Wind, wind, and more wind - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Wind, wind, and more wind

I was riding home from work yesterday, and it was pretty gusty. I found out later there were gusts up to 45 mph. It was a crosswind coming from my left side, and I had several "pucker" moments. On multiple occasions, I was blown several feet over in my lane. A couple of times, as the road curved slightly to the left, I would lean into the curve, but the bike would continue straight until I REALLY leaned into it....slightly stressful.

Sooo, my question is... Is this something I just have to get used to? It's certainly not gusty or windy like that frequently. Would a windshield help or exacerbate the problem? Anyone else have experiences like this?

On my previous bike (Ninja 600R....15 years ago) I expected to get blown around. Let's face it, sport bikes are just like a sail in a crosswind, but I was a little surprised at this on the 900.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:12 AM
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gs, slow down. let the tires grip more. add more weight. stop and sit it out. avoid those blak twisty things tween the klouds n ground. all the above.



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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:19 AM
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The larger the windshield the more you'll get blown.

Dale

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Poncho Villa View Post
gs, slow down. let the tires grip more. add more weight. stop and sit it out. avoid those blak twisty things tween the klouds n ground. all the above.
Hey, I'm not gaining weight just for help in the wind I'm big enough at 5'9", 190lb.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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The larger the windshield the more you'll get blown.
Same thing with a batwing?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:29 AM
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Hey Grey,

What I hate is passing/being passed by any large vehicle in the wind. One second you are leaning to go straight, the next you are shooting across the lane trying to recover position, then you gotta lean to go straight again! Also, you mentioned leaning into the wind for a turn, it can be pretty puckered leaning with the wind into a turn too!
I have never owned a street bike without a shield, but I did raise mine to max once, felt pretty good, until a small gust of wind changed lanes for me.

I have been itching to try out a sport. Why did you switch? Is the gas mileage of a 250 worth going with that small of a cc? Is a 6 big enough? What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting a sport?

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott_in_TX View Post
Hey Grey,

What I hate is passing/being passed by any large vehicle in the wind. One second you are leaning to go straight, the next you are shooting across the lane trying to recover position, then you gotta lean to go straight again! Also, you mentioned leaning into the wind for a turn, it can be pretty puckered leaning with the wind into a turn too!
I have never owned a street bike without a shield, but I did raise mine to max once, felt pretty good, until a small gust of wind changed lanes for me.

I have been itching to try out a sport. Why did you switch? Is the gas mileage of a 250 worth going with that small of a cc? Is a 6 big enough? What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting a sport?

Scott
I enjoyed the Ninja, but I turned stupid every time I got on the thing. There's something about a sport bike that makes me want to go fast all the time and weave in and out of traffic...not something I'd recommend if you want to live a long happy life. And if you get a couple of guys together on sports bikes, the IQ loss increases exponentially. I'm not trying to bash sport bikes or their riders....that behavior may absolutely be isolated to me and my group of friends when I was about 20-25.

If you want to do any kind of distance travel, I'd also not recommend a sport bike. After a couple of hours, your palms hurt, your back hurts, and you're just about ready for traction....but maybe that's just me. My longest trip was 480 miles on the thing and it was enough for me to decide to never do that again. Gas mileage on a 250 will be very good, but I daresay you'll be bored with it very quickly and want to move to a larger bike. The 600 was a fine size for me at 5'9" 145lb at the time. Weighing in at 190lb now, I'd get a bigger one.

In a nutshell, if I had the disposable income, a 1000cc sport would be great to have to fool around with occasionally on the weekends, but I'm more than happy with my current bike and would ride it much more often.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:00 AM
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I was getting blown around a bit in 40mph winds Wednesday when I took my bike about 20 miles to have the safety inspection done. With the OEM windshield it wasn't terrible, here's what I'd recommend;

1- Understand and practice counter steering. You probably already do, moat people do, but occasionally I've known people who like to ride by physically leaning their body to make the bike turn instead of counter steering. I imagine that makes the wind about ten times more difficult. Again, I assume you're already doing this, but just in case, the basics of how it works is when you push the handlebar in a certain direction it will force the bike to lean. If you want to go left, push the handlebar to the left. It's called countersteering because you feel like you basically turn the bars the opposite direction you want to go. But it's not so much turning the bars as applying pressure in the direction you want to go.

