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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. In a perfect world, all roads would be smooth, twisty and unpopulated. Unfortunately, riding isn't always so straightforward and we're constantly forced to deal with changing situations. One of the most disconcerting problems that crops up is how to deal with rough road. Since you scan while you ride (don't you?), you give yourself a little extra time to react to road hazards by paying attention to road conditions as they become visible. Once an issue arises, the best way to eliminate the problem is to go around it by altering your line through a corner or swerving.
2. Sometimes, however, going around the road hazard isn't an option. On a straight section of road, you should slow down prior to contacting the rough pavement. Keep your eyes up and looking well ahead. The best way to get to where you want to go is to look there. Motorcycles have a talent for following your eyes. So, never look directly at something you want to avoid or target fixation may be the unwanted result. Next, support your torso slightly with your legs while maintaining a relaxed upper body and a neutral throttle. If you encounter an obstacle in a turn, stand the bike up as much as possible and follow the same steps you would for riding in a straight line.
3. The most important decision you have to make when faced with an object you must surmount is to decide if going over the hazard is physically possible -- you're simply not going to get over a tree lying across the road -- but 2x4s, bricks or manhole covers are doable. If there is time, slow down. Next, approach the object as close to 90 degrees as possible to prevent your front tire from glancing off of it. Keep your eyes up, looking toward your desired path of travel. Raise your butt up off the seat. Just before contacting the obstacle, shift your weight rearward, let off the brake and roll on the throttle to lighten your front wheel. Keep your body relaxed and let the bike move underneath you. By staying loose you will be able to straighten the bike more quickly if it gets knocked off line. The same technique can be used for railroad tracks or diagonal seams across a road -- except keep your weight neutral and maintain a constant speed.
4. Gravel roads pose their own set of problems by combining an uneven surface with limited traction. Sportbikes, with their steep rake, can be a handful in gravel or sand. Keep your speed low and avoid abrupt turn inputs, acceleration or braking. Smooth is the operative word. If the bike wants to, let it wander a bit while maintaining a relaxed upper body. Keeping your eyes up and looking well ahead is important -- particularly so in this unstable environment. If the bike tends to follow your eyes and you look down at the ground, where do you think you're likely to end up? Accidental spinning of the rear wheel can be controlled by modulating the throttle and countersteering in the opposite direction of the slide. Under braking, release a locked front wheel immediately. Gradually ease a skidding rear so the back end moves inline with the front smoothly.

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