Cornering in the rain


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Corkster52
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1999 GL1500 Aspencade

Cornering in the rain

Postby Corkster52 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:24 pm



Okay, so I did a few searches and didn't find any threads. I have ridden about 5500 miles in the past month or so on my newly purchased 1988 GL1500 and just completed the BRC and got my license. My problem is, with this big bike I am scared Sh**less about cornering the behemoth in the rain! I keep thinking I am going to drop it at 20mph+ and really screw up the bike and my old body. I have read about a hundred articles so far, but none that I have seen were from a Wind rider. Help me get some insight or courage my new found friends!



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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:44 pm

Cornering in the rain is no different than cornering in the dry. Cornering is all about tire adhesion. You are trying to make the bike turn, it naturally wants to go straight. The tires adhere to the road to convince the bike to turn in the direction you want, in defiance of its natural desire to go straight.

The faster you go, the more momentum the bike has, and the more force (and therefore adhesion) is required to convince the bike to turn. At some point, you can go fast enough that you exceed the adhesion capabilities of one or both of the tires, and the result is a skid - the tire loses adhesion. A front tire skid in a turn means you lay the bike down (called a low side), a rear tire skid usually means the bike flips over, tossing you in the process (called a high side). In reality, most people never ride their bikes to the point that the tires lose adhesion in a turn - they chicken out long before they turn hard enough to skid.

Riders will get into a turn too fast, panic, and touch the brakes. Braking the bike also requires tire adhesion. So let's say you are using 60% of the tire's adhesion capability to turn the bike, and then you touch the brakes, using up 45% of the tire adhesion. That's more adhesion than the bike has - the result is a skid, and a crash. This is why braking in turns is generally a Bad Thing. If you're in a turn and realize a) you came into it too fast, b) you aren't comfortable leaning over farther, then straighten the bike up out of the turn and haul on the brakes as hard as you can. You might run off the road, but it's better than a certain crash.

In the wet, tire adhesion is reduced. Therefore, the tires will lose adhesion at a lower speed than in the dry. That's why you need to plan your turns and curves ahead of time, and reduce speed earlier. It's not a tremendous amount of reduction, but enough to make a difference. The best thing to do is go into a large parking lot in the wet and experiment. Push your speeds up bit by bit until you get comfortable and realize that no, you aren't going to drop it just because of a little water on the road. And if you drop it in a parking lot - you'll likely just end up with a few scratches on your engine guard and a bruised ego. Honda realized that we were going to drop these big heavy bikes, and they designed them not to be damaged when we do so.

Our big bikes have big contact patches between the tires and the road, which gives us more adhesion than small, light bikes - and this helps to compensate for the weight.

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thrasherg
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby thrasherg » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:22 pm

Im not sure I agree 100% with the option B advice!! :shock:

"Riders will get into a turn too fast, panic, and touch the brakes. Braking the bike also requires tire adhesion. So let's say you are using 60% of the tire's adhesion capability to turn the bike, and then you touch the brakes, using up 45% of the tire adhesion. That's more adhesion than the bike has - the result is a skid, and a crash. This is why braking in turns is generally a Bad Thing. If you're in a turn and realize a) you came into it too fast, b) you aren't comfortable leaning over farther, then straighten the bike up out of the turn and haul on the brakes as hard as you can. You might run off the road, but it's better than a certain crash."

Tyres will often grip far more than people think, several times I have thought sh1t I am going to crash, but have lent the bike over further and managed to get around.. Wingmans maths is correct, but most riders do not accurately know how much more grip the tyres have, I personally prefer to try leaning the bike a bit farther, it will either work and you make the bend (just change your underwear afterwards) or you will low side. The low side usually hurts less than straightening up, panic breaking and running of the road and into something.. Everyone has there own feelings on the above, but I think you will be quite surprised how often you can lean the bike further than you thought and get round the bend..

Having said that the gold wing is a heavy beast and you are very wise to be extremely cautious going round bends in the wet. I think that driving in the wet is something that you just have to practice until you get comfortable. Remember if you counter steer (Push the handlebars in the opposite direction you want to go) you can recover from a front end slide much quicker than if you use your body weight to start the turn, so I strongly suggest you learn to counter steer if you aren't already doing it as it will give you added safety in the wet or dry.

Gary

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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:56 pm

You're right that most people can lean the bike a lot farther than they think they can. And leaning farther is always preferable to running the bike into a curb. However, I have used that "plan b" before on my old GSXR on a country road when I came hot into an unexpected corner just over a hill. I tried to make the turn, but was running wide, and knew I was not going to make it. There was no curb, just gravel at the edge of the road, with grass following that. I did NOT want to hit the gravel while hard in a turn, so I straightened up, nailed the brakes, and let the bike run through the gravel onto the grass. Then changed my shorts. :)

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RoadRogue
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby RoadRogue » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:52 pm

rain riding isnt as bad as you think.Just slow down a little more than you would when the road is dry and go into the corners smoothly with no sudden bursts of throttle or heavy brakeing. They stick to the road better than you think,tires are designed for all weather riding,even snow(ask me how I know).the only times I ever lost traction was on a new tar snake and the wide white painted lines in a cross walk. Both on a curve in the rain.Just a little slide sideways About 6-8inches.very high on the pucker scale,but no sudden grab as the front tire got traction again.Its real scary the first time but gets less freaky each time.stay loose and go with the flow.
Ride safe, Todd
Over night campers welcome

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Corkster52
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby Corkster52 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:57 pm

Thanks for all of the feedback. I guess what makes me nervous is when I ride in the ride and stop at a stop-sign or light, I scoot my Magnum boot soles across the pavement and it feels like I am on grease. I am equating that lack of traction to what my tires are seeing and it is probably not an inaccurate comparison. At least my shoes don't have 800+ pounds on them.......

speedmill
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby speedmill » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:48 am

The best advice I ever got was to never get on a motorcycle unless you are scared s****less of it. Stay scared and stay alive! Get the best tires you can afford, maintain your bike and tires and read everything you can find on operating a motorcycle.

