Should Bikes Be Required to Have ABS?

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The insurance mafia thinks so – and is “petitioning” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make it so. Which means (if they’re successful): You’ll pay more for your next new bike, your next new bike will be more expensive to service – in part, because you probably won’t be able to service it yourself  – and it will cost you more to insure, since the ABS-equipped bike will have a higher replacement cost (the primary basis for figuring premiums) than a bike without ABS. It will also likely become more of a throw-away, in the same way (and for the same reason) that modern cars have become throw-aways: Ten or twelve years down the road, when the $800 ABS pump craps out, it won’t be worth fixing. So, the bike will get tossed.brakes lead

Why can’t the insurance mafia ever leave people free to choose for themselves? Oh, of course. In that case, it would no longer be a mafia.

It’s not that people are being denied access to the technology. You can buy a new bike equipped with ABS right now, if you wish. The problem – as the insurance mafia views it – is that you don’t have to buy an ABS-equipped bike. You can choose not to. And that cannot be permitted.

They – the insurance mafia – claim pure motives. That they’re concerned about our “safety.” But, as they used to teach in journalism school, follow the money.brakes 1

Bike manufacturers can increase their profit margins by force-feeding ABS (and ABS service) to everyone instead of just a relative handful. The insurance mafia gets to charge more for “coverage,” which of course is also force-fed (because it is mandatory). Win-win.

For them.

But how about us? The people buying (and riding) the bikes?

Leave aside the money issue for a moment.

ABS is a tough sell to the two-wheeled crowd because it takes control away from the rider. For a novice or unskilled rider, ABS (and linked brakes) may, indeed, provide a safety net. Exactly as it does in cars. But, there’s a reason why race cars don’t have ABS. And it’s the same reason why most riders who know how to ride don’t want either ABS – or linked brakes, either. That reason is, simply, the greater degree of control one has over his machine when he is in control of the brakes: How much (or little) pressure to apply to the front (or rear) calipers; the ability to finely “trim” (as they say in aviation) how the bike reacts, especially in a high-performance environment. Put another way, it is the personal satisfaction that attends becoming a skilled rider.brakes 3

ABS – and linked brakes – takes much of that away by rendering acquired skill largely irrelevant. Instead of learning just how hard to squeeze the trigger – while at the same time applying just enough pressure (or none) to the pedal that controls the rear brake . . . developing that sixth sense about incipient wheel lock and learning both how to avoid and how to deal with it when it does happen  . . . one just grabs the lever and that’s it.

The ABS system does it all for you.

The bike becomes “safer” in the sense that it’s more idiot-proofed. But it’s also become less of a bike – and more like a car. Which ultimately means there’s less reason to ride the thing. The experience is watered-down.bike control freak

Anodyne.

What drives people to throw a leg over? Is it not, at least in part, that bikes are more of a challenge than cars? The pride that comes from being able to do something well that most people can’t do at all? Bikes are scary – in the same way that parachuting out of an airplane is scary. Neither is done lightly. There is a learning curve. You had better know what you’re doing. Those who don’t get mustered out – one way or another.

Is this a bad thing?

Why must motorcycles be dumbed-down, too?

They – the insurance mafia and its flip side, the government – have already sucked most of the joy out of driving. I say this as a guy who test drives new cars every week. Never before have cars been as powerful/capable as they are today. They are also over-nannied, over-teched – and overpriced. Which is exactly what’s happening to bikes.H2 pic

A new ZX10 may be light-years more capable than a ’73 H2 750. But almost anyone can ride a new ZX10 – and very few could ride an H2 at all.

Let alone ride it well.

We are losing something – or about to lose something – very important. And the worst part is that “we” aren’t the ones deciding – or even being asked our opinion. These control freak pricks aren’t asking. They aren’t suggesting.

They are insisting.

Capo di tutti capo Adrian Lund of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says: “”The data continue to accumulate in support of motorcycle ABS five years after we first reported on its effectiveness . . We hope NHTSA will agree that it’s time to take action to ensure all riders get the benefit of this lifesaving technology.”

Italics added.Lund dick

Why can’t individual people be left alone to “take action” for themselves? If it’s such a good idea, surely they’d freely choose to buy ABS on their own? And in any case, isn’t it their right to choose for themselves? The casual effrontery of mafiosi such as Adrian Lund almost beggars belief.

What was it Seinfeld used to say? Who are these people?

And who appointed them the boss of us?

Throw it in the Woods?

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61 COMMENTS

  1. I have a 1991 BMW K100RT with ABS. Something computerized made my lights in the guages start flashing. When I read that it didn’t matter if the ABS was working, I solved the problem. I put black electrical tape over the flashing lights and the problem was solved. I have been riding and racing since 1966 and don’t want to have to sell my bike like my friend because he refused to buy a $2000 ABS part. I still stopped within 1 foot of a cars rear bumper in an emergency because some idiot pulled out in front of the car in front of me. I did drop the bike because I was tilted to the right and my big tuna boat is too top heavy to stop it from falling. If I could have gotten up in time, I would have chased the offending car and either pulled him over or got his license plate number.

    • Glad you weren’t hurt, Dr. Jett!

      On the tape: It’ll work – for now. But only until they tighten up the “safety” inspections that are mandatory in most states.

      All vehicles – this includes motorcycles must have all their mandatory “safety” equipment intact and operational to pass the test. If you don’t pass, no sticker – and no sticker = problems with the piggies.

      However, most bike inspections are pretty cursory – and it’s still fairly easy (in my area, at least) to ride a bike without a sticker. But they’re going to tighten that up, I expect…

  2. There is going to come a point in time when continual burden of rules & regulations will overwhelm the “system”, even with the combined efforts/resources of our glorious gov’t and the crony firms that abuse us with bought gov’t power(eg. insurance companies).

    As far as the notion of mandated ABS goes- I can tell you that though I’m an MSF instructor (yet speaking personally and not for the MSF) the first thing we talk about in class less than 30 minutes into the course curriculum(it it’s being taught “by the book”) is the concept of personal responsibility and “risk acceptance”.

    This is what the gov’t wants destroyed in the populace as a whole. It is tied in with self sufficiency as well.

    Insurance companies could simply offer discounts to those that choose to buy a bike with ABS and account for the option(or not) in its actuarial tables.

    So the natural question is why they once again run to gov’t to eliminate the notion of personal responsibility and strip us of more personal choice and freedom.

    I’m with Eric, I can only see them doing so in an effort to boost their bottom line without having to compete with companies that offer options instead of mandates.

    The only way I can see the stemming this tide of crony capitalism is by the stripping of gov’t of all of its power.

    • Hi Nick,

      Amen.

      That point is already here – for me, at least. I find I have little to no interest in new bikes anymore. For the same reason I’m losing interest in new cars. Yeah, they’re faster (and more capable) than ever before. But they’re much too complex and expensive. And they’re just not as much fun as they once were.

