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Sounds like many of you really hammer it out in the twisties. Well as much as I like to get on it. My fear is going through a turn and meeting up with the gravel all over the lane. This translates to much slower speeds in the corners, yes I know it's safer and more legal blah blah blah blah. But regardless. I have just run across so many turns where there is debris that was unseen entering the turn. I always look way ahead and all. But because of the tightness or the tall grass, weeds, trees elevation etc you just can't see it. But as soon as the lane is clear look out my fuel level is dropping. So what to do, besides take it to the track?
 

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Gixxinator said:
So what to do, besides take it to the track?
Your options besides taking it to the track are to either continue to exercise caution in the twisties, or to get more aggressive there and ignore your instincts.
 

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I'll usually ride the roads I like at a slow pace the first time just to see the condition of the roads before I decide to ride it at speed on another pass through the same road.
 

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The road can change from one pass to the next. So it still boils down to the same two options.
 

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+1 whenever i ride new trails on four wheelers and dirt bikes i always make a slow pass to look for stumps/rocks and other stuff that could cause major carnage. and then the second pass i go nuts through it!......if its ok to
 

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Back in Black
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Coming across gravel mid-corner happened to me and a buddy in the Mountains. Was running about 50 mph, and nearly highsided the 2 of us off a cliff. LUCKILY, we didn't highside, just crapped out pants instead.

Now, I try to make a slow run first (ESPECIALLY on unfamiliar roads), then hit it again hard.
 

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my worst fear is riding in the rain and gravel in a turn. Taking the MSF course, they test you on a turn, and the turn we had was not level and was FILLED with gravel, I was scared to take it fast because I didnt want to low-side infront of 8 other people! Everyone passed the class but me, I got a 22, the highest you can get was 20. I took the turn too fast and went over the line :( We talked to the guy and got a 2 hour private lesson. when I got there, I said F*ck it, re-took the whole course and got a 2 (put my foot down on the box). It was scary going over that gravel at 15 but I trusted the dude, so now I got my license :)
 

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21natas said:
I'll usually ride the roads I like at a slow pace the first time just to see the condition of the roads before I decide to ride it at speed on another pass through the same road.
+1
I'd always make a quick pass of the road(s) i planned on hitting hard first just to see if there was any severe gravel in the area.


Eyespy said:
The road can change from one pass to the next. So it still boils down to the same two options.
True, if you leave a substantial amount of time in between the passes. Yes some extra gravel could come down but I would believe the odds of it changing drastically would be low.
 

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travel up and down the road once and go over it hard. If you still don't like that idea then take it to the track.

I hear you, because I feel the same way. It seems like all the fun in having a motorcycle is in the twisties, and in texas there just aren't to many of those.
 

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Rascus said:
+1
I'd always make a quick pass of the road(s) i planned on hitting hard first just to see if there was any severe gravel in the area.




True, if you leave a substantial amount of time in between the passes. Yes some extra gravel could come down but I would believe the odds of it changing drastically would be low.
Except that the gravel doesn't always just get there by coming down naturally.
 

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I think that is a fear we all share. Being cautious is really the only smart thing to do. The other option will eventually lead you to a crash. I know it scares the hell out of me, especially in early spring when all the cinders and sand are still on the road from winter. I feel the rear break loose and my heart starts beating like a trip hammer!
 

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When riding a road, you are new to, then take it easy. If able to ride it back then do so & later on hit that road & forth a number of times. After a while you get the hang of the road & what to watch out for.

Still if it is basically a one or two times you might ride said road then ride with some sensible caution.

I have several I pound almost weekly & know them almost as well as the logging rig people that pound the same roads two or three times a day year in & year out.

Still first time of the season on some real tight uphill twisties I did NOT ride with caution for the start of the season, hit gravel/sand spilled by a truck & in going down fractured three ribs along with tearing right shoulder muscles front & back. Pure stupidity upon my part. Still that was back in June of '03.
 

