Near Crash - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #1 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Near Crash

This A.M. on the way to work on my 2006 V-Strom 1000 along perfectly dry blacktop, I was faced with a yellow traffic light. Travelling about 50 mph, I started to slow but realized I was going a little too fast and should probable just go on through the yellow light. I was unpleasantly surprised when the car in front of me slammed on her brakes. I was far enough back to not run into her, but when I stepped on the rear brake the back end got real loose. I felt like one of those circle track dirt racers. I had three options, continue braking and lay the bike down, smack into the rear of her SUV or evade around to the left of her via an empty turning lane. I chose to go around her. Luckily, due to the length of the yellow light, no one was in the intersection but a car was in the opposing turning lane. I went on out further left into oncoming lanes (thankfully no one was coming) and travelled past all danger and back into the appropriate lane of travel. I have had a couple of slow speed close calls in my three years of experience but this was the first high speed incident I've had.

My last bike, a Royal Enfield Bullet 500, never got very loose in the rear. Any thoughts other than I should be more careful? I didn't touch my front brake. Would I have had as much steering control if I had used the front brake? Tires?
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post #2 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by steve.smith View Post
... I didn't touch my front brake....
You gave up about 80% of your stopping power right there. You best brush up on your skills. Your Strom should be able to outbrake any SUV without trouble.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcyc...aking-tips.htm

1. Which brake is the most effective?
The front brake is the most effective, giving between 60 & 80% of the bike's stopping power in hard stops, depending upon surface conditions. This is because most of the weight of the bike and rider transfers forward onto the front wheel when the brakes are applied.
A common example of weight transfer is when you trip on a gutter - your feet stop but momentum keeps the top of you going and you fall flat on your face. The weight transfer that takes place under braking on a motorcycle pushes the front wheel onto the ground and makes it grip very well.

2. Is the front wheel likely to skid if you apply the front brake hard?
No. The front wheel is likely to skid uncontrollably and bring you down only if you jam the front brake on hard. If you apply the front brake in a staged (progressive) process, the front wheel may skid but that skid is normally quite controllable.

3. Is the rear wheel likely to skid if you apply the brakes hard?
With most of the weight being on the front wheel, the rear wheel tends to be light under braking and will therefore lock up and skid very easily.

4. How do you control a rear wheel skid? Control of a rear wheel skid is easy. Just keep your eyes up to the horizon and look where you WANT to go (not necessarily where you are actually going) and the bike will skid in a controllable manner with a minimum of fishtailing.
Basic and advanced braking techniques are best learnt under controlled conditions rather than when a truck pulls out on you! Your local motorcycle school will run a fun braking exercise session for you and some mates if you care to call the school and arrange it.

5. Is braking a natural skill?
Braking, as with any riding skill, is a learned skill, not a natural one. This means you must practice the correct braking skills enough to make them an instinctive reaction before you can be sure that you will do the right things in an emergency. Overseas research has shown that, because of panic overpowering the rider's conscious reactions, nearly a third of all riders do absolutely nothing in an accident situation: they don't even apply the brakes!
If, however, your high level braking skills are so well learnt that they are instinctive, you will do it right, no matter what the situation. However, this requires you to do a lot of high level braking skill practice, the skills will not come with normal everyday riding.

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Last edited by Heavy; 09-29-2010 at 06:56 PM.
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post #3 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 06:58 PM
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You gave up about 80% of your stopping power right there. You best brush up on your skills. Your Strom should be able to outbrake any SUV without trouble.
Dittos. Learn to ride, please.

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post #4 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:01 PM
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I'm glad you didn't crash. Use this as a learning experience. The good news is you should be able to get a lot better a braking quickly.

You should be using either all front brake or primarily front brake depending who you ask. Don't try to turn while you are braking. If you need to turn ease off the brakes, make your turn and then get back on the brakes.

Most of your stopping power comes from the front. There is a reason there are two big rotors in the front and one small one in the back. When you are stopping hard you have very little weight on the rear tire. The weight is directly related to have much traction you have available to stop with. So, if you use the rear brake, use it gently. You can apply the front brakes pretty hard but you want to start out easy and squeeze harder as the weight transfers to the front. Remember, as you get more weight on the front tire your front brake has more traction to work with and the rear has less.

Practice, practice, practice. Put on your gear, find an empty parking lot and practice emergency braking.

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post #5 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:03 PM
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My first thought is "tire pressure?"

It sounds a lot like what happened to me this a.m. on the way to work: DL650, wet pavement, also about 50 mph, temp 37F (so I don't think I slid on ice or frost) when the light turned yellow right at that moment when there isn't really room to stop, but it's a little too far to proceed through the intersection. My back end started to slide, I eased up on the brake (I know, I know - good way to high side), got the bike back under control, lather, rinse, and repeat. I finally got stopped with my rear tire just touching the wrong side of the crosswalk stripe painted on the intersection.

I had to plug the rear tire after picking up a nail the other day, and I don't think it's holding air as well as I'd like. I'd double check your tire pressure, just to be sure. I'll be checking mine tonight, too.
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post #6 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Heavy, Timbo813, The Wall: thanks for the good advice. I will do a little practicing this weekend. BWRinger: that's what I'm trying to do. Thanks for the ditto, I guess. lol.
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post #7 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:21 PM
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Heavy, Timbo813, The Wall: thanks for the good advice. I will do a little practicing this weekend. BWRinger: that's what I'm trying to do. Thanks for the ditto, I guess. lol.
No problem. I read your first post and was actually scared for you.

Riding a bike can be a wonderful thing, but learning the basics, at speed, on public roads is not ideal. You don't mention your current level of experience but I would strongly suggest you get some training or, at least, do some reading and get some practice.

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post #8 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:43 PM
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I read your first post and was actually scared for you.
Me too. I watched the consequences of not using the front brake earlier this year. It wasn't pretty.
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post #9 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Not much experience. 4 or 5 years on dirtbikes as a kid and 3 years on a much slower, lighter street bike - a royal enfield bullet 500. I have a bad habit of forgetting about the front brake. I never used it much as a kid on the dirtbikes. I did mostly hill climbing at abandoned strip mines. Not much dynamic breaking necessary and not very many consequences for mishaps.

My street bike experience 25 years after the yz-80 and kx-80 is much slower than this v-strom. Usually I putted about at 35 to 40 mph with very short stretches at 50. The motorcycle wouldn't go faster than 55. I still travel the same route to work and back so I rarely get up over 50-55, I just am able to get up to speed so much quicker with this v-strom. I really am conscoius of the power of this bike. It is so hard to keep the thing putt-putting behind slow moving traffic but that is what I almost always do.

I do have a little fun during the last 3 or 4 miles of my commute on the way home, though. I live on top of a ridge and ascend about 1000 curvy feet in about two miles. It is most fun when I am not behind a pack of really slow movers. I never get up much past 45, but 45 is much more fun than 35.
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post #10 of 53 Old 09-29-2010, 07:57 PM
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Yikes!

Steve.smith,

Sorry to hear about your close call, we've all had them for one reason or another (ignore bwringer's pissy comment, even he's almost done it...GUARANTEED).
I wholeheartedly agree with some of the other guys about finding an empty parking lot and checking it out. I recently did just that while it was raining to see how my tires fared when wet. I was impressed with how hard I had to brake to lock up my rear wheel, and when using an 80/20 rule on front/rear braking was still able to stop on a dime. Very impressive once you master it.

Be safe, and have fun!

jim
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