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Overall Safety Questions About Streetbikes.

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by DaisyCutter, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. DaisyCutter


    Mar 1, 2003
    I'm a prety good dirt rider. I don't really ever race, but routinely ride with guys who place high in various amatuer national enduro series. I can flog my CR500 right along with pretty much anyone I have a mind to catch.

    Recently I've been looking at Honda 919s and my all-time fav, the VFR.

    My wife gave me permission to get a streetbike, but I have reservations venturing onto the street. I know I'll only ride with ALL the appropriate gear, and will ride in a conservative manner. I intend to only ride on country roads, not in the city.

    I'm also aware of the risks, I've broken bones on the trail and still ride.

    Here's my questions:

    1. How reasonable is it to have one of these bikes and ride it within the bounds of the law 99% of the time? Can anyone demonstrate this level of control? (I do have the monster dirtbike to work my crazy wiggles out.)

    2. How "safe" in your opinion can a skilled rider make this pastime by wearing the gear, riding safely, avoiding city traffic, and riding in a group?

    3. How does having a family (I do) play into this?

    Without the family, I'd be on a streetbike in a heartbeat. But then again, my family doesn't hold me back from bullriding, or dirtbike riding.

    Do you streetriders consider track-racing to be safer than streetriding? I've also been considering ressurecting a crashed streetbike for race-track (prectice day not race-day) purposes, as shiny plastic is optional on the track. ;)

    I really want a streetbike to tinker with.
  2. Rebublic of MA

    Rebublic of MA

    Jan 3, 2005
    SE Mass
    Do you drive within the law 99% of the time?
    That will be reflected in your street riding

    Wearing gear is a must, always. But regardless of where you are, theres always kid, sand, road defects, nails, driveways, animals, and everything else. Ive heard of a ton more stories about back road riding than city riding. But then again, the city is no fun at all. I dread the city unless im going in for food.

    Regardls of what you know, or what you tihnk you know, you really should take the MSF class (drivers ed for motorbikes). Im sure you'll learn something that will keep you upright (or alive).

    I say do it.
    You're just as likely to wreck on a slow ass 25000$ harley as you are a 10000$ sportbike, its all in how YOU use the power.
    If you decide to get a sport bike, and wheeile your way down these country roads, stock up on health / life insurance first.
    And the back roads are NOT for knee dragging, take it to the track... it'll sharpen your skill on and off the road....

    Ride safe, join the lifestyle!

  3. jemontgomery

    jemontgomery GEMINI

    May 12, 2004
    portland, or.
    daisey: welcome to the world of "real motorcycles" i say "real" because streetbikes (aka: standards) are the "do everything well" motorcycles.
    street/tour/race/twisties (all with very slight mods) poor choice for dirt (but you already have one of those).
    keep your head and ride safe and they are far safer than cruisers (more manueverable/quicker/and better balanced).
    want speed? they are far safer than a cruiser at high speed for the same reasons.
    they are cheaper to buy and insure than sport bikes and easier on the body (pretzel syndrome).
    i would suggest you compare all the brands offers : kaw/yam/suz/hon/etc.
    i have the yamaha FZ1 (my opinion; the best of the lot for all around riding) due to price, quality of build, performance and ride comfort.
    i compared the FZ1 with the honda 919 and found the FZ1 better (for me).
    if you go with a standard, you won't be sorry. good luck.
  4. DaisyCutter


    Mar 1, 2003
    I'm primarily a Honda guy when it comes to bikes, but I value the entire package some others offer (Kawasaki makes a bad mutha ZRX1200 ;f). I've never had a car wreck, and only one ticket (bogus reckless driving) 10 years ago when I was 17yo... It was for going through a construction zone posted "Local Traffic Only". I didn't live on that road, but the only detour was 4+ miles and I was late for school.

    At any rate, I'm a responsible driver. I know I have the reflexes and anticipation ability for street riding. I have 15 years experience on 2 wheels.

    I don't want a plastic crotch rocket, that's not me. I do want something powerful and responsive, but not bling-bling.

    I've got hundreds invested in MX boots, kneeguards, kidney-belt, elbowguards, chest-protector, goggles, gloves, and helmet. I'd buy the same for a streetbike, armored leathers and such.

    I really just want something to tinker with. My current bike is the last dirtbike I'll ever own, since nobody makes an open class 2-stroker anymore and I got the last Honda. Years of customizing have finally got it where I want it. What do I tinker with now?

    I was informed that in AZ, the MC class is the easiest way to get the license.

    Something about being on a bike, on the street, makes me feel REALLY scared, almost naked. This anxiety is the reason I'm here typing.

    I riding in a group safer than riding alone, it seems it should be?

    With the dirtbike, reality is that I'll eat it 3X per year, they're made to be wrecked. Maybe one of those times it'll be bad. In the last couple years I've busted a wrist and a collarbone. With a streetbike, how realistic is it to not expect to wad it up?

    How safe can I make this?
  5. swaits


    Mar 29, 2004
    Ok man..

    First of all, you are an ideal street rider already. All of that dirt experience is huge!

