How to Deal with Tar Snakes on your Motorcycle

What is the proper technique to deal with tar snakes on your motorcycle? This week we define Tar Snakes, set some standards on when they are dangerous and provide 3 techniques to deal with them.

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Comment (30)

  1. Talkn to much….when do u really get to the point of the video….that is the biggest problem with ur vids….5 minute intro….thats a bit much….most of the time i enjoy but come on…..

  2. Right glad am I to see this video! I experienced tar snakes just yesterday! They caused the wobble as I was leaning into the turn. I kept her moving around the bend at the same controlled lean and made it through unscaved

  3. Worse for me were the grid surfaces on Cali bridges. Made my front wheel search all the way. By the way, I’m glad my wife didn’t see you hold up your fingers 7” apart while calling it 5”. 😏

  4. Great point about reserve. I think about that a lot. On the street there is no safety net. I can't explore my limits because I can't afford physically and financially to go over the limits.

  5. I’m a new subscriber to your channel and have been riding bikes since I was 6 years old. I’m 46 now and have learned more in one afternoon watching your videos than in a lifetime riding. Thank you Mate and Cheers from Australia 👍🍺

  6. NorCal, SR89 from the junction with SR4 over Monitor Pass to the junction of US395, a couple of years before a major repavement it was the tar snake Autumn breeding ground, and they had all hatched for the first good weather after the passes opened… But some of the most fun on a street bike can be dodging tar snakes, or picking one that parallels the corner and riding through it to experience the 'slide'; I love to practice through the tight corners, the sweepers, the occasional straight section, …My technique?…Do Nothing – Up or down hill, tar snakes can be fun…when else can you drift both tires at the same time with confidence that the bike will regain traction and continue on the previous line? …Train yourself to do nothing when riding over a tarsnake…the bike will wiggle, and then continue as before…Yield and Overcome.
    Or as Kevin said…"Relax…"

  7. Well just two days ago it was wet and i lost traction going up on a steep road at like 35 mph and off course all that kept me upright was the gyro effect because it happened all so fast that i think my inputs (kept on the throttle, and spread my legs to try and balance the thing) weren't much effective. The tar and road signaling paint is extremely slippery, i don't live in the U.S. but they are the same. I ride a 250 maxiscoot (Yes it IS a motorcycle, don't bust b…s)

    There is a practice here sometimes, when they change some road signs, they paint the old ones in BLACK road paint which is just as slippery as the white but guess what? Now it's almost invisible no matter day or night… The stuff of nightmares.

  8. I think that fixating on these things distract us from what we need to do. I never heard about not using your front brake in a turn until after I had been riding, and using my front brake (Successfully) in turns for years, I just instinctively counter steered to counteract the braking force in turns. We should know how to use our front brake in turns, and relax and not freak out, just ride it out.

  9. I have only one problem with this site and it's a small one…. look at the tee shirts, etc for sale here…. are they in Hi Vis Yellow? No, they are in black. Wearing black and riding on a black bike to me is just plain stupid. Do you want to be invisible on the road? No thanks!

  10. Hi Kevin, I'm from India and I ride a Harley Davidson super glide custom. You're a genius. I follow your postings and absolutely love the huge amount of information that you're passing on. Keep it up.

  11. I live in ne Ohio. Makes sence they would say 5".. our roads are pretty bad. Ive ran over alot of tar snakes they do have a strange feeling if you arnt used to them. For the most part i dont even notice it now. Altho long ones on the road i tend to stay off because they kinda annoy me but never had a traction issue….. Metal surface bridges and overpasses i avoid.

  12. I would like to know how the consistency changes in intense sun and also rain. But the key takeaway is that the threat is not real. Lastly, there's always this thing called easing off the throttle….

  13. Hi Kevin, never had an issue with tar snakes. I did however ride across a smooth steel expansion joint on an overpass, while negotiating a curve, in rush hour traffic in the rain. Didn’t crash, but had to clean out my shorts after that incident. With traffic all around me, I felt the bike tires shimmy as I rolled across the joint. Not a sensation care to repeat anytime soon.

    As usual very informative video. Thanks for sharing

  14. Closely associated with this are the many construction projects that expose the road bed… I’ve been surprised how many motorcyclists try to switch to the high side and are unaware that they divot in road between to two is do or die… if that front wheel doesn’t catch onto the higher pavement immediately, you (most likely) going down if the bike can not regain traction on the lower road bed… having always ridden a GS I regard it as “Off Road” experience and stick with it until the end bumps me back on the road miles ahead.


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