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Thread: Riding in Windy Conditions

  1. #16
    The argument that faster is better has some limitations. Going faster does make your bike more stable and harder to push over. However, a gust of wind essentially initiates a turn, and the faster you are going the sooner you are off the road or in the other lane.

    I'd like to support the observation that it is important to be aware of wind blockers like big trucks, hills, and buildings. Even large bridge supports can block the wind. The sudden absence of a strong wind you have been leaning into can send you off the road or across the center line.

    Also be aware that a steady wind from one side does not mean there can not be a sudden gust from the other side.
    Frank G.
    Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    2004 R1150RT

  2. #17
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    SE Michigan
    On a day with high wind warnings I tried to negotiate the ride home on an interstate. No way! I was much more comfortable on secondary roads, with speeds of 45-60 mph. Seemed like I had better control of the bike. I think the secret is to know your limitations and slow down or get off the road if you feel your safety is compromised.

  3. #18
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    While miles in the saddle have given me lots of wind practice, there's one phenomenon that can sneek up on you and take you by surprise.

    Typically during summer months in open areas like high plains or high dessert you can sometimes spot a major storm cell off in the distance even though you're riding in clear sunshine. These are textbook thunder heads which look beautiful off in the distance with sheets of rain falling from the center, however cold air seems to fall and then rush horizontally across the land. You can't spot these narrow steams of high speed rivers of air crossing your path. They seem to be only be about 20 feet wide, but the change in wind speed is like being hit by a truck. Closest I've come to getting knocked off the road. Most of the time the bike has been loaded which I think helped me keep it on the ground. It's very startling when they hit so now I tend to reduce speed when I sense the possibility of one of these invisible gusts.

  4. #19
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    I was crossing flat, treeless, South Dakota on I90 last summer. The speed limit was 75 mph so I thought that I'd cruise at 80ish mph. Did I mention the wind was stronger than anything that I had ever experienced before? So strong that when I slowed down at rest stops at about 30 mph, it felt as if the wind was trying to yank my helmet off. Riding was not a problem but every time that I passed a truck or motor home or crossed a cement bridge, I was hit so hard by the wind that it was very, very difficult trying to keep the bike in the lane. Keeping the bike pulling in 4th gear helped, but still it was more of a violent push than I had ever previously experienced. Finally chopped the speed to 60 mph after figuring that my luck would not hold. That way I didn't have to pass any trucks or motor homes. Life was slower at 60 mph but felt much safer. That night when calling home and telling my wife, she told me that were winds in the 125 mph range north of the border where I had been riding. I must have been riding in the tail of hurricane or tornado. I will try the knee hanging next time I encounter such winds.
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders #298 & Knights of the Roundel #333

  5. #20
    Amma Holly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ancaster, ON


    I have had my share of practice riding in all sorts of winds and besides all the other good advice in this thread, be sure to stop early. You may be surprised at how tired you are after fighting winds, especially gusty cross winds. That last 100 miles just isn't that important.


  6. #21
    Loose Cannon flash412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Northern Colorado
    Maybe all those folks complaining about riding in the wind should get an F650?

    I live twenty miles from a wind farm, thirty miles south Wyoming. (We get hundred mile an hour wind storms on occasion.) In general, it's pretty windy here. It hasn't stopped me yet.

    Once while going down US287 between Limon and Lamar, CO, over the hill past a (different) wind farm, my mpg dropped by HALF of the usual value, because of the wind. We still did our planned 650 mile day, no problem.

    Buncha wuzzies.

    Last edited by flash412; 12-14-2007 at 05:10 PM.
    Click here for Tales of Motorcycles and Life
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  7. #22
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    Quote Originally Posted by flash412 View Post

    Riding in a Crosswind
    Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 02:48:34 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Flash - DoD #412
    Subject: Crosswinds: THE ANSWER

    There seems to be some general confusion and disagreement about how to ride in crosswinds: go faster, go slower, hold tighter, be looser.

    Years ago, I found THE ANSWER. It worked for me when I had an R75/5 with a full Avon fairing and Enduro bags, with a backpack strapped upright to the short sissy bar, with a passenger. (Maximum crosswind profile.) And it worked for me when I had a nekkid R80G/S, solo. (Minimum crosswind profile.) I have posted it occasionally on and gotten many favorable responses. Though, some folks, with some bikes, claim it doesn't work. YMMV. (It works on an F650, too.)

