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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recap: I bought my M696 just six days ago. Dealership had filled gas up to the neck. Had been busy with work throughout the week, so probably would have driven 20-30 miles around town. Come weekend, I decided to take the monster out for a little ride. Being a newbee and all, I have yet to find my grounds in riding on the freeway. So, I go along inner roads onto this beautiful scenic route (Glendora Mountain Rd) towards Mt Baldy. Going uphill was amazing, exciting, exhilarating! There are hardly any posted speed limits on this curvy road, and I felt proud in judging every curve for its speed and making accurate turns. After riding uphill for some time, I thought maybe I should head back down before it starts getting dark. On the way down however, I came across this curve which approached sooner than I had anticipated. Going downhill, I apparently had more speed than I thought I needed to make the turn. I tried to slow down as much as possible using both my brakes before getting into the curve. But unfortunately, the speed ended up being a little more than what I should have been doing, and on braking just a tad bit while in the curve, the tire slid for about 2 seconds. The monster falls and slides itself for a second or two (approximately 5 to 8 feet) while I am thrown off from it. My head falls right on top of the pavement (about a foot high and 1 foot wide), beyond which is just the bottom of the mountain. The speed when I fell must have been between 15 – 20 MPH, but there was a bit more pull downwards because of the slope and the curve. I just have a strain on my left hand and my right leg and have scratches here and there, but what hurt me the most is the look of my monster on its right side. The digital display is broken as well as the side mirrors and the brakes, and scratches/dents lie on the exhaust, engine, and tank.

My theories (correct me if I am wrong on any of these, or would like to add to it):
1. Shouldn’t have gone for a mountain ride on the 5th day of getting the bike 2. If I did actually decide to go, then I should have at least gone with someone who is more experienced. 3. Should have watched my downhill speed, constantly keeping in mind that I am actually coming DOWN hill. 4. Anticipated that coming downhill is way different then going uphill! 5. Known that turns require more attention than when driving a car

There has been no worse feeling for me than seeing my brand new 2010 monster in the condition it is in, and this is even before emptying out its first tank fill up.

My insurance should take care of the damage, but at this point in time it just sucks to see the monster so badly wounded. I was contemplating whether to put this post on here or not, but then I figured that despite my embarrassment, I may be able to learn some valuable lessons from you experienced riders.

So, from your perspective what should I have known before going to such rides? How can I be better prepared?
 

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Disclaimer - I am not a riding instructor - Read David Hough's book - Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate guide to riding well. It provides good strategies for a variety of situations and explains the forces at play on your machine.

With that said - if you need to brake into the turn - you came in too hot to begin with (which you already know) and the problem with breaking in a turn is that it rightens your bike. (stands it up straight) We turn these dogs through lean and when we break - we take away the lean. (i have been there - you are not alone) If you have to break in a turn try and only use your rear brake if needed.

Don't get discouraged - just practice. Riding with experienced riders is a good start - but remember - some experienced riders are luckier than good. Watch where advice comes from: teach yourself or take a professional riders course. (at least that's what the odds tell you to do) Have fun - and stay with it.

Also - thanks for posting this stuff up - because it should help us all.
 

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I am sorry you went down. Seems like you are OK.

What to learn?

You learned a valuable lesson about safety gear. It is my assumption that you had a helmet on because your post is coherent and you mentioned planting your face on the tarmac. You should always expect that you will crash and be prepared for it. This is why I ALWAYS wear full gear.

You should also have learned the value of a good safety course. You do not allude to your training in your post, but taking a course prepares you for the hazards of riding. Overall the reason for your crash was lack of experience. When riders crash it is because they dont trust that the bike will make a turn. The rider grabs more brake than needed and in the process stands the bike up, taking away any hope of making it through a turn. My guess is you probably looked at the exact point you crashed at. The bike will go where you look. That is why you see racers looking well ahead of a turn and through it.

As far as " should I have been on that road", you made some good points. Following an experienced rider after urging them to keep a safe pace could have helped. I remember my fist rides, and they consisted of about 200 miles in a parking lot and side streets. It sounds as if the area you were riding was a little more than your experience level.

I hope you get the bike fixed and you get back out there. Learn from your lesson and I am sure you will be riding with a little sense of fear. Just try to relax and enjoy. Everyone goes down at some point. You walked away from your crash and you will actually be better for it.

Jim
 

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I think it is also important to remember that a new tire takes some breaking in as well. Until you have scrubbed the tire a bit, traction is compromised. Even if the tire has been on the bike for a while remember that the chicken strip is still fresh rubber until you get on it. The first time you take it in a little deeper than normal you do not have maximum adhesion. Modern brakes on sportbikes are really good and more powerful than realised, often not until it is too late. Some practice in a safe environment will do wonders for your on road confidence. You don't mention which brake locked and caused the slide. If the front brake locks the wheel let go NOW and the bike may stay on line and you can ride it out. If it is the rear, hold the skid until you have come to a stop. Letting the rear go mid slide will kick the ass out and cause a high side and all sorts of fun.
 

