Matthew Murray was out enjoying a jaunt on his Yamaha FZ-10 down a Southern California canyon road when his ride ended up launching off a cliff and him tumbling an estimated 250 feet down a hill. The video shows Murray traveling about 60 mph as he approached a left-hand turn, then running wide and sailing off the cliff. He claims his steering locked up and caused him to go wide.

“I love taking corners and doing all of that,” Murray told a local TV crew, adding that he has six years of riding experience, which has left him confused as to what may have caused him to be unable to negotiate the turn. 

The video below gives a stomach-churning POV of Murray’s incident. 

  • john phyyt

    Maybe a bit of panic here. I think most have gone in hot and seen the gravel looming and been drawn.
    I was told some time ago most bikes/tires today will outride the rider . ( Harleys??) . When this happens especially if following a good rider ; just , have faith, lean it further and further and lo and behold you are your very own Marquez.
    Hope you get better soon dude.

    • RyYYZ

      Sure, I’ve done it. A couple of times. Got away with it once, crashed the other time. Got some more training after that (to improve my confidence in leaning the bike over further. One thing I never did was blame it on the bike.

  • Gabriel Owens

    Im trying to be less cynical but videos like this aint helping


    Classic target fixation. It wasn’t is front end that locked up it was his arms….

    • BDan75

      Normally I’d agree…but that looks at least plausibly like a genuine bike problem to me. If you believe the guy’s claim that he has some experience and rides in the canyons a lot, it’s a little hard to see that corner freaking him out, at that speed. Not to stereotype, but if he were on a 600 supersport, I’d be less inclined to believe it…but an FZ-10 seems an unlikely choice for a newb squid.

      • Max Wellian

        Seems like exactly the choice of such a rider. Anyone who thinks they need a 160 hp/400 lb machine to carve up curves at 50 mph, isn’t someone who comes across to me as terribly experienced.
        He came out of the last corner at ~53 mph and was entering this one at ~67 mph. You can see he was inside the bike and it was leaning, then his shadow stands up on the bike before going full on Evil Knievel.
        Me thinks he would have been ok if he’d kept looking thru the corner and maybe scrubbed off a little speed on the rear brake.
        I wish him well. Tough lesson to learn.

        • BDan75

          How many modern sport motorcycles *aren’t* overpowered for 50 mph curves? I own one that’s even more overpowered than this, and it frequently takes sub-50 mph curves, and I’ve been riding 20+ accident-free years.

          I still think the guy deserves the benefit of the doubt. Target fixation happens, and getting into a corner too hot definitely happens…but even if it’s a lot more rare, so apparently does stuff like having a misrouted cable bind the steering.

          I had a Concours 14 for a while, and when the OEM tires on that thing “went off,” it happened practically overnight. Over the course of a few short rides the bike started taking about 100% more effort to tip in and hold through a corner. Not a good feeling…and I had the advantage of knowing what was going on.

          The fact that this guy brakes for the corner and then keeps braking when he realizes the bike isn’t turning to me indicates there was some kind of issue. Most of these “target fixation” vids online, the guys just ride straight off the road without taking any kind of corrective action until the last second, if then.

          • Max Wellian

            I don’t think it was necessarily target fixation, just going too fast. If you watch the vid, you see his shadow looking thru the corner and leaning…just not hard enough.
            I’ve gone into corners too fast and run wide too. Fortunately, it wasn’t over a cliff. Much to my ego’s dismay, I have yet to find a problem with the bikes.
            I had some Avons years ago that went from sugar to sh*t pretty quick too. For them it was a wet thing. Soon as the pavement got damp it was as if it turned to ice.

          • RyYYZ

            It has never even occurred to me when I’ve screwed up and run wide, either off the road or into the oncoming lane (which doesn’t happen that often – and I consider running wide into the oncoming lane to be essentially equivalent to crashing) to look to my bike as the likely cause.

