Walking Your Motorcycle – The Art of Maneuvring

When moving your motorcycle around in your garage, at the fuel station, or out of a parking space – maneuvering it by walking beside it is not only faster, but easier than you think!

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Walking your motorcycle on MOTORESSMoving and walking your motorcycle without power is part of motorcycle riding and management. No matter what height, size or weight of the motorcycle, with practice and the right technique you’ll be able to move and walk your motorcycle with confidence and full control on any surface and in the tightest of spaces. Many riders opt to sit on their bikes and paddle it with their feet to move it. Though this might be okay in some situations it’s far from efficient. Riders also tend to opt for this method for fear of dropping their bike and who wants that to happen?! When moving it around in your garage, at the fuel station, or getting out of a parking space – maneuvering it by walking beside it is not only faster, but far easier than you think!

Here follows the tips and techniques to master moving and walking your motorcycle.  Be sure to start out slow and take the time to practise.

1. GEAR: Depending on your helmet type and the amount of space you’re moving around in, you may want to remove your helmet to ensure full vision. Keep your gloves on to ensure sturdy grip.

2. FRONT BRAKE: Stand on the left side of the bike as though you are going to get on.  Hold the handgrip while covering the front brake with two fingers. You’ll need access to the brake to control any potential rolling of the bike.

3. NEUTRAL: If your motorcycle is in gear, put it in neutral for ease of movement. Don’t hold the clutch in, this will interfere with maximum grip for control.

4. SIDE STAND: Lift the bike off the side stand slighting tilting the bike towards you and your body. Kick the side stand up/ deploying it. Get it out of your way. Often riders think this should remain down in case you lose balance but the side stand is a hazard in itself. If it contacts ground while you’re moving the bike it can jar it and cause you to lose balance and drop the bike. It also interferes with your footing/walking path.

5. HIP AND BODY: For balancing and managing the weight of the bike, don’t try to hold all of its weight in your hands. Lean or rest it on your hip or right side of the body so that you have a light weighted grip on the handlebars. Push your hip into the seat or tank depending on your height. This will help steer the bike. Again and depending on your bike, you should be able to fully support the weight of the bike on your upper leg and hip.Walking your Motorcycle on MOTORESS

6. PUSHING: Here you can use your body as the forward push force powering your motorcycle. Many focus on power to the handlebars forgetting the body can be a big help here too. Use your hip, driving it into the tank or seat gives you surprisingly more momentum. Of course if you have a low chopper style motorcycle you’ll have no choice but to power forward by pushing solely on the handlebars.

7. FAMILIARIZE: Get used to the balance point of your bike. Upright it can balance on its own. Get a feel for this practicing in your garage or parking space on level ground. Then find out where the zone of no return is. To do this, hold onto the handlebar/grips and slowly (Very slowly!) ease/ tilt the bike away from the side of your body until the point where you feel you can no longer hold the bike upright. Of course don’t go beyond this. This helps you discover to point of no return zone. Getting a feel for your bike and its “weight character” (top-heavy, front end heavy etc.) will help and eventually allow you to manoeuvre it eventually with just one hand. Even a +300 kg touring motorcycle will feel light at its balanced point.

Walking your Motorcycle on MOTORESS

8. TURNING: Walking your motorcycle in straight line, like riding it, is easy. Turning requires slightly more modification. Remember to look up and to where you want to be. Again, lean the mass of the bike, the middle area against your body (depending on the type of motorcycle you have) with minimal stress on the handlebars.  If you need to turn the bike sharply say to the left; turn the handlebars left to full lock position while stationary/not moving. Turning the steering to full lock will also provide stability. Always stop before turning the handlebars from straight to full lock and back again. The points in between are where the bike is most unstable. Remember, don’t apply the front brake when turning to the right. This will lock the steering and cause you to lose control and possibly drop the bike.

Walking your Motorcycle on MOTORESS

9. BACKING UP: 1) Simply keep the bike leaned against you and exert a bit more pulling power on the handlebars. Use your hip/upper leg again to drive power into the seat and backwards. Be sure to turn your head and look where you’re going. 2) Another method is to hold the bike by the left handlebar with your left hand, and put your right hand on the rear seat, top box or passenger seat handle to push. Though remember while doing this you will have no control of the brake so be sure you’re on level ground. *TIP: it’s often better to move forward and make a little circle rather than backing up.

Walking your Motorcycle on MOTORESS

Once you’re done don’t forget to put the side stand down.

