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So yeah, i went down today on my bike. I was lucky in that I went down at slow speeds and there was no oncoming traffic when it happened, but still I went down. I was also fortunate that there was little damage to my bike and in the end it was something I could easily walk away from and at the same time learn much. The weather was fair, however bitterly cold which probably added to the danger of riding with only 2 wheels, also my tyres were cold and the street was a heavily trafficked area leading to access debris and a slick. well traveled surface. All these coupled with my lack of experience is probably what allowed this incident to occur.
So I had just finished lunch at Alice's restaurant as was just leaving the parking lot to jump back on the 84 north. I stopped at the sign and waited for an suv to get out of my way. Upon seeing no traffic in either direction I eased myself out into the road and began to open up the throttle at a normal rate of acceleration.
Due to the fact that a motorcycle has a greater power to weight ratio my acceleration is better and stronger than a car and because of the factors I previously stated my back tire almost immediately lost traction. Now, mind you I couldn't have been going faster than 15 mph and was in no way trying to show off or impress anyone, it came as a complete surprise to me to be suddenly turning sideways in the road. Because of the way a bike shifts to the side when it turns, I was only made to open the throttle even further which only decreased my already failing traction with the road. I felt the back slide even further out of control and was suddenly staring the opposite way of my intended travel. I can't say exactly how I fell since it really happened to fast for me to comprehend, but I do know that I actually went down quite softly with no real jarring sensation and I suspect I actually somewhat lowered myself to the ground with my right foot. I felt a short sliding sensation and rapidly came to realize I was laying on my side in the middle of the road; my bike still running. I immediately turned off my back and tried to move myself and found my foot trapped beneath my bike. I was also fortunate that I fell in a place where dozens, if not a hundred or more people had gathered, many of which bikers themselves, and about 20 or so came rushing to my aid. I heard someone tell me to relax and not struggle, watched helplessly and gratefully as my bike was lifted off my leg and moved to the side of the road and back to the parking lot of Alice's. I was given assistance to my feet, asked repeatedly if I was ok or if anything hurt, to which I replied that I was fine, just a bit confused and surprised. Several people recommended I sit and relax and get my bearing, which I did, before trying to ride my bike.
What I still can't figure out is what exactly happened. While waiting for my body to return to some semblance of normal, I walked over to where I fell and where my bike was parked prior to the fall and looked for anything that might have caused it. One guy just said it was the cold weather, but it just seems like that shouldn't be enough. Maybe he's right but I kept looking for oil, a wet spot, anything that might have assisted in a low speed loss of traction.I don't think I ran over any reflectors, but I guess that's always a possibility. I guess the most frustrating thing is to ponder the possibility that sometimes you just go down for no good reason. Any ideas out there?
 

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I've put both my Honda and Suzuki sideways by accident sideways due to cold tires. I've also done it a few times on purpose.

Some tires are better than others in the cold - the old Michelin Pilot Sports were notorious for taking ages to get warmed up and grippy.
 

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Tires not sufficiently warm on a cold day are very dangerous. I high sided my ST4 a few years ago in my neighborhood going around a turn I had done maybe 100 times before. Was not really pushing it either. I came into the turn in 2nd gear, leaned over through the turn, gased it and I remember thinking "thats an odd sound, why is the motor reving so high" while the rear end broke loose then caught and high sided me off. I had gone maybe 100 yds on stone cold tires. Be careful out there when riding in the winter. Let the tires get a little warm before going even normal speeds. I have been riding for 40 yrs and nothing like that ever happened to me before. I was very surprised! Luckily, only got a bruised hip but the bike took some good wacks and took me a few months to fix it. Good as new now.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info. I guess it just seems crazy that some days all it takes is a little cold weather.
 

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Scott, what type of tyres are you running? Diablo Corsas are notoriously slick in the cold, moreso than their Pilot Power peers.

You're lucky that you opened the throttle more than chopping it off - you could have easily high sided.
 

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Maybe I missed it but were you straight on the road when you opened the throttle? I know I've broken traction when opening the throttle while leaned over even (and particularly) at low speeds.
 

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Yeah,

Sounds like a cold tire to me too. I've had similar experiences on a few different bikes due to cold tires. Never had one come all the way around on me though. I've not had that experience of late, and to my memory not since switching tire brands. I ran Metzelers years ago and Dunlops before that, but since I've switched to Bridgestones I haven't had a cold tire slide like what you posted. Sure, a little slip here or skitch there but nothing like the rear end spinning up and starting around on me. It does happen and more so on some brands of tire than others. Just learn from it and press on. A cold tire can be slick enough, combined with ambient air temperature, relative humidity and cold pavement to land you on your head. You pretty well have to take it easy until your tires warm enough to give grip. When that point occurs depends on all the above factors, including your choice of tires.....sean
 

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Two suggestions from what you wrote.

