The Best and Worst Tips Given By Long-Term Motorcyclists

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The Best and Worst Tips Given By Long-Term Motorcyclists

Best Advice

Best Advice: It’s Not What You Ride, It’s How You Ride It
Best Advice: It’s Not What You Ride, It’s How You Ride It

Photo by Lee Lilly

It’s Not What You Ride, It’s How You Ride It

It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean. Or what have you. With the vast majority of bikes existing so far outside the ability of the vast majority of motorcyclists — plus real world things like cops and speed limits and minivans — the outright speed a motorcycle is capable of travelling is entirely dependent upon its rider, not its engine size. We’ve seen Ninja 250s pass liter bikes on the track.

Get Back On The Horse

The longer you wait to start riding again after a crash, the more your confidence is going to decay. This really works. The act of manning up and climbing back on subconsciously demonstrates resolve and metal to yourself and doesn’t allow self-doubt and pity to build.

There’s No Old, Fast Riders

Well, there totally are, but this saying has a point: it’s a reasonable approach to reducing risk and the long-term goal of riding your whole life that will keep you on two wheels. Having the urge to drag knee today, at all costs, tends to have an adverse effect on the longevity of your riding career.

Best Advice: Start On A Bicycle
Best Advice: Start On A Bicycle

Photo by Phil Roeder

Start On A Bicycle

This one might sound odd, but the humble bicycle has lots to teach you about riding, just in a safer, more accessible, no-license-necessary form. Stuff like: separate brakes, countersteering, balance and interacting with traffic while on two wheels; all skills vital to the art of motorcycling.

Motorcycles Are Dangerous

It’s not likely an old biker that will tell you this one, but everyone else will. And it’s true. That’s also why they’re so life affirming and rewarding. And why you need to apply the right attitude and approach to riding one. If you someday aspire to being one of the old guys dispensing advise, you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life actively trying to become a better rider. Try and do that each and every day and you might just live long enough to tell about it.

What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given about riding?

  • jefflev

    Some guy told me to buy a 600 SS class instead of a Liter Bike. I reluctantly agreed. And now the guys on the Liters cant keep up with me on my “little” Daytona. I’d like to thank that guy, but i forget who he was. Some lanky Brit. I see his half naked pics with a dog on his shoulders, but I cant remember his name. Anyways, he was right. Much smarted than he looks! Oh well….

    • J-Roll

      This is probably the only time that advice is good advice. If he’d told you to start on a 250 you probably would have thought “bugger that” and got the liter bike.

      • jefflev

        I wasn’t starting on it. Its actually one of the smaller bikes i own :-)

    • HardLookAtReality

      A 600cc supersport is a literbike whose motor has a 10% reduction in stroke and a 40% reduction in peak torque and HP for which the manufacturer compensates by using hotter cams and more-expensive valves and springs to make up the peak HP with a higher redline. You start to talk about hypersports and cruisers in the 1200cc range, then there’s a real difference.

      • jefflev

        a 40% reduction in torque (and a 30% reduction in Bhp) as well as a 15% weight reduction in Liter vs. 600 class. That’s not a “real difference?” 1200cc Cruisers, one of which I own (Ducati Diavel) are huge differences over a 600class, i agree. But they are also comparing apples to oranges. it would take one VERY talented guy to keep up with me on the Snake on my Diavel if i was on my Daytona.

  • cliffordb

    Put a foot down as you come to a stop… prevents you from falling over.

    • Michael Howard

      Especially if you’re drunk. ;)

      • cliffordb

        As disturbing as it is to ride drunk the mental image of this happening is pretty funny..

        • Michael Howard

          And it’s absolutely hilarious if you do it in front of a popular nightclub with a huge crowd of people outside who witness you ride up on a gorgeous red BMW K100RS, maneuvering through and around them at a snail’s pace, feet-up and perfectly balanced. Then, as you stop and are feeling pretty damn cool with what seems like every eye upon you, you realize ‒ too late ‒ that the bike is falling and your feet are still on the pegs.

          • HardLookAtReality

            I guess that’s why the cool kids ride with their feet down

        • Michael Howard
          • Joe Bielski

            LOL, that’s like me walking to work this morning :P

  • SniperSmitty

    I purchased my first 600 supersport at the tender age of 37. I feel my advanced age helped me tremendously in terms of respecting the bike and not letting my right hand get me into trouble. Besides, I feel the only difference between my CBR 600 and a liter bike is top speed. Maybe a little more torque. So what.
    I feel I have plenty of go and will never even consider buying a liter bike.
    On a side note, 95% of all busas I see are ridden by guys who rarely even have on gear. They must be a lot better riders than me, or just plain stupid. Only my opinion.

    • HardLookAtReality

      “Besides, I feel the only difference between my CBR 600 and a liter bike is top speed”

      …right, so they’re the same from a standing start until you hit 155MPH. Suuuure…..

      “Maybe a little more torque. So what.”

      Says the guy who in the next sentence says…”I feel I have plenty of go and will never even consider buying a liter bike.”
      Of course not. You think they’re the same, you already have a 600, why would you ever consider trading up?

      But on the other hand, if you really think they’re the same, then why all the negativity?

      • SniperSmitty

        Not trying to be negative man. I’m just sick of some liter bike douchebags telling me a 600 is a girls bike. I actually prefer my bike in the twisties. I have also seen liter bikes passed by 250s at the track. All I’m saying is…. it’s the rider, not the bike. Ride your ride.

  • William Connor

    I haven gotten lots of good advice. Right at your own pace. Relax in the wind it’s you moving the bike around and not the wind moving the bike. Good tires equal safe riding. Tea with milk is awesome. Lot’s more as well.

    • Thomas Whitener

      Tea with milk….mmmmmmmm

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    Great advice:
    Never skimp on gear.
    Don’t ride distracted.
    Riding slow bikes fast > fast bikes slow.

