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Thread: Your speed in the twisties

  1. #31
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    Missouri and Arkansas seem pretty consistent in their signs. If I have familiar clear road and good sight lines I can take a 25 MPH corner at 60 to 65 indicated, and have good reserve, as indicated by chicken strips on the tires. That said, "pretty consistent signs" does NOT mean 100 % consistent. So I always size up a corner visually, and compare to the sign. If I think a corner is a 40 MPH corner, and the sign says 30 MPH I go with it. If I think a corner is a 50 MPH corner and the sign says 25 MPH, I will slow down to around 35 to 40 all indicated again, my mental corner computer is not 100%. There is no crime in that either, as long as you remember that! There is no crime in taking a corner too slow, there will be another day. As opposed to too fast, it is the best option.

    There is one nice wide open 15 MPH marked corner in Kansas that I play on, so far I have it at 60 indicated, but I think due to wrecks the county put an over conservative speed on it. It is WIDE open, 1/4 mile visibility minimum, so I can use all the road, which does make a big difference. I think 70 would be about the limit, 60 is a big thrill though. I always pre-ride it to check for dirt, sand etc. Then I go back a few times.

    Much of the time, I do not get the delicious horizontal acceleration pushing you into the seat on a corner, there are very few roads with good enough sight lines for that around here. But when it happens,

    Rod

  2. #32
    Registered User texanrt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue View Post
    Seriously though - every day is different, every road is different. Sometimes I am in the groove and just feel relaxed and dialed-in. On those days, I ride a little hotter. On the other hand, some days I am more tense, not as comfortable on the bike, and might not know the roads - - on those days, I am more conservative.
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  3. #33
    back on two wheels 119113's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeemoKat View Post
    I don't have a real set formula, the previous posts have put it very nicely. I'll just add an anecdote or two.
    Here in Michigan, the "suggested" speed postings are very conservative; I generally add 50%, some other riders I know, more skilled than I, actually double the suggested speeds. But a lot depends on if the corner is blind, how recently I've been there, am I loaded down in touring mode...all factors mentioned by previous posts.

    The first time I encountered "real twisties", as opposed to the sweepers we find on the river and lake roads here in MI, was in West Virginia. I entered the first marked corner at about 10mph over the posted speed, and that was the LAST corner I entered over the posted speed the rest of the day! I got through fine, but the thought in my head was that I hadn't seen another vehicle on that road in the last 45 minutes, it was long way down off of one shoulder, a very short distance into rocks and other hard stuff off the other shoulder, and that there was probably no cell phone coverage. All in all, a very bad place to make a mistake.

    I tend to ride conservatively when I'm touring. It paid off, also in West Virginia a couple of years ago. I'd just come down from a very steep and twisty section of US 50, and was tempted to turn up up the wick in a set of sweepers, when I heard the sound of a high revving motor coming the other way. I had just decided to resist the urge when I caught sight of the source of that sound: A Mustang convertible with his entire left quarter-panel in my lane. I was mighty glad that I didn't need my whole lane to hold a line. Sometimes just staying to the right of the double-yellow is NOT enough!
    ditto.

    In Michigan, 2X the posted speed, but never cross the yellow.

  4. #34
    Registered User beemermyke's Avatar
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    When I make my annual trek up to places like the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway, the road conditions determine my speed. If they are dry and clear of debris, a personal rule of thumb is usually no more than 20mph over the posted speed limit, especially when it comes to the curves. I adjust accordingly dependent on traffic and road conditions.
    Motorcycling is my passion because golf is far too dangerous!
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  5. #35
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    I have a rule of thumb I use for calculating safe speed for curves on unfamiliar Canadian roads. It assumes there is no concern about traffic, traction or the like, in which case more caution would be exercised.

    Having been a rider when metric road signs went into use here in 1977, and from riding in the US, I'm quick at converting my metric speedometer reading to mph and vice versa.

    When approaching a curve that has the yellow cautionary reduced speed limit sign in kilometers an hour (for example 30 km/h for a curve in an 80 zone) I will carry the cautionary speed, but in mph instead of km/h.

    In this case 30 mph would translate to 50 km/h for this curve. 50 km/h would be 50 mph which translates to 80km/h, and so on. The conversion is roughly 1.6 times the cautionary reduced speed posted. Sound complex, but is very simple if you're "bilingual".