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we have some excellent twisties here in part of Pa/De but there also tends to quite a bit of gravel here and there, this really makes me ride almost gingerly at times, I rarely get too aggressive in turns do to the amount of gravel I have spotted.
 

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Gixxinator wrote: My fear is going through a turn and meeting up with the gravel all over the lane.
Gravel can indeed be a big problem. But it's also something you can learn to deal with.

The best thing is to see it before it becomes a problem. You say you "always look way ahead", but that may not be best, because you can overlook hazards that are difficult to see until you get closer. In Sport Riding Techniques, Nick Ienatsch writes:
...you can't simply focus on the horizon, because there are plenty of nasty things like bumps, diesel fuel, sand, and spare tires waiting to trip you. Street riders can't count on a perfect surface like roadracers can, so you need to scan the pavement, not just jump your eyes to the horizon. Scan constantly, moving your eyes from the path immediately in front of you to the farthest point you can see in the corner..."
Of course, you can round a blind corner to find gravel. But it's unlikely that it will be all across the road. More likely, there will be a clear path through it because cars tend to clean the road in their tire tracks. So when entering a blind turn, try to stay out of the center of the lane and move to one or the other of the car tire tracks. Also, stay away from the shoulder on a blind right-hander because gravel is sometimes kicked up by vehicles cutting the corner tight.

Another skill to develop is adjusting line in mid-turn. On the street, your speed should always allow you to alter your line to avoid a hazard between the time it first appears in your field of view until the time you reach it. Practice occasionally moving your line in or out as you round a turn. By matching speed to sightline and developing confidence in your ability to adapt to the situation, the threat of gravel will be easier to handle.

If all else fails, you may have to go through gravel. As intimidating as it might seem, it's really not all that bad. Make sure you take it on the gas. I'm not suggesting you whack it open, but that you maintain constant throttle and accelerate smoothly. A motorcycle cornering on a dicey surface under a little bit of throttle is remarkably capable of dealing with it. I think most riders get into trouble on gravel when they panic and chop the throttle or, worse, hit the brakes. BTW, if you absolutely must brake on gravel, do it only after straightening the motorcycle back up to vertical.

The point about accelerating brings up an important point about braking into a blind turn. If you trail-brake, don't do it if you can't see the apex of the turn. Get your braking done early and get on the gas early. If you are surprised by a patch just out of sight at turn entry, you'll be accelerating by the time you hit it, and the motorcycle will be better able to handle it.

Finally, consider some dirt road practice. A smoothly graded dirt road can easily be handled by any street motorcycle. My first similar experience was when I found that one of my favorite sport riding roads had just been chip sealed (where they put down a tar sealant and cover it with a thick layer of gravel). Figuring that the road would be better just ahead, I kept going, only to find miles of the stuff. But I got the hang of it and actually had a lot of fun. Getting the bike sideways and kicking up a little roost was easier than I thought. I now practice regularly both on a sport bike and a touring bike.

edit, 19:30 EDT: One more point about line adjustment: Gravel is most likely to cause a crash at turn-in, when your front tire is heavily loaded. If you see gravel as you approach a turn, either get your steering done before you hit it, so you can hit it on the gas, or delay turn-in until you're past it.
 

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Funny topic.. I don't ride very fast (as thought about from friends) so we all went to a track day to see who was the fastest in our group.. R1's GSXR 1000 and 600's so for the most part all had the bike to wax anything I had to offer, even in my opion. Out on the tract was a different story. Although I didn't have the fastest lap of the day, I was passing all but one and lap quite a few. This all on a 03 Aprilia Futura... Talk about supprised looks...
The point is you really shouldn't be going that fast as to not be able to react to what is down the road... Find your limits on the tract....
 

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Sounds to me like you've been going about things safely. As I'm also in the midwest, I'm used to seeing a lot of gravel on the roads. My best advice is to memorize sections of road that tend to have gravel and ride especially careful when you're on an unfamiliar road. I also tend to ride on the inside 3rd of the lane as most gravel tends to stay in the center of the lane after being kicked around by traffic.
 
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