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Old 01-28-2014, 12:54 PM   #75
Miles of Smiles
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Tool Shed
Oddometer: 1,849
Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
I'm sure it's a factor in crap handling.

I'm saying is it's not a siginficant factor IN CRASHES. Loss of traction or ground clearance- for any reason, let alone one like "bad suspension"- doesn't cause people to fail to negotiate a corner- that error is nearly always between the ears.

It's not the bike that "just wouldn't make the turn". It's the rider.
Primarily it is the rider. But, having a lousy suspension contributes to the feeling the rider has that the bike just won't make the turn.

If when they try to lean further it gets wobbly, or, if when they change throttle position it changes the steering angle and drastically alters the line they are taking, this could be something that makes things bad enough that they give up.

I remember riding a new 1984.5 Sportster 1000 that had forks that were about the same diameter as the ones on my first bike, a Suzuki 50 Gaucho. They didn't have the strength for the application and would flex horribly.

It was most disconcerting riding this bike until I finally figured out that there was a delay between when I moved the bars until the flex in the forks translated to the wheel. Maybe a quarter or half second. I couldn't depend upon the bike to make quick swerves, but, I could plan my way through the turns easier once I knew what to expect.

Imagine what this might be like for an inexperienced rider trying to use counter-steering. They provide a steering input and nothing happens. Then, suddenly shit starts happening and they try to undo it. Again, there's a delay. This creates a feedback loop that can be disastrous and is due to a suspension/steering/engineering issue with the bike itself.

Many cruiser bikes are not provided with the components to accomplish precise maneuvers the way sport and dirt bikes are equipped. It is a budgetary and profitability decision that most riders don't miss until they find themselves in a situation where that level of precision might save their bacon.

The bike couldn't make the turn, because:
  • the load was too heavy for the springs and hard parts dragged,
  • the forks weren't beefy enough to translate the steering inputs in a timely manner,
  • the load was imbalanced to the rear and the shock ran out of travel because preload wasn't changed for a pillion or luggage added,
  • changing throttle or applying brake drastically changed the attitude of the bike because the springs were under-rated for the load,
  • etc.
Any of which could be read by the rider as feedback that the bike had reached its limits and the rider didn't have experience enough to compensate.

Granted, most of the folks who don't make the turn aren't the kind to push the limits and explore the edges of the operating envelope of their bikes in the first place. So they are caught unawares. Primarily this is the rider's fault. However, these riders tend to migrate toward bikes ill-suited to envelope pushing in the first place. So, the cards are stacked against them, even when they try to do the right thing they get the wrong response.

This is The Internet. Confirm for yourself anything you may see while visiting this strange and uncertain land.

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