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 Motorcycle Safety
 Sharing of Lessons Learned
 Minor crash in the twisties...
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JanK
Male Junior Member
91 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

R1200R

Posted - 05/20/2022 :  6:14 AM                       Like
Well, this forum has been awfully quiet for some time now. Time to add another report.

I think I got bitten by the Metzeller Z8 tyres that I am looking forward to replacing. The problem with these tires - OEM on BMW R1250R and other similar BMW motorcycles - is that they need to be really hot to work properly. If they are, they're OK and exceed my comfort zone (i.e., I cannot outride them). When colder, they are skittish in corners, the front tends to slide a bit before catching up and the rear definitely needs a bit to settle down. A week ago I rode in rain on a 10C slick alpine road and they were a disaster!

Anyway, yesterday I was riding in the twisties in our local Alps. The weather was fine and sunny, but the temperature was 20C and there was quite a stiff wind. On one stop I noticed that, after 10 minutes of taking a break, drinking some water, enjoying the sights... the tires cooled down enough for it to be noticable - they became skittish in the corners, just as they are when you start riding, only less intensely. But after a few minutes of spirited riding, they started gripping again.

But after the last stop I forgot about that and started riding hard right away. In the first hairpin https://goo.gl/maps/myerECXZc4VXCkic9 the front tire just washed out and I lowsided... The picture in Google Maps is 9 years old and in the meanwhile the road had been repaved with nice, grippy, still black asphalt. There was no gravel or any contamination on the road. The tire just let go... Of course, as I said, I was riding hard, but not harder that all day, including on slicker asphalt.

The motorcycle was OK. The cylinder heads are protected by MachineArt X-Head cover protectors and the paralever is protected by the SW-Motech slider. These were the only two points of contact and the motorcycle is otherwise undamaged.

My Alpinestars TechAir 5 airbag went off and the only really painful spot is where I landed on my left elbow and it must have "penetrated" the air cushion and hurt the ribs (but that hurts quite a bit :(). So, all in all I got off lightly.

After the crash I finished the ride to Kranjska Gora, then climbed over another pass, Wuerzenpass, then rode home on the highway. The additional pass was becasue the "local" Louis store is in Villach and, unfortunately, the Alpinestars airbag (bought from Louis) needs to be checked out by the manufacturer if it goes off, so I left it at the store, where they said that it will not be back before 16th of June.

I'm debating with myself whether to switch to a tethered airbag, where you can simply replace the cartridge. But I'm not sure it would have gone off or gone off early enough, since I remained mostly very near the bike, whereas I remember that the airbag inflating the moment that the bike started skidding from underneath me, so the TechAir will most likely stay.

Eagle Six
Junior Member
39 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 06/08/2022 :  12:38 PM
quote:
Originally posted by JanK

Well, this forum has been awfully quiet for some time now. Time to add another report.

I think I got bitten by the Metzeller Z8 tyres that I am looking forward to replacing. The problem with these tires - OEM on BMW R1250R and other similar BMW motorcycles - is that they need to be really hot to work properly. If they are, they're OK and exceed my comfort zone (i.e., I cannot outride them). When colder, they are skittish in corners, the front tends to slide a bit before catching up and the rear definitely needs a bit to settle down. A week ago I rode in rain on a 10C slick alpine road and they were a disaster!

Anyway, yesterday I was riding in the twisties in our local Alps. The weather was fine and sunny, but the temperature was 20C and there was quite a stiff wind. On one stop I noticed that, after 10 minutes of taking a break, drinking some water, enjoying the sights... the tires cooled down enough for it to be noticable - they became skittish in the corners, just as they are when you start riding, only less intensely. But after a few minutes of spirited riding, they started gripping again.

But after the last stop I forgot about that and started riding hard right away. In the first hairpin https://goo.gl/maps/myerECXZc4VXCkic9 the front tire just washed out and I lowsided... The picture in Google Maps is 9 years old and in the meanwhile the road had been repaved with nice, grippy, still black asphalt. There was no gravel or any contamination on the road. The tire just let go... Of course, as I said, I was riding hard, but not harder that all day, including on slicker asphalt.

The motorcycle was OK. The cylinder heads are protected by MachineArt X-Head cover protectors and the paralever is protected by the SW-Motech slider. These were the only two points of contact and the motorcycle is otherwise undamaged.

My Alpinestars TechAir 5 airbag went off and the only really painful spot is where I landed on my left elbow and it must have "penetrated" the air cushion and hurt the ribs (but that hurts quite a bit :(). So, all in all I got off lightly.