      It is a manifestation of “leveling.” This urge to impose conformity – and passivity. To stifle human action. It is done in the name of safety – or equality. But the object is always the same. Control. Money. And power.

      Others have mentioned (and I agree) that if bikes were new technology, they’d never be allowed.

      I suspect that as more and more people opt-out by declining to buy the new stuff – and instead ride the old stuff – we’ll see moves made to make it illegal to ride bikes that don’t have things like ABS and most particularly, EDRs or GPS. Some will think I go too far. They’d never do that.

      Really?

      They’re already routinely sticking their hands down our pants (in the name of safety).

      Wait.

      Anyone care to bet?

  3. Yeah…I am a mafia member. I am an agent for the biggest supporter of the IIHS.

    I believe in what the IIHS…..for the most part. I am also a life long rider, raced a while, track days, autocross/track days/ race cars. Gear head with 5 bikes on and off road.

    I totally disagree with an ABS mandate. Unfortunately the crappy rear brake only riding crew will bring this upon us with their lack of skills. Honestly I am surprised TPTB let us ride at all sometimes.

    15 years or so ago I toured the IIHS facility in Ruckersville. I asked the director why they don’t address the atrocious driving skills of this country and as a racer I felt that the average driver would benefit from skid pad training and some real driving instruction. His response? That performance driving schools would only encourage risk taking and increase crashes. I said I was sure glad the past commercial airliners I flew in had pilots that likely trained in the military flying performance jets and not with the bare minimum, never push the envelope training you feel works.

    So I personally push streetsurvival.org and the MSF every chance I get.

    • Good onya mate,
      it pretty much does sound like the loud pipes, had to lay ‘er down , don’t touch that front brake crew are blithely ignorant as usual so good work and good luck in trying to get them to skill up.

  4. And yet when I read an expose on how the libertarian society will work I’m assured that everything will be just peachy because… there will be insurance companies. I always thought those stories sounded a little too much like “don’t worry, because when there isn’t government and there’s lots of freedom there will be government and no freedom.”

  5. Eric, auto is not the only kind of insurance where the state and crony capitalists are doing evil. I am on the board of a small mutual property insurance company. Every year board members are asked to contribute to the political action committee of a trade association. I did this for years, thinking that the PAC was lobbying against government interference in our industry. But then I got on the PAC’s email list and saw what they really were working on. They actually lobby in favor of more government involvement much of the time by supporting boondoggles like the National Flood Insurance Program. It’s not hard to understand why: it’s classic crony capitalism. Given the moral hazard of NFIP (rates that are not in keeping with the risk), people build things in places where they shouldn’t. That allows private insurance companies to write the profitable coverage like fire, wind and liability for those structures. When the flood comes, the taxpayers get stuck with the unprofitable part of the coverage. Nice scam, eh? As Lew Rockwell says, the conservative idea that the struggle is between government and business is hogwash. It’s really between the government/politically-connected business alliance and the rest of us. Nowadays that PAC doesn’t get a dime from me.

  6. When I first saw the headline, I thought it referred to bikes that 10 year olds ride. That’s gotta be coming next. Gotta protect the children.

  7. My newest car, an ’07 Yaris was available with or without ABS. I know how to drive, and I chose it without ABS. My newest two-wheeler, an ’08 Kymco 250cc scooter, does not have ABS, and none of the motorcycles I have owned in the last 40 years had ABS either – and that is just fine with me. My choice.

    So where is this mandatory ABS nonsense headed? IMHO, it starts with mandatory ABS, then it might end with mandatory what? Air bags? Seat belts? Roll cages? High-vis paint jobs? Who knows. But I for one believe that the ultimate end game is for the US to simply outlaw motorcycles all together.

    And like everything else that our gov’t does to strip us of our God-given rights, they will do this one incrementally as well, and one day we or future generations will find motorcycles only in museums, or so damn expensive that only the super-rich will be able to afford them.

    • HI vis paint job. Once so many cars get hi vis paint jobs, the safety feature will disappear. The hi vis paint becomes part of the background, courtesy of our autonomous brain functions. If everyone in a large warehouse wears hi vis vests so they don’t get run over by forklifts, they become part of the background, and become ignored by the brain. Also very few people know how to use ABS anyway, so the safety feature of it becomes mute. In 2011, 12000 US lives were “saved” by seatbelts. But the same year 12000 US lives on the roads were taken by illegal immigrant drivers. So lack of border protection offset the lives “saved” by seatbelt usage.
      Read a book called “How to lie with statistics”, written in 1947 by Darrell Huff. It is still valid today, just more so.

  8. G’day! Saw the start of the article on LRC. I ride. My current bike is 15 months old, I don’t commute on it & it just clicked over 20,000ks (inOz). I could have bought something with ABS, eg Duke Diavel perhaps. It was a conscious decision not to, I guess. As Eric said, a joy in mastering a challenging & dangerous pastime, knowing you can get all kinds of fucked up if you don’t pay attention, especially out in the country, at warp speed errr 5;-)

    Also, well, fuck it, coz I am a BLOKE, not a feminized risk minimizer. That isn’t to say I am not meticulous in how I address a corner, far from it. There is just something wonderfully primal in baring your teeth to the multiverse & GOING FOR IT! Therefore I didn’t pick a bike with ABS, launch control, quickshifter, anti-wheelie yada yada yada. You see…simper…I prefer to ride it myself…

    I had “the big one” 5 years ago, ICU for a month including coma 11 days, a year of physio etc. SO, I was a sorry SadSack;-( My woman reckoned I was a “Beer Cat”, standing on 2 legs with a beer in my hand, staring longingly at bikes purring by. So she caved & told me to go out & get back on! She was right. If you ride, you ride. I call my bike Lucretia Borgia, (popes & poisoners, heaven & hell & all that). She’s Italiana, an 1131cc triple, a Bennelli R160. As I beleive you ‘merkins say, “boohar”. Fuck ABS & fuck buttfucking nanny-statist crony faux capitalists. PS: any Aussies reading, join Wikileaks Party & vote them #1 in the Senate.

  9. Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
    nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    NHTSA & EPA are not “delegated”.

      • Downshift, just make sure no one really knows you after you opt out, or at least, nobody who might be hostile to you. My wife and I have been the objects of purely speculative smears by those who knew of our existence but knew nothing else. We opted out 41 years ago on July 1. We have lived in towns about a year during this time, simply because we couldn’t find a suitable country domicile. Friends used to ask us what we did if we wanted a munchie or something at night. You either have it or you don’t and that’s all to the good if you don’t. No quick “to the store” trips for us since it’s an hours drive plus store time. We managed to live without a midnight Hagen Das fix.

