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QotD: Motorcycles

Question: Have you ever driven a motorcycle?

My Answer: No - the things scare me. They're called "donorcycles" by ER workers for a reason, I imagine. I don't even take my scooter out when it's raining. This question was prompted when, on the way back from golfing today, I saw a guy on a crotch rocket pop a 100-yard wheelie at about 60 MPH.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

11 Responses to "QotD: Motorcycles"

  1. Once, and it was an absolute thrill. However-- my mother, my sister, and wife will not allow me to get one. 🙁

  2. They seem like a blast... but like you said... "donorcycles"

  3. I had to babysit a co-workers 2000 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R for a week when he went on vacation and I took it for a spin. I had a great time on the thing and would like to get a motorcycle when I have some extra money.

  4. Would prefer a bike over a car any day (except maybe if its raining). 😛

  5. Yep. I'm on my second Yamaha since 1985. Riding a motorcycle forces you to become a better driver. Cars don't see you. Even cars that do see you sometimes think, "None of the cars are letting me into that lane, but I can force the bike out of the way." So you get rvery good at judging what the traffic around you is going to do, and very good at noticing cars who are about to pull into traffic (who might not see you) or oncoming cars about to pull left turns (who might not see you). I ride during rush hour an din the rain. You just have to be careful.

    But crotch rockets look dangerous.

    Interesting statistic: over half the motorcycle accidents involve people who have been riding for 6 months or less. Anyone thinking about getting a bike should take that into consideration and make sure they're extra cautious as they're learning important driving skills.

    And do NOT drink and ride.

  6. Actually Joe, according to the HURT report (Granted it's dated, but bear with me) - there's an even greater percentage of people who crash around the 2 years mark - and it's basically because of over-confidence issues.

    Another interesting statistic is that there are a greater number of people who crash that are taught how to ride by friends/family than by themselves. Although of course I recommend highly that anyone interested in riding first take the MSF Basic Rider Course - You get a loaner bike to learn on, a 10% insurance break, and in most states are exempt from having to take the riding test for your license endorsement at the DMV.

    I ride a 1992 Yamaha Seca II - it's a 600cc sport-standard and boat loads of fun. Powerful enough to get me going, but slow enough to keep me out of TOO much trouble. Something to learn on...but I'm getting the itch to upgrade soon (I'm thinking Ducati Monster 800 or a Triumph Speed Triple...I'm all about the naked bikes).

    I'm doing my first Track Day at NHIS ( this Wednesday and I am VERY excited about it. It's a controlled environment where I'll be able to push the limits and learn a lot about myself as a rider as well as about my bike.

    The term "crotch rocket" makes me roll my eyes every time I hear it...That and the fact that you hear the "OMG SO DANGEROUS" comments almost 98% of the time from people who have never actually ridden a motorcycle. Are they dangerous? Sure. What isn't? In my mind it's all about assessing and minimizing risk - being properly educated (taking classes, doing trackdays, reading books), wearing the right gear (helmet, leathers, boots, gloves), and not riding like a stupid asshole who pops "a 100-yard wheelie at about 60 MPH." Are you still facing the risk of a "Freak accident" or something you have no control over? You bet you are! While motorcycle accidents have dropped over the past few years, motorcycle fatalities have risen. Sound strange? The graph of rising deaths lines up pretty well with the rise in SUV sales.

    Ah..sorry for the rant, I'll stop there. 🙂

  7. No, but I do ride a scooter and a bicycle, and having discovered the convenience of the scooter, I'm thinking more and more about getting something larger and with a bit more power. Dangerous? I guess we need some statistics. 😉 A lot of people think riding bicycles on the road is terribly dangerous, but the last statistic I saw indicated that something like 70% of cycling accidents are the fault of the cyclist (ignoring traffic laws, etc.) and that it's suprisingly rare that an automobile strikes a cyclist. So maybe motorcycling isn't as dangerous as it seems. (Hope not anyway...)

  8. Well said Craig. As well as taking the MSF people would do well to read a couple of David Hough's books and maybe get a subscription to Motorcycle Consumer News. If you complete the MSF course you get something like a 50% discount.

    People seem to group motorcycle riders into 1 of 2 categories: Harley riders who will throw you into the curb for looking at them the wrong way or "Sport" riders who will cut you off and then pop a mile long wheelie doing 90 on I-5. Both get the rap of being irresponsible which may or may not be true but regardless because of the actions of a few we all get lumped together as hooligans who have nothing better to do than piss off everyone around us.

    Despite all of that I think things may be changing for the better at least here in Washington. MSF courses are filled up months in advance and we have quite a diverse bunch of riders up here. It may just be Seattle but I hope it's starting to be the same elsewhere.

  9. Yep, I ride every chance I get, which is almost every day. I started out on a scooter, and if you feel safer that way, you either haven't been in a dangerous situation, or you don't have enough self-control. The main advantages motorcycles have in dangerous situations are maneuverability and acceleration. If the going gets tough, you can hit the gas and get out of the way. This advantage doesn't exist on a scooter. If you get pinched, all you can do is slow down and swerve.

    Yes, fast bikes go fast. But smart riders control themselves. doing a "100 yard wheelie" is stupid. A new rider should not be starting out on a 600 cc sportbike. it is too much power for someone just starting out. Start off properly: Get a bike that isn't too powerful (but not too small either), and take the MSF class. It's value can't be overstated.

  10. I have ridden all my life since 14 and I am 54 now. I used to race MX (way back). We dirt riders then (and some now I gather) used to say that street riding was far more dangerous than racing MX. And that is true! However, I crossed the line long ago and have my racing experience and long apprenticeship in the dirt to thank my self-extrication from a few near disasters on the road. Now, I own a vintage BSA and belong to a club. What I have discovered is that club rides are fun, and very safe because of the numbers, which everyone is forced to notice. An occassional "heads up" event does occur when a car pulls in front of a group of riders rounding a curve - for example, but overall it is very safe. I highly recommend club riding, especially for beginners. Usually a lot of good people in clubs of from all walks of life.

  11. My exfiance called me today. He bought two crotch rockets for his two teenage boys Sat. April 29, 2006. For 12 hours those were the two happiest boys in the world. Josh, 18 yoa and Jake 17 yoa. Josh was driving too fast and hit a car and when he did the crotch rocket broke in half and Josh was killed. 18 years old. This happened in Mesquite, TX at 12:15 am Sunday April 30, 2006.