I am a faithful man, the idea of cheating on Selene is not something I really think about, but something has recently been creeping up on me. Before you ask, the Street Glide pictured above is by no means in my financial spectrum, but damn it’s perfect.
My 2005 Suzuki M50 is perfect to me. I found her with 15,000 miles and currently she has a little over 18,000. Three thousand amazing miles and my first bike still makes me grin like an idiot every time I climb on to her…take that statement as you want. While I have long thought about getting a second bike to compliment Selene’s downsides, I really haven’t thought about replacing her.
While she is only 800cc, Selene only weighs about 500lbs and can be shifted around with ease. No, she is not superbike fast but almost no cruiser is so I could care less. She is quick enough and the Cobra Drag Pipes make every mph scream forward. She is not a high maintenance gal. With fuel-injection, shaft drive, and proven Suzuki reliability, there is no hint this bike is 18-years-old. Plus, under “normal” riding, she even gets 45 miles-per-gallon. Under my “spirited” riding, I still have no issue returning around 40. Add all of this to a sleek design and a Mustang seat which was worth every penny, I don’t want to believe there is a logical reason to part ways.
However, it’s a funny thing once you realize you are properly obsessed with motorcycles. What you do not understand until it happens first-hand is just how connected you become to your motorcycle. It is because of that I almost hurt thinking about upgrading Selene to something that covers my needs a little better. A larger engine will give me needed torque to make highways less uncomfortable. A little more weight and a better suspension setup will provide a more comfortable ride. As of now, Selene rides tight and can cause some pains after a prolonged ride. Also, the M50 in general does not have the aftermarket supply as many other motorcycles so customizing is very difficult. For all these reasons, Selene and I may part ways towards the end of this year. My brain knows it, my wallet knows it, but my heart is finding every reason to fight it.
I remember the first moment I realized I loved Selene. I decided to ride to Atlantic City for no reason and it was a hot day. I will admit to not wearing my jacket but to be honest I didn’t care. It was a perfect day to ride to the beach. While once I got down to the shore, all clouds left the sky and a great breeze hit the island. Everything was perfect, it was honestly like a date. I was just bobbing around with me visor open, having the salty air brush my face, Red Hot Chili Peppers playing in my Sena, and the roar of Selene in the background. Since it was during the week, there was no traffic and I was able to zip around as I please. I even did some minor off-roading near the Golden Nugget casino when I made a wrong turn and jumped a few curbs. I pulled over on a beach-block and just looked at Selene, realizing that she was perfect for the trip, no other bike would have given me the same experience.
Even moments that I thought would be scary turned out being enjoyable. I rode to work thinking I had clear weather for the whole day. Turns out my app made a mistake and it was torrentially down-pouring by 12PM. As I geared up to leave work, it became clear that the rain was no letting up and I was going to have to ride home. To some experienced riders this might not sound that challenging, but at the time I had only rode through light sprinkles before. While my journey home is only 15 minutes, I was pretty nervous. What happened as I started riding still confuses me, I started laughing. The entire ride home I was laughing and making all my best Jeremy Clarkson noises. I HAD FUN. When I got home I specifically remember patting her on the tank and saying good girl. If I have not made it clear, Selene and I have a bond.
As I type that, all the memories I have with her are coming back and I am kicking myself for thinking of getting rid of her. Maybe once I have a larger budget, I can get a bigger cruiser that fits my needs without needing to get rid of Selene. Throw a batwing and some hard-bags on her to make the perfect light-tourer. Who knows, but what I do know is I’ll be wrestling with this every time I decide hop on the old Craigslist and browse my heart away.
Truth be told, this is not a new bike, and maybe not the most exciting bike, but for my uncle this is his awesome new bike. Until last week, old man Rubinson rode a black/olive-green 2005 V-Star 1100 which was his first bike since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, aka the 80’s.
The “olive” was a nice bike for him. Being that he is 5’9″ and roughly 200lbs, the V-Star physically fit him well and was an overall good bike to get him back into riding. It wasn’t crazy powerful, had a extremely comfortable riding position, and a host of accessories for him to choose from. However, as any rider knows, there is always something nicer out there so he recently decided that he wanted to upgrade to something that fit his needs a little better.