    Awful advice:
    You’ll outgrow that 250/500/sub 600cc sportbike or sub 1000cc cruiser in a week.

    Worst advice:
    Murdercycles will kill you.

    • Piglet2010

      If you outgrow a super-sport in a week, HRC Repsol is looking for someone faster than Pedrosa.

  • JordanH

    You won’t need to wear gear if you just hang this tiny bell on your bike. Full stop.

    • chris ordanez

      God, I’m dreading the day someone tries to give me one of those stupid bells.

      • JordanH

        ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

        • IRS4

          gooble gobble

      • mms

        A guy I was dating insisted on putting one on each of my bikes. There was no polite way to to refuse. The only thing more redonkulous than a big cruiser with a bell is a shiny red Ducati with one, hangin’ off the back.

        • chris ordanez

          Oh, that poor Duke.

          I’m gonna start a new moto superstition: Just give the rider the money you were going to spend on a bell. Money is way more effective at warding off gremlins. Also, you can use it to buy beer.

          Spread the word.

          • Piglet2010

            If anyone wants to give me a Bell, I fit an “L” size Star.

    • enzomedici

      haha…know some Harley guys do you? The old bell.

    • Pierre Christin

      What’s this tiny bell thing ? I’m european, and never heard of it !

      • eddi

        Gremlin chasing Tibetian spirit bell. It has to be presented as a gift or the magic doesn’t work. They are cute, but some people just can’t handle cute on a bad-boy bike.

        • Pierre Christin

          Oh, thanks for the reply ! How do we forgot superstition in this post ! :-p

    • Scott Edson

      I’m not too terribly superstition, but I always ride with a little rider angel given to me by a dear colleague and a tiny silver heart given to me by my wife.

      Other than that I agree – they want to kill us, ride within your ability.

      My first bike is a Stratoliner (113 c.i.) Kinda crazy big, but I’m a big guy, life long cyclist and had rented bike for many years before buying.

  • Aaron L

    I’m that guy who (albeit it WAS my very first race weekend and 3rd day on a 600 and 3rd day on a track), got smoked in the corners by 2x Ninja 250s during practice….

    • HellomynameisAG

      Wait you entered a race with 3 days track experience and 3 days new bike experience? bravo dude, you and Machete would get along me thinks!

      • Aaron L

        1 track weekend (2 days), then straight to racing.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    Great article. Is that a sumo with clipons?!

  • Michele Menichini

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_of_view
    Human binocular field of view is 120° BTW.

    • JimMac

      120 for binocular FOV is very generous. Mine’s more like 90…

  • Honyock Undersquare

    Get thee to the track. I learned more about riding a motorcycle in one day on the track than I did the whole 8 years I rode beforehand. Other riders sensed I was a noob, and went out of their way to be helpful.

  • Glenn Rueger

    Worst: A beer or two makes you ride better because you’re more relaxed.
    Best: Look both ways at every green light – especially fresh greens. It has saved my life.

    • NOCHnoch

      Did someone actually say that? (about the beer, obviously).

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        I’ve heard that from a few guys. Always amazed they’re still alive to say it.

        • NOCHnoch

          So that’s what a camelbak is for

        • Doug Erickson

          i’ve heard “two wheels, so two beers” more times than i care to count. :-(

          • Piglet2010

            18 wheels, 18 beers?

      • Glenn Rueger

        Yes sir. It was about 5 years ago when a guy I was riding with had a beer at a lunch stop and asked why I was ordering iced tea. I just told him I’d fall asleep if I drank at noon.

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      I hear a few regulars say weed makes them a better rider. All I can think of is, “What happens when a car cuts you off? Do you have the ability to react?” And even if the other guy’s at fault, if you’re under the influence of anything you’ll be found negligent. You totally just hosed yourself on so many levels.

      • Joe Bielski

        LOL, if anything, I imagine smoking some weed and driving at 15mph thinking, “WOAH man!!! I’m like travelling at light speed!!!!”
        All the while, holding up traffic in the slow lane, with either signal forgetfully left on…

      • Jeremy

        I’m not advocating using any drugs before you get on your bike, but I’d consider marijauna less dangerous, than say, alcohol or meth. In my experience, the saying holds true that, “Booze will make you think you can do things you can’t. Weed will make you think you can’t do things, that you can.” I don’t want people riding over-confident or under-confident, but given the two, I’d take under-confident any day.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          You ever accelerated to avoid an accident? You need to. It takes confidence to ride a motorcycle. Real confidence. Not liquid courage. And you don’t need to be dulling your senses with weed either.

          • Jeremy

            Again, I’m not advocating either. But I’d rather some dudes share a joint vs a 12′er.

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              You probably recommend drowning in the shallowest pool too, right?

              • Jeremy

                I’d recommend standing up, and trolling elsewhere.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Sorry bud, not everybody who strongly disagrees with what you say is a troll. There’s no different shades of “Don’t do that.” Drugging and biking is a losing combo. What drugs you use doesn’t matter.

                • Jeremy

                  And again, I’m not advocating either. Just, in one case, I’d call the cops, and the other I’d call them foolish. I’m not sure what makes you think I was for either one, but you couldn’t have glossed over my point any harder if you reading in a blind-fold.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Never said you were advocating. I said you said “If you decide to drown, choose the smallest of two bodies of water.” See, it’s funny because both ways you’re dead. It’s a fancy way of me suggesting you might be splitting hairs.

                  Just don’t do drugs and ride. That’s the end of it.

                • Jeremy

                  Firstly, this defensive novella is funny, because I’m already agreeing with you. Secondly, I was talking about bearing witness to an event. But, I digress, you’re right in the fact that illicit activity is illicit activity. I appreciate your knowledge, experience, and insight. Thank you.

                • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

                  Never said don’t do illicit activity. I said dont do drugs and ride a motorcycle. In other words, never break more than one law at a time.

    • 200 Fathoms

      Green lights…so true.

