19 Widespread Motorbike Myths | Rider Journal


Lane Splitting Lane Filterning
Picture by Kevin Wing. Motorbike Myths illustrations by Hector Cademartori

As a rider for over 50 years and author for bike magazines for greater than 25 years, I’ve heard motorcyclists spout some weird beliefs. Listed here are among the most enduring bike myths. Every is bogus.

1. Loud pipes save lives. Loud pipes imply extra energy.

The primary of my bike myths is a twofer. First off, loud pipes don’t save lives, however turning into a greater rider can. Some individuals additionally assume a louder exhaust (one with little or no baffling) makes extra energy. Whereas a much less restrictive exhaust could add a bit extra horsepower on the prime of the rev vary, they usually carry out poorly until corresponding adjustments are made to the consumption facet. OEM exhausts are designed to offer horsepower and torque the place it issues – within the midrange the place you spend most of your time using.

2. Open-face helmets are simply nearly as good as full-face helmets.

Full-face bike helmets present higher safety than open-face helmets as a result of they cowl your entire head, together with the chin and face. Seeing photographs of riders with the underside half of their face torn off satisfied me.


A meta-analysis in Preventive Medication Studies discovered that full-face helmets cut back the chance of head accidents by 64% and neck accidents by 36% in comparison with open-face helmets. A full-face helmet’s faceshield protects the face and offers a transparent view, and the totally enclosed design reduces noise by as much as 30 decibels. Total, full-face helmets present higher safety, extra consolation, and elevated security.

See all of Rider‘s Helmet reviews here.

3. Utilizing automotive tires on bikes is ok.

Does anybody nonetheless purchase this fable? Utilizing automotive tires on bikes might be harmful. The Motorbike Trade Council warns: “By no means mount a passenger automotive tire on a bike rim; the flat profile of a automotive tire is incompatible with the dynamics of a automobile that leans because it corners, and the part of the tire in touch with the rim (the ‘bead’) is incompatible with bike rims.”

Motorcycle Myths

Tales from the Darkish Aspect, Eric Trow’s characteristic in Rider on this matter, features a quote from bike security knowledgeable and AMA hall-of-famer David Hough: “Motorbike engineers rise up awfully early within the morning to calculate what works finest for bikes. An proprietor who disregards the engineers’ recommendation ought to think twice about his or her skills in being extra intelligent than the engineers. The proprietor who installs tires not designed for the duty should take full accountability for the outcomes.”

Associated: Tales From the Dark Side: Putting Car Tires on Motorcycles

4. The rear brake stops a motorbike higher than the entrance brake.

Utilizing the entrance brake to cease a bike is more practical and safer than counting on the rear brake. No train was practiced extra and drilled into us more durable throughout police motor officer coaching than correct braking. Based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the entrance brake offers over 70% of a bike’s stopping energy. It’s more practical as a result of as you brake, a bike’s weight shifts ahead, giving the entrance tire extra grip. The entrance brake additionally offers higher management and stability, particularly in emergency conditions, whereas the rear tire can lock up and skid, resulting in lack of management. Utilizing each brakes collectively offers the shortest stopping distance.

5. “I needed to lay it down.”

This refers to deliberately laying a bike on its facet to keep away from an impending crash. In different phrases, crashing to keep away from a crash. This isn’t solely pointless, it’s harmful. Each millisecond of braking earlier than affect reduces pace and the severity of harm. Skilled riders and security organizations such because the MSF emphasize that riders ought to preserve management of the bike and attempt to keep away from an accident altogether by correct use of the brakes. Laying the bike down is an indication of panic and lack of correct coaching and expertise. It may end up in highway rash, damaged bones, and even demise.

6. Lane splitting is harmful.

Analysis has proven lane splitting reduces site visitors congestion and improves site visitors circulate. A examine by the College of California Berkeley discovered that lane splitting reduces site visitors delays by as much as 40%. Lane splitting might be safer for motorcyclists as a result of it reduces the chance of being hit from behind by distracted or inattentive drivers. The examine additionally discovered no elevated danger of crashes for motorcyclists who observe it safely and responsibly. As soon as solely allowed in California, it’s now authorized in numerous varieties in 4 states. For extra on this matter, try Eric Trow’s characteristic, Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe?.

7. BMWs are extra dependable than different bikes.

I personal a BMW bike, and I’ve owned, ridden, examined, or rented bikes from almost each main producer. As you’ll be able to count on, I’ve opinions about model reliability, however don’t take my phrase for it. A 2015 Shopper Studies survey of 11,000 bike homeowners supplied the next rating of manufacturers when it comes to reliability: 1. Yamaha, 2. Honda, 3. Suzuki, 4. Kawasaki, 5. Harley-Davidson, 6. Triumph, 7. Ducati, and eight. BMW.

See all of Rider‘s BMW coverage here.

8. Leather-based bike attire gives the most effective safety.

Motorcycle Myths

In reality, the most effective protecting gear is the gear you utilize and put on on a regular basis. In some situations, Kevlar (an artificial materials 5 instances stronger than metal and with glorious abrasion resistance) and Cordura (a sturdy nylon that’s additionally immune to abrasion) are thought-about superior to leather-based. In addition they weigh lower than leather-based and might hold you cooler, a major profit in sizzling climate.

See all of Rider‘s Apparel reviews here.