  10. This is a great site and I’ve passed it on to many of my friends, they are mostly like minded when it comes to the individuals choice.
    However, Jean, please, that’s one of the most ridiculous posts I’ve read anywhere, how on earth you can say that bikes are “Less Stable” in the rain and that you are ” begging for trouble, when there’s rain predicted, to choose the bike over a car, just because of the stability issue.” ?
    What do you think happens, that suddenly it turns into bizzarro world when it rains?
    Do you not understand the physics involved?
    Do you think every bike rider in the U.K or the Pacific Northwest is dead because of the rain or is it that it’s you who cannot cope with riding in the rain and therefore think that every one is as mediocre a rider as you must surely be?

    As to your further postings of “Why take the chance?”
    Because I am alive, I am a man, I’ll take care of myself and others without worrying if the timid and inept who cannot do the things that I am perfectly capable of doing scold and tutt tutt my well informed decisions about my own risks.
    I also surf,skydive and spearfish,what’s your take on them?
    Give them up and watch T.V instead because it’s safer?
    Don’t you see that you are trying to make and enforce your decisions for others based on your own lack of skills?
    You’ll never have to worry about my health either, full worldwide insurance takes care of that.
    Riding in the rain presents few, if any difficulties to a rider, it just doesn’t.
    Your nonsense about the “Locked Brakes” test is just that, nonsense.
    You didn’t fail, you just cannot ride very well.
    Consider going and have some more lessons.

    I’ll ride in rain, I’ll post videos of me and others riding in hailstorms in Colorado,downpours in Britain, cyclonic conditions in Australia and guess what?
    Not one of us died!
    Not even once.

    • That’s a cool comment, Klavdy.

      I haven’t been following this thread, so all I can add is: the only time I wiped it on a wet road was due to inexperience (I was 14) I somehow skidded for yards across asphalt mixed with smooth river rock. I got a bit of road rash and learned.

      I managed to wreck a lot back then at that age, and most of it was fun! And usually off road.

      After that, I rode in the rain some, I never had a problem, it wasn’t as bad as being pelted by large bugs, or gravel from an oncoming semi.

      I so miss riding, I hope I don’t dream about it tonite.
      Waking up thinking: is my bike still in the garage?
      Ha. Ahh. Or is that, ARG! ?

      Anyway, I’ve seen lots of guys riding in the rain on the Interstate over the decades, and they seemed ok, just like you say.

    • Yup. Just because you are not a good poor weather rider, don’t assume everyone is as incompetent.

      I have probably thousands of hours of rain riding and it has never been an issue for me. It is not the weather conditions that are dangerous, it is the inability to understand how to properly deal with the conditions.

      Here in BC we have something called the Coquihalla highway, a mountain pass between inner and coastal BC. Occasionally it snows on the top in June. I have been caught in snow flurry on my way to the coast several times and while it was not a pleasant trip, with proper respect for the conditions, it was not a big deal. BTW this was not on enduros or dual sports but a VFR and a V65 Magna.

      I find that those who freak out about ‘rain’ have very little understanding of the physics involved in motoring. Water does not cause instant loss of adhesion it only somewhat reduces traction.

      Quite the ‘protect us from ourselves’ post there Jean. If you can’t handle a little rain, please don’t try to pass of your failings as ‘reason’.

    • I guess I wasn’t clear (not surprising).
      To borrow your lines as clarification:
      “… I am perfectly capable of doing scold and tutt tutt my well informed decisions about my own risks.” (Bold added of course)

      In the same way we teach children not to play with matches, that “well informed” part is the key. I can and have ridden in the rain, thoguh nothing like I’m reading about from you and Me2. And snow? I’ll pass – Did that with a bicycle, that was bad enough. Bike would have more control, due to higher weight, but… I was able to spin my AWD Subie in fresh powder, I’d rather not take a chance on losing control on 2 wheels. (Subie turned into a boat, effectively. Crazy. But like 6″ of snow, what do you expect, right? that was the ground clearance.)

      So, well-informed, to answer your question about Surfing, Skydiving, and spearfishing, with caveat that I’m not too knowledgeable about any of them.
      The “common sense” guidelines from my limited knowledge would be:
      Surfing: Best waves are near best shark hunting grounds, as I understand. You know this, your choice, your risk, don’t EXPECT other people to come to your aid. Don’t DEMAND others put their lives at risk.
      Skydiving: Done the training, get your chute packed by a pro, have fun. (Your dime.) Again, you get hurt, you accepted the risk; you pay your own bills, it’s all good.
      Spearfishing: Don’t know that’s particularly dangerous, actually. Certainly can’t be much more dangerous than motorcycling or surfing, and same assumption of risk and coverage of own medical expenses, and all is good. Though I just thought of a “risk” you need to avoid, spearfishing in a shipping lane at shallow depths. Major shipping lanes, though, there likely won’t be any subsequent legal action regardless… 😉

      I guess what I left out above is that _I_ don’t want anyone paying for _MY_ injuries, and I don’t want anyone demanding I pay for THEIR idiocies, either. You take the risk – riding in the rain, or in some cases, even DRIVING in the rain – let alone the stupid things I’ve done WRT driving badly (Utica, NY to Morristown, NJ in a blizzard – 8+ hours, slippery as hell in a 1995 buick LeSabre) – I made it by luck more than skill. Snow was bad, but I knew to be careful, and didn’t have the option to go above about 35, the wheels would spin and the car became unstable (wiggled, as in ready to fishtail). No problem, though – made that just fine. The problem was the water on 287 that collected in a hollow, where I came in at about 75, I guess, and the front end was happy to hydroplane… I got lucky, no one around, didn’t panic and do something stupid (like try to swerve and hit the road again, or slam on the brakes and lose control), and just rode it out for maybe 10, 15 feet. Got moving again from a lower speed, continued home without incident. Back up to 75 by that time, if you’re interested. 😉 I made that car do all sorts of “tricks” in a sense…. Dunno how fast it went, but the needle stopped at 120, I think it was… And I had it pegged a few times. 🙂

      But I wouldn’t do that sort of thing in fresh rain (oil slicks) or fresh snow (watch the wheels spin and the car goes nowhere, right?) Open road? Clear field of vision? Yup. If I kill or cipple myself, MY fault (barring the car fell apart somehow – Material defect, say, and frame falls apart, or engine blows up from “perfect” used condition).
      But I assume the risks, I try to stay out of other people’s way, and ask they grant me the same courtesy, and – not a problem.

      So if YOU can go through the twisties at 50 or so in the rain, good for you. PA Turnpike was enough for me, by the time I hit the curves (exit ramp onto route 1 – not a huge deal) it wasn’t fresh rain, and I think I dropped all the way down to 50… (Being a smartass, I was probably only doing 65 at the time on the flats). But it was minor rain, not pouring, not snowing, either, no fog, no mist, just a wet road. So no big deal.
      But I had to get home or I’d be stranded & need to find a hotel. (Bank account didn’t allow that as an option, BTW. HAD to go home.)

