Respect the bike?
January 19, 2010 at 3:06 am #24076AParticipant
Submitted by Elwood1960 on Mon, 01/18/2010 – 19:53.Quote:To me, that “self control” thing is like saying you would put a 15 year old in a formula one race car for drivers ed . . kind of stupid, right? Self control is required on a 250, SKILL is required on a super sport.
That looks like your opinion, not facts. The fact is “self control” is needed for everthing we intend to do, simple as that.. no amount of skill will allow you to do what you want if you can not control yourself.January 19, 2010 at 4:32 am #24077JackTradeParticipant
I think all Elwood is saying that self-control is a baseline for riding any sort of motorcycle. But on a supersport, it’s not enough in itself…you have to have the experience and ability combination, what we’d call “skill,” to handle it safely and successfully.
As a new rider myself (about 18 months), I sure feel I have self-control, but there are times when I take a turn wide, or am less than smooth with the throttle that I definitely know I lack the skill part of the equation.January 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm #24097Gary856Participant
Hey Elwood’s writing is getting better and better. Awesome write up. This last one’s the best.January 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm #24100eternal05Participant
Oh god…prepare yourself. I’m not sure how I wrote this much.
FIRST AND FOREMOST: I agree with EVERYTHING you say with respect to having appreciation for the abilities of a particular machine, having self control, limiting one’s self to an appropriate machine for one’s skill, etc. I have NO argument against any of that, and I’ve been “preaching” the same since I started riding. In a phrase:
“Maybe self control is in buying a machine that matches the riding environment and the rider’s personal style [and ability] to begin with.”
My problem, again, comes down to your perception of supersports, which I think is unrepresentative and colored by stereotype and hearsay. Your perspective is by no means unique, and in fact, is probably the majority opinion, but if you’ll hear me out, I think I can convince you that it’s more complex than you make it out to be.
I’ve said this a million times on this forum, but just to be absolutely clear, I’ll say it again. I think supersports, and sportbikes in general, make terrible beginner bikes, and I have always done my best to steer people away from them until they are ready. For some people, that time never comes. They are obscenely powerful, and as you say, ultra responsive to all user input, the good and the bad. We’re not debating whether or not sportsbikes are appropriate for those without skill. I completely agree with you there.
First off, your perception that sportbikes are the most accident prone is, from every empirical study I’ve seen, incorrect. Sportbikers die in droves, don’t get me wrong, but so do middle-aged men on high-displacement cruisers.
The problem is that, whenever you look at statistics, you have to think about hidden correlation. Do lots of people die on supersports because supersports are that bad? Or is it that the image and performance of supersports, by nature, attract the sort of people that are most likely to be idiots, regardless of what bike they ride? The same holds true of cruisers. The bottom line is, if you have a tiny dick and care way too much about what other people think about you, you’re going to go for the biggest, baddest bike there is. What you end up on is just a matter of whether you’re into cruisers or into sportbikes. Statistics say that, if you’re a 24-year-old ex-military man, you’ll probably get a Kawi ZX-10R. If you’re 40 and rich, you’ll go buy the fattest $25,000 “lawyer Harley” you can find. Either way, you’re probably an idiot.
You keep coming back to this “world-class performance” and “race-tuned engines” etc. etc., but I think this impression has been hyped up waaaay too much. There are tons of bikes out there, from dual-sports to tourers to cruisers to standards, that go waaaaay faster than the 400hp supercars we all lust after. Don’t think it’s the same? Ok, I’ll make it more concrete for you. If I were to drag race Megaspaz, me on my GSX-R600 and Mega on his SV650SF, we’d still be neck-and-neck at 60mph. Yes folks, that’s right. The SV650, the bike that people here recommend to newbies all the time, has THE SAME 3.6 SECOND 0-60mph time as the “world-class” GSX-R600 (ok fine, the gixxer is really 3.5 seconds). From there I’d slowly start to inch away from him. It wouldn’t be until we got near 100mph that I’d really start to pull away. Most crashes happen well under 100mph, meaning that, from the point of view of acceleration, there are plenty of bikes that are just as hard to control in the common case.
