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Old 06-04-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
Tarnsman OP
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Eek How My K1200R Died to Save My Life

Some friends and I decided months ago that we would go for a roadtrip on our motorcycles Memorial Day weekend. In the end we decided to head east in hopes of better weather on the other side of the mountains. We took WA15 up the Columbia Gorge. It poured on us the whole way to Hood River, and then dried out as expected. We stopped at a Stonehenge replica near some windfarms on the way.


We stayed overnight in Pendleton before doing Hells Canyon the next day. This was a fun ride, and the start of some really beautiful country apparently designed for motorcycles.


The next day we rode through Unity, but unfortunately the ice cream parlor was closed:


After riding past it the first time, we finally found Road 16 towards Seneca.



It is singletrack, with potholes, but paved all the way.


The rough roads took a toll on our tires, and upon arrival in Seneca two members of our group had run out of tread. The proprietor of the BearCat Lodge invited us in for lunch and made some calls to sort out replacement tires. The BearCat is a privately owned lodge that provides adventure tours and is a destination for many on and off road motorcyclists.


Several members of our group continued on towards Prineville, but my friend's bike needed a new tire and so JW (the owner) put a call in and we decided to stay there for the night and get the tire sorted the next day. Besides, we were having way too much fun at the Bearcat, meeting new and interesting people and having a good time talking about motorcycle adventures. JW offered me a ride on his Buell 1125. It was a great bike, and when I got back from that I decided to take my own out again as the weather was nice with the sun coming out in the late afternoon. JW gave me a Spot satellite emergency beacon "just in case."

I headed towards Burns and took a sideroad that was a black ribbon of asphalt winding through the hills. I didn't see another vehicle in over an hour of riding. Finally the sun was getting low and I decided to head back. I reached the main road from Burns to Seneca and approached the last set of twisties. Just then a deer jumped out of the ditch directly in front of my bike. There wasn't time to do anything but hit the brakes as hard as I could as I sped into the broadside of the doe.

It felt like my bike went straight through the animal, and there was a real hard pain in my left leg, but that was all. I looked down at my console and to my surprise it was gone. In fact, everything was gone in front of my handlebars. Now I felt the pain in my leg burning. I coasted to a stop and killed the engine. By this time I realized I was dripping in blood and other fluids, and wondered if my leg was broken. I set it down on the pavement and put some weight on it. Nothing seemed broken. So I got off the bike and looked back up the road. I had gone around the bend from wherever the deer had been and hobbled back.

There were motorcycle parts scattered for a hundred hards, and I noticed pieces 20 feet up the embankment on the side of the road. Finally reaching the deer, I saw that it was dead as well as the just ready to be born fawn that was also laying on the asphalt. This explained all the fluids dripping from my bike and clothing, the deer had been heavily pregnant.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Spot locator. I considered pressing 911, but with no serious injuries pressed the help button instead. I then moved my motorcycle to a wide spot in the road and sat down by the side for what seemed an eternity with my throbbing leg. I hadn't seen a single vehicle since I had left the lodge well over an hour ago. After about 20 minutes the Bearcat Lodge truck came down the road with a trailer and picked me up. JW said that most encounters between deer and motorcycles in the area end up with a bag, and we were all happy that wasn't necessary. JW and Carol provided a comfortable room for the night, and the next morning he trailered our bikes back to Portland. I have to say that not only was the Bearcat Lodge a great place to stay, they were well equipped to provide emergency motorcycle rescue in a desolate area. I now have their number written on my motorcycle insurance card!



Taking a good look at the damage done to the bike, I found that there were gouges on both the wheel carrier and the frame that wraps around the front of the engine. Clearly, the front of the bike took some serious force when it hit the deer, and the body of the deer wrapped around the left side. However, the bike had held its line perfectly, and I was neither thrown over the front, nor felt any jerk in the steering. If I remember right, the BMW Duolever front suspension was advertized to isolate the steering from the action of the suspension. I am convinced that had this exact scenerio taken place on a bike with conventional forks, one of two things would have happened with much different results.