What he was essentially looking for was a bike that could mimic a Harley Davidson Street Glide without costing anywhere near $20,000. Sure, he could have bought one used, but the year-range of H-D he could afford isn’t exactly known for their reliability he didn’t feel like having a tinker-toy. This essentially left him going back to metric cruisers. Through talking with myself and doing his own research, he even found a great range of bikes that fit that requirement right around the size of the Street Glide, but then I found what would become the perfect bike.
The black & blue/purple 2009 V-Star 1300 wasn’t a model he was initially considering mainly due to the 1300cc motor. Even I was trying to find something in the 1600-2000cc range to best mimic the Street Glide, but I pulled up this V-Star for him to look at for a couple key reasons.
Old man wanted hard-saddlebags. After having a nice pair of soft-bags on the 1100, he realized that in order to maximize storage, durability, and security, hard-bags were the way to go. This model came with them out of the factory and look great on the bike, not all accessory saddles can say the same.
Old man doesn’t want to tinker. The 1100 V-Star ran like a Civic, and by that I mean nothing ever went wrong. While metric cruisers in general are very reliable, V-Stars are always at the top of those click-bait articles about reliability. With the 1300 having fuel-injection, liquid cooling, and belt-drive, these bike is meant to run for years without inconveniencing the owner. Granted, the 1100 was shaft-driven and even more reliable, we realized that belts were more common on the larger “CC” motors.
Old man isn’t exactly a big man. Probably the most important reason I sent this to him to check out was actually the size. The 1300 has the same seat height, floor board spacing, and almost the same weight of the older 1100. This means that het is getting just about every upgrade he wants without riding a monster. This consideration doesn’t mean much for someone who is six feet tall and can easily flat-foot a bagger, but that gets sketchier and sketchier as your height drops. During the ride home, he even said how it feels great since it just feels like the super version of the old V-Star, which he really enjoyed riding.
Obviously, old man Rubinwrinkles liked the bike and it is now in our garage as the jealous old V-Star get ready to go up for sale, but what do I think of it? In short, very nice light-tourer that doesn’t quick fit my riding style.
The first thing is that I noticed was that it does pull decently hard. At roughly 630lbs, the glass-smooth V-Twin will pull down the road with ease and you can’t comfortably pop it into 5th gear until over 60 mph. This tells me that you can comfortably sit at 75+mph on the highway all day long. Also, the seating position is very standard with you legs not stretched out at all. Now, I personally like a little stretch but my uncle does not, this position fits him great since his legs aren’t that long so I get it. The same can be said for the stock handlebar. It tucks back towards the rider with the grips angled in as well. Your arms, like your legs, are not extended at all which adds to the everyday comfort of the V-Star.
The styling is nice too. This is not trying to copy an H-D but has very nice lines that don’t force a certain style on you. It is actually a tad on the under-stated side which for people like my uncle, is preferable. Going along with the styling, because this particular bike only had 5,000 miles, it really does look and feel brand new. This is a bike that he can ride until that brand new Street Glide becomes a reality. There are a few smaller upgraders he wants to do but the two major ones will be a lighting system for night riding, and a batwing fairing. Once he gets these upgrades bolted on, this unassuming Yamaha will be perfect for him.
However, there is a downside when it came to bringing this bike home. It’s a big one really. I now have to itch to buy a new bike. Why are the motoring gods so cruel!
Just yesterday, my uncle bought a new bike. Now it isn’t new, it’s a 2009, and although we were at an H-D dealer, the bike was a Yamaha V-Star 1300. While I will go into details about the bike in another article, the point of this is to show how Chris from Lakewood Harley Davidson made that buying experience a pure joy.
The reason this surprised me is the experience I had at Barb’s Harley throughout taking my MSF course there, and being at the dealer for various events/rides. I guess it makes sense to start with Barb’s right? I generally like going to any dealership just because window-shopping is a blast, but also it is nice to feel-out the people that work there. Both me and any given sales rep know that I am not in the market for a $15,000 bike at the moment, and I don’t expect to be treated special for just stepping foot into the dealership. However, I want to be able to talk to someone and LEARN about the bikes, and by having someone casually tell me about the new Milwaukee-Eight 114ci motor makes me want it and the expensive bike it’s bolted to.
