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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I've got a matt black 2008 S3 with a few carbon modifications. I bought it August last year. I never had any experience with such big engines and it has almost been more than 5 years since I last had a bike. Therefore I consider myself quite the "beginner". But .. I love the bike more than any other vehicle I ever had.

I had a really strange accident about 3 weeks ago which ended up in a broken right hand and injured left shoulder. I am almost ready to get back on the road but Id like to get your feedback on how to prevent similar accidents in future.

I was going 40 km/h in the city but quite close to the car in front of me. Old story.. the car suddenly stops without any reason, I am too close. What are my options? An advanced rider would probably get out of this position without any breaks.. but by instinct, I apply hard front break to stop. A split second later, I hear a "squeeak" from the front tire and next thing.. I am on the floor, falling on my right hand and than hitting the ground with my left shoulder.

I've no idea how and what happened.. I somehow fell off the bike. I am sure that it did not flip over the front wheel but the bike somehow fell on the left side, sliding down the road and me rolling on on the other side of the asphalt.

Lessons learnt..
1. never ride too close to the car in front
2. want to know what can i do when the front wheel locks? or to never lock it? seems like I have no chance at all to release the break once its locked. It all happens instantly and you're on the floor!

thanks for any feedback from expert riders!
Baris
 

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it's also possible that you snatched the front brake and squeezed it too quickly, thereby shocking the front tire into locking up.

racers always talk about gradually increasing pressure / load on the front suspension.

Granted, it was an emergency scenario, but it also could have been avoided by not riding in the center of the lane during urban / traffic scenarios and when following closely. I've had my fair share of scares riding in the center of the lane in traffic......the car can straddle roadkill (or monstrous chicago pot holes), and you cant see it....BAM.

Always have an out. Always, even stopped at a light, have a path of escape. They teach this in drivers ed.
 

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This is why one must practice panic stops as well as the avoidance techniques Darkhorse posted about. Read "Proficient Motorcycling" and Keith Code "Twist of the Wrist II". The idea is to train yourself so that your instinct is the CORRECT maneuver rather than locking the front wheel and getting spit off.

Hoping you heal quickly.
 

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What hapened???!!!

You locked the front wheel, it tucked under and flipped you onto your side. Textbook crash. You want a visual reference... check out the start of the P-Diddy "Missing You" video and watch him go down - this actually happened while filming the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YpoNmZDr3c

In the future, practice panic breaking using BOTH brakes... starting at slow speeds and without anyone around. Braking about 70-80% front/20-30% rear. Get to know your bike and your brakes limitations. Then learn your own limitations.

You are off to a good start by realizing you need to increase/vary your following distance based on speed, braking ability and road conditions. You can avoid a repeat by not putting yourself in the same situatin again. We all have to ride in bumer to bumper traffic - that's not in our control - but you control your speed and following distance.

Heal up and good luck!
 

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Best advice I can give you about this is to get some advanced rider training. Where in the world are you? If you're in North America, you probably want a branch of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
 

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What would an experienced rider do to likely result in a different outcome?

- Don't follow so close!

- Don't let the front tire lock up. If it locks, release it immediately and re-apply it. A front wheel lock-up will cause a crash every time. Practice panic braking in a parking lot. You should be able to apply max pressure to the front brake without it locking the wheel.

- Have an escape route planned for any given second and for any given scenario at any given time.

- Assume that the driver in front of you is going to do something stupid. Assume that the drivers to the left and right of you are gonna do something stupid. Assume that the driver behind you is gonna do something stupid. Assume that the drivers in front, back, left, and right of all of them will do something stupid. Know what you need to do to not be affected by any of it when it happens. Its a chess game. And its part of the fun.
 

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I got LUCKY a month ago.

I wasn't following too close, but I was day dreaming and looked off from the road. When I looked back up I was doing 60mph toward the back of a no longer moving car.

I panicked and smashed the front break. The sequel and smell scared me off the lever and then I reapplied as I normally would, slowly squeezing the lever.

I changed my shorts then rode the next day.
 

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I had similar past experience. Here is some advice:
- check your front suspension. Too soft will cause easier lockup - weight transfer takes longer until it compresses the forks, while grab on lever locks the underweight wheel.
- do not use full hand on brake lever. Learn to use 2 fingers, much better control of application. With 4 fingers most of force is exerted by 2 "external" digits (more leverage - longer distance to pivot), definitely less capable of precise movement because these are more extended when brake not applied.
- always ride with 2 fingers on brake - speeds reaction and because of this gives you more time to apply smooth pull instead of jerk.
- practice panic stops. I know, it is scary, but keep on doing it and you will find this becoming progressively easier and initial speed rising. After hour of Saturday morning practice you'll surprise yourself how your confidence in traffic suddenly grew.
- Always position yourself in traffic that you can have escape route - either to between lanes or to the side of the road.
- be watchful of cars (usually women in vans/SUVs) "riding brake" in slow traffic. If she decides to suddenly hit the brakes, you wont be warned by brake light - it's already on - and you will see just fast approaching rear of the stopped vehicle.