    • Afonso Mata

      Let me add: “Check for bicycle riders at green lights.”
      I’ve almost killed a few of them, since they think red lights are only for motorized vehicles…..

    • HardLookAtReality

      I can do better than that, easily

      Never cross an intersection “naked” if you can avoid it…make sure that another vehicle screens you.
      Of coure you then run the risk that they will make a turn across you but still…so use this wisdom wisely.

  • socalutilityrider

    Worst I’ve gotten is: “if you’re going down, you’re f-ed anyway so why put with wearing gear?” And best, for adv riding at least “if you’re ever in doubt, stand up on the pegs, look where you want to go and gas it.” -that one is a like a get out of jail free card in tough sections. The first one was from a cruiser/custom shiny bike guy btw.

    • Piglet2010

      Looking where you want to go is fundamental – nothing else works properly if you do not.

      One exception is looking farther to the inside than you want to go if you need to tighten your line or start to panic in a corner – as taught by JP43.

      • socalutilityrider

        Yep, crucial in the street too. And in life if you think about it!

      • Price Action Guru

        “Looking where you want to go is fundamental – nothing else works properly if you do not.”
        No doubt!
        And for lack of adhering to this fundamental, many people crash or cause crashes.

      • HardLookAtReality

        It may be true that looking where you want to go is fundamental to successful riding, but it is not true that not looking where you want to go means that you’re going to wreck. Which I think is what you are trying to say.

        • Piglet2010

          TLDR

          • HardLookAtReality

            …the reason that stupid vapid platitutes are so popular is that they don’t require any mental effort to understand.
            The fact that they are meaningless DOES actually require mental effort to understand.

            • HardLookAtRealityRimsHisMom

              sweetie. your dad will never respect you. no matter how inconsequential your trolling on the internet machine.

  • NOCHnoch

    Worst: “You don’t need a full face helmet in the city, just on the highway” (yes, real quote from someone who clearly doesn’t understand physics)
    Best: “Have fun, and don’t stunt.” Oh, and, “Sure, 87 octane is fine in your bike.”

    • Gary Gordon

      Well, unless your bike is spec’d for 89 or 93 wouldn’t 87 be your best bet? Also, “Your more likely to break your neck if you crash with a helmet on”.

    • HardLookAtReality

      technically you don’t need a FF in the city.

      It’s just better but you don’t NEED one.

      • Piglet2010

        People can land on their faces crashing a bicycle at less than 10-mph, so this is lousy advice.

        • HardLookAtReality

          it’s not “advice”, idiot
          just a fact

      • NOCHnoch

        Correct, you are not required by law. I, however, enjoy having the lower part of my face, so in a city (full of people, cars, buses, streetlights, mailboxes, fire hydrants, buildings, walls, and other things to hit) I wear a full face helmet (aka “a helmet).

        To those of you who do not feel the need, I hope you’re OK with getting all your nutrition in smoothie form.

        • Piglet2010

          The other advantage of a full-face lid is you can grimace and swear at people without them noticing. ;)

          • HardLookAtReality

            ….right, because people can’t hear you swearing in a FF helmet…

        • HardLookAtReality

          I suppose that you don’t really care that your post is only relevant to those who crash and slide on or impact their face, and that your FF helmet won’t provide any more protection below the jawline than their open-face helmets.

          Just remember that karma is a bitch when you break a vertabrae in your neck and are paralyzed from the neck down.

          • NOCHnoch

            What’s your point? Half and 3/4 helmets don’t protect the neck either.

  • TechGuy5489

    What happened to ride your own ride? Not much room/use/need for this big displacement vs smaller displacement pissing contest when the cornerstone of your riding philosophy is ride your own ride. Faster than me on a bigger bike? Good for you. Faster than me on a smaller bike? Good for you. I’m just here for my own enjoyment and what you’re doing isn’t really relevant in that respect.

    Good rule to ride (and live) by.

    • HardLookAtReality

      the problem is the need to give advice, a problem which you share as much as anyone else

  • Bryan Zebleckes

    I fully agree with the cycling tip. I was on a college cycling team but have only been riding a motorcycle for six months, once I realized they were basically the same thing and used the same sort of techniques in form it came naturally.

    • BillW

      True dat. I spent a fair amount of time mountain biking before I started motorcycling in earnest, and long before I rode a motorcycle off-road. I found nearly all the same techniques apply.

    • chris ordanez

      I was a year-round bicycle commuter in Chicago for years before I bought a motorcycle. It taught me a lot about riding defensively and assuming that I’m more or less invisible.

      • Aaron Averett

        Conversely, after getting hit from behind by a on a road bike, I could barely ride in traffic without having a panic attack. Eight months on a motorcycle have done me quite a service in getting over this.

        The bicycle also teaches you to appreciate how nice it is to not have to pedal.

    • Dennis Hightower

      Do both! I have to remind myself to keep cycling… for fitness sake…due to laziness or just how much more fun a motorcycle is, I always tend to opt for that…and my fitness level suffers for it…

    • appliance5000

      I use a bicycle in the city – it just works better. But when I do ride a motorcycle in the city I realize how much easier it is than the bicycle. Cars give you room – you can accelerate out of the way, pedestrians… well they’re just as oblivious as always.
      On a bicycle you are a target in so many more ways – that extra alertness pays off for the motorcycle.

    • HardLookAtReality

      …yes they both have two wheels.

      Other than that a 500lb vehicle with over 100HP and 50ft-lbs of torque has virtually nothing in common with your bicycle.

  • BillW

    “The act of mining up and climbing back on…”

    I presume you meant manning up, since mining generally goes down.

    Wes, you should really hire me as a proofreader.

    Re old, fast riders, I think you were looking to paraphrase a statement often made about pilots: there are old pilots, and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots. It works better with the rhyme.