While at Barb’s, I was generally ignored or immediately tried to be sold on financing a Street 750…no. It was almost like the saw this young guy without tattoos, for now, and immediately consider I’m just a dingleberry who doesn’t bikes so just get him on this plastic learner and get him out the door. Nobody tried to just be normal and shoot the shit with me and get a relationship built up, because of that, I really never had a desire to consider buying a bike there. My dream of having one of four Harley’s was just that, a nice dream to have years down the road.
That all changed yesterday thanks to a cool dude from Shamong.
My uncle had talked with Chris on the phone before we drove an hour to look at it so he was already set to deal with him. I am like my uncle where if we are going to take the time to see something in person, we are serious about buying it and he made sure Chris knew that. So after a lovely lunch at Whole Hog Cafe and many conversations about the bike, we arrive a Lakewood. The dealership itself it very nice, and like Barb’s, there are plenty of bikes outside to wet your whistle before walking through the door.
We see the V-Star outside and take a quick look before going inside and she looks great, old man is happy thus far. We go inside and meet Chris, as it turns out, I have seen him at Barb’s for some rides and he worked there for awhile too. Without going through a transcript of the entire time with him, Chris did the perfect thing any sales rep should do; leave the B.S. at the door. H-D dealers don’t like having metric bikes on their lots and all three of us knew it. This was about makes a quick dollar and trying to move it out. There was no attempt to up-sell to an H-D, there was no mention about financing until he physically had to ask during the paperwork, and he even brought the bike into their service department to get the clutch tension inspected at our request.
More importantly, when my uncle did confess to his desire to save and buy his dream Street Glide, Chris didn’t even talk about pricing or new features or anything of the sort. Now you may ask why this is important, so I shall tell you. My uncle (and mostly me) research bikes and cars before buying and know our stuff. He also has me, the walking encyclopedia of motors, to tell him about anything related to bikes and cars. Chris, I assume, picked up on that in various conversations and realized that we know about the Street Glide, we both want a Street Glide, we know about various features and specs on the Street Glide, we know. There was no need to sell us on one since we already are drooling over them and have made it clear that we cannot afford them for ourselves which is why my uncle is buying the V Star.
He is the type salesperson who can read is clients well and is only interested in making us happy while making a quick dollar. We also already know he made his money off the previous owner of the V-Star since he traded this bike in on a brand new H-D and knows him personally. He even called him on his cell to ask a few questions we had about the bike. Once again, you might think this is silly, common sense, why am I still reading? What Chris did, and I am dead serious about this, is ensure that when either my uncle or myself are ready to get our first H-D’s, we will be coming directly to him and Lakewood Harley.
What makes this extra warm and fuzzy is that people like Chris are exactly the type of people we need in motorcycle dealerships in order to get more people buying and riding bikes! If you do a little research, you will find that while more people are currently buying motorcycles in the U.S. of A, they are buying used bikes. That is simply due to people my age who want to ride but cannot logically afford a new bike thanks to student loan debt, higher cost of living, and Candy Crush. I say logically because that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t buy a new bike, there is just little reason to since we aren’t seeing the benefit and that is the fault of every dealer out there.
When I was at Barb’s H-D, I felt like I was ignored for a variety of reasons and I partially get it, but at the same time I have no connection and reason to spend my money at a dealership 20 minutes from my house. At Lakewood H-D, Chris made me feel welcome. The way he helped my uncle buy a relatively cheap metric bike told me that I should really try and get my savings in order so I can buy one of the many H-D’s I want from him.
So to Chris, thank you. In about a year or two, expect my call about a flat white Street Glide or 114 Heritage Classic. You are my H-D hero and thank you for getting me excited about buying an H-D…eventually….someday…we’ll talk.
Let’s just clarify that it is not okay to text and drive no matter how sick that fire meme is, but to be honest, a lot of us do it. Yes, us crusaders of road safety, riding with our helmet-mounted GoPros capturing every mistake four-wheeled drivers make, we also text and drive.
