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I bought a brand new 2012 model, DL1000 in February last year. Have clocked around 8000 kms. on the bike, mainly around the suburbs. Had great plans for interstate riding but have not had the nerve to attempt it yet.

Not sure if its expectation or inexperience but I am not enjoying it. I have ridden a lot in India, Calcutta to be precise, so pretty adept in heavy traffic and slower riding conditions. It's the freeway that unnerves me. Never seem able to keep the speed limit and as a result always have someone up my backside. I also have this gnawing inside that something is not quite right with the bike. It feels unsteady, even the slightest gust of wind, blows me across lanes. I have had the dealer look at it and they have come back negative. If there is anyone living in the SE suburbs of Melbourne and has the time, if you could please get in touch. It could be the issues are in my head and reassurances from a fellow rider will go a long way.

Thanks
 

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Hi Chuck D
Cross winds can be quite unnerving, there are some things that can be done to minimise the issues.
From what I have read, Avoid the death grip on the handlebars, loose and flexible is better. Slightly grip the tank with the knee's, keeps you and the bike as one unit.
I have put a fork brace on and it has made a big difference.
Hope this is some help
Regards Bruce
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum Chuck.
You must be adept at riding if you have ridden in Calcutta, as you say at a slower pace and probably on a smaller machine. My suggestion would be to enrol in a riding coarse with a reputable company. The money will be well worth it, and you'll get heaps more satisfaction from your new pride and joy.
Cheers
 

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Hi Chuck D
Cross winds can be quite unnerving, there are some things that can be done to minimise the issues.
From what I have read, Avoid the death grip on the handlebars, loose and flexible is better. Slightly grip the tank with the knee's, keeps you and the bike as one unit.
I have put a fork brace on and it has made a big difference.
Hope this is some help
Regards Bruce
+1 for the fork brace. Did not think it would make that much difference initially, the difference is night and day.
 

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I too had problems with cross winds on mine. The advice to remain relaxed and your head up and focused on where you want to go was the single best advice I received. Focusing too near the bike with your eyes pointed at the ground rather than up toward the horizon will make your riding difficult and you will over-control, and tightening up your grip and body will allow the wind's effect on you to steer the bike.

I rode home in a torrential downpour the other day, with wind gusts directly across my direction of travel that measured out at 73 MPH by the local weather station, and it was difficult but I never felt out of control. It was the good advice of the folks on this forum and a lot of practice that got me through it.

One last thought, though. -Have you checked your tire pressures lately? I had an old Honda I thought was going to kill me, that had developed slow leaks in both tires.
 

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We can get pretty high straightline winds around here, and they are often sporadic. They blow my truck around and blow semi’s over. Bad part is you can be riding through a forest, air is perfectly still. You then go straight into a field, flat as far as you can see and get hit with one huge blast.

I’ve found riding in high wind, especially when it is not consistent, is a bit similar to riding in sand. Point her in the general direction you want to go and don’t get too concerned with holding a steadfast line. When I used to try to hold my line perfectly with the wind blowing all around, I got tired and unnerved quick. Now I let it “blow me around” within reason and don’t get so worked up about it. Very similar to the advice above, loose grip on the bars and give the bike a bit of freedom.

I did not notice any difference in winds with the fork brace. I didn’t have a good a-b-a test, but a a-3 weeks later b, so I may have forgotten how it used to ride.
 

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A fork brace makes more of a difference for those who fight the bars. Those with a light touch won't notice as much of a difference.
 

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Dennis makes a very good point about keeping your sight well down the road. If the wind moves the bike (as it always will), and you're looking across the top of the windscreen down to the road, it'll seem like a very big movement, and you'll likely over correct.

So...check tire pressures. I run the pressure shown on the sticker on the swingarm. Be sure the steering stem bearings aren't too loose. Sit easy on the bike with your hands, arms, body relaxed. Allow the bike to move around a bit under your steady upper body. Counter steer into gusts...when a gust hits from the right, for example, press forward on the right grip as needed to hold your line.
 

