Well It's Been a Fun Time Everyone, But....


XS400 Guru
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Cleveland, OH
....I shall be moving on to brighter pastures.

Saturday night (well Sunday morning) I was struck from behind by a driver that wasn't paying attention. We are talking me at a dead stop, and the driver going full bore 40mph. To put it in perspective, imagine throttling up to 40mph and aiming right for a parked car. Wasn't pretty.

I'll explain a bit more. Was out for a ride, enjoying the perfect temperature for riding, no cars were out(well there was one obviously). Was around 12:20am. Was on a 2 lane road coming up to a side street that I was going to make a left turn onto. I had to make a complete stop due to a car coming the opposite direction. Blinker was on, brake was applied, no cars in sight behind me. The car went by, dropped into first to make the turn, and before I could even give the throttle a twist I was smacked. Was the strangest 1 second of my life. I have never been involved in such a violent experience. Amazing what goes through your brain in that short of time. Basically I saw brightness(probably the car headlights lighting me up before the impact, now I know how deer feel), I heard a roar of the car motor, felt impact, glass shattering, and then I was on my butt on the pavement. During that second, I was thinking- limbs amputated, neck broke, back broke, gonna be blood, etc. After I was on the ground I quickly gave myself a once over as I was yelling a few choice four letter words. Could feel my whole body, had everything attached, no blood. That's when I started to feel the leg pain. Right leg was broke, I could tell instantly. I've you've ever broken a bone before then you know what I mean. Tried to get myself on both feet but that right leg said hell no.

Gave a look around, the chicks car was wrekt. Looked as though she hit a frigging semi truck. There was literally an imprint of my body from the bumper, onto the hood, and onto the windshield. Motorcycle was about 50ft away from me off the the right side of the road, headlight still on and blinker still blinking. Wasn't able to crawl over and look further due to my pain. Main concern was to get to the side of the road and not get run over by drunks leaving local bars (by the way, 3 people went by after the accident happened before the police got there, none of them stopped to help. damn drunk drivers).

Had a few choice words for the driver, bitched and moaned for quite a while. I have a very high tolerance to pain, and lemme tell ya this hurt like nothing I've been through before. Nice lady from a house about a mile down the road came to see how I was, she said the impact woke her up from bed.

To break down how I was hit- when the car hit me the bike kind of went sideways to the right. The leg broke from the impact of the car bumper against leg against bike. No braking from the driver at this point yet so full force of body into the hood and head into windshield. When she applied brakes, momentum from the impact caused me to go flying forward about 30 ft and the bike about 50ft.

Full face SNELL/DOT/ECC helmet saved my life. Full leather jacket WITH CE RATED ARMOR helped with the body impact and road rash. You can see the indentations in the leather where the armor did its job at the impact site. I have no doubt that I would be dead if I wasn't wearing the gear. I'm sure her insurance company is happy too.

I can't really get into current condition of myself(you guys know the drill, lawyers and all that), but my whole body is a freaking train wreck. Worst is the broken leg. But I can tell you guys that I am absolutely thrilled to be alive right now. Life is short everyone, can be gone in an instant, so enjoy the days you have. don't take anything for granted.

I've been riding for a very long time now. First bike was 18 or 19 (can't remember), plus dirtbikes and all that. I consider myself a decent rider, I've been on tracks before, I preach defense riding religiously, and I have saved my ass more times than I can count from being defensive on the streets. I can tell you this- I will never put my body on a motorcycle on the street ever again in my life time. It's just not worth it. You can do all you can to prevent things from happening, but that other driver in a cage will still get you when you least expect it. This really stinks, since riding/building was absolutely my favorite thing to do in life. I put so much into this current build. So many hours, so much blood/sweat/tears. Parts I had to make on my own, parts that I had to pay jacked up hipster BS prices for, parts I had to get from overseas. This thing was down to every nut and bolt, every bearing, every part was touched by me. The amount of time and effort I put into frame mods, swingarm, rims tires crank transmission, carbs gauges, paint, etc etc I can never get back. Was all set for the landspeed event in September finally, now I will never see my name in that record book next to my XS400.

