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The Top 5 Most Annoying Motorcycling Myths!

Published June 3, 2016

If you haven’t heard any of these classic motorcycling myths yet, it won’t be long before you do. A lot of these are often touted as sage advice, but honestly, it’s mainly just the culmination of lies and exaggeration. Like all stories of that ilk, there may have once been a grain of truth or two in them, but the odd exception to the rule doesn’t make it fact. Next time you encounter one of these mass-produced myths, counter them with a bit of know-how. Although, if you’re stuck listening to someone spouting this nonsense, they probably won’t let you get a word in either way. You all know the type of people we’re talking about, don’t you? Here are some of our favorite motorcycling myths:

#1 The Purposeful Crash

Sliding1

Standard beer induced nonsense number one: someone mentions a precarious riding situation, and our nameless back seat rider chimes in with something along the lines of “Well, in that situation, I would’ve laid her down.” – But no one in their right mind would, would they? Firstly, if you’re going to take a gamble with your pride and joy (and life) at stake, a rational human being would put their trust in those tried and tested, genuinely reliable, and often computer assisted, brakes. Rubber tends to grip to the ground, funnily enough, while steel and plastic has a tendency to slide…for a long time. Secondly, if you’ve got time to make the mental decision to lay your bike down and physically do it, you’ve definitely got time to employ a textbook braking maneuver too. Someone probably started this myth after making an error, and dumb luck saved them…and subsequently, the story has become legend.

#2 Cars Are Out To Get You

CarsOutToGetYou

Sure, there have been a few cases where car drivers have had a fit of rage and done something quite terrible, but on the whole, they’re not all wannabe murderers in disguise. I suppose if you want to go all Robert D. Hare and mention the Psychopathy Checklist, then yes, all of us are probably borderline psychopaths but let’s push that to one side. It’s good practice to risk assess every move you make on the road and evaluate the outcome of a worst case scenario, and it’s good to imagine that every other vehicle on the road is being operated by a moron. But to imagine that everyone is going out of their way to harm you, is a bit of a stretch. A lot of car drivers are bikers, and almost all riders also have to drive cars every now and again. So, scrap the ill-thoughts and concentrate on the road, rather than the mind-set of the driver in the car behind you.

#3 Your Thoughts Are Your Own Worst Enemy

Self-confident

Similar to the above, it’s often quoted that if you’re thinking of crashing, you’ll probably crash. Not true – and it’s a dangerous thought to spread. As a rider, you should always have crashing in the back of your mind. It’s all about the old risk assessment, again. You should always be weighing up the possible outcomes of the moves that you make. If you go around riding without considering the dangers, then you’re probably going to have a rude awakening. Granted, if you sit on your bike and you’re shaking all over like a nervous nelly, and you’re frightened of crashing, it’s probably wise to go and do some more training – because you probably will be putting yourself (and others) in danger.

#4 “I’m An Experienced Rider”

no-helmet

So what? Does that make you impervious to road rash? I know loads of experienced riders without an accident to their name, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know better and it definitely doesn’t mean that their advice is worth anything, unless they’ve got a backlog of qualifications with statistics and studies to support their claims. Claiming “experience” as justification for something is unwise, especially when you’re dealing with the unpredictability of something as ever-changing as the road: its rules, its users and its quality. If “forum poster number one” says that he’s never worn a helmet in his whole life and won’t ever in future because he’s experienced and never crashed, then that doesn’t mean that you should follow suit. Make your own choices, and make your own mistakes and learn from them. Quote of the day: “If you’ve never made a mistake, you’ve never made anything.”

#5 Racing Parts Make You A Better Rider

Thoughts

This is one of those “all the gear but no idea” moments and it covers a lot of ground. Buying a new Dainese racing suit doesn’t make you invincible, racing tires don’t make you go faster and your new Brembo brake assembly isn’t going to make up for your mistakes. Just because Rossi walks away from a high speed crash wearing his Dainese suit, doesn’t mean that you will; Dainese race gear is great and highly recommended, but if you’re taking extra risks thinking it’s going to save your life, then you’ve got another thing coming. Racing tires are also great…on those gorgeous, purpose built race tracks; on the road, they’re pretty useless. And your new brakes? Well, they’re certainly top of the range, but like the racing leathers, if you’re putting more faith in your gear than you are in yourself, you’re setting yourself up for a fall!

The Age Old Debate:  “Loud Pipes Save Lives”

Exhaust

I’m not prepared to fully condemn this one, because there have been times for example, (and you’ll all remember something like this happening at least once) when that dozy driver next to you suddenly gave you their attention. But does it save lives? It’s a debate that has raged for years and shows no signs of calming down. Some people quote physics to denounce it, others use real life scenarios to support it and while I’m firmly on the fence, but leaning towards the “they might” side of the argument, surely the more attention grabbing you can be, the better? Sure, reflective jackets and brightly colored helmets are just as useful and a lot less obnoxious, but a bit of noise doesn’t hurt, does it? Well, if you’re pissing off your neighbors, you should probably stop… Whatever your opinion, it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re not relying on your exhaust to save your life. If you think it helps you, then great – keep at it, but don’t rely on it. Use your head instead!

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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