How to learn where the edge is at? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 7:24 am Thread Starter
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How to learn where the edge is at?

What are recommended ways to safely figure out how far to push the LT on wet roads? I am very, very uncomfortable doing turns on wet or even damp roads. I'd like to get over my fear, but don't know how to practice it. Just going faster until something bad happens doesn't seem like the best option.

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post #2 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 7:56 am
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How to get over fear of wet roads? Simple. Don't ride on them.

Seriously, if you ride enough of them, your speeds will naturally increase -- especially on the straights, but that's not what you asked about. The thing about turns is the unpredictability of your traction envelope due to invisible slick spots. The road isn't like a race track where track personnel constantly clean up messes. The fact is that no matter how cautious you are in the rain, you will still hit slick spots and feel the rear tire slip on occasion. Urban roads are going to be considerably worse than country roads, so use extreme caution there. But I wouldn't go tearing up country roads either in the rain because you just never know. And of course, stay away from the painted lines in the rain, sewer covers, bridge expansion joints, cattle guards and any other metal objects that become unbelievably slippery when wet. That's my 2 cents, but I'm sure others will have a different take.

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post #3 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 8:04 am
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I've got the same concern.

My strategy is to keep the bike as vertical as possible in the turns. I definitely ride much more conservatively when the roads are wet or in the rain.

I woke up to rain and comments about freezing on bridges/overpasses. Took the truck. First time in a long time.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but, hydroplaning on 4 wheels is scary, can't imagine on two wheels.

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post #4 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 8:22 am
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What tires are you running? If you are at all worried about traction when wet, try the Avon Storm. You will sacrifice miles on the rear tire, but will be twice as sticky as a Metzler. I think the biggest thing is having your tires warm before you give it a ton of gas through turns.

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post #5 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 8:44 am
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Wet spots and gravel/dirt on curves

Guess I'm a sissy too as I always slow down in these conditions. Only time I've layed it down was going around a mountain curve too fast and ran upon unexpected dirt on the road. I still have a hard time following others too fast (IMHO) around curves when you can't see far enough ahead to keep the bike under control if the unexpected occurs. Especially when the tires are cold at the beginning of a ride, they will not stick as well as when hot. Back to the wet roads, I always slow down and rarely need to lean into the curve. Just too many unexpected thing can happen. Note my tag line!

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post #6 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 9:04 am
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I was told once that the tires (in good condition) will hold longer than you think they will. This was from a guy that took one of the performance classes at a track on a wet sloppy weekend. I'm not sure I believe him but I still need to take the class and see for myself. I slow it down a couple of notches until I see how things are going and slowly work up back to speed as my confidence grows. Experience is the only way to learn.

With me this morning it's ice in the neighborhood. Once on the main roads it's fine but the driveway and the parking lot raise the pucker factor a little.

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post #7 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 9:15 am
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The first thang is to let the road wash off real good first, especially if it hasn't rained in awhile. Stuff collects on the road and it get pretty slick, but after it rains a bit, it washes off.

I remember an ERC I was taking about 10 years ago in the rain. We were all pussy footing around till the instructor called us off of our bikes. He had us feel the asphalt with our hands and then drag our boots across it. There was plenty of traction available.

Of course, that odd oil spill (man, I know that one), or other hidden slick spot can undo you, but it's rare.

I sense that you ride purdy tensed up in the rain. As in all biking situations, the looser you are, the more able the bike is to do it's job.

Whenever I start sliding, or the rear steps out, my first inclination is to use the throttle. I promise you, if you've ever high sided, you'll have the same inclination.



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post #8 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 9:20 am
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You'll never know for sure what each curve has in store for you. If you go down you know that you did that corner wrong, but the next one will be different. So its all the pucker factor.


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post #9 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 9:25 am
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Don't worry about what the bike will do, worry about your own limits and you will be fine.

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post #10 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 12:11 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painlessbob
What are recommended ways to safely figure out how far to push the LT on wet roads? I am very, very uncomfortable doing turns on wet or even damp roads. I'd like to get over my fear, but don't know how to practice it. Just going faster until something bad happens doesn't seem like the best option.
I think you have the right idea. Be afraid, very afraid and keep the rubber side down.

