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Sand On Track/road During Cornering


636rider
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Hi Everyone,

Just curious about what you will do when see sand ( or oil) on track/road during cornering.

For the time being, I tend towards slow down before entering or committing the turn for less lean angle--- to be safe. I wonder whether it is necessary and would like to hear the experience of those who slides at corners a lot. Will smooth throttle control (maintanence throttle ) take care of the slippery condition?

May be able to try the slide bike one day will change my reaction during same situation.

Any experience on this to share? Thanks.

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Here's my take on it....

 

If you can slow down prior to rolling over the slippery spot (most common in my experience on the street is a patch of gravel), then do it. Just don't get too carried away with the braking mid-corner and create more problems.

 

Most importantly, before you actually roll over the gravel, go to SLIGHTLY ON-THROTTLE, enough to maintain speed or slightly increase speed. You don't want to be off throttle when you roll over the gravel, because the front will step out big time. If too heavy throttle, the back will step out big time. If slightly on-throttle, the front and rear will slide about equal, and neither nearly as badly. With experience you can figure out what amount of throttle gets the front/rear balance perfectly equal.

 

Also remember to look around the turn because if the slide startles you it can cause you to target fixate on the outside of the turn and end up in the ditch. This happened to my little brother (he's OK now though).

 

Most of the time now when I see gravel, I can judge that it's not enough to cause a problem, so I don't bother with the slowing down part, I just try to keep the throttle steady or continue slight roll-on and let the wheels slide and catch.

 

The tires that have the most grip on dry pavement, like most popular sportbike tires which are darn close to slicks, are also the worst for dealing with sand and gravel on the road, so they can react quite severely to a patch of gravel. I also have a KLR650 with knobbies, it barely reacts at all to gravel but I'm also not leaning as low around turns in the first place.

 

I have ridden a sportbike to Alaska (lot's of gravel), have commuted a lot during winter with all the salt on the road, rode the KLR650 on mostly unpaved roads from Tennessee to Orgegon (Trans America Trail), and overall have about 170,000 miles of street riding experience over the last 10 years. So I've had some practice with this sort of thing! :-D

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We have a track that gets partially covered with sand occasionally so the dirt riders can have a full track. It's a moderately paced first 3-4 sessions until the line clears out. I can handle some slides, and don't have NEAR the experience Harnois does, so I fall in line with the regulars. You can tell the one's who are pushing it too much without the experience to match because they're the ones who are sliding into the hay bails in the first session.

Then there is the problem of dust storms here in the desert, and it will cause crashes. Lots and lots of crashes. Especially with racing because they don't want to lose time.

I've made it a habit of doing the siting laps so I can see if the track is smooth, and whether or not half of it was covered in dirt the weekend before. After the summer, when noone is riding the track (it's too hot) it's going to be "glassy." That's when noone has ridden it, and the sand fills in every little crack, and it's almost like riding on ice. Again; you can tell the ones who aren't taking it easy.

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Wow, it's hard to argue with experienced riders like Harnois and I generally agree.

 

I just want clarify regarding sand and gravel and sportbike tires, because I've found that with upgraded tires, I can ignore the usual dusting of construction sand or a bit of road sand along the edges. This is better than the "sport touring" tires I had before, which would give me a fright on the least amount of sand.

 

With a dusting or a light single layer of sand, it seems to me that the softer rubber wraps around the individual sand particles and holds them still, instead of rolling or sliding on them.

 

But, to play it safe, I always slow down (not below 15 mph!) before a patch of sand or gravel, and try to approach as vertical as possible with slightly positive throttle, just in case there's a depression in the road and the "light dusting" turns out to be a sand pit.

 

Regards,

 

Andy S.

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I'm with Harnois on this one. I have a few hundred (maybe thousand?) miles riding with him on the street and we have hit sand, gravel, and even cow manure at one point while riding somewhat aggressive for the street. With slight throttle or accelerating a little bit I never got more then a twitch even after riding over some river rocks from someones driveway, however, those were small patchs. If you see somewhere that the sand might be covering more then 5-10ft in distance through a corner I would try to slow down and get the bike stood up as much as possible before hitting it. The front tire might not hit fresh road to recover in time and always make sure your slightly on the throttle while going through it.

 

I have 13 years of motocross experience so the sliding around was nothing new to me but it can be a nerve-wracking moment sometimes!

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I just want clarify regarding sand and gravel and sportbike tires, because I've found that with upgraded tires, I can ignore the usual dusting of construction sand or a bit of road sand along the edges. This is better than the "sport touring" tires I had before, which would give me a fright on the least amount of sand.

 

With a dusting or a light single layer of sand, it seems to me that the softer rubber wraps around the individual sand particles and holds them still, instead of rolling or sliding on them.

 

I've noticed that too Andy. With softer compound tires, rolling over a small amount of sand dusting or small gravel bits, it does seem that the soft rubber just kindof absorbs that kind of thing and you don't lose much traction. And you can even stop and see the bits embedded in the rubber sometimes. And larger pieces, if scattered, it does just like you describe. I think this is a fairly recent thing, like last 5 years maybe, that we've had these kinds of tires made available to us, when I first got into this 11 years ago no tire I ever tried seemed to behave like this. I also have to wonder, but have never paid attention to it, if the tires we use now would behave like this in colder weather?

 

If we're talking about larger piles of gravel or sand, where the tire has no chance of staying in contact with pavement, I think it's more down to the grooves at that point, and any sport tire these days has very few grooves, and so is quite volatile in my opinion. Thus the comparison with the knobbies on the KLR.

 

Dunlop has this tire with lots of grooves for sport bikes:

http://www.dunlopmotorcycle.com/tirecatalog_tire.asp?id=93

And in my opinion, that would be much more appropriate for street riding as it would handle the sand and dust and gravel and RAIN much better because it has more grooves. It looks more like a car tire kind of tread. Why do you think car tires always have so much more grooves? More consistency in the driving behavior. I would try these Dunlop 616s on my SV650 commuter bike for sure if they made the right size for it, especially since I'll prolly end up riding it in the winter.

 

Makes me wonder a lot about the supermoto guys riding slicks on dirt!

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...........Most of the time now when I see gravel, I can judge that it's not enough to cause a problem, so I don't bother with the slowing down part, I just try to keep the throttle steady or continue slight roll-on and let the wheels slide and catch.................

Hi Harnois, and others who are sharing their technique and info on tires. Thanks for confirming that you can sometimes just possible to ignore the gravel and let it slide. It seems if cannot slow down early before turn, may be better to let it slide rather than brake on sand during turn.

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