Our Most Controversial Stories of 2013

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Our Most Controversial Stories of 2013


You Know You’re A Real Motorcyclist When
You Know You’re A Real Motorcyclist When

6) You Know You’re A Real Motorcyclist When

The Story: A fun piece making fun of ourselves and our friends by sharing some of our more embarrassing Instagram photos.

Why It Was Controversial: Among the community of Internet bikers, there exists a virtual allergy to the word “real” when it comes in front of the words “biker,” “rider,” “motorcyclist,” “badass bike bro,” etc. We think the point is that we’re all, “real people.” Unless we’re just figures of some elaborate fictional construct that is…

Our Take: That was the whole point we were making, you can stop punching your keyboard now. We’re real bikers too and there’s no harm in making fun of ourselves. Read It Now >>


2014 Harley-Davidson Street 500 Review
2014 Harley-Davidson Street 500 Review

7) 2014 Harley-Davidson Street 500 Review

The Story: Harley gave one of our readers an early test ride on their not-so-big new bike. We heard about it and asked if to review it for us. Braden did a great job doing so, netting himself an ongoing position as a freelance contributor. Nice one.

Why It Was Controversial: Well, it turned out that, while Braden’s review was fair and found many good points about the bike, there were also some negatives. Actually, a lot of them. See the above explanation about mentioning “Harley” in an article, then multiply that by world’s first review, months ahead of any other publication. Yeah. (And that’s not even half of the story. – Ed)

Our Take: Look, our job is to tell you the truth, not act as a mouthpiece for motorcycle manufacturers. Doing so is actually as American as Apple Pie or, more aptly, farming manufacturing jobs out to India.
Read It Now >>


8) 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Date A Biker

The Story: Jon Langston makes fun of fellow bikers, pointing out reasons why we don’t fit conventional “catch” norms.

Why It Was Controversial: You’re all single, it’s the holidays, and this one struck too close to home.

Our Take: There’s plenty of fish in the sea. Right now, the right girl/guy/Dakimakura is out there waiting for you to find her. Go get ‘em, tiger. Maybe post Heather McCoy’s follow up article, 10 Reasons Why You Should Date A Woman Who Rides A Motorcyle, to Facebook and see who clicks “Like.”

2014 Mission RS Review
2014 Mission RS Review

9) 2014 Mission RS Review

The Story: Have we gotten a world exclusive on every new electric motorcycle? Not quite, even if it’s beginning to feel like it. Turns out this one’s rather fast. Fast enough that it puts any gas-powered bike currently available to shame. Seriously.

Why It Was Controversial: Who are we? A bunch of tree-hugging hippies that want to rain on your foreign oil parade? Don’t we know that gasoline is the only possible way to make a bike go fast? (It’s not. – Ed)

Our Take: Yeah, it’s still got a fairly limited range (more than any gas-powered superbike’s tank range though) and costs an awful lot of money, but there’s simply no arguing that Mission has otherwise built a performance motorcycle that’s superior to gas in that most important metric: performance. Don’t believe us? Ride one. You will be converted, we promise. Read It Now >>

Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting Is Safe And Good For Everyone
Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting Is Safe And Good For Everyone

10) Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting Is Safe And Good For Everyone

The Story: For an episode of the  RideApart TV show, we delivered what we think is the most compelling pro-lane splitting argument yet made.

Why It Was Controversial: Would you believe that some motorcyclists don’t think lane splitting should be permitted? I was honestly shocked to find that out. Reasons range from it being scary, to just not understanding the facts.

Our Take: Lane splitting is the single most compelling pro-motorcycle argument on the planet. We (yes, you and I and our leather clad friends) hold the power to solve congestion, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and to sleep in and still get to work on time. All we need to do is get lane splitting legalized across America, it’s the single greatest factor standing between motorcycles and mainstream acceptance as a superior form of transportation. Read It Now >>

Not bad for eight months online… Eh?