      Now, the cyclonic conditions… THAT strikes me as dumb. But if you can do it, fine! Your right to choose. Your right to die, too – or be injured. NOT your right to demand I pay for the ventilator. I’m sure you’d feel the same way if positions were reversed, such as my kayaking. I choose to kayak the rapids, I get brain damage – MY problem, right? MY insurance, MY money goes to whatever care is possible. NOT YOURS. I knew the risks.

      As to the “Lock the brakes” bit – point was to produce a skid. After… 20 years maybe, bicycling everywhere all the time? I could feel the changes in the bike’s performance, and was USED TO – trained, if you will – to let off on the brakes and NOT skid. I had also had some tumbles on the bicycle, re-enforcing the whole “Don’t fuck it up” in my head. The moment I felt the wheel stutter, my hand & foot was already easing off the brake. There was no reason to do it except to show people how to stop in a skid. You want to call it a “fail” to NOT skid, well – legalistically, you’re probably right. Logically, avoiding the skid makes more sense to me, but I’m biased. 😉

      The only wipe-out I’ve had on the bike was on a DRY road in an S-turn, where I came in too fast. Made the first half no problem, took the second half wide, hit gravel, went straight off the road. Straight as in, straight – not a low-side or high-side, just straight line off the road, into the ditch. If I had more skill with my new Harley VROD, I might’ve been able to do something different – Or I might’ve killed myself, dunno. Path not taken. As it was, no real injuries to me, and minor (but costly) damage to the bike. Most expensive was the airbox cover, a fkin piece of formed aluminum. The frame element was a bolt-in, the airbox cover a “drop on” (I don’t know the term, “bolt-on” seems too much.)

      As for me, a few bruises, and a LOT of hurt pride. But I knew I was tired and shouldn’t really ride, and allowed someone to talk me into it. I was stupid. I paid for it. No one else did. Not even property damage to anyone else. Filed it “under shit happens, learn from it.”
      OTOH, getting caught out in the rain on a bike, CAN BE fun – you learn a lot more that way. Going over an open-grate bridge in the rain, ’cause you don’t have any other nearby choices? Yeah, that can make your little friends shrink… then afterwards, they’re twice as big. 😉
      And you don’t worry abour the open-grate bridges anymore. (Though to be honest, I near shit myself every time, when that wiggle first kicks in… Makes me laugh every time, can’t I get past being a pussy? 😉 )

      First time I was on grooved pavement, it was a “shortcut” following a disastrous trip to Long Beach Island. The woman dropped her bike, sheared off the clutch lever. At a DEAD STOP, she just.. forgot to put the kickstand down. (I don’t comprehend HOW, but… Whatever. she was and always will be a novice, ya know?) Anyway, we rented a U-haul, and I had to drive the bike up into the truck. Couldn’t make it work the first 2-3 tries, I just didn’t have the right angle and speed for the ramp. fourth time, I drop it into gear (and I’m operating the clutch stump, not forcing it), right up the ramp, perfect stop inside the truck. Clutch is out, bike stopped, knock it out of gear, kickstand down, and we tie it down, and away we go. anyway – Grooved pavement “shortcut:” Takes about … 20 miles? I’m going at a snail’s pace ready to pee myself. Took a break at the far end to calm my nerves. But since then? Found out the grooved pavement’s not a problem, not a risk like I thought – and going slow is WORSE. So, lesson learned. Just avoid gravel, it’s OK.
      At the time, I had maybe three years of riding. I’d had two when I rode the Vrod off the road. Now, another 5 years down the line? Yeah, NOW it’s no big deal. Two Rider courses, probalby close to 10,000 miles, and I’m probably still greenhorn by your standards – but I’m doing OK.
      It’s a risk I CHOOSE. But if I’m riding, I do other things – like monitor the road around me more, and don’t drink alcohol. And I don’t ride when tired, either. 😉 (Let me define tired: 3 months of 80+ hour work weeks, getting nightly 3 AM calls from India about what’s fucked up now, and why they can’t test. Getting a good night’s sleep was rare for months. then I miscalculated the entry speed on the turn and didn’t lean enough or slow down enough, either one – it WAS an avoidable accident, the driver (rider) didn’t have the skill. I might now, but I don’t intend to go back and try it “just in case.” THAT would be the same sort of stupid or “problem” as I was referencing. THAT is where people deserve what they get – but they demand WE pay for it, through restrictive laws, fines, whatever. And then public assistance for the medical care, or ridiculous lawsuits over BS claims. Think of it as a novice skateboarder trying to do a 540 in a half-pipe on his first run. Maybe he’s a natural or a prodigy, but I wouldn’t bet on it – and I shouldn’t be FORCED to. Nor should you. He wants to try – OK, but if he face-plants, I don’t want to be held responsible in any way. Up to and including death. He accepts (-ed) the risk.

      To me, not going out riding in the rain – IE leaving in a downpour – is common sense. (also, I like being dry.) No choice is no choice. but making that choice, then yammering about some responsibility of society, or how there “ought to be a law…” No, not acceptable. Might as well pass a law that states you can’t leave the house in the rain, it’s about the same thing.
      Mandatory helmet laws for example: To me, only an idiot goes riding without a helmet. But there’s NO EXCUSE for making it a LAW. There is NOTHING like the feel of the wind on your face when riding – it’s part of the point. Feeling your hair flapping in the wind. I wore a beanie style; I’m guessing you would like even more without the helmet, but if I’m on a highway – best place for that feeling – I’m wearing a helmet. Someone else doesn’t want to? Their choice, not my business. UNLESS I have to pay for their medical care… (IE, Obamacare’s hidden “slippery Slope” to allow all our behaviors to be regulated.) Hey, to underscore: If there’s a right in the Constitution for a woman to get an abortion, yet a person assaulting her is charged for TWO counts – then there MUST be something in that “right to privacy” that says I don’t need to wear a helmet. that I can get ape-hanger handlebars. That I can ride a tricked-out chopper with an immense rake or trail, MY choice.
      Because so far, I haven’t harmed anyone else. Whereas someone who insists any of those be outlawed, is in fact aggressing against ME. If I run someone over, while WRT physics it might matter whether it’s a bike or a car, THEN I’m liable. (Barring mechanical failure I couldn’t control, again.) But I didn’t have an accident because of ape-hanger handlebars, nor does NOT wearing a helmet make me a Biker Gang member.

      But I remember after Columbine… The first, MOST IMPORTANT thing schools did – was ban black trenchcoats…. Because THAT will keep those evil people out of the schools. (another wondrous WTF moment.)

      Clear as mud? :-P<

    • I also surf,skydive and spearfish,what’s your take on them?

      They’re OK as long as you don’t try to do more than one of them at a time (but walking and chewing gum at the same time is still OK).

