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Old 3rd October 2015, 15:53   #1
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Default Big Bikes & Safety

For those who read my articles on Team BHP on the ownership of my HD Superlow, then my Super Glide and some await the long overdue Fat Boy ownership review.
But something has taken precedence- big bike safety. The biker fraternity was shocked by the loss of three exotic bikes in short succession, a Daytona 675R, a Ducati 821 and then the super classic S1000R HP4- which not only alone cost upwards of 50L on the road, but also cost the rider his life.

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I had started writing about my experiences of owning helmets and how the poor quality of the same were affecting riders around me when they got into Crashes. A loose poor fitting helmet caused a riding buddy multiple fractures on the front of his face, from above his eyebrows to around his cheek bones- all because he had a poorly fitting helmet that bashed into his face on impact with the object he collided with.

I have covered helmets, safety gear and monsoon roads among other topics and my latest one actually affects more people than those that publicly admit getting terrorised on bends.

Full body gear and possibly the most expensive helmet could not save the rider of this bike- but then basic exercises and a certain tempering of judgement would have prevented this highside that caused the fatality.

Big Bikes & Safety-daytona657r.jpg

Coming to my latest article on leaning, could I request you to go to your garage and check your rear tire- and see if you notice banding. When you ride on the highways look at the tires of the guys ahead of you- see if you notice it- or you see a good even wear/tear, which would indicate a good rider- suprising how much you would learn by watching others while riding.

This is banding-

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The main reason that causes this is the fear of leaning. The probable causes and a variety of exercises that one could safely do in the confines of a building compound or a school basketball court to help with this- are in my blog.
Many pointers on choosing the right exit on a corner- like an example shown below.

Big Bikes & Safety-lean6.jpeg

Here I want to highlight the fact that I meed many riders whos' claims are always measured in how many miles you have done. I label then 'quality miles.' What those thousands do is train your brain concentrate on riding long and hard- but at the end of the day- a four-wheeler breaking in front of you, a dog stepping out from a median, a pedestrian stepping out from the front of a bus- only your elbows and flexing forearms are going to save you.
Straightening up while breaking on bends- one day will land up in running off the road or then running into oncoming traffic. I feel its almost every quarter that you should just get together with friends and try out the exercises mentioned in the blog.

Big Bikes & Safety-circles.jpg

Team-BHP has a fantastic following that would enable me to get more thoughts on what I could write on, express on with regards to topics which are not with adequate data in the Indian subcontinent frame of things.
Topics and thoughts are always welcome.

Last edited by manson : 3rd October 2015 at 18:09. Reason: Image left out, spellings :-P
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Old 5th October 2015, 11:33   #2
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Default re: Big Bikes & Safety

Riding Gear:

I never fully understood the importance of gear until I was sliding down the highway watching as my motorcycle sent sparks flying as it scraped the asphalt at 100 kmph.

A stray dog suddenly appeared 2 feet in front of me, jumping out of the bushes in the median of the highway. It was dusk and the hedge was thick. Before I could do anything, I heard the dog yelp and I was rolling on the road. I thought that this was the end of the road, as far as my life was concerned. I prepared for the inevitable.

And then I stopped sliding and stood up. I was OK. No broken bones, no cuts, no scrapes. The riding jacket I was wearing, wasn’t even scratched. The speed hump saved my neck and prevented my helmet from touching the ground. My riding pants (Spidi Furious), which I spent 200 euros on were dusty but again, no abrasions or tears.

I ran to the side of the road and stood there while my riding mates picked up my bike and moved it to the side of the road. I immediately went to the dog to see if it was ok, but unfortunately it died instantly.

My motorcycle was saved from major damage by the crash bars I installed just before this ride as well as the saddle bags that bore the impact. The front rotor was warped from the impact and the brakes were not really working correctly.

I sat by the side of the road for what seemed like a long time and was both amazed and overjoyed to be alive. Amazed because in the morning before I left Bombay, I was toying between wearing my perforated leather jacket and my mesh jacket. In the end, my girlfriend said wear the leather jacket, it seems safer. I did as I was told and even at 4:45 am in muggy Bombay, I briefly toyed with going back home and changing into the mesh as I was sweating 5 minutes into the ride. I was relieved and overjoyed that I listened to her and wore the leathers.