Miscellaneous Tips:

  • Some use their side stand as a pivot, transferring weight onto the side stand to turn the bike around. This might look cool but it’s hard on your side stand and could even bend it. Your side stand is really not meant to take that much weight. Thinking long-term, a motorcycle without a side stand is a much bigger problem for a rider! This may also drive a whole into the surface you’re turning on.
  • Walking with power can be done easily and may be needed if moving the bike into a trailer of up a hill where you’ve not enough strength for the task. Turn the bike on and ride the clutch at the friction zone to get a slow steady speed. Keep your right hand ready to use the front brake if needed.
  • Practise makes perfect so don’t be lazy and let your friends move your motorcycle for you or help. If you do, you’ll never hone your skills for the task. Even when you’re in the midst of walking your motorcycle and a friend jumps in to help it can upset the balance and steering. This could cause you to panic and drop the bike. Learn to do it yourself.
  • You can also use a friend as a spotter/standing nearby for the first couple tries – just in case.

Walking your motorcycle is truly an easy confident and professional manner of moving or walking your motorcycle around. Take it easy and go slow. Once you gain your confidence and technique, there’s be no type, size or weight of motorcycle you won’t be able to manage.

Four signs it’s time to replace your motorcycle boots

Women and Motorcycles - and boots - MOTORESSIt’s not always obvious that it’s time to trade in your motorcycle boots for a new pair. Even when they’re falling apart at the seams, it can be painful to part with your favourite moto kicks and especially after shelling out all that money you spent for them. But remaining loyal to your worn motorcycle boots can not only affect your safety but cause problems, even pain- down the road.

Motorcycle boots are a vital piece of security, comfort and safety offering defence against mishap should your foot or ankle contact the ground. Their grip is important too because your feet are all that’s holding up your motorcycle when stopped. And if you enjoy endless hours of riding, they need to be comfortable.

When key areas of the boot are worn – toe area for shifting, grip for sturdy foot placement and protected areas around ankles etc. you’ve really lost a lot of the value of the safety of your boots. In fact it’s very much the same as with your motorcycle tires. Tires don’t necessarily wear down evenly, but when you get down to an area of the tire where it’s really low on tread, it’s time to replace it before trouble happens.

To take the guesswork out of when it’s time for a new pair of motorcycle boots, follow these recommended tips:

  1. Excessive wear on the soles.  Every so often, turn your boots over to check how the soles are wearing. If the treads are worn smooth or close to it, it’s time for new boots or a resole. Sometimes a boot’s sole will also de-laminate, peeling away from the other layers. Periodic sole checks help you catch this before it gets too bad and you lose footing either off your motorcycle Depending on the sole and the boot’s history you might fix minor de-lamination yourself, take it to a professional for repair, or just trash the boots and buy a better pair.
  1. The ankle cuff is worn through. If the inside ankle padding is worn through but you still may feel comfortable but this is still a sign the safety reinforcing in this area has been compromised. This also means the boots have loosened, which will affect their sturdiness and support to your foot. You might think about wearing extra socks to tighten the fit, but in a crash, like your helmet, you want the materials to do their task.
  1. They Don’t Fit / Velcro Fasteners Won’t Stick.  If you wear lightweight sporty motorcycle boots, one day you might notice that the formerly glove-like uppers are now rather loose and won’t remain fastened. If the uppers are becoming baggy or shapeless, the structural elements in the upper boot may be giving way.
  1. They leak.  Soaked feet and socks are uncomfortable and distracting to your focuson the road. Water is a sign something’s not sealing out the moisture such as cuts, cracks or punctures. A waterproofing treatment could help and of course repair by a professional. However, if your waterproof or water-resistant motorcycle footwear – usually made with rubber or PVC materials- start leaking they need to be replaced. Separation of the rubber or PVC parts, including the out-sole, foxing (the piece of material that protects the joint between the out-sole and the upper) or toe cover are problem zones.

The Good News: If you have a pair of worn-out motorcycle boots that you simply adore, a good shoe repair expert may be able to patch the uppers and repair (or completely resole) the soles. (Damaged waterproof boots, not so much.) It never hurts to stop in for an estimate before you go boot shopping again.

