Motorcycle Discussion => General Motorcycle Discussion => Topic started by: skramer360 on October 10, 2017, 06:25:10 PM

Title: Looking through the curve
Post by: skramer360 on October 10, 2017, 06:25:10 PM
So I've had this question running through my mind for a couple years and finally got around to asking here. When you are riding on a non ideal surface, how do you balance the need to look through the curve and watch for debris on the road surface? I did a day long advanced training class for motorcyclists a couple years ago and it was held on a retired runway that was in poor shape in many areas. One of the instructors griped at me for not looking through the curve when I was watching the (considerable) debris on the surface.
Title: Re: Looking through the curve
Post by: hppants on October 10, 2017, 06:46:24 PM
I agree with your instructor. You will go where you look. I've known more than one rider gone down because he target fixed on debris.  When I'm riding curves, I am always focused on the vanishing point of the curve.  I can thank a wonderful lady that used to frequent this website, who is arguably the best rider I have ever met, for that jewel of advice.

If you notice the debris or other object far enough in advance (hopefully by screening well ahead at the vanishing point), then you will hopefully have time to counter steer and avoid it.   Even If you hit the debris while leaning, the bike will slide a little but very likely will not result in a loss of control if you hold your line and ride through it.

I'm also a big subscriber to the theory of lane position in a curve (outside/inside/outside).  If you put yourself on the inside of the lane at the apex of the curve (where the highest probability of running out of lean occurs - regardless of the reason), then you have the full 10 foot width of the lane to use for recovery.  At that point, even if you panic and grab a handful of brake, the bike will stand up and naturally drift you toward the outside of the lane and likely away from whatever it is you panicked on .  Now, if the hazard runs completely across the entire lane, then you only hope is to ride it out.  To do so successfully takes a combination of skill, confidence in your tires, hope that length along the road of the hazard is not so long that you will find grip before you lose control, and quite frankly, a decent amount of luck.  But if the road hazard is that large, I would think that you would see it far enough ahead that you could slow down to a safer speed before you get to it.

One known exception to this is diesel/fuel/oil on a wet road.  In my experience, I do not think that a rider can actually see this before it's too late.  And if the spill is more than 1/2 the width of the lane, you are going down.  This is why we dress for the crash (ATGATT).

Often when I'm riding, I ask myself the "can I avoid the deer in time" question.  What I mean is I'm asking "If a deer appears at the vanishing point of the curve, at my current speed and skill level, under the current conditions, will I have enough pavement to stop?"  If I'm being honest, sometimes that answer is a resounding "NO".  Most times I slow down a few MPH, but admittedly, sometimes I'm having so much fun, I do not.

I know - better written than done, and I can't honestly say that I've practiced what I preach 100% of the time. But this is what I think we should try to do.
Title: Re: Looking through the curve
Post by: Raven on October 10, 2017, 07:17:46 PM
I ask myself this question every day. The roads around here are very broken up with large tar snakes everywhere. I try to look far ahead as much as possible while shooting quick glances at the road surface in front of me. I've memorized a lot of the safe lines on the highways close to home but it's still possible to have a lapse and find myself in the wrong place.
 When a section of road gets repaved (a rare event) it's like being in heaven. I can truly enjoy the ride without the uncertainty of what peril awaits me at any moment.
Title: Re: Looking through the curve
Post by: DesertDragon on October 12, 2017, 10:12:52 AM
Good experiential advice...  You tend to go where you are looking, so focus on the path ahead, not what you want to avoid.
The only thing I would add - and that I have to do on a regular basis - is plan your path - I have to ride through an obstacle course to even get to some pavement, as I live down an un-maintained dirt road - While looking ahead at where I'm going, I also plan a route through the mess so that I have a clear path... If you are going down a road with obstacles, it helps that you don't end up in a spot where you don't have an easy out.
Title: Re: Looking through the curve
Post by: Captainkirk on October 12, 2017, 01:56:19 PM
It's a delicate balance...especially in the spring when the roads are still full of salt, sand and gravel. I agree it's better to concentrate on your apexing than what's right in front of you.