Although it is difficult to trace the first motorcycle back to its origins, the first prototype motorcycle came into being in Paris in 1867. It was little more than a steam-powered bicycle called a Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede. Then in 1884, the first commercial design of a motorcycle appeared in England. This was a full two years before Karl Benz, of Mercedes-Benz fame, was credited with creating the first automobile that was powered by an internal combustion engine. It wasn’t until 1894, however, that Heinrich and Wilhelm Hildebran partnered with Alois Wolfmuller to create the first mass-produced motorcycle. It would not be until more than a decade later that the mass production of automobiles began.
There is a lot of information to be found about the development of the various types of engines that were tried before the internal combustion engine met with such great success. It’s a lot more difficult to track exactly how and why contention exists between many motorcyclists and automobile drivers. Even with well over a century of traveling the roadways together, there still seems to be those bikers who think that drivers needlessly endanger them, and there are those drivers who seem to think that bikers behave irresponsibly, not following the same rules of the road that apply to everyone else.
I have been riding a motorcycle for more than 15 years, and I have never had an accident. I understand the risks that I face when on a motorcycle, as well as the potential risk that my actions can pose to others on the road. Unfortunately, there is a small segment of motorcyclists who don’t take these things into account, and an equal number of drivers who consistently fail to provide motorcycles the latitude needed to remain safe.
Typically, motorcycles are faster than cars. This coupled with the sense of freedom that motorcycles afford make them inherently more dangerous than cars. Put someone with an invincibility complex on a bike, stir in a measure of the motorcycle’s added maneuverability, and you often end up with a jackass who weaves in and out of traffic, tailgates, or otherwise engages in reckless behavior.
Then you have to factor in the jackass drivers who often think that anyone on a motorcycle is an irresponsible jerk. This can be especially true for those judgmental drivers who have a skewed perception of motorcyclists who choose to adopt a “biker look.” Sadly, in this day and age of social diversity, there are still those who see some guy on a motorcycle with long hair and tattoos and automatically think, “Criminal!”
The responsibility for accidents that involve motorcycle is probably somewhere in between the two camps. The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research conducted a 10-year study that found that 60% of accidents that involve a motorcycle and a vehicle were the result of the other vehicle failing to yield the right-of-way. Before you motorcyclists do a little victory dance in your living room, you should keep a couple of things in mind. First, the same study showed that motorcycles have a much higher single-vehicle incident rate. Thirty-four percent of accidents that involve motorcycles occur with no interference from other vehicles. Secondly, a motorcycle doesn’t provide nearly as much protection to its operator as a car or truck offers. A motorcycle accident is 35 times more likely to result in a fatality, and nearly 90 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in injuries. This is 30 percent higher than the amount of injuries sustained in a car accident. Consequently, it doesn’t matter if you are right if you are seriously injured or dead.
These figures exist in spite of rigorous advertising through the use of billboards and bumper stickers to “Look Twice Save a Life – Motorcycles Are Everywhere.” They strongly caution us to watch out for motorcycles, and there is a good reason for that. The State of Florida bears the dubious distinction of having the greatest number of motorcycle fatalities. In fact, of the top seven Florida counties where motorcycle fatalities occur, three of them are right here in South Florida. This is in spite of the fact that State of Florida requires every motorcyclist to take a motorcycle safety course.
Those number aren’t, however, terribly surprising. There are more than a 500,000 motorcycles registered Florida, and thousands more who flock to the state to attend the multiple annual motorcycle enthusiast events held here. With wildly popular state-sponsored events like [email protected] and Daytona Bike Week, the number of motorcycles in South Florida can increase to astounding numbers thereby increasing the number of motorcycle-related accidents, yet more than 90 percent of motorcycle injuries that occur here involve Florida riders. Although the reasons for this fact are unknown, the message is abundantly clear. Both motorcyclists and those operating cars in Florida need to be more aware of, and more courteous to, each other.
