and motorcycles, I always use them.

The one thing I'm not sure are the knuckle protectors in the gloves. I have another pair of same gloves that I'm using now, but I am still debating with myself whether new gloves will have them. After the cast came off, I put on the gloves and it was immediately apparent that the bone was fractured on the edge of the protector.

Another resolution is never to ride a motorcycle without ABS. As I explained in a different topic, I do a lot of PLP, including inducing skids by being rough on the brakes and riding over bumps on the road and practicing recovering from them. But in spite of all the PLP, when the situation arises on the road, the conditions may not be perfect, you may be surprised (which you never are in a parking lot) and that is the day that ABS can save you. Both this crash and the low-speed high-side would not have happened had I been riding a motorcycle with ABS.

I have also learned to pay more attention to my condition. Before the accident I had already decided to take the highway at Postojna for the rest of the trip back. Even though the "old" road offers some of the best twisties, I knew that I was too tired to fully enjoy them and to ride safely. What I should have done is to consider that, if I already had such thoughts, I would perhaps better take it very easy until the highway and not ride as though everything's ok.

And I have been wondering whether my past experience has been detrimental. For the first 15 years of my driving career I drove cars that were underpowered. When/if I chose to overtake and if oncoming traffic appeared, I did not have the option of accelerating and always braked. But with Honda's performance on par with a top sports car (3 and a bit seconds to 100km/h), I most likely would have completed the pass without any incident, had I merely opened the throttle more. The police later told me that both drivers said that they had seen me and they had moved towards the edge of the road, expecting me to continue the pass.

I know in theory that once you're moving appreciably faster than the overtaken vehicle, it can take a longer time and distance to brake and reduce speed enough to be able to return to your lane, than to simply speed up, but in practice the ingrained habits still sometimes prevail.

Anyway, I am riding again and have recently commented to my partner that I've come to the stage where I don't start thinking about the accident whenever I sit on the motorcycle and, if I do, it's with the "oh, yeah, that happened, what have I learned from it?" and not "oh, s**t, that happened!" attitude.

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6890 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 07/06/2015 :  10:43 AM
Thanks for sharing your accident information. I did something similar at the five year anniversary of my last crash in 2003:
http://www.msgroup.org/forums/mtt/t...OPIC_ID=8937

Mine was also a tankslapper, by the way.

I thought it over for months before I was able to figure out what most likely happened. We'll never know for sure 100%.

But that event got me much more interested in safe riding. Close calls of any sort are now extremely rare for me. I've probably slacked off a little bit in proper riding gear, at least for the lower half of my body, if I'm not going on a "serious" ride. I probably need to improve a bit there.

I've never liked gloves with knuckle armor and will continue to avoid them. Extra layers of leather in that area seems like a better choice to me.

May you continue to ride safely through the coming years.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1495 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/06/2015 :  6:37 PM
I'll third that. I approximately 350,000 mile of riding, I had one crash that required medical care. That same crash was also the only one that caused bike damage severe enough I couldn't easily fix the damage myself. It was also caused by a tank slapper.

The tank slapper was caused by too much speed, a fairing that caused aerodynamic front end lift at high speeds, too much weight in rear top case, and chopping the throttle at the end of the speed run.

If the handlebars wobble, something is amiss that needs to be fixed. I had to change tire brand once to prevent it.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2266 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 07/07/2015 :  12:04 AM
Very good write up. Your attention to the right gear and even improving it some is very telling of your outcome. So glad you are still 'with us' and as Scott mentions, Thank you for sharing the experience.


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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 07/07/2015 :  4:24 AM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

I'll third that. I approximately 350,000 mile of riding, I had one crash that required medical care. That same crash was also the only one that caused bike damage severe enough I couldn't easily fix the damage myself. It was also caused by a tank slapper.

The tank slapper was caused by too much speed, a fairing that caused aerodynamic front end lift at high speeds, too much weight in rear top case, and chopping the throttle at the end of the speed run.

If the handlebars wobble, something is amiss that needs to be fixed. I had to change tire brand once to prevent it.



