First emergency brake on the new Strom
I like to think that any time you have to brake really hard, it's probably your fault. You can usually at least point the finger at too much speed.
Anyway, I consider this completely my fault. I am just posting the quick story here as a reminder about how fast things can happen - even at 30 MPH.
I was headed down a hill that I have driven and ridden at least 1000 times. South End Road for any of you in OR City, OR. It's a little winding descent and the speed limit is 25. Most everyone goes at least 30 and it's not unusual to see people travelling the road at 50, perhaps 65 MPH.
About 1/2 way down the hill, there is an intersection that is rarely used. The roads don't really go anywhere except to a few houses. I have only seen people turning there a couple of times when I have ridden the road.
This evening, I was following a car. There was traffic behind me as well. I was doing my usual habit of counting to three to leave a three second gap. What I did not notice was that the car in front of me was tailgating the car in front of her. Well, when we were getting close to the corner, here's what happened - The car ahead of the vehicle I was following made a left hand turn at the little intersection. However, they were surprised by a car that was coming UP the hill at a high rate of speed. This caused the car that was making the left to screech to a halt. The car in front of me didn't brake until the last second and suddenly braked really hard. I was just cruising. It caught me by surprise too. Luckily, I had given myself the 3 seconds.
It took me a second to realize that the car in front was not just braking for the corner. Now the gap was closing really quickly because the car in front of me had slammed on their brakes. I realized I needed to start braking. A quick peek in the rearview mirror to see if the car in back was going to smash me. The gap was now getting really tight. I realized I need to brake harder. I increased pressure in a panic. My rear tire locked up.
Now, I have had my back tire slide before. I have put a lot of miles on bikes and it doesn't make me panic. I would prefer to NOT have my rear tire sliding. I try to use the front brake almost to exclusion of the rear. But, it just happened. I haven't practiced braking that hard on the vstrom yet. I only have 1600 miles on it. the car behind me was also getting a little close so I was trying to brake, miss the car in front and at the same time manuever to get the bike ready to go around the car in front on it's right side in case the car in back wasn't going to stop.
Everything came to a halt. I was 8 feet away from the car in front of me. The car in front of it just missed an accident with the car coming up the hill and the car behind me managed to stop about 20 feet in back of me.
So, what did I learn - 3 seconds is really not that long of a gap sometimes. Even at LOW speed. Also, I should adjust my gap if the vehicle in front of me is not leaving enough distance to the car in front of it.
I also need to practice some emergency stops on the vstrom. I am fairly pleased with how fast the bike stopped. It was actually pretty easy to control even with my overly applied pressure on the rear brake. It's a heavyish bike, but it still acted a lot like a dual sport as far as how it reacted to body english etc.
Anyway, I just thought I'd share the story.
Last edited by Brasstax; 07-17-2007 at 11:00 AM.