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Joe Frickin' Friday

How to recover from a rear-wheel skid?

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Joe Frickin' Friday

The standard advice given to casual street riders is that if the rear wheel starts to slide out from under you during braking or acceleration, releasing the brake (or throttle) is likely to induce a highside, and so you should just accept your fate and lowside instead.

 

So what's up with

 

Or

 

Are there things they know that the MSF just isn't going to try to teach riders in a single afternoon? Is it a matter of getting very familiar with THIS bike on THIS pavement, and so becomes difficult to do on unfamiliar roads?

 

Are there things that we can do to safely recover from an unexpected rear-wheel skid out on public roads on a heavy bike like the RT?

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greiffster

I saw this video a while ago about "backing it in." Like the guy in video says ..."it looks cool" and "sounds cool". When a guy in full race leathers says its probably the hardest thing to do on a motorbike, probably not for me. Of course, they are doing it on purpose into the corners, not because of an unexpected slide. I'd like someone to try it on an RT and report back... :grin:

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bwpsg42

or this

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russell_bynum

The advice to stay on the brake to keep the rear wheel sliding is over-simplified advice aimed at total noobs.

 

The problem is if you get the rear sliding and get it out of line with the front and then release the brake, the rear tire suddenly finding traction is a great recipe for a highside.

 

And since a lowside is almost always better than a highside, the advice is to keep it locked. If you lowside, fine. If not, fine.

 

 

With just a little bit of practice, there's a better option. This is something that we did at the braking seminars that Dick Frantz used to have. We'd start with basics around 9am and by 11, everyone was able to do this.

 

Bottom line...if the rear is inline with the front, then suddenly releasing the rear brake isn't going to cause any problems. And even if it's out of line, gradually releasing it so that traction comes back gradually, it's not an issue. And, of course...you have handlebars...which you can use to keep the rear in line. :)

 

The drill was to lock the rear and then use the bars to steer the rear from side to side. It actually fairly intuitive and the skill came quickly. Then you practice braking until the wheel skids and then gradually release pressure until traction is restored, while keeping the rear in line with the front by using bar input.

 

And before anyone says that this is fine for expert riders or controlled situations like parking lots...not long after Lisa started riding, she worked with Dick on braking and learned this skill. Shortly after that, someone jammed on the brakes in front of her on the freeway. She braked properly (both brakes) but overdid the rear a bit and the rear wheel locked. She did exactly what she'd trained to do...kept the rear in line and gradually reduced rear brake pressure until she had traction.

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russell_bynum
I'd like someone to try it on an RT and report back... :grin:

 

 

Hypothetically...on an R1100RT, you could brake hard enough with the front brake to get the rear wheel light enough that you could then stand on the rear brake and even though the rear ABS was cycling, the rear would still slide and you could get the bike sideways.

 

With a professional rider on a closed course. In theory.

 

Of course I personally would never admit to doing such a thing.

 

:wave:

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lkraus

I think we have all had the rear slip out at least a little at one time or another. Instinct tells us to point the front a bit into the skid, and then (sometimes bad)experience tells us to either maintain speed or ease up on the braking or acceleration that caused the slip. Dirt riding is supposed to be good for teaching this, but I've never lived anywhere it was feasible to ride off road.

 

What I want to know is how the MotoGP guys manage to slide the front wheel into corners under braking while the rear wheel hovers just off the ground, lap after lap. Is that all electronics?

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russell_bynum
What I want to know is how the MotoGP guys manage to slide the front wheel into corners under braking while the rear wheel hovers just off the ground, lap after lap. Is that all electronics?

 

We've seen it on bikes without the fancy electronic rider aids...so nope.

 

At a track day once, an AMA pro passed me in a corner. His rear wheel was spinning and billowing smoke and his front wheel was in the air. And he was an "also ran", not one of the top guys.

 

 

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JerryMather
What I want to know is how the MotoGP guys manage to slide the front wheel into corners under braking while the rear wheel hovers just off the ground, lap after lap. Is that all electronics?

 

As Russell said it's not the electronics package on the bike in this example because the rear wheel is off the pavement.

This is just a front wheel slide due to loss of traction between the slick & the pavement. This is their job and taking their tires to the edge of traction is a big part of racing. The racer hopefully can feel the slide and knows how much more they can push the front without it giving way. If you look at free practice you'll almost always see one or two guys losing the front end. If not they really don't know just how far they can push it on that particular tire compound.

