RiceBurner (Old Timer) View all posts in this topic  
Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:24 pm
great series bill... but i can't help but wonder.        

it's always been my understanding that if a locked tire if going to make a noise, it's a squeal, not a howl. often they won't make any noise at all once you pass the limit of traction, just a scrubbing sound (like when you grind your foot on gravel, kinda, but quieter). the howling sound is that of a tire just *before* lockup. maybe it's possible that you didn't fully lock them, just got to the verge of lockup, which is where you'd actually want to be, and where the tire is gripping the road the hardest. this might be confirmed by your account...

"That's all fine, but the surprising thing I learned was that I had a strong feeling that even with the wheel locked, I could have rode the little pony down to a standstill safely! I NEVER expected that! Even with a howling front tire, it still felt under control; evidently due to some favorable combination of light weight, general good handling, and CG."

that was the section that caught my eye firstly, but i also noticed...

"So I instinctively pulled on the front brake lever harder than I ever had before, and LOCKED the front wheel instantly with a HOWL. Great retarding effect, 75 to 50 or so almost instantly.

a locked tire provides almost no traction... so it wouldn't be possible to slow down nearly as quickly as happened. try it sometime with a cage... if there's no anti-lock brakes, just jam the pedal (assuming the brakes are powerful enough to lock the tires)... if anti-lock brakes are involved, just yank the e-brake. you hardly slow down either way (tho the e-brake takes even longer), and you have zero control of your direction.

the last thing i noticed was actually partially previous expirience. keith code's school has a modified ninja 250 "braking bike" that basically has outriggers on it to keep it from falling all the way over. oh, yeah, and the tires are pumped up to 70 psi. i got the chance to ride this bike, and lock the front tire somewhere around half a dozen times. i expirienced immedeate loss of control, a juddering feeling in the forks, the handlebars went loose side to side, and the outriggers touched down just miliseconds after i even realized what was happening. all in all, a very violent occurance. the outriggers were setup so that they let the bike fall far enough that if they touched down, you were too slow getting off the brakes, and you would have crashed already. i suppose that with a good jolt of adrenaline you may be able to react quickly enough to keep from dropping the bike, but i highly doubt that you could call it a controlled feeling. once i had done it a time or two, and understood what was about to happen as i yanked the brake lever hard, i was able to save it once or twice, but i wouldn't say i reacted to it, more that i predicted it just before it happened.

i think, and this is just MHO from reading your account, that you were actually on the threshold of traction, just shy of lockup. which means that the bike gave you enough information during the hard braking to tell you that you are using as much of the front tire as is possible. which, to me anyways, makes the bike even more impressive... it's nice to know you'll get a clear feeling of "you can't do more" from your vehicle.

like i said... just MHO... i wasn't actually there, but it seems to make sense to me. does it make sense to you, bill, or am i full of crap? Smile

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