This is what I got from mental analysis after my mishap. Good luck.
 

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Everybody above me already said it and I agree with them. As a MSF Rider Coach here in the US we teach to SQUEEZE the front brake and not GRAB it. It's a learned skill. If you do lock the front wheel release the lever and reapply pressure by squeezing. I recomend pratice! Heal well. I also broke both my hands last September after hitting a deer on my Thruxton at night so I know how slow healing and painful a broken hand it. 4 screws in my laft hand holding it together but no road rash. Got to love Vanson leathers:)
 

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I do test stops at different speeds. Iv found that If I put all pressure on my rear break quickly before I begin gently but quickly applying the front break I can stop on a dime without worrying about doing an endo
 

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I think Bohdan is spot on. In addition to taking a rider class, practice in a safe place. If you live in the US, the Motorcycle Safety Association has good classes that will even get you a reduction on insurance.

You cannot really practice panic maneuvers. When your brain gets overloaded with input, threat, you go with how you train. That being said, the more you practice hard stopping, stopping on a wet surface, quick steering input as an avoidance maneuver the better off you will be.

And yes, locking the front will take you down. But hard stop practice will build muscle memory. And don't tailgate!

My final 2 cents worth. The size of the engine really does not matter that much. IMHO, It's the weight and the wheel base (length of the bike) that really matters. A big road bike like a Gold Wing can usually stop faster than a sport bike! It's length keeps the rear wheel planted longer and lets you maximize stopping power as it won't do a stoppie as quickly. Not intuitive but I've read about this and proved it on a practice area.

Cheers!
 

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all good advice, only thing i want to add is to not pull in the clutch and let the engine slow you down. pulling in the clutch will just speed you up....
 

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Funny how I always hear people say that the car in front stopped for 'no reason' and that's why they hit them.

I always wonder if they would have missed them if they stopped for a reason. ;)
 

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Too much motorcycle, not enough experience. Don't follow so close. Give yourself room to go to plan B if needed. You can die on these things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi everyone!

Thanks a million for your replies. I've already started taking action to avoid such accidents and to improve my riding. To summarize;

1. I've already ordered the motorcycling profeciency and twist of wrist II books. :)

2. Will always keep distance to the cars in front and always will have an escape route planned.

3. will keep two fingers on the break and will train to emergency break with two fingers only on different surfaces at different speeds. This however contradicts with the road test in Switzerland (where I live). I have a friend whom got suspended from the road test because he did not put all 4 of his fingers on breaks! in any case, 2 finger breaking sounds like a really good idea.

4. I read in quite a few sites that S3 1050, as delivered, the fork dives too much under hard braking. Did you all S3 riders get your front suspension re-adjusted (stiffened?).

Thanks
Baris
 

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This however contradicts with the road test in Switzerland (where I live). I have a friend whom got suspended from the road test because he did not put all 4 of his fingers on breaks! in any case, 2 finger breaking sounds like a really good idea.
Don't worry too much about what the road test examiner said. On my road test in England I was also yelled at for using 2 fingers instead of 4 (but passed the test) but all the advanced riders I know use two.

Watch what other riders do. It's often easy to distinguish "good" riders from "bad", look at junctions to observe things like which foot do they put down, how many fingers on the brake and so on.
 

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all good advice, only thing i want to add is to not pull in the clutch and let the engine slow you down. pulling in the clutch will just speed you up....
I'm sorry but I just don't get this. It's not the first time I hear the comment, and it just doesn't make any sense to me.

Both the front and rear break have PLENTY of stopping power to lock both wheels easily, why would you need the engine compression? It seems it would just complicate the modulation process by adding an additional variable.

If someone can give some insight (physics, not "my uncle told me...) as to why people keep saying this I would really appreciate it.
 

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Edit:If you're talking about emergency stopping, you should Defintely have the clutch in, and be ready to have the bike in the correct gear to help you in the event that you need an escape route immediately. Slamming on the brakes with the clutch out and in 4th or 5th gear isn't going to help you at all.
 

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The only reason why you might NOT want to pull the clutch in while stopping quickly is if youre using your rear brake. It'll make it a bit more difficult to lock up the rear tire, which could throw you into a highside if you slide, then let it catch.
Well, I speculate, I've never tried to lock my rear with the clutch engaged.

I always pull the clutch in on an emergency stop.
 

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Emergency stop - that says it all, it's an emergency and the task is to stop.

You want to apply maximum braking, not merely "enough". The engine will help you stop if you leave the clutch alone.

The reason for pulling the clutch is so that the engine won't stall when you're at or near "stopped". If you've stopped in time, it would be "nice" not to stall the bike but hardly essential.

On the other hand, it's probably easier to react quickly by squeezing all levers and pedals.
 
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