 

This is why they make the big bucks. They're motorcycle test pilots with big ....

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big-t

 

 

Of course I personally would never admit to doing such a thing.

 

 

You are probably safe with that.I'm pretty sure nobody had time to take pics on the Smokehole Rd.... :rofl:

 

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Glenn Reed

 

that's probably what you looked like on big red up the Wayah Bald. :grin:

 

No, I was going back and forth between wondering what I was doing there and grinning like a fool when things went well. :rofl:

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russell_bynum

 

Of course I personally would never admit to doing such a thing.

 

 

You are probably safe with that.I'm pretty sure nobody had time to take pics on the Smokehole Rd.... :rofl:

 

Why Big-T, I'm quite positive that I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

 

:grin:

 

 

:thumbsup:

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Chris K

Mitch, I have found the adhesion limit of the Tourance tires on my GS a few times while doing track days. I was told that the best thing to do was roll gently off the throttle but do not close it. With a little practice I could close the throttle slightly and the rear tire would start to grip again and come back into line with the front.

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JerryMather
Mitch, I have found the adhesion limit of the Tourance tires on my GS a few times while doing track days. I was told that the best thing to do was roll gently off the throttle but do not close it. With a little practice I could close the throttle slightly and the rear tire would start to grip again and come back into line with the front.

 

+1 :thumbsup:

I used to do this all the time with my 996. I would feel the rear tire sliding, so I would slightly come off the throttle, allowing the bike would come back in line.

If you chop the throttle, it can make the bike come back in line to quickly and snap the bike throwing the rider forward aka a high side.

Hard front braking and quickly releasing them will allow the forks to rebound which can also cause a high side. Too much rebound is not a good thing under this situation that's why doing small changes work.

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4wheeldog
Mitch, I have found the adhesion limit of the Tourance tires on my GS a few times while doing track days. I was told that the best thing to do was roll gently off the throttle but do not close it. With a little practice I could close the throttle slightly and the rear tire would start to grip again and come back into line with the front.

 

+1 :thumbsup:

I used to do this all the time with my 996. I would feel the rear tire sliding, so I would slightly come off the throttle, allowing the bike would come back in line.

If you chop the throttle, it can make the bike come back in line to quickly and snap the bike throwing the rider forward aka a high side.

Hard front braking and quickly releasing them will allow the forks to rebound which can also cause a high side. Too much rebound is not a good thing under this situation that's why doing small changes work.

 

I have used this same technique with several different motorcycles when I have found myself exceeding the limit of traction, because of diesel or other shmutz on the road. You have to be quicker and more subtle, with ice.

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motorman587

Many moons ago, 1997 in a police motor instructor course, we would take the Harley, motor at the time, at 40 mph in an open grassy field and lock the rear wheel. After a couple of runs you or coulld tell when the time was right, ie the rear tire aligns with the front tire to release the rear brake. After a while they would fill the field with water, so you skidded into a pool of muddy water, and it got muddy after a while. The ones that panicked would go sliding head first into the mud. It taught me how to control the rear brake with caution. It was good not to use your own motorcycle. ;)

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Joe Frickin' Friday
I was told that the best thing to do was roll gently off the throttle but do not close it. With a little practice I could close the throttle slightly and the rear tire would start to grip again and come back into line with the front.

 

The trick is that this all is going to happen silly-fast. I routinely hear from people who low-sided that "one second I was fine, the next I was sliding down the road on my ass." That's what I would like to be ready for.

 

First challenge:

Between brake-induced skids and power slides, brake skids would be easier/safer to practice because you can begin by inducing a skid while traveling in a straight line; as you become adept at easing up on the brake in a controlled manner, you can graduate to deeper and deeper turns.

 

Unfortunately, it is difficult to practice a brake-induced skid on the RT with its ABS. I recall you could kill ABS on an 1100RT by having the starter button already pressed before you turn the key. Does that trick work on the 1200RT as well? If not, is there some other way to kill it? Mine is a 2009, so I don't have servo-assist, but I do have that front-to-rear linking. Would killing the ABS make that do weird things as well?

 

How much tire would I burn through in order to get a useful amount of practice/experience in skid recovery?

