(Please visit one of our advertisers)

No donations or subscriptions are required

   OR   
   
Subscription choices:
Board Karma = 40  (3446 positive of 3828 votes is 40 %pts higher than a neutral 50%)
All Things (Safety Oriented) Motorcycle   
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

You can the entire collection of Safety Tip articles in a 33 Megabyte PDF Portfolio

 All Forums
 Motorcycle Safety
 Sharing of Lessons Learned
 Lesson learned the hard way 33 years ago
Member Previous Topic Discussion Topic Next Topic  

Arnold
Male Standard Member
172 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 07/20/2015 :  11:57 PM                       Like
I am not proud of the event below, but I also am not ashamed. It was a combination of youth, bad judgement and bad luck that allowed it to occur. I also am lucky I wasn't killed.

I had my first major crash on July 18th 1982 on a Yamaha XS-11. For those of you old enough to remember, the XS-11 was the baddest thing on two wheels, capable of 140 mph in an era when few bikes could top 120. This was late at night in an unlit parking lot, and I'll be the first to admit I had been drinking. I also had intentionally been given an incorrect eyeglass prescription by a corrupt optometrist (very common in those days in the South). These three factors combined led to a fairly severe accident - I revved the motor and dumped the clutch in an effort to make an impression on the crowd, and the bike took off like a bat. I didn't even have enough time to shift before it piled me into a dumpster.

A ruptured spleen, broken ribs, a broken wrist and serious (but thankfully not requiring plastic surgery) facial contusions were the result. The other blessing I had was the fact that an XS-11 is a shaft drive bike, meaning it cannot wheelie because of the physics of the design. I was able to maintain enough steering where the collision with the dumpster was a glancing blow.

I am getting older and not feeling my best, and I wanted to share this story as a lesson. I rightfully could have been killed had it not been for a little divine providence coupled with Japanese engineering. I never spoke about this before on this board, but I learned some lessons the hard way. I don't care for people who air their dirty laundry on a forum, but if my post stops one of you from drinking and driving then it was worth the pain (still aches today when it rains).

Take care and ride safe

rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  5:48 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Yeah, drinking, youth and motorcycles never ends well.

But, as far as shaft drive bikes not being able to wheelie, that's not true. They wheelie just fine. My old BMW could. Seen videos of big, long, heavy Goldwings pull some impressive wheelies too.
Go to Top of Page

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17286 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  7:45 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Confirmed - a shaft driven motorcycle can do a wheelie.

It's not how the power reaches the rear wheel. If its rate of acceleration times its weight transfer ratio (height of CG / length of wheelbase) times the total weight of the bike exceeds the weight on the front tire, that tire will lift off the ground.
Go to Top of Page

greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  9:53 AM
I can testify an XS-11 can do a wheelie. It is easier to break the rear wheel loose though. It's a long heavy bike. No, I didn't do it intentionally. I was young and stupid in 1978 too, stupid enough to do it accidentally but too scared to do it on purpose.
Go to Top of Page

TooManyHobbies
Junior Member
45 Posts


Patchogue, NY
USA

BMW


Peer Review: 1

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  2:35 PM
I know it was a long time ago, but still sorry to hear about your crash, and that you are not feeling so great now.

Your message is an important one. I've heard the saying, "You don't see motorcycles parked outside of the psychologists office," but I see a ton of them outside of bars. Thanks for the post.
Go to Top of Page

Arnold
Male Standard Member
172 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  6:52 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

Confirmed - a shaft driven motorcycle can do a wheelie.

It's not how the power reaches the rear wheel. If its rate of acceleration times its weight transfer ratio (height of CG / length of wheelbase) times the total weight of the bike exceeds the weight on the front tire, that tire will lift off the ground.



I stand corrected. I remember being told for YEARS that it was impossible to wheelie a shaft driven bike, but it never made sense to me. I even recall an argument at a tavern where an old salt put a $100 bill on the bar and challenged anyone to wheelie his shaft driven bike. Turn out, the bike probably wasnt powerful enough to wheelie and this evolved into an incorrect urban legend.

There is no reason why a shaft driven bike can't wheelie - after all shaft driven cars wheelie all the time at the drag strip. Anyone remember Lil' Red Wagon?

I wonder how these rumors start because some of them are downright dangerous. I was taught by a former motorcycle cop that the only way to stop a tankslapper was to "jam" the throttle (in his words "downshift a gear, dump the clutch and jam the throttle with all your might".) Dangerous and incorrect advice. But these rumors have surprising staying power. I know I cant be the only one who has heard the myth of the impossible to wheelie shaft-drive bike (or am I?)
Go to Top of Page

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17286 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 07/21/2015 :  7:11 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
You are certainly not the only one.