TIP: A good bench marker is that the heavy-duty footwear is, the safer they’ll be and protective in a mishap and boots made specifically for motorcycling are the best.  Of course this will be indicated in the price. But they will last longer too (as long as the manufacturer has done its job right). And don’t worry about scuffs or marks (i.e. toe shifter area). These are just cosmetic issues unless of course they start to affect your footwear and footing performance

WRN’s Top 10 Things to Expect for Beginners 

  1. You’re going to drop the bike at least once.
  2. You’re going to be nervous for a while.
  3. You’re going to get frustrated.
  4. You’re going to hear “crash” stories from non-riders, whether you like it or not.
  5. You’re going to get advice from others, whether you want it or not.
  6. You’re going to realize at some point that you’re not wearing properly fitting gear (sunglasses that make your eyes water, gloves that are too bulky, etc.).
  7. You’re going to struggle with how to manage a new hairstyle called “helmet hair.”
  8. You’re going to spill gasoline all over the tank at least once.
  9. You’re going to realize riding your own motorcycle is cooler than you ever imagined.
  10. You’re going to find yourself smiling a lot more.

More advice from seasoned riders in hindsight: Visit “What I’d Tell My Younger Motorcyclist Self.”

Advice from Other Women Riders
Don’t Give Up If You Fail the MSF Class
“The month of March marks my one-year anniversary with my motorcycle. I used my tax refund to buy a Honda 750 Nighthawk. True, it’s been only one year and about 1,000 miles, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment because, as it turned out, these skills did not come very naturally to me. I failed the MSF course and dumped my bike three times (very publicly) in the first couple of months. After these humiliating experiences, I had no confidence, and I was so scared and tense while riding that I came very close to giving up. The second time around, the MSF course was a very different experience. I passed easily. This made me realize that I had gained the skills necessary to feel in control while riding. I kept practicing, and gradually my skills improved. Now riding is something I enjoy and look forward to.”
Star Anderson, Atlanta, Ga.

More great advice on failing, as well as getting asked to leave the MSF class, in our Your Questions Answered section.

Getting In Tune With Your Bike
“I am very happy to announce that I am finally one with my bike. My Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide and I have formed a bond that is hard to describe. All the patience and practice has finally paid off. If someone told me a couple of years ago that I’d be riding down Main Street at Daytona Bike Week on my own Harley and loving every second of it, I would have referred them to the loony bin! But I’ll be darned if I didn’t do it! My message to you is this: If you’re just starting out, or if at times you lose your confidence and think you can’t do it, I’m living proof that with time, patience and practice, you can do it. Just hang in there and don’t give up!”
Linda Pesheck, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Be sure to visit WRN's <a href="http://womenridersnow.com/pages/reader_stories.aspx">Reader Stories</a> section for more inspiring tales from women riders.

Be sure to visit WRN’s Reader Stories section for more inspiring tales from women riders.

Perseverance Through the Resistance
“I am a 55-year-old married woman who decided, for reasons not fully understood, to ride a motorcycle. Now, in my family, such a desire bordered on the incredulous. No one I knew—close friend or family member—rode motorcycles, and the idea of a woman taking up the activity was way out there. Sheer courage and perseverance kept me on the path to realizing my dream. Following the successful completion of the MSF course, I purchased not one but two bikes on my own counsel. Along the journey I have met contempt and kindness, but much to my surprise, most people are intrigued with my interest in motorcycling. I am still in the process of overcoming the intimidation of this once male-dominated sport, but each time I turn over the engine, I am one step closer to freedom.”
Christine Armbrecht, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Motorcycling is Life Changing
“My first bike was a red Honda Shadow VLX that I bought new after getting my motorcycle license. From that day on, my life changed. I changed. Until I discovered motorcycle riding, I never really had an outlet to express myself or an interest that touched my spirit and permeated my entire being. Riding gave my life new meaning and purpose. Being a woman rider added to my self-esteem and put me in a unique category. We are a rare breed. I remember being out riding one day and seeing a teenage girl in the car in front of me turn in her seat to check me out. She was out with a bunch of friends, and they all did a double take when they saw I was a ‘she.’ The girl gave me the thumbs up and shouted, ‘You represent us!’ That made me feel especially proud, and I was grinning all the way home.”
Elissa Dominianni, Selden, N.Y.

The <a href="http://www.womenridersnow.com/pages/forum.aspx">WRN Forum</a> is another great place to share your experiences and find words of encouragement.

The WRN Forum is another great place to share your experiences and find words of encouragement.

Ultimate Freedom
“When I am on my bike, I feel free. I think about the freedom that women have in the United States and how wonderful it is. I think about how sad it is that women in other parts of the world are not allowed to feel this kind of freedom. Every time I pass by a military vehicle, I give them a biker wave. I know that they are part of the reason why I can jump on my very own Harley-Davidson and ride down the road with no fear and go anywhere I want to go. I love it!”
Judy Weed, Tallahassee, Ala.