Had I been wearing my mesh jacket, I'd probably have had to end my trip in Kanpur, and would definitely have broken a few bones and had some serious road rash.

The guys riding behind me were (positively) shocked that I was ok and had absolutely no injuries. One of them, a doctor, said that his medical training came back to him as he saw he rolling down the highway. He was expecting the worst. He said later that he couldn’t believe that I walked away from the crash without as much as a scratch.

With some levering, the rotor was fixed and I managed to ride on to Bhutan, where a drunk taxi driver driving on the wrong side of the highway hit me (yes, I had a massive run of bad luck) at 40 kmph.

Again, thanks to the gear, I had no injuries (except a sore calf where the taxi struck me) and only a broken rear brake pedal. The jacket's titanium shoulder pad was smashed and the riding pants had some scrapes but other than that, nothing.

The point I'm trying to make is that never ever ever stint on gear and make sure you buy the best you can. It will DEFINITELY save your life. After the various accidents, I've come to realize what they mean by sweat is better than blood. Ride Safe!
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Old 5th October 2015, 15:28   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer & Anvil View Post
Team-BHP has a fantastic following that would enable me to get more thoughts on what I could write on, express on with regards to topics which are not with adequate data in the Indian subcontinent frame of things.
Topics and thoughts are always welcome.
Well done sir and keep it coming.

A very relevant topic close to my own heart, especially with the reach and opinion shaping powers of Team BHP.

IMO, any such blog in India needs to ask this question to riding enthusiasts first:

Consider a small town doodhwaala or a dhobi who has had no school education and can barely read/write, on his Bajaj CT100 (no disrespect meant to man or machine). Now picture yourself in front of your 1200cc gleaming behemoth of a performance machine.

Now ask yourself this question:

Is it fair for the licensing authorities to treat both of you the same and train, test & issue the same type of bike license?

If the answer is a resounding NO WAY!, then at least you realise that there is a huge missing gap somewhere which needs to be filled up voluntarily in the absence of a government initiative.

Part of the solution lies in following such locally relevant blogs and at least being aware of your own lack of formal training & road safety skills compared with rest of the developed world.

Second common issue seen frequently here on this forum and elsewhere, is the mixing up of road safety training topics with race track topics.

This is one 'Khichdi' which can never, ever taste good.

If your bike is up to international standards, why should your road safety training be of any lesser standard?

The key message here is:

First learn to make yourself & others safe on the road as per Indian road conditions and limits, and reserve your speeding & cornering skills for the race track. If you can afford to buy a performance machine, surely you can afford a track day or two.

Best of luck again and I leave you with this compelling poster for our shared 'mission':

Big Bikes & Safety-foolvscool.jpg
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Old 5th October 2015, 15:57   #4
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Default re: Big Bikes & Safety

A very appropriate thread at a time when people with more money than brains have access to the best motorcycles in the world.
I cant even remember the number of times I have seen young guys barely out of school/college buying these machines and crashing them all over the place.
The system, Yes its flawed. A 100 cc commuter is in no way shape or form equal to a 1000cc rocket but the license to ride both is same.
More importantly the parents who normally have a huge say should actively promote safe riding.
Lastly, the rider themselves are wholly responsible for what and how they ride.
That brings me to the safety gear. I cant stress enough how important this is when riding a fast motorcycle. It will and it has saved lives.
One will crash someday the idea is to not let it happen sooner and if it does happen to make the fall as safe as possible.

Last edited by bigron : 5th October 2015 at 15:58.
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Old 5th October 2015, 16:08   #5
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Default re: Big Bikes & Safety

Regardless of the class of bikes, I have a few mantras that I stick to:

1. Put on riding gear whenever possible. Grocery shopping/visiting relatives etc are grey areas. But, helmet, gloves and shoes are mandatory all the time.

