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How do they do the driver's test for a motorcycle license?


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52 minutes ago, Chacón said:

People think the #1 motorcycle crash is someone turning left in front of the motorcycle, but it isn't.  The #1 crash is overshooting a turn.  Interestingly.....they never seem to be people losing the front wheel because they leaned too hard.  It always seems to be people who were too chicken to countersteer enough to get the bike to lean and turn!

 

 

 When I took the MSF course we discussed this very topic. people enter a turn and tend to freeze at the initial turn rate. They cannot seem to take a more aggressive lean once they start. This is a real problem when the curve gets progressively tighter. There is a curve south of Ridgecrest CA near the intersection of US395 and Garlock Rd. The curve doesn't look threatening and is not particularly sharp but looks are deceiving. Its been a few years so I don't remember for sure but I believe that when riding West on Garlock road the radius of the first curve increases so it is easy to accelerate through the curve. When riding East the radius becomes less and if you don't increase your turn rate you'll depart the road. Myself as well as a bunch of people I rode with became keenly aware of this. 

 

This curve is where my first experience with the Harley Davidson "Death Wobble" occurred. I was lucky in that I got the bike under control before I ran out of pavement. 

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5 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

This curve is where my first experience with the Harley Davidson "Death Wobble" occurred. I was lucky in that I got the bike under control before I ran out of pavement. 


Dave! I’ve owned Harleys all my life and never encountered the death wobble on one.  I did have a Kawasaki 750 three cylinder that would do it on hard deceleration once in a while and a Norton Atlas that did it once. I traded the Norton for a KRK Sportster. I’ve seen others experience it on ‘bout every popular brand of motorcycle there is, from small dirt bikes to big baggers.

 

 I never knew it was specifically called the “Harley Davidson Death Wobble”.

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1 hour ago, Chacón said:

That said, the video above of those police type motorcycle courses.....I can ride a 1000 pound touring bike pretty well but I would really struggle to turn one in a u turn that tight with the bars almost all the way to the steering stop at that speed.  That is really tough.

 

Once you learn the technique, all it requires is practice and understanding that just because your floorboard is dragging on the pavement doesn't mean you are going to fall down. Slow speed control on a motorcycle is a perishable skill. You have to remember to look over your shoulder at where you want to go.  

 

At the end of the advanced riders course I could do the u-turn to either the right or left while scraping my floorboard on the pavement. This was riding my 02 heritage Softail Classic which weighed almost 800 pounds.

 

When I got an Ultraclassic a little over a year later I did the same thing on a bet for a crisp new $100.00 bill. That bike weighed just shy of 1000 pounds. For me it was easy as I practiced those turns at least once a month. Last thing I wanted to do was drop the bike with my wife sitting on her throne. 

 

One of my riding buddies had to replace the floorboards on his Road King from dragging them through too many corners. Really got people attention when he was making sparks at night through the turns between Ridgecrest in Kernville.

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Different groups call it different things.  Often you can find worn parts, alignment, or even a frame crack exacerbated by high speed.

 

I've experienced it on big bikes and 100# scooters when pushed.

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5 minutes ago, Blackwater 53393 said:


Dave! I’ve owned Harleys all my life and never encountered the death wobble on one.  I did have a Kawasaki 750 three cylinder that would do it on hard deceleration once in a while and a Norton Atlas that did it once. I traded the Norton for a KRK Sportster. I’ve seen others experience it on ‘bout every popular brand of motorcycle there is, from small dirt bikes to big baggers.

 

 I never knew it was specifically called the “Harley Davidson Death Wobble”.

 

That is what my mechanic called it when I took the bike to him to be checked out. IIRC there was even a class action lawsuit at one time trying to get HD to acknowledge the problem but it didn't succeed . Seemed that the touring models were the most susceptible to it. Had to do with how the rear suspension and rear motor mounts interacted with each other. There were lots of companies selling aftermarket fixes to prevent it from occurring.

 

Once my mechanic explained it to me, I went out on a deserted stretch of road and experimented with duplicating the effect. What I discovered was that if the air suspension was set up for more weight than I was carrying the extra stiffness would make the bike prone to the phenomenon when handled aggressively.  From then on I made sure the bikes suspension was adjusted for the load it was carrying. After that it never happened again. 

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14 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

Once you learn the technique, all it requires is practice and understanding that just because your floorboard is dragging on the pavement doesn't mean you are going to fall down. Slow speed control on a motorcycle is a perishable skill. You have to remember to look over your shoulder at where you want to go.  

 

At the end of the advanced riders course I could do the u-turn to either the right or left while scraping my floorboard on the pavement. This was riding my 02 heritage Softail Classic which weighed almost 800 pounds.

 

When I got an Ultraclassic a little over a year later I did the same thing on a bet for a crisp new $100.00 bill. That bike weighed just shy of 1000 pounds. For me it was easy as I practiced those turns at least once a month. Last thing I wanted to do was drop the bike with my wife sitting on her throne. 

 

One of my riding buddies had to replace the floorboards on his Road King from dragging them through too many corners. Really got people attention when he was making sparks at night through the turns between Ridgecrest in Kernville.

 

I definitely know it can be done.  Ultimately the only real limit is the grip of the tires on the pavement.  It's having the balls to push the lean angle that much that is the limiting factor for me.  That said, I haven't ridden a street bike regularly for about 10 years, so that's obviously a factor.