      I’ll ride in rain, I’ll post videos of me and others riding in hailstorms in Colorado,downpours in Britain, cyclonic conditions in Australia and guess what?
      Not one of us died!
      Not even once.

      Unfortunately, that illustration suffers from a statistical error called survivor bias.

      • And there we were , thinking you were an Academic.
        Unfortunately ,for a self proclaimed expert such as your own good soap dodging Pommy self, you’ve quoted “Wikipedia”.
        Confirmation Bias much?

        • I don’t know why you would think I was an academic, I never made out that I was. And that wikipedia link is only there so people can see what was involved without having to get all, well, academic. It’s not confirmation bias to let people see what I am talking about, it’s just so they don’t get dumped on as though I was, well, the sort of authority they should believe just because I was telling them.

          Out of curiosity, why the irritation? I was only letting you know the limitations of your supporting material. That’s a service to truth, not a personal attack; with a fair wind you might get some help from it.

          • And I was returning the favour in showing you the error of quoting that most manipulable of sources, “Wikipedia”
            No need for thanks, it’s always a pleasure to educate the ill informed.
            Passive aggressive never comes across too well, does it.

  11. I want the government to drive the bike for me since they know what is best for my life. As a matter of fact I can’t even wipe my own ass and need some help. Thank goodness for mommygov expertise and their golden midas touch.

  12. Wait ten years or so after self-driving cars hit the market. We’ll have gyroscopically computerized motorcycles that won’t require rider input. Perhaps you think you’ll still be able to enjoy the wind in your hair, but the future bike’s roll cage and helmet sensor/ignition interlock system will put the kibosh on that too.

    The science fiction short story “With Folded Hands” is must reading for anyone not yet lobotomized by technology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Folded_Hands

    • That sort of design approach has always struck me as perverse because it is over-complicated and builds in so many potential failure points, when you don’t even need gyroscopically computerised stabilisation for that result; much simpler, reliable and purely mechanical systems were developed for monorails over a century ago.

  13. Hi there all,
    Klavdy here:
    I’m a new member, another Aussie who also travels a lot and works internationally.

    I spend a lot of time in America,even keep a motorcycle there for my visits, (an Aprilia Tuono if that matters)and have ridden to all four corners of your beautiful nation, (even the Blue Ridge Parkway) but tend to spend most time in the Western States, usually because that’s where my bike is kept.
    I seek the back roads, the wild places, the lonely roads that traverse the magnificent landscape of America.
    I love to lanesplit as well, so California is a great place to ride but I’ll lane split in every single country I ride in as well as every single State.
    This has led to confrontations in some American states, even from other motorcycle riders.
    Thaty’s odd to me, why wouldn’t you ride a bike like a bike instead of “Driving” one like a car?
    Any way, onto the posts above.
    I’ve always respected the ideals of freedom that many Americans espouse,and subjectively, America feels far less oppressive in it’s curtailment of the individuals choice than most other first world countries that I’ve lived and worked in.
    The right to spout unmitigated nonsense such as people who choose to ride in the rain being “Idiots” and having “Issues” as well as motorcycles having “Steering Wheels”,their being inherently “Dangerous”,let alone posters showing abysmal ignorance on the subject of counter steering, “ABS” taking longer to stop and then posting in caps as if that somehow magically makes your point incontrovertible is accepted, so is the right to rebut these ridiculous claims.

    Where on earth do you come up with these things?

    • Hi Klavdy,

      Good to have you with us!

      I have no issue with ABS (or traction control or any other such thing) as such. I think it’s great, in fact, that such features are available. It’s the control freaks who demand such things be force-fed to everyone that drive me to chicken kicking fury. This tendency in the American “mind” – always present – is becoming pervasive. Someone decides that “x” is a good idea. It’s not sufficient that he chooses to do (or buy) “x” for himself, and perhaps to suggest to people he knows that maybe they should consider “x” also. No, he has to push for a $%@!!! law to make everyone else do (or buy) “x.”

      Insufferable.

      On rain: I have two bikes that are wet-weather viable – a dual sport and a middleweight touring bike with full fairing. I don’t mind if they get wet (and dirty). My “nice” bikes (including my two restored antique bikes) never go out in the wet – perish the thought!

      I’ll ride in the rain if I get caught in the rain but don’t go out on the bikes if it is raining or seems likely to rain. Not because I’m scared to (done it many times) but because I just don’t like to.

      I can’t speak for the others here, so I’ll leaver the rest to them.

      • As others have noted, it’s Prohibition.
        Prohibition of choice (for men).
        Prohibition of (some) drugs.
        Prohibition of POSSIBLE injury.
        Prohibition of emotional pain.

        It will never end, which is part of the point. It is mostly a feminine DEMAND for attention. (Think of the hairy, buck-toothed mouth-breather that sort of looked female back in grade school. The poor girl who fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down – and is now overcompensating for the lack of attention [except the negative attentnion, which the truly pathetic will come to crave, as it’s all they get.])

        “No one should ever feel this sort of pain…”
        No one should be hurt.
        We should respect each other’s opinions (even when they are wrong, mind, as the herd cohesion is more important than right or wrong – belonging is more important than reality. )

        Sorry, it’s a WOMAN thing to want all possible dangers eliminated. No risk, no hazard, protected (loved) by the herd.

        Woman needs a man like a fish needs water. (And the converse is NOT true: Man can live without woman. In fact, woman is rather pointless for anything other than sex and child rearing. conversation? Most women either can’t or WON’T keep up – you need to talk houses decoration, jewelry, or gossip. MEN talk politics, war, machines, computers, science, philosophy. Sad, really, that since women are now ALLOWED to attend higher education, they LEARN less and less, and present ever less knowledge and wisdom. It’s a 4-year dick-riding experience in search of a husband, during which time they pursue the Alphas – then complain about their treatment by those Alphas to whomever will be their emotional tampon. Most can’t cook, clean, aren’t even good at sex. So – why then would you want a woman? All the joys of being single – you cook, clean, organize, do laundry and ironing yourself – and all the joys of being married: have to check in, send her tokens of affection, decorate to her tastes, be with her morning, non, and night (barring a job), and the boring things – like hanging out with the guys – well, no need to worry about THAT any more, you’re a COUPLE…
        For those who can’t tell that was sincerely saracastic…

        • There’s a little truth to the idea that women tend to push this sort of agenda. A generation or so ago, the women of north-east England helped to push the burden of added safety regulations onto the fishing vessels manned by their menfolk, even though the latter did not want that, thus furthering the area’s economic decline.

          On the other hand… During the war, my mother accompanied the allied forces to Dakar, and while there she scrounged the only bicycle she could find to get to work. It had no brakes at all, so as she regularly careered (not “careened”, that’s a ship maintenance technique) downhill on the way to work the Free French soldiers noticed and nicknamed her “Calamity Jane”.