    Since the cautionary speed signs are calibrated for a bad driver in a minivan with bald tires and worn out shocks, these speeds are easy to carry with little drama, provided road conditions are clear.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  6. #36
    haughty
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32232 View Post
    I
    Since the cautionary speed signs are calibrated for a bad driver in a minivan with bald tires and worn out shocks, these speeds are easy to carry with little drama, provided road conditions are clear.
    I need to be on the lookout for that calibration vehicle then

  7. #37
    Registered User Rapid_Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti View Post
    cool, i'll hop on my R1 and hit that 15 mph decreasing radius turn at about 97.
    You can try. The Awful One only rides old airheads, and at close to 400,000 miles, he knows them pretty good.
    19 BMWMOA Nationals under my belt, and I have no idea what I am doing.

  8. #38
    Bikes, Guitars, and ... beemokat's Avatar
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    I always like to think "I could have ridden that faster" when I exit the corner, not the other way round!
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  9. #39
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
    . . . as indicated by chicken strips on the tires. . .

    Rod
    I call those my "margins for error"

    Nice to know I always have more lean in reserve!

    Voni
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  10. #40
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    If I was going to point to one article that has had the greatest impact on my riding it would be The Pace by Nick Ienatsch.

    Read it, ride it, love it.

    The Pace.

  11. #41
    Bob
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    No mathmatical equation works for me because I'm not looking at my speedometer.
    Haven't hit a stray cow yet, or slid on a cow pie, either.

    No chicken strips on the Viffer, for that matter.

    As Bubba pointed out, advice for one bike doesn't neccessarily apply to another. Neither does advice for one rider. Ultimately, only one rider can get you from point A to point B and back again, and it ain't me.

  12. #42
    RTFlyer
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    On roads I'm familiar with, I don't need the speedo, but I know that it's not unusual to enter at about 30 over the "recommended" speed on a decent road with good sight lines. Like others, I rarely decelerate for a turn that's posted at 45 or more.

    On unfamiliar roads I know the 20-30 over is usually a cinch and that a hard acceleration out of the turn is the best approach for me. If I find a good stretch of road and am only out to increase my carbon footprint anyway, I'll backtrack and give it another shot if I feel like I left a little in the tank.

  13. #43
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFlyer View Post
    On unfamiliar roads I know the 20-30 over is usually a cinch and that a hard acceleration out of the turn is the best approach for me.
    Don't try that in the Texas Big Bend - particularly Ross Maxwell Drive in the National Park or the River Road (FM170) from Lajitas to Presidio unless you are quite accomplished at riding in two-wheel drifts. There is this little matter of spots of sand on the pavement.

    Which is why every spring they haul several in-over-their-head motorcyclists to the hospital and every year or so haul one or two to the morgue.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  14. #44
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    [QUOTE=PGlaves;532564]As far as I'm concerned the critical factor is sight distance and braking distance. There is a huge difference in my speeds in the woods in Arkansas compared to my speeds here in the Texas Big Bend. In the woods, sight distance around/through the corner is often limited while here it is often the case that sight distance is a long way through the corner even when the geometry of the curves are the same.

    I agree with Paul here. It would be nice to hear that most motorcyclists are able to correctly judge corners to avoid crashing, but the stats seem to indicate the opposite. What that means to me that the "seat of the pants" approach to corners isn't the most clever.

    Speaking for myself, when cornering on the backroads, I squander perhaps half of my attention on the surface. And I adjust speed to sight distance. If it's a sweeper with unlimited view, I will go faster, but I still pay attention to the surface.

    Nick's "Pace" concept is fun, but it flies in the face of brain wiring. When an emergency suddenly pops into view, the "fight or flight" part of the brain will take charge and command action; and the action will most likely be whatever the person has been practicing. So, if your habit is to control speed only with the throttle, and you suddenly see a moose standing in the road, it's very likely you will roll off the throttle--which only applies braking to the rear tire.

    So, "The Pace" is fun, and doesn't demand a lot of skill, but it doesn't set you up to avoid sudden unexpected happenings. There are twisty roads all over the country that are testimonials to the inability of riders to manage the situation.

    Over the years I've also realized the importance of smooth throttle-to-brake transitions (as taught by Lee Parks) to enable me to quickly and smoothly adjust speed depending upon what pops into view. IOW I brake a LOT on the front while cornering.

    My speed is determined by the view, and my survival quotient today, not by signs or formulas. If you do want a formula, your entry speed into a corner is whatever speed will allow you to sneak on the throttle through the rest of the curve.

    pmdave

  15. #45
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    Question

    This has been a great discussion, and points out that a lot of us are interested in riding skills.

    So, forum bigwigs, why don't we have a specific part of the forum dedicated to riding skills?

    pmdave

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