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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:50 pm

Also, take MSF courses regularly to top up your riding skills.

You shouldn't really be dragging your boots along the road when you come to a stop. That's a good way to dump your bike.

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Corkster52
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby Corkster52 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:48 pm

I really wasn't dragging my boots, more like sliding my feet on the pavement after I was stopped....and it felt like I was on grease. Finished my motorcycle training class a couple of weeks ago and got my license. Re-"new" to riding, but, long story short, started riding a Sears Moped back in the 60s on the farm and had several other bikes after that, but the 1500 is a whole new game. As far as reading goes, I have read more in the past few months on motorcycling, than I probably have including everything in the past 20 years, so I am soaking it up as fast as I can. My most recent one was "Proficient Motorcycling", which I just heard the author was in a recent wreck after breaking one or more of his lifelong rules. I appreciate all of the feedback that I get from you folks. Thanks!

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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:15 pm

It's a pretty good indicator as to the skill and experience of the rider - watch how much time their feet spend on the ground. Riders who aren't comfortable with their bike at slow speeds will tend to bring their feet down early, and drag them or "walk" the bike to a stop. Similarly, when starting off, they will "walk" the bike a step or two, or leave their feet hanging down until they're sure they aren't going to fall over.

Anyone can ride a bike fast - riding it slowly takes much more skill and concentration.

24.4ZOOM

Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby 24.4ZOOM » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:03 am

Purchase and read "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough. Best darn book I ever saw about cornering in any weather. Furthermore, what was said about feet on the ground, with a weighty machine like the wing,less time spent in contact with the ground the better off you are. The bike wants to stay balanced and as you get the feel for your machine, you will come to appreciate gyroscopic forces and have a love/hate relationship with inertia.

So much for physics, Patrick

wtaylor20
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby wtaylor20 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:23 am

I ride year round with my 1200 and really enjoy it. Last year I developed a wobble just after a snow and when I went off the road at slow speed the bike went down hard when the front tire hit the grass. It was a complete suprise how fast it went down but like was said earlier these bikes were built to withstand things such as this. I did not even get the scratches as it was wet cold ground. A little mud stuck in the floorboards. Being 63 years old I did take a trip to the hospital just to get my ribs checkout just in case as they were hurting a lot. All is well and I am still riding. Thrasherg you will do fine and you really need to pay attention in the rain but you do not need to be so scared your heart is in your throat all the time. Congratulations on being the August winner and good luck with that 1500. I have my 1200 up for sale bucause I want to move up to a 1500 or 1800 with reverse.

joewing
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby joewing » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:33 am

Re "option B", one other technique to keep in mind if you're going faster than you want in a turn is to lean your body more...has the same effect as leaning bike, but without leaning the bike more. Practice on dry road until you get a feel for it. I, too was scared of the idea of riding my new Wing in the rain, but got caught in a situation where I had to keep going from Memphis to Kansas City in a heavy rain storm...nothing like facing your fears to overcome them.

Re: fear itself, my father had a friend who rode his Harley (in the '50's - pre-wing days:) from San Francisco to Topeka when I was a wee tyke. Friend claimed he rode until he felt "at one" with his bike, and felt invincible...then parked it until he was scared when he got back on...kept him accident-free for a lifetime.

Dola Compton
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby Dola Compton » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:25 pm

If your feet are slipping while you are at redlights, it's time for new boots. Get some with anti-slip soles. Also watch for oil spots where you stop. There is usually more oil in the center of the lane than in the right or left tracks.

Bouvier1
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby Bouvier1 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:37 am

Hi,
Just visit the UK and you will soon learn how to ride and corner in the rain its always raining even during our summer.
In fact no matter what is said cornering in the rain is the same as in the dry. You just need confidence in your self and your bike.
In the UK you have to watch out for loose gravel as the roads are simply coated and then the cars etc press this into the tarmac - great if you haven't noticed the little left over - also there are occasionally little 'oil slicks' following slight rain, but hey that's life. We also have roundabouts which help with learning to corner, although these shouldn't be used just for practice as people get a little ticked off with someone going round and round without leaving on an exit.
One thing I would not suggest is putting your foot down - if the bike does go you will trap your leg. The best thing if this occurs is to simply sit tight and let the crash bars take the fall. During a bad snow fall it happened to me and I simply sat still and looked as though I was riding until gravity pulled me off the seat. Helpfull drivers blew their horns and drove around me as I lifted her off the floor.

Bouvier1
(Just changed from 2001 to 2007 1800)

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thrasherg
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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby thrasherg » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:51 pm

The constant rain was one of the reasons I left the UK 20 years ago!! Love to visit the place, but it would be so depressing to live there now (weather and economy!).. :oops:

Gary

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Re: Cornering in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:40 pm

I have to admit, I visit there at least once a year, and the constant grey skies (even if it's not raining) just get me really depressed after a week or so. It's wonderful to get back home to sunny skies!




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