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3 hours ago, Blackwater 53393 said:

I have noted that most novice riders become comfortable and begint to ride smoothly and safely when they accept the idea that you push the handlebar that’s on the side you want to turn to.  Many beginner courses fail to properly explain this and some don’t explain it at all!!  I refer to it as “GYROING” to explain it!!  They didn’t teach Schoolmarm about it when she took the course, ( I got my license in 1967, looooong before motorcycle safety courses were ever thought of!!) and they didn’t have facilities to let new potential riders reach speeds where the effect begins to take place.  When she began riding her own motorcycle, (a Sportster) she was convinced it was just too big for her, until she explained in detail what was giving her problems.  When she did explain, I walked over to her bike, pointed at the 21” front wheel and tire combination, and said just one word, “Gyroscope!”

 

She taught science in school and this amazed look appeared on he face, followed by one of puzzlement.  Then I explained how it worked in this case and sent her out on our back roads to investigate!  At first it seemed counterintuitive to her, but after about an hour, she returned with a big “jackass eatin’ sawbriars” grin on her face and her skill and comfort level improved exponentially from there!

 

Most non riders have no inkling of the phenomenon.  Mention it without an explanation and they’ll have no clue.  I should mention that the back wheel is a gyro too!  The two wheels in concert are what create the effect.  A single wheel would probably be nearly uncontrollable, directionally, at highway speeds.

 

Conventional “trikes” dont steer this way and the effort required to change direction is higher.  I’ve wondered if the fact that a trike isn’t capable of leaning is the reason or if it’s the two rear wheels gyroing that causes this!  Never rode a bike with a sidecar or a hack so I can’t speak to how they work!!

 

NOTE! I often wonder about those first motorcyclists and how long it took them to adapt to this particular quirk of the machine!! :rolleyes: :lol:


 


 

 

 

When comparing handlbar force on a standard to trike, fwd trike, reverse trike, ATV, I think the simplified answer may be the drive force alignment.   Compound this with the rider having to fight momentum instead of letting the bike support them in the lean.

Edited by sassnetguy50
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38 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

That is what my mechanic called it when I took the bike to him to be checked out. IIRC there was even a class action lawsuit at one time trying to get HD to acknowledge the problem but it didn't succeed . Seemed that the touring models were the most susceptible to it. Had to do with how the rear suspension and rear motor mounts interacted with each other. There were lots of companies selling aftermarket fixes to prevent it from occurring.

 

Once my mechanic explained it to me, I went out on a deserted stretch of road and experimented with duplicating the effect. What I discovered was that if the air suspension was set up for more weight than I was carrying the extra stiffness would make the bike prone to the phenomenon when handled aggressively.  From then on I made sure the bikes suspension was adjusted for the load it was carrying. After that it never happened again. 


The first time I experienced the “death wobble” was on that Kawasaki in 1972.  No air suspension on that little devil.  It would quake and shake so hard it shook the filament out of the headlight sealed beam!! I was a “healthy” 19 year old, but it was almost all I could do the muscle that thing down to where it would straighten out. It WAS fairly predictable!  If you were over 130 mph and stopped hard using the front brake first, it would try to jerk the bars out of your hands three times out of ten.  We found a steering damper that cut the likelihood to one in ten.

 

Got rid of it before we ever got it totally controlled.

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54 minutes ago, Blackwater 53393 said:


The first time I experienced the “death wobble” was on that Kawasaki in 1972.  No air suspension on that little devil.  It would quake and shake so hard it shook the filament out of the headlight sealed beam!! I was a “healthy” 19 year old, but it was almost all I could do the muscle that thing down to where it would straighten out. It WAS fairly predictable!  If you were over 130 mph and stopped hard using the front brake first, it would try to jerk the bars out of your hands three times out of ten.  We found a steering damper that cut the likelihood to one in ten.

 

Got rid of it before we ever got it totally controlled.

 

Only when traveling at over 130??? 

 

:D 

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I could get the Ultra-Classic to start wobbling at speeds as low as 35 MPH if the air suspension was fully inflated.

 

That first time it scares me so bad that after i got it under control and stopped. I sat there on the side of the road a good long while before I was composed enough to get back on and continue my trip.

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It would actually happen somewhere below 90 if you were checking speed at the point wobble initiated, but if you were only doing 90 and stopped that hard it wasn’t as likely.  It differed some with different riders.  Kawasaki representatives told us it had to do with complex geometry of the frame and suspension pieces interacting during extreme stops from speed.  
 

Looking back, I would have preferred for the wobble to have occured at thirty-five rather than ninety if it HAD TO happen at all!!

 

In a panic one day, I hauled back on the bars, went to wide open throttle and downshifted without the clutch, all at one time!! It unloaded and smoothed out! I hit the shoulder on I40 and slowed and eased it down to traffic speed and then off, onto the old Mt. Juliet Rd. exit which was straight and uphill!!

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Back on topic!!  I’m checking with a new rider I know to see if they’ve changed the curriculum lately.  I’d like to know if they teach counter steer now.

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14 minutes ago, Blackwater 53393 said:

Back on topic!!  I’m checking with a new rider I know to see if they’ve changed the curriculum lately.  I’d like to know if they teach counter steer now.

The MSF BRC teaches counter-steer.

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The training I took in Oregon included classroom and practical training on “counter steering”. 
 

I learned about counter steering back in 83 when I started riding street bikes. I figured it out on my own. 

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Two wheel motorcycle skills testing procedures are fairly standard across the US.

 

http://wheelskills.com.au/index.php/motorcycle-operators-skills-test-most/

 

When I did trike, side cars, or even 4-wheel testing one time (an odd looking add-on kit that looked like big training wheels added on each side of the rear wheel), the applicant had to memorize a pre-determined drive route, then I'd follow along behind and grade them. If you had the 3 wheel endorsement, you weren't legal for a conventional 2 wheel motorcycle, and vice versa.

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