            But this guy’s reasonably experienced, so if he says the bike didn’t want to turn, maybe there’s something to it. I remain skeptical, however.

          • john dudley

            Bike not wanting to turn? It certainly could be the tires.

            I had the same thing happen when the tires (Michelin Pilot Roads 2s) on my Yamaha FJR1300 suddenly “went off” in what seems like the blink of an eye during a twisty club ride.The bike suddenly became so unmanageable, unrideable, and truly scary that I had to virtually creep home, One of the symptoms of tires “going off” is that you try to turn and bike wants to continue going straight. In the case of these Pilot Road 2s they REALLY fought my attempts to turn.

            This isn’t the first time that a tire of mine with what seems to be adequate thread remaining suddenly “goes off.” necessitating its early retirement. A lot of this happens when the center of dual compound sport touring tires (i.e. tires with hard centers for increased mileage life and soft outer diameters for handling) become flat in the center from too much straight up freeway riding. As a result they develop a ridge between the two compounds which makes transitions in corners unstable.

            The manufacturers of these tires obviously know about this problem . The makers of the new Dunlop Roadsmart 3 sport touring tires (the Michelin Roadsmart 4s’ main competition) now claim that, unlike their competitors, the handling performance on their tires will be the same from the beginning to the end of the tires’ life. This is a curious claim in light of the fact that the Dunlop Roadsmarts 3 were specifically tested by Dunlop against the Michelin Pilot Road 4s during the Roadsmart 3s design phase. This makes me think the Road 4s continue to have the same problem that I experienced on the Road 2s.

          • HazardtoMyself

            PR4s have the same issue as the PR2s. In some ways I think the PR3s & 4s wear faster than the 2s. Never though with either have I found the bike that uncontrollable.

            Sure they get a little more slippery during transitions, but still manageable.

            That said, I just put on a set of roadsmart 3s to see if they live up to their claims. Been running the pilot roads for years. Time to try something else anyway.

        • Vernon124

          Listen: You just built an argument using evidence, reason, and an analysis anchored in riding experience. That’s just not what’s done these days. The only proof that you’re even TRYING to enter the post-truth society is that you misspelled Evel Knievel. Next time, try an unsubstantiated opinion or — better — one that directly contradicts the evidence. How else will you attract attention?

          • Max Wellian

            Strange times indeed…

        • Don Morse

          Yeah, 6 years experience still ranks as beginner in my book. Been riding (licensed), since ’73. I would never push rubber through a corner like that. Speaks more towards inexperience than experience.

      • RyYYZ

        Plausible? Really? Have you ever heard of a bike’s steering just suddenly and randomly “locking up”? Seems more likely to me that we’re dealing with a guy who can’t admit that he rode the bike off the road all by himself, and the blame is all on him.

        • RyYYZ

          I should give the guy the benefit of a doubt, I suppose.
          While I think it’s highly unlikely that the steering suddenly locked up (given the simplicity of the steering mechanism, which is in effect about as complicated as a door hinge), I suppose there are other possible mechanical failures that could have affected him. Like a sudden loss of front tire pressure, for example. I still find it strange that this should happen suddenly on the entrance to one corner after successfully navigating a bunch of others previously (presumably), but I guess it is possible.

          I still think a poor line choice, excessive speed for this curve/bike/rider combination and target fixation once he started running wide is a more likely explanation, though.

          Does the FZ-10 come with a steering damper stock? I suppose that is one conceivable source of bike refusing to steer. Still unlikely, but another possibility.

      • c w

        Why? Because of cost?

        Seems like exactly the kind of bike a newb squid would get had they the wherewithall.

        “Naw, see, it;s not really as hardcore as a sportbike, so, you know it’s a good first bike but it’s still all the POWAH.”

      • John Seidel

        In over 50 years of riding, I’ve not heard of even one case of steering “locking up.” It doesn’t happen. He clearly took the wrong line into the corner and panicked. He needs to find someone who races and ask them to lead him through an afternoon of easy riding. There is a right line through a corner and then there is every other line.