  • Brian

    so, has any of this years story offerings posed as many web clicks or comments as the New Yorks Fastest the HFL version of reporting in this space?

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      No lies – I sort of miss Skank’s commentaries. Colorful characters are always appreciated, even if (or especially when) I don’t always agree with them.

  • Nick

    How about how every how to article is copied right out of Hough’s Proficient motorcycling?

  • DrRideOrDie

    Well done boys and girls, keep up the good work

  • NextTurn

    Really? The “13 Things More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle” piece didn’t get a spot? Seemed like quite a few people were bent out of shape about that one. Want to be safe? Stay inside your padded room. http://rideapart.com/2013/12/things-more-dangerous-than-riding-a-motorcycle/

    • Davidabl2

      ..stay off your BICYCLE, anyway. I’m certain that the deaths/injuries per million miles ridden are worse on bicycles than they are on motorcycles.
      Not least because of the “nut between the handlebars’ factor.

      • NextTurn

        As someone that does 2 or 3 charity rides and several training rides a year on a road bicycle, I can definitely say that it is a much scarier experience than riding a motorcycle.

        • Davidabl2

          I haven’t seen the stats… but every time i ride a bicycle in traffic i’m sure that it’s more dangerous than being on a cycle.

      • Piglet2010

        You would be wrong.

        Of course, some push bike riders are much safer than others – the types have close parallels in motorcycling.

        • Davidabl2

          I’d like to see the numbers..I’ve known an almost equal number of folks who were seriously injured or killed on bicycles and on motorcycles.
          And a the vast majority of bicyclists-even serious bicyclists- only ride a few thousand miles per year. Surely fewer than most motorcyclists, many of whom generally log 50 to 200 miles or so whenever they get on their bikes.

          That article on mandatory helmet use in Norway kinda nails it:”It was found that the cyclist population can be divided into two sub-populations: one speed-happy group that cycle fast and have lots of cycle equipment including helmets, and one traditional kind of cyclist without much equipment, cycling slowly.”

        • NextTurn

          How can I be wrong about an opinion? I said it was scarier, and to most people in the San Antonio area it is.

          On bicycle in this area no matter how good you are, how much experience you have, how much protection you have, how you ride, or where you ride – road cycling is scary because you have no way to get out of the way of the people in the vehicles doing 3-5 times your speed. Teenagers blaring their horn as they blow past you only inches away from your handlebars – because that’s fun. Soccer moms not noticing you and your bright LED taillights until they almost hit you. The guy in the work truck that is too busy with his coffee he just spilled in his lap to notice that he is swerving towards you in the 4 foot shoulder. My favorite is the guy in the bro-truck towing his quad axle trailer filled with more toys than you will ever ride in your lifetime that is just pissed off that you are on his road. That guy will happily teach you why you should never ride a bicycle on the road again.

          I still love to ride my bicycle with my wife and our friends, and they all think we are crazy for having a motorcycle (or hopefully two soon). However, they all agree that it is scarier to ride a bicycle because of everyone else. A motorcycle is scary because of you. You are the one that has more control over the situation. You can pull away from the guy swerving. You can move out of the way of the soccer mom. You can look ahead and see what you are coming upon and react appropriately. On a bicycle you are merely part of the reaction of others when there is an accident.

          As a parting gift to my comment, I will leave you with this video. Who was this scarier for…?


          • Piglet2010

            Uh, I was not contending your opinion. Take another look at the thread hierarchy.

            • NextTurn

              My bad. See what happens when I don’t drink my coffee before going on the interwebz. Sorry about that.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    I can’t believe Buell EBR didn’t get a spot, but HD 500 did. Overall, I am relatively new to RideApart and I am glad I found this online community.

    • Ryan Deckard

      What was controversial about the EBR article?

      • Rameses the 2nd

        102 lb-ft torque, 419 lbs, sub $20K price, made in the USA, and a real come back from Buell.

