Any rider who has been around for a little while will certainly recognize some of these motorcycle myths. I asked a bunch of riders to suggest their favorite myths and here are some of the ones they came up with.
The Best Oil – If you want to light up a forum or group discussion all you have to do is say “The best oil is…..” The truth is we have our pick of adequate oils these days. There may be lab reports that rate some oils better than others, but if you just stick to a quality oil that meets the manufacturer’s specs for your motorcycle you will be just fine. It’s always more important to have fresh clean oil than the most expensive oil.
The Perfect Tires – This is another topic that will light a fire under the rider community. Everybody will pick a different set of tires and describe them as the best. The truth, is there is no perfect tire. We all ride in different environments, with different riding styles, and different bikes. You get variables such as air pressure, surface conditions, regional temperatures, bike loads, rider weight, etc. The best advice I have for this is, experiment. Pick some tires that fit your budget and if you don't like them get some different ones next time. Another good option is to look at what your riding buddies like. Chances are they have a similar environment and riding style.
Loud Pipes Saves Lives – This is a common phrase uttered in the cruiser community. I guess there are times when loud pipes may get people to notice you, but a far better strategy is to learn to ride well. Ride as if you were invisible and look out for yourself. If loud pipes is your thing, by all means express yourself with your choice of pipes, but please wear ear plugs.
Accidents Happen Slowly – This one came up a couple of times. I haven’t heard this one before, but as one rider said, “All mine have been: Riding, Riding, Riding, flash of color and noise, laying on my back wondering what happened”. I haven’t been in any big accidents, but the ones I have experienced offroad have been very quick. However, I have a riding buddy who has described some lowsides as slow motion. Maybe you have a story to share about this in the comments to help decide if this one is a myth.
I don’t counter steer, I lean – I have heard people say this. The truth, is the act of leaning causes a tiny bit of counter steering and counter steering causes leaning. They are linked, but rest assured you are guiding your bike by counter steering whether you realize it or not.
Adventuring is expensive and you need to be gone for months – I love to read the stories and watch the shows of the epic adventures around the world. They are inspiring and full of challenges, but great adventures can be experienced right in your backyard. This site is full of adventure and the majority of it has been the result of a good day trip. Don’t wait for a fat wallet to start your adventure. Go looking for it this weekend!
Increasing preload on a rear shock will make it stiffer – I will admit that I used to believe this and who could blame a new rider for thinking this is true. Suspension is a bit of a dark art and there is a lot of misinformation out there. The truth, is increasing preload on your shock is used to set sag, not stiffness. Maybe I will eventually write up some articles on suspension, but for now just understand that adjusting preload is to set proper sag.
The Best Chain Lube Is – Here’s another topic that will end up much like the oil and tire topics. Everybody has a favorite and thinks their lube is the best. We have a lot of choices available and the best thing to do is experiment. The truth, is there is not a best chain lube. Try to find a lube that is easy to work with and one that does not leave your chain sticky. When chain lubes are sticky they just hold on to grit and increase wear on your chain and sprockets. A clean chain is far more important than a lubed chain if we are talking O-ring chains.
You’re going to die on that murder cycle – We have all heard this right? Usually people who have never ridden a motorcycle telling us all how dangerous they are and how we are going to die if we keep riding. I actually feel sorry for them. They will never know the freedom and pleasure a motorcycle provides. The truth is motorcycles are less likely to be in an accident than a car, but when a motorcycle is in an accident the injuries are usually worse. ATGATT goes a long way to being able to walk away from an accident. Fatalities do happen, but if you operate a motorcycle properly there is no reason to think you will die just because you ride.
Interstates are more dangerous than secondary roads – I can understand why people would think this, but the truth is the chances of being in an accident are lower on the interstate. On interstates all the traffic is heading in the same direction and roughly the same speed. Compared to interstates, secondary roads are organized chaos. The upside to secondary roads is all the fun!
So what myths did I miss? Post your favorites in the comments below.