Check on YouTube for Dunlop 'Wobble and Weave'
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1495 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/07/2015 :  7:58 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Horse
Check on YouTube for Dunlop 'Wobble and Weave'

The interesting part for me there is I had Dunlop 306 tires on a bike a few years after the crash and wanted to change to street only tires instead of dual sport tires so I tried Continental Road Attacks. The front RA gave the bike a pronounced wobble at 40mph. A replacement also wobbled but not as badly. The Dunlop I put back on until the replacement arrived was fine.
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JanK
Male Junior Member
76 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

F650CS

Posted - 07/08/2015 :  3:27 AM
First of all, thanks for good wishes and favourable opinions. Scott, I read your report and I agree: a tankslapper is such a violent and sudden event that it is hard to imagine, if you haven't gone through it.

A few things that didn't make it into the original post:

I mentioned that I had a PLP crash onto my ribs. It happened in a tight turn when the front wheel slipped, I had my body turned into the turn and just crashed straight onto left side of the chest. At that time I already had the Forcefield protection. I'm quite sure that, had I not had it, the bruising would have been more severe, or I might have even broken a rib. The chest, back, thigh, hip, bum and coccyx protectors are made from a material that is soft and conforms to your body contours so much that you almost don't feel it, but it stiffens on impact (much like silly putty - except that it doesn't shatter ). It you put it flat on a table with a part of it hanging over the edge and slap hard the overhanging part, you hand stings from the impact.

In the same fall the left ankle was twisted 90 degrees to the right and remained trapped beneath the engine. But the heavy boots offered enough protection that I felt nothing and had not even noticed until I started to get up and realised I couldn't. Since this happened during a safety workshop there was help available within seconds.

The next helmet will probably be from another manufacturer and certainly will not be the model I'm currently using, the Schuberth S1 Pro. It has two features that the next helmet will undoubtedly have: pinlock antifog visor and integrated sun visor. The latter is particularly useful when you ride from full sun into a non-lit tunnel (of which there are quite a few in the European Alps and Dolomite region) and if you're riding towards the sun, when you can partially lower it and use it as sun screen. The helmet is also very airy, adjustable, comfortable.

But when I checked the SHARP helmet rating site http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/, I found out that the helmet offers poor protection in the temple region and this probably contributed to the concussion. Even the best rated Schuberth helmet has less than perfect temple protection.

I do a lot of riding in the city, with high density of traffic lights, so leathers are quite hot and I prefer the fabric suit. Even though the fabric suit mostly did the job, it did abrade through in a few spots. So, when I have some spare money, I will invest in a full leather suit for the pleasure rides at higher speeds.

And, finally, I am retraining myself as far as the shoulder checks are concerned. In the city traffic they are an absolutely necessary part of the routine when changing lanes. The potential for being hit by a vehicle that was hidden behind a larger vehicle and/or is speeding is simply too great.

But when riding outside the city, this is not such a big issue and one of the thoughts I had about the crash was that the shoulder check may have contributed to the crash. It takes a bit of a time to process the scene viewed over the shoulder and another bit of time to process the road ahead when you return the gaze, IIRC around half to a three quarters of a second. At 90km/h this means around 12-20m, around 6% of the total visible distance between the left curve and the S curve.

I don't remember all the details of events leading to the crash, but the fact is that I was surprised by the oncoming vehicle. I assume it appeared from behind the S at exactly the time I was doing the shoulder check and moving to the left lane, while still processing the view forward. So if I had been looking forward all the time, I may have seen the car come from around the S, would not have been surprised and reacted more calmly.

The closing speeds between myself and the oncoming traffic are around 10 times higher than the closing speed between me and vast majority of traffic that would be approaching me from behind and I believe it is more important to concentrate on the picture in front than the picture behind. I tend to be in the upper 95th speed percentile anyway, so I tend to ride into the situation, rather then let the situation come up to me from behind.

So now, outside the city, I concentrate on building a mental picture of the traffic behind me based much more on the view in the mirrors and use the shoulder check much more sparingly. Since I do a lot of city riding, the shoulder check has become such an automatic part of changing lanes and I sometimes find it hard NOT to do it before overtaking, but if I'm not consciously 100% sure about what's behind me, I don't attempt the overtake anyway.
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JanK
Male Junior Member
76 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

F650CS

Posted - 07/08/2015 :  5:51 AM
Incidentally, just over a week ago I solved a three-year old mystery weave problem on my current motorcycle.

