Pick your brain

Discussion in 'Australian Motorcycles' started by John Smith 1882, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Hi All,
    Being a newbie to the whole motorcycle thing I thought I'd just run a
    few topics past you all that I've been pondering and would like to get some
    feedback on these topics:

    1)Pot holes/cracks in pavement etc. How do you handle pot holes and bumps?
    What is the best way to take them? What not to do when going over rough

    2)Riding in the rain. What sort of gear to wear? General safety tips. Am I
    going to look like a drowned rat coming into work if it has been raining? Is
    driving my car the only option for rainy days?

    3)Speed bumps. Similar to pot hole questions except they're reverse pot
    holes, however is enough clearance a big worry.

    4)Riding to places where formal/semi formal attire is a must (i.e. the
    office, dinner etc.). General tips. Does the clothing get crushed to
    buggery? Wear the clothes under leathers etc.? or take in backpack?

    Thanks for any help that can be offered.

    John Smith 1882
    John Smith 1882, Jan 9, 2006
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  2. Get your swerving skills up and get around them. Or just slow down.

    No, ride in the rain with good rain gear: plastic jacket over your
    leather jacket and plastic rain pants. Keep the pants away from hot
    pipes. Sounds obvious but I got caught this way because I didn't take
    mine off before maneuvering the big bike when parking. Still haven't got
    the melted plastic off the pipes.
    No. Don't take the 25 kph ones at more than 45 kph until you've had

    A suit will look a little crumpled after riding with rain gear on. Keep
    a suit at work and change into it there. Change back to jeans and jacket
    before riding home. Ask someone with a car to take your dinner suit to
    the wedding.
    Stephen Calder, Jan 9, 2006
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  3. John Smith 1882

    James Harvey Guest

    Cracks.. they'd have to be pretty big cracks to notice. Potholes.. watch
    where you are going. I haven't gone through one yet, but I don't
    imagine blowing a tire would be much fun. If you see one on the road,
    don't stare at it, you will tend to ride towards it. Don't ride through
    dirty great puddles because they can hide potholes. If you are riding on
    a really shocking unmaintained road, just slow down.
    DriRider jackets are pretty good but won't keep you 100% dry in really
    heavy rain or on very long trips in my experience. They really keep the
    wind out though. You want to keep your hands dry with some good gloves
    because cold wind on wet hands is nasty. Never tried it myself but some
    people recommend two pairs of gloves. I've got some waterproof pants
    that go on over your clothes, they do the trick nicely. Invest in some
    good boots. They're pretty much all waterproof as far as I know. That's
    as much as I've used in the way of wet weather gear.

    General safety - slow down. Don't open the throttle too hard at the
    lights (lots of oil). Go easy on the brakes (again, keep your speed
    down). Locking up the back can be scary and the front is downright
    terrifying. Take it easy round the corners.. again, oil, also gravel
    washed into the road. Be extra careful in the first rain after a long
    dry spell.
    I've never had a problem with clearance over speed bumps on my two bikes
    (both fully faired sports bikes). I find I can comfortably take them
    faster than in a car. Also you get some that have a nice little gap in
    the middle or down the sides.
    Not much experience with formal attire. Never owned leathers but
    business shirts get along fine with DriRider jackets.
    James Harvey, Jan 9, 2006
  4. In aus.motorcycles on Mon, 9 Jan 2006 22:06:57 +1100
    Best way to deal is to avoid.... You know in your learning training
    they did that swerving thing? That's what it's for :)

    RIders tend to focus much closer to themselves than drivers do and
    that's one of the reasons. Seeing poor surface before you get to it
    is a vital skill. As you get more used to riding you will find that
    you can watch the cars and situations ahead, and still be aware of
    problems in the road - your field of vision widens and your processing
    of what you see from the edges of it improves.

    Till then, move your focus a lot!

    If you can't avoid it, relax. You should relax anyway, tight hands and
    arms put input into the steering and make the bike nervous which feels
    bad and leads to you tensing up and... So spend a bit of attention on
    keeping your hands and arms relaxed at all times, not just on rough

    If you have your arms and hands relaxed, the bike might shimmy a bit
    on rough bitumen or if you hit a hole, but it will return straight
    and be back to normal very quickly if you let it.

    Part of doing this is to learn not to hold yourself up with your arms.
    Your legs and belly muscles do that job, not your arms. Put the bike
    on the stand and sit on it in riding position. then lift your hands
    up just enough s they barely touch the bars and there's no weight on
    them. That's how you should always be. You can also try riding one
    handed - if your only hand is the one with the throttle you'll find it
    hard to put weight on that hand.
    What gear depends a lot on what rain and how much money. Being a
    motorcycle addict of long standing I have several sets of riding gear
    to match the weather and what riding I'm doing.

    The job of the gear you wear is to help yuo be comfortable - not too
    cold, not too hot - and protect you some in a crash.

    Your wet gear should not overheat you if you have a lot of summer
    rain,and you shouldn't freeze in the winter.

    What many people do is have layers. So you can have your normal
    riding gear for summer or winter, and a PVC jacket/pants over that.
    Or a one piece. I believe the best kit for someone who only has one
    set is either a waterproof textile jacket with a zipout liner and a
    set of unlined PVC pants, or a leather jacket and a one piece PVC

    Protective pants with knee protection are nice but not essential.

    If you want to drive your car, do so. Completely up to you.

    If yuo want to ride the bike, then get some gear and either carry
    spare shoes and socks or get rubber overboots. Waterproof gloves are
    hard to find, but if you have small hands you can use washing up
    gloves or chemical overgloves, or else you just dry the gloves
    somewhere at work[1].
    Shouldn't be. Unless you have a really low custom chopper whatsit.