There will inevitably be people who read this and disagree profusely, but don’t lie to you and me in the same sentence. I cannot think of a single person whom I have driven with that refuses to respond to a text while behind the wheel. The line I will draw however is the way they do it.
Before I go into detail, I AM NOT ADVOCATING TEXT WHILE DRIVING. I am simply being realistic and understanding that it does happen and that many of us can be safer while doing it.
Recently I was driving home from the gym to Pancheros to obtain a delicious burrito bowl. While in-route, a Honda Accord Coupe came next to me and as I look into the vehicle, I notice the woman texting/ using her phone. Now, something you must understand is that I always look at the cars around me to judge the driver. It allows me to determine if they are paying attention or hopefully an attractive woman that I will immediately rev-bomb, judge me all you want. I am observant, not mature people. ANYWAY, I see her texting but the phone it essentially in front of her face, while traveling at roughly 45mph. Not only that, but it is night-time so the light from that massive iPhone effectively blinds your from the darkness outside. Tis was a dangerous situation, coupled with the fact that I could not get around her due to the car in front.
SO, I honked my horn a couple times to get her attention, no response. I honk a few more times, no response except the phone get lowered a little, then I unleash an unholy rev bomb. The Cobra pipes on my bike are quite loud and yet she still does nothing and at this point I am very much annoyed. The reason why myself and other bikers will do this is to try and knock some sense into the dangerous drivers. This girl just didn’t care. The reason I got mad and was inspired to write this is that it wasn’t the fact she had used her phone that was stupid, it was the way she went about it.
I will be the first to admit that I check my phone while I’m driving and respond to texts mostly while stopped. I will also admit that if I am stuck in traffic I will send out short responses if needed. What I don’t do is hold the phone up to my face and type the sequal to Hamlet to my boys while at a high rate of speed.
I know some bikers will rage at the sight of a phone near a drivers hand, but we need to look in the mirror sometimes and realize that we can contradict ourselves a lot. For instance, do we always check our mirrors intensely while driving our cars? I try to all the time, but sometimes I know I slip up and only take a quick glance. Do we always follow people at the appropriate distance while in our cars? Honestly, I probably follow closer than I should because I drive quickly. This is why I don’t really freak out at people for doing that, unless you are a car-length behind me while doing 50mph Mr. late-model black Dodge Charger last night. In that case, you will hear my rage.
I wrote this not to give drivers an excuse for being idiots sometimes, but rather to point out to my fellow biker bros broettes that maybe we should collectively calm our temper. Unless you are the world’s safest driver and lock your phone away for an entire car journey, yelling at teenager for glancing at their phone isn’t the best idea. If anything, it can further the assumption that bikers are just a**holes who like to hooligan around and cause trouble.
So on behalf of me, slow your roll, unless you see that Accord or Charger, then go crazy. Cheers!
To be fair, I should have expected this before pulling up at the start point. The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride as been around since 2012 and was founded in Sydney, Australia. The idea behind it was to challenge the stereotype that motorcycle riders are either hooligans on supersport bikes or Hell’s Angels on Harley’s. So every year, men around the world don their dapper attire, saddle up, and raise money for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and suicide awareness. Okay, background over.
I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to participate in this ride until the night before. My uncle was at a wedding with our two other friends who wanted to go, and let’s just say they were not sure if waking up at 6:00AM would be possible. Well it was and at 7:30AM we lifted our kickstands to head to the meet and as always, the excitement for going on a big ride had completely taken over.
As we pulled up to Gorshin Trading Post & Supplies in Haddonfield, I realized that this ride is going to be different then most. The street in front of the shop was full of classic and European bikes. This was especially challenging for me to not have a trouser accident considering I just revisited in my love for Ducati’s in a previous post…here.
As I park Selene (my 2005 Suzuki M50 Black) besides a mid-70’s Honda 750 and a tasty modified Ducati 821, I get the feeling I brought her to the wrong ball. My uncle and his friend are feeling even more sheepish with their near-matching V-Star 1100’s. Also, I felt bad for drooling over so many bikes with poor Selene sitting right right there. It was just like the meme with the guy walking down the street with his girl while looking at someone else. Every Thruxton I walked by resulted in a ever-longing glance back towards my beauty in black. I swear I said sorry a few times.