    Second, if you like the VFR, go get it. I had a '95 and loved it. Had it not been stolen I'd probably still have it. Great bikes.. low-maintenance, comfy as hell, eat up the twisties, and run forever.

    Finally, the anxiety about being on the road will go away. Just get into the MSF course, get your license, and get out there.

    --Steve (ST4)
  6. sublime


    Nov 20, 2001
    I guess in terms of visibilty it would be. But just think of what happens if somebody in front goes down with everybody stacked up behind them. Not pretty.

    A lot of being safe on the street is anticipating what that person in the car is going to do. If they are sitting at a stop sign and you think they see you, you better keep an eye on them. Look at their front tire. If it starts rolling, you better be ready to take action.

    The kind of things that scare me the most about riding on the street are things that you can absolutely no control over. Like a few months ago when I was driving my car down the road. Evidently the person in front of me leaned over to get something off the seat or floor and over corrected when they looked back up. The car went out of control and shot over into the other lane and smashed a car over there. If that would have been a motorcycle it would not have been good. Oh well, you weigh your risks and take your chances.
  7. DaisyCutter


    Mar 1, 2003
    The non-controlled things scare me too.

    There is a running joke in my dirtbike gang:

    "The worst is when you come to a stop on the trail and the first thing you hear is, "OH $HIT!!! and a skiddding noise coming from the guy behind you"--- Lean forward and pucker is about all you can do.

    I was stopped alongside a buddy once and we heard just that. We both assume the posture, it was almost funny... His eyes were all screwed-up ;g like he was takin a dump... Then, SMACK, another buddy clips him and wads his unit up a few feet down the trail. I couldn't stop laughing. On the dirt, with the gear we wear it's not a big deal, and it happens a lot b/c of the way we ride.

    There have been a few times when I've been going down the road in my car, and a truck in front of me has given birth to a nasty object, like a ladder. ;P Yikes.

    I think I'm gonna try this out. Maybe just try to minimize my exposure.
  8. CBRGlocker


    Dec 11, 2004
    I've been riding for almost 20 years now and have never been down or ever had a ticket. My first ride in 1988 was a 1986 GSXR1100, which was the worst bike in the world to ever start on since I had no experience. Prior to that, the only bike I rode was a YZ80. Back then we didn't have the luxury of surfing the net to get advice, we relied on what our "buddies" rode.

    They're as safe as you make it. I've had over 10 bikes, from Harleys, to Hondas, Kawasakis, and Ducatis, and never once been down. You're going to hear the saying; "there are two types or riders- ones that have gone down and ones that will be going down" ----total BS to me. I know so many riders who ride safe and have never been down. True, a lot of motorcycle accidents are beyond our control but the majority of motorcycle accidents are due to loss of control. Make sure to take the Motorcycle Safety Course (MSF).

    All the negative hype you're going to hear are from all of these younger guys out there buying big bikes, wearing no gear, doing wheelies and stunts in traffic and trashing their bikes.

    The VFR or the 919 are good choices. What I would do is find an older bike, ride it for a bit and see how you like it, then sell it/trade it for the bike you want.

    I have children myself and as the years go by, I see myself riding less and less because I would rather spend time with them. Having children also keeps your head level when you're out riding. The last thing I want is for my kids to grow up without me because I was lost in an accident.

    I ride alone. I ride only on the weekends, early in the morning. I wear my helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, and kevlar reinforced jeans all the time. Riding is something I do to clear my mind, just like I view shooting.

    It's addicting also, just like guns. Once you get one, you'll always be on the prowl for the latest and greatest.

    feel free to email me if you have any questions.
  9. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Just because a person rides the latest-n-greatest superbike, it doesn't mean that the person has to do anything extra lega. The bike is simply a machine. If the rider doesn't have enough self-discipline to ride legally and properly then that rider needs to stop riding. It's as simple as that.

    As far as how safe it is riding in traffic, that's also up to the rider. That person must be 300% alert at all time, anticipating car and truck drivers for doing something stupid.

    I'd wholeheartedly recommend the MSF Basic Rider Course. It's a few hard days of street riding techniques: heavy braking, emergency braking, emergency swerve, emergency braking in a corner, bike control at low speed, low speed maneuvering, ad infinitum.
  10. alfair


    Aug 22, 2004
    Austin, Texas
    One thing to add about group rides. Ride your ride, it is very easy to get sucked into something you are not skilled enough to do, even knowing you shouldn't. I've been on a couple rides several years ago when I got back and thought what in the hell did I do that for? You should probably ride alone or with a very good friend before you jump into group rides. With your dirt experience you'll be up to speed very quickly.

    Not knowing you but reading your interests, bull riding and dirt riding, you will not be easily kept at bay. I wasn't, and at 41 I still have the need to flog the throttle and ride pretty briskly in the country. Take the safety course as everyone has mentioned, get gear good gear and wear it no matter how hot, (sounds like you will).

    Here's an interesting article that you should read about group riding click on PACE.
  11. swaits


    Mar 29, 2004
    Good point about group rides.

    Anyone experienced should understand this - when taking a newb out on a ride you should go considerably slower, or even consider not leading.