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sorry to hear about your monster but at least you are ok. Like someone else said, my first reaction was to wonder if the tires had been broken in yet; till that happens, its going to be hard to keep traction. Also, check out Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist II... Survival Reactions.... It will help you look back and learn from what happened... Hope you get back out there soon :)
 

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Recap: There are hardly any posted speed limits on this curvy road, and I felt proud in judging every curve for its speed and making accurate turns.I tried to slow down as much as possible using both my brakes before getting into the curve. But unfortunately, the speed ended up being a little more than what I should have been doing, and on braking just a tad bit while in the curve, the tire slid for about 2 seconds. The monster falls...
Hope you're ok. **** happens! Speed must be relative to one's experience and riding skill level to prevent mishaps. Unless of course if there are speed signs in which you are compelled to stick to keep the traffic flowing. But even with these speed signs...you can ALWAYS ride/drive slower if you're not comfortable with the speed you are at. Give them the road and let them pass you. You have all the time in the world. Haste make waste. One more thing, ....faster speed kills. Slower speed kills all too well...but not that often. I'd say always ride within your comfort level. If we go beyond that...panic strikes! Get back on the road. That's where we belong. Cheers!

Anyway...I've summed up these personal tips because I just have a nasty spill on my scooter(yes scooter :))two weeks ago riding like batman to get into my favorite fishing spot first. Hell yeah..haste make waste. Broke a blinker, bruised ego, bend my nice fishing rod. But it's all ok. Pier fishing all the way!
 

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Have you taken an MSF course yet? if not, take one. Were you fully geared up? if not, buy gear.

The corner was probably doable for an experienced rider. It takes thousands of miles to become an experienced rider.
 

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low speed crash damage

Spilling a new bike really sucks, glad to hear you weren't injured badly. After you get your bike fixed, consider installing front and rear axle sliders and a frame slider kit so that the next spill doesn't cause so much damage. You should be able to find all three for around $300. Motovation and Speedymoto come to mind, there are other brands, also. Good luck out there.
 

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You've got to be bummed, but having the guts to get on the forum and tell it as you experienced it is great therapy. Bikes can be fixed, sometimes our bodies are not so lucky. Thank goodness there wasn't another vehicle near you. Don't give up, just be patient. Not too long ago I found myself in the exact same situation, going downhill at dusk and a sharp curve with more speed than I wanted. Somehow I just remembered to lean the SOB over and trust the bike. Man, I was scraping pegs and knees, but the bike held in there and went right around the curve. Scared the crap out of me. As soon as you can get out and do a track day. It's a blast and you can really learn a lot about your limits and get a real feel for the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!!

Thanks all for your support and perspectives…it is definitely helping me in regaining my strength.
Surprisingly, I am quite ok with just minor strains and scratches which should disappear in about a week or two. Of course all my gear played a major role in saving my limbs. My helmet is pretty scratched up, and so is my jacket. Of all though, the most important thing as some of you mentioned is that no one was within the vicinity during my fall, as that would have definitely made my situation from bad to worse in no time.

By the way, I have actually taken the MSF course; I do clearly remember that I need to look through the curve and not where I am going to fall. I was told by my dealer about the low traction of new tires, and how they needed to be scrubbed, but then a different person at the dealership told me that it was an old wives tale, so didn’t know who to believe. But, when the time came none of this was going through my mind. As one you mentioned, I really needed to trust my bike in making that turn by lean but just couldn’t do it. I was too afraid to hold on to the skid until I came to stop, because I figured if it didn’t stop in time I would be thrown off the cliff anyway.

I am not at all discouraged, and do not feel fear in going back on that mountain, but would like to make sure that I am at that level where I can take those sudden turns head on. As they say “there is a very fine line between stupidity and bravery”, and as for me right now this line is blurry. I will begin riding as soon as my monster is ready, but do not plan on riding on those mountains for some time (at least not for some thousands of miles).

Some valuables from you all…that I am extremely thankful for!!
David Hough's book – Proficient Motorcycling
Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist II... Survival Reactions…
Riding your scooter like batman may bend your fishing rod :p (actually true learning here was haste makes waste)
Installing front, rear axle sliders and frame slider (didn’t know what these were until I googled it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think this is what you've experienced moments before the crash. The difference though, he saved it. Almost the same scenario minus the bike model and speed perhaps :)
Image those metals railings about 6 inches from the solid white line. I didn't even have that much extra room to play with...
 

