Not Taking Chances - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Not Taking Chances

Alternate thread title: Testing the Tip Over Shutoff!

I have a U shaped driveway, which is really nice unless there happens to be a car parked in the middle of it. So I got on the bike and instead of shuttling it around to give me a clear shot for the street, I thought I'd take the easy way out and cross that patch of lawn in the center. Now, I'm from up New England way and new to central florida's coast. The grass here is very deceiving. As I've found out, it's really just a thin veil of a disguise for really, really soft deep sand. You wouldnt know it by walking on it, but when you try to traverse it with an 800 pound motorcycle, it takes on a whole new personality!

So, there I was, (all cocky since I'd been out practicing my low speed maneuvers in a local parking lot every day for about a week). Let the clutch out to the friction zone, rolled on the throttle and creeped ahead on to the lawn. I knew it was a mistake the moment that front tire hit the grass. Kind of like a "sinking" feeling. I needed to bear slightly to the left to avoid the edge of the pavement so I leaned slightly right to counterbalance the turn. At that moment, the front tire hit a somewhat firmer bit of sand, probably some weed roots there, and the tire troughed to the left. Of course, I'm gingerly maintaining a slip with the clutch, but the unexpected motion of the handlebars, combined with the already ridiculously small friction zone of this big Vulcan beast, amounted to a release of the clutch by probably not more than a mm. The engine was at idle speed at that point, but since you could enter these bikes into a tractor pull without ever touching the throttle, I now had plenty of forward propulsion to send me, well, on my way.

Down she went. I felt her going and controlled the fall as best I could, but as you know, once she hits a certain angle there's no stopping her. I kept the descent to a slow motion and the bike settled into the sand, along with me, trapping my left foot under the tank and seat. Less than a second later the engine dutifully shut down. Strangely, the only thing in my head at that moment was, "Oh, I guess the tip over switch works.". I untied my left boot and pulled my leg out. A little shaken, I walked into the front door where my roommate, Steve, an old Harley guy who has gotten a lot of humor out of watching me tame this beast recently, looked up at me in my full gear, minus left boot, and cracked his usual toothy, poop-eating grin. All I could muster was, "A little help here, please?"

We got the bike up. The fall busted off the left rear turn signal, and torqued the front fender leaving a kink on the front edge and a belly on the right side. Other than that the bike was fine. I didn't have a scratch. The only benefit the sand had that day. So, about a $450 mistake. But the first money I spend is going to be for highway bars! Getting trapped under a down bike is not a good feeling.

Note that this episode occurred at a creeping speed in about one bikes length of distance traveled. But it taught me a good lesson. I hope this little story deters other beginners from adventuring out on to unknown turf. (-; They say most accidents happen close to home. I wonder how many of those happened in their own front yards. Surely that must skew the statistics, eh? Anyway, not to be discouraged, I glued up the turn signal, looks fine actually. I highly recommend Loctite "professional" super glue for this. I jumped on and went for my planned ride. It was a great day. I've decided to live with the bent fender for a while. It's serving as a good reminder not to do anything stupid.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 04:12 PM
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I feel ya. I tipped over my V2K around October or so last year in my front yard after the dew had started to settle. Its not fun picking them up but luckily enough mine did not go all the way down it rested on the foot board and pipes. Only damage was to my pride and to the yard. Laugh it off. That's all we can do.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 05:48 PM
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Here are my comments. First, I'm glad that you didn't get hurt. Second, countersteering is not for use at low speeds. Save that technique for when you are rounding a curve at perhaps 20 mph or greater. When you're barely moving at a crawl, you actually steer the bike by turning the handlebars and leaning (slightly) in the direction you want to go. Third, I think that every motorcycle should have crash bars. I know that crash bars saved my left leg on one occasion and possibly on a couple of other occasions.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 08:32 PM
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Hey RandallT

There are times when it is OK to duck-walk your bike. Loose soil is one of them.

Actually, on any surface that you think is gonna give you trouble, it might be a good idea to keep it slow and your feet ready to catch her.
There is a shopping center near me that has decorative bricks at stops, they are slicker than whale spit when it is wet, add an incline and it is hard to keep from spinning the rear tire.

If you gotta get gas at the pump with diesel; the surface there is usually covered in oil.

I have been in a rest area or two with a lot of loose gravel and sand in the parking areas.

All of these places I wouldn't feel any embarrasement about keeping my feet low for a yard or so.

Glad all worked out though,
Scott

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas63 View Post
Second, countersteering is not for use at low speeds. Save that technique for when you are rounding a curve at perhaps 20 mph or greater. When you're barely moving at a crawl, you actually steer the bike by turning the handlebars and leaning (slightly) in the direction you want to go.
Thanks for the response, Chas. I understand and was not counter steering. I was properly counter balancing the turn with the bike, pressing in to the tank with my right knee to lean the bike left and keeping my torso vertical, and would have been fine had the tire not caught something. I've had the good fortune of a lot of great training from some very experienced, senior guys, in addition to the MSF courses. But training is still no substitute for experience, and just plain common sense. I'm sticking to pavement!

+1 on the crash bars. In shopping for them, I can't help but notice that some of them don't look like they'd hold up too well in a hard fall, like the Lindby's etc. I like the Kawasaki bars as they look like they have sufficient rigidity with the two vertical welded bars inside the hoop for reinforcement.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post

I have been in a rest area or two with a lot of loose gravel and sand in the parking areas.

All of these places I wouldn't feel any embarrasement about keeping my feet low for a yard or so.
Yesterday was a great day for riding so I headed over to Clearwater Beach for a nice ride down the coast road. We've had some pretty high winds lately and there were a few places where strips of sand were covering the road. I'd been warned about this sand by the local bikers wo refer to it as "silly sand". Hitting it is like hitting black ice. Fortunately it's very white and easy to spot. Yeah I had to duck walk it over one spot that couldn't be avoided, much to the honking chagrin of the guy in the convertible behind me.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
Hey RandallT

There are times when it is OK to duck-walk your bike. Loose soil is one of them. Glad all worked out though,
Scott
That's funny...almost spit up some java on that one. Never heard DUCK WALK before, but sure have done it...especially on loose gravel.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 09:09 AM
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Yes a +1 on crash bars, they saved my leg and damage on a low speed drop of my bike,the bike got some scuffs on bars which buffed out and a bent tail light that I bent back, I found some bars on Ebay that where a nice price , they had a defect of the shim being welded to high so the nut would not fit , Just grounded the weld down and now they fit perfect, Cost me less then 100 with shipping

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2013, 09:52 AM
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RandallT this might interest your. Check it out http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baron-Custom...item33800e1236

This is what it is new. Looks like it might be a deal to look at
https://www.denniskirk.com/baron-cus...prd/495774.sku

1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 (First Bike)
2004 Vulcan 1500 Classic (First Big Bike)
2007 Vulcan 1600 Meanstreak (Love Affair)
1999 Yamaha 1100 V-Star Custom (Right Price at the Time)
2008 V2K Classic (Favorite Vulcan)
2014 HD Ultra Limited (Bells and Whistles)
Who would have thought I would grow up to become "Spatially Educated" and play Connect-the-Dots for a living.

Last edited by SWVA_08V2k; 02-20-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SWVA_08V2k View Post
RandallT this might interest your. Check it out http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baron-Custom...item33800e1236

This is what it is new. Looks like it might be a deal to look at
https://www.denniskirk.com/baron-cus...prd/495774.sku
Thanks, SWVA. I've got this one on the way:
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