Great article! thanks for sharing your experiences.
Great article! thanks for sharing your experiences.
Lots of thought-provoking information we all can use.
Looking forward to seeing it in print in an ON issue!
Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
Iron Butt Association Member # 34281
Professor - thank you for your kind remarks and also correcting my "brain dead" thought on who to send it to. (Actually, I sent it to email@example.com as requested in the ON note on submissions. Not sure who reads those emails but expect it will be forwarded to the right person.)
Again, thanks to all who revealed their embarrassing goofs in the interest of helping other riders avoid the same errors. Only quality people would do that.
And thanks to all of you who offered encouraging words about submitting this article. Without them, I doubt that I would have done the re-write.
We'll see what happens.
I just received my August ON, and read your article. It was excellent. Thanks.
Santa Cruz CA
I call slow speed dropping of the motorcycle a "clown fall." I was very distracted (another way to have accidents) one day. Forgot to unlock the bars. The moment I accelerated and leaned right I had a spectacular slow speed fall. Now I never get moving until I have "wiggled" my handlebars first.
Thanks for an excellent article!
Good job on the article.
"Everything is something."
'88 K75C, '03 K12RS, '93 R100GSPD '02 F650GS (all gone, but not forgotten)
+1 to Clown Falls
Two weeks ago Sunday, leaving the Mt. Olympus apartments at Bloomsburg U. Slowly riding down the road b/w the apts to the "T", and making the right-hand turn. Two buddies were parked on the right, just after the "T". Wanted to talk to them before we took off.
Grabbed too much FRONT brake while the handlebar was still cocked right. "Laugh In" splat!
Fortunately, got off easy and only broke a turn-signal lens on my R1200R. Bag scuffed too. Bruised ego the worst effect.
Just forgot that there is a time & place to use the front (linked) brakes. That scenario was not the time.
Before we righted the wallowing R1200R, I should have taken a pic, just to remind me what inattention can do.
Have had LOTS of these over the years, most of which have been described here. Sand/Gravel, new mods (new case guards on my Yamaha Turbo took me to the ground in front of close to a hundred of my peers in Mobile, AL once...). In the early '80s, I was leaving an establishment south of Houston. It was about 5 in the evening, and there were lots of attractive young ladies watching as I saddled up (on the same Yamaha Turbo). Did I mention that this was shortly after I bought my first Kryptonite lock, and it was neatly positioned around the front forks and through the front cast spokes? Hm. Started it up, and rocked it off the center stand with my feet on the pegs and gunned it. Oops.
The only GOOD thing was one of the girls was very sympathetic (and had wider shoulders than me..). Lifted it up enough for me to get my leg out. Stood the bike up, got the lock off, and tried to leave. In a hurry. On failed attempt #2, I still had the kick stand down. Interlock switch killed the motor the instant I let the clutch out. Put my foot down, slipped in the gravel, and there I was again. Even Miss Sympathy 1983 was laughing too hard to help that time. There are two kinds of riders. Those who have done something dumb and fallen over, and those who someday will.
Just finished the article in ON. Great one!
One item I did not see mentioned, but almost experienced myself & watched another guy do is the "engine killer" drop. This is where you go to start out & let the clutch out too fast, killing the engine, dropping the bike. I am pretty sure this is always caused by initiating a turn at the same time as starting, as I had my bike leaned a small amount when I did mine. I hurt my ankle doing this & saw a guy drop a new Kawi Connie 14 when he killed his bike starting out on an uphill, leaving a stopsign.
In response to your article in the ON, I thought I would share an incident which convinced me that you should ALWAYS be COMPLETELY ready for the road when you throw your leg over the bike.
I spent a night at a motel on the way to the Land of Enchantment rally at Sipapu, NM around 2003. When I got ready to leave that morning, I happened to have all my riding gear on, ready to ride. (I point this out, because before this I might not have had my gloves on, or even my helmet!)
As I pulled the bike off the centerstand, the side stand -- which must not have been fully extended -- folded up. The bike proceeded to fall towards me. As it did, the centerstand trapped the toe of my right boot, and then the bike slammed me to the asphalt.
My helmet hit hard on the asphalt, enough so there was a complete ring at the impact site, which required me to replace the helmet as soon as I could. Also, the center stand tang left a deep dent in the toe of my right boot, which persisted for several years.
I am convinced that if I had not had full riding gear on, ready to ride, my ride would have ended right there, with a trip to an emergency room! Instead, I got to do the embarrassing hunt for someone to help me right the bike.
My pre-ride checklist now includes having ALL my gear on (ATGATT!), and checking that the side stand is fully deployed before bringing the machine down off the center stand -- every time!