With some practice, you can get a feel for how much pressure to put with a certain gust. You kind of develop a feel, the harder the wind blows, the harder you press on the handlebar, turning INTO the wind. (Meaning if the wind is coming from your left, push left, which will lean you to the left, keeping you straight)

2- Reduce speed. I find that the higher the speed, the greater magnitude that the wind affects you. Run a few below the speed limit, and slow down especially on corners.

3- If it gets to be too much just pull over. Wherever you're going it's certainly not worth getting hurt over! I think one of the biggest mistakes in motorcycling is overestimating your abilities, whether it's someone who has only ridden dirtbikes and decides a good first bike is a litre sports bike, or someone who decides to hop on the interstate right after buying their first bike with no experience. There's just no reason to take the risk. Work slow and work up to it!
Have fun!

-John

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

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Last edited by Romans5.8; 03-09-2012 at 10:06 AM.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
I was getting blown around a bit in 40mph winds Wednesday when I took my bike about 20 miles to have the safety inspection done. With the OEM windshield it wasn't terrible, here's what I'd recommend;

1- Understand and practice counter steering. You probably already do, moat people do, but occasionally I've known people who like to ride by physically leaning their body to make the bike turn instead of counter steering. I imagine that makes the wind about ten times more difficult. Again, I assume you're already doing this, but just in case, the basics of how it works is when you push the handlebar in a certain direction it will force the bike to lean. If you want to go left, push the handlebar to the left. It's called countersteering because you feel like you basically turn the bars the opposite direction you want to go. But it's not so much turning the bars as applying pressure in the direction you want to go.

With some practice, you can get a feel for how much pressure to put with a certain gust. You kind of develop a feel, the harder the wind blows, the harder you press on the handlebar, turning INTO the wind. (Meaning if the wind is coming from your left, push left, which will lean you to the left, keeping you straight)

2- Reduce speed. I find that the higher the speed, the greater magnitude that the wind affects you. Run a few below the speed limit, and slow down especially on corners.

3- If it gets to be too much just pull over. Wherever you're going it's certainly not worth getting hurt over! I think one of the biggest mistakes in motorcycling is overestimating your abilities, whether it's someone who has only ridden dirtbikes and decides a good first bike is a litre sports bike, or someone who decides to hop on the interstate right after buying their first bike with no experience. There's just no reason to take the risk. Work slow and work up to it!
Have fun!

-John
Thanks! Good advice on both points.

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"Those who know how to win are far more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories." - Polybius
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:15 AM
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Oh and a comment on the Ninja 250. They are neat little bikes. When I bought my 900 I was a little apprehensive about riding a bike like that as my first bike so I rode my friends Ninja 250 a bit to get a feel for motorcycling on a lightweight and tame motorcycle. I did like it, and he gets 70mpg out of it. However, at 6'2", it would never work for me. A 650r or something maybe, but those 250's are just too small. I feel like my knees are in my chest in that thing, and I have a hard time shifting and using the rear break.

If you want a fuel saving commuter bike though, what about one of those 250cc scooters, or better yet, have you heard of Hyosung? They are a small south korean brand (they build bikes for a lot of the big 4 japanese manufacturers though). They've got a bike called a GV250, it's a cruiser (they also have a sportbike version, GT250), and it's known for 65+mpg, with some people getting up close to 90mpg out of them. V-twin, 250cc, pretty cool! 2011 or 2012 (Not sure) and up are fuel injected, which probably helps even more. They are like $4k brand new, I saw an '05 on Craigslist here with 8k miles for $1,200. So basically, they are priced like the Ninja, with slightly better fuel economy, and ergo's that are more comfortable for taller guys like me.

I'm also a little scared of buying used sportbikes. With respect to my sportbike brothers and sisters, I just had terrible luck when I was looking. Before I bought my 900, I wanted a Ninja 500. I don't like sportbikes, but I thought it would be an easier bike to learn on (eventually I just decided to get what I want anyway, and I'm glad I did, the 900 proved to be an excellent beginners bike that still works fantastic for me). What I found was a bike with 10,000 miles and a "recently replaced clutch" or an 2009 with "A fresh paint job". Which to me are keywords for "I dropped this thing several times and frequently dumped the clutch to do wheelies and other stuff. Change the oil? You're supposed to do that?" haha. So yeah, at least out here, well maintained and responsibly ridden sportbikes are hard to find. (Heck, my buddies 250 he bought from some 16 year old kid whose mom made him sell it after he wrecked it for a SECOND time. It's pretty banged up. But it runs like a top!)

-John

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT
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