Joy in the Front Seat
“I am 52 years old, but when I get on my bike, I feel like I’m 30. I would recommend that other women who are riding behind their husbands get their own bikes. It’s a freedom that’s unexplainable. I am a happy woman biker in Oklahoma and proud of it.”
Linda Robertson, Vinita, Okla.

Life Confidence Builder
“I am now in my 27th year of riding and thoroughly enjoy it. While I don’t always get to put as many miles on my motorcycle as I would like, I don’t intend to give it up anytime soon. Even the years that I was pregnant or raising three children, I would at least get a few Sunday rides in throughout the summer. My husband’s support and the MSF classes have helped me tremendously in becoming a more confident person—both on and off the bike.”
Donna Bennett, Sacramento, Calif.

Need some encouragement or advice from other women riders? Visit the Beginners section of the WRN Forum

Taken from WomenRidersNow.com

Curves and Cornering

Curves and Cornering Vicki Sanfelipo, RN – Author of “A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist”

by Vicki Sanfelipo
September 1, 2012 4 Comments
Vicki Sanfelipo
Vicki Sanfelipo

Some people call me a “curve junky.” I love riding curvy roads on my motorcycle. Of course, curves can be fun but, they can also be dangerous!

First, here’s one of my favorite stories about how curves can be fun:

In 1998 I took a five-week leave of absence from my job at the hospital and hit the road to teach Accident Scene Management classes on the weekends while I explored new areas on my motorcycle during the week. I met a woman from Georgia online, Susan Brown, who invited me to ride with her in the mountains north of Atlanta. We met at a little diner. I was not sure what to expect and laughed with delight as she rode in on a Honda Nighthawk in a full one-piece sport biking suit. Our riding styles could not have been more different. I rode a Harley FXR. I was having some problems with a blown head gasket so I had to carry paper towels with me and wear chaps so I could wipe the oil off my chaps when I stopped. No big deal for me as I was always fixing my bike. It was still running, right? We stopped at the bottom of Bell Mountain because Susan wanted to explain to me that the next leg of the journey to the top of Bell Mountain was a sport biker’s dream. Then, as she prepared to leave me behind (so she thought), she said she would just see me at the top. “There’s no way you can get lost,” she told me. Much to her surprise I never lost sight of her, though I was scraping footboards. The ride was fun, but seeing the look on her face was even more fun.

Now, for an example of the danger that’s always present when you “hit the curves”:

A few years later, I got a call from a friend who was fairly new to riding. He wanted to go for a ride and show me a curvy road he had found. Of course I was in. He led the way and challenged me to keep up with his bike, which was smaller than mine and more maneuverable. Not bad, I thought, as he handled those curves pretty well. Eventually he pulled over and invited me to lead the way. Little did I know I was about to experience a moment where my heart was in my throat. After riding for a while with Len behind me, I noticed a car coming in the opposite direction just as I was coming out of a curve. I looked in my mirror just in time to see Len took the same corner too fast and had swung out into the opposite lane — with the car bearing down on him! He backed off the throttle and struggled to pull the bike back into our lane, narrowly missing a head-on collision. After that, I adjusted our speed to a more manageable level for the novice rider. As we chatted about the incident over lunch he explained to me that he had been told, “Never brake in a curve.” I told my friend that “never” is a very strong word. While you should slow down before a curve and accelerate through it, there are times you may get into a curve a little too fast and touching the back brake to slow down is necessary. He asked how I would have handled getting the bike back into the right lane at that moment and I told him I would have shifted my weight and leaned more to the right while rolling on the throttle. He was surprised to hear me say that I would have rolled on the throttle. Just shows there’s always a lot to learn about taking curves and proper cornering and just riding in general.

Learning to negotiate curves and proper braking is a lifelong learning skill. One of the websites I found that does a wonderful job of explaining proper cornering can be found here: Learn More

Another common reference is Total Control by Lee Parks. He wrote a book and has a program that teaches advanced motorcycling skills like the ability to clutch, brake and corner. Here is a four minute YouTube from Total Control: Watch Now

An 8-minute video that will take more time for you to watch but does a good job of explaining throttle management and counter steering is Bike Cornering Bible: Watch Now