    The newb will almost always be naturally inclined to try to "keep up".

    I've personally seen this go all very bad. Some fast guys took some slow guys for a ride in the mountains. Slow guy blew it as he was in way over his head and attempted to keep up. He was lucky to live.

  12. You already have excellent training, riding in the dirt. It beats any street riding class you will ever take. That said, if you do decide to ride the pavement, take an MSF course.
    I rode for 30 years w/o going down. Then I did. Dress accordingly. All long time bikers I know eventually hit the tarmac. I was wearing a premium full coverage helmet. It now sits on a shelf over my computer. It has some ugly scratches on the shell. I hit my head hard enough when I went down to knock me out temporarily. Helmets are lifesavers. Anyone who tells you different is full of kaka.
    IMHO, a sport bike is safer then a cruiser. They generally have better brakes and suspension. I say this with a total of well over 20 motorcycles owned. I crashed on a cruiser. Stupid me, for selling my VFR to get it.
    I rode all the years my son was growing up. Was it smart or the best thing for my family? Probably not. Was it fun, and would I do it again? Yes, and probably.
  13. stinx

    stinx Millennium Member

    Jul 7, 1999
    I just today sold my Bandit 1200.The Bandit was a great bike, but over the summerI got a smoking deal on a02 Yamaha Roadstar Silverado. The Silverado is an awsome bike, to me its just as safe as the Bandit or any other bike. HOw could ths overweight slug be safer? Its safer because I ride it with respect, I ride within my and the bikes limits. This means I ride at a much slower pace. ON the bandit cruising at 80MPh on the hi-way, the bike barley broke a sweat. At 70 my roadstar feels like 170.The inlaw fours are so smooth sometimes its hard to realize how fast you are going. Whatevr you get ride it safely and take a motorcycle safety foundation ridesr course. Nver ride your bike if you have been drinking or ar in a rush to be somewhere, always dress for the crash, not the ride. Best of luck with what evr you decide
  14. 45acp4me

    45acp4me Pissed puppet

    May 11, 2001
    Farmington, MI
    You sold one of the best all time hooligan bikes for a Roadstar?



  15. Daniel Ramsey

    Daniel Ramsey

    Jul 29, 2002
    Hey! best of fun on the new cruiser! I simply cannot wait for our roads to be ice free (somewhere around april-may)and then I can go riding, I'm still shopping around but most likely the Honda VTX 1800 is going to be the one.
    There are cruisers that border between the street/cruiser realm like the Yamaha Warrior, it has had good reviews.I was going to get it but decided on something more road stable, especially our roads up here in Alaska that have many pavement breaks, construction zones and of course gravel. This is definately a Harley state, lots of riders have Fatboys and other softtails cause they handle the roads better.
  16. stinx

    stinx Millennium Member

    Jul 7, 1999
    MY wife hated riding on the bandit. The bandit was a cool bike, but so is the Roadstar, just in a different way. Alot of Guys I know are changing the style bikes they ride. A kid I work with just sold his R1 for a Harley Soft Tail, Talk about drastic change.
  17. 45acp4me

    45acp4me Pissed puppet

    May 11, 2001
    Farmington, MI
    Ahhh, you said wife. That changes everything. :)

    There is always a bike for every type of rider out there, change is what makes life fun.

    My GF would never let me sell the Bandit for a cruiser even if I wanted one. ;f

  18. Bullwinkle J Moose

    Bullwinkle J Moose Quick! Duck!

    Mar 1, 2001
    1. How reasonable is it to have one of these bikes and ride it within the bounds of the law 99% of the time? Can anyone demonstrate this level of control?

    It was 75 degrees today and on my 22 mile ride home on my GL1800 I looked at the speedo and realized my control had broken down. ;f

    2. How "safe" in your opinion can a skilled rider make this pastime by wearing the gear, riding safely, avoiding city traffic, and riding in a group?

    Since 1974 I have put 200k miles on bikes and I'm still here. Riding motorcycles can be made as safe as your riding ability and awareness permit. While your dirt riding developed your riding ability, street riding requires one to be more on the defensive. You have to drive as if you are invisible to cagers, expect the unexpected, constantly be aware of every vehicle all around you and then be able to react when a real threat appears. It would be well worth your while to take a MSF street riding course or two. Also keep in mind when you are choosing your riding buddies that other bikers can be a hazard to your safety, too.

    3. How does having a family (I do) play into this?

    Got good insurance? Things happen.
  19. swaits


    Mar 29, 2004
    They actually can't see you. Because 99% of what they interact with on the road are fellow cagers, they don't see motorcycles.

    We've all had it happen.. cager looks RIGHT AT YOU, but does NOT see you. I don't blame the cagers.. And, somehow, I think we might be better off here in SoCal where there is a relatively large motorcycle population.

    Ride safe! Survive..

  20. NYGunman

    NYGunman o.oO0Oo.oO0Oo.o

    Sep 8, 2002
    Albany, NY
    Try to go a little bit faster than the flow of traffic. This way you can be in control of what is going on. Try to stay away from cars and don't let them surround you.