The point is, most “normal” motorcycles out there are plenty fast enough that, if you’re the type of person that is going to pin the throttle, you will get yourself killed. These guys die not because the supersport makes them, or even because it’s possible to go fast. If there were no supersports, these same people would be killing themselves on other bikes instead. Again, remember that I’m not saying supersports are easy to ride. I’m simply saying that the higher skill level required to operate one is NOT the reason so many people die on them. This is fact, corroborated by every recorded traffic collision study ever performed.
You say that supersports have no place on the street, but again, this is to completely miss the purpose of these bikes, just as the squids that die on them at 160mph miss that purpose. My 200hp sedan can go 130+mph, but you never see me going above 80mph on the street. Does that mean that any car that can exceed the speed limit has no place on the street? I mean come on! Cars exceed the needs of the street dramatically so to avoid forcing the driver to operate the car at the limit of its ability. But that’s a tangent…back to the point.
The whole point of sportbikes is CORNERING! Let me say that again. The vast majority of technology that goes into a sportsbike — chassis, suspension, brakes, tires, steering geometry, high lean clearance, etc. — is to allow it to take corners at higher speeds and lean angles. Straight-line speed is what people with big egos like to achieve for thrills. It makes them feel badass, and boosts their rep with the occasional traffic ticket. Drag racing on the street or trying to hit your bike’s top speed on public roads is proof that you’re a poser looking to feel legit, with no regard for your safety, or the safety of others. Now take that 160mph sportsbike and ride it at 50mph through a nice windy 2-lane country highway and you have safe, responsible bliss. It’s what it was meant to do! Forget hitting top speed; I get plent of satisfaction from comfortably taking a corner at 50mph that everybody else struggles with at 30mph.
You think all the sportbike riders are the same, but they’re not. The ones you’re thinking of don’t last. They end their careers prematurely, but there’s always a fresh supply of new ones to take their place. But go to any track day or race weekend and you’ll find HORDES of sportbike riders of all ages, most of which are extremely competent. You won’t find these people zooming down the interstate at 120mph in a T-Shirt. You’ll find them casually riding through mountain or canyon roads, throwing down in the corners and taking it easy on the straights. One of the best (and most famous) written demonstrations of what I consider to be the “true” sport riding approach was written by Nick Ienatsch, a former successful racer and currently one of the most successful motorcycle journalists and performance instructors in the world. Here’s that article, entitled “The Pace”:
Finally, you keep referring to taking full advantage of the bike, but I think you’re mixing meanings. When people say, for instance, that “only the top 1% of racers can ever master a MotoGP bike,” They don’t mean that lots and lots of people can’t go around a track very quickly on one. What they mean is that only 1% of riders are good enough that they get FASTER when they get on a MotoGP bike. In other words, I could ride a MotoGP bike perfectly well, but I wouldn’t be able to go faster around a track on such a bike than on my GSX-R600. Right now my speed limit is not the bike, but my own abilities. The thing is, these abilities are not street-level bike control. They are things like knowing how late and how hard I can brake into a corner, how far I can lean before lowsiding, how quickly I can get back on the gas after the apex, etc. These are not the issues that riders struggle with at first. It’s not these things that cause riders to crash.
The truth of the matter, the honest truth coming from a guy who tries to talk everybody into a Ninja 250, is that anybody who has gotten really comfortable (and I mean really comfortable) on A bike is ready to give a sportbike a shot. You, Elwood, could learn to ride a supersport quickly and without incident. You may not think so, but if you have the smooth riding skills I think you do and can really control a big cruiser, all you’d need is practice. Seriously. But you’re not interested in supersports, so you’re never going to try long enough to realize that it’s not so terrifying. Yes, certain things are going to be harder than on your Dyna Wide Glide, but things that took you ages to master on your Sporty (*cough* weight *cough*) will no longer be an issue. Whether or not you’d LIKE riding a sportbike is a different story (we all know the answer to that ), but you could certainly handle it if you wanted to.
