Photo by psyberartist
Spend enough years riding and you’re going to accrue some wisdom. Visit any biker gathering and you and I are going to hear it, too. Is there anything old timers like to do more than dispense advice? These are the best and worst tips given by long-term motorcyclists.
Worst Advice Given
Worse Advice: Helmets Restrict Vision/Hearing
Photo by Anima Kitty
Helmets Restrict Vision
This is the most-used “reason” for why older, experienced riders who should know better insist on not wearing a helmet. The thing is, it’s utterly untrue. Humans are only capable of using 90 degrees of their vision to either the left or the right, while the minimum legal standard for helmet vision sits at 105 degrees in both directions — 15 degrees more than we can see anyways. If a helmet restricts your vision up or down, it simply doesn’t fit correctly.
Helmets Reduce Hearing
Wear a helmet in a quiet room and yeah, it’ll reduce your hearing. But, out on the road, the wind and engine noise make it so you’ll actually hear less at speed without a helmet than with one. Earplugs take this a step further; with them, the ambient noise (wind) is dampened, leaving you more able to hear important stuff like sirens, horns and screeching tires.
Worst Advice: You Don’t Need Gear If You Know How To Ride/Crash
Photo by Drew Leavy
You Don’t Need Gear If You Know How To Ride/Crash
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. In that case, no super human feat of braking or turning is going to save you, you’re going to go down.
And no, “knowing” how to fall is not a real thing. The forces involved in a motorcycle accident are extreme, way beyond those the human body evolved (which is a real thing) to handle. Our ancestors didn’t have to deal with hitting a stationary object at 85 mph, then tumbling through the air to land in the middle of a busy highway full of other 85 mph objects. But, safety gear did, that’s what it’s designed for. Wear it or face rapid natural selection.
Worst Advice: A 600 Is a Beginner’s Bike
Photo by Brian Acomb
A 600 Is a Beginner’s Bike
“I’m just too big, talented, (insert other excuse here) to ride a little 600.” It’s always funny when people tell you that because they’re invariably the people that don’t have enough talent to handle one, much less the literbike/super sweet ‘Busa they’re toodling about on. 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. And yes, they’re torquey and flexible too. If you’re unable to make a 600 go fast, you need riding lessons, not a bigger, more difficult bike to ride.
Denim Makes Good Riding Gear
No it doesn’t. Not unless you are really curious what your insides look like.
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