If you are not comfortable, but willing to ride in the wet, then take it easy and have fun.

John

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post #11 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 3:17 pm
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I don't ride in the rain much-but one time while really having a good ride in the rain on the interstate,passing , running about 75, then tried to change lanes and hit a wide "tarsnake" and I swear I moved sideways 600 feet!!!!
Scared the s%^& outta me and I sucked the remainder of the 150 miles home.....couldn't ride a lick!!!!!!!!


Mike
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post #12 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 4:58 pm
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Rain? Wet? You mean there isn't 365 riding days a year. Damn I need to move and give the LT a rest.....

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post #13 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 5:00 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlesj
I think you have the right idea. Be afraid, very afraid and keep the rubber side down.

If you are not comfortable, but willing to ride in the wet, then take it easy and have fun.
I'm the venerable wuss when rain-ridin'. Didn't git thataway until, one time I bought a new set of Metz at Lone Star and had 'em installed on a rainy/damp/misty day. Not enough downpour to wash the crapola off the roads. Austin to Boerne about 105 miles and is best taken on 290 over to near Blanco and then twisties on home. Well, 290 is 30-35 miles of sevenbillion tar snake patches. Several on top of each other! Ole Toad did the continuous hula dance and we were all over the lane. Pucker factor hit the max, and finally, after 'bout 5-6 miles of that bobbin' and weavin', I realized I wuz super tensed and just gave up and relaxed. Didn't stop the dance, butt ole Toad handled the ride better without me tryin' to interfere and make corrections before they were needed.

I still try to do the right thang and relax, and let ole Toad do the right thang and git us there - butt I'm still a wuss at rain-ridin'!!
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post #14 of 23 Old Dec 19th, 2007, 9:12 pm
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I don't really think anybody "likes" riding in the rain,

When it's wet slow down "before" you get into the curve and "power" through it.
There ain't nothing wrong with riding scared,
as a matter of fact it will probably keep you alive longer.

I'll go along with what Dick just said,
the stiffer you are and the tighter you hold them handlebars
the more likely you are to "freeze up" and go down.

It's got to be "mind over body" relax the best you can, let the bike do the work,
you'll be impressed with how well it does what it's supposed to do


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post #15 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 3:02 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painlessbob
What are recommended ways to safely figure out how far to push the LT on wet roads? I am very, very uncomfortable doing turns on wet or even damp roads. I'd like to get over my fear, but don't know how to practice it....
Bob, It's very scary to see anyone from Kalifornia contemplating SLOWING DOWN when the roads are wet (or any other adverse condition)!

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post #16 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 7:22 am
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Like lonewolf said, stay within your own limits and comfort zone. Rarely will an average rider exceed the limits of the bike. But rain is no place to be testing the limits of any bike. Just go at your pace and let your confidence build. Eventually you may possibly find a place where you are comfortable with the bike in any given condition.

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post #17 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 9:24 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painlessbob
What are recommended ways to safely figure out how far to push the LT on wet roads? I am very, very uncomfortable doing turns on wet or even damp roads. I'd like to get over my fear, but don't know how to practice it. Just going faster until something bad happens doesn't seem like the best option.
My first suggestion is to never feel like you are pushing the bike on wet roads. I am also quite uncomfortable doing turns on wet roads and I have a very healthy fear of it. This is one of those fears that you should thank God you have. As everyone else has said, the tar snakes and oils in the road are the worst hazards to watch out for. The oil drippings from cagers are going to hit the center of the lane and on most roads the oil will wash off to the right. Keeping to the high side, left of center, will avoid a lot of the slippery mess. Speaking of tenseness, there is a certain relaxation or good feeling that comes over you when you know you are going slow enough for the conditions. I've never had any desire to see how far I could push it in the rain. This is my top ten list that has worked for me for the last 34 years ...