    More bad advice that’s commonly given: only use the rear brake. In a panic stop, lay ‘er down, you’ll stop faster (addressed in a previous post). All that gear looks too geeky. Chicks dig scars. Only buy Genuine Motorclothes. :)

  • Piglet2010

    “You Don’t Need Gear If You Know How To Ride/Crash”

    Sad to say, I was told something very similar to this by an instructor during BRC class.

    • Khali

      “Well, I dont know how to crash, sir.” (problem solved)

  • Piglet2010

    Around town, I value impact protection the most, so I will ride with a light, but armored textile mesh jacket and Kevlar reinforced jeans with knee armor underneath. For the freeway, I upgrade to a Roadcrafter, and on the track, racing leathers.

    Do not let better be the enemy of good.

    • HardLookAtReality

      ..funny how around town I value not getting hit by a car or truck over “impact protection”.

      but then I guess you’re used to bouncing-off vehicles and hard points.

  • Piglet2010

    Best advice – when it started to rain during a classroom session (Star school), JP43 went over to the whiteboard and wrote “SMOOTH”.

  • mms

    Best advice– watch out for the leaves in the corners! Worst advice– you’re insane / stupid / “organ donor” / too fast / too slow / “Only real racers understand”. I yam what I yam.

    • Khali

      I always carry my Organ Donor card with me.

  • runnermatt

    I read something a while back that said playgrounds had become too safe and that kids were not developing their sense of self confidence by overcoming something that they viewed as dangerous. Motorcycles can fulfill this need in adults. Danger can be good for you.

    • 80-watt Hamster

      Don’t know that kids really view playgrounds as dangerous. The benefit is probably more from being allowed the freedom to get hurt, then realize it’s not the end of the world and get back up. Something I still struggle with, if I’m honest.

      • runnermatt

        Dangerous as in climbing to the top of a jungle gym, something that may be at head height or a little above for an adult but 2-3 times the height of the child. It is more about having the courage to overcome fear. Some kids are fearless and shrug off getting hurt, others can be the opposite; with a there always being the mixture between the two.

  • socalutilityrider

    Alright, new Ride Apart article here: “Motorcycle Maxims As Life Advice”

    -look where you want to go
    -ride your own ride
    -when in doubt, gas it

    Anyone else have any others to add to the list?

    • eddi

      Keep challenging yourself.
      Do look behind you-something’s in your blind spot.
      Practice stopping as much as accelerating.

      • Piglet2010

        “Relax and have fun” – pre-ride meeting at a track clinic.

    • Fzilla

      I had a Maxim!
      Great bike…

    • Michael Howard

      When life throws you a curve, lean into it.

  • eddi

    I’m from the generation when ABATE formed. I heard all their arguments about how dangerous helmets are. They sounded dumb then, they sound dumber now. And Hurt etc. say they not only sound dumb, they are dangerously wrong and totally outdated. And every piece of protection since is one more way to shade the odds in your favor.

    • http://www.racetrackstyle.com/ Racetrack Style

      ABATE needs to stop wasting money on the helmet debate & focus intensely on distracted driving regardless if people are for helmet laws or not

  • keyle

    My Dad who was racing Nortons in the 60ies gave me these two advices when I got my first bike

    - always ride within your own limits
    - always assume that everyone else is there to kill you

    • Bill T

      Thats what MSF taught me. Ride within your own ability and road condition, assume you are invisible to other drivers and most important thing to remember is right of weight, not way!

  • E Brown

    You had it right the first time – you can only gear up for the fall; there’s no gear that will respectably reduce the impact from a car or truck. Gear will keep the pieces together after the impact, which can make a difference.

    Cars or bikes, I hate the US obsession with displacement. When I moved from dirt bikes to my first street bike, my parents flat-out refused to let me get the CB125 I wanted, saying it was unsafe – they wanted my first bike to be a big ol’ CB750! We compromised on a CB400, and I still ride one today. :)

    • Ben Mcghie

      I wonder if anyone wears motocross/dirt armour around town? That full Icon “Stryker” chest/shoulder rig seems like it would help you bounce off things quite nicely.

      • eddi

        I wear an Icon Stryker everywhere. All my jackets lack any frontal protection and it adds just what I want. I can take out the jacket’s back insert as well. It is comfortable except on the hottest days, but even mesh gear can make you sweat on those days. I consider it money well spent.

    • Piglet2010

      I had the same first bike (1980 CB400T) – not a bad choice since it was fast enough to keep up with traffic, but not enough torque to spit one off or break the rear wheel on pavement.

  • Khali

    “You can always choose not to ride”

    If the conditions are too bad for you to handle, its snowing out there, freezing cold, raining like its monsoon season…you can just take the subway instead. Your bike is going to be there tomorrow.

    • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

      “famous last words”

  • Justin McClintock

    My favorite piece of “worst advice” (although I have no clue how long the rider had actually been riding) came right here in the comments section on Rideapart. “Take up smoking.” Um…no. Just plain no.

  • Afonso Mata

    Best Advice: Always buy the best tires your budget allows.
    Worst Advice: It the traffic on the motorway is too intense, don’t split lanes, it’s less dangerous to ride on the “emergency lane”. (I don’t know how you guys call it in English. Is it “the road’s shoulder”? )

    • Arno

      Great way to get a flat tire, but I guess it could be safer

  • Fzilla

    ‘Always assume that everyone else on the road is blind and insane.’
    Hyperbole, maybe, but useful and it works.

    • appliance5000

      I agree but I would add this: we are blind in the same way cars drivers are blind (assuming no distractions like phone and texting) so we’ve got to also take that into account.

      I’m talking persistence of vision and other tricks the brain uses to fill in missing information. We should be aware too.

  • Donnie Byers

    Motorcycle helmets DO restrict vision and hearing somewhat. Anyone who tells you differently, is a liar.

    That said, I’ll still wear a brain bucket, because I’ve seen brain matter up close several times. And it looks soupy when spilled out on the highway.

    • Generic42

      Please explain how they restrict your vision?