  • William Connor

    I thought they were all good articles and interesting reads. Didn’t agree with everything but hey who does. Don’t bash all Tea Party people or small government types, sometimes they are level headed folks who are tired of shouldering a disproportionate share of the responsibility.

    • Bruce Steever

      But most of the time, they’re not.

      • William Connor

        Won’t disagree. Goes for every side of the aisle that not everyone is truly level headed enough to discuss rationally and actually address concerns. Most just spout end of the world nonsense and don’t really do anything.

        • Bruce Steever

          What are you talking about? You are completely off-base here! If people were argumentative and not level-headed, than the we wouldn’t see the problems that we only imagine that we are seeing in both Internet discussions and political debates. But MY party is always completely and utterly fair, balanced, logical, intelligent and reasonable in everything they do, so you are obviously wrong because i said so, and someone on TV vaguely agrees with a few things i happen to think about sometimes! Seriously, someone should ban you from this site and never let you use a keyboard again!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’ll just leave this right here.

      • Davidabl2

        Women, check, Harley-riders check. But are they gay TeaPartiers?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Hint: She’s waving at nearby Russia.

          • Brian

            That wasn’t during Rolling Thunder though, so I am trying to figure out what event she was here for that those “barricades” were up for, as it looks like it is possibly Ohio Drive near the Memorial Bridge and the Lincoln Memorial.

          • Bruce Steever

            Or hailing Hitler’s ghost?

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              Nah, it’s clearly the inverse of the traditional Vulcan greeting, here meaning “Live short and die poor.”

              • Bruce Steever

                And then you won all of the Internetz…

              • Davidabl2

                Implicity “You live short & die poor you 99% suckers”"–If that’s really Palin she’s not planning to do either. Certainly not “poor” anyway.

          • Piglet2010

            Caribou Barbie?

      • William Connor

        Some folks are just odd no matter who they are attached to. Every party has their idiots. Thank you for the laugh however.

      • Kevin

        She’s arriving just in time to save Christmas from the baby Jesus haters.

      • Piglet2010

        The hat (it does not deserve to be called a helmet) her chauffeur is wearing must provide about as much protection as the T-shirt.

    • Kevin

      Given the preponderance of Social Security/Medicare recipients at their rallies, I find that a bit ironic. I am sympathetic with a low-tax, limited government perspective but let’s face it, the Tea Party was born largely from a fear by the elderly that the country would no longer be able to afford to make their retirement payments and so they demanded fiscal restraint on all *other* fronts.

      • William Connor

        The Tea Party is many things. For the record I am not a Tea Partier, more Libertarian in my views. I just like to remind people that other factions are also not perfectly reasonable and have flaws. Once we all can se we aren’t perfect we can truly fix things.

      • Jack Meoph

        Actually the Tea Party is front for the Koch brothers agenda.

        • Piglet2010

          Not originally, but the Koch’s co-opted the Tea Party.

      • ThruTheDunes

        All this Tea Party talk… Monday was the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (1773). Just so you know.

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      William, you are right, I’ve edited the article just for you.

      • William Connor

        Cool. Nice that we can all share here and have these discussions. I really dig coming here everyday to see what’s going on.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          I’m impressed by your grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structure. How do you manage all that while typing with your knuckles? (joking)

          • William Connor

            It’s tough, but I figure if motorcycle journalists can type why not me! (also joking)

            • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

              What’s this? Civil discussion on the internet? Something is clearly amiss.

  • Lee Scuppers

    Why didn’t you tell me I have to be terrified of questioning the government in order to own a bike that doesn’t suck? I would’ve… No, wait, I wouldn’t've. But anyway, while I don’t think one troll remark is gonna put this article on next year’s list, it was appropriate to try. Kudos!

  • Jonny Langston

    Ahh nuts. I went after lane-splitters, and (apparently) women and gays. And still didn’t make the list. Guess I’ll have to take aim at Harley riders or Tea Baggers. Which shouldn’t be too hard …

    • Davidabl2

      There are of course Harley riders who ARE Teabaggers. But probably not gay-women-Harley-Teabaggers

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      I’m adding you to page 2 rock star.

