Riding through a shallow ford / stream - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Riding through a shallow ford / stream

Hi all,

Very random thread to start but just got my bike back on the road for the year having just moved house.

My route to work is quite rural to start and has a reasonably shallow ford / stream with a reasonably steep concrete ramp down and back up to the road that obviously I had no problems with in my car for the last few weeks.

I would say the water is no deeper than 20cms or so and is not that fast flowing.

I avoided it today because I needed to make a detour via a petrol station but has anyone got any experience of going through one or any advice other than "don't bother, go another way". My alternative route adds probably 5 minutes or so isn't the end of the world if I avoid it completely on the bike.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 02:49 AM
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My only concern would be with any algae, or anything slimy on the water covered surface. Street tires don't have any traction on that sort of stuff.

Go slow, expect it to be like riding on a greasy surface..... enter very slowly and have some power throughout. I'd use the back brake for control, to reduce the chance of tucking the front.

After the first attempt you'll have a much better idea of whether it's worth it.

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"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 07:26 AM
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20cm is like 8 inches of water. I'd wonder about water getting into the axle/brake caliper and/or onto the hot engine. But if it's not that deep, I don't see a problem. I mean, people ride in Oregon after it rains, so...

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post #4 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 08:04 AM
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I mean... if you have the option to not ride through a lake that's always preferable
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 09:15 AM
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The odds are pretty good that the brake fluid will go off more quickly.... water intrusion into a caliper that is submerged will be far more than one that is rained on.... but it shouldn't matter if you are only there for a few seconds.

Speed will determine how much splashing occurs -- the rider is going to get wet, it's a matter of how much of the rider will be wet.

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 11:48 AM
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Wheelie through that shit!!
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 11:53 AM
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Wheelie through that shit!!
That's what I was thinking. You won't get the front rotors wet that way.
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 01:23 PM
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The odds are pretty good that the brake fluid will go off more quickly.... water intrusion into a caliper that is submerged will be far more than one that is rained on.... but it shouldn't matter if you are only there for a few seconds.

Speed will determine how much splashing occurs -- the rider is going to get wet, it's a matter of how much of the rider will be wet.
If the brake fluid can't get out of the system (even with all the pressure of squeezing the lever), how do you think that water would get into the system just from riding through a stream?
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 01:27 PM
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The only issue I see with riding through shallow water is if it's slippery. Just take it slow and be smooth on all the controls. I have ridden through some very slippery water crossings like that. You can feel the slipperiness under the bike, but if you are smooth on the controls you will get across just fine.

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post #10 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 01:40 PM
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Wheelie through that shit!!


Scorpi0, you have a well earned and unique place in the ZX-community...
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post #11 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 01:48 PM
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Stop man, Im gettin all teary-eyed.


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post #12 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 02:16 PM
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20cm is like 8 inches of water. I'd wonder about water getting into the axle/brake caliper and/or onto the hot engine. But if it's not that deep, I don't see a problem. I mean, people ride in Oregon after it rains, so...
As a fellow Oregonian, I ride year round, and yes, some of that entails rain. A few 'detail' pointers I might add to what's already on offer are:

1) Cover the clutch lever with only 1-2 fingers.

2) Do most of your braking early... be as slow as you can be without losing stability, or to counter act effects of current (m/c gain stability with speed - that's why they are ungainly at parking lot speeds). If you must brake further only use your rear brake. Why? It is several cm/in. higher than the bottom 'puck' of the front calipers, therefore won't be inviting aquatic goo into the brake system. Once up to higher ground, and several wheel rotations, apply rear brake ever so gently just to 'scrape' shite off.

3) A page from MX, after braking, well prior to entering the water, move bum as far backward as one can (stand on pegs if you're so inclined) - leaving front wheel lighter, but more importantly shifting weight over the drive wheel, so in the event of a potential stall you can apply more throttle to move the bike literally to higher ground [(a la Scopi0's advice].

4) If at all possible give the bike a good rinsing with clean water prior to parking; note esp. f/r suspension, and f/r brake rotors/calipers, and even chain/rear sprocket. And if you've spent the budget of a small African country on custom wheels I'd strongly advise a quick douche w/clean water.

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post #13 of 26 Old 03-27-2017, 03:35 PM
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If the brake fluid can't get out of the system (even with all the pressure of squeezing the lever), how do you think that water would get into the system just from riding through a stream?
How does any water ever get into a closed braking system?

If water is in direct contact with the caliper pistons, it is surrounding the most likely point of entry. The greatest surface area in the entire system. Whether it wicks past the piston, or gets pulled through the rubber gasket directly (osmosis?)....

Somehow, it happens.

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #14 of 26 Old 03-29-2017, 09:57 AM
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How does any water ever get into a closed braking system?

If water is in direct contact with the caliper pistons, it is surrounding the most likely point of entry. The greatest surface area in the entire system. Whether it wicks past the piston, or gets pulled through the rubber gasket directly (osmosis?)....

Somehow, it happens.
This is only a note of interest for those who might be interested in learning more technical points. It is in no fashion an attempt to bicker, nor to minimise any member:

Osmosis is the spontaneous molecular transformation of a solvent – a substance that dissolves a solute - via a semi-permeable membrane which the solutes can pass through (if there are no other changes, and in one direction only) into a region of higher solute concentration (‘birds of a feather’ sort of thing]. A solute is a homogeneous mixture of 2+ substances. This results in a type of equitable solute concentrations on either side of the membrane. There is a physical process whereby any solvent may move across a semi-permeable membrane which separate two distinct concentrations.

The result of osmosis is the solutes + solvent = a solution. Thus, the ‘bong water’ on the ground is the solute, and the brake fluid is the solvent. Brake fluid happens to be highly attracted to water (which is why it is so critical to keep the cap very tight on a bottle of brake fluid). Hypothetically speaking, the rubber seal might have semi-permeable membrane properties, especially if older and has oxidised; though not highly probable with new(ish) seals.
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post #15 of 26 Old 03-29-2017, 10:08 AM
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^^ I completely agree..... the rate of progression of water into the braking system is not likely to be directly related to the presence of moisture on the rubber....

If a portion of the braking system is submerged for a length of time, there is an increasing probability of water getting into the system. If the pistons move against the seals in the calipers, there is a stronger chance of intrusion.... water is trapped in that area any time the bike gets wet. Capillary action would keep the nooks and crannies wet for quite some time. I would think that heating up the brakes to evaporate out any trapped water would be a good idea.

As the pistons normally only move a .010" or so, the seals don't actually 'slide' on the pistons -- they just rock back and forth. Maybe, they stretch a little and maybe that creates a slightly higher chance of water ingress....

On a side note, I have made it a religion to toss out any brake fluid I do not use, when I open a new can to flush braking systems. That's why I always buy the smallest container I can find....whatever I do not use is thrown away. Even if it's cheaper by the gallon, the total cost is effectively whatever I pay for the whole container.
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"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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