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post #1 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sterling, VA
Posts: 297
Lost traction

Was hoping for some experience rides to give me help/advice here…
I have only been driving for just over a month. I have had no issues but last week the state decided to fill the cracks in the main highway I ride to commute to work with that black tar stuff. The roads down here in Northern VA to start with are asphalt not concrete like in Upper state NY (Where I am from) so I know when the roads down here are wet there is a better chance of losing traction.
My issue is when turning (even on a small curve) I feel my back wheel lose some traction and I have slowed down to take the turns and if I start taking the turn from the inside I end up on the outside of the lane and a few times on the shoulder. I can from time to time feel the front wheel lose traction too so I am not sure the best way to ride on these types of roads. (other than not riding it.)
I have checked my tire pressure (also running on the stock tires the bike came with) and that is fine and reduced my speeds on the turns but I still feel like I could loss the bike if I lean into it. When my wife drives on the road on her Suzuki S40 she has no issues so is it me?!?!?!

2011 SUZUKI DL650 V-Strom ABS/Pearl Mirage White

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Last edited by nobie381; 05-27-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 10:07 AM
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Those things are know as tar snakes. You simply are not going to have much traction on them, especially in hot weather or rain. Avoid them if possible and know they are a problem. Slow down if they can't be avoided. Leaning , applying power and braking must be kept to a minimum on them.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 10:18 AM
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AS GW says, have caution around them but don't be afraid of them. You don't have to, and shouldn't avoid them if it could cause other problems. A new rider can get fixated on something like that which is not good either. Welcome to the club and by the way, we ride not drive.
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 10:49 AM
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Those things hate motorcycles and they can be terrifying. My fair city of Greality, CO hired a bonehead contractor to crack seal our neighborhood. Those idiots learned that the city street supervisor lives a block from me, and they decided to impress him by filling all the cracks with tar strips about 2 feet wide. On hot days it's like riding on silly putty.

Oh, and watch out for the white crosswalk strips also. They get really slick when wet, and they often happen to be right where you are trying to turn.

Congrats on the new bike. Riding scared is a pretty good defense for the first few months. At least you don't live in the UK. We vacationed there a few weeks ago and I kept seeing bikes with a very large "L" attached to the front. I finally asked a policeman what they meant, and he said that new riders have to sport them.

The frightening thing is not dying
The frightening thing is not living

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post #5 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Northwest Georgia
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Tar Snakes are annoying creatures. Cool weather they are not really noticeable but as the temp goes up they get a bit slickery.
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Roseville, CA
Posts: 252
You probably wont lose traction unless the road is wet, but those tarsnakes will move a bit under your tire making it FELL like you're losing traction.

2003 DL1000, 2006 GSXR600, Plated XR650R

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post #7 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 11:26 AM
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Location: bishop, CA
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Definitely a hazard to navigation. I notice them on the hot days.

14 tooth for me
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post #8 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 12:06 PM
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Tarsnakes know no international boundaries... they exist across borders and inflict the same irritation to us all! They don't discriminate as to newbie or experienced riders.

You just need to be mindful of them during hot/wet weather. Have fun and be careful out there.
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post #9 of 22 Old 05-27-2011, 02:54 PM
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Location: Washington, the state
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Just a guess that due to your wife's lighter bike & rider weight she's putting less force against the tar strips, so she has less slippage. What make & model tires do you have (new bike with Bridgestone Trailwings?--nobody's favorite) and how deep is the tread?

Have you read David L. Hough's excellent More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride? Buy it, read and re-read it, and practice his techniques. One of his points (and others make the same points) is that on poor traction go straight with no speed variation. Don't turn, don't accelerate, don't brake.

A bit off topic, but--Mr. Hough makes the point that in an emergency situation you can do only one of four things--if you try two you may go down:
Speed up
Maintain speed.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

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post #10 of 22 Old 05-28-2011, 07:06 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Mt. Hood
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I dislike the tar snakes and the nervous twitch they give the bike when hot or wet. But it's all a learning curve. I used to be terrified of a local steel grate bridge over the Columbia River. Feels like you are riding on icy ball bearings. You get used to it/develop strategies for how to deal with these things. I used to have a real fear of low siding because the Strom felt so tall compared to my prior bikes (it IS way taller). Then I got comfortable with how far I could lean it over, now I'm quite comfortable with it. Point being, it's good to be cautious but keep it in perspective. Ridden on grooved pavement yet? Wet turn arrows painted on the roadway? Lots of challenges on a bike that never enter your mind in a car. Have fun be safe.
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