      • Choices, yep, that’s what it’s all about, if I do no harm to another, why is there a “Law’ against whatever it is I would like to do?
        For the so called greater good?
        Australia has universal helmet and seatbelt laws, also universal dog registration laws too, our States armed enforcers would kill you for refusing to comply with their absurd demands, indeed it has happened with sickening regularity, generally under the guise of “Officer Safety”
        Look up “Laudisio Curti ” for just one nauseating example.
        Coroner excoriates thug pigs, nothing happens to them, indeed some got promoted!

        Any way, I digress, onto the bike stuff.
        I perfectly understand not taking your restored bikes out in the foul weather mate, why would you want to?
        I also have ridden in many U.S states that have no helmet laws yet still wore mine.
        Why?
        I don’t like getting windburn, deafened, bug spattered and road debris blasted.
        It’s less tiring for me to wear one.
        It’s my choice to wear one and that’s how it should be.
        Right now I’m in Papua New Guinea, one of the worlds more lawless places (go on, look up my I.P) where near every choice you make is yours and yours alone.
        It also rains lot here,the roads are appalling with dreadful drivers yet if I feel like riding a bike, I will.
        I’ll be going to Australia again at the end of the month where many decisions are taken from me at gunpoint.
        For example I could choose to not wear a seatbelt/helmet but if I didn’t want to stop for a costumed thug in a clown car who insists I wear a seatbelt or helmet, he’s perfectly protected by so called Law to escalate his demands for compliance up to and including lethal force.
        The creeping compliance culture, the vicious sheep bleating “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to hide” the sheer unthinking blind acceptance.
        It’s taken root in Australia too.
        Hmm, we Aussies started off as Convicts, you guys started off as Puritans, we’re starting to look more and more alike.

        • HAHA: “we Aussies started off as Convicts, you guys started off as Puritans, we’re starting to look more and more alike.”

          Yup, another cool post, Klavdy.
          Way cool.

        • Morning, Klavdy!

          Yup – and, as I’ve tried beyond my powers of endurance to explain to Clover (archetype control freak-statist and resident troll here) once the principle underlying such things as seatbelt and helmet laws – that it’s acceptable to use force against people “for their safety” (as opposed to because they’ve caused harm to someone else) – a precedent has been established and it will be expanded upon. In short order, they’ll be telling us we can’t drink large sodas (oh, that’s right – they’re already doing that) and before too much longer, they’ll be monitoring every last detail of our lives – and controlling/punishing us when we fail to abide by whatever standard is established.

          I’m losing patience. Though not a violent person nature, I insist on my right to be left alone. If I’m not, after a certain point, I’m going to hit back.

    • Hi, Klavdy.
      “Issues” as in being inanse or stupid, I’ll cop to that.
      It’s begging for trouble, when there’s rain predicted, to choose the bike over a car, just because of the stability issue.

      Part of the problem we’re having these days is that most people don’t know HOW to ride a BICYCLE, let alone a motorcycle – and as this article foreshadows, it’ll only be a matter of time until the machine does the driving FOR you. While it’s “nice” (in ancient greek meaning thereof) to keep the dopey people alive, it’s counter-productive (making it de facto stupid, pointless, evil, and – again in ancient greek – NICE.)

      I’ve ridden in the rain – it wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t have the option to stop and wait it out, so – Had to take my chances. Still went around the corners at a good speed and decent lean, but I’m lucky – good genetics gives me good reaction time, good balance, and excellent kinesthetic sense. I failed every “Locked Brakes” test in the motorcycle test – I couldn’t lock them, because I knew when it was about to lock, and I adjusted the tensions accordingly. (Even on a bicycle, I’ve only stopped badly ONCE, and that’s ’cause I missed grabbing the rear brake handle, and stood the bike on end as a result. )
      It only TAKES once, though, and rain is a bit like driving drunk: Changes the whole game. If you’re mediocre, you may become a statistic. Why take the chance? Hone your skills on a track, long haul driving (riding), different types, models, gearings, etc. If you get the chance to drive a tractor, take it. A superbike, take it. Manual trans, take it, RWD. Front wheel drive. All wheel drive four wheel drive, snowmobile, airplane, helicopter – anythign you have a decent chance of doing.
      But know the risks, adjust and plan accordingly, and if you willingly do stupid shit – like, for instance, riding a bike in a downpour – I don’t have much sympathy for you. And I do NOT want to be paying for your hospital stay and your respirator while your persistently-vegetative self slowly wastes away until you die. (And I don’t want you paying for ME, either – I’ve asked that things be turned off if there’s no real chance of recovery. That’s at about <60% chance I'll wake up.)

  14. Although the powers-that-be would like to outlaw motorcycles, I think it’s a pipe dream or a bridge too far. Motorcycle factories would jack up, not to mention hundreds of thousands of very angry bikers turning up at the Whitehouse to protest. They’d never get it done, nor would they be able to confiscate every one of them.

    • There are multiple forces in the power structure. The nannies would like to outlaw motorcycles but they are only useful in that they support the sociopathic control freaks that run things. Ever notice the things nannies want to do but don’t further the bigger agenda just fall by the side?

  15. I understand the role of ABS in a truck or a car. There is one pedal that controls the brakes on all wheels. ABS can be good for that. A good ABS system will out perform even the best drivers because it can control wheels independently and the driver can’t. Cheaper, poorer ABS is another story, but it will out perform most drivers most of the time.

    Now I am not a motorcyclist, but a bicyclist. I am under the impression that motorcycles, like bicycles generally have independently controlled brakes for each wheel. (as described above as well) This means the rider is the ABS system.

    Independently controlling each brake gives a great deal of control. If a wheel starts to skid, let up on that brake continue on the other. Balance and rebalanced accordingly. Sometimes skidding the rear or both wheels is best. Only a rider can do that properly. A simple toothed wheel sensor cannot possibly relay enough info for a computer to make proper braking adjustments. It would require accelerometers, perhaps a gyroscope, and maybe more in addition to the toothed wheel to even have a chance at out braking all but the worst motorcycle riders. Even then maybe radar and a vision system to try and put the proper intelligence to the computer…. I don’t get what ABS offers a motorcyclist. Even a poorly skilled one.

    ABS can only be a step backwards for a two wheeled vehicle. Modulating brakes serves far more purposes than simply stopping too. It can be done strictly for control and remaining upright in many situations.

  16. about 2 years ago i read an article in which the staff tested the new cbr (at the time) with and without abs (would share the article if i can find it).

