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As I have mentioned before, my driveway is right at a major intersection for this part of town. As a result, I see all kinds of traffic go by every day & I have noticed something recently that maybe the "old hands at riding" can answer for me.

Quite often, when stopped at the light, I see motorcycle riders shut off thier engine while waiting for it to change. When the light goes green again, I hear them start up again & take off. Why?

I don't think it's to save gas, most people know it takes more gas to start the engine than it does to just let it idle (at least that's what I've been taught). I can't think it has to be heat related, because an already hot engine will stay that way for quite a spell after shutting down.

This behavior seems mostly prevelant to sport bike riders (crotch rockets or whatever they're called), but I have seen a few cruisers doing it. I could only wish the HD riders would do it as they seem to think they are in some kind of contest to see whose bike is the loudest, but they just sit there making the ground shake under my feet all the time.

Any rational ideas as to why they do this?
 

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I shut down at lights that I know from previous experience will take a minute or so to change.

With the modern fuel injection system on Burgmans that are already warmed up, I tend to think that it would NOT use more fuel to re-start after shutting down for a minute or so. That is, if you can resist the urge to "blip" the throttle, which would be inadvisable on a scooter, anyway.

If somebody else knows better, please chime in.

Bob
 

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Shutting Down at Light

I do it quite frequently with my 650 to save gas. Whomever propogated the lie about it taking more gas to start than to idle a hot engine has done the world a lot of harm.

Due to a required condition for combustion, a gasolene motor at idle uses almost the same amount of fuel while idling as it does at 50 kph (30 mph).

This is not true for a cold engine, a winter chilled engine started for the first time in the morning will take a lot of fuel, but not just for starting but because it must run very rich until warmed up completely. Shutting it down at a light will restart the rich period almost from the beginning. (In a car it will also seriously delay the period until you get heat.)

However, with a hot engine on a bike you can save gas and air polution by never letting it idle more than 30 seconds. (in fact here in Mississauga there is a bylaw making it unlawful to idle any engine over 30 seconds during warm months.)
 

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I don't know why they do it, but I do know why it isn't smart. You've got a chance at avoiding being rear ended as long as you scan your rear view mirrors, have the bike running, and have left yourself an escape route. For that reason, I'd never put a conventional motorcycle in neutral at a stop either. That lost second or two could be disastrous once you have determined that the car behind you is not going to stop.
 

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Maybe their engines are cooking? :lol:
 

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The only time I shut off the engine is when I am stopped at an open bridge. Sometimes they are up for more than five minutes.

Janine :)
 

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Why they are re-starting their engines

They are doing so to trip the light. Ask them,

Doing so sends a electrical charge to the bike and some believe it increases their chance of tripping the light.

My MSF rider coach says it works. I've not been able to prove it but the one light that I frequent that gives me trouble appears to still give me trouble. But, this is what I was told by the MSF rider coach. He is a retired motorcycle cop and a long time coach. He swears it works.
 

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Some of my friends that ride harleys have an issue with engine heat this time of year. -?- What Norm said? Though IMO Paul is absolutely correct.
 

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Janine, you must have a different kind of open bridge than we do. We usually get a sign previous to that which says "Bridge Out".
Although when approaching a river ferry it may say "Open Water 500 feet" or "Pavement Ends 500 feet".
 

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Alan said:
Janine, you must have a different kind of open bridge than we do. We usually get a sign previous to that which says "Bridge Out".
Although when approaching a river ferry it may say "Open Water 500 feet" or "Pavement Ends 500 feet".
Alan,

I live in South East Florida on the coast. We have bridges from