For the record, it is illegal to weave in and out of traffic in every single state, with the exception of California. It may be tempting to try to negotiate through traffic when roasting in the South Florida sun, but keep in mind that if a police officer sees you, you will probably get a ticket for reckless driving which can be a third degree misdemeanor. Likewise, popping a wheelie, which every motorcyclist has done, will also result in a stiff traffic citation and four points against your license. In fact, the consequence of the first offense of popping a wheelie will result in a fine of $1,141 and a second offense will result in a fine that more than doubles that amount. Do it a third time, and you may very well lose your driver’s license.
I am a firm believer in police officers trying to protect John Q. Public, but like those drivers that I mentioned earlier who have a distorted opinion of most motorcyclists, I think that cops and legislators may perceive them in a particular light. These penalties seem excessive, especially when it comes down to just a matter of a bike losing traction. This is not always a matter of showing off just because you are on a motorcycle. There are certain things that a motorcyclist can do to reduce the possibility of getting a traffic ticket or worse yet, being injured. There are also steps that driver can implement to avoid being the cause of injuries or deaths to motorcyclists. First of all, watch out for motorcyclists and bear in mind that they are in a much more vulnerable position than someone in another vehicle. Also don’t forget that whatever your perception may be, that is another human being on the motorcycle next to you and no one wants to live with the knowledge that they have hurt or killed someone else, even if you have the right-of-way.
Which is more critical – getting the right engine or getting the best motorcycle tire – that question may be a difficult to answer or an impossible decision to make for some.
Both items are required to have to peak operation and safety. You want the superior acceleration and the best handling. Both of these items are necessary to achieving the quality of ride you desire from your motorcycle. Choosing the right motorcycle tire is no exception since it is just as important for the reasons mentioned above and many other reasons.
The motorcycle tire tires you pick must be matched to your bike, simply getting the right size is not the only concern. Items such as tread style, tire bias, tire materials and other common characteristics should all be designed with the riding type – and therefore the bike category – in mind in order to get the optimum tire.
Unlike most car tires, your motorcycle tires need to be different for the front and the rear of the bike. Each motorcycle tire is has been designed with the specific location in mind on the bike and each tire has differing engineered goals to accomplish. Power – acceleration is provided predominantly by the rear tire, and the front tire supplies more of the braking power than is required by the rear tire – this could be up to an 80% difference in requirements for motorcycle tire braking.
Obviously the front motorcycle tire turns left and right to accommodate direction desired, while the back motorcycle tire is subject only to the lean of the bike, and that too must be taken into consideration in design and choices of motorcycle tires. Since the back tire carries the bulk of the weight, this will alter the design requirements and specification requirements.
Motorcycle Racing Tires
We now venture into a unique class of motorcycle tires – Racing tires. Having their favorite tires, professionals want exceptional contact with the surface at extreme leaning angles, this is invariably an essential quality desired. Cornering at tight angles, extreme acceleration from a standing position or coming out of a turn, and prolonged stress at maximum speeds all induce the need for special engineering for motorcycle racing tires.
Many hours of extreme and constant abuse on the motorcycle race track as well as the requirement to be nearly puncture proof under off-road conditions make these special motorcycle tires indispensable. Having to be able to meet expectations immediately upon installation these motorcycle tires seldom get the standard recommended 100-mile run-in period before they land on the track.
Sport Motorcycle Tires
Referred to as sport bias motorcycle tires, these usually have a radial-style tread patterns that give it a larger tire “footprint”, (contact with the road surface). Sport bikes are usually made to be run hard on the road, and maybe even do some off-road duty. Proper adherence to the surface contact with the ground and excellent cornering are required for this style of road bike. Having to perform in various weather environments is an issue of concern too.
To give these tires better grip in both wet and dry environments there must be an overall Increase in the tread-to-void ratio . Maximum tread life is desired for sport bike riders as well. Over the last twenty years unique tread compounds have been discovered and this has increased both features, those being increased grip and improved wear resistance.
Cruiser Motorcycle Tires
Manufacturers of the most popular motor cycles such as Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and others all compete to be the best motorcycle in this particular category. Part of the standard equipment that helps put particular bikes on top is the tire they choose as original equipment for their cruiser bikes.
