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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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?!?!?!
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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:
Swerve
--or--
Brake
--or--
Speed up
--or--
Maintain speed.
 

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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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Tarsnakes know no international boundaries... they exist across borders
I heard there are no snakes in Ireland :fineprint:

An Irishman imported a ship load of Irish soil to Australia back in the 1800's to snake proof his Australian property by putting a trench of it around his boundaries, however it seems Australian snakes took no notice of the Irish soil :biggrinjester:

Nobie, riding with caution when new on a bike is not something to be ashamed of [more newbies crash because of over confidence than any other factor I think, and quite a few experienced riders have been known to throw a "new to them" bike down the road just after they purchased it].

As you become familiar with the bike and as your skills improve you will find you are not so spooked by the twitches a bike gives over white lines-gravel-tar snakes and the like.
Usually the tyre will gain traction again as it comes off the slippery bit anyway [unless you are pushing beyond reasonable limits].

Not to start a tyre war [yet again], I use Metzler Tourance tyres as a general all round tyre.
I do some dirt, but mainly tar roads.
Other Strom owners I ride with swear by other brands and types of tyre and some of them use the Tourance the same as me.

You may end up trying several brands and types [dual purpose- road- knobbies] before you find the ones that suit your riding needs best.

Ride with caution when on unfamiliar roads and when on unfamiliar bikes.

Most of all- BEWARE OF NEW TYRES WHEN YOU GET THEM FITTED- they are always VERY slippery :yikes::yikes::yikes:
 

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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.
Yep, me too. Allowing the bike to move around a bit under a stable upper body works well for me. I don't like the oft quoted advice of gripping the tank with the knees. I find that a loose, flexible mid section of my body, and loose, flexible arms works best. I've been told that riding those steel grate sections on knobbies is a whole 'nother thrill....

140' down to the water, 9' wide lanes, oh boy (yep, this photo is showing daylight looking up through the steel grate surface)

 

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The tires make a big difference, as does the inflation pressure. On my old cruiser i had Bridgestone tires, and they would slip a fair bit. I changed them to Metzeller ME880 tires and has zero slippage after that. The metz were pumped hard too. Up to 40psi and still had good traction.

As a general rule, i always slow before the corner, and accelerate around it, while staying off any road imperfections like tar snakes, cracks, dark patches etc. Just have to be careful if you hit a corner with tar snakes everywhere and no safe path.
 

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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.)
It seems to me your problem may be in overreacting to the momentary loss of traction caused by the tar snakes. There's really no way they can cause you to get completely off the road (after all, tar snakes are only a few inches wide) unless you freeze up and radically change your lean angle when you feel the slippage.

As far as I know, no one has ever crashed due to loss of traction from a tar snake. They can be momentarily disconcerting, but like a lot of road obstacles such as rain grooves, bridge grates and dead squirrels are best placed in the category of things to be ridden through or over with minimal reaction and with relaxed hands on the bars. It's your overreaction that will get you, not the snakes.

Try this: when you are on a tar snaked-infested road don't look down at the snakes you are about to encounter -- look further down the road 100 yds or so in front of the bike. You will find that if you don't fixate on them they will be much less of a problem. This works for other road hazards as well --and should always be part of your cornering technique. Look at where you want to go, not at the space directly in front of your wheel.
 

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I noticed when I put the Anakee 2's on my Wee that the bike became more squirrely with the Georgia and North Carolina tar snakes that I have encountered.

Come to think of it I really didn't notice that until I put the Anakee 2 front tire on the bike. Before that I was running an Anakee 2 rear tire and the original TW on the front.

I think tires do play a part... my $0.02 on the topic.
 

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Look at where you want to go, not at the space directly in front of your wheel.
I was going to say the same thing, so I'll add: look where you want to go, not where you're afraid you'll go (because then you *will* go there). And if possible, start the turn on the outside, moving to the inside at the apex, then back to the outside by the exit.

Another thing that's hard for new riders is learning to trust the bike and tires. Riding cautiously is a good thing, and certainly overconfidence can get you in trouble fast. But there's a point where caution becomes timidity and that can actually work against you. Fear can cause you to tense up and lose your focus and "flow".

