First emergency brake on the new Strom - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
Brasstax's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 176
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.

Ride safe.

Last edited by Brasstax; 07-17-2007 at 11:00 AM. Reason: typos
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 09:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Westminster, MD
Posts: 32

Thanks for sharing that. Glad you made through with the rubber down. It's so easy for something to happen quickly, even when we think we are leaving ourselves enough margin.

It's too easy to just step on that rear brake when something happens quick in front of us. It's what we've all done for years in the car.

We should also all be reminded to practice, practice, practice our quick stops. I did and still do, but with my previous bike (Harley Road Glide), I still chirped that rear tire once in a while when something started to develop in front of me. I never really had to do a full panic/emergency stop, fortunately.

I just picked up my 07 ABS Strom about a month ago, and stuff like this is the reason why I wanted ABS. The ABS obviously covers both brakes, and I'm glad it's on the front, but I'm REALLY glad it's there on the rear. I know ABS isn't any cure all, but just another tool to help me keep control if I don't do the right thing when something unexpected happens.

We all need to see these little "almost incident" things to remind us to stay back, stay aware, etc., etc.

Again, glad you're OK and thanks again for sharing!

Ride on, ride well.


"I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 91

Thanks for the warning. Just like doch4m, I purchased the bike for the ABS. I know that it's not the Holy Grail that will prevent accidents, or cure global warning. This is my first bike, and I wanted to give myself the opportunity for a "do-over" when I grab too much front brake in a panic.

I have about the same amount of miles... ~1500. I've had the back end stutter with ABS activated. Once you have gotten to that point a couple of times... you know what to expect. I have not had the opportunity to experience the front ABS until yesterday. Yes it was my fault, I was doing something I should not have been. The point is... it wasn't anything like I expected.

I agree... to keep our skills up... practice, practice, practice. I had tried a 30 mph hard front brake grab.... not the same as a 65mph. I'm not suggesting being an idiot... just to be well prepared.

On a side note... practice emergency stopping in curves. I had a example the other day where a Pickup came speeding around a blind corner. Oddly, he was in my lane of travel, in my "groove". Scared me because it was so sudden. He jerked back into his lane, where he was supposed to be, missed me... but... I had to get on the brakes hard. I'm glad common sense didn't kick in. I would have been sliding on my side towards the ground.

No one wants to be in an accident. We drive like we can't be seen, and should practice accident avoidance techniques.


2007 V-Strom 650 ABS
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 10:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 987
Ditto's on the ABS.
I also will increase my 3 second rule significantly if the grade is steep enough to take the extra slice out of my 'traction pie' The extra 2 seconds is a nice cushion when momentum and gravity are not in your corner.

Previous bike...
2007 DL650 ABS, grip puppies, factory hand guards, backoff brake light modulator, givi rack with JCW 'side' cases, K&N air filter, swing arm spools...
Shopping for some new wheels now.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Wake Forest, NC
Posts: 293
How about counter steering?

I learned in my experienced riders courses that you can practice a quick counter steer around the object and perform a quick stop. We actually practiced the technique in class several times. The Hypothetical given was a car stopping short in front of you at an intersection.

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post #6 of 6 Old 07-17-2007, 02:39 PM
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Location: Sandy, Ore. USA
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When I was learning to drive [cars] my Dad told me to not just watch the brake lights of the car in front of me, but the car in front of him, too. Anticipate when the chain reaction of stopping will occur. That has helped me more times than I can count, getting my foot on my brake pedal and applying pressure before the numbnut in front of me does. What I like about the V-Strom is how high I sit up compared to a cruiser or sport bike. It's easier to see the whole picture in front of me, not just the two red plastic lenses of the car immediately before me.

Brasstax, thanks very much for sharing your experience, and it's always great news when you were able to keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.

2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650, "The Grey Mule"
2012 Suzuki GSX-R750, "Shoot to Thrill" (sold 2017)

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