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Has anyone ever experienced hydroplaning on their bike and what were the results? Was it like in a car where you can feel the steering loss and ease off the gas or was it more without warning? Would a bike tire be more or less prone to hydroplaning than a car?
 

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Motorcycle tires are much less prone to hydroplaning due to their narrow size and curved shape, but it could be quite disastrous to have it happen.

I've never had it happen even though I've had lots of rain riding - but mostly because I actively avoid riding through standing water. Even if you could ride through that puddle, what if it's not a puddle but a 2 foot deep pothole full of water - I'd say avoid riding through standing water as a practice but if you have to, choose a speed where hydroplaning would be avoided.
 

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Been there a couple times......there is some warning as I felt the rear tire start to slip. I can tell you that the pucker factor is huge, but the bike has reacted well with letting off the throtle. Don't want to go there again, so I have reduced speed considerably during heavy rains.

John
 

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Yup

I bit the big one on a sportbike.

Wife and I were riding in a pretty heavy downpour. I was riding in the left "rut" while my wife was riding closer to the middle of the lane. As you can imagine, I was about ankle deep in the water. Up until that point, I wasn't really having any problems, due to the aggressive tread on the tire.

I went to change lanes to avoid an '88 Buick with no taillights showing and (I found out later) was turning left and stopped in the intersection. At that point I figured I was going too fast to change lanes safely, and hit the front brake, which instantly locked up, and pitched the bike on it's right side, throwing me off. The bike and I slid for about 50ft. My wife tells me that there was so much water on the highway, I didn't so much as slide, but I "skipped" across the highway, like a rock on a pond.

Long story shor, because I was wearing high-end protective gear, the only damage to me was a small tear in the right knee of my rainsuit, and a front fairing on the bike.

Lessons?

1) Stay out of the "ruts" when raining.
2) Leave MUCH longer stopping distances
3) SLOW DOWN
4) Expect my wife to point and laugh after she knows I'm not physically injured.

Cloud9
 

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Isn't there a formula for inducing hydroplanng based upon speed, tire foot print, etc.? Seem to remember that about 55 mph is the limit...
 
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Happened to me once on a Honda 450. The back end started to come around and the front wouldn't track to straighten her out. I hit the soft shoulder and regained a bit of control, then back to the road past the standing water. I didn't go down, but I stopped and quiverred like a kitten fresh from a cold bath for 10 minutes.
I had some warning, but even over 25 years ago it still haunts me when it is wet.

Pat
 

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I had that happen right after I purchased my 05 Wing. I was following a pick-up at about 50 mph. It started to rain then turned to snow pellets. I slowed to about 40 mph and all seemed well until I passed over a section of real smooth shiney blacktop, no standing water just wet asphalt. All of a sudden the rear tire kicked out and the bike started to fishtail from side to side. All I could think of was the fact that I was going to drop this new Gold Wing.

Just then as suddenly as it started the bike strightened out and everything was fine. I have since run that incident through my mind. I wasn't accelerating or braking or running the cruise control just maintaining my speed. The only thing different was that I crossed over that super smooth patch of tary looking asphalt. Since then I really slow down whenever the road is even a little wet, I got rid of the stock Dunlop D250's and run the E-3's now. Haven't had a repeat episode and never want one.
 

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I've seen that formula years ago. It was something like 9 times the square root of the tire pressure + some constant. I do remember that for cars and bikes the hydroplaning speed was really low, like 45 mph or so. A web search might turn up the exact formula...

David M.
 

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We did a ride back in the Spring. I hit water standing on the road that was at least a foot deep and 25 feet across :shock: . Just before I hit it I was doing 90MPH trying to catch up with the group. I just had time to hit the brakes as I hit the water I let go the brakes and it felt like the bike just floated across the water. It scared the crap out of me and my sweetheart. Water shot about 15' in the air on both sides of the bike. I do have a Tulsa belly pan. I think it had some affect. Had it been any further across the water I don't know that I could have kept the bike up. It was definitely an experience I'll never forget. :oops:
 

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bikes the hydroplaning speed was really low, like 45 mph or so.
What???????????? I have run many hundreds of miles in heavy rain at 80+ and never hydroplaned. I have had slips on different surfaces but definitely not hydroplaning. I was following another Wing that was pulling a trailer through New Hampshire and Maine on I-95. He was running 90, so I did to. All day long. He had Stones and I was running a 250 Lop rear and E3 front. Same tire running in a downpour in Arkansas and it would fishtail like it was on ice at fifty. Strictly depends on the composition of the road surface but that is not hydroplaning. Just sliding on slick pavement. It will do the same thing on painted surfaces. I do slow down considerably in curves with the Dunlops but with Stones, I can run just about the same speed wet or dry.
 

