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Discussion Starter #1
I just read this post. I'm always wondering Good MC Leather $$$, Kevlar $$, Cordura $, Regular Leather Jacket $, etc. I never really counted on the mfrs. input.
This guy went down pretty hard and has some really good input (IMO). It's also a good story. Sorry about the length. It's posted at


Hello Listers...

How was your Friday the 13th? Here's my (abridged) story...

Scenario: Wilderness-area road, smoking-hulk bike stuffed into the shoulder.
Multi-colored blob located somewhat farther down the road.

The multi-colored blob would be me.

Rounding a bend, easy sweeper, not "gassing it" but needing to slow down a
bit, I touched the front brake and in an instant I went splat. The road, I
discovered, was covered in a pebbly gravel (like "miniature ball bearings").
Lying there thinking "I'm screwed" along comes two *bear hunters*
(bear-hunting evidently being an industry in the Sequoia/Yosemite area). At
my insistance, they rendered first-aid (pouring iodine-like stuff into my
open-wound elbow), ripped off the smashed plastic on my bike (which was
jammed in top-gear), gave me directions to the nearest town, and pushed me
down the hill (bump-starting the bike because the start-switch was
inoperative). Note I declined their offer of a lift to their camp and a
radio-call for an ambulance in spite of their observation that "elbow-bone
was sticking out of the wound". In retrospect: Stupid me. Welcome to the
world of "shock".

Ten miles later I rolled into the village of Springville where the
bear-hunters had told me there would be a fire station and a paramedic (true
enough, I would soon discover). Rolling into town (and yes, slipping the
cluth like crazy as I only had 5th gear) I flagged down a motorcyclist on a
dirt bike (thinking he would give me some much-needed help that I now
realized I needed). With no prompting whatsoever, he took the bike to a
local shop (about 50 yards) and me to the firestation (another 50 yards).
But the paramedic there told me to "get down to Porterville and the
emergency room, pronto". The dirt-biker offered to "do the best he could"
with the bike. I said OK, gave him a $40 down-payment on his expenses (money
which he seriously tried to *not* accept), and the key to my bike. A fireman
called a cab, which came up from Porterville (20 miles) to get me, and
dutifully delivered me to the local hospital emergency room ($30 including
tip; don't try this in L.A.).

God, what a mess I was! The left knee of my Broshtex "kevlar" pants was
completely blown-out, like an explosive charge had gone off inside my knee.
What was showing through was my hard-armor
_which_I_had_attached_via_strap_to_my_longjohns_ (hey, I was riding above
7,000 feet and it had been snowing up there the previous day). Blood was
everywhere; all over me. And bandages-or-not I was still dripping the stuff
all over everything.

Lesson 1: What Aerostich says is true. "Kevlar clothes" aren't worth a damn
in a crash situation. Kevlar would work OK in a high-speed *gentle* lay-down
but bike-crashes are more like "explosive events". The HARD ARMOR SAVED MY
KNEE. There were deep gashes in the hard armor, not a scratch on my knee or
even a bruise. Had I had the armor velcroed into the pants (the normal
installation-mode), or had no armor, I'd have likely lost my kneecap.

My elbow/forearm took the rest of the hit (and was pumping blood all over me
afterwards). I had on a *very heavy* leather coat which was NOT
"m/c-specific clothing".

Somebody recently wrote: "<< - does the stiffness of the vansons provide
anything or would a thick custom jacket provide the same protection? >>

Here's your answer...

In my case the shock of hitting the ground with my arm pointing in the exact
same direction as the velocity-vector "peeled back" my coat and ground off a
chunk of my arm. This would almost certainly *not* have happened with a
Vansons or Aerostich (or similar) "real m/c" armored-jacket.

Lesson 2: If 100% m/c clothes + armor were in the equation, I WOULD HAVE
WALKED AWAY INJURY-FREE. "Real" m/c clothing + armor is the best investment
you'll ever make. Screw the Fashion Police; "just wear it".

Lesson 3: There is a strong likelihood that ABS would have prevented all of
this. I distinctly recall no-problemo until I applied the front brake.

Emergency room doctors/nurses worked on me for 4 hours. What a splendid job
of putting me back together! This involved some sort of "flap operation" to
cover the hole in my elbow/forearm (big chunk of missing skin/meat). And
they did the whole job with my elbow "maximum-bent" so I could straighten it
out while healing. Then the ER gave me a phone, dialed the Hotel, which sent
a *limousine* out to pick me up (now 10pm). This for a $55/night rate! Good
drugs made for excellent la-la land.

The next day (Saturday) I called the home of the fellow with the dirt bike.
He told me he had relocated the bike to his barn (I recall telling him to
"do the best he could"). He had made the bike 100% rideable! A bent footpeg
and missing mirror the only deviation from stock-functioning (cosmetically,
of course, the bike is a total loss). This from a guy who was a
subsistance-level cattle farmer, not a well-to-do mechanic with some
free-time. (Almost forgot to mention that the same cabbie who took me to the
hospital brought me back out to the fix-it fellows' farm; this same cabbie
also waited 20 minutes on the way back while I went into the pharmacy to get
my injury-related prescriptions filled. No extra charge).

God Bless small-town America!

Mandatory Triumph Content: Consider ABS as an option on high-end bikes (yes,
I know: "ABS doesn't sell"; later model FJ-1200/Bandit etc).