2. Just because my bike can do 120 kmph doesn't mean I do 120 kmph all the time. If I think I won't be able to stop above 90 kmph if there is an emergency like situation (dog, man, cattle, car, truck etc) within a reasonable distance; I would stay under 90.

3. I would practice proper braking techniques and work on my reaction timings. I watch Keith Code's Twist of the wrist at regular intervals.

4. Learn how to fall. Don't out-stretch your arms while taking a fall. I got this funda after breaking 2 bones and 2 dislocated bones despite all the gear.

5. Don't outrun your lights.

6. Keep at least 20-25% of your bike's power for overtaking moves. In short, use up to 75-80% of max power, or speed. Improves engine life as well as helps during overtaking maneuvers .
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Old 6th October 2015, 10:31   #6
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Default Re: Big Bikes & Safety

"Dress for the crash" and "You skin looks better on you than on the road" are slogans you hear every day or on the signature of many riders across Forums from Canada to Australia.

This Sunday, on the Seven Islands ride to Igatpuri, about 110Km on NH 3 towards Nasik, we had an incident inspite of following a brilliant leader to sweeper team of 9 riders.

Light drizzle, and absolutely just 'a' shower described the beautiful ride. Average speeds of 100-110 and light traffic with the absence of the usual jokers wanting to chase you to take pictures. The ride was as good as it could get.

So what happened next- Sachin D, who was riding on down the last sweeping right hander coming down the Kasara Ghats, doing about 100- had a dog come across and his bike t-boned the dog- and Sachins bike fell to the right, into his angle of lean. The road was clear- no traffic, the Dog came from nowhere.

Amidst 10 riders, clear roads, dry downhill- fast- no reason to worry about gear- and that changed in a fraction of a second- and everyone who hit the brakes to avoid Sachins falling bike must have had their ways in blessing that everyone, save one, was dressed in almost as good as gear-cover can get.

Sachins crashguard- worked as his talisman- and it was amazing to watch for the 6 bikers behind him - that the FatBoy went skidding for about 25 meters or maybe more, keeled over scraping the crashguard and his floorboard pans- with him astride- before responding to Sachins frantic endeavours to control the bike and it righted itself- and after stabilizing, the bike stopped about >100meters ahead of the stunned riders who braked to avoid running over the expected spill.

The rider was lucky, but the rider was geared well enough and i would even hazard a small bit that the subconscious knowing he was dressed well, allowed him to concentrate on regaining control rather than wondering which palm to ground to brace for impact.

Being involved with the Seven Islands Harley Chapter here in Mumbai, I get to see riders who come in, barely dressed for the ride, let alone for the act. It feels so distressing and patronising when you tell them that these bikes weigh a good lot more than themselves- and that this one-degree of comfort that possibly allowed Sachin to look more for control than brace for the crash saved him from a nasty spill.

The Crash guard, which almost every rider tells a newcomer to the group did its job. The safety gear worked at a mental level- It is so important. So Important.
-The Real Slim KD
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Old 6th October 2015, 15:49   #7
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Lovely thread with some great tips! Here's another one - Thanks to Gotham City for sharing the video in another thread.

Watch out for unmarked bumps, especially in a country like ours where there is no regulation & locals install their own speed bumps. Am glad the rider made it out okay from this crash:

Last edited by GTO : 6th October 2015 at 15:50.
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Old 6th October 2015, 16:14   #8
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Default Re: Big Bikes & Safety

I can vouch for the Engine Guard. One a trip to Corbett a few months back, I was rear ended by another Road King and it was the engine guard which saved the bike from any damage. My Heritage just tilted and sat on the engine guard and I could NOT pick it up alone once it was down until I was helped by other HOGs. It's 340 kg mass came into play. Thankfully the OE engine guard (costs about 17k) saved it from a single scratch. The only damage happened to the rear indicator which was due to the impact of the other bike.

Last edited by dkaile : 6th October 2015 at 16:17.
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Old 6th October 2015, 16:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...
thanks to ...
Hypermotard- i stand corrected, not the 821.

Same bike thats broken into three in the first picture on this thread.
The insurance guys leaked the clip and its made its way to the internet- many say its an education.