Regardless of weather conditions superior grip on every road surface such as asphalt, concrete, chip seal and others, is essential. Design is always consists of a delicate balance between maximum tread life and superior grip. Grip is usually at the expense of tread life. Tires must be soft to stick to the road but harder tires get superior tread life. This is a problem for the engineers.
Dunlop, and other tire manufacturers have accomplished that, and Dunlop offers the defacto standard for most of the best bike manufacturers. Tread designs now offer superior water evacuation for the front and rear motorcycle tire.
The motorcycle tire bias-ply design, including overlapping ply’s of synthetic rubber and composite mesh. This will provide the motorcycle with a good tradeoff between weight-carrying limits and ride comfort.
Tire design with center grooves that are offset on the motorcycle tire give it improved straight-line stability as opposed to designs from the past. This helps keep the bike upright with minimal input from the rider.
Touring Motorcycle Tires
Racing motorcycle tires have fewer tread grooves giving ultimate grip, and these tires have a tall arch and tall crown in order to steer fast. There is a trade off here; this makes the tire offer less stability. By comparison, the touring motorcycle tires need the precise opposite handling characteristics.
Touring bikes are usually constructed to allow a very comfortable, stable ride over prolonged distances in various kinds of weather conditions. Having less grooves could make the motorcycle tire perform rather poorly in wet weather conditions. Motorcycle touring tires need to give absolute premium stability so that the motorcycle rider will remain upright with less personal effort. All focusing on being upright by giving constant small body and steering tweaks to the center of balance – will quickly tire out the motorcycle rider.
Racing motorcycle tires also have an extra ply and tighter internal winding, and this makes the motorcycle tire stiffer. Here is a time when less ply layers are going to be safer and achieve a more comfortable ride. The less ply layer count in touring motorcycle tires supply a smoother ride over roads that are not smooth. These motorcycle tires achieve a less bumpy ride and these tires are more inclined to stay in contact with the road better, and especially around hard turns.
How those layers or ply’s are constructed can also a large factor. Tires that have the overlapping ply’s will give an excellent side grip, but those constructed with a joint less belt configuration tend to give a more stable and soft ride for the motorcycle rider.
Heat always has to be accounted for in the motorcycle tire design. Racing motorcycle tires are exposed to high heat environments, because of the relentless high friction they endure while making rapid twists and decelerations. Touring motorcycle tires might also see extreme temperatures from the continual long trips on hot asphalt. But since the heat environment profile is not the same, and the motorcycle tires are designed with this in mind.
A touring motorcycle tire intentionally designed for longer miles before encountering excessive wear, they are also more stable, and offer a greater degree of security while riding in various environments and conditions. It will keep those same engineered characteristics during more heat cycles and will offer a more comfortable and enjoyable ride over the upcoming road conditions.
Be sure to choose the motorcycle tire that will complement your kind of bike and your style of riding. Your budget should not be your only consideration when choosing your motorcycle tire, your comfort and performance, and even your safety are also items to consider.
You should known exactly what the resale value of that new motorcycle is before you buy it. Out side of rider compatibility, resale value is probably the most important aspect in buying a new motorcycle. The reason for this is that when the time comes to trade your motorcycle for a new one, you will want to know that you will get what your motorcycle is worth, and you will not owe anything that will be tacked on to the end of your next motorcycle financing. I can assure you that in most cases you will not get what you think your motorcycle trade in is worth. An example of this is, I bought a new Honda VTX 1300S in 2005, and in 2007 I wanted to trade up for a new Yamaha Raider.
I went back to the Motor Sport dealer that I bought my VTX from in hopes of getting a great trade in offer. Even though I had purchased my motorcycle from them, the best the dealer could do was giving me $4800.00 trade in for my used motorcycle. I stilled owed roughly $6500.00 on the VTX, so I would have had to tack the difference on to the end of my financing for the new Yamaha Raider to pay off my Honda VTX or pay the difference out of pocket. I did have one other option though, and that was to sell the Honda my self to get what the bike was worth. The option to sell my Honda out right was the best way for me to get the best return and assure that I could pay off my motorcycle before I financed the new Raider. However, with all of the special incentives and deals on new motorcycles offered by the dealer, trying to sell my used VTX was easier said then done.