    • Matt O

      Looking right at that pole I bet. This same thing almost happened to me my very first season of riding. I managed to rip my eyes away and made the turn, but I will never forget it and that corner still gives me chills. It was a steep drop into a river. Look where you want to go.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Or eyes

  • Gruf Rude

    “Matt is now raising money for his recovery.” Hopefully he can monetize hits on his YouTube video . . .

    • Mad4TheCrest

      These guys get a GoPro to document their heroics for YouTube, but ironically its the fails they document that get the biggest play.

  • Born to Ride

    I hate these videos. Gives me worse nightmares than the exorcist

    • Sean Matthew Molle

      Me too. But they do remind me not to target fixate; and now to look over my cable routing just to be sure. We should all be working on our bikes like Joey Dunlop if we want to ride like him.

  • ZeroCold

    Street Rossi

  • Mad4TheCrest

    I sincerely doubt this was a mechanical problem; he just approached the corner too close to the centerline meaning he needed bigger lean to make it than he was used to; panicked, fixated, and flew. It happens every fricking weekend on Angeles Crest, usually to someone just about that age and experience level too.

    Watching that video I’d say he got lucky in missing that pole. Otherwise someone would be raising money for his funeral rather than recovery.

  • John B.

    Depressing. I wish I lived where roads have curves.

    • Gruf Rude

      Aw John, look on the bright side: at least you can’t miss a curve and fall off a cliff . . .

      • John B.

        Wait…. What’s a cliff?

        • Gruf Rude

          For your own sake, do NOT ride the Red Mountain Pass south of Ouray, Colorado. (They have a monument there to the MULTIPLE snowplow drivers whose vehicles slid off the road – and didn’t bounce for about a thousand feet . . . )

          • John B.

            I’ve ridden the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Silverton, and all over that part of Colorado. I take it very slow because any mishap in a curve may result in a 1000 foot plunge. It’s awesome riding though, and its so much fun to see any sign of wear on the outer regions of my tires.

          • Gruf Rude

            “I take it very slow ” – as have I; that no-guardrail-section will give you vertigo! Another reason to take it slow is the rock fall; I rounded a corner above Paonia reservoir and found a boulder the size of a VW bug in the middle of the road a couple of years ago and McClure Pass had me dodging rocks after a rainfall last month!

          • Gabriel Owens

            Independence pass is very pretty imho. Always stop at the top rest area.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Same. I go every year. Usually stay in leadville cause its cheap or ouray.

    • RyYYZ

      I rented a bike for a day (Triumph Tiger XcX) while in LA in February.
      Went out and did the Mullholland highway, Topango Canyon Rd, Latigo Canyon Rd, etc. Some of it more than once. Anyway, those roads definitely deserve respect. A lapse in concentration will alternately put you into either a rock wall, a guardrail (if you’re lucky), or a sheer drop-off. Not a place I’d choose to ride 10/10. Nor any public road, but especially ones like this. I do wish I could ride them some more, though.

  • Ray Dangman

    Sudden loss of air pressure in the front tire, like a valve stem failure, requires much more steering force to get the bike leaning. It will turn, but you have to really push it.

    • Gruf Rude

      From the looks of his bike after it was winched up the hill, determining PRE-crash damage is hopeless.

      • Ray Dangman

        That’s for sure.

  • John A. Smith

    Reporter: “He thinks his bike’s steering locked up and forced him to lose control.”

    Rider: “This corner wasn’t even sharp and I was only doing like 40 miles an hour.”

    No, you were doing indicated 68mph when you entered the corner, as we can all see from the video. You screwed up your line and then overbraked. As a result of the overbraking your front forks compressed and the bike began to stand up and you lost your line. Then you panicked and braked harder, which stood the bike up even more.