Last edited by Hammer & Anvil : 6th October 2015 at 17:23. Reason: unnecessary double link to video deleted.
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Old 6th October 2015, 17:10   #10
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Default Re: Big Bikes & Safety

I woke up at 4 a.m today morning with the sound of a Whatsapp. Turns out it was someone on one of the KTM groups forwarding a couple of videos of "biker stunting accident gone wrong at BKC, four died instantly."

Thinking it was our Mumbai walla BKC I downloaded the videos trepidatiously and viewed them.

Man ....

Couldn't sleep after that. Shaken by the sheer violence of the domino crashes.

Turns out in the morning a friend from Mumbai tells me it happened in a BKC in Malaysia. Very disturbing all the same. Trying to ape Fast and Furious type movies ....

Guys, please do not race on the roads.

Cheers, Doc
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Old 6th October 2015, 17:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Lovely thread with some great tips! Here's another one - Thanks to Gotham City for sharing the video in another thread.
That video made me cringe. I don't mean to dump on the rider here, but is it advisable to ride that quick on a narrow village road, like in the video? There could be any number of small bumps that could catch you off-guard like the unfortunate Multistrada rider.

However, I don't think most riders learn their lesson until they have a crash. I myself had the misfortune of a small spill on my C350 which woke me up to these damn homemade speedbreakers.

Last edited by AbelAFC : 6th October 2015 at 17:13. Reason: removed the video.
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Old 6th October 2015, 17:20   #12
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Quote:
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Watch out for unmarked bumps, especially in a country like ours
Thank you for sharing this, GTO. No sympathies for this rider although I'm glad that he is alive. I had seen this video earlier in a local Ducati forum and shared my thoughts as follows:

Unlike the developed world, in India one has to unlearn the standard habit of keeping one's eyes on the far horizon and instead focus on every invisible object the road might throw up to dislodge a rider - unmarked speed bumps & structural disjoints in the road surface, pot holes, branches of trees, cow dung, bricks, stones, debris, animals & sometimes even stray human beings!

This video also underscores exactly what I mentioned earlier in this thread:

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First learn to make yourself & others safe on the road as per Indian road conditions and limits, and reserve your speeding & cornering skills for the race track.
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Old 6th October 2015, 17:32   #13
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Absolutely agree with the points made above by outofthebox and ebonho.

Many friends of mine blame the infrastructure and lack of symbols along the road, but then if one is flying at 150 kmph then it's not going to be seen anyways.

So, we should follow road speed limits as much as possible (~80-100 kmph for all 2 wheelers minus scoots) and for anything more than that, please hire a runway or head to a race track.
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Old 7th October 2015, 19:40   #14
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What an excellent thread! Goes to show that in the absence of govt regulations to tame silly riders on our deadly roads, these threads and blogs are the way to go to knock some sense into irresponsible riders. Little do they realize that they run the risk of life of the self and fellow commuters on the road.

I don't ride lately, have been out of the biking scene for a good 3 years now but I've retained my riding gear with me. Knowing fully well that when I'm ready to sit on the saddle again, I'll be much safer than what I'd be without it.

This thread also reminds me of a fall that I had during the heydays of my motorcycling. I crashed my Electra 350 when a dog appeared from the bushes on a country road when I was doing a leisurely 60-70 kph. I had to brake hard and the bike fish-tailed and dragged for a good 10-20 metres. I jumped off in time, rolled over and stood up without a scratch thanks to the protective gear on me.

One of the biggest culprits are ill-fitting helmets. During a crash, an ill-fitting helmet would come off or misalign thereby causing grievous injury to the jaw, broken tooth and what not! People spend lacs on bikes and a pittance on helmets! Never quite understood this. I guess its because most people don't value life so much! I really wish this changes for good. Please bear in mind, good helmets are expensive. Go ahead and spend that extra bit for your precious head. It's what your head deserves!
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Old 8th October 2015, 04:14   #15
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Default Re: Big Bikes & Safety

Anyone watched this video? Racing on highways amidst traffic can actually result in something terrible. This happened on Delhi agra highway!



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