To come full circle, the problem with sportbikes in general is, in my humble opinion, not that they exist, or that they’re on our streets, but rather that people can START their riding careers aboard one. THAT makes no sense. Once you’ve learned to be smooth on a 250’s throttle, you can be smoother on an I4’s (seriously). Once you’ve learned to lean into a corner hard on a Vulcan 500, you’ll be able to lean in harder and with more confidence on a sportbike. In fact, in almost every respect, you have MORE margin for error on a sportbike once you come to grips with its behavior. The problem is that people don’t start on the Ninja 250R, or the Vulcan, or the DR-Z. They never really learn how to ride, and never have a chance to make the beginner mistakes on a bike that won’t bite them in the ass. But once you’ve grown accustomed to the responsiveness and the dexterity of a sportbike, that ultra-sensitivity becomes a good thing, allowing you to ride with confidence and ease you’d never imagine.January 21, 2010 at 3:45 am #24110AParticipant
WTF?January 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm #24115JackTradeParticipant
Seriously, this discussion on many other motorcycle forums would have long ago devolved into a shouting match, complete with vile personal insults and possibly threats.
This is why I stay here…you guys make it so easy to learn.January 21, 2010 at 9:39 pm #24127eternal05Participant
I don’t even bother posting on other forums. I lurk my way through about 4-5 other motorcycle related forums, but it’s not worth posting over there. Too much idiocy and not enough courtesy.January 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm #24201
little behind the power curve here as I’ve been busy
this kind of just irked me a scoosh
“that machine is LOOKING for an opportunity to kill your ass. “
the machine doesn’t give a rats ass about your ass my ass or anyone else’s ass -it doesn’t care if you respect it- or you hate it. It doesn’t baby you or want to kill you- it just is.
I look at it like a gun- its a tool- learn it- use it properly and move on to do what you really want to do with it or move on to another gun.
that’s my only two cents- everything else has been covered and anything else I have to add is moot.
good reading though!January 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm #24286
I agree it takes training absolutely. There is no argument here from me on that.
Personally it is easier to start on a .38 but I also think that is not a useful gun. There is absolutely a point to grow into a machine- but you don’t have to start at the smallest thing you can find- I think.
But then again you’re talking to a girl who is pretty damn proficient with a 45. I don’t have much use for a 50 cal- to me thats too big- a 45 does the job just fine… kind of like my 600 is just fine for me but I’ll probably never bother with anything bigger. different discussion though.
I’ll never win an agrument against 600s as a starter bike- and I don’t want to.
I only want to point out that the machine itself doesn’t care. You cannot personify a machine like that- thats a completely invalid argument. thats all.January 31, 2010 at 1:52 am #24297
I would absolutely agree with that- no arguments here.
Just kind of annoys me that people personify and say its trying to kill someone- its just doing what it was built to do. Sophia is more sophisticated and requires more finesse than my roommates bike even though they are essentially the ‘same’ bike.
We name them for a reason lol !
(jealous you can carry every day- I live in jersey- I think one hollow point round is worth like 5 years- not even a gun just the round… don’t get me started on their lousy gun laws here :angry face!!! )February 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm #24539
awesome ^ makes me happy there are people who still give a rats ass about our rights! My dad is very proactive like that- I have a hard time because so many people just don’t care its like what the hell is the point- just move to where they aren’t so damn dumb!
ha ha ha I’m going to…I’m going to move! Thats action- I can only complain so much and still stay here! lol
I hate this state! its got cool stuff NY/DC/Philly the shore- the Pocono’s etc but hell no will I stay put here! I personally hate getting into politics and unfortunatley my personality makes me very ahem- volalitile so even day to day chorse can be a challenge because I refuse to back down- I’d be horrible in politics- but it might be something worth while to look into- I have to stay one more year so maybe I can get something rolling! The politicians are SOOOO corrupt here I don’t know how they even got into office- we just had a turn over though so maybe something will change.
I really need to get my permits straight here- a shot gun is on the agenda and I would like another 45. So I gotta get into it at some point!
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