Ten myths about motorcycles:
1. One beer and you are not a safe rider.
It highly varies- there is a big difference if you weigh 100 or 250 pounds, if your liver is 22 or 62 years old, and if you drink alcohol every few days and have built up some tolerance. The 0.05 percent blood alcohol limit is probably ridiculous in most cases. When I used to shoot pool, it took more than 2 regular strength beers drank at a normal pace to affect my skill.
2. Baby a new engine.
If they really meant a gentle engine break in today, they could program it into the bike’s ECU and not let you rev past 5000 rpm (or whatever) until after 500 miles. Why don’t they? Because it’s really not necessary. Redline all the time for a new engine is not a good idea, but it helps seat the piston rings if you use varying rpms and some brief high rpms. I think the “ride it like a granny at first” is more to help prevent you from crashing until you get more used to the new to you bike, especially for a beginner or someone switching to a very different motorcycle.
3. New tires need a long wear-in time.
You should go slow out of the parking lot of whoever mounted your tires, and until they’re warmed up and you have a feel for your new rubber, but very few tire manufacturers use “mold release” anymore: Modern techniques have shiny new tires popping free of the molds without it. Many’s the time we’ve shown up at the track for a “shootout” with brand new tires, and we have never “scuffed them in” for 50 or 100 miles. More like one lap. The main thing new tires need to work their best is heat. Swerving back and forth like an Indycar won’t do it. Rapidly accelerating in 2nd or 3rd gear will put heat into the rear; hard braking from medium speeds a few times will warm the front (when nobody’s behind you!). Tire warmers are the modern way at a track.
4. ABS brakes do not help.
The times when you really need ABS brakes are when something you didn’t even see coming suddenly winds up in your path (Your fault for not paying closer attention!). When those things happen – and they’ve happened twice to me over the last three decades – the reptile part of your brain takes over and commands your right hand to squeeze the brake lever as hard as it can; reptiles don’t know from “modulation.” If it happens to be raining, you’re down instantly and milliseconds to impact. With ABS, you’re slowing harder than you thought possible, not sliding the tires, and hopefully avoiding impact – if not, at least you’ll be going a hell of a lot slower.
5. Lay your bike down if you think a worse crash will happen soon.
Trying to slow down or stop is almost always better than laying your bike down (lowsiding). If you’ve got crap brakes, bald tires, and not many skills…no, even then I still think it’s better to try to stop than to crash on purpose, nearly all the time.
6. All the gear all the time (ATGATT).
I am not going to put on my Aerostich suit and heavy boots to ride one mile to the Ace Hardware at 35 mph on a scooter. I will be wearing a helmet (probably open face), gloves and shoes in case I put my foot down on a banana peel, but the fact is that the likelihood of getting into a long, skin-abrading slide from 35 mph is rather nillish. I took up motorcycles because they’re fun and dashing, not because I need more things to guard against and live in dreadful fear of. May the defense be in scale to the threat. Please do wear as much protective gear as you can when you’re going more than a few miles. I’m not even going to give the anti-helmet crowd the benefit of another idiotic discussion about the freedom to be a fucking clueless moron. Always wear a real helmet. Personally, I always wear gloves too.
7. Start with a feet-forward cruiser.
Maybe this started because cruiser seats are closest to the ground or because tons of modern riders learned to ride on Honda Rebel 250s. I totally believe most of them would’ve had an easier time on a standard bike, something like a Suzuki TU250, because your feet below you are more natural than your feet awkwardly far forward for a lower seat. If you’re looking at a first bike, try on something like a new Triumph Speed Twin or Honda CB500F for size.
8. You must start with a 250.
Maybe if you’re a speed freak with zero self-control a 250 makes sense, but those bikes aren’t that easy to ride when you’re brand new. They’re slow, yes, but they need lots of rpm and clutch action and shifting to get moving. Most adults already know better than to give it full throttle all the time. Unless you’re a tiny person, you’re better off on a bike to scale with your body, especially one with standard ergonomics.
The best experience I ever had teaching a new rider involved a Honda VTR1000 Super Hawk – a swift and powerful bike for sure, but with a mellow, controllable powerband and not too much weight while we’re getting our sea legs. A slight crack of the throttle in first, a gentle release of the clutch, away we burble… say, this was easy! Maybe somewhere in the middle is a good starting point for most riders? Again, something like a Honda CB500F or KTM Duke 390 wouldn’t be bad starting places that you’d instantly outgrow.
9. Motorcycles are too dangerous.
There are things you can do that greatly reduce the risk: Get training. Wear a helmet. Don’t ride impaired. All the research says that doing those three things greatly reduces your risk of being killed, and by adhering to them you’ve just proven that you have what we call “common sense,” which will also encompass things like “don’t go 100 mph in town.” The longer you ride, the more common sense you accumulate through experience, and the safer you become, so go easy that first year or two. Doesn’t mean you can’t be taken out by a deer or a left-turning ’72 El Dorado or a meteor, but it greatly reduces the risk.
10. Motorcycle riders get laid more often.
Dudes will dig you, if you’re a chick. But sadly, I have found the reverse not to be the case for most of my moto-brethren. The only women who have ever expressed interest in yours truly as a result of motorcycles have been pre-existing female motorcycle enthusiasts. It is more about looks, personality and money. I found that having a full time job, a reliable car dry inside when it rains and the cash for nice dates helped a lot in the getting laid department.
Top 10 Moto Truths (That Are Totally Bogus, IMHO)