  • Davidabl2

    Guys, 21013 ain’t actually over yet. If you really try to you could probably come up with something more controversial than anything you’ve done so far. ;-)

    • http://www.RideApart.com/ Jen Degtjarewsky

      Got any suggestions?

      • Guy Simmonds

        Write something – almost literally anything – on the Hell’s Angels? I’m sure that’ll go over well…

  • IRS4

    It’s clear that I need to start reading a lot more RideApart!

  • Jack Meoph

    “Lane sharing”, it’s absurd that this country, whose every major city is plagued by gridlock, does not embrace it. I’m glad that I live CA, where not only can you lane share, but you can drive barefoot, use radar detectors, and walk on a beach.

  • El Isbani

    Any story talking about trucks seemed to cause lots of controversy. Though y’all got me wanting to ride a Sea Doo.

    • Piglet2010

      To me, Sea Doo sounds too much like whale excrement. ;)

    • Khali

      This. hahaha

  • Kimberly

    That Braden (#7) is a loose cannon. And a sexy beast.

  • Slacker

    Grrrrr… Insert Angry American Badass dude argument because I think I’m a better rider than all these professional writers and riders! I love the site guys. Just recently discovered it, and I’m glad I did! I share some of these articles on an almost daily basis because, even if I don’t agree totally, I can at least get people thinking. And that’s half the battle in making people aware about the sport.

  • Mike McCall

    This looks like this article should be renamed “10 Reasons why I love Ride Apart”. Not afraid to call a duck, well a duck. I rather agree with the Harley sentiments, and found several of the “10 reason” articles very funny. Although I have to say my favorite article to date was “The Complete Guide to Motorcycle Catagories” on September 12th.

    I have learned so much from your publication. I am truly a better, safer rider after reading your articles. This is both riding ability, and gear. I rather agree with your point about accepting the consequences of riding, and using that both as a tool to improve your riding, and selecting the best gear. As a new rider your suggestion about lane position in a blind corner, saved me from a bad accident.

    I may not believe in every single review and article, but isn’t that the point?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Thanks Mike.

    • ThruTheDunes

      Well said, Mike.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I think they were and are all excellent articles.

  • Piglet2010

    #11. Any article split into two or more pages.

  • Guzzto

    how can your list of controversies not include
    1. Lists
    2. Multipage articles ( perhaps tha should be number one)


  • Flaks redder også liv

    Ride Apart should get an award for being this years most interesting site. I find myself returning over and over. Always finding interesting and usually very funny articles!
    Thanks for all the great work!

  • Kyle Toy

    “10 things from 10 crashes” caught me by surprise when I first read it. As a new rider, crashing is something that looms overhead as a danger that everyone mentions, but there seems to be a code of silence about the details. The one and only piece of advice I could find in reading articles and talking with seasoned riders was, “be careful”. While that sentiment is nice, it doesn’t actually pass on any useful information. It’s like old sea maps that would say “here be dragons”. How can it help prepare the next generation of riders for the very real dangers of what they too are about to assume? How can you prepare to safely navigate the sea with only the idea of an unseen monster to prepare you? That’s where this article surprised me. It actually talked ABOUT the monster. What attracts it, how you can prepare to handle it, what you can do when caught up in it, and how to avoid it almost completely. Wes talking about his personal experience with crashing de-mystified the crashing monster a bit for me. It’s not a mythical creature that strikes when it’s hungry. It’s nature, physics, and human accountability. It’s a real world risk but a risk that can be prepared for, and with the knowledge passed down from the navigators who came before it can lead to the discovery a completely new world …and what you are capable of.

    “10 things from 10 crashes” is the most original and important motorcycle article I’ve EVER read.

  • Chris

    Enormously heavy touring bikes are dangerous to be ridden high speed off road. I miss Kevin Ash’s articles and blame the marketing jerks who promote that for his demise. Just noticed his site has been taken down.