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I find running in a lower gear helps, and don't let off the throttle when you get a gust of wind. That's something I still do once in a while and did much worse when I first started riding 2 years ago.
 

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Small wind screen and laying on the tank helps. I have yet to find a solution to the problem in strong gusty winds. Just hang on until it's over.
 

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As a new rider I found cross winds a bit nerve racking. Riding across the plains of central Washington the first time in 20mph crosswinds was a lot of work. I put on a fork brace as per forum recommendations. Went back out into the ridges on the Blue Mountains yesterday and had much less trouble with the winds. Don't actually know if the brace helped but I was much more relaxed and had better control. I just let the bike move around a bit and watched my speeds. It's actually quite fun if I don't over think it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the advice & tips guys. I have put on a fork brace and a madstad as well. Maybe I just need to toughen up.

Regards
 

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Cross winds used to make me nervous and was not a fan. Relaxing is key like others have said. The way to become more relaxed for me was more practice. After a couple longer trips with a lot of crosswinds I learned to loosen up, so keep riding and it'll happen.
 

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Pressure versus pressure

This will seem silly to some, who are invited to skip it, silently.

I look at dealing with gusty wind as a feedback control problem. See Control Theory for a diagram, in which the moving bike with wind disturbances is the "System" and the rider takes the roles of "Controller", "Sensor", and error deriver.

As the designer of this feedback system, the rider has some crucial choices to make regarding what the signals are. Below are some possible choices, ordered from worse to better, each followed by an explanation as to how it tends to work out. (In all cases, the 'System input' is handlebar pressure. I entirely discount the rider's sideways position on the bike as a sensible means of control for dealing with wind, for reasons that should become obvious below.)

The worst choice of signals: 'System output' is where on the road the bike actually is; 'Measured output' is where you see it; 'Reference' is where you want it; and 'Measured error' is the discrepancy between those positions.

The main problem with responding to bike position is that it takes too long to develop and by the time it is obviously wrong, there is more correction needed than with signal choices allowing a faster response. Also, it takes longer to correct because by the time position gets off, you are also heading in the wrong direction. The only time this choice should be in effect is when there is no other traffic, no dangerous edge-of-road situation, and being in a space-out mental state is otherwise safe. (Then, its not the worst signal choice, but those are rare conditions.)

A workable choice of signals: 'System output' is the direction the bike actually goes; 'Measured output' is the direction you see you are going; 'Reference' is the direction you want to go; and 'Measured error' is the discrepancy between those directions.

This choice has the advantage over positions of allowing a faster response, resulting in smaller position changes. (After all, it is position which really matters.) A difficulty with this choice is that directional errors and changes are quite small relative to what the eye can readily discern. But in really windy conditions, those errors are perceptible enough to allow correction much sooner than when the bike is clearly mispositioned.

A faster choice of signals: 'System output' is the curvature the bike's path actually has; 'Measured output' is the rate you see direction changing; 'Reference' is the curvature you need to get where you want to go; and 'Measured error' is the discrepancy between those curvatures.

From a control standpoint, this would be ideal because path curvature is almost instantly affected by wind pressure, and can be corrected just about as instantly, resulting in much lower positional errors. But curvature is even harder to perceive than direction. In fact, we humans can only deduce it by looking at path history, making it only slowly perceivable. So, why mention it?

There is a direct relationship between the bike's path curvature and wind pressure. If you were to keep handlebar pressure constant, at net zero force, (say on a salt flat, on a bike properly balanced without frame damage), a step change in wind speed from calm would make the bike start veering off a straight line, with more wind producing more veering.

As we all know, (at least those who have ridden for a few minutes or hours), handlebar pressure has a direct (practically instantaneous and proportional) effect on the bike path curvature.

Wind pressure is reasonably easy to sense in conditions where countering it is much of an issue. We can think of wind pressure as a proxy for path curvature -- quantities which are proportional such that one can be used in place of the other with like effect.

