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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Sunday afternoon, I found myself crossing the steel grating of the James River Bridge in the midst of an enthusiastic Virginia downpour (first time I was able to cool off all day). As the Wing did it's little steel grating dance, it gradually started drifting toward the edge of my lane. In that situation, I had a strong instinct that anything I did to change speed or direction would surely drop the bike. Fortunately, the steel grating on the James River Bridge did not last long enough to warrant a change of underwear, but I know there are other bridges out there where the grating spans a much longer distance. When crossing steel grating, should you ignore instinct and steer the bike as usual, or is there some technique that works better?
 

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On Sunday afternoon, I found myself crossing the steel grating of the James River Bridge in the midst of an enthusiastic Virginia downpour (first time I was able to cool off all day). As the Wing did it's little steel grating dance, it gradually started drifting toward the edge of my lane. In that situation, I had a strong instinct that anything I did to change speed or direction would surely drop the bike. Fortunately, the steel grating on the James River Bridge did not last long enough to warrant a change of underwear, but I know there are other bridges out there where the grating spans a much longer distance. When crossing steel grating, should you ignore instinct and steer the bike as usual, or is there some technique that works better?

Seattleboatguy,

You bring up a very good question and, I am going to try and answer it.

First off you said:"did not last long enough to warrant a change of underwear" I have to ask, was your speed excessive?

When approaching a steel grating bridge you want to have your arms relaxed. You certainly DO NOT want to tense up at all.

Your Gold Wing will react to your inputs you want to steer in the direction you want to go. Common sense (I am not saying you don't have any) dictates on any slippery surface, use caution when changing direction. Speed has a great impact on this as well.

You said: "I had a strong instinct that anything I did to change speed or direction would surely drop the bike." Why did you feel this way? Trust your tires, unless poorly maintained, you should have no issue providing your not going the speed of light.

Seattleboatguy how long have you been riding the Gold Wing you are talking about?

I will admit, I had a crash on my Gold Wing last October 7. I decide to make a right hand turn, gave it too much input, rolled on too much throttle and high sided. Just minor parts to replace, did not get hurt except my ego. Had on protective gear. This was a dry sunny day.
 

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I agree with the above post to stay relaxed. As we used to have many grated bridges around my parts, only a few little ones remain, I got lots of experience on them. Very few the grating sheets line up so you are always moving from sheet to sheet. Most of the time I just went with what the decking did to the bike, but on some long ones you have to make adjustments,as you can be led to far to the center or the edge. No radical adjustments, just hop it from one grove to another and relax. Never noticed much difference between wet and dry, but with good tires it shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Seattleboatguy,

First off you said:"did not last long enough to warrant a change of underwear" I have to ask, was your speed excessive?

When approaching a steel grating bridge you want to have your arms relaxed. You certainly DO NOT want to tense up at all.

You said: "I had a strong instinct that anything I did to change speed or direction would surely drop the bike." Why did you feel this way? Trust your tires, unless poorly maintained, you should have no issue providing your not going the speed of light.

Seattleboatguy how long have you been riding the Gold Wing you are talking about?
The answers to your questions would be:

1) Everyone (especially me) was going slow due to the heavy rain. My challenge was making sure I did not slow down so much as to become a hazard to traffic coming up behind me.

2) I was VERY tense on the grating. That stuff is weird in the BEST of conditions.

3) Tires are in great shape. Pressure is a few pounds low, but not excessively low.

4) I'm afraid the instinct "is what it is". I can override it, but I can't deny it.

5) I'm fairly new to the Wing, but really enjoying it.

I appreciate the feedback. Lots to learn, and this is a great forum for learning.
 

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Seattleboatguy,

I like the fact you know where your limitations are..."good for you"

I really enjoy reading things like this:

1) Everyone (especially me) was going slow due to the heavy rain. My challenge was making sure I did not slow down so much as to become a hazard to traffic coming up behind me.


4) I'm afraid the instinct "is what it is". I can override it, but I can't deny it.
 

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Yes, the best thing to do is let the bars jerk around (very disconcerting) and make smooth corrections to steering to keep from wandering out of your lane.

Some tires are much better, and some much worse, on grates and grooved pavement. I've found that the Avon Cobra's I'm using now do much better on grating than some other tires.
 

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Living in Florida for some time (many years ago) I was taught by a very experienced rider to chris cross back and forth on the grating. This stops the front wheel from TRACKING in the grate.
 

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Excellent points inthis thread. Grooved pavement can also have an unsettling effect on bike and rider, although to a somewhat lesser degree than the grating.
 

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Just a side note: It may be helpful to warn your passenger (if carrying one) of what the motorcycle will do when riding over one.
 

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My ex-NYC motorcycle cop riding buddy is a criss-crosser.

I do the .38 Special and "Hold on Loosely".. Just enough to maintain a line.

We've got a coupla bridges in Wilmington that have that mess for a 100 or so yards. One of the evils of living in watery areas, I reckon. :cool: d:^) Schneeks..
 
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