While I still had the Honda, this motorcycle, a BMW F650CS, was ridden by my partner. She complained that sometimes at around 150km/h the handlebar sometimes started to shake, first slightly then more and more, and that the whole motorcycle felt unstable. This only occurred on highways, but not always and we couldn't figure out the pattern. Sometimes the weave would occur, sometimes not. If you reduced the speed to 120-130km/h the problem would slowly go away, only to reoccur when the speed was increased. Lowering the body helped somewhat, but far less than shown in the Dunlop video.

I also complained, after switching to it from the Honda, that it was such an unstable bike. It seemed that, just after getting "in the zone" on a ride, I had to keep correcting the path in every curve, whereas on the Honda I would just point it in the right direction and it rode itself through the corner. But I attributed that to the difference in geometries, the distribution of mass and learned to live with it.

The motorcycle was in an official BMW shop at least twice during that period, but the mechanic (with a very good reputation) rode it on a highway and said that it was perfectly stable and that he could not imagine out what the problem could be. The handlebar turned freely, there was no play in the bearings, everything worked perfectly, as far as he was concerned.

In the end we put it down to aerodynamics and the presence of the hardcase. We thought that the interaction of the vortices behind the body and the airflow around the hardcase somehow excited the motorcycle oscillation and that this interaction somehow depended on the crosswind, the exact body position, on the phase of the moon.... and when the wobble occurred, we just reduced the speed until it went away.

But on the previous Sunday I was one of the safety riders accompanying around 70 amateur and enthusiast bicyclists on a 100km charity ride. The weather was pretty warm, with temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius and the whole day was sunny. The ride included lots of stops, around one every hour and the route included two climbs.

Just before one of the stops the motorcycle started feeling strange, as though the front wheel didn't quite want to track. I had to use more control inputs to keep it where I wanted it to go. At the stop I tilted the motorcycle onto the sidestand and the rear tire to check the steering action, but everything looked fine. The tire was properly inflated, the tires had 500km on them, so the tires could not have been the cause.

After continuing, the motorcycle felt fine, so I put it down to my imagination. But just before the next stop the same thing happened. Since it can be tiring to ride at constant slow speeds and I had recovered from a bad cold a week before, this time I reasoned that I was probably still feeling the effects and that my senses were somehow deceiving me.

Then came a brutal (at least for the cyclists) climb, 5km of 10% incline on a sunlit slope, followed by a 300m of 18% incline. The cyclists were riding slowly enough, that at first I used a lot of clutch, but then decided that a better course of action would be to pull ahead to the next curve, wave down and warn any cars driving in the opposite direction.

Imagine my surprise when the motorcycle slowly started to become more and more unrideable on the climb. The symptoms were the same, except that this time, if I relaxed the grip of the handlebar, the motorcycle clearly would not turn the front wheel enough to keep it (and me) from falling over, so I had to literaly manhandle it to keep riding and the handlebar offered serious resistance, quite out of the ordinary. After riding away from the stop on top of the climb - nothing!

Then things started clicking into place. My motorcycle has an aluminium frame, not uncommon. Less commonly, the engine does not have a separate oil tank, instead the oil is kept in the frame itself. Aluminium's coefficient of thermal expansion is around 2 times higher than that of steel, from which the fork tubes are made. So when the frame stared to heat up from the hot oil, it expanded more than the fork tubes, which caused it to press into the bearings, increasing the friction to the point where the forces generated by the motorcycle's geometry wasn't enough to overcome it. When the frame cooled down, the bearings were released the motorcycle functioned normally.

To test the theory I rode home on a highway. When the weave appeared, this time I reduced the speed just enough to keep it manageable and in my comfort zone. Then I stopped at the first gas station and went for a 10 minute coffee break. After the break there was no sign of weave for the first 5 minutes then it slowly started appearing again.