First, the extent and location of the damage convinces me that tubular telescopic forks would have bent or folded, sending me flying over the handlebars.

Secondly, even if the structural integrety of the forks had held, the damage off the left side convinces me that it would have caused the forks to jerk hard to the left, sending me flying off the bike to the forward right side.


But on the 2007 K1200R the wheel carrier is a solid piece of steel, and is mounted via a large hunk of steel hinge (verticle, not side to side) to a very solid frame wrapping around the front of the engine. Above all of that is the spring and suspension between the wheel carrier and the handlebars. The deer smashed through the lights, plastic, and front end of the bike to hit this solid metal and it held, and the bike held its line resulting in totalling the bike without it hitting the ground.

When I was talking to my insurance agent he asked, "Did the bike go down before or after you hit the deer?" My answer was, "Neither!"

I want to give a special thanks to JW Everitt (FastCat) and Carol of the Bearcat lodge in Seneca for all they did to make a disasterous end to our holiday weekend into a minor inconvenience. As soon as my bike is replaced, I will be planning a trip back to the Bearcat. But this time, I will stick to riding in the middle of the day. Evenings are for good drink and good company!
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:23 PM   #2
vancouverpower
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Wow I'm glad to here you made it alive! What ended up being wrong with your leg? Was it your blood or the deer?
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:33 PM   #3
Carlo Muro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarnsman
...JW said that most encounters between deer and motorcycles in the area end up with a bag...

that's sobering
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:03 PM   #4
Tarnsman OP
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I was wearing Shift armored leather pants. My leg was bruised and some pulled muscles. Its sore, but nothing broken. Whew!
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:06 PM   #5
vancouverpower
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Man I need to get better gear.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:17 PM   #6
City Man
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Wow - Now that will make one a believer, good you came out of it in good shape. I have had my stomach drop because of deer a couple of times but I have been lucky not to have hit one.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:42 PM   #7
Moto One
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You're lucky that the Deer was soft. The front ends of the K1200R's are ment to break away on impact. (it's a safety feature).



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Old 06-05-2010, 06:07 AM   #8
Colemanfu
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Amazing story

I like the fancy KTM straps used to tie down the bike. Sign of a 1st class operation.
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #9
KHVol
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Man, that is quite a testimonial for the Duolever front end...deer are out to kill ya..you're fortunate...
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:48 PM   #10
Karino
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safety feature, eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto One
The front ends of the K1200R's are ment to break away on impact. (it's a safety feature).



Mark.

Now, how does that statement make sense?
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:24 AM   #11
raider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karino



Now, how does that statement make sense?
All vehicles manufactured in the EU are required to meet pedestrian impact safety standards - it's one of those. They don't give a crap about you, just the drunk you hit.

Glad to hear you came out alive and walking! What was wrong with your leg?
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:35 AM   #12
GB
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Man, that's scary... glad you kept it upright and the front end didn't snap off, as I'm sure the forks would have collapsed had you been riding a bike with conventional forks.

Moved to Day Trippin'..
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:48 AM   #13
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holy freakin' crap - the sheer odds against you were insane in that situation. If I were you, I'd go buy a lottery ticket (after cleaning out your shorts).
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:24 PM   #14
alabamaWR
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To this day I hate Deer

Quote:
Originally Posted by KHVol
Man, that is quite a testimonial for the Duolever front end...deer are out to kill ya..you're fortunate...
I hit a deer in "83" on a CB750 at 80 miles an hour. It only tweeked the forks and crushed the headlight along with scrapes and scratches. That was a tough bike. I was lucky, I was wearing a full face helmet (which was ground down to the liner) and a good riding suit. I walked away with a broken collar bone from the helmet impact and completely lost a shoe. That was at 9:30 in the morning. Time of day has nothing to do with it. I still ride today with all my gear even if its a quick run to the store. Most of the time with a leatt brace. Its too much fun riding to take a big crash without your gear.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:42 AM   #15
Uncle Pollo
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I always wondered how my favorite bike would do against deer.

Like a fist of an angry god it did!!
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