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Only happens to me when I head north into Oregon territory :)

Seriously, anything with tires in contact with a wet surface, with enough
water, and moving fast enough can hydroplane, but I have never had the
experience in 35 years of riding. I am sure this has to do with riding as
safely as the conditions dictate, and running 80 or 90 in any wet condition
is simply, well, I'll leave that alone :D
 

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I'm not sure that most of the incidents in this thread involve hydoplaning. When the tire is moving over the water-covered surface so fast that the water doesn't have time to be "squished out" from under it you have hydroplaning. With the front tire clearing the track for the rear tire, it's going to be hydroplaning LONG before you ever notice traction loss.

I understand that this is a major reason that Honda started using engine RPM along with the speedometer for the cruise control on 1500 Wings. With the speedometer alone, the front tire could start to hydroplane and slow down slightly due to slippage, making the CC think that it need to apply more throttle... Well, you get the picture! :shock:
 

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no fun

Have done it twice, both times because I was riding to fast for conditions. Bike got sideways both times but recovers very well.
First time was a shorts emptying experience, second time just got adrenalin flowing pretty well. Most recent was last weekend on return from a three day trip in the rain to Carlsbad Caverns and Ft. Stockton.
Be careful and don't panic. :oops:
 

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RULE ONE !!
If you are going fast enough to hydroplane, and you do hydroplane, You will fall down.

All the rest is just slipping and sliding. Wet surfaces, oil, paint, cobblestone, all kinds of stuff will let it feel like it is going away. But a true hydroplane will lay you down extremely fast !!! IF you are hydroplaning, the tire can NOT recover unless it is back in contact with ground surface.

Years ago, when I was younger LOL ... In heavy rain, large puddles, Aerial Square Four... Instantly I was sliding on my belly just behind the bike.

Terpen is right, Those guys were running 80 and 90 in heavy rain. Decent tires on the wing will let you do those speeds if the water is not too deep.

JMHO 8)
 

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I can confirm 80+ on a wing and standing water doesn't necessarily mean hydroplaning. It does induce a certain amount of pucker factor.

On the other hand a friend of mine in a car hydroplaned into a light pole at 100+ and drove the rear license plate of his Caprice into the dashboard. There was some question as to whether he could have survived even if there wasn't a fire. (Copping can kill you in lots of ways).
 

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Formula for minimum speed at which hyroplanning will begin on a rotating tire, in knots; 9xsq.rt. of tire pressure. Increase by 15% for MPH.
ie. 41psi.. Min hydroplane speed approx 66 MPH.

Steve
 

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I got caught in a thunderstorm riding from Silverton CO to Durango. I was going about 50mph when I approached water streaming accross the road about 100ft wide. When I hit the water, it was about 3 or 4 inches deep and moving fast across the road. The front wheel started to hydroplane. There was no way to steer at that point. All I could do is try to go straight and gradually let off the throttle until I finally got steering traction back. I think I slowed down to about 25mph before regaining control.

Big time pucker followed by laughter.
 

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On dry pavement your tire traction can usually handle about 1.1 g of acceleration. When your tire demands exceed that amount of traction you skid which reduces their ability to handle acceleration by about 20%

On wet (not standing water or with depth less than about 1/4 inch), your tire traction can usually handle about .8 g of acceleration. When your tire demands exceed that amount of traction you skid which reduces their ability to handle acceleration by about HALF

If standing water or depth greater than about 1/4 inch. Traction available at speeds less than about 50 MPH remains able to handle about .8 g acceleration (though I have low confidence in that number). When your tire demands exceed that amount of traction you HYDROPLANE which reduces their ability to handle acceleration to essentially ZERO

Hydroplaning is more probable
The faster you go
The wider your tires
The lower the air pressure in your tires
The deeper the water is

This is true regardless of whether you are accelerating (in a straight line or turning) or not.

It is most likely that your front tire will hydroplane before the rear one does because you ride a single-track vehicle. That is, the front tire squeezes most of the water off the roadway by the time the rear tire gets there. But those of you who have put an extra wide tire (perhaps even automobile type) on the rear wheel will find that you have changed that dynamic. The odds of the rear tire hydroplaning first in that scenario goes up dramatically.

One last thought ... water drainage on a freeway (any wide roadway, actually) drains to the right (in the U.S.) and that means that the depth of that water is greatest in the SLOWEST LANES. That should suggest that the odds of hydroplaning is about equal in every lane (slower movement but greater depth makes the slow lanes as dangerous as the faster lanes.)
 
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