1. Gullywashers ... find an underpass and let it move on through
2. Tarsnakes ... stay as vertical as possible, slow down ahead of time in curves
3. Parallel tarsnakes ... stay off of them if possible, if necessary for lane changes, cross at biggest angle possible
4. Oil ... keep to high side of road if you can
5. Diagonal railroad crossings ... slow down and try to cross at 90 degrees
6. Metal grate bridges ... keep enough speed for stability and stay as vertical as possible
7. Turns ... make major bank angle reductions by slowing down ahead of time
8. Following distance ... triple your normal limit
9. Defensive scan ... remember, you're even harder to see now
10. Temperature ... beware of ice on bridges


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post #18 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 9:46 am
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Something I have done in the past. When you get a rain in your area, go for a ride. Not a 300 mile ride, just around town. You keep your skills up and get to see if your gear is working. It's one thing to get a wet chest and be 15 minutes from home or on a three day adventure and realize you are scared of the rain and your gear leaks.

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post #19 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 12:01 pm
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There are several things you can do to increase your confidence, wet or dry.

Take an Advanced Riding Course. That helps you learn your limits in a safe, controlled environment.

Ride a Track Day. That helps you learn your bike's limits in a safe, controlled environment.

Practice on your own. Find a parking lot and just keep turning, swerving, and stopping based on what you learned above. The key here is to be smooth and confident.

Get a small dirt bike and go play. Nothing teaches you more about traction than riding something that's sliding around under you. And in most cases, a minor spill on a small, slow dirt bike won't do much more than bruise your ego (wear the right gear, of course).

Choose your tires well. I hated ME880s on the LT simply because they slipped way too easily. BT020 Radials or Avon Radials gave much better traction in all conditions, especially when pushed hard.

And learn to ride smoothly. Look far ahead, anticipate what's coming up, and apply brakes, steering, and throttle smoothly and with confidence. Wet or dry, it's the sudden rapid changes in motion that will get you into trouble the quickest.

I don't mind riding in the rain at all. All my gear is waterproof and unless it's raining so hard that you just can't see, I'll keep going. The only exception is when it starts to get near freezing, and concerns about ice grow greater.

Yes, there is much more traction available in the rain than most riders think. But there is also a higher chance of just hitting a random slick spot. So you do need to keep within your own comfort level, but you can also follow the suggestions above to increase that level, wet or dry.

And after all, what are you really gaining by going 3-5 mph faster through some corner? Unless you're chasing the World Championship, getting somewhere a minute or two later really doesn't matter.

Ken
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post #20 of 23 Old Dec 20th, 2007, 5:53 pm
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Of course, there is the simple option as well. Run the bike at a set speed (say 40 or 60 mph) and then apply the brakes hard enough to cause ABS activation. Then repeat that test in the wet for a comparison. If you're nervous, use only the rear brake which is less likely to upset things.

You do practice full-stop panic braking from speed on a regular basis, right? Gotta know where those limits are and make full-on stops a habit so that it will just happen when you need it to.

Ken
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All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

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post #21 of 23 Old Dec 21st, 2007, 6:36 am
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Riding in the rain

Wet pavement has always made me a little nervous. When riding heavy cruisers I only worried about standing water and hydroplaning. With the LT I worry about traction in turns. Wet roads around here are very slick at intersections. My pickup and car both will spin on take off. Diesel spills are very common and I've ridden up on oil slicks from trans leaks after they hit something on the road. There's always something out there to nab you. I just slow down and ride. I don't want to find that edge........

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post #22 of 23 Old Dec 21st, 2007, 6:51 am
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Understand your limitations and you will be fine.
The more you ride in it the better you will become. When I take the LT on large sheets of ice, slow fluid moves get me through.

Rock

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post #23 of 23 Old Dec 21st, 2007, 10:25 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironbuttwannabe
What tires are you running? If you are at all worried about traction when wet, try the Avon Storm. You will sacrifice miles on the rear tire, but will be twice as sticky as a Metzler. I think the biggest thing is having your tires warm before you give it a ton of gas through turns.

+1 Awesome rain tire!

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