FishTailing Crash - Analyze, Learn & Move On
On one of my rides, I was lucky enough to have captured my fishtailing crash.
Injury - To Self & Bike
I walked away with road rash, bruises and inflammations but no broken bones. Bike did pretty well too considering I could ride it to drop it off to the dealer.
1. Why and how did I get road rash if I was wearing full gear?
I was wearing a jacket and riding pant but what I did not do is zip the jacket and pant. I never do that but I assure you after this incident, I wont ignore it. When I made the final slide, my jacket from the back rose up in the air and as a result, when I was sliding, my back was dragging on the ground
2. Why inflammations if I was wearing full gear?
The knee pads on my pant covered the knee but not the side of the knee. As a result when i hit the left side, my left knee took a slight hit. The inflammation/pain subsided by the next day. Similarly, I did not have any shin protection. Most likely my right shin hit some part of the bike during my fall to the left. Need to work better on shin guards and side knee protectors
Once I reached home, I shared the video with our FB family and received some amazing feedback. Gathered and consolidated all comments from several forums, almost 500+ of them. While all of it might not apply to me, I felt it worthwhile to capture. Maybe it can be of help to someone else.
Majority of the riders confirmed "Just not enough speed, water or lean angle to initiate a slide" and there had to be something on the road like oil/fluid, tar snake, patched road etc that added as a catalyst to the road being wet. That said, I dont want to debunk any theory even if they did not apply in my particular scenario. All input is valuable
### Recent Rain ###
Center of the road around painted lines has maximum oil/fluids released. Slightly right of the center of the lane is your sweet spot to ride.
Yellow/white stripes to be avoided at all costs when its wet
Use rain mode if your bike has one
Tire pressure, tread, alignment etc could all play a big part
Slow down on throttle/brake in wet conditions
Respect the road conditions - oil/fluid, tar snake, patched road, rain, snow
Weight management - heavier goes down
New tires can take upto 500 miles on a dry/twisty roads to scrub off
Hydroplaning - Several riders pointed out this to be the cause of crash
Be gentle on throttle in a puddle or dont use it at all
### Fish Tailing ###
Let go off the throttle gradually
Let handlebar loose and did not fight it
### General Crash ###
If you can go back and check/analyze the surface that caused the slide, do it. Wont leave any ambiguity later
Steering dampener (still need to research that)
### Misc ###
Couple of folks mentioned that it wasnt a fishtail but rather the front giving way (tank slapping). I am not one hundred percent certain if that is the case nonetheless its important to capture valuable information and share
This was absolutely the front end shoveling, causing the rear to come out with correction. Looks like it was from too much counter steer at first. Slower handle and lean inputs would have prevented this. But once in a slide, i find 'getting up on the tank' moving the weight forwards and counter weighting with your body gives more control with slides. Keeping smooth throttle. In the slow mo, you can see the handle bars 'dip' to the right quite heavily. The rear might have slid first, but it was the front that made everything happen after. Kind of like older porsches. The more weight over the back (in extreme cases or low traction) causes a pendulum effect. But the opposite can be true in high traction/performance driving cases. Adding throttle, shifting the weight back can plant it and straighten out
Another Rider also shared the below. While I might not necessarily agree with it, I am no instructor and no professional crash or fishtailing expert. The instructor specifically references the natural inclination to let off the gas (don't) and what you should do is keep the same level of throttle or slightly increase it : https://batangasracingcircuit.org/what-causes-a-motorcycle-to-fishtail/?fbclid=IwAR2hJ7V81bohte-6IOumGU8h_LOO5Xxx1UETBdyjlXgxJ7lu0cz38jXvpJE
Hydroplaning : One of the riders came up with an awesome explanation on Hydroplaning : Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control.
Some really great info and learnings from all this and I am so glad to have shared this video with our larger biker community. If anyone wants to know my thoughts ( the actual rider) on what I think truly happened, here it is :
I accelerated while going through the puddle on a slight lean. But then I have been through worse puddles at higher speeds. Just not enough speed, water or lean angle to initiate a slide. However with the recent rains, I ignored the fact of being too close to the center lines (even though I wasnt on the yellow/white paint stripes) that also have maximum oils/fluids released from the ground. Now there might have been a recent patch fix or diesel fuel or tar snake or something on the ground but those would be speculations since I never went back to analyze it. But those could surely have acted as a catalyst in this situation
Had I put my bike in rain mode (yes my bike has one .. smh) that sudden acceleration in the puddle would have been limited which in turn would minimize the start of fishtailing and as a result, it would have been easier to recover from the fishtail, if at all it did occur.
Road conditions were beyond my control (other than slowing down further) but Rain Mode was and I failed to use it!