I parked the VTX in the parking lot next to my house with a for sale sign on it. The road was busy with a lot of traffic. I did get an occasional passerby to stop and look at it but no calls or offers came in at all. Next, I put an ad in my local newspaper. It was not that pricey, but it wasn’t cheep either. I ran my ad for a couple of weeks and didn’t even get one call. Roadrunner has a classified advertisement section; so I placed an ad there as well, still not luck. I was just about to give up and go back to the dealer, take my losses and get my new Yamaha when I decided to try one more thing. I went to Google and I did a search for used motorcycles. I was amazed at how many used motorcycle auction portals and classified websites there are on the Internet. I did a bit of investigating and found a couple of motorcycle-classified webpage’s that looked promising. I was a little surprised they really weren’t very expensive at all. I placed an ad with a photo, price, and contact information and in just a few days, I started to get interested callers. I did finally sell my Honda VTX 1300S and I did buy the Yamaha Raider. I could have saved my self a lot of work and worry if I had done my homework, shopped around and bought a motorcycle with a better resale value. However, since I didn’t, selling my used motorcycle my self and getting the retail price for it was the best option.
If you are like me, you probably want to get as much out of the sale of your motorcycle as you can. The first thing you need to know is what your used motorcycle is worth. You should go on line to the Kelly Blue Book webpage and look in the motorcycle section. You could also go to the NADA guides on line, again go to the motorcycle section and look up your motorcycles make, model and year, and get the retail value. You can also find out the trade in value of your motorcycle just in case you do decide to trade it in. Once you know how much to ask for your used motorcycle, take a little time before you start to advertise and do a bit of investigating. Look for local publications, newspapers, and web page classifieds where you might be able to place an advertisement.
Compile a list of these classified sources. Find out how much it will cost to place an ad in each one. Find out if they have any testimonials or if you can contact some one that has posted an advertisement in their classifieds and made their sale. If you find a good news publication or webpage classified that has a great record of selling motorcycles then the chances are good that you will sell your motorcycle as well. Once you find where to place your motorcycle for sale ad, you will need just a few things to get the best bang for your buck. First, you need to think about and write down what you want to say in your ad. “Motorcycle for Sale” just will not work in today’s highly completive used motorcycle market.
If you’re selling a vintage lime green 1999 Yamaha Virago that only has 2500 miles on it and was once owned by the Madonna, then you need to say so. The more descriptive you are in your advertisement the better chance you have of some one looking for what you have to sell. The next thing you want to have is a nice clean and clear photo or photos of the motorcycle. Some times a description is not enough. Even if your description tells everything there is to know about your used bike.
I am sure you have heard a picture is worth a thousand words. Well it is true. Suppose some one is looking for that lime green 1999 Yamaha Virago once owned by Madonna, they have seen it in a magazine or on a news show. They know that there is such a bike, but is the one you have, that bike? If you have photos of the bike, they would recognize it as the same bike that they have been looking for and would more then likely buy it. OK you have your price, description and your photos. You will need one more thing to get your used motorcycle sold. In my opinion, it is the most important thing you need to put in your advertisement. Can you guess what it is? It is your contact information. With out that no amount of descriptive poetry, colorful photography or reduced price will make the sale.
If someone does not know how to get in contact with you, your bike will never sell and you will never get the new motorcycle of your dreams. Take it from me. I have tried both print media classifieds as well as online classifieds to sell my motorcycle and in my opinion, the cheapest, easiest and quickest way to sell your used motorcycle and get the price you are asking is to sell it online. I’m out of here. I am going riding…
Motorcycle accessories can enhance your riding experience. With the right accessories, your ride will be safe as well as comfortable. What things should you consider when selecting motorcycle accessories? Lets have a look at some of the essential items:
Motorcycle Helmets – A Must-Have Motorcycle Accessory
Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience for the adventurous rider. If you have the passion of riding such a powerful machine on the open road, you most certainly need adequate head protection which will protect your head in the event of an accident.
