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Discussion Starter #1
I've got about 300 miles on my Strom, 200 of those have been in the cul-de-sac and around my neighborhood in 3rd gear or less.

Just got back from a ride to Shenandoah National Park... There's about 40 miles of 70 MPH interstate between home and the park.

I had no problem with the highway speeds, but 30 MPH wind gusts kinda freaked me out as they pushed me everywhere but out of my lane. My thumbs still hurt from the death grip that I put on the handlebars.
It was near impossible to do a blindspot head check.

Any suggestions on how to deal with windy weather conditions?
Just ride more and get used to it?
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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You described your problem, death grip. The way to ride in the wind is to stay loose. Do not use your hands or knees to grab the bike hard. Use a light touch and let the bike move independently of your body. If you get your mind involved, it's a matter of lightly pushing the bar on the side the wind is coming from to lean into the wind to counter its force. It's better though to just use your natural riding instincts to lean into the wind so you don't take the time to think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you have a fork brace on the bike?

I have on 07, and found that adding one to that bike made a noticeable improvement in handling side winds.
No. All stock.
I'll look into getting a fork brace and steering stabilizer.

According to the weather report, winds were 28 MPH average, with gusts up to 39 MPH.
I know at 40 MPH, they start disallowing box trucks, trailers, and RVs on some of the bridges around here.
 

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Raising the fork tubes in the triple trees to the appropriate height was the deciding factor for me regarding head winds. Also set you're front and read sag up proper. The geometry of the DL's is not very wind friendly. Beyond that, follow GW's advice
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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The 2012 and later 650 doesn't have the aerodynamic problems the earlier bikes had so lowering the front end isn't needed. A fork brace is a good idea though. Still, it's mostly a rider tensing up problem.
 

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The 2012 and later 650 doesn't have the aerodynamic problems the earlier bikes had so lowering the front end isn't needed. A fork brace is a good idea though. Still, it's mostly a rider tensing up problem.
Yup, thanks for the correction, forgot to look at the model :headbang:
 

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The only time my K7 has real trouble with cross winds they are a tad more than 30mph gusts. Closer to double would be reasonable.
If I know the gusts are coming from my left I will just move to the left of the lane to allow myself more fudge room rather than trying to hold a rigid line. Be flexible and relaxed. Being rigid and constantly fighting the bike in gusty weather is exhausting.
 

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I'd say the 39 mph gusts had something to do with it. That's enough to make anyone with sense feel a little uneasy. :yesnod:
 

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I had a similar situation over the weekend. I was headed North on a 2 lane highway and once I got to areas where the corn was cut the wind took over! It went from a nice ride to holy crap in an instant!

My first reaction was to hang on tight. But after a minute or two I recalled riding in my young days and I just got loose on the bike and let it happen.

Same as what GW said - "Use a light touch and let the bike move independently of your body" Thats exactly what you have to do! Oh and once I took a right it was a much nicer ride! :)
 

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Don't have any idea why this works, but I've done it and it does seem to help:

If a cross wind is hitting you on the left side for example, try moving your left knee / leg out toward the wind ( away from the tank. but keep your foot on the peg ). You should notice an immediate difference in stability.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I'm convinced the entire benefit of moving a leg out is to prevent the rider from clasping the bike between the knees. Again, that's staying loose and independent from the bike. It may involve pushing the handlebar forward on the wind side, also a correct procedure.
 

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I ride in high wind probably half the time I ride (have to cross a high bridge that recieves straight line winds off of Lake Superior 20-40mph at times. Can be a little hair raising. I totally agree with staying loose on the bike. Let the bike do what its going to do. I think I counter steer a little as well (pushing and pulling on the handle bars) when in a cross wind. Much like flying, little corrections go a long way.
 

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Where I live we commonly get winds in the 25-40 mph range with gust up to 60 mph or higher. When it gets to 60 mph you will have your hands full no matter what the bike. My wife and I have been out in 60 mph winds and it is no fun, but in this part of the world you do have to get used to the winds or you'd never ride. Price one pays for living near the Rockies.

As others have posted, get rid of the death grip on the bars. You can also shift your weight on the seat slightly to whichever side of the bike the wind is blowing from. Also slow down some and if you have a choice between a 2 lane or 4 lane highway, pick the 4 lane as it gives you more room to allow the bike to move around.

You can learn to anticipate wind gusts, from trucks, tree rows blocking the road etc, but the best lesson is by practice. If you get the opportunity and the winds are below 40 mph then go out and ride. When they get up to 60 mph then you might want to think twice. One of our locals got blown off the highway in high winds last year and died.

No matter what experience you have, if you are honest with your self, high winds will scare the crap out of your.
 

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I'm convinced the entire benefit of moving a leg out is to prevent the rider from clasping the bike between the knees. Again, that's staying loose and independent from the bike. It may involve pushing the handlebar forward on the wind side, also a correct procedure.
I've tried it with my legs not even touching the tank, then moving them out from there and have noticed a difference. Works for me. :confused:
 

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Steering Damper

I think there is a steering damper that inhibits tank slapping motions of the handle bar caused by a serious steering instability. I think it would be useless for cross wind. There is a steering stabilizer, Scotts is popular but costs about $500.00. You mount the center of the handle bar in the stabilizer, which contains damper circuits that tend to isolate the bar from minute, instantaneous fork motion. This will tend to prevent rider induced oscillation. When a road feature or a cross wind gust, if it does, causes the bike to lean, it will start to turn, and the the rider will make a counter lean input on the bar but only well after the input is gone because of the speed of the bike. So the rider makes an inappropriate steering input. The stabilizer could tend to reduce this but so will GW's advice about staying loose. Staying loose won't prevent the inputs from the gust of wind but might stop a rider's counter input to the gust. This happens quickly and I think it leads to a perception of loss of control, which rider "cures" with a death grip to prevent the handle bar from moving in response to the gust. However, I think the death gripper makes a firm counter input on the bar anyway, unconsciously. The loose gripper probably can't make that counter input on the bar so it feels more stable. Also, leaning your upper body into the wind will help you avoid feeling like you are going to be blown over.
 