This observation of direct effects on path curvature, together with some experience in control system design, leads me to recommend this choice of signals as the best: 'System outputs' are the direction the bike actually goes and its position on the road; 'Measured outputs' are your perception of those variables; 'Reference' is the direction you need to go and position you want; and 'Measured error' is the discrepancy. However, this implied control system is augmented with a feed-forward signal/control path: In addition to the earlier stated, somewhat slow observation and correction, the rider pays attention to sideways wind pressure and immediately alters corrective handlebar pressure in proportion to sensed wind pressure. The trick is to learn what factor of proportionality is needed between wind pressure and handlebar pressure change. (When I first started using this method, I considered it fun to discover what factor worked best. It is not a number, of course; it is a learned proportional response, relating one subjective quantity to another.)

Sensing wind pressure may seem hard, but try it before scoffing or dismissing it. We humans above age 2-4 weeks have learned to keep our heads from flopping over by using neck muscles to control head angle/position. When the wind changes, especially when it changes abruptly, the effect on the head and required neck muscle tension is very noticeable if one pays attention to it. The control task is simply to apply extra force to the handlebar grip on the same side as the neck muscle that had to tense a bit more. (This is for a gust onset. Wind gusts tend to decay more slowly and present less of a challenge. Even so, a decrease in neck muscle tension should become a decrease in corresponding grip pressure.)

This works so well for me that I go out in really windy conditions just to perfect my control response, and I have fun doing it. When the pressure-for-pressure response ratio is right, there is very little residual error to correct using the feedback control loop -- so little that it does not much matter whether you use position or direction or both as signals. I have found that this pressure-for-pressure method has become so ingrained that I hardly notice wind effects except incidentally. ("Oh, big waves and whitecaps on Lake Washington and spray coming over the floating bridge deck; it must be windy!)

To those who are serious about dealing with wind effectively, I say: Try it. You'll like it.

To the scoffers, I say:
 

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This will seem silly to some, who are invited to skip it, silently.

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Engineer eh? :mrgreen:

Too long didn't read it through but I think that the premise you're trying to get across is faulty. You seem to think that you have some sort of innate response to correct the bikes movement from wind gusts.

I say no you don't. There are way to many variables happening in real time that you don't have the ability to respond to, i.e. wind gust 25mph @ 210 degrees, road camber -6 degs, handlebar right had force required to negate 6 lbs. etc. See you can't and don't need to "engineer" a solution.

The bike wants to go straight. For lack of the correct term the wheels are acting like gyroscopes. The faster you go the more straight and upright the bike wants to be. An example of that is when a road racer falls off the bike and the bike points itself straight and continues in the direction of travel (smoothly) until the speed becomes low enough that the gyro effect no longer holds the bike up.

Same thing happens with wind. The wind is usually not strong enough to deflect the bike much at all from a straight line. The wind leans the bike but the bike continues to go generally straight. It is only the external inputs that the rider makes that interrupt the process.

Because the bar ends are further away from the CG of the bike any input has greater effect on the bike's attitude. Sport bike bar ends because they are closer to the CG take more input to influence the bike than the wider ADV type bars.

Next time your bike is moving around in the wind take your left hand off the bars and notice that bike quiets down, hmm... doesn't take an engineer to figure that out. :thumbup:
 

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I've found leaning closer to the bike helps as well. Sometimes you will end up with a constant crosswind like when I hit the Canadian prairies a few years back on my VFR, for that I literally had to hang off the side of the bike for it to be upright and go straight.
 

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The bike wants to go straight. For lack of the correct term the wheels are acting like gyroscopes. The faster you go the more straight and upright the bike wants to be. An example of that is when a road racer falls off the bike and the bike points itself straight and continues in the direction of travel (smoothly) until the speed becomes low enough that the gyro effect no longer holds the bike up.

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Agreed!