It's easy to overreact to a loss of traction, upsetting the suspension and, at best, ruining your line through the turn (I've done it riding in a straight line and crashed). The effects of rider position, throttle and brake inputs, and road surface on the physics of weight transfer, centrifugal force, traction, etc. tend to be much more noticeable on a bike than in a car, partly because the rider is a much larger percentage of gross vehicle weight. Learning to use your momentum and above all stay smooth is something that can only be done with practice, but it also requires moving past some fear and trusting in the bike's abilities.

David Hough's books are good. Another great resource is Total Control by Lee Parks. Along with lots of great info and exercises to improve your technique, it includes a chapter on fear and how to make it work for you.
 

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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

and

David Hough's books are good. Another great resource is Total Control by Lee Parks. Along with lots of great info and exercises to improve your technique, it includes a chapter on fear and how to make it work for you.
I returned to motorcycling in March 2010, after being away for years. I was a decent though still naive rider when I quit last time, and have progressed to my satisfaction since last year. I still don't know near as much as I'd like to, and want to crank up my skills a notch or two. I'm confident and ride well enough, and experiment, and still get those pucker moments; but that's not good enough.

Thanks for the above book endorsements. Got me motivated to spend a few bucks. I've just ordered the above two books, along with Hough's earlier, more beginner/intermediate oriented book (Proficient Motorcycling). I have read Lawrence Grodsky's Stayin' Safe: The Art and Science of Riding Really Well, and it helped. We'll see how it goes.

I know from other stuff I do that "book larnin'" by itself won't do, but it (for me) sure helps the process along. These books look like they'll do fine.

Marc
 

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As you become familiar with the bike and as your skills improve you will find you are not so spooked by the twitches a bike gives over white lines-gravel-tar snakes and the like.
Usually the tyre will gain traction again as it comes off the slippery bit anyway [unless you are pushing beyond reasonable limits].
Second that. Bearing in mind "beyond reasonable limits", when the tyres slip it's usually only for a fraction of a second and they will grip again. Don't take any sudden actions to counteract it and the bike will continue on unfazed. Think of it as similar to hitting a small rock or a broken surface which kicks the wheel a bit and which you just ride through. If you are aware of the problem, then you can ride with a bit more confidence.

If you have a bit of mud around in a field etc, try riding slowly in that to get the feel of a bike that is sliding around - but be careful! Apart from tar-snakes and road markings, the 650 is quite capable of power-sliding the rear end gassing it out of corners, and those small lane reflector things can also kick the front or rear out if you hit them on a curve. You could try running the tyres at a bit lower pressure for a month or so - say 34F and 36R - as it will make the bike feel less twitchy, then up them to full pressure when you are more confident.
 

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I have to say I'm impressed with the honesty and sound advice here. This site really is the best. I always try to keep in perspective how great modern motorcycles are (especially my 2011 Wee:thumbup:) compared to bikes from even ten years ago. We truly live in the golden age of motorcycling. My old RD250 would wander and sway horribly on grooved pavement with my 240 arse on its back. The Wee simply shrugs it off. I live near the Columbia Gorge (arguably one of the windiest places on this side of the world). Riding in wind has been a learning experience. It's so tough to relax your hands and arms when you are sketched out! But it is the answer. Try this guys: my profession teaches a technique called "combat breathing". Breathe in through your nose, hold 2 count, exhale two count, inhale through nose two count etc. It's amazing how exerting conscious control over an involuntary action will calm you. And a steady flow of oxygen when under stress/adrenalized will clear your thoughts to a marked degree. Same thing they have been teaching pregnant women, yoga classes, and many others forever. Just a cooler name so we won't immediately discount the theory. Try it.
 

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the alternative to tar snakes are roads with cracks wide enuf to swallow a bike tire, in colder climates where there is front action in winter, it becomes worse than just a crack, one size heaves unevenly with the other, water seeps in the crack, the road heaves more, braking the pavement, then is becomes a pothole


tar snakes are a necessary evil we need to learn to live with unless we borrow more money from China and repave roads on an annual basis



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