Vicki Sanfelipo
Vicki Sanfelipo

I would also like to caution you on riding beyond your ability, particularly when you are riding with others where you may feel pressured to keep up. I was teaching seminars at the AMA’s Women & Motorcycling conference in West Virginia. I was traveling with a group of friends after the conference to the Dragon’s Tail in North Carolina. As we headed out of town into the Shenandoah Mountains the road became very twisty with constant turns that were getting tighter as we climbed higher into the mountains. I was leading the group and I started out slowly, watching the group behind me to see if they were keeping up as I progressively began taking corners faster. Suddenly, as I came out of a corner I heard the screeching sound of metal on the pavement. I glanced in my mirror to see a bike on its side sliding across the centerline toward a drop-off with no guardrail. I got my bike safely pulled over in a downhill slope with little shoulder. I saw my friend laying in the oncoming lane and the bike at the edge of the drop off. Several of us had our cell phones out but none of us had reception. I put someone in charge of oncoming traffic and got up the hill to check on my injured friend. It just so happened that the group of cyclists who were following us had taken my seminar — “Preventing Further Injury at a Crash Scene” — just two days prior. They were doing a great job controlling traffic coming around the curve. Finally, we heard a voice in the distant valley saying, “Are you alright?” We asked them to call for help and 15 minutes later an ambulance arrived. I asked my friend what happened and she said she got into the turn a little too fast and touched her brake. She said she went down so fast she really didn’t know what had happened. We went back to inspect the surface of the road and found several soft tar patches. This goes to show you that it would have been better to slow down before the curve than to have to adjust speed while in a curve.

Skilled riding enhances the joy of riding. Many people who are learning to ride will ask me how they can get good at cornering, starting and stopping smoothly, etc. I always tell them to ride a lot and never be satisfied with their current level of knowledge. They should always be asking themselves, “What can I do to be a better biker?” Challenge yourself to learn something new.

Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT

– See more at: http://www.allstateridernews.com/ride/curves-and-cornering?cid=SOC-MFB-MOTO-ARN-140324%3ADrkPdCurves#sthash.pqOG74C6.dpuf

The Lowest of the Low Motorcycles

Taken from Women Riders Now

Article written in 2012

We thought it would be fun to compile a list of major-manufacturer motorcycles with the lowest seat heights. Seat height is of supreme importance to most women riders, as the ability to place one’s feet flat on the ground is perhaps the most important factor in giving women the confidence they need to handle a bike.

We chose 26 inches as the cut-off seat height for this list. Our original list, compiled back in 2009, used 26.5 inches as the cut-off height. However, over the last few years, seat heights on new models have been coming out of the factories much lower, so we’ve lowered the cut-off height by half an inch.

We compiled this article by checking the seat heights of motorcycles from all the major manufacturers. Surprisingly, Kawasaki and Suzuki did not make the list. The lowest motorcycle in Kawasaki’s lineup is the Vulcan 900 at 26.8 inches.The lowest Suzuki is the entry-level Boulevard S40 at 27.6 inches. Actually, many of the Boulevards have that same seat height. But we had to draw the line, and while the S40 happens to be less than 400 pounds, that 27.6-inch seat height on a 700-pound motorcycle would be a lot for most women to handle.

To illustrate our guide, whenever possible we’ve used pictures sent in by women who own these bikes and have submitted their photos for publication in our Reader Stories or Reader Reviews section. The photos that don’t fall into that category are either from WRN test rides or have been supplied by the manufacturers.

One important note: While this is a list of the lowest of the low, this is not a list of beginner bikes (to find that list, visitMotorcycles to Get Started On in the WRN Beginner’s Guide). We’ve ridden many motorcycles, and we’ve found that 26 inches is a seat height that most riders, short or tall, can handle and be comfortable on whether the motorcycle weighs 700 pounds or 400 pounds (of course, the lighter the better for new riders). Finally, remember that this is a list of bikes from major manufacturers—custom choppers and alternative import motorcycles are not included.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Models

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 565 pounds

Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster

Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight: 562 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow

Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 563 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1200cc
Seat Height: 26 inches
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
Weight: 567 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883 <br>
(discontinued in 2011)

Harley-Davidson Sportster Low 883
(discontinued in 2011)

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 883cc
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Weight 583 pounds
Harley-Davidson Dyna Models
Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1

584cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.7 gallons
Weight: 665 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob

Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons
Weight: 667 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider <br>(discontinued in 2010; reintroduced in 2014))

Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider
(discontinued in 2010; reintroduced in 2014))

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons

Weight: 672 pounds

Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Softail Models
Harley-Davidson Slim

Harley-Davidson Slim

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 23.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 700 pounds

Harley-Davidson Blackline

Harley-Davidson Blackline

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1690cc
Seat Height: 24 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 24.25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 731 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 25.4 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 714 pounds
Price: starts at $17,195
Read the Reader Review.

Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 24.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 724 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1,584cc
Seat Height: 25.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 733 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C<br>(discontinued in 2012)

Harley-Davidson Softail Rocker C
(discontinued in 2012)

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 1584cc
Seat Height: 25.25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 720 pounds
Read the WRN review.
Harley-Davidson V-Rod Models
Harley-Davidson V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition

Harley-Davidson V-Rod 10th Anniversary Edition

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 670 pounds

Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special

Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 670 pounds

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 1250cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 673 pounds
Other Harley-Davidson Models
Harley-Davidson FXSBSE CVO Breakout

Harley-Davidson FXSBSE CVO Breakout

Specs at a Glance

Displacement: 1802cc
Seat Height: 24.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Weight: 728 pounds

Honda Motorcycles

Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2

Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.8 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 542 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Honda Shadow Phantom

Honda Shadow Phantom

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 749cc
Seat Height: 25.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 546 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Honda Shadow Aero

Honda Shadow Aero

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 745cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gallons
Weight: 553 pounds
Read the WRN review.

Victory Motorcycles
Victory High-Ball

Victory High-Ball

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 659 pounds

Victory Vegas 8-Ball

Victory Vegas 8-Ball

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 638 pounds

Victory Vegas

Victory Vegas

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 645 pounds
Read the Reader Review.

Victory Judge

Victory Judge

Specs at a Glance
Displacement: 1731cc
Seat Height: 25.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
Weight: 660 pounds

Other Victory Motorcycle Seat Heights:
Hammer 8-Ball: 26 inches
Zach Ness Vegas: 25.2 inches
Vegas Jackpot: 25.7 inches
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on May 24, 2012. The reader comments up to this date reflect the original version of this list, which was posted in April 2009. The list you see now reflects the large number of newer motorcycles with very low seat heights that have come onto the market in recent years. We will continue to update this list when new motorcycles that meet our criteria are released.

May is Women Riders Month

By Diana Rowe

Biker chicks, rev your engines and rumble past those April showers into May for Women Riders Month. Join Harley-Davidson and the rest of the world in honoring women who have taken life by the handlebars.

Make sure you save the day — International Female Ride Day on Friday, May 4, 2012, which was founded by Vicky Gray of Motoress International (Motoress.com). The day celebrates women of all ages who take life by the handlebars by encouraging them to join together on their motorcycles, no matter the type, size or style and JUST RIDE! P.S. Chicks, you can purchase a really cool International Female Ride Day T-shirt at http://www.motoress.com

The entire month of May is all about encouraging 100,000 women to learn to ride either by taking the Harley-Davidson(R) Rider’s Edge(R) New Rider Course or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation(R) (MSF) Basic RiderCourse(SM) training program. For information on the Rider’s Edge New Rider Course or a MSF Basic RiderCourse visit your local Harley-Davidson dealership or log on to http://www.ridersedge.com or http://www.msf-usa.org. Or check out riding classes at ABATE of Colorado. http://www.abateofcolo.org

“Women have been enjoying the sport of motorcycling for the last century,” said Leslie Prevish, women’s outreach manager, Harley- Davidson. “In the past two decades, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in number of women embrace the sport. By declaring May as Women Riders Month, we’re honoring all of the women who enjoy the freedom and adventure found in taking control of their own handlebars.”
In the past 20 years, the percentage of women who have purchased new Harley-Davidson motorcycles has tripled, with women nowaccounting for nearly 12 percent of new Harley-Davidson motorcycle purchases.

For more information about Women Riders Month, including the opportunity to participate in the special International Female Ride Day rides, visit your local Harley-Davidson dealership or log onto http://www.harley-davidson.com/womenriders.

 

Helmet laws by state

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For those that are planning to hit the open road, whether you are pro or anti-helmet laws, it’s important to know where you’re traveling and whether a helmet is required.

Each state decides its respective helmet law.  As of May 2012, 19 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws, 28 states had partial helmet laws, and 3 states had no helmet law.

In general, states that require helmets also require those helmets to be DOT (Department of Transportation) approved and carrying the DOT approval labels. States that have helmet provisions typically base those provisions on age (all riders under 18 must wear helmets) and/or for riders with permits. States without helmet laws may still require eye protection or other forms of rider protection (such as helmet reflectorization).

State-by-State Motorcycle Helmet Use Requirements*

20 States, DC, and Puerto Rico. Require Use for All Riders: Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. + D.C. and Puero Rico.

17 and younger: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

18 and younger: Delaware

20 and younger: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Texas

Not Required in 3 States: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire

*Please note that the above information is accurate to the best of our knowledge and provided as a guideline. Please verify the helmet laws before leaving your motorcycle helmet behind.