The Gyro effect also serves to steer the front wheel.. as the bike leans left or right the frotn wheel naturally turns in such a way that keeps the bike upright.

The less input a rider has when riding in windy conditions that better the bike will readct to the winds.

I have ridden without hands on the bars in heavy cross-winds and the bike very naturally recovers from gusts. On steady winds you let the bike lean into the wind to find a naturaly balance. As a rider all we should do is gently steer the bike to keep it heading in the general direction we intend. A user here mentioned that it is like a boat... you don't fight every wave but gently steer it to your destiantion realizing it will naturally move about but head in the general direction you want to go.

..Tom
 

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pressure-for-pressure skepticism

Engineer eh? :mrgreen:

Too long didn't read it through but I think that the premise you're trying to get across is faulty. You seem to think that you have some sort of innate response to correct the bikes movement from wind gusts.

I say no you don't. There are way to many variables happening in real time that you don't have the ability to respond to, i.e. wind gust 25mph @ 210 degrees, road camber -6 degs, handlebar right had force required to negate 6 lbs. etc. See you can't and don't need to "engineer" a solution.

The bike wants to go straight. For lack of the correct term the wheels are acting like gyroscopes. The faster you go the more straight and upright the bike wants to be. An example of that is when a road racer falls off the bike and the bike points itself straight and continues in the direction of travel (smoothly) until the speed becomes low enough that the gyro effect no longer holds the bike up.

Same thing happens with wind. The wind is usually not strong enough to deflect the bike much at all from a straight line. The wind leans the bike but the bike continues to go generally straight. It is only the external inputs that the rider makes that interrupt the process.

Because the bars are further away from the CG of the bike any input has greater effect on the bike's attitude. Sport bike bars because they are closer to the CG take more input to influence the bike than the wider ADV type bars.

Next time your bike is moving around in the wind take your left hand off the bars and notice that bike quiets down, hmm... doesn't take an engineer to figure that out.
There's something you're missing, which I perhaps did not state plainly enough. All the factors you mention except for wind are the ordinary inputs we deal with routinely. They do not change fast, nor do they change unpredictably. All that is needed to deal with wind is additional control input, added to whatever you would do absent the wind. And steady wind falls into the same category. It is easy and natural to correct for steady wind pressure. It is only gusts which give people difficulty because, by the time their effect shows up in position or direction, there is much correction needed -- not just to correct for wind force but to restore the position or trajectory to the needed steady state.

Yes, I'm an engineer. I think in terms of signals, and control theory is practically ingrained in my perception of the bike control problem. If I was addressing like readers, I would have gone into 2nd order versus 1st order verus 0 order system, (or class 0, 1, or 2 servos). For most people, the simple concept of lagged response is enough to indicate how responding to position is kind of late and bound to produce more wander than something which allows more timely control response.

I agree that loose grip on the handlebars will help. (I have stated as much on one of the fork stiffener threads.) But it is an undeniable fact that sidewind force must ultimately be met with handlebar force. The only issue is whether that correction will be applied after the bike wanders, (maybe quite a bit, alarmingly), or will be applied promptly to counter the wind force before visible position or trajectory error has shown up. My own experience has shown what I call the pressure-for-pressure technique to work very well.

I am not suggesting that anybody has to understand the control problem, deeply or otherwise, to benefit from the control method I suggest. I hand-wave the reasons it is a sound approach for those who are interested, and invite those who are not to just try it.

Trying it will not happen innately; it has to be intentional at first. And the response should not be to "the bike's movement" (which is too late) but to the sensation of wind side force. With practice, I have found, that response does become unconscious. I hardly notice wind effects anymore, even when it is quite gusty. Before I adopted this method, I would sometimes have alarming shifts within my lane on the freeway, and even partly into the next lane once. (That was what motivated me to think carefully about the problem using my background in servo system design.)

(Contrary to my earlier promise, ) I will say to the scoffers that if you have not tried the pressure-for-pressure approach, you are in no position to scoff.
 
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