      • I Have the Hat

        I know for me, when I wear a full-face helmet I am physically incapable of seeing my own chest. Am I doing it wrong? That said, it’s not a major attraction when I’m riding anyway.

        • Generic42

          Let me rephrase then “How do helmets restrict your vision in a way that impacts your ability to safely ride?”

  • Brian Pollock

    Ride like you are invisible. Saved my life the second time I was on a motorcycle on public roads

    • Michael Howard

      I prefer to think that people CAN see me ‒ and are going to try to take me out when I least expect it.

  • Chanson

    *mettle

  • JP

    “Don’t assume anything.”

  • appliance5000

    Always good to remember Newton’s second law: momentum+mass x velocity (p=m*v)

    An suv can reek utter havoc at 10mph.

    • HardLookAtReality

      so can the fact that you’re that ignorant yet still posting on a messageboard

      • appliance5000

        Irony-it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  • appliance5000

    Don’t use armor-all on your tires – that’s what my pappy told me.

  • Generic42

    Best advice I got “95% of riders can’t outride their bike, if you are in a corner and think you entered too fast don’t stand it up, push it down harder and trust that you are at your limit, not the bikes.” It’s a huge mental feat to push harder into the corner instead of braking/standing it up but if you realize the bike isn’t likely to go out from under you, it helps.

    • Piglet2010

      That is where Jason Pridmore and some others teach to look even further to the inside of the corner – really does work.

      • HardLookAtReality

        seriously you make JP sound like an excellent example of the difference between riding talent and teaching talent

        • Piglet2010

          Seriously, you make an excellent example of an Internet keyboard warrior.

          • HardLookAtReality

            dude call me whatever you want, just don’t call me from the hospital

    • HardLookAtReality

      that’s an easy way to highside.

      the correct answer is to get your shoulder down lower.

      Of course even that won’t work if you either wait too late or you run out of either ground-clearance or tread.

      But just pushing the bike down lower is guaranteed to cause the back-end to slide out if you push it too hard, and that is guaranteed to send you flying down the street.

  • enzomedici

    When you stop at an intersection or for traffic lights, keep your bike in first gear and keep a close look in your mirror until cars behind you have come to a stop. Keep your steering-wheel pointed in the direction of the first lane you will encounter (ie in the US, from left to right); This way, if you are “nudged” by a car behind you, your bike will go with the crossing traffic.
    Some more good tips http://blog.jafrum.com/2013/03/30/20-tips-on-how-to-survive-riding-a-motorcycle/

    • Piglet2010

      I position myself to pull ahead between the lines of cars, if I see someone coming up too fast from behind and not slowing.

  • Paolo

    “Having the urge to drag knee today, at all costs, tends to have an adverse effect on the longevity of your riding career.”

    This reminded me of a good friend whose nickname was “The Curve” because he always insisted on taking his GSX-R to the limit on every single ride. Sadly, he passed away 2 years ago doing just that, so I guess the “There’s no Old, Fast riders” adage is quite true.

    • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

      …because your friend died?

      You’re a Class A idjut

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI&list=FLYJP3MjZQ-BJugrvyegfQ7Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video Alberto Knox

    Worst advice I have personally received: Countersteering Does Not Work below 15MPH.

    I wondered why my low speed parking lot riding was so clumsy until I realized countersteering is the only way to turn a bike, period.

    • Piglet2010

      True if you are using a counter-weighting technique for balance. If one uses a brake-torque technique, with the gyroscopic effect of the engine stabilizing the bike, it will direct steer.

      And one can steer a bike “bottom up” with no *deliberate* counter-steering around all but the tightest corners – not the best idea for emergency evasive maneuvers, but arguably preserves traction more than a “flop” into a corner.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI&list=FLYJP3MjZQ-BJugrvyegfQ7Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video Alberto Knox

        I have seen this done but usually on a bike with a massive flywheel, like a Harley, and Only at creeping speed.

        • Piglet2010

          Even my Honda Elite 110 has enough rotating engine mass for the brake-torque technique to work – but the bike I have that is really easy to ride slow this way is the Bonnie. But yes, the direct steering only works at a walking pace.

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            no, it works fine at any pace as long as you have a short enough turn of a large-enough radius

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        eh, I explained where you are wrong technically but someone deleted my post, I guess it was too complex and too long.
        ok a shorter version.
        a) a couple of examples of what I am going to describe
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ISCU5jk7yE
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGx8FYXZBOk

        from the riders’ perspective:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7HWGgNZ_nA

        The main problem with steering into the turn is that the front tire, when used to push the bike in a different direction than its momentum wishes to take it, can only sustain a certain turn-rate which clearly is well below the sustainable turn-rate from countersteering in which the bike is really in a steady-state “fall” (those with a background in orbital mechanics will pick it up easily from there). If the lead rider can turn a bike twice as fast with countersteering and you try to follow that bike by steering into the turn AND the lead rider is going fast enough to make the turn countersteering but too fast for you to make it by steering into the turn, THEN you’re going to run out of road before you finish the turn IF the turn is too long in duration AND your speed is too high for the turn-rate resulting from your turn technique to get you through the turn before it ends.

        This is made worse if you take a bad line through the turn.

        BUT it can work fine if you’re riding slow-enough and have a short-enough turn to work with, or you can take it straight enough.

        Noobs tend to learn to ride this way and only through blind luck or good teaching learn to countersteer and properly cut corners before they wreck. They then learn to ride “well” and their next problem is riding past the road-conditions and hardware, taking the bike too close to the limit too often.

        • Piglet2010

          Dude, the brake-torque technique is used for doing tight U-turns and such in parking lots, or creeping up to red lights at a snails pace – duh! No one teaches it for anything but very slow speed maneuvering, or claims it would work at speed – so your lengthy screed is arguing against something imaginary.

          As for not deliberately counter-steering, at least five top level AMA road-racing championships have been won using that technique (between Reg and Jason Pridmore), and if you think it results in “jerky” turns or inability to hold a line, you really need to take a pillion ride with Jason Pridmore around a track.

