What killed Azhar’s son Ayaz?

IGNORANCE.

My heartfelt condolences to their family notwithstanding, the above statement is true. I really hope this post will save many more wannabe street racers.

Ayazuddin was riding a 1000 cc Suzuki. Even though I have not been able to get the exact model of the bike, the following holds true to all bikes.

There have been some halfhearted attempts to explain the cause of the accident and most of them are non-technical. The usual theory is that high speed, in excess of 200 kmph, is what killed them. True. But these bikes are built for such speeds.  What really killed them is the bike’s STEERING GEOMETRY and a lack of understanding of this very important feature.

There are two important factors called Rake angle and Trail. The figure below illustrates what these are.

trial_bike

The basic understanding is that a longer trial offers more stability (lesser steering control) and a shorter trail offers more steering control (lesser stability). Any bike, built for a certain specific purpose, has a rake angle / trial to suit just this purpose.

A bike built for cruising long straight highways have greater rake angle, longer trail (like a chopper). This offers more straight line stability and reduces hand fatigue.

A racing bike needs more steering control as against a street legal bike and hence have lower rake angle and lesser trail. These bikes are very unstable at low speeds and need space and experience to make turns.

A racing bike like the one Ayaz was riding is essentially steered by leaning into the turn. It is important to understand that these bikes are raced on tracks specifically built to accommodate this factor. That is why race tracks have wide, long, winding turns unlike streets which have sharp turns.

Ever noticed how a race driver moves to the very extreme opposite edge of the track, leans into a curve and makes a long turn. This manoeuvre offers the extended radius essential to turn these bikes at high speeds.

 

race bike turning

Regular bikes are capable of much sharper turns owing to their steering geometry and lower speeds.

Ayaz was doing just the reverse. Riding the wrong bike on the wrong road.

Easy as it seems to a casual spectator, race drivers put in years of practice. They are also masters of the tech specs of the bikes they ride.

Ayazuddin paid with his life for not knowing this important fact.

 

You can find more technical info at

1. http://bikearama.com/theory/motorcycle-rake-trail-explained/

2. http://wotid.com/tls/content/view/24/53/

3. http://www.msgroup.org/forums/mtt/topic.asp?topic_id=76

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry