Originally Posted by Kommando
I'm glad you mentioned the road being clean and decent tires. I've had a front knobby let go on the pavement, and I didn't feel like I was even pushing it that hard. I was able to save it, but I can definitely see how a bike possibly wouldn't make a turn if traction let go or hard parts dragged.
Which reminds me of my younger and wilder days. I used to have a lot of friends who were Harley enthusiasts. They were more fun to hang around with than the other riders.
Anyway, this was back in the late 80's, and after tossing back a few beers we were off to the local small-town festival. We pulled out of the drive and onto the two-lane highway headed uphill into town. In my infinite wisdom I thought it was a good time to show off by executing a couple of sweeping deep turns while maintaining my lane. The K75C I rode then was perfectly capable of going from dragging the left peg to dragging the right peg and do all of this within a lane's width.
I forgot to factor in that the tires had only had about thirty seconds of "warming" at this point.
I dove left, towards the centerline, then heaved heavily as I was want to do in order to execute this particular maneuver and, as all the forces of physics were focused on the front tire contact patch, it let go. Let's say for argument sake that business picked up for me about then. The effects of the beers were lost in a rush of adrenalin and I found myself saving the washout by bringing the bike upright in the wrong lane as oncoming traffic crested the hill.
It all worked out, I avoided the washout on a cold tire, and I believe that I inconvenienced the oncoming car a little as I made my way back into my lane, but still completely impressed my HD buddies with this epic save. (very embarrassing for me)
Most of what I took away was the reminder that has forever stuck in my mind to make absolutely sure the tires are warm before going all Blue Angels on the pavement, and, to be ever wary of the tight spots a little six-pack courage can get you into.
The bike just wouldn't make the turn, almost. Fortunately for both of us there was enough muscle memory from experience to prevent it being much worse.
Moral to the story: Despite all the things that were playing against me, what saved my ass was practice.
Practice counter-steering often. Make emergency swerves something you do for fun often enough that they are automatic responses when you need them. Oh, and take into consideration all of the conditions that play a part, tires, pavement, state of mind, and all things that might affect the outcome. In the long run having the practiced abilities in the tool belt will offer more benefit than simply understanding what to do and having practiced it once during a Rider Course years ago.
One way I do this is on an open road with no traffic I'll thread the needle slaloming in the space between each painted stripe. This can only be done at highway speed with quite a bit of force applied to the handlebars, and it is safer as it doesn't require high lean angles. It is a convincer for those who think they don't believe in countersteering. You cannot do this with body lean, never touching paint for half a mile of weaving.