9. Being a passenger on a bike is rather like being a rider.

Early in my using days, I gave little thought to what my passenger was experiencing. Ultimately, I wised up, and an article I wrote about using with passengers turned one among my most requested reprints. A passenger’s perspective on a bike may be very totally different from the rider’s. You probably have any doubts, hop on the passenger seat and journey for 50 miles with another person on the controls. Passengers can affect the bike’s dealing with. Using with passenger is fantastic; using with those that are scared or unfamiliar with how a bike handles could be a whole catastrophe.  

10. Actual riders by no means wash their bikes.

Motorcycle Myths

An excellent pal and fellow bike journalist by no means washed his bike. He bragged that each bug he ever hit was nonetheless there. It was a case of pleasure over efficiency. My post-trip behavior is to totally wash and element my bike. Within the course of, I study each cable and fastener to make sure it’s cosy and in its correct place. Going over the bike inch by inch, I usually discover little issues improper that, if unaddressed, might have triggered massive issues later. Riders ought to take the time to scrub their very own bike and know what to search for. That is the motorcyclist’s equal of a pilot flight pre-check. It might probably save your life.

11. Aftermarket efficiency equipment enhance efficiency.

My pal Kevin Brown says one of many first issues he realized on the Motorbike Mechanics Institute was to ask the next questions of a rider who complained his bike was not working proper: “What did you do to it? Did you add any equipment or make any efficiency enhancements?” Seems a excessive proportion of bikes could possibly be mounted by merely eradicating the addition. The possibilities you’ll enhance the efficiency of your bike by including one thing is extremely unlikely. Normally it runs worse.

See all of Rider‘s Parts & Accessories reviews here.

12. Flip your handlebar within the path you need to go.

Motorcyclists management the path of journey through the use of “countersteering.” This implies the rider turns or pushes the handlebar in the other way of the flip. In different phrases, steer left to show proper, and vice versa. This works as a result of as you flip in the other way, the bike and rider will lean within the path you want to go. Many riders are unaware of this however make the right motion unconsciously.  

Associated: Stayin’ Safe: Countersteering

13. Automotive drivers see bikes and can cease for you.

Vehicle drivers don’t search for bikes the way in which they look ahead to different automobiles. They usually will look straight at you but fail to register the presence of a bike. I credit score a part of my surviving so many bike miles with out incident to pretending my bike and I are wrapped in an invisibility cloak and nobody can see me. Due to this mindset, I count on automobiles to tug out in entrance of me and am all the time ready with a “Plan B.”  

14. Solely wusses put on protecting gear.

Those that have had accidents usually credit score their protecting gear with saving their lives. My using buddies function with the motto ATGATT, which means “All The Gear, All The Time.” Full protecting gear features a good helmet and armored jacket, gloves, pants, and boots. Some riders now use airbag vests or fits. Many critically injured bikers lament from a hospital mattress: “However I used to be solely going three blocks to the shop. I didn’t need to get all suited up only for that.” 

Motorcycle Myths

15. Raingear retains you dry within the rain.

I’m instructed some raingear works properly. My expertise, nevertheless, is that rain nearly all the time seeps into small cracks or seams, and earlier than I do know it, I’m soaked. I’ve owned at the very least 5 pairs of “waterproof” gloves and just one pair labored. Similar for boots. If you’re using within the rain, put together to get moist.  

16. Interstate highways are harmful.

Interstate highways, whereas actually not essentially the most enjoyable, are usually thought-about the most secure place to journey a bike resulting from their constant speeds and restricted entry, which minimizes cross site visitors. Based on the NHTSA, interstates have the bottom fatality charges per mile traveled in comparison with different highway varieties. Two-lane roads pose the next danger resulting from their slim lanes and lack of boundaries between opposing lanes of site visitors. Metropolis streets and parking tons pose the very best danger of accidents for motorcyclists resulting from larger ranges of congestion, frequent intersections, and obstacles.

17. Using facet by facet inside a lane like Ponch and Jon on CHiPs is the easiest way to journey.

Motorcyclists are most secure when using in a staggered formation. It offers larger visibility and more room for emergency maneuvers and stopping. It additionally makes it simpler to sign your fellow riders ought to the necessity come up.  

Associated: Stayin’ Safe: Group Riding Tips

18. Confronted with a possible accident, you’ll be able to keep away from harm by leaping off your bike.

Like “laying it down,” this can be tempting if it seems you might be about to crash, however it’s a foul concept and can doubtless end in critical harm or demise. Sticking with the bike, making an attempt to manage it, and having religion in its capability to cease, quickly change path, and get you out of a decent scenario is almost all the time the higher selection. Bikes are much more succesful than we give them credit score for. 

19. When you set the right tire stress in your bike, you’ll be able to overlook it.

Tire stress has a major affect on the efficiency and security of a bike. Conserving each tires on the appropriate stress offers the most effective journey high quality, traction, stability, and management. Incorrect tire stress negatively impacts put on on the tires and hurts your mileage. All bike tires lose air to some extent, so it’s crucial to all the time verify for proper stress earlier than each journey. 

Motorcycle Myths

In his ebook The Energy of Fantasy, Joseph Cambell wrote that mythologies have worth as a result of they “help our quest for knowledge and happiness.” Loud pipes could make you are feeling cool, and backroads often is the most enjoyable, however don’t consider loud pipes will save your life or that backroads are safer. Motorbike myths are nonetheless myths – extensively held however false beliefs.

See all of Rider‘s Tips & Tricks articles here.


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