    (on dry pavement) the writer having not ridden the bikes much was able to stop quicker with abs initially but after riding for a few hours was able to have shorter stops on the version without abs.
    (on wet pavement) the abs bike came to a halt sooner pretty consistently.
    i remember reading this and thinking i definately don’t want ABS (I had a ’05 750 at the time), it would only proivde a benefit if i rode in the rain, which i avoided.

    eric is absolutely right that there is pride in being able to do something that others don’t which is part of the reason i like my mid-engine mr2 (no f’n abs). it takes away so much of the intimacy.

    something like this will lead to more fatalities in the long run because once bikes are made easier to ride more people will do it. and the majority of those people will be morons. To me it is similar to a situation where an engineer is taught how to run FEA software but doesn’t learn the basics of Strength of Materials, Calculus, Statics, Dynamics, etc…

    • Any idiot who rides in the rain has issues. (Barring being forced to by circumstnace, which I have been. but if you don’t realize that at 50 MPH – hell, 30 MPH – the rain is like being pelted with hail, even through a leather jacket – you shouldn’t be on a bike anyway.)

      Some people are good enough to do it, consistently, reliably, without risk. (I’m told I am one – yet I want to stay off the bike in the rain. Go figure.)
      It only takes ONE incident to turn you inside out. (Life over.) I’d rather take my chances, as it measn those that ARE driving well have a REASON for their skill – it’s not a frickin’ video game or VR simulation.
      What’s the point of life if you can’t ENJOY it?

      (Note, the endorphins released, which are natural opiates, are what make something good or pleasurable. Runner’s high, for example. If we remove everything that triggers the dopmaine and endoprhine rush, we’re existing, not living. So we MUST stop this sort of crap, as it’s already out of hand, and we’ll have NOTHING to start with in the near future. And we won’t be able to start over, either, make no mistake: once the technology exists, we’ll be inserted into that matrix, and – same as the FedGov now – no matter who runs the show, the agenda will never change, we’ll be batteries in the hive.)

      • I agree on the rain comment. I agree with Eric on that people who aren’t aware of the complex dynamics of a motorcycle are eventually mustered out. I agree that motorcycles are a thrill and high risk and high concentration sport. And I believe that people should be able to make that decision of what they do with their own bodies all on their own. And pay the medical bills all their lonesome as well.

        I’ve known a few people who survived highway wrecks on a motorcycle. One was an expert dirt bike racer. This guy could deliver the motorcycle to the back of his pickup bed by gaining speed and riding a 2×4 up into it and brake before hitting the cab. The guy was amazing and got mustered out hitting a deer one night on his road bike. He’s in a ward shitting his pants and learning to spell again.

        When you study the dynamics of a motorcycle even its steering is awkwardly complex. Take the motorcycle at low speeds and it turns like a bicycle. Take it to higher speeds and it turns in the opposite steering principles by gyroscopic principles. That is if you push on the steering wheel, this will cause the angular momentum vector of the front wheel to change, since angular momentum of the entire bike must be conserved that will cause the bike to tilt. And when the bike tilts the angular conservation of both back and front wheels will only be conserved if the bike turns gyroscopically as a whole in a larger curve (rotation). And the signals are exactly opposite of a novice bicycle rider who thinks by pushing on the right steering wheel, he will in fact be turning the bike to the left. In fact because of the gyroscope effects at high speeds I just mentioned will turn the bike to the right. Fortunately, this crossover point for motorcycles is at a much lower velocity then say a bicycle and that is because the intertia of the wheels is much higher on a motorcycle because the rims have much more weight (mass*radius^2) at the outer edges than a bicycle. So the confusion from how the dyanmics feels doesn’t seem that bad at crossover (really low velocities), but still the mind without even knowing physics of an experienced rider is inverting the signals. Most excellent riders don’t need to understand the physics, but their experience is overriding any illogical inversions that would accompany say a bike rider getting on a motorcycle the first time. But still one can see that a novice who doesn’t understand physics either implicitly by feel and experience or better by logic coupled with feel and experience is asking to be hurt really bad.

        But the point isn’t whether the motorcycle is dangerous. It is dangerous and anyone who denies it is not living in reality. Quite frankly unless you have excellent motor skils, are in a high state of awareness, and have near perfect road conditions you are foolish to ride a motorcycle. And this leads to the point of who will pay for the wards of the state. I do mean this is the clover argument as the clover who has constructed modern society of universal health rights. And the answer is that there shouldn’t be any wards of the state, but people will gasp if you say that hospitals should be able to turn away clients that can’t pay up. And I’m going to tell you that again the modern idea of a centralized hospital is in fact the problem. It results not in just shittier care but high priced monopolies. Further I’m not so sure that if a person lives through such a miserable motorcycle wreck thanks to moder centralized hospitals they wouldn’t have been better just dying at their own home with a country practitioner present. The horredous way maimed people are treated in a state/big corp society with no hope of fully recovering is no life anyway, it would just have been better to die the consequences in the first place. As for the high price of medical people can scoff and say that the centralization helps share hospital equipment costs, but the reason those equipment costs are so high is because of government intervention toward the big corporation models once again. One such model is the insurance model in the first place.

        I can just pray to God that when I die its in my own bed and not a filthy bug infest government hospital. So in the end I’m not going to say that I would ride a bike anywhere but on dirt roads (off trails) at low speed. That is my choice and I offer it as a pleasant suggestion of concern to most people, even those who are much more experts than me on riding and dynamics of a motorcycle.

        Anyway we are just ramping up for Obama Care and what it ultimately means that you and I will be punished excessively in both cost of risky behavior as defined by them, but also eventually they outlaw motorcycles all together if a revolution or collapse doesn’t occur first.

        • Order of Rod’s preffered ground transportation:

          1) 4 Wheeled beast of appropriate width and center of gravity for terrain
          2) Motorcycle
          3) Bicycle
          4) Horse (4 legged beast)
          5) Foot

          Seems this is the natural preference based on risk assesment and economic factors with 3 and 4 depending on distance traveled.

          Government really only wants choice (5) and (3) for everyone to truly be its lowly subservient serf. Understand that anyone who chooses (3) the bicycle will still be required to purchase tags, registration, and insurance as a tax can never be eliminated only altered in form. The best way to do this is to make sure to make the choice of individuals limited economically, that how government always works is by making sure that the serf has no economic choice on his own.

      • I don’t know where you live, but I lived in Ohio for the first 10 years of my motorcycling life. It rains about 2/3 of the time. I guess I’m the idiot that learned how to ride in the rain successfully. You must be more of a car driver. Sell your bike and you won’t have to worry about the rain. I moved to Arizona, so now I deal with Hell Season. Not much fun either, but I finally found a combination of wet gear that helps make it less miserable, like riding in the rain. I can teach you both. If you want to ride bad enough, you will.
        Still crazy after 47 years of riding.
        Dr Jett

        • Well, there are days where I just want to get on the bike, point it wouth X West, and see where I go. I don’t think it’s wise to choose to ride in the rain. Choosing being key, with other people paying the cost being an evil result of failure.
          No one else pays for me, and I do’t pay for anyone else – so if I choose to (or even HAVE to) ride in bad conditions and I get mangled – it’s on me. Ultimately, _I_ am the responsible party. I just take steps to minimize exposure – for instance, not going out riding when it’s pouring and I have a car.
          Never hydroplaned on a bike, want to avoid that. 😉 I don’t think it’ll be comfy. The ride wouldn’t be bad, but the sudden stop at the end? That would hurt.