Realistically it didn’t matter, we were all out to support a great cause and what bike you rode in on isn’t as important.
The ride itself was pretty great. The weather was beautiful, the planned route kept us on b-roads, and we had an awesome mid-way stop at Nixon’s General Store in Tabernacle for one of the better breakfast sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. Now since I wasn’t vlogging the ride, I enjoyed being at the front of the pack. I was leading this convoy unique bikes and somehow it was even better that I was on a more normal ride. A little over an hour later, we reached what would be the chocolate covered cherry on my amazing cake; New Jersey Motorsports Park.
We were allowed to do five parade laps around the circuit and I could not be more excited. Even though my 805cc cruiser was not meant for this, I was going to get a taste of sporty riding on two-wheels. As my group lined up, I made sure I got in front of the elderly gentleman on a Honda 360T and right behind a newer Yamaha R1 and Triumph Speed Triple so I could have my fun.
As we entered the track and preformed the sighting lap, I was an odd mix of nervous and comfortable. While I was using the wrong bike and had never been on a track before, all of the tips and lessons I had learned from riding, and other Motovloggers, were starting to build together and it was not long before I was tipping my 500lb sweetie deep into the corners. I was finding the brake balance, proper lean angles, and fastest gears through turns. While the sport bikes in front of me were barely goosing it, I was able to ring out the potential of my baby muscle cruiser. It was like a perfect date.
Our front group was actually going so…briskly, that we caught up to the rear safety car guarding a vintage trike pootling around the bends. As we exited the track, every rider was acting like a child who had just met Spongebob for the first time. We were giddy, sweaty, and in pure bliss. What did stink a bit was I had to leave the track right after the laps and drive back to my neck of the woods for the Eagles game. However, I did have a long ride to really think about the experience I just had.
First, I had come to the determination that at some point I want to try track riding again, on an appropriate bike of course. The sensation of being able to fully use every aspect of your machine is unlike any other. Second, while Selene certainly wasn’t as vintage or “cool” as some of the other bikes on the ride, she still had me grinning ear to ear the entire time. Not only that, a few guys had even said that they were impressed that she was my first. A little ego boost never hurt. The last point was rather a surprise though. I truly have no intention of “upgrading” Selene. While she doesn’t have the biggest engine or the best performance, I am going to get a second bike of a different variety rather then just get another cruiser.
For the everyday riding mixed with longish hauls, Selene is fantastic. Light, good on gas ,very reliable, sounds fantastic, oh and she looks mean as hell. I realized just how much I have fallen in love with my cheap first bike and I really can’t imagine her leaving me any time soon. I am not going to be foolish and say I will keep her until my last breath, but I really hope I do somehow. Even if the frame rots away and I cannot afford to keep the motor running, I almost want to take her fuel tank and mount it somewhere as dedication to long long life (I hope) she has had.
The point of that misty-eyed rant was to show just how much my bike has become a part of me. I know that most other riders, besides Vespa people maybe, can relate.
To wrap this up, I will be putting a short video of the ride up eventually but I need to get my editing down a little more before it goes public. Hopefully that doesn’t take too long!
To be fair, I didn’t lose control of my bladder, but I did have to ride home in the rain for the first time.
When it comes to my love of being on two wheels, there are few things that will make me question taking a ride. One is the constant fear of someone Snapchatting their latest in-car concert and running into me, and the other, until Monday, was getting caught in the rain.
I knew from the moment I started riding that it would eventually happen. While my M50 is not the only form of transportation I have, I still ride as much as possible no matter what the reason. I accepted that getting rained on will happen, and I just needed to not make a big deal about it.
Weeks ago, I had rode to the gym at night since my LOVELY weather app was positive it would not rain until my bedtime…adults have bedtime too. Well the app was wrong and I received a very frantic phone call from my uncle while working out saying he was ready to arrange a convoy of trailers to drive my bike ten minutes home in the shower. I, however, was not ready to call the National Guard and waited for the rain to stop before driving home.
