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Re: Slipsliding away


What tires did you have mounted. For sure there is a correlation  
between tires and temperature. Some of the newer compounds, like the  
Bridgestone BT-021s (in my experience) work a bit better at these low  
temps and are a big improvement in damp/wet conditions. However at  
the temperatures you were riding in, surface temperature is a huge  
factor. Tires get warm on the street chiefly from sidewall flex, and  
unless you are doing a lot of heavy braking, in those temps, you  
might never get up to a decent working temp for cornering - because  
the road surface is cooling the tire more than sidewall action can  
generate heat in the compound.

I do a lot of trackdays, and on a 45 degree spring morning, we always  
remind the newer riders, who come equipped with tire warmers, that  
"tire warmers are all well and good, but no one makes track- 
warmers" (yet). And still they crash...

Of course sand will do that, too. But it wouldn't be good to write  
this off as an occasional sand incident, when the "cold" requires  
caution everywhere..

Glad you and the bike made it through okay. We just can't skimp on  
the safety gear.

-- john merlin ...

John Merlin Williams

1999 Ducati ss 750
1999 BMW R1100RS

On Jan 28, 2008, at 10:05 AM, Doyle, Kevin CAPT SEA07, 073 wrote:

> The bike: 2000 R1100R, 17K miles, graphite (the stealth color)
> Weather: upper 30's, cold, grey, dry
> Location: Alexandria, VA
> Intersection: 6 lane 45-50 mph road turning onto a 35-40 mph 4 lane  
> road
> Safety gear: the full Monty- everything, steel toe boots, padded pants
> and jacket.
> There I was Saturday afternoon about two minutes into a ride, down
> shifting prior to a right hand 90 degree turn, approx 10-15 mph. I hit
> the apex, twisted the throttle for a smooth exit and down I went. The
> bike just COMPLETELY went out from under me. I watched it scoot about
> 5-8 feet away from me, still in gear, still sliding on the cylinder  
> head
> guard and my right side city case. I have this odd memory of watching
> the bike turn a couple of 360's while on its side.
> I got up, ran to the bike, hit the kill switch and looked at 10-20  
> cars
> bunching up waiting to get past me. Of course, the adrenalin is really
> flowing and I'm in that tunnel where time is either slowing or  
> speeding
> up, don't remember which.
> I know of one or two other cars trying to get past me, like downed
> motorcyclists in the road is no big deal for them. I then tried to  
> lift
> the bike myself but couldn't. Two guys in a Mercedes and a large
> delivery truck, pulled over to help me lift the bike. One guy tried to
> grab the windshield brackets and the other guy put his hand on a hot
> cylinder head (guess two minutes into the ride, it wasn't that hot.)
> After we all found good lifting points, the bike came right up.
> Once the bike was up, Mercedes guy left, delivery guy helped calm me
> down. I felt NO pain (shock, anger, embarrassment, yes) but all my
> fingers and toes, joints, etc., were all fully operational. I gave the
> bike a once over and saw some scuffing on the case and some moderate
> grinding down of the cylinder head guard and that was IT. I fired the
> bike up, it ran fine. Thanked delivery guy and drove it to a  
> parking lot
> for better inspection.
> Saw no damage (other than pavement scuffing and grinding) and no
> injuries . . . Unbelievable. Testament to the strength of BMW bikes.
> Safety overpants were scraped and steel toe boot was ground up where
> bike likely came down on the toe momentarily. (Granted speeds were  
> low .
> . . )
> Lucky, lucky, lucky. Like a good oilhead, I followed all that drama up
> with a 40 mile ride on Saturday and an 80 mile one on Sunday. The  
> world
> seems ok.
> What did I learn? Safety gear helps and works. Head to toe. Watch out
> for the "tunnel effect." The adrenalin, your emotions. I wanted to  
> that bike and get it up ASAP. But a voice said, "don't mess  
> yourself up,
> get help." I had the presence of mind to make sure my helpers  
> didn't use
> the cylinder head or windshield brackets as lift points. Slow down,
> breathe, take it easy, you're alive and functional. In retrospect it
> could have been very easy to be running around and flailing with
> earplugs and a helmet, locked in a sensory deprivation "cocoon", not
> seeing or hearing other traffic . . .
> Lastly, why did it happen? Two reasons come to mind, and one bears
> further discussion. The first, I maybe hit some sand that gets spread
> throughout Rust Belt cities from November through March and when I  
> down
> shifted, down I went. That sand will take you down in half a second.
> The second possibility, and I really wonder about this one, cold
> tires??? I don't know. This time of year, how long do they take to  
> warm
> up? Is it a consideration in the first few minutes of a ride? I  
> have to
> think it is.
> I take the board through all this, because there are lessons learned
> sprinkled throughout the whole event . . .
> Thoughts, comments? Thanks for listening.
> Be careful out there!
> KD