          • HardLookAtReality

            I didn’t say that top riders will make jerky turns or be unable to hold a line, I said that noobs make jerky turns and are unable to hold lines using that technique. The technique of steering into the turns (which some here have said can’t be done, never happens and which you have said is only used at low speed in tight turns) is clearly being used by many top riders even today. In racing.

            It’s really just a question of how much you steer into the turn.

            As far as gyroscopic action goes, the mere fact that you tilt the bike over is going to result in a gyroscopic response.
            But a gyroscopic response isn’t going to cause the bike to *continue* to turn. It’s only going to turn a fixed amount, as a result of gyroscopic action. Just as filling a pot of water, putting it on a burner and turning on the burner is only going to rasie a pot of water to a certain temperature. It’s not going to turn the bike around in a circle nor is it gong to counteract the bikes’ momentum in a straight line.

            The main thing is that even if you consider gyroscopic principles hold for an object that lacks 3-dimensional rotational freedom, the tilt along an axis orthogonal to the axis of rotation will result in a rotation in yet a 2nd orthogonal axis. But that output rotation is an amount of rotation that is proportional to the amount of input rotation. It’s not a output rate of rotation. You input say 90deg of bank as an input and you get 90deg of turn out of it, as an output but having gotten 90deg of turn out of the gyro, you’d lose the 90deg of bank that you put into it. You would, as I said before, have to keep dipping the bike into the turn in order to keep it turning as gyroscopic action would tend to reverse the input dip for each degree of output turn produced. that directly contradicts what you get in steady-state after countersteering. Once the bike reaches equilibrium lean it will continue to change direction at a steady rate with no change in lean, assuming that sufficient power is given by the drive wheel to overcome friction.

            The basic problem is that the engine has a degree of rotational freedom through the crankshaft and transmision hubs but the rotational degree of freedom of the bike is about the wheel perimeter, not through the bike center of mass.

            In any case you can’t establish with certainty that the bike is turning as a result of gyroscopic action vs classic Newtoninan physics for revolving objects. In fact it’s highly unlikely that that is the mechanism at work here.

            • Piglet2010

              The strawman is taking a beating.

    • Michael Howard

      Though, more accurately, countersteering doesn’t turn the bike ‒ it leans the bike.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        that would at most make the turn an indirect result.
        what matters more is whether the turn is inevitable given the countersteer, and in most cases it is.

    • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

      …it’s not the only way to turn a bike.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI&list=FLYJP3MjZQ-BJugrvyegfQ7Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video Alberto Knox

        But it is. Physics, Baby! You are using it even if you don’t know it.

        • HardLookAtReality

          You clearly are confused about the difference between “your opinion” and “physics”.

      • bikerferlife

        Uh oh. That sounds like an inexperienced rider talking. Everyone countersteers. Some of us understand it, some of us don’t.

  • Larry

    The one that I hear with shocking regularity from the grey-beards is “real riders don’t need ABS”. Granted, learning to threshold brake without ABS is a valuable skill and arguably a skilled rider who learned on standard brakes probably has a better touch. But disavowing the technology outright on the basis of some misguided purist bullshit is…uh, bullshit. “I don’t NEED ABS, I know how to brake”. That’s an actual quote from a GS riding geezer that was trying to sell me his W650 (should have bought it). It’s like saying “nope, only bias-ply tires and drum brakes for me, I’m a REAL rider.” Idiotic.

    • HardLookAtReality

      …assuming that it’s actually “misguided purist bullshit”, and not just the truth.

      The only people who really need ABS are bad riders, people who really don’t need to be on a bike in the first place. .

    • bikerferlife

      In regard to ABS and not wanting it equates to wanting bias tires and drum brakes I disagree. Radial tires and disc brakes are measurable improvements in the performance of the bike. ABS is not. I’m not dismissing it, there are very good applications for it. But ABS, perfectly working, lengthens your stopping distance. In super low traction situations (questionable riding weather anyway) it is very hard to beat, but for the rest of the time it’s not a performance upgrade, it’s a safety upgrade. It’s almost certainly better than anything a beginner or even long time off the bike rider, but even average riders if they practiced would be able to brake in a shorter distance.

  • HardLookAtReality

    “Accidents can happen to anyone. How is skill going to help you if a tire blows out or — the most common motorcycle accident — a car pulls out in front of you too late to avoid.”

    This is one reason why you didn’t win the Nobel Prize this year.
    The main problem with your article (indeed with most people who write on most websites) is that you attempt to refute illogic in an illogical manner.
    Skill (what we’d call “common sense” in any other sport) helps you by making the likelihood of either having a blowout or getting cut-off by a car exceedingly low.

    True, you can be overconfident either way.
    Just as you can think that riding a 300 is safe, that the big issue with noob safety is the engine-displacement of the motorcycle that they ride.

    I still say that I would rather ride with minimal gear, constantly worry about getting fucked up if I go down and ride very conservatively than to ride in a great suit, not worry so much about getting scraped up, take more risks on a bike and therefore raise the likelihood that I will get into an accident either through negligence, overconfidence or simply through bad luck, and then still be stranded miles from home with a fucked-up bike and likely several broken bones. People die wearing leathers all the time.

    Besides the risk of a blowout with modern motorcycle tires is virtually negative.
    A flat, sure, that can easily happen but most tires will run flat just fine. I’ve seen guys riding on a flat rear that had to be told the tire was flat.
    And if you’re riding on a flat front that’s something you’re going to notice right off, well before it actually goes flat

    So now you can start to push safety-gear in case a tree falls across the road before you have a chance to stop to avoid it.