For those that are planning to hit the open road, whether you are pro or anti-helmet laws, it’s important to know where you’re traveling and whether a helmet is requireEach state decides its respective helmet law.  As of May 2012, 19 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws, 28 states had partial helmet laws, and 3 states had no helmet law.

 

CurbNinja app for motorcycles

Motorcyclists and scooter enthusiasts need not fear the dreaded search for street parking in urban centers anymore as the mobile app CurbNinja was launched today. Built by avid motorcyclists, founders Fred Lebed and Tim Hines have developed a simple solution to the rider’s parking dilemma. The CurbNinja app allows users to find the best and safest parking spots on public streets vetted by fellow riders. Using crowd-sourcing, the app also allows riders to share spots they find with the app’s community. The CurbNinja mobile app is available for free download on both iPhone and Android devices giving any rider with a smart phone the ability to find and share spots.

“Living in the city, you learn where all of the best places to stash your bike on the street are, especially for free. I found myself taking pictures of my bike in these spots to thwart possible tickets, and then mapping them for personal use. Before I knew it, I had all my favorite spots plotted in a single summer,” said Tim Hines, Co-Founder. “CurbNinja was born out of that mapping idea. We created the ability for users to share these spots with millions of riders across the country in turn saving them the hassles of city parking.”

The app is easy to use when searching for spots to park two-wheeled machines. Users can search by their current location or address to find spots nearby. An interactive map then displays plotted spots where users can then click to get more detailed information, including a photo to prevent any confusion when parking. CurbNinja makes finding hidden free spots and the safest paid spots easy, saving riders time and money on costly parking. And most importantly, it helps prevent pesky parking tickets and expensive towing bills.

The most unique feature is the ability for users to share spots through a form of crowd-sourcing, which CurbNinja dubs ‘Tagging’. When users find a spot that isn’t already on the on the map, they can use the Tag function to enter information about the spot and upload a photo. The spot is then plotted on the map to be searched by other users in real-time. Tagging spots empowers riders and creates collective action amongst riders allowing them to share parking information.

With their app, the CurbNinja team aims to make riding and parking in busy urban centers easier for motorbikers. For more information search for CurbNinja on the Apple App Store or Google Play or visit http://www.curbninja.com.

How To Ride In A Motorcycle In A Heavy Crosswind

How To – January 24, 2014

By 

Motorcycle crosswind

Right now, the Santa Ana winds are blowing warm, hot air from California’s interior out towards the coast. That creates wildfires and, if you go for a ride in the mountains right now, huge gusts that feel like they might send your bike off a cliff. What can you do about it? Here’s how to ride a motorcycle in a heavy crosswind.

This is something I experienced myself two weeks ago, headed up to Death Valley. Nearly the entire length of 395 from Mojave to Big Pine, cold air was pouring off the Sierras to replace the warm air lifting up off Owens Valley. Since 395 follows the valley North-South, paralleling the mountains, that means the winds run perpendicular to the road. Anyone who’s ridden or drive up there knows there’s nowhere to hide from that wind — very few trees and no geographic features to speak of. To add to all that, we were riding dual sports on knobbies, so they were already pretty unstable.

How did we keep them upright? With science and skill.

Step One: Batten Down The Hatches
Start with the 70 mph or whatever speed resistance you encounter from the air as your cruise along a road. You know how serious that is and you know how tightly you have to strap things down to your bike and to your body to keep them secure. Sidewinds exacerbate that problem to a huge degree. So, if you have a tank bag or panniers or a tailpack or a backpack or whatever, try and get it as immobile on the bike as you can possibly make it. Throw a bungee net over the luggage, pull the straps as tight as they’ll go, anything you can do to make it work.

Your gear will also be vulnerable to attacks from the wind coming from an unexpected direction. Now’s the time to fully-close zippers, zip together two-pieces, seal visors and make sure the peaks on dual-sport helmets are on securely.

If you know you’ll be riding in challenging conditions, it’s also a good idea to make sure your bike and its components are all in decent condition. Pay particular attention to air pressures, as those can contribute to instability should they fall too low.

Step Two: Speed Up
Know how you can take your hands off the handlebars at highway speeds and the bike will continue to track a straight line? Well, that’s due to the gyroscopic force of the wheels, which make a bike “want” to stand straight up. In a crosswind, this is your greatest ally. While getting blown all over the road may make you want to slow down, but you should actually maintain a decent speed in order to bring the full gyroscopic effect into the equation. Just don’t go crazy, 55 mph should work just fine.