          I’d love to head out to AZ and learn how to ride better. Always a benefit to learning. Found a professional driving school a while back (lost them too) that taught you how to drive a Subie WRX like a pro driver. 5 weeks or so… I couldn’t take that sort of time. And I couldn’t afford to experiment with my primary (sometimes only) means of transport – so I never learned.

          Wish there was more I could do to ride – but life gets in the way of living. Especially in IT. Can’t explain to the woman that it’s NORMAL to work 45-50 hours, on a slow week… and you’re on call ALL THE TIME. (And I’m not even a DBA or Production systems support, just a QA guy.) Amazing how that works. Yet because SHE (A secretary) can leave and leave the job behind at 5 PM, she thinks I should do the same.
          Seriously cuts into my personal time. (Non-existent for about 7 years.) Biking, kayaking, even the joy of cooking – all gone. {Sigh}
          Women or freedom, can’t seem to have them both – and I chose poorly.

  17. Why can’t individual people be left alone to “take action” for themselves? If it’s such a good idea, surely they’d freely choose to buy ABS on their own? And in any case, isn’t it their right to choose for themselves? The casual effrontery of mafiosi such as Adrian Lund almost beggars belief.

    Who wants the chance of being wrong when you can stack the deck and guarantee that you will be right. (by forcing everyone to make the choice that you think is right)

    ABS is a nice feature, but I do not think it is a must have feature. It is shame that some people can not tolerate other people having the freedom to choose.

    In the few MC forums that I frequent, ABS seems to be a popular option. Some posters indicate that their next bike must have ABS. I am not sure. It is a nice feature, but I am unsure if it is worth the cost.

    The biggest feature of ABS is in preventing the the brakes from locking. A bike with ABS will not necessarily brake faster than the same bike without ABS.

    I will not choose a bike without disk brakes, especially on the front wheel. I am surprised Ludd does not wish to mandate disk brakes for all bikes.

    • Once they pass this shit, the next thing you know the EPA fuckers will mandate that all new bikes be outfitted with catalytic converters and 02 sensors for pollution control which of course will require the necessity of adding a computer to handle that pesky CEL display feature. Of course they will make sure that the computer has to be ODBIII compliant so it can communicate with all the public infrastructure so “officer friendly” can pull you over and remind you (aka issue a ticket for failure) to maintain your emissions systems. Then they will mandate that some type of onstar GPS system be standard equipment on all new bikes (under the guise that they can locate and provide assistance in case of an emergency) because “even if it saves one dumbass we have an obligation to try it”. Of course when your “free trial” of “BIKESTAR” is over I’m confident that the monitoring company will turn off the system so that it could not be used to assist law enforcement in disabling your bike if they so desired.

      Then the day will come when all 2-wheeled bikes are outlawed because some clover with a mid-life crisis tried to tie their shoe at 50 mph and wrecked. It will be mandated that all bikes have a minimum of 3 wheels and everything will be like a Can Am, only bogged down with even more unnecessary and unwanted safety features and pollution controls.

      But remember…they’re from the gov’t and they’re only here to help.

      Also, why do I have to fill out the name/email stuff when I already logged in? Do you have any future plans to implement the disqus commentary feature that I’m seeing on a lot of the other sites?

      • IIRC, new bikes are currently required to have pollution control devices. In a CBR250R, the catalytic converters and 02 sensors are built into the exhaust.

      • …they already have!

        Most new bikes do have computers, cats and EFI.

        I think my ’03 ZRX1200 was one of the last carbureted, non-catalyst, non-computerized street bikes.

      • Turd, many (if not most) new bikes already have an ECU, catalyzers, various sensors and EFI. My 2005 Z-1000 has all of these things and even “boots up” when you turn on the ignition switch. But it is smooth and tractable below 6K (RPM) and from there on up to 11K turns to pure animal. It is considerably more rideable than the venerable H2. Eric’s right, it doesn’t require the high level skill (or grandes cojones) that old 2 stroke crotch rocket did. That being said it still requires skill since it is considerably faster than a stock H2 was. And, it stops considerably faster too even though it does not have ABS. Nor do I want it. I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1971 on and off road and as Eric points out, it requires skill both to ride and to stop that the average person doesn’t have. That’s part of the satisfaction of riding Eric cites; not everyone can do it and few can do it well.

        It was the same situation with the original Kawasaki Jet-Ski that you had to stand up on to ride (and even the less popular Wet Bike). You had to be skillful and athletic to actually ride or you were relegated to being dragged along behind it or “porpoising” on your knees. Once “personal water craft” became an unskilled plop-your-butt-down-and-pull-the-trigger sport, any teenager from an affluent family could go ram a hole in someone’s boat and or break their neck with ease. Of course the safety nannies jumped in with all kinds of regulations on PWCs and their use. Shortly thereafter I sold my Jet-Ski because the restrictions took the freedom and hence the fun out of Jet-Skiing. This time I’m seriously considering an H2 build on an unlicensed Ninja frame just to spite them. Or in Col. William Ludlow’s words “Screw the government! Screw ’em!”

        Now a trainload of 50 and 60 something retirees are climbing onto 2 wheeled cars (because that’s all a 1/2 ton cruiser really is) equipped with seats like a Lazy-Boy, forward foot controls and creature comforts typical of a Cadillac. These semi-somnambulant would be Easy Riders are pointing and shooting their inexperienced lard butts around at highway speeds on machines that handle and stop like a truck but without the steel cage. Some of them are bound to get hurt. Then “there ought’a be a law” becomes their mantra and mandatory ABS another one of their saviors. It makes me sick that the majority of these geriatric riders seem too gullible to understand that the insurance casinos are stacking the deck in their own favor at everyone else’s expense one more time in the name of “safety”; hence the root of the problem with mandatory insurance. If you think motorcycles are “too dangerous” stay off them or refuse to insure them. Or conversely, just voluntarily buy (or require your insurance customers to buy) the optional features you feel safer with. If someone else comes along with a competitive insurance rate and less restrictions on the free market, then compete or die. Just don’t shove your vision of safety, or anything else for that matter, down our throats at the point of a government gun and expect us to accept it without a fight. Who are these people indeed!

    • Actually, ABS has been PROVEN to take LONGER to stop the vehicle than normal brakes.
      And if I wanted “safety” above all else, I’d still be living in a crib, having someone else feed me pre-chewed food, dealing with my bodily excretions, etc.
      ‘Cause make NO mistake: THAT IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL. To make us into residents of the Matrix.

      Might as well stick a knife in them ALL. It can only improve the genome.

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