Dealing with crosswinds

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Motorcycles in general, and cowled sportbikes in particular, are subject to weaving in crosswinds. Gusting 65mph winds blowing directly across the road are no fun at all. When the wind gusts it forces you in the direction that it's blowing, so you naturally must lean into it to prevent being blown into the next lane. Then the gust will abruptly let up, and the bike will suddenly dart in the direction that you were leaning, tracing a weaving path that makes a slobbering drunk look like the picture of sobriety. On really bad days the cagers around you will look panic-stricken and get just as far away from you as they can...

There are several things that can help:

  • Relax and stay light on the bars. Not having a death grip on the bars/bike is the BIGGEST thing you can do. When you hold on tight you transfer all body movement directly to the bike, which is exactly what you don't want.
  • Lean into the wind to compensate.
  • Stick your windward knee out, effectively making yourself asymmetrical to the wind. Basically, when you get hit by a gust, your leg scoops some of it up, so the wind pulls you in at the same time it pushes you away... it cuts the effect substantially.
  • Slow down. At lower speeds crosswinds have less effect. What is downright dangerous at 70mph may prove to be controllable, though exciting, at 50.
  • Find a moving wind-break. Following a tractor-trailer rig can help, but not if you have to tuck right in behind him to get any benefit. This will depend on the angle and speed of the wind. (Do not get right alongside one and try to stay there! These guys often can't see you and will change lanes right on top of you with no warning. They also occasionally blow right over in high crosswinds... Not a good time to be on the downwind side, unless you've always wanted to be a waffle.)
  • Watch the upwind side of the road ahead of you. Billboards, parked trucks, cuts, and stands of trees will cause the crosswind to suddenly stop and you to suddenly zig. If you know that it's about to happen, it's much easier to cope with.
  • If you absolutely must ride in a heavy crosswind, take a short break every twenty minutes or so. Your concentration will need a rest.