Some people take to riding motorcycles like a fish to water. Others struggle with it and are as a result without a considerable amount of training, experience and confidence a danger to themselves and others. Right now in the province of Alberta anyone can walk into any dealership and purchase any motorcycle without any formal rules in relation to that rider’s experience compared to the bike’s performance. In my career as a motorcycle sales professional I’ve spoken to literally countless new riders who bring an ‘experienced rider’ friend with them into the dealership to make sure they purchase the right bike. It never fails to absolutely stun me how much horrible advice is dolled out in an effort to get this freshly licensed (and often unlicensed) person to buy a bike that can ‘keep up’ with the group of experienced riders he intends to ride with. In an effort to quell such idiotic advice some provincial governments have initiated a Graduated Driver’s License, or G.D.L. No that’s not a sandwich.
It should be noted that quite intentionally I purposefully quizzed experienced riders familiar with motorcycles, riding and the powersport industry as a whole in an effort to gain what might arguable be interpreted as an educated stance. Two main arguments seemed to come to the forefront and in spite of the rather heated debate I was entertained by they are not dissimilar in that they share a common theme.
The more obvious position taken is to govern a new riders access to displacement. As you would expect there are differing opinions as to the ratio of time in the saddle vs. cubic centimeters or inches but the point is the same; more proven experience equals more displacement. But is experience alone enough? The more stringent of the bunch state that once you’ve accumulated an unspecified number of ticket & at-fault accident free consecutive months you would be expected to then pass a written and/or practical riding test designed to challenge your improved skills. Only then would you graduate into more
displacement. It was suggested in one conversation I had that the road to a formal Class 6 and the tested & proven ability to safely ride a motorcycle of 1000 plus cc’s would take approximately three to five years.
A similar argument is to govern a newbie through limiting his access to horsepower. Specifically a manufacturer’s rated and published horsepower output. Seemingly the two sides are saying the same thing given displacement typically equals horsepower. Unfortunately it’s not that simple given the amount of raw power being cranked out of a current Japanese in-line four cylinder motor! For example the standard 103 cubic inch Harley-Davidson motor translates into 1690cc’s and according to several online sources produces roughly 83hp. Compare that to a Honda CBR600RR at only 599cc’s and a generally accepted output of 118hp! I’m not here to debate the accuracy and variables of horsepower ratings or where it’s measured from. I’m simply illustrating that with today’s technology it doesn’t take much displacement to generate a staggering amount of horsepower.
There are other positions that I’ll continue to explore & investigate for coming blogs but in the meantime please, as always feel encouraged and invited to share your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas. Until then…keep riding.