Food for thought...
BMWMOA # 35271
BMWRA # 12729
'79 R65 'Grey Ghost'
'86 K75T 'Black Beauty' (Gone, but not forgotten)
'99 R1100RT 'Greenbike' (RIP)
'99 R1100RT 'Greenbike II' (the sequel)
Most of us pull our bikes off the center stand from the left side of the bike. Our left hand is on the left grip, the right hand on on the lifting lever or some other part of the bike. We can't cover either brake. Unless the ground is slightly uphill or truly flat, there is a good chance it will keep rolling. A fully extended side stand will very likely retract when it touches the ground.
Solution: (This assumes that the rear tire is off the ground when the bike is on the center stand Put the bike in first gear before you leave it. When you pull the bike off the center stand, it will come to an abrupt halt, even if it is pointing down hill. That is the time to deploy the side stand. Then you can mount the bike, start the engine, and are good to go, after remembering to snick up the side stand.
I'm very grateful for the previous post. I just had not thought of that. I usually back my bike out of the shed in street clothes, park it in the level drive (sometimes on the center stand for cleaning or packing) but usually leave the bike in neutral. While that has always worked at my home, there are clearly scenes where it would not work. I think leaving the bike in gear when you use the center stand would be sound advice and good general practice.
I'm sure we would all agree that avoiding accidents beats surviving them with damaged gear. That's the reason for this response. We all have more that we can learn from each other.
I have had a couple of experiences riding on ferries with my R200RT...and they pertain to this thread on not dropping a bike. I have found that most of the time, metal parking decks on ferries are wet. As a result any movement is a little perilous.
One ferry (Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ) had a crewman who gave me precise instructions in parking the bike...90-dgrees to the rail, on the side-stand, in first gear, bars canted to the left. He chocked in the front wheel, and on a pretty rough passage, the bike didn't quiver. I wanted to tie it down, but he would not let me. Here's how it looked:
On another ferry (Orient Point, NY to New London, CT), I and a bunch of Harley riders were left to our own devices. I ended up about 45-dergrees to the rail, on the side-stand, in first gear but with a ratcheting strap securing the bike to the side of the boat. Again, an OK passage. The Harley riders either sat on their bikes, or borrowed rope from the ferry. Here's how that ride looked and note the wet, slippery deck:
Finally, on a very rough passage from Martha's Vineyard to Woods Hole, MA, a group of about 20 bikes was parked on the back end of the deck. When it became apparent how rough the ocean was, all riders were instructed to sit on their bikes. Most did so with the side-stand down.
2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
a corollary... hopefully it hasn't been mentioned above, put the bike in first gear when backing it off a trailer. yes, you can trailer your beemer from time to time, we won't laugh.
the front brake is very ineffective when backing down a slope.
But with the bike in gear, you get much better control using the clutch, letting it out slightly when needed to allow the engine's compression to act as a brake.
Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
'67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e
In my experience, the absolutely fool proof method of not dropping a bike is to only ride where there are no other BMW riders.
It's kind of like the airhead gearbox crunch, you can ride 30,000Km without a single crunch, however the first time you pull up to a rally with a bunch of riders standing around you'll make the world's loudest shift.
In support of this theory I offer the time my airhead was over on it's right side on the grass at Finger Lakes and there I was standing upright with the left handlebar grip in my hand........Obviously needed a better glue.......Of course there were also a bunch of BMW riders to witness the event.....Regards, Rod.
Work is the curse of the riding class
I've told numerous people that since I wrote the original draft of "Don't Drop the Bike" it was great advice for at least one person. Me. Not a single drop since I wrote the first draft a few years ago. That record ended yesterday.
What I SHOULD have added to the article is "don't ride the bike when you have been drinking." Well, you know that. I know that. But how hard can it be to ride 20 feet from where you have just washed the bike in your driveway to the shed it lives in? Answer: too hard.
I'm not exactly sure how the bike ended up on its left side at a weird angle to the ramp (which possibly tells you something about the ratio of wine to wash water.) Then, contrary to my own advice, I did try to lift it. No go, though my back today attests to the effort. Then I did the smart thing and called my neighbour.
We got it upright, got the mirror back in it's holders (K RS mirrors always fall off in a tipover) and I then did get the bike in the shed under power. Don't think there is even a scratch on the bike. Just another lesson learned at no cost except to my pride.
Today, I thought very seriously about keeping this dumb little event to myself. Then I thought about all of you who contributed your own dumb little events to this thread, both before and after the published article, in hopes of helping someone avoid your mistakes. I decided I would feel more ashamed by NOT revealing my idiocy than by sharing it.