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In a way "death gripping" does transmit wind inputs to the bike. When the wind hits you it moves you around a bit on the bike. If you're relaxed this movement is absorbed as your arms and body flex but if you're tight and rigid any force from the wind on your head and shoulders will transmit to the bars through your arms and the rest of the bike through your knees. That buffeting will translate to sudden, random movement at the bars and make the bike feel very unstable. If you stay relaxed those sudden movements don't get transmitted to the bike nearly as much and the bike will feel much more stable.
 

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I was riding on a 55 mph highway between hills (SR-20 on Whidbey Island) near a large body of water (the Strait of Juan de Fuca). A strong westerly wind was blowing (off the Pacific Ocean). On a left curve I went to a section that was not sheltered by the hills and the wind was on my right. I was countersteering to the right (forward pressure on the right grip) to hold my line on that left curve.

Pele, you don't mention your total riding experience. Do you understand countersteering? Do you automatically countersteer without thinking about it? Do you push on the right grip to start a right turn? And push on the left grip to start a left turn?

Try intentionally relaxing on the bike. Loose, relaxed face & neck. And shoulders relaxed and dropped back. Relaxed arms with your elbows dropped low. Relaxed hands and wrists. Relaxed body. Knees lightly against the tank (lightly!). Balls of your feet on the pegs. Let the bike move under your stable upper body. If a gust pushes your from the right, push forward on your right grip to maintain your line. Push on the left grip for a gust from the left. This is countersteering into the wind. Learn what to expect from a passing truck, or when you ride under and out from underpasses, from between hills, etc. (The light knees on the tank and balls of the feet on the pegs contribute to the rider feeling to be part of the bike, not just on the bike. It works.)

And, if you can't stay in your lane, you've got to get off the road until the weather changes. Ride safely.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As others have posted, get rid of the death grip on the bars. You can also shift your weight on the seat slightly to whichever side of the bike the wind is blowing from. Also slow down some and if you have a choice between a 2 lane or 4 lane highway, pick the 4 lane as it gives you more room to allow the bike to move around.

You can learn to anticipate wind gusts, from trucks, tree rows blocking the road etc, but the best lesson is by practice. If you get the opportunity and the winds are below 40 mph then go out and ride. When they get up to 60 mph then you might want to think twice. One of our locals got blown off the highway in high winds last year and died.
Yeah. This was I-66 in Virginia. This particular highway is fairly windy and has a lot of elevation changes as it gets into the Appalachian Mountains. (Though it's got nothing on the Rockies.)

It's two lanes in either direction and very congested as it leads straight to/from Washington D.C. It's also heavily traveled by 18 Wheel trucks and there were RVs out since it was Veteran's Day weekend.

Speed limit is 70, but everyone goes 80+. I've frequently made triple digit speed runs in my car on this road.

I was cruising at about 65-70, but when I got hit by some big gusts, I got down to almost 45 a few times. The idiots in their cages 5 ft from my swingarm didn't help me much.

No matter what experience you have, if you are honest with your self, high winds will scare the crap out of your.
My experience should be considered very lacking. I passed the MSF class and got my license less than a month ago. (October 13th.)
 

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You are really adventurous! So, now, put on the fork brace. Practice intentionally relaxing, and practice countersteering. On safe roads at slow to moderate speed, when you see a spot on the road...manhole cover, paint spot, etc....push on one grip to swerve around it and pull back on that grip to straighten. Do this enough hundreds of times to make it an automatic movement that you don't have to think about. Keep your body relaxed, elbows dropped low, hands and wrists relaxed. They'll tighten. Relax them again.

Find a safe road with moderately gusty winds. Practice relaxing and countersteering into the gusts (push on the right grip to handle a gust from the right, etc.). And practice again. Again. Again. A hundred times. When you can do this smoothly and find yourself thinking of something else, you have learned it. And, check the tire pressures. Low air makes all the handling more difficult. I like the sticker pressure, 33 front/36 rear. Others like higher pressures up to the max shown on the tire sidewall. Start at 33/36, try higher pressures, maybe +2 psi at a time, and see what feels best you you.

Here are a couple of great riding books that are especially useful for a new rider. Your local public library might be able to get these for you, perhaps through an inter-library loan, or a local bookstore can order them for you. These take you beyond the important-but-too-basic MSF course. Next year you might be able to find a local riding class that is more than MSF and less than a track day.
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Ride-Proficient-Motorcycling-Edition/dp/1935484869/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384269517&sr=1-3
http://www.amazon.com/Upper-Half-Motorcycle-Unity-Machine/dp/1884313752/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384269606&sr=1-1&keywords=on+the+unity+of+the+man+and+machine (The first half is kind'a slow-going; the second half is great)
http://www.amazon.com/Twist-Wrist-Basics-High-Performance-Motorcycle/dp/0965045021/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384269635&sr=1-1&keywords=twist+of+the+wrist+2 (note this is the #2 "Twist of the Wrist" with a great list of "don'ts")
http://www.amazon.com/Total-Control-Performance-Street-Techniques/dp/0760314039/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384269692&sr=1-1
 
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