In this article we will discuss must-have motorcycle gear that can enhance your riding experience: When riding a motorcycle, your head needs maximum protection. Whether you are a daily commuter, a weekend rider or a just-for-fun rider, a helmet is an essential accessory when it comes to protective gear. Some motorcycle helmets are designed specifically to protect your entire head and face. Motorcycle helmets also help protect your eyes from blowing wind and debris which can impair your vision and cause an accident.
Helmets may seem a little uncomfortable but the fact is, they provide ventilation. Your head may feel a little warm with prolonged use but you have to endure it for your own protection.
For any rider, motorcycle helmets are indeed a necessity. Helmets cannot promise 100% protection against head injury, but they do without a doubt, decrease the severity of an injury and reduce the chances of a fatality in any motorcycle accident.
Some motorcycle helmets protect both your head and face. There are several different kinds of helmets, each offering different benefits. These include:
* A Full face helmet
* A Motocross helmet
* Open face helmet
* A Half helmet
A full face helmet provides the most protection; as it covers the entire head while also protecting your skull and chin. These helmets are much larger in size but the advantage is definitely more than in most other types. All these helmets have a chin guard that should be kept fastened at all times while riding. For long distance rides, there are special helmets with sturdier features such as face guards. These face guards are retractable and they even provide anti-glare protection to help keep riders from being blinded by the bright glare reflected off shiny surfaces from other vehicles.
Motorcycle helmets provide a great deal of protection for your head and by wearing one each time you ride significantly reduces the chance of a head injury if involved in an accident. Statistics show that the risk of major head and soft-tissue injuries are reduced by nearly 40% with the use of a motorcycle helmet. Many States have passed a law making it mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. To ensure your safety, you should always check for any defects when buying a motorcycle helmet. Do not ignore even the slightest crack. You will have more security if you ride using all safety precautions.
Motorcycle Saddlebags – Another Must-Have Accessory
One thing is for sure, motorcycles are not at all convenient for transporting personal belongings or items that you may purchase at the store. Most motorcycle owners know this and you will hardly ever see a person riding a motorcycle down the street one-handed, steering with one hand and carrying a bag of groceries in the other. Those who ride often, need a durable and reliable way of carrying these items while riding and motorcycle saddlebags provide perfectly for this need.
These saddlebags look great and fit well on most motorcycles. It is the most convenient way to carry anything while you ride. Bikers should also have these spacious compartments to store certain items in the event of an emergency. Such items that should be stored in these compartments and may also come in handy include:
-A First Aid Kit
-Flares and Tool Kit
-Registration and motorcycle Insurance
These are just to name a few. Most saddlebags come with enough space to carry almost anything you need while on the road. Saddlebags come in a variety of sizes however, leather saddlebags are a bit smaller than the hard plastic shell types. Every motorcyclist needs some kind of storage for their personal belongings and saddlebags provide plenty of space and does it with style.
Leather Vests – A Stylish Accessory
Are you planning a motorcycle adventure trip? If so, then you need to think about what motorcycle gear you would like to put on for this thrill ride. It is nearly impossible to experience such an adventure in your regular street clothes or with long sleeves. You should wear something that is both tough, yet trendy. If you prefer to embark on your adventure in style,then you need a cool leather motorcycle vest.
Leather vests have always been a favorite amongst all bikers. Leather motorcycle vests are a way of displaying a bikers smooth and rugged look. Motorcycle vests provide an ample amount of room and comfort for that rugged adventurer without skimping on its essential purpose: protection against the elements of nature. These leather vests are meant for inner wear by both guys and gals, but they are most often worn externally for that trendy leather appeal. Leather motorcycle vests are available in a variety of styles with each leather vest encompassing its own unique image.
Ideally, they are comfortable, form fitting and made with quality leather. They provide plenty of pockets to carry all your essentials. Riding vests are manufactured with a sturdy lining to protect the rider from strong winds, rain or other undesirable weather condition. They can be worn with or without an undershirt and on any riding occasion. So get into your gear with these three motorcycle accessories and make your road trip a riding adventure!