After the crash I finished the ride to Kranjska Gora, then climbed over another pass, Wuerzenpass, then rode home on the highway. The additional pass was becasue the "local" Louis store is in Villach and, unfortunately, the Alpinestars airbag (bought from Louis) needs to be checked out by the manufacturer if it goes off, so I left it at the store, where they said that it will not be back before 16th of June.

I'm debating with myself whether to switch to a tethered airbag, where you can simply replace the cartridge. But I'm not sure it would have gone off or gone off early enough, since I remained mostly very near the bike, whereas I remember that the airbag inflating the moment that the bike started skidding from underneath me, so the TechAir will most likely stay.



Jan, Thank You for the report. Good to hear you and the bike incurred little damage. I assume you were riding in the direct of the Google Map view you provided. Would also assume the front washed early in the turn in. So also would assume you avoided contact with the guard rail. Are any of my assumptions correct?

I have no experience with Metzeller tires, but the information you provide about the Z8's should be useful to those considering them.

Best Regards.....George
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JanK
Male Junior Member
91 Posts


Ljubljana, Ljubljana
Slovenia

BMW

R1200R

Posted - 06/17/2022 :  1:32 PM
Yes, this was the direction I rode. And yes, I think the front washed out quite early. I remained on the asphalt and fell on my left side. The bike stayed far enough from the guardrail that I could pick it up without dragging it away. It ended up about half way through the corner.

As far as the tires are concerned: I still think that they are not good. I have since replaced them with Metzeller Roadtec 01 SE, which are like night and day.

But since then I realised, after thinking long and hard about the crash, that I was also to blame. Obviously, I outrode the tires that I knew were not very good.

But I also tend to trail brake into turns, which in itself is fine, however, I have an unfortunate habit of releasing the brake too quickly, not smoothly enough, and I can sometimes feel the front end bounce a bit. I was thinking about this habit on the ride that day and thinking that I need to get rid of it and for some time I actively practiced a smooth release of the brake. But, as always with these sorts of "exercises", it's difficult not to slip into old habits.

So what I think also happened is that I let got of the brake too quickly, the forks extended too quickly, pushed the front wheel away and onto the cold shoulder, which caused the front to wash out.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6955 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 06/18/2022 :  7:07 AM
quote:
Originally posted by JanK

But I also tend to trail brake into turns, which in itself is fine, however, I have an unfortunate habit of releasing the brake too quickly, not smoothly enough, and I can sometimes feel the front end bounce a bit. I was thinking about this habit on the ride that day and thinking that I need to get rid of it and for some time I actively practiced a smooth release of the brake. But, as always with these sorts of "exercises", it's difficult not to slip into old habits.
A lot of riders push trail braking as THE way to ride on a twisty road, but I'm totally against it from a safety point of view. Yes, you need to know how to use the brakes while in a turn, but I consider it to be a bad habit to do it all the time.

My goal is to have all braking done before the turn starts and to get lightly on the throttle as soon as I lean the bike into the turn. We're talking about only enough throttle to keep the top of the chain tight, but not really accelerating until the turn opens up at the end. If I can get lightly on the throttle at the beginning, it means that I've judged the corner speed correctly. If I have to do more braking once the turn starts, I misjudged the corner, but I can still safely slow some more if I need to. I probably needed a full year to change the habit of trail braking to this new technique, but it was worth it.

I made this change to my riding nearly two decades ago after reading various authors, including James Davis (here), David L Hough (Proficient Motorcycling), and Lee Parks (Total Control). If your goal is to be as safe as possible while still enjoying twisty roads, rather than being the fastest bike on the road, you might want to consider changing your cornering technique.
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Eagle Six
Junior Member
39 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 06/21/2022 :  5:00 PM
Too much of a good thing can turn it bad! If we are taking a corner that is flat, open, clear where nothing big enough to trip us up will jump out and going the speed limit in clear weather conditions, there is little risk something bad is going to challenge us.

I have very few of those type corner in the countryside where I ride. Properly performed trail braking provides the extra safety edge in the event something that can harm us does present us with a challenge.

On the street if we are coming into a corner hot and hard brake on the approach and trail off the brakes, we are going to fast. A spirited ride isn't going so fast that we approach the corner hot. If we are in that 5-20 mph over category most of the braking is still done during the approach, but saving that last 10% of braking and smoothly trailing off, keeping the pads in contact will help avoid upsetting the geometry of the bike as we turn in and we are covering the brakes ready in the event we need to slow or stop.

There is nothing wrong about getting all the braking done early and put-putting around a corner. After all, taking a corner too slow is rarely an issue. And, I prefer too slow to those who treat our public road as if they are their private race track!

For me I prefer trail braking. Not on every corner, but most and most of the time my pillion can't even feel me braking. I load the tire before working the tire. Smooth brake on, smooth brake off.
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