Step Three: Minimize Your Footprint
Depending on what bike you’re riding, your own body could be the largest piece of resistance the wind is encountering. Crouching down can reduce this area; if your bike has a screen, try to put as much of your body behind it as possible. At the very least, this will mean that the force of the wind will be acting on something closer to the bike’s center of gravity rather than as far away from it as possible.

At the same time, release your death grip on the bars. If the wind is moving your upper body around, a tight grip or stiff arms could be translating that movement into steering inputs.

Step Four: Weight The Pegs
When you’re upright, weighting the peg on the side of the bike facing the wind will cause it to turn somewhat in that direction. This counters the force of the wind which is trying to turn it the opposite direction.

Step Five: Hang Off
If the wind is blowing so hard that you need to steer into it to maintain a straight line, then hanging off will have the same effect it does while you’re rounding a corner — making for less steering input and less lean. This method is particularly effective while crouching down in some approximation of sportbike body position (a little challenging on a dual-sport), reducing your aerodynamic footprint and countering the force of the wind with your body weight.

Using these techniques, my friends and I were able to manage hours of riding in significant crosswinds in some approximation of safety and control. Don’t take things too far though, in any inclement weather condition you’ll need to use your judgment to determine if the risk is outweighing the progress. Pull over if conditions get too dangerous.

BACK TO BASICS – FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE A CURVE

 

by Jerry Palladino (MOTORMAN)

Recently, on Full Throttle Television, I did a question and answer session with Paul Allen. Paul told me he is aware that the most common crash is when a vehicle violates the motorcyclists’ right of way. But, Paul said he was surprised that the 2nd most common crash was strictly the motorcyclist’s fault, and that is, “failure to negotiate a turn.”

A week after that Full Throttle segment was filmed, I happened to be riding with some friends when I witnessed that exact crash.

I know I’ve discussed this type of incident before, but I feel compelled to go over it once again since it happens so often. Here is the circumstances of the failure to negotiate a curve I just witnessed.

I was 5th in a staggered group of 8 riders. We were cruising down the Ozello Trail in Homosassa at a leisurely pace. If you’re not familiar with the Ozello Trail, it’s a winding two lane road which winds for five or six miles from U.S. 19 to the Gulf of Mexico. On both sides of the road there’s a grassy, soft shoulder about six feet wide that dips into the narrow Homosassa River. Most of the turns can be taken at 40mph, but our pace was closer to 20mph. The rider in front of me was on a two or three year old Fat boy and had over 30 years of riding experience.

As we entered the second half of an S curve, I noticed the last part curving to the left had a slight decreasing radius. The rider in front of me was leaning slightly more than the bike would lean when it was sitting on the kickstand. In other words, it was no where near it’s lean limit. When the rider on the Fat boy realized the turn was becoming sharper, she panicked, let off the throttle, straightened up the bike, then looked at the edge of the road and the river and right off the road and into the river she went. Amazingly, her only injuries were a few cuts and bruises.

Now, the question is, why did an experienced rider straighten up her bike and ride right off the road, and, how can you prevent this from happening to you?

There are several reasons for the crash. First, she didn’t know her bike’s lean limits, therefore, she thought she was at that limit when she actually was no where near it. Second, she was focused on the bike in front of her, instead of at the end of the turn. By not focusing far enough in front of her, the decreasing radius came into her view very quickly which made her think she was going much faster than her actual speed. Last but not least, she then fixated on the River and since your hands follow your eyes, that’s where she went.

To avoid this type of crash, find your bike’s lean limits under controlled conditions. Practice turning ever tighter circles in a parking lot until you get comfortable leaning your bike until the pegs or boards scrape the ground, then practice making wider turns in both directions at speeds above 15mph. Keep your head and eyes UP and look well ahead of the bike. Never look down or anyplace you don’t want the bike to go. Remember, at speeds above 15mph, you’re counter-steering. Push left to go left, push right to go right. In other words, if you need to turn sharper in a left turn, push harder on the left grip. It’s the same to the right.

Never, ever, focus on the bike directly in front of you. Instead, focus on the end of the turn. Do your braking before you enter the curve then release the brakes and roll on the throttle. This will cause the bike to rise up on its suspension and give it more lean angle before any hard parts hit the tarmac. That’s all there is to it. It just takes a little practice of the proper techniques. If you wait until you’re in the middle of a curve on a winding road with water, guard rails, or even a cliff off the shoulder, it’s too late to practice.

You can either rely on dumb luck to get you through a tricky situation or you can rely on skill. It’s up to you.