Save the Planet one motorcycle at a time!

In modern society motorcycles have been labeled with a plethora of negative feelings: dangerous, impractical, and dangerous again. However people neglect to look at the positive features that a motorcycle has to offer, such as fuel economy, convenience, and cost efficiency. I am arguing on the point that motorcycles are actually more practical, better for the average American, and better for the environment. Society tells people that motorcycles are dangerous and impractical, however if you think about it, a car is dangerous and impractical also and possibly more so then a motorcycle.

When people consider buying a car in the new ecofriendly society that we live in the first thing that people look at is the MPG, miles per gallon. On an online miles per gallon calculator I used my vehicles, my Toyota highlander vs. my Honda cbr; for a 100 mile trip my car uses four gallons of gas costing roughly $13 dollars, and for my motorcycle it uses just shy of two gallons of gas and costs right around $6. This clearly shows that to go the same distance as a car it could cost you half the price on a motorcycle. So clearly motorcycles have better fuel economy then cars, not that there was much of a competition to start out with, however now let’s look at cost efficiency.

Save the Planet one motorcycle at a time!

When it comes to cost efficiency motorcycles will also take the trophy; “For $4,100 you can purchase a new motorcycle that will get 61 mpg. A Toyota Prius retails between $22,000 to 28,000 and gets 51 mpg” (Elijah Clark, Motorcycles VS Cars for Gas Mileage). This quote clearly shows that it is not only cheaper to buy a motorcycle buy the motorcycle but as shown before it is cheaper to power a motorcycle.

So if motorcycles beat cars in two very important categories then why do more people still buy cars over motorcycles? Well unfortunately a big selling point for cars is space, where cars can carry four people at minimum, motorcycles can only carry two people at maximum. Another reason why people don’t go for motorcycles is the danger factor, they are more dangerous, and however they are more dangerous because of the cars that drive around them. Motorcycles are great for fuel economy, and price however they do not always satisfy the needs of someone who is purchasing a vehicle.

Purchasing a used Motorcycle

There are a few things that everyone should know when they are purchasing a used motorcycle, be it from a dealership, or from a private party. Some things will vary that you should look for depending on the style, and type of bike that you are looking at. For example if you are buying a Harley, you most likely do not need to check the steering bearings because people don’t realistically do wheelies on that type of bike; However if you are getting a Crotch Rocket, or even a dirt bike it is necessary. For simple reading sake i am going to write this as a numbered list rather then a paragraph.

1. The most important thing that you must make sure the owner has is the Title. Not a salvage title also it has to be the original title, otherwise you will have an awful hard time dealing with the DMV and trying to register your bike.

2. It is very important that you know the history of the bike, owner history, crash history (if any), and maintenance history. All of these are important to really understand how much wear, and damage has been put on the bike.

3. Check form aftermarket parts, Its really important to know what parts are aftermarket if any so that you don’t have a hard time finding the right part if something were to go wrong. It is also important to have a owners manual for the bike, and the exploded parts manual also.

4. Specific parts to check: Fork seals, break pads, tire life left, transmission, and also just make sure its not dripping any fluid. The fork seals are important to check because they are your front suspension, and if they are leaking it will not work as well and also it is just an expensive fix! The Break pads as you can assume are your breaking power and if they are getting low it can be expensive to replace all of them. Make sure the tires that are on the bike are still good for at least another half of a season, yet again this is very expensive you don’t want to have to spend $500 plus dollars on a tire right after you buy a bike. And finally the transmission, if this is messed up the bike is not even worth looking at because this will be the most expensive fix on it, but to check make sure you test ride the bike and run it through all the gears, you don’t want it to slip out of any, and you want it to be clean and smooth.

These are my pieces of advice for buying a bike i hope you listen and make sure to be clear and thorough when buying a previously owned bike, because your bank account will feel the pain if you aren’t careful.

Murdercycle to a Motorcycle

How can you turn a murdercycle into a motorcycle?

            Motorcycles and motorcyclists over the years have created a reputation for themselves that can only be described as grim. When people think of motorcycles they think of a death wish, a dangerous machine, people have been socialized to believe that they are dangerous and will surely end in fatality. However with the proper education, equipment, and knowledge motorcycles, and motorcyclists could be reanalyzed and reinvented into a better light.

“There are many common causes of motorcycle accidents, of which the most frequent, and clearly the predominant cause, seems to be a result of other motorists simply not seeing and recognizing motorcycles in dense traffic.” (Lawcore.com, Common causes of Motorcyclist accidents) This points out that it might not be the fault of the motorcyclist, rather the driver of a car. This is just an issue of education, in drivers ed classes there is not section that teaches you how to drive around motorcycles, and how to be cautious of them and look for them. Therefore revising the driver’s education program could be one way to curb a large portion motorcycle accident mortality rates.