ABS is not needed 99.9999 percent of the time. But unfortunately it's the
other .0001% that gets your attention. Opinion: Anybody who says "I don't
need ABS" is a Fool. Maybe you don't *want* it (OK, and I accept that) or
maybe you can't *afford* it (OK, and I accept that). But we *all* need it,
or have needed it in the past, or will need it someday.

Conclusion: I drove home non-stop 4 hours from Springville to Palmdale
(taking the highways). Recalling this: In the initial stages of the
accident, while in-shock, I said "Dear,God, just make me well and I'll never
get on a bike again. Never!". Really, I said this. I said it, I meant it,
and I was so mad at myself I was crying inside my helmet at the stupidity of
crashing on a gravelly country road.

Enter: Inspiration. Via the recollection of list-contributor Nina (who, in
the face of horrid misfortune stayed w/Triumph when lesser beings would have
surely abandoned the sport altogether). And the inspiration of other injured
riders who came back--wiser--to participate again in what must surely be
Gods Own Freedom.

More inspiration: This time from the closing song in the movie "Duets" (now
playing) which I kept singing inside my helmet all the way home today...

"...I'm as free as a bird now,
and this bird you cannot change.

Lord knows, I can't change...

Lord knows... I can't... change..."

And so I won't. I remain in the sport. Committed to living a life which
contains the stimulus of a two-wheeled machine that keeps me--mentally, at
least--as young as I want to be. (To the charge of
"corny-in-the-first-degree" I plead... Guilty!).

So that's the end of my story, Listers. It'll be three months until I'm well
enough to ride again (because if I fell on the same elbow prior to full
healing--armor or no armor--the damage would likely be permanent. Something
to do with the nerves in what is sometimes called your "funnybone").

Time, as they say, for some "serious lurking".



167 Posts
Enlightening tale. One agreement and one disagreement:

I agree that MC-specific gear is worth the cost, both in money and/or whatever perceived fashion sacrifices or convenience aspects. For street riders, armor is more important than any other consideration, IMO. If you crash, you are going to hit something, for sure. Maybe just the ground, if you're lucky, but also maybe guardrails, cars, trees, telephone poles, etc. Non-motorcycling gear, as in this case, doesn't offer the armor and fit needed to protect you, even if it is heavy-duty leather.

I tend to disagree that ABS would have prevented this accident. He was in a curve, albeit a gentle one. If you are not going in a straight line, ABS will NOT PREVENT A CRASH if you hit the brakes, even lightly. That would be true in a car but it is not true on a bike. In a curve you can brake hard enough to lose traction without triggering the ABS because you can use all your available traction for braking and have nothing left over for cornering.

Instructive post.


0 Posts
Posted by motociclista <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>I tend to disagree that ABS would have prevented this accident. He was in a curve, albeit a gentle one. If you are not going in a straight line, ABS will NOT PREVENT A CRASH if you hit the brakes, even lightly. That would be true in a car but it is not true on a bike. In a curve you can brake hard enough to lose traction without triggering the ABS because you can use all your available traction for braking and have nothing left over for cornering.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Especially on a "gravelly country road"

If somebody sounds as though they might know more than you, talk more and louder.


440 Posts
Another important lesson in this tale:

Stay off your brakes in corners!

This is related to the Don't Panic post I added to the "Most Important Riding Lesson You Have Learned?" question in the Question of the Week forum. How many times does Keith Code stress this in "A Twist of the Wrist II"? Hundreds, at minimum.

Almost every single-bike crash I've come upon has invloved a rider who was on the brakes in a corner. It isn't stupidity, it's a survival reflex that must be unlearned and replaced with the correct reflex: roll on the throttle and ride it out.

Even knowing this, I did something similar during a track day at the Streets of Willow Springs a couple of weeks ago. I touched one of my boots on the asphalt at the apex of a left-hander. Sure enough, I chopped the throttle and got into a pretty good front end slide. rolling back on the throttle made the front hook up and kept me on the track.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

1,355 Posts

Glad to hear you are doing okay and your mental state seems to be right on track. :D
I am a firm believer in ALWAYS wearing the proper gear. Sorry your gear wasn't up to the task,but your accident should be a eye opener to everyone to always ere on the side of caution! Thanks for your tale,I'm sure everyone will think next time when they are tempted to not "gear-up" because you were willing to tell us of your mishap!!


I started out with nothing and still have most of it left!!

4,230 Posts
Absolutely right about proper gear and every-one should be thankful for your sharing this experience. You might save somebody the same lesson the hard way. Also, make sure that it fits snug enough to not shift around when you fall as it may shift out of place defeating a lot of the protective benefit. Add to this using only the best tires, don't ruin them by burning them off and squaring them up unless you're really mad at your wallet, don't play with your suspension settings until you have read and understood the proper literature AND had someone who really knows from racing experience how to do this, and DO a pre-ride inspection of chain adjustment and lubrication, tire pressure and wear, fork seals dry, brake pad wear, oil level, and general overview of condition. Then, don't use your brakes in a corner! If you are really in a corner where there might be a hint of a reason to use brakes, their use will most likely assure that what you're worried about actually happens! Your best corner scenario is all braking BEFORE you turn, AT LEAST neutral throttle once you're set, and more ideally, smooth roll on all of the way through, looking to the exit as you will tend to go where you look.


8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the sympathy gang but fortunatly it wasnt me! The post says I read it elsewhere and thought I'd pass it on since I thought it was a good post. But I'm feeling much better now :D.
99 Tbird Sport


100 Posts
:D You Bastard :D

j/k..Glad your OK

Dave fzR1

"When I grow up... I wanna be a SQUIIIID!"
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