I don't need or want pity from anyone. Shit happens, and I will eventually get what is owed to me for this incident. Financially I am screwed since I will be out of work now for a very long time, and depending on recovery timeframe, I may get discharged from the Army with only 5 years left til retirement. But like I said, I will get it back someday. I appreciate all you guys have done for me with information being here on this forum. I hope that I have at least helped someone over the past few years with info or advice based on my trials and tribulations. I won't be on here much, more likely never, since I no longer have an XS400. I consider all of you vets here friends, even though we've never met, and I will truly miss the tech talk and banter.

I'll part with some advice- Wear good gear.

Buy a full face helmet and make sure it's SNELL rated and current. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good helmet. Make sure its the right size and strapped tight. If it's super comfortable, you are doing it wrong and setting yourself up for failure. Make sure it's Hi-Viz.

Wear leather designed for motorcycle riding. Not that cheap shit you get on ebay or at the local thrift store. My jacket was $700 and worth every single penny of that. I got crap from so many people for paying that much, but jokes on them. Ensure it has pockets for full CE rated armor in the back, shoulders, and elbows. Without it, you are just protecting your skin from road rash. The armor will save your bones, muscles, ligaments, etc.

Wear full size race boots, no matter what. I bought mine strictly for reasons of impact with automobiles. I've seen what happens to legs and feet without them. In the past I've said at least get riding shoes, but I know firsthand now why they won't do shit. You need something that has a hard impact resistant shield around the full circumference of your leg and ankle. Take this perspective- what sits right between car bumper height and your frame/motor? Your leg. Think about your leg getting smashed between 2 metal objects at 40mph. Keep thinking about that as you go for a ride with your thin leather boots or tennis shoes on.

That's all I have friends. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stay safe out there. Always remember that no matter how careful or prepared you are, shit can and will still happen at no fault of your own. And for the love of God, DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE. Period. I never have, I never will, and I wish something could be done about it. I firmly believe it is far more dangerous than drunk driving. Neither are acceptable, but whatever.

BTW- I want to post some pictures, but the police took NONE. Nada. My lawyer is pissed since he has no clear evidence of the impact other than my bike. I will most likely come back on and post some pictures of the mangled hunk of scrap once the lawyer gets it back to my house. Hopefully it can be an eyeopener to someone. I didn't proofread this post either, so sorry if there are mistakes and ramblings.

Mods, if you want this in a different part of the forum feel free to move it. Love you guys. Keep on rocking.
Holy cow! Wolfe I'm glad you made it. You're absolutely right about gear. And I'm sorry to hear about your build. Good luck in your next chapter.
Glad you are still able to tell us your alive. Sorry to see you go as you where one of the few builders that gave us numbers and good feedback on mods. Still think you would have had the fastest xs out there. Hope all works out.
FFS Wolfie, glad you made it.
I know you said you won;t ride again but i had a bad accident in '92 and I came back to it after a few years.

I tend to ride just for pleasure now to keep away from traffic .
Hope you heal well and all the best to you

PS stay on this forum, we like your posts

It's another reason I don't ride at night (lots of deer also) people can't see bikes very well. All my bikes have side reflectors, oem lollipop turns and big red brick stop light with led bulbs in them. Just in case I get stuck out after dark.
Thanks drewpy. Yeah I might just have that early onset PTSD, who knows if it will fade. I will for sure build a track bike in the future, but as of now I want nothing to do with roads. I'd probably wreck quick because my eyes would never leave the rearview mirror:)
Well, on the plus side, you don't need to worry about pulling that tank ding out....

That's awful, but I hope you'll be back on a bike once you get healed up.
Damn. Just glad you're OK.

Is that pattern on your coat from the grille of her car?
How's the motor and front-end? Possible to hang onto anything for that track bike?

