Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Wind Cries Mary

Living in the mid-west poses some different challenges in riding a motorcycle than it does when I lived on the east coast. One of those of those challenges is wind. It is a lot windier out here than on Long Island, especially in the spring. In fact it can get so bad as to push me into another lane. It has happened a couple times since I bought my R1200RT last November. It never was a problem with my last bike, which was a Kawasaki Nomad 1600. The obvious differences are weight, profile, and riding position.

The RT is 250 pounds lighter than the Nomad. That is a lot for a motorcycle. The Nomad is also lower and the rider sits in the bike more than on it with the RT. The riding position of the RT is more like a UJM or that the rider sits straight up. Lastly, I have a topcase on the RT and I believe that contributes to stability as well. The bike seems more stable without the topcase on it. Still, none of these facts would seem like that big of a deal to me. I have owned motorcycles that were as light or lighter than the RT and I did not have the problem of getting pushed into another lane, but those bikes were owned when I lived back east and memories tend to be kind. It's the one bugaboo I have about the RT.

One way I try to ameliorate strong cross winds is to go faster. This sounds counter intuitive at first, but if you have experience with ballistics, it makes perfect sense. With bullets, the higher the velocity, the less it is affected by wind downrange. One misguided chap on the BMW Sport Touring Forum said I should sit straight up. Ummmm....Yeah. Ok. I am a freaking sail as it is. I could be used as a mainsail on the USS Constitution.  No, that won't work. Other than speed, I think the only other way is to ride without the topcase or even the panniers. Or be about 8 inches shorter and 8 inches narrower.

Lest you think I jest about the tira vento, I have had instances when the wind is head on, the bike dips quite a bit and slows down when I shift. The wind likes to change direction between morning and afternoon commutes. I used to get headwinds both ways on one commute. Anyway, there is no use complaining about nature. It is what it is. I can deal with rain, I can deal with wind, and I can deal with cold. What I cannot deal with is lightning, but that is another story for another time.

Thank you for reading this blog.


jeunebug said...

I love the pictures you use in your posts. I always get a good chuckle. This has got to be my favorite one so far.

Jim L said...

Thanks Jeunebug, I appreciate it. How's the s1000RR treating you?