And this explained everything that had been going on for the last three years. The power required to ride 150 instead of 120km/h is 56% higher, but the cooling effect of the wind is only 25% greater. Apparently this difference was enough to expand the frame enough to bind the bearings enough to create a weave. When riding through twisties, after a period, the binding was just enough to keep the motorcycle slightly unstable and necessitated constant course corrections. During the climbs at 10-15km/h there was no cooling to speak of, so the binding was serious enough to take away almost all the ability to steer.

The motorcycle was never tested when it was very hot. The garage is 500m away from my home and the mechanic never got his hands on a hot motorcycle. And of course, he didn't ride it for few tens of minutes to heat the frame enough to feel the effects. Even if he did, I usually do the servicing at the start or the end of the season, when the temperatures are relatively low, so the effect might not have appeared anyway.

In the end the solution was very simple: adjust the bearings while the engine is as hot as possible. This might leave the bearings slightly on the loose side, but from the test rides I've taken since, the problem has been solved.

And BTW, I've never been as scared on a motorcycle as when I was in front of a group of cyclists riding downhill! They are bl**dy fast! If I didn't have the straights on which to accelerate and then brake before the turns, they would have passed me on those skinny tires. So the next time someone mentions how dangerous riding a motorcycle is and that cycling is the way to go, I'll enlighten him that falling from a bicycle at 50-60km/h (an easily obtainable downhill speed) protected by only a beanie helmet is likely to cause MUCH more damage than falling off a motorcycle at twice that speed wearing full protective gear.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 07/08/2015 :  10:09 AM Follow poster on Twitter
That is something that I surely would never have considered and it sounds like the BMW engineers didn't take the metallurgical differences into account either when they designed this particular machine.

Good catch...have you notified BMW of your findings? You can't be the only person this has happened to.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2266 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 07/10/2015 :  3:33 AM
That write up and discovery really had me in it's grip. Everything seems to make sense and follow a predicted order (working relationship) in hindsight.

Just to be able to solve it based on the theory and then test it as proof it's correctable is way more than a WIN !

Edited by - bachman1961 on 07/10/2015 5:16 AM
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1695 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 07/10/2015 :  9:29 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I'd suggest checking a bike specific forum. A quick search got me a f650 forum. There I didn't find mention of oil temps causing issues, but did find mention that some cs models came a little shy on grease in the steering head bearings. Also, a high temp grease was recommended.

For what it's worth.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2266 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 07/10/2015 :  2:12 PM


Well, poor planning on my part means my bike will be side-lined a bit for riding season but unless something surprising comes up upon a good going over, it should be relatively painless.

- In need of two new tires,
- A re-do of fresh fork oil and new seals,
- Flush of brake fluid
- And the seat has tremendously well, weathered 20 years of UV and 22k of sitmanship. Okay, maybe that's not a word.
The seat is now comprised of one part black Gorilla tape to two parts orig seat covering. Time for a fresh upholstering expert.

At about 22k miles, I can say just about half of those (purchased at 11,234) are my doing. It's a pitiful low number over the years but I'll feel the confidence in it again if I pursue some weekend rides or part day trips like I used to in the 150 mi to 300 range.

My investment since I bought it; One tire, a half dozen oil changes, 4 NGK plugs, front brake pads and a few misc changes/adds to handlebar/mirrors, tour bags, time/temp/battery/alt cluster.

The downtime is more a matter of suspending riding until the tires get updated. The few days or week of work won't be a big deal, I just need to get it started.
The seeping oil on one fork made me feel like it might be more prone to a front end oscillation if I hit a bump or something just off-center. The bike has never responded in such a way but it kind of haunts me.

Most riding the past 2 years has been city/residential in the short rides/errands or 8 mile r/t work commute type experience. It's rarely seen anything over 50 mph in a while.
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JanK
Male Junior Member
76 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

F650CS

Posted - 08/13/2015 :  5:18 AM
Well, I finally got around to speaking with my mechanic. After hearing he story he immediately raised the motorcycle and checked or another possible source of the problems: increased resistance in the bearings when the wheel points forwards. Fining none, he congratulated me on the diagnosis and the solution and said that he will certainly remember both.
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