Murdercycle to a Motorcycle

Motorcycle accidents are caused by a number of things as explained in the first post drivers are the main cause but the blame does not fall only in one party. Another major cause for motorcycle accidents is the lack of rider education also. “Motorcyclists who are inexperienced and simply do not know the limitations of there machine hence, these new riders push their motorcycles to their threshold” (Lawcore.com, Common causes of Motorcyclist accidents) What this article does not consider about inexperienced riders is that the machine its self can perform much better then the rider can. Most of the accidents that fall under this category are because motorcyclists are not properly educated on bike use.

Is there any way to change the reputation of murdercycles to motorcycles? I would say yes, you could educate drivers on motorcycle awareness, which could change the tragic nature that cars and motorcycles interact. However I would also say that there is no cure for hubris, or stupidity; many of the accidents that are fatal are due to just plain rider stupidity. I have also felt this feeling of immortality while riding my motorcycle but there is a cost for this and many ill-experienced riders have paid with their lives. In conclusion I would say that you can educate riders and car drivers on awareness but one thing that you cannot change is the incurable stupidity of humans on motorcycles.

Cold Weather Precautions: Accelerating, and Clothing

The next danger that riders should be aware of is accelerating and the bike position. When the weather is colder then normal you have to consider the rubber for the tires, and what temperature they are used to and what temperature makes them grip the pavement the best. If you were to go into a deep turn with cold and brittle tires the chances of slipping out are greatly increased! One must also take into account accelerating, in cold weather your throttle is going to be a little slower to react, this is normal just treat it as you normally would and gradually apply, if you try and accelerate to fast the tires will most likely slip out on the brittle road.

Out of all the things that I just told you would help increase safety the most important is clothing! If a rider is ill prepared for weather, or temperature conditions it can be the difference between life and death. Until you experience riding a bike without proper gear you will not know the full danger of numb fingers, and toes, or lack of general motor function. Ride safe and be smart, take all necessary precautions outlined and most importantly always wear layers and bring extra.

Cold Weather Precautions: Braking

Cold weather can mean a number of things but for the purpose of this review, I will be explaining all of the dangers riding a motorcycle in cold weather can bring. Everything from breaking, to accelerating, to bike position, to clothing can effect the rider in less then perfect summer conditions. The danger of riding in cold weather can be reduced by both the rider, the motorcycle its self.

The first key danger that everyone who is riding a motorcycle should be aware of is breaking in certain conditions. One must know exactly how to handle breaking, for example if the road has any accumulation of water you have to do a number of things to stay safe. Breaking normally should be, 75% to the front brake and 25% to the back brake, however in conditions with water you always want to ease on the brakes, and apply them more evenly so you do not lock up one or the other; if water is not present you also have to apply slowly and never apply brakes when the bike is leaned to any direction.

Cars Vs. Motorcycles

As everyone knows motorcycles are extremely dangerous to ride in traffic amongst cars, most drivers aren’t used to looking for motorcyclists unless they ride one. If you are a motorcyclist riding in traffic in Durango, or anywhere,  you have to assume that none of the cars can hear or see you. Most people who are driving cars are completely unaware of motorcyclists presence, i can testify to this because before i rode i didn’t notice motorcycles at all. Therefore to avoid any type of accident you have a few options, you can wear bright colors to get peoples attention, you can also ride a safe distance from everyone, another solution would be to make eye contact with every person around you so they acknowledge your presence. Personally my favorite way to get people to realize i am there is just make your bike really loud, rev it up so that people are able to hear you, and are aware that you are somewhere in the area. Also a very important thing that you can do to be seen during the day is have your bright light always on, this allows people to see you from further away. RIde safe and don’t crash like i did!

Lemon Reservoir

For someone who is interested in venturing a little out of Durango the ride to Lemon reservoir is a great ride! It will take you north of town roughly 15-19 miles, this ride is one of my favorite places to ride in Durango. Everything that you could want on a motorcycle ride can be found on this ride, everything from a few deep corners to a few long straight pieces of tarmac. As i have told you in other entries you should still be on high alert for wild life on the road, as you venture further out of town the numbers of animals on the road will increase dramatically. Also an important thing to be prepared for is cyclists, this is a common destination for cyclist to ride; which means you have to look out for blind corners cars might be partially in your lane because of cyclists. Go out and have some fun spend some time at Lemon reservoir, it is a great lunch destination.