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I hoping some of you can give me some pointers as to the best way to ride across metal grating. Everyday on my way to work I have to cross a bridge with metal grates the whole way and lets just say it feels like I'm riding on ice. I feel like I have zero control and the bike feels like its sliding back and forth. So far my method has been to give my self lots of room in front so I won't have to brake, and to ride slowly and not make any sudden moves. I still feel very unstable though, especially when the crosswind is bad. Any info or pointers would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I've gone back and forth over the metal draw bridge in Port Stanley many times and I know what you mean about the feeling that you are riding on ice. I think it is only that, a feeling.

I had both my Ninja and Versys on that bridge and also down many kms of groove- scraped highway in the process of re-surfacing. Both of those road surfaces have that loose feeling, but really you are still very much in control. The grooves cause those rapid inputs that you feel in the steering, but they are so small and subtle they won't make you fall.

I find a moderate speed, firm grip on the bars and relaxing my arms is the best way to cope with it. I would be more leary of the metal bridge in the rain. The Ninja tires are pretty small, but the larger tires on the Versys only made a slight improvement, if any.
 

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Bridges are not the only surfaces that can make the bike feel like it is on ice, losing traction or slipping laterally. Most roads regardless of how smooth they look, have longitudinal grooves. Some wide, some small. Depending on what part of the country or what part of the world you live in, you will see different types of road surfaces and conditions. Because the Ninja has narrow tires it is easy for it to do what some call tramming or tramlining. That is where the tire rides in and up or up and over a groove, giving the feeling like the rear or whole vehicle is moving from side to side. It's like going over a grated bridge, you get the side to side movement because the tires are riding on grooves in the metal. Add in the crown of the road, tar patches, sand, loose pavement, water, antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid, rubber residue, and whatever else rolls across the road, there is no telling what is the actual cause of lateral slipping. The remedy? Be more observant of the road surface your are riding on, take the appropriate action for the riding condition, moderate your speed, use even braking if you need to, use appropriate steering measures, maintain good control over the bike.
If you happen to get caught in some crosswinds, there are a couple of things that you can do to make the experience less stressful, however. For example, you can quit white-knuckling your grips. When you hold on tight you also tend to stiff arm your controls. That, as we've talked about before, merely allows front-end instability to propagate into the rest of the motorcycle. Relax your grips and droop your elbows. Allow your bike to be a bit unstable. Drive in the center of your lane. Lean forward and down to reduce your profile, snug up your jacket. There will be a couple of times when a gusty crosswind changes your bike's direction of travel: when it hits, and when it stops. Both require that you allow the bike to respond and use normal modest counter-steering. (When it quits you will be leaned over and, as a result, your bike will move towards where the wind WAS coming from until you straighten it up.

If crosswinds involve huge short gusts, pull over, park the bike. If the crosswinds are more sustained, pucker up and keep going then...just lean wit it, rock wit it, roll wit it!!
 

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What about stopping on them?

There is a metal grate bridge between Ottawa & Gatineau with a reasonable incline at the end. I haven't needed to stop on that yet because I usually travel over when there's less traffic and give a large amount of space between me and the car in front.

Does it also feel like you're stopping on ice?
 

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Some good advice here already, but let me add this....

metal is not the same as a grooved road, although the way to ride them is the same as Ghost had mentioned.... On a grooved road, the surface is still very rough and still give you excellent grip. Metal on the other hand is much smoother, and surface is very slick and void of traction.

So...

Along with easing up on the handlebars, hold the bike tighter with your legs. Use the rear brake more than the front, cause if you loose the front your done, but if you skid the rear you can still control the bike fairly well. Other than that, practice practice practice. Maybe cross the bridge a few times on off hours, and play with the rear brake to build a frame of reference?
 

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Pretty much as other people have said, keep the bike upright, in a straight line, not too tight grip on the bars but ready incase it lets go, grip the tank with your knees, but I would add to slow down and keep your speed as low as possible bearing in mind traffic around you.

Also keep it in a tall gear with only a few rev's, you're less likely to break traction with the throttle.

Try and time it so there is no other traffic behind you, so if you go down you have less chance of being run over.

I would imagine when its been raining, it would feel like riding on sheet ice. So maybe keep the bike in a tall gear, slow speed and keep both feet down as you would on sheet ice. Feel for you mate !
 
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