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Google Kieth Code, read a book or two of his and take his racing course. You will actually learn in an enviourment that is safe for you. Its not about being fast its about being in control, his course IMHO will help your street riding by giving you a chance to learn what the bike can do with you riding it. Of course there are many other racing course out there but you get what you pay for!
 

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Kudos on taking the MFS course and posting about your experience.

One thing that others haven't mentioned is that I would not have gotten a brand new current-year Duc as my first bike. A Duc is actually my first bike (in sig) and despite it being in minty condition, it's from 2001, and about 40% of the price of a new one.

I knew being a new rider that I would drop it at least once, and drop it I have. Early on though, I was lucky enough to install some frame-sliders and they have kept my bike in fairly minty condition despite a few close calls and even one semi-major accident. At $200 installed, they not only protect my bike from a lot of costly damages, but they give me the security to know that when I buff a wheelie it's not the end of the world for my bike. I bought this bike purely for fun, learning, and transportation and don't baby it as its previous owners did. Still it's held up fine and still looks great (I'm so glad I don't have to ride around with the classic Ducati dents.) One day I'll upgrade to something fancier like a 1098s when I'm a more mature, experience rider but right now I'm happy and relatively unworried about the condition of my bike (safety is always important, however - ATGATT). Sorry this reply isn't directly for you, but maybe it'll change other new rider's minds who want to get a shiny new bike right off the bat.

Just remember there's only one thing worse than a shiny bike on the ground and that's a new shiny bike on the ground.
 

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good attitude akki. Also - don't overlook the replacement of the helmet. Even if they are minor scratches - the padding on the inside could be crushed and is no longer usefull - hopefully insurance will cover the lid as well.
 

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Kudos on taking the MFS course and posting about your experience.

One thing that others haven't mentioned is that I would not have gotten a brand new current-year Duc as my first bike. A Duc is actually my first bike (in sig) and despite it being in minty condition, it's from 2001, and about 40% of the price of a new one.

I knew being a new rider that I would drop it at least once, and drop it I have. Early on though, I was lucky enough to install some frame-sliders and they have kept my bike in fairly minty condition despite a few close calls and even one semi-major accident. At $200 installed, they not only protect my bike from a lot of costly damages, but they give me the security to know that when I buff a wheelie it's not the end of the world for my bike. I bought this bike purely for fun, learning, and transportation and don't baby it as its previous owners did. Still it's held up fine and still looks great (I'm so glad I don't have to ride around with the classic Ducati dents.) One day I'll upgrade to something fancier like a 1098s when I'm a more mature, experience rider but right now I'm happy and relatively unworried about the condition of my bike (safety is always important, however - ATGATT). Sorry this reply isn't directly for you, but maybe it'll change other new rider's minds who want to get a shiny new bike right off the bat.

Just remember there's only one thing worse than a shiny bike on the ground and that's a new shiny bike on the ground.
When I was 15 - Dad bought my first bike - a metallic gold Honda 250 from the 70's - it was awesome and I could care less if I looked like a character in Napoleon Dynamite - I was the only 15 year old with a motorcycle. bottom line - that dog took a few minor spills that I hope the duc never will.

having said all that - I am not so sure I would be as enthusiastic as a 30+ year old on the same bike. :rolleyes: Ride whatever you can insure - we have an economy to prop up!!
 

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It takes time

...to become a proficient rider. Years.

+1 Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist (I have several top-recommend riding manuals, this one is the best, IMHO.)

+1 Tires need scrubbing in. In my recent experience an a new 696, 100 miles.

Lots of advice here. Best I've read from the experts like Keith Code... slow down. Riding at 75-80% of your "max" will teach you more than anyone can tell you. It's all about learning to ride SMOOTH. Experience gained under well controlled circumstances will help you learn what to do and how to react in a given situation. If it's not instinctual, you'll likely screw up and either crash, or get lucky. Things just happen too fast. One's reactions to a situation should be habit. If you have to "think" and process, it's probably to late.

Good for you analyzing the incident and being eager to get back on the bike and ride. I highly recommend some dirt riding to add to your experience. On the dirt, it's normal to slide and recover. You can do it all day and it's fun. Beg, borrow, rent but get some dirt riding in. Skills you learn there will translate over.

It's all about practice. Get some.
 

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Good call on the dirtbike mtbjay! When I was racing the group I hung with we all rode dirtbikes to get the feel of two wheel sliding under our butts. Many a great roadracer found his way to the asphault by first spending time on the mile....
 

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I did about the same thing as you did the first time i hit up the mountains. The bad thing about Duc's is their lack of US Distributors. I has taken me nearly 8 weeks to get mine back.
 

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I think that riding with someone else is important for more than just helping you figure out the road. A lot of these awesome roads are pretty secluded and often out of cell phone range. At least when we are starting out, I think riding with a friend is a smart thing to do.
 
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