I did not die and had learned a great deal about wet-weather riding from that quick jaunt home. I felt comfortable, the fear was gone, and also had a sense of truly joining the club from that. Little did I know I was wrong, so wrong.
This past Monday, I checked the same app while eating breakfast and noticed that while it was going to be a cloudy day, I should still be able to ride to work. Luckily for me, my commute is ten minutes from home which made it an even easier decision. Later that day I was at my desk, and I noticed that darker clouds are starting to form. It wasn’t too long before the drizzle started, which then turned to a light shower, which then turned to full on rain.
As 5:30 inched closer and closer, I started to realize that I was going to have to actually ride in the rain. A little fear came back, and all my confidence I gained just weeks before was slowly fading away. It was time to leave work and since I didn’t have Jeremy Clarkson’s brave pills, I took a deep breath and geared up. This is how the ride home went:
(Sitting on the bike before leaving work)
Sweet baby Jesus I don’t want to low-side Selene (my bikes name, sue me). If it is going to happen to me, it is bound to happen today.
What if some dingleberry rear ends me while checking the weather?
Just go low and slow Mike.
DEAR GOD I AM THE WETTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD ALREADY
(Leaving the office parking lot)
Okay, we can do this, just ride that clutch and rear brake.
Wow, that car behind me is actually keeping their distance, cheers to you buddy.
Actually this is kinda fun, why am I laughing?
SO WET, GLASSES STEAMING, LOSING VISION, MUST OPEN VISOR….RAIN IN THE EYEEEEEEEEEEE.
(At the light before entering my neighborhood)
I still can’t stop laughing, am I going crazy or was this fun?
So glad there wasn’t a cop around to see me lane split around that Prius, nobody can crash into my poo-shute!
Pause internal thoughts since the guy next to me rides and is talking to me about his experience getting caught in the rain. Bikelife frieeeeeeeends!
It’s official, my lower body could only be more wet if was standing in a pool.
I’M BIKER RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK….why’d I shout that into my helmet.
(Pulling into garage)
I’m not dead!
Nobody (except that Prius) drove like a wienie near me!
Somehow that was fun!
I feel like an actual biker now.
I wish I could say this was exaggerated but I actually talk like this, especially when nobody is listening. The moral of the story is that even though I am still a new rider with only a few thousand miles under my gloves, I managed to get through one of the most challenging things we face as riders. It was the most nerve-racking and satisfying moment I have yet to have as a rider, followed by my first large group riding experience, dear lord side-by-side riding.
If you are a newer rider, don’t think you are unable to ride through certain situations simply because you are new. Obviously know your limits and don’t go riding into a thunderstorm because you want to challenge yourself. What I mean is don’t let something like a surprise rain shower or crappy road surface freak you out! It’s not like these type of riding techniques can be taught in the classroom, you have to experience them first-hand in order to learn. So get a little wet, phrasing, and ride on. It might be the most satisfying experience you have yet to have on two wheels.
It’s funny how certain names illicit a special feeling of perfection inside of you. When a PA,NJ, and DE native hears Wawa, they declare it is the best coffee and on-the-go eating around. When chefs hear the word black truffle, their mouths water and immediately decide which kidney to give up in order to buy a supply of them. For many riders, that special name is Ducati.
While many riders who own ‘real bikes’ will scream that Harley-Davidson belongs here, I politely but firmly disagree. I currently have cruiser, and while I agree that Harley represents the classic appeal of motorcycles, they are by no means perfect and have a poser/dentist feeling about them. Don’t think I hate Harley’s though. I have an odd obsession with the 2017 Fat Boy S, but I don’t dream about it.
Ducati’s, on the other hand, appeal to the range of emotions that Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s hit for me. On one hand you have the idea that what you are riding has state-of-the-art performance technology infused into every bolt and washer, much like a Ferrari. Obviously, you will never ride your Supersport S or Monster 100% on the limit enough to expose all of this. What is funny is that knowing you have electronically adjustable suspension, race-derived TFT display’s, or fantastically nerdy driving modes somehow makes riding for lunch so much better.