    When riding in a crosswind, particularly a gusting one, all you need to do is stick your knee on the upwind side out as far as you can. The drawback is that if it is cold or rainy, you tend to scoop all the weather into your crotch. The reason it works, I *think*, is that with your knee out, you are putting your bike aerodynamically off-center and must compensate to get it to go straight. Now, when a gust comes along, your knee scoops up a bunch of the breeze, pulling you INTO the wind at the same time the wind is pushing the bike away. In any case, the effect of the gust is reduced by 90% or so.

    Try it. It's free. If you don't like it, or it doesn't work, stop doing it. (Disclaimer: The suggestion assumes you are a licensed motorcyclist with enough sense not to fall off. If you try this and fall off, it is your own damn fault.)
    "A really good imagination is almost as good as... hmmm I dunno."- E.Foote
    David Braun - F650 - DoD - BMWMOA - VBMW

    You got this from

    Out here, we get pretty regular crosswinds, especially on the coast. This method works.

    Prior advice about relaxing is also helpful, as is imagining a hinge at your hips, which lets your upper and lower body move independently.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #23

    riding in windy conditions

    My first try at this so hopefully this is the way to do it.
    Anyway, I ride in Newfoundland Canada where railroad cars were tied down during some of our there!
    I've driven all 48 states and most of Canada over a twenty year period.
    I find motorcycle riding very similar to downhill skiing in that it's your position over the motorcycle (or skis) that determines your controlability, including windy days.
    If you find yourself holding on to your handlebars (or sitting back on your skis) you will not have the necessary control in a quick repsonse situation such as gusts etc.
    If you just push the bottom of your back forward slightly so that your centre of gravity is more forward on the bike and your hands are just lying on the handles, rather than holding them, you will have much greater manoeuvrability than sitting back.................and it will allow you to react to any circumstance, including wind gusts.
    PS Is there no spell check on this?

  9. #24
    I dont mind riding in the wind. As long as it is not too strong.
    I found my R1150RT was the best bike I had for windy conditions.
    Super stable, even at 100mph. (bike speed, not wind speed)
    My 1150GS wasnt quite as stable as the RT. Being higher probably dint help.
    As everyone has stated, avoid trucks etc as much as possible, and get out of it if too bad.

  10. #25
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Front blew in early this morning with 30-40MPH winds all day...GSA made a big target in crosswinds ( sorry boys & gals it was 50 and sunny ), but I noticed I use the knee method automatically. Seems years of riding 700X22 tires on the velocipede made it just one of those reactive riding styles...made me chuckle a bit that I did not have to think about doing it. The RT is definitely a little more aero, but not really a worry on the Adventure, especially with a full fuel load. It makes you sit closer in to the bars anyway as opposed to the RT.
    I guess I have only been in 60+ MPH gusts before, so nothing really to some of the puffier locales. The T-storm downdrafts are wicked as RTRandy described. No rail cars blown over to talk about, but serious blasts. The perpetial lean to the windward side is always a treat. And dropping a gear does honk on the fuel economy a bit.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  11. #26
    Registered User ctyankee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Connecticut, NE, USA
    I've had some experience in high wind conditions, both on the interstate and on the Mt. Washington auto road under low speeds. It can get pretty gnarly out there. :-)

    Some good suggestions were offered up in previous posts (not that this crowd would ever steer you wrong anyway).

    Being relaxed is huge, I've seen some bad stuff out there with folks white-knuckling it in high winds.

    Practice is the best antidote.
    I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know. - Mark Twain
    2005 R1200RT
    BMWMOA #125016
    BMWRAI #30539

  12. #27

    Don't be stupid

    I was, at age 20. Two of my buds and I decided to travel to New Orleans from Biloxi to discover what a hurricane was all about. Hurricane Carla. Everything was fine until we started across Lake Ponchartrain Bridge and the winds picked up. It was a busy two-lane with obviously no shoulder and no place to pull off. Traffic was running in the 60's. A very strong gust caught me on my Ariel Sq. Four and pushed me about four-feet into the oncoming lane. I didn't get hit, but realized this was a stupid, life-threatening situation. I pulled up to within about three feet of a Greyhound bus and drafted it all the way across to the south shore of the lake.

    I didn't know the knee-out technique, but I doubt it would have worked in that situation anyway.

    I definitely do not recommend doing this - but if your life expectancy suddenly drops, approaching zero, what are you gonna do?

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