This site has corrected a large number of such myths over time and will not allow a myth, misrepresentation, or misunderstanding to be presented without challenge.

No criticism is implied - myths have staying power because they are not challenged, so we do that.
Go to Top of Page

Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  4:14 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Arnold I even recall an argument at a tavern where an old salt put a $100 bill on the bar and challenged anyone to wheelie his shaft driven bike. Turn out, the bike probably wasnt powerful enough to wheelie


Ever heard of a stunt rider called Arto Nyquist? He was doing some riding for a UK magazine, grinding out the tail of a Kawa Z1300 (that dates it!) at an army base. One of the squaddies challenged him to wheelie one of their despatch bikes, an old (even then) BSA 350 single. He did :)

quote:
[i] I wonder how these rumors start because some of them are downright dangerous. I was taught by a former motorcycle cop that the only way to stop a tankslapper was to "jam" the throttle (in his words "downshift a gear, dump the clutch and jam the throttle with all your might".) Dangerous and incorrect advice.


Look on Youtube for Dunlop Wobble and Weave :)
Go to Top of Page

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6883 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  7:24 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Arnold

I was taught by a former motorcycle cop that the only way to stop a tankslapper was to "jam" the throttle (in his words "downshift a gear, dump the clutch and jam the throttle with all your might".)
If it's a true tankslapper, that might actually get you out of it.

But if it's a true tankslapper, you're unlikely to be able to work both the clutch and the throttle together - if your hands are even still on the bars long enough to use either.

A bit of headshake, which many people mistake for a tankslapper, can be corrected by changing a lot of different aspects of the motorcycle, including acceleration or braking, or just waiting another second or two for it to settle.
Go to Top of Page

Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  10:09 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by Arnold

I was taught by a former motorcycle cop that the only way to stop a tankslapper was to "jam" the throttle (in his words "downshift a gear, dump the clutch and jam the throttle with all your might".)
If it's a true tankslapper, that might actually get you out of it.

A bit of headshake, which many people mistake for a tankslapper, can be corrected by changing a lot of different aspects of the motorcycle, including acceleration or braking, or just waiting another second or two for it to settle.


Watch and learn:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3OQTU-kE2s
:)
Go to Top of Page

Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  10:48 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I've seen quite a few wheelies on Shaft Driven V65s (Magnas and Sabres)...beginning in 1983, the V65 Magna was the fastest production bike on the market for a few years (Until the VMax came into it's own)

Go to Top of Page

commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  2:17 PM
@Horse Thanks for the link. Very informative. I'd need a trip to the laundromat if I experienced what the guy in the video did with the high speed stuff. No thanks

I wonder if the air pressure from the higher speeds has a tendency to lighten the front end enough to induce the instability and lying on the tank reduces that pressure and settles the bike down.
Go to Top of Page

greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/22/2015 :  11:13 PM
Aerodynamics can have a considerable effect. My XS-11 would lift the front so much at a little over 100mph with a Vetter Windjammer fairing, the handlebars had no effect. I had a tankslapper in 2006 on a Suzuki DL650 that pitched me off at over 100mph. Later study of the bike showed aerodynamic front end lift. Raising the fork tubes 10-15mm in the triple clamp lowered the angle of attack enough to make the bike a much safer handler. Suzuki changed the fairing design in 2012 to eliminate the ramp under the headlights that caused lift.

I learned my lesson on that tankslapper. I haven't gone near 100mph or ridden without a hydraulic steering damper since.
Go to Top of Page

Arnold
Male Standard Member
172 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 07/23/2015 :  11:45 AM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

Aerodynamics can have a considerable effect. My XS-11 would lift the front so much at a little over 100mph with a Vetter Windjammer fairing, the handlebars had no effect. I had a tankslapper in 2006 on a Suzuki DL650 that pitched me off at over 100mph. Later study of the bike showed aerodynamic front end lift. Raising the fork tubes 10-15mm in the triple clamp lowered the angle of attack enough to make the bike a much safer handler. Suzuki changed the fairing design in 2012 to eliminate the ramp under the headlights that caused lift.

I learned my lesson on that tankslapper. I haven't gone near 100mph or ridden without a hydraulic steering damper since.



You are in a rare group - those who have wrecked at over 100 mph and lived. I am assuming there is a good story there if you want to tell it (unless it brings back bad memories and you'd rather not - I totally understand).
Go to Top of Page

greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 07/24/2015 :  12:16 AM
When taking a long trip I would like to see how fast the bike would go, just once per trip, only on a long straight run on a well maintained Interstate with no other vehicle in the area. I haven't done that since.