I feel like that last point leans a little into something that I call the Lamborghini Factor. If you think about how you will ride your dream Ducati, I will put money down that most of the riding will not be on a track, in a race suit, on the Isle of Man. It’s use will be casual. So logically, spending your money on one of these thoroughbreds is silly. You should ideally end up with something closer to a CBR1000rr since everyday, it is better to use. Much in the same way that if you are lucky enough to afford buying a supercar to use everyday, logically, you’ll end up with a GT-R or an R8. They are well made, look nice, and still have all the performance you think you need. However, once you see the insane bodywork, hear that Lamborghini V-10 or V-12 fire up, and press that military-style ignition button, nothing else matters. You know you need that in your garage. It makes the everyday ride that much more exciting.
As an addicted motovlogger watcher, I love watching SNEWJ and his new Panigale. Congratulations to him buying his dream bike! The main reason I like watching his videos is just because of how his bike looks and sounds…that is until it broke down. Even though I think my next bike will be a Yamaha FZ-09 or Kawasaki Z900, I can’t help but look at the new Ducati Supersport S and think, “yes, this will offer me the same usability and comfort, I just need to save a little more.”
I am tricking myself into thinking it’s a good bike for what I want simply because they look so damn good and I want that Akraprovic exhaust note more then my next meal. That’s why Ducati’s are so special, they truly get under you skin, even if you don’t own one yet.
Coming from a rider who sometimes rides fast on open roads, I promise I don’t want to split between cars to race around. If anything, I recognize that there is an inherent danger to riding between people applying eye-liner and eating a burger. However, I’d rather have the option to get around and away from those beautiful and full motorists rather then squished between them and the car in front of them.
One of the most surprising things I’ve discovered as a newer rider, was just how much more observant I’ve become over drivers driving habits. You begin to predict what people will do before their vehicle moves and it has already saved my life a few times. For all this newly discovered intuition, one situation continues to make me sweat inside my helmet; approaching or being stuck at intersections.
While moving, it is very easy to keep track of the drivers around me and make adjustments to avoid being smushed by lawyer in his Audi screaming vigorously into his phone. While coming up to an intersection or stopped, my exit strategy is cut down and I’m sorry to say this, but on bike I really don’t trust others driving. I’ve noticed that motorists seem to relax their attention when approaching an intersection. It’s almost as if they think the hardest part of the drive is over and they can read that email now or reach for a Cliff Bar while slowing for a stop. Also, I don’t understand the how so many people forgot what lane they need to be in and jump over last minute, usually without a turn signal.
For these reasons, I wish New Jersey, as well as all other states, legalized lane-splitting. I know that many motorists will rage that riders will just rip between them at 100mph if you legalize this, but to be fair, the guys who choose to do that don’t care if it is legal or not. I would even be happy if the police officers have digression to determine whether a rider is splitting safely or dangerously. From what I can tell, that is currently the practice in California and hopefully their tweaking of the law will deter newer riders from scaring the crap out of motorists (For more info on Cali’s practices read this article). Trust me, I don’t want to sneak between cars at triple digit speeds and have someone accidentally veer into me so it isn’t about simply going fast.
Being able to just move to front on an intersection at stopped light means that all the four-wheeled lunatics are behind me and stopped. So long as I don’t blow past motorists revving the nuts off my bike, I would hope they appreciate I am getting away from them as well. Many people get nervous around bikes and that adds to them making poor decisions. Perhaps the most beneficial purpose of lane splitting is in traffic jams though. We all know that no matter how much you love Jesus or how much yoga you do, traffic brings out the inner yeti in all of us. You become angry, inpatient, and forget how to drive safely. I will admit to letting the yeti out myself prior to getting a motorcycle, but I have since realized just how dangerous that mentality is. Having the ability to SLOWLY move between the traffic and getting by all the shouty yetis keeps the motorcyclists safe…and cool…oh so cool.
All this being said, I am curious what other riders think. My uncle, who also rides, does not like splitting since he feels as if he is in greater danger. Many of our other friends who ride cruisers are also nervous about motorists giving them enough room to pass between since a bagger with highway bars isn’t exactly skinny like a Triumph Daytona.
Comment below to split the hairs about lane splitting…see what I did there, I’m so punny.