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Motorcycle continues without rider

Paul Mihalka

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If this happened near or at the finish of a race, and the bike remained on the track without the rider, and was first across the finish line, would it/they win the race?


Or does the rider have to be on the bike as it crosses the finish line?


Just asking.

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There is a good lesson here. As the saying goes, many motorcycle accidents are caused because of a loose nut behind the handlebars.


I used to flag corners at some MC races years ago and did see this happen twice. It made an impression on me.


They say to stay loose on the controls, as occasionally a motorcycle will get loose, and the rider makes it worse by fighting it. Once the problem is tossed off, the motorcycle regains equilibrium and continues along.


Of course, I have no direct experience, which I personally think is good. Possibly, if this rider had simply let the motorcycle have its way a bit, he never would have crashed. In practice, I expect is it pretty hard to accomplish.





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There are some other examples out there of bikes motoring along without their riders, which is a testament to the ability of the engineers who designed them. When I started doing track days, my basic instructor used that as an example of why we should stay loose on the bars, especially if the wheels started to slide or in the event of a tank-slapper. His contention was that most motorcycles have way more stability then we give them credit for, and if we're firm with the inputs and judicious with the amount of force we use then the bike will want to stay upright. It took me a long time to learn not to be a human steering damper, especially in wet riding conditions. And when I'm tired, especially in the last session of a track day, I have to remind myself to stay 'light' on the bars.

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I agree with you general comment, but think it has more to do with physics than the engineer's ability. I think the engineer's would have to work at defeating the physics of the bike's stability without a rider.



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I've seen this happen twice, both at superbike races. First time was at VIR about 6 years ago. That one went probably 1/2 mile before running into the woods.


The second time was this year at Daytona. The one at Daytona was much like the YouTube video in that the riderless bike crossed the track right in the middle of a pack of riders. Amazingly, no rider touched the riderless bike!


I would not have believed either was possible had I not seen them!

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