    • Hooligan

      BMW are now fitting steering dampers as standard on those behomoths. A BMW executive got off lighter than Kevin Ash when his Beeemer-ahhhhhh!!!!!!!! went into a tankslapper. He only spent 6 months in hospital.

  • Statistician Rider

    You say your “Why Motorcycle Lane Splitting Is Safe And Good For Everyone” video is “the most compelling pro-lane splitting argument yet made”, and those who disagreed “just [don't] understand the facts”, which is not at all how I remembered it, so I watched it again.

    0:00 to 1:00 is video of people riding, set to generic rock music. 1:00 to 6:00 is three guys talking about their personal experiences learning to ride. 6:00 to 7:00 is more video of people riding, again with the generic rock music.

    At about 7:30 one of the guys talks about the 1981 Hurt Report, and how 2/3 of crashes were a car’s fault, and the most common was rear-ending, and claim that “lane-splitting completely removes rear-enders from the equation”. This is outrageous, and not just because the Hurt Report is well over 30 years old, and never claimed to investigate lane-splitting, but because the Hurt Report only looked at riders in Los Angeles! If “lane-splitting completely removes rear-enders from the equation”, then why was it so dang common in the only study you cite? (The study did not look at who was lane-splitting, or when. It’s possible that nobody who chose to lane-split was ever hit, but the data just does not exist to confirm or deny this. It’s also possible that it was only the lane-splitters who got hit. We simply don’t know.)

    At 9:00 one of the guys compare California to Texas and Florida, and says “deaths caused by rear end collisions are 30% higher”, and emphasizes it by saying “that is not a statistical anomaly, that is a huge figure!” He attributes this entire difference to “because we have lane-splitting” — there can be no other possible differences between drivers in these states, apparently. Somehow he misses the fact that, compared to California, per capita deaths in traffic accidents are 55% higher in Texas, and 60% higher in Florida. Not only is the 30% difference for rear-ended motorcyclists not significant, it’s a lot less than one would expect from drivers in these states overall. If you assume that lane-splitting is the only difference between the states, then this is good evidence to me that lane-splitting is dangerous: drivers are drastically safer in California, but even with lane-splitting, motorcycles are relatively at higher risk than drivers there.

    There’s lots of talk throughout the video about how motorcycle riders need to take responsibility for themselves, like “if some cute girl is sexting her boyfriend and runs into me, I have to accept that’s my fault”. This could be used in support of the claim that lane-splitting should be legal for reasons of personal responsibility. It says nothing about the relative safety of it, either for or against.

    The rest of the video talks about things which have nothing at all to do with safety. For example, one of them talks about a Belgian study saying how much less congestion there would be if more people got out of cars. He talks about how he gets better fuel economy than a Prius while lane-splitting in traffic jams. One of them talks about the great selection of motorcycles available today. These are all great, but they’re completely irrelevant to your thesis.

    At 12:30 you drop all this and go back to parroting “Lane-splitting is safer. That’s statistically proven”. At 13:30 it switches back to more generic rock music, and credits.

    Please stop saying “statistically proven” unless you can produce a study which examines the safety of lane-splitting. As long as you try to use non-safety arguments to claim that it’s safer, you’re not being “compelling”. You’re being misleading. You’re lying with statistics. Please, do argue for lane-splitting on the basis of personal responsibility, or congestion, or pollution, or because it’s fun. But there is no statistical evidence yet that it is safer for motorcyclists, so whenever you try to bring that into the discussion, you turn into a nutcase, and people who don’t already believe in your thesis (like virtually all non-riders) stop listening to you. That is not helping our cause.

    To be compelling, don’t make things up. If you removed “Safe” from the title of the video, and edited out all references to safety, then it would be a compelling argument.

  • mustangGT90210

    I read this all religiously simply because you guys don’t sugar coat anything, and make it clear at the same time it’s still an opinion, not fact.

    That and the fact it’s pretty funny. Keep it up :)