Scott07 said:
So I had just finished lunch at Alice's restaurant as was just leaving the parking lot to jump back on the 84 north.
This means your tires weren't just cool from the weather, they were stone cold after you'd parked the bike for lunch. Whenever you jump back on a bike after parking it for a while, especially in cold weather, be extra careful - the tires are now rocks with much less grip than they had before you parked it.

Scott07 said:
Because of the way a bike shifts to the side when it turns, I was only made to open the throttle even further which only decreased my already failing traction with the road.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, but if you start sliding sideways, you should stand the bike up if possible and *DON'T* add throttle - maintain your throttle opening or even close it slightly, but don't add more. You want the tires to hook back up again gradually, but maintaining lean angle and adding throttle will kick the back end out even more.
 

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truly cold tires make me think of a hockey puck, which when frozen will slide easily even on pavement. when warm they won't slide at all. tires are probably a softer rubber, but the same principle applies.

I wonder how people who live in very cold places and ride handle this problem? they must be very used to warming cold tires.
 

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That sucks....

I can see you are going through the stages of grief here on line.

1. Denial - Man this couldn't have happened,
2. Anger - This sucks, it's not fair,
3. Bargaining - Just let me do it again, I'll use less throttle,
4. Sadness - Damn I don't think I'll ride again; and
5. Acceptance - Oh well, bikes OK, I am OK.

I binned my 888 going around a round-a-bout, and felt the same. What ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger or wiser.
 

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sdh said:
truly cold tires make me think of a hockey puck, which when frozen will slide easily even on pavement. when warm they won't slide at all. tires are probably a softer rubber, but the same principle applies.

I wonder how people who live in very cold places and ride handle this problem? they must be very used to warming cold tires.
Indeed,were used to it...and somehow I never experienced the slides you guys are mentioning either..??!!

Rode my Tri late this year,in 0 and sub zero celsius weather.

Use the clutch more (later) when turning!
 

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i've only been riding for one year, but....

....nice weather today, took the bike out for the first time in a couple of weeks. it was all over the road, literally. almost slid...twice. luckily i was only going SLOW and was able to recover both times; having read this post i was extra careful to warm up the tires. because the tires were hard and didn't respond like normal. it was downright scary at times.

it just wasn't the same. in near 60 degree weather, too. i put the bike away after an hour or so, doesn't make sense to go down on the last day (or second to the last day) before hibernation.

:(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
bruce19 said:
Maybe I missed it but were you straight on the road when you opened the throttle? I know I've broken traction when opening the throttle while leaned over even (and particularly) at low speeds.
I guess I was a little bit leaned over. I was doing a slight left hand turn so I had tipped the bike a little, but I definitely wasn't strait up and down, and its not like I was in some crazy lean either.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
JeffKoch said:
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, but if you start sliding sideways, you should stand the bike up if possible and *DON'T* add throttle - maintain your throttle opening or even close it slightly, but don't add more. You want the tires to hook back up again gradually, but maintaining lean angle and adding throttle will kick the back end out even more.
Its not like I meant to open open the throttle, it was just that the force of having the rear tyre whipped out on me made it so that I opened up more. I think it was just one of those things that happened so quick, by the time I realized exactly what was going on it was too late to correct the problem.
 

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back tire slip

Did that once years ago on cold & new tires on my old '95 SS-SP. Cracked the CF can on one side.
Once I got to the local watering hole a bicycle courier told me he spilled in the exact same spot going real slow.
This was an instance where the pavement at that turn was really slippery from a lot of traffic, but was not discolored at all like it had oil or antifreeze on it. I went back and ran my finger along the road where my back tire let go- the asphalt was super slippery to the touch but the same color as adjacent pvmt.
 

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Howdy neighbor.

As everybody else pointed out, cold tires. The other thing is cold ground. In the mountains around here you have to be careful to not "over commit" in your lean angles. Only commit enough to where if you are leaning and start losing traction you can get back up on it and save it. I almost stacked my new GSX-R 1000 in the parking lot at work the other morning because of cold tires and cold slick ground. I saved it but since it's fresh in my mind, maybe a tip on how to save something like this. I didn't see your wrist or lean but you can almost always get out of the throttle. The instinct is to grab more throttle and twist but unless you are already done down, you should be able to get out of it. As for correcting the slide and subsequent highside action that follows the best I can describe is let your body go limp and just casually point the bars straight until the action mellows.

And whoever said it, yeah those Corsas are cold hearted bitches. When hot they work great though. I am happy with the Pilot Powers on my Duc.

Me Ducati is out of commission until I find a 17mm speedo drive:(
 

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Anyone know if the tire companies spec "Operating Temperatures" for tires?

I have'nt used my Pirelli Corsa's yet,but I will be cautious when they are cold after what I have read here.

I was just wondering, as I have one of those laser temperature guages that SnapOn makes,would that work to check the tire is warm?
 
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