Doing something stupid for a minute is a minute too long. The combination doing an actual 111mph on a bike that had aerodynamic front end lift I didn't know about, too much weight in the top case and chopping the throttle when I realized what I might have gotten myself into started an uncontrollable tank slapper. The front dropped like the bike was coming off a wheelie. A bit of front end shake translated into a pendulum motion on the heavy top case that was too high and to far back for the bike to pull out of it. I didn't have the arm strength or leverage to damp the worsening shake. I thought about adding throttle in hopes of taming the shake but didn't as is wasn't a sure cure and I didn't want to be going faster if I left the bike.

Time seems to slow when the adrenaline kicks in so all that thinking about what I could do probably didn't take more than a couple of seconds. I was suddenly down and rolling down I-80 in Nevada without a bike. I saw road, sky, road, sky pass in front of my face shield. I thought I might be about to die. Then I stopped rolling and started sliding. I was relieved when the rolling stopped, thinking the that would be about it. Then I caught something on the road and started rolling again. I finally stopped and saw the bike still on the road on its side ahead of me. Since I was still on the road, I crawled off it as fast as I could in case there was a car behind me. I did a good enough job of making sure no other vehicle was nearby that it wasn't a problem.

It was probably 30 minutes before an ambulance got there and another 30 minutes to get me back to Elko. I had a lot of bones broken opposite the thumb side of my left hand (34 screws) and a fractured left ulna (3 screws). The fracture line reached the head of the ulna at the wrist so arthritis is active there. I also had a separated left shoulder only treated by time. I must have extended my left arm and hit the ground with it when I first fell.

I was wearing a full face helmet and armored textile gear along with gloves with knuckle guards. I got a few scrapes on the edges of my knee pads, shoulder pads and left elbow pad. The sleeve on my right arm was pushed up past my elbow and I got road rash on my right forearm. My helmet looked like somebody went around it a number of times with a belt sander. The chin and face shield got some major scraping. If I was wearing an open face helmet, I would have received major facial injuries. My boots were scraped but not penetrated.

The bike was totaled. I would have gotten a $33,000 hit from the hospital alone if I didn't have insurance.
Go to Top of Page

Arnold
Male Standard Member
172 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 07/24/2015 :  3:17 AM
A vivid and cautionary tale, Greywolf, thank you. I can't imagine the whole "life flashing before ones eyes" moment you must have had during that 100 mph+ tank slapper. When my wreck happened, it seemed to occur so fast that I didnt even have time to react. I know now this is not the case, but with the liquor in my system it sure felt that way.

I looked up some stats on the XS-11 and it turns out redline in first gear is somewhere around 50 mph. Since I never shifted into second, that means I hit the dumpster going at most 50 (and I know it was far less than that, since one thing I distinctly remember is the sound of the engine). The bike was no where near redline when I hit because I had laid off the throttle well before hitting the dumpster. IT was difficult to do so since I was unbalanced on the bike and my legs were not on the footpegs and instead flailing behind me like superman.

Bottom line, I believe when I hit the dumpster I was going anywhere from 25-35 mph, yet I still managed to rack up some very nasty injuries. Multiple bad fractures, a ruptured spleen, and a face that looked like it had a date with a meatgrinder. I probably hold the record for worst injuries from such a low speed, single vehicle crash - and THAT my friends has nothing to do with physics, that's just my plain old rotten luck!

-Arnold
Go to Top of Page

greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/24/2015 :  8:19 AM
I didn't run into anything but the road. It was the sudden stop that caused your injuries.
Go to Top of Page

Arnold
Male Standard Member
172 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 07/24/2015 :  4:06 PM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

I didn't run into anything but the road. It was the sudden stop that caused your injuries.



The dumpster is what caused them. I hit the corner of it because I was facing diagonal. So the top half of my body took the brunt of the collision and then I bounced off of it and landed and skidded on my face. Like I said, you would be shocked if you saw what I looked like after the crash. And it wasn't a long event by any means - just two collisions - me into the dumpster and then from the dumpster to the pavement. But for whatever reason my entire face was badly lacerated. My head swolled up so big I looked like a monster for a while afterward.

I had a new girlfriend at the time, my intention was to show off to the crowd at the bar. The parking lot was kind of an impromptu mini drag-strip / burnout display. People would hang out at the bar and then go outside and watch people race and whatnot. On top of this there was a seedy element that congregated at the bar. Pimps, druggies, biker gang members, etc. Lowlifes.
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Discussion Topic Next Topic  
Jump To:
All Things (Safety Oriented) Motorcycle © Master Strategy Group Go To Top Of Page
  This page was generated in 0.59 seconds. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05