    • Piglet2010

      The only sure way to avoid crashing a motorcycle at speed is to never ride one at speed. I mean, if I am riding 25 feet at 5 mph to load a bike on a truck, I do not bother to gear up either. But you could go down from a bird strike (I know of it happening), hitting a piece of almost impossible to see debris or diesel fuel spill, etc. Then the gear will make a huge difference.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        of course it would.
        I still would prefer not to go down at all, and if you want to list a highly-unlikely cause of a crash as a good reason to wear a ton of gear vs just a helmet and gloves or even a jacket, be my guest. Wear as much gear as you think that you might actually need, and so will I.

        Just don’t get upset when I don’t agree with you on what amount of gear that is.

      • HardLookAtReality

        You can’t reduce the odds of having an accident to zero even by not riding at all.
        People still die in accidents who have never ridden motorcycles.
        You could be sitting in your house in your underwear reading this online, and a plane could crash into your house and kill you.

        But you can definitely increase the odds of having an accident by being a dumb-ass, whether on or off a bike.

        Riding smart and reducing your odds of having an accident to 1/10 of what they are now under your current riding-style is far more effective in terms of protecting you from injury than protective gear that costs 10x more than what you now own & wear.

  • John

    I agree that helmets are totally worth wearing whenever you’re on two wheels, and that they don’t restrict vision *very much*, but are you really claiming that you can’t see *any* part of your helmet while you’re wearing it?

  • dreygata

    I will say that I started out on a 600cc motorcycle, however, it was an underpowered Yamaha Seca II, and that was PLENTY of power for learning. I’d honestly put it more with a 500cc Ninja than with other 600cc bikes. That said, I always encouraged my friends to start on something under 600ccs, or at the most an underpowered 600cc bike, like mine.

    • Piglet2010

      The only bikes I would recommend for a new rider that are 600cc and over would be a dual-sport thumper* for a tall and heavy person.

      *The lower powered ones – not an enduro with turn signals and a muffler from Husqvarna or KTM.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        Doesn’t really matter what bike they start on if they don’t have any common-sense.
        They can kill themselves on a moped.
        Experienced riders kill themselves on a regular basis.

        • Piglet2010

          “Experienced riders kill themselves on a regular basis.”

          Such as the ones who crash without having any protective gear on.

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            …absolutely true, assuming that they crash badly enough to become a fatality.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    said this before, it got deleted, I’ll say it again
    I’d rather ride with no gear, knowing that I’ll get all scraped up maybe even banged-up if I go down at any real speed and not crash out of overconfidence and lack of concern…than to ride with gear, thinking that I’m well-protected in case of an accident, and end up in a hospital in traction, or in the morgue.

    Now maybe you might not like that opinion
    But you have to admit that it makes a whole lot of sense

    and thus shouldn’t be deleted because you’re a bitter, evil and jealous mod.

    Also I’d had to be the one to have to say to one of my riding buddies that maybe if he had spent a little less time worrying about what gear to wear and more time worrying about riding safely he wouldn’t be lying in a hospital bed.

    • Piglet2010

      “But you have to admit that it makes a whole lot of sense”

      I will do no such thing.

      Nb. – I do not care if you ride in your PJ’s, but I hope no one takes your advice.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        right, because there’s no point in taking the advice of another experienced motorcyclists’ over (ahem) yours.

        • Piglet2010

          Well, some very experience motorcycle riders will tell you to never use the front brake.

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            …so obviously there’s a difference between how experienced you are, and how much you know about riding a bike.
            Just as there’s a difference between how much you know and how rational you are.

            And there’s a difference between being rational and being right,
            but perversely you can be right and still die anyway.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Right, so what do you do when it rains?

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        if you’re talking about a downpour, I find a good place to stop until it slacks off at least enough to ride in it safely
        a little water isn’t going to hurt…
        …if you’re dressing for comfort, that’s another issue entirely…just like wearing heavy leather when it’s 90deg and sunny is…

    • labradog

      “But you have to admit that it makes a whole lot of sense”
      Uhm, no. The only thing I have to admit is that it’s a stupid idea. Good gear and sense complement each other.
      Whatever you do to reduce crashing has no effect on the idiots driving other vehicles.
      A traumatic brain injury doesn’t leave you “scraped up”; it leaves you curled up and drooling while your relatives throw you a celebration because you’ve reached the new milestone of farting unassisted.
      I’m an EMT who often rides my R100S to the station to answer a call. See you in the E.R.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        “”But you have to admit that it makes a whole lot of sense”
        Uhm, no. The only thing I have to admit is that it’s a stupid idea. Good gear and sense complement each other.

        Sure, like memorizing your multiplication tables out to 2000 and buying a nice new wrist-calculator “compliment each other”.
        The fact that you get the best results from making the most out of one or the other because they work in fundamentally-different ways, that’s a side-point, right?

        “Whatever you do to reduce crashing has no effect on the idiots driving other vehicles.”

        Sure it does, if you were to avoid crashing into them and ask, you’d find they agree with me.

        PS I really doubt that I’ll see you in the ER. Good luck with that.

        • labradog

          Re: the E.R. You may doubt it, but it’s not up to you.

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            …again, that’s why you’re not a doctor. Just an EMT.
            And from the sound of things, the test is not that hard.

    • ThruTheDunes

      I understand the reasoning, but I have a problem signing on to the premise: ride overconfidently with gear, or not without gear, They are not mutually exclusive, at least not to me. Me, I ride cautious with gear, no overconfidence. Too many horror stories from others – I heeded their lessons learned the hard way. (An old farmer taught me that some time ago – a sign of wisdom is learning from the hard lessons of others.)

    • bikerferlife

      False equality. You are equating wearing the gear to riding closer to the limit or over it. Maybe you do that, but the vast majority of riders do not. Plus with a full face helmet you can see and hear BETTER, with the obvious benefit of avoiding potential accidents. Jackets, gloves and heavy boots also generally make riding more comfortable, eliminating distractions to help a rider be more attentive to the situations around them.