Fucking inattentive drivers... I'm already paranoid enough after a buddy got hit by a driver that "just didn't see him". Will be adding more visibility things after this.
Pattern on the jacket is from the CE Forcefield armor doing its job. It's good stuff, would use again.

Cases are junk now, broke the bottom rear motor mount where the long bolt goes thru. All the motor internals are probably ok, as with the jugs and head. But won't matter, as the bike will belong to the insurance company at some point. I wouldn't but it back.
Best wishes and a speedy recovery. I have been rear ended twice in my car. Both times sitting at lights, 100% in the right. Both times they were insured but major headaches. I still look in the rear mirror at every set of lights. Teeth clenched at times.
Hell. Glad to hear you are okay. I've seen a standing body hit with a pickup at 40 mph and it is not pretty to watch. You have been pretty inspirational to my future plans and it's a serious downer to see you and your bike out of commission. I'm glad to hear you aren't giving up on bikes entirely and I hope you have a full and speedy recovery.
Mate that is harsh, I stopped at an intersection today and a courier van ended up next to me. when they locked up they went to the left so I was lucky. My partner is half way through a two year recovery (we hope its not longer) after being hit by a car driver who wasn't looking. So thinking of you mate and your recovery. A wise mate once side to me don't make life decisions when you are in shock or under high stress, but I can understand your sentiment with not riding on the road. all the best with your recovery. Bikes compared to peoples well being are secondary and the fact that you are still here is the main thing but in saying that I was also gutted for you to see such a beautiful rig trashed in your pictures. Again all the best.
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Sorry for the accident! That sucks big time. I think I would be shopping around for a good lawyer fast!
I have a very slight understanding of what you are going through. About 15 years back I got T-boned by a guy not paying attention. He was two cars back and nailed me while I was actually about ten feet up my driveway after I pulled off the road. The only thing that saved me was I had a sidecar on my XS650 otherwise my right leg would have been first point of contact! Still did some damage to right shoulder that kept me out of work for six months.

Hope you will stay in the forum and keep helping people. I have a 1977 XS400 that would be a good one for a non-road application, assuming a track bike does not need a title?
Good luck on the recovery,

This is literally my biggest fear on the Bike, I have a high pain tolerance but most painkillers don't work on me, I had a partial amputation of a finger two years ago and that was painful without drugs that work, can't imagine the kind of pain a full body hit would cause.
Glad your alive man. Gonna echo the sentiments here; I'm glad you're alive and intact (even with some mangled innards), I wish you a smooth recovery, and I really do hope you stay around. Of course, take the time to do what you gotta do but you're an awesome guy and it would suck to lose ya!

Short story about gear to corroborate with you (not that you need that haha). Some friends of mine, their dad was out riding his Ducati in the twisties and hit a dear at 60-80 km/h. Broke 6 ribs, concussion, and some road rash on his elbow, bike destroyed. The guy wears full gear at all times and just the same as you he would no doubt be dead if it weren't for all that PPE. My other buddy went out the next day and bought all new gear. It's just not worth it to ride without.

So yeah, glad you're safe mate :)
When I first read this post I was a little apprehensive myself about being on the road. So glad that you are still with us, even though you got busted up pretty good. What a testament to good equipment, I know I will be reconsidering my riding gear. I grew up riding off road only, then a few years later got into the street bikes, then got out of it altogether. Around 2012 I picked up a Yamaha XT225, a great little dual sport bike. I love riding it out on the back country roads, but it's street manners are a lot of the reason I wanted a different bike, that's when I found the XS400 and this forum. I try to avoid traffic as much as possible, I ride for fun, never for transportation. Even so, I have had a close call once or twice, and feel lucky it didn't get worse. I wish you a speedy recovery, and that you will once again enjoy working on and riding these great little bikes.
bummer man... wish you a fast and easy recovery. I try not to ride at night for this very reason... also tons of impaired/ distracted drivers here by the shore. Glad you were geared up and can tell the story.