    You lost control because you were riding too fast for your abilities, wildly faster than you should have in the turn, and then did exactly the wrong thing, repeatedly, and compounded the problems you caused.

    • Don Morse

      Accurate. Way beyond his abilities.

  • kenneth_moore

    These inexpensive video cameras are ruining motorcycling. All those imaginative excuses I’ve been using for years (a dog was sleeping in the road, a car crossed into my lane, etc.) are useless when there’s cameras recording my mistakes.

  • RyYYZ

    This puts me in mind of something…

    I don’t want a pickle,
    I just wanna ride my motor-sickle

    And I don’t wanna die,
    I just wanna ride my motorcy…

    Credit to Arlo Guthrie
    Those who remember will get why it’s relevant to this story

  • Rob Mitchell

    I have no idea what the video was like, th adds ate up all my down load speed

  • Craig Hoffman

    That was some sweet hang time!

    For me, the attraction of riding a high performance two wheeler, on and off road, is the playful fun of hauling reasonable ass well within one’s scope of abilities. It is relaxed, it is high performance and it is fun. If I do find myself getting carried away and going fast enough that the basic “fight or flight” part of my brain is starting to call the shots, I slow down. In this for the long haul after all. The video offers ample evidence that the rider froze up/target fixated. On a road like that, the consequences are high and boy did that rider pay them.

    I do hope that if this guy ever chooses to ride again, he can honestly evaluate his shortcomings and learn that as a rank n00b he needs to stay within his considerable limitations, and that a bike like the FZ10 is not the right ride for him. Everybody has their limits and once they are exceeded, it is human nature to freeze up, especially if one has not spent much if any time approaching them. His problem is he was on a bike that can quickly exceed his low newbie limits in 1st gear.

    • Gruf Rude

      If, as mentioned in the newscast, he is trying to raise money for his recovery, it is unlikely that he’ll ever be able to AFFORD to ride again.

  • Mahatma

    Ran out of talent…I would have jumped ship way before jumping the cliff.Glad he’s ok.

  • Roger

    His fault. We’ve all bin there, you get a tiny twitch that feeds back through the bars and your instincts cause you to lock up and go wide. As an observer you think “Why didn’t he lean more, he could have easily gone round that” But when you are on board it all happens so fast and you are convinced you’ll fall off if you lean any more.

  • PMac

    My steering locked up once and I fell going about 5mph. A thick plastic thingy on a cord accidentally fell in between my left fork leg and the steering head/down tube.
    Luckily I was pulling out of my driveway, but bike wouldn’t steer left and I fell right over trying to lean it.
    It’s possible something similar happened in this instance.

  • John Seidel

    I hope someone explains to him that he drove himself off the hill and that he accepts responsibility for it. He was clearly going too fast and taking a poor line into the corner. I’ve been riding on and off road since the mid 1960’s. Steering doesn’t “lock up”. He crashed from riding beyond his skill level.

    • HazardtoMyself

      No, it’s not his fault. It’s always somebody or somethings else’s fault.

      Why take responsibility for yourself when you can blame someone or something else, setup a gofundme and have others pay for your mistakes?

  • sgray44444

    I’ve done the exact same thing. Thankfully, I was able to low-side in grass rather than plunge 250 feet off of a hill. How did it happen? Riding too fast for my ability, on a decreasing radius uphill left-hander that I just couldn’t read (and still can’t- went back a year later and found it to be just an odd corner for me), and distracted by a faster rider passing me on the left. I target fixated, went over a ditch and down a grassy hill. Saw the treeline coming, braked as hard as I could, and the front end tucked. It’s better just to be honest about our abilities and mistakes and learn from the situation. I learned not to ride with hardcore sport riders, unless I keep to the back of the pack. The hint should have been that they were all on real sport bikes and dressed in full leathers. Pride hurts!

  • rrjames

    I had a brief target fixation episode two weeks ago, fortunately snapped out of it. Coulda been real baaaad.