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Low Side 101: How To Crash Using The Front Brake

Posted in Crashes, How To, Motorcycle Rides, Videos by Kurt Ernst | February 7th, 2011 | 7 Responses |

That's really going to hurt...

As much as I hate posting motorcycle crash vids, this one’s got merit because it shows exactly how NOT to take a corner. You can’t tell much from the normal speed footage at the start of the video, since the crash happens quickly. Watch the slow motion footage (which starts at about 1:04 in), and you can see exactly what this rider did wrong. I’ll make a few guesses here: he was a returning rider and hadn’t owned the Buell for long. He entered the turn faster than he was comfortable with, so instead of leaning the bike over further (and he had plenty of lean angle left), he hammered the front brake. The wheel locked, the tire broke traction and Mr. Knee met Mr. Pavement up close and personal.

If you think that jeans and cross trainers are good enough protection for riding, this video should convince you otherwise. Since the crash happened in front of a sheriff’s officer, there was no way to beg off medical attention. In the long run that might be a good thing, since that knee lost a lot of skin, and infection is a very real possibility if a wound like that isn’t treated right away. Despite all the on scene drama, the rider was OK and was able to get the bike home with assistance. That road rash is going to hurt for a while, but not nearly as much as the bill from the first responders.

So how do you avoid a crash like this? First, don’t ride above your ability, especially if you’re wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes. If you find yourself too hot in a corner, the last thing you want to do is hammer the brakes; instead, try more lean angle. Unless you’re dragging metal on pavement, chances are you can safely tighten up your line a little more. Don’t fixate on a point in the turn, but instead look through the turn, where you want to be. If running off the road is inevitable, try to get the bike up and pointed in a straight line first, then get on the brakes hard. You’ll still crash, but you may be able to scrub off enough speed to avoid serious injury first. Sometime, the best choice is just the least worst one.

Source: You Tube, rnickeymouse

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7 Responses

  1. Jen says:

    Owwwwwwww! And yet more reasons why I can’t understand why the fools down here in FL ride in shorts and flip flops, are you kidding me??! With their girlfriends on the back in shorty shorts and tank tops. Or the old dudes on cruisers in khaki shorts and boat shoes *eyeroll*

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    Jen, it only takes one bad crash to convince you of the merits of good riding gear. Been there, done that…

  3. Taylor says:

    At least he didn’t high side it over the railing. Not sure how big a drop it was but he could have come out a lot worse.

    This is why I got rid of my bike. Got stupid and found myself at full lean, in the opposing lane, and sliding across the road. Took a look at the spedo and was running 95 through the corner.

    Decided right then to uphold the promise I made to myself when I bought it, if I get stupid the bike goes away.

    Luckily for me the worse spill I took was a parking lot tumble. At the motorcycle shop.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Taylor, my one bad crash was a learning experience. It taught me that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and it also taught me the value of good riding gear.

      I recently sold my K1200RS, so I’m between bikes right now. I’ll put another one in the garage eventually…

  4. eddie_357 says:

    dropping a bike is sometimes part of the learning experience.however this guy needs to go back to a moped for awhile.