      I’ve been riding, racing and wrenching for nearly 40 years so you don’t have more experience than me. Don’t try that one again.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        a fullface, jacket, glove and heavy boots…I’d say that most riders wear these simply because they are more comfortable to ride in, than not to ride in.
        Whatever “added protection” they give just comes along for the ride.

        “I’ve been riding, racing and wrenching for nearly 40 years so you don’t have more experience than me. Don’t try that one again.”

        It’s not the experience that matters, It’s the lessons. Otherwise you’d consistently lose to older, more-experienced racers :)

        • bikerferlife

          I see you have wisely chosen to agree with me. Good job!

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            that’s an interesting twist on “agreeing with you”. Aside from the helmet, an average jacket, a pair of gloves and heavy boots aren’t serious protection against even road-rash. They are at best a way to keep warm while riding, and fend-off some minor road-debris.

            • bikerferlife

              Those are about as serious as it gets for most street riders, assuming all those components are leather which is what I was referring to. I’m not breaking out track leathers to street ride so that is ATGATT as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know anyone who wears that gear solely for comfort, it’s at least 50/50. And if that is not ‘serious protection’, what exactly is it that you consider to be serious?

    • Jeremy

      The confidence doesn’t come from the gear, it comes from experience. It’s alot easier to deal with pain, when you’re not trying to hold up a headstone.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        …it’s a lot easier to deal with pain when you’re not feeling any, because you weren’t dumb enough to wreck in the first place.

        Your position is that it’s better be smart enough to wear gear because you’re going to be dumb enough to wreck but you should still ride a motorcycle anyway, which is even more stupid. My position is that you shouldn’t ride a bike unless you are smart enough to not wreck, and at that point heavy gear is not necessary unless of course it keeps you warm and dry on a cold, wet ride. But riding when it is cold and wet is stupid.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    ” In reality, a 125 bhp bike weighing around 415 lbs (full of fuel) is
    more performance than about 95 percent of motorcyclists are able to use,
    full stop.”

    True, but it’s much easier and much more sane to use 50% of the performance of a literbike compared to 75% of the performance of a 600.

    End of argument.

    • Piglet2010

      “True, but it’s much easier and much more sane to use 50% of the
      performance of a literbike compared to 75% of the performance of a 600.”

      And how is that?

      Even I can properly manage engine speed on a bike (the one compliment I got from JP43 at Star Motorcycle School).

      The old saw is true – it really is more fun to wring out a slow bike than to trundle around on a fast bike.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        it’s only more fun to you and other panty-waisted goobs
        personally I much prefer “trundling around” on a bike with 150hp, 60lb-ft of torque and a top-speed of 175mph than “wringing-out” a bike with 35hp, 8lb-ft of torque and a 110mph top-end

        not to mention it’s far more sane and legal and therefore more enjoyable over the long run

        • bikerferlife

          Rubbish. ‘Bigger’ bikes, at least in the vernacular that you are using that are for insecure dweebos that are afraid of looking like a ‘panty-waisted goob’ in their own mind. If the shoe fits you then wear it.
          If you compare a 300 to a liter bike than sure you have to wring it’s neck, but not a modern 600. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t ridden one.

          End of argument.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    Everyone wears at least SOME protective gear, dude.
    Few “smart people” ride bikes naked.

    • Piglet2010

      “Everyone wears at least SOME protective gear, dude”

      Rollie Free: http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/hofimages/Rollie_Free01.jpg

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        …your point being?

        I’m surprised that you didn’t bring up Indian Larry, or the guy who died at that New York rally in opposition to helmet laws.
        There are always going to be “outliers” man.

  • labradog

    Don’t forget another piece of classic dumbshit – “Loud pipes save lives”.

  • labradog

    A favorite bit of good advice? In traffic, scan your mirrors, just a flick of the eyes, twice a minute.

    • Piglet2010

      I check my mirrors a lot more often that that when riding on urban freeways, so I always know where my potential escape paths are if a cager starts to move into my space cushion.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    nah, surely pinning the throttle of a Ninja 300 to the stop and running it to redline 200 times in a row won’t have a noticeable effect on performance…since it’s already so damm slow…

    • Piglet2010

      At the track I pre-load the shifter and run my pre-gen Ninjette into the rev limiter to change up, and start downshifting at 11K rpm.

      • HardLookAtReality

        what difference does it make if the bike makes virtually no power to start with and you’re riding it just so that you can run it to redline all day long without worrying about your lack of ability to handle the bike at redline?

        You might as well park the damm bike & sit in a lawn-chair and make racing sounds with your mouth.

  • HardLookAtReality

    if that’s the case, then REALLY smart riders realize that if they truly ride smart then they won’t need protective gear at all.

    And that they only need it when they ride like an idiot, except for the occasional crap that flies up off the road and hits you, and the wind and rain in general.

  • Piglet2010

    Hey, you better go tell Jason Pridmore that he does not know how to ride, and to give back his two AMA championships and his two FIM World Endurance championships.

    And when I want to do a U-turn on a 20-foot wide country road, I will use a brake-torque, direct steering technique (at less than 5 mph), not a counter-steering technique.

    You are aware that people that make their living at advanced motorcycle training do not advocate the same technique for low-speed maneuvers and high-speed turns? Or do you just like to conflate the two into a strawman to attack?

    • HardLookAtReality

      I am more likey to tell Jason Pridemore that he is yet another instructor who follows the “do as I say, not as I have done” school of instruction.

      • Piglet2010

        Lots of words, but no real content other than “I’m right because I say so.”

        I do not care if you crash, but would hate to see anyone else taking your mistaken advice do so.

        • HardLookAtReality

          …believe that if you wish. I can show you plenty of visual evidence on YT.
          Since pictures are more your speed.

          At least I’m not saying that I’m right because Jason Pridemore told me so.

          • Piglet2010

            TLDR

  • Arno

    I never realized the terrible advice I received when I first started riding, make up your own mind, educate yourself, all my mentors now that I look back on it were/are squids or pirate harley riders that have no clue other than riding straight on a bright sunny day