    With speed bumps, do your slowing down before yuo get there, then open
    the throttle again just as you reach it. This unweights the front
    suspension. If it is a small high bump, you might find standing as
    you go over it increases your control.
    If you wish to wear full protective gear on the ride to work -
    something I personally don't think is needful but that's my decision,
    you make your own - then you have a couple of choices.

    a) have yur protective gear big enough so the shirt and pants fit
    under it, and fold the jacket and put it in a top box or gearsack.

    b) put the clothes in a garment bag and wear that on your back,
    changing at work.

    I find that a textile jacket manages a suitcoat under it fine in
    summer when I don't have the lining in.

    If I'm going somewhere where what I'm wearing won't fit under the gear
    I usually wear, I make the decision to take other transport or not
    wear the protective gear.

    Hence turning up to someone's wedding in full tux with the topper
    fixed to the tank with a cargo net....

    Was a very safe ride in traffic, I don't think anyone on the road
    would have said "I didn't see you".


    [1] the demise of the old CRT monitor in favour of LCD has been a sad
    thing for bikers with wet gloves....
    Zebee Johnstone, Jan 9, 2006
  5. John Smith 1882

    sharkey Guest

    Not a bad approach.
    Well, the easiest way is to buy a chook chaser :). It's generally best
    to avoid potholes or tree-root bumps, but if you can't I think it's
    generally best to hit them straight on, rather than catch just the
    edge of your tyre or hit them while leant over.

    What not to do? Don't "tighten up" and try to lock the bike into
    place. Don't panic and lock up the rear brake. Don't look at the
    pothole or the you'll find it very hard to miss.

    What to do? If your bike lets you, get your elbows up, shift your
    weight to your feet. Look where you want to go, imagine the line.
    Accelerate a bit.
    It's possible to stay functionally dry, eg: not get cold, but I'm
    yet to find any gear which lets you saunter into the office looking
    fresh. Wearing overtrousers makes your suit pants look as if you
    slept in them. If your office supports pushbike types, do what they
    do ... get changed when you get to work.
    Nope. Just shift your weight onto your feet, hit them straight on
    and the bike will jump over :). Well, it's always worked for me.
    If you mean "formal dinner" as in tea with her Highness and the GG,
    get a taxi. If you mean "formal dinner" as in a date with your
    fiancee at a fancy restaurant, get yourself a new girlfriend who's
    into leather and takeaway curry. It's easier in the long run and
    she won't expect you to give up bikes when you get hitched.
    I don't belieeeeeeeeve you didn't even ask how to do wheelies!

    sharkey, Jan 9, 2006
  6. John Smith 1882

    sharkey Guest

    I used to leave my shoes under my desk, because there's no way
    I'm riding a bike in office shoes. Never mind falling off,
    just putting your foot down at the lights would be risky.

    Also bring spare undies, because if your waterproof pants decide
    to leak at the crotch, you're going to have a very uncomfortable
    day otherwise.

    For drying gloves, scout around the tearoom and see if you can
    find the hot water service cupboard ... gloves can safely be
    left on top of the hot water tank where they'll dry out nicely.

    sharkey, Jan 9, 2006
  7. In aus.motorcycles on Mon, 09 Jan 2006 22:17:14 GMT
    Microfibre suits seem to survive crumpling well. Problem is finding
    ones that look and feel OK.
    Don't forget to twist the throttle and pull back on the bars..

    Zebee Johnstone, Jan 9, 2006
  8. Wise advice.

    Several months ago, I near filled my jeans with my dinner when I came
    face-to-face with most of a shredded truck tyre (thrown into my lane by a
    car driving over it in the next), but managed to live through it without
    physical damage to myself or the bike, by simple using the method you've
    just described - had I tried to swerve (at ~140km/h) or brake abruptly, I'd
    have been roadscrape.

    - Bob.
    Bob Milutinovic, Jan 9, 2006
  9. John Smith 1882

    Theo Bekkers Guest

    Nothing dries out your wet leather gear better than a 1970s or 1980s
    computer system.

    Theo Bekkers, Jan 9, 2006
  10. In aus.motorcycles on Tue, 10 Jan 2006 07:55:37 +0800
    1990s ones work too, if big enough.

    Careful routing of ethernet cables past the fans and a couple of
    clothespegs can make your SGI Challenge suitable for drying several
    items of wet clothing.

    Zebee Johnstone, Jan 10, 2006
  11. John Smith 1882

    JL Guest

    All the rest is already well answered, I'd just add that a Givi top box
    (errm 40 or 45L I think) and a suit bag will keep your suit in
    acceptable condition (not great, you'll end up dry cleaning a lot more
    often). Leave a pair of shoes at work and put the bike boots on for the
    back and forth. Wear the shirt under the jacket (if you have a leather
    jacket make sure you put a sealant on the inside of the collar to make
    sure it doesn't put black marks on your shirt collar).

    I did 18 months when I was bike only North Sydney to North Ryde like
    that. Was OK but to be honest it's nice to be currently walking a block,
    jumping on a bus for 5-10mins and walk another block to get to work..

    JL, Jan 12, 2006
  12. To keep your shirt collar clean, fold a handkershief over it for the trip.
    Works for me, but don't forget to take it off. It doesn't project the cool
    biker image.

    Brett Danvers, Jan 12, 2006
  13. John Smith 1882

    Merc_Dog Guest

    Also..never use a whole lot of front brake on the grass...wet or dry :)
    Merc_Dog, Dec 5, 2006
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