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Journeys : Apr May 2011
Getting the wiggles right for motorcyclists Darren Moody responds to a Journeys reader who asked about the different handling characteristics of front and rear-wheel drive vehicles. There are specific differences in the characteristics of driving front and rear- wheel drive cars. In front-wheel drive (FWD) cars, the front wheels do all the work, both driving and steering the car. Early F WD cars suffered from ‘torque steer’, when the steer ing wheel tugged hard to one side under acceleration. They also suffered from premature wear on the front tyres and in some cases self-centering issues w ith the steering wheel, due to the difficulty of getting steering geometr y correct. When pushed, FWD cars can understeer well before a RWD car, because there is more weight over the front axle. But technology has come quite a way since those early days and while some models do display low levels of torque steer, most have it under control. Tyre wear can be managed by rotating front to rear at regular intervals. Understeer is also less likely to occur because modern vehicle electronics like electronic stability control (ESC) will intervene to stop slippage as soon as it is detected. If you were to ask people who knew very little about cars whether their car was front or rear wheel drive, many wouldn’t know and never really notice any of the things I’ve described. Q&A If you’d never ridden a motorcycle on Tasmania’s w inding roads, you probably wouldn’t ever think about the issue raised by RACT member John Robertson. “For the past three years I have been leading motorcycle rides all across our state. “In this time I have discovered a disturbing, even dangerous inconsistency in one particular road advisory caution sign. “ Where there is a precautionary speed sign for single corners or S- bends, the arrow always indicates the correct direction of the approaching curve or bend of the road. “In the case of a longer section of winding road, the ‘wriggly arrow’ does not always show the direction of the road for the FIRST or NEXT corner! “ While this may not be absolutely crucial for other vehicles, it is vital for a motorcyclist. Motorcycle physics are controlled by gyroscopic motion, so riders need to approach a corner from a certain line of riding. “L E FT HAND corners are approached nearer the centre of the road, then the rider takes a shallower line to the left through the apex and exits closer to the centre of the road again as the throttle is applied. “For RIGHT HAND corners, the rider approaches nearer the left side of the road, rides through the apex closer to the centre line and exits the corner nearer the left. “ When these signs do not correctly indicate the direction of the first corner, the motorcycle rider may unintentionally be setting up their approach on the wrong line. That can have disastrous consequences! “This became even more apparent to me only a few weeks ago when a rider ended up too wide for the direction of the road and found himself on the gravel shoulder very close to a rocky bank. “It was only his many years of experience that saved a serious crash. “ Novice and beginner motorcyclists are at some risk if they read the ‘wriggly arrow’ as being consistent with the approaching road direction. “I would like to see the RACT urge the minister for urgent attention to correct this situation.” We have raised the concern at our regular meeting with the Department of Infrastr ucture, Energy and Resources. Life on the move 18 April / May 2011 Pickles Auctions For real peace of mind, purchase an RACT roadworthy inspected vehicle. For a detailed listing and photographs of vehicles visit our website. www.pickles.com.au Government & Fleet vehicle auction Fixed Price Sales Saturday 9am to 2pm and Monday 8am to 4.30pm 56 Sunderland Street, Derwent Park 7009 Ph: (03) 6108 8444
Feb March 2011
Jun Jul 2011