 

Second challenge:

Assume you get good at recovering from brake-induced skids. How do you safely practice recovering from power slides? You pretty much have to have the bike leaned over for that, and that's when "it all happened so fast" happens.

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Dave_zoom_zoom

HI Mitch

 

It seems to me that Keith Code may have a practice bike with outriggers on it. That might be fun.

 

Dave

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russell_bynum
I was told that the best thing to do was roll gently off the throttle but do not close it. With a little practice I could close the throttle slightly and the rear tire would start to grip again and come back into line with the front.

 

The trick is that this all is going to happen silly-fast. I routinely hear from people who low-sided that "one second I was fine, the next I was sliding down the road on my ass." That's what I would like to be ready for.

 

Maybe. When I lowsided at Streets of Willow, it was like that...one minute everything's fine and the next minute I'm sliding along on my ass.

 

But I've had plenty of cases of rear wheelspin (power-induced) where it was gentle/smooth enough that I could react.

 

It's a pretty much nonstop thing on the dirt bike.

 

You basically just hold the throttle and pick the bike up (push the bike up to a more vertical lean angle while keeping your body low) and just ride it out.

 

 

How much tire would I burn through in order to get a useful amount of practice/experience in skid recovery?

 

My experience was that it didn't take much. But you could always do it with tires that you were about to change anyway.

 

 

Second challenge:

Assume you get good at recovering from brake-induced skids. How do you safely practice recovering from power slides? You pretty much have to have the bike leaned over for that, and that's when "it all happened so fast" happens.

 

In low traction situations, you can get the rear spinning when it's upright.

 

Personally, I never really practiced that on my RT. It's easy and fun on the dirt bike. And Keith Code has the "slide bike" with outriggers so you can go practice. They run ridiculously high pressure in the rear tire and then the outriggers push back against the road to reduce traction even more. It's loads of fun.

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rolandj727

I have read off of these interesting comments, but I am still uncertain how to train and what to do. I was rather hoping that some knowledgeable person,or persons, could could provide clear guidance for us touring and commuter riders. I don't have any motorcycles at hand that I would care to wreak practicing skips.

 

As part of the actions to take another question, what do you do if your are braking hard but realize that you can't stop or swerve out to the way? I understand stand it is best to stay upright and brake hard, but at the last second is there a better position to be in when you hit? Hit with straight arms, bent arms,"jumping" in an effort to slide over the object?

 

 

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racer7

Back in the day when bikes were lighter I taught all newbs how to deal with a locked sliding rear wheel and when available, taught the throttle control in a rear wheel slide on grass where a gentle low side was the only penalty for failure.

 

No matter two wheels or 4, there is no substitute for nuanced expert throttle control if you intend to play on the edge of traction. Especially if you have a high compression motor that will produce bunches of engine braking if you jump out. In general, more throttle is less likely to get one into truly unpleasant circumstances, the low side or powered spin out often being preferable to a high side or uncontrollable yaws that can take one into an unexpected hard object.

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Selden

Roland : Since you live in California, there should be multiple opportunities for training courses. You could start with the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, but it's not the only option available to you. You could also ask at a motorcycle dealer (doesn't have to be BMW). The last time I took an experienced riders course, I believe that one of the exercises was to deliberately lock the rear wheel at about 10-15 mph and come to a stop. This was somewhat difficult to do for bikes with ABS, and with modern motorcycles with both ABS and linked brakes, it's nearly impossible unless you can disable the ABS system.

 

I have only had to stand on the brakes twice in the past 50,000 miles, and each time I was astounded at how well the ABS works (and BMW's ABS has improved significantly since my 1999 R1100RT).

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Huzband

Dirt bike training. It helps everyone.

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russell_bynum
Dirt bike training. It helps everyone.

 

+1

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Gooner
Dirt bike training. It helps everyone.

 

Since you're in California, check out Rich Oliver's Mystery School.

 

http://www.richoliver.net

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Huzband

I've read nothing but great stuff about this, & it's on my list of schools to attend. How much fun can you have on a TTR-125? All you can handle! :Cool:

 

Texas Tornado Boot Camp

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russell_bynum
Dirt bike training. It helps everyone.

 

Since you're in California, check out Rich Oliver's Mystery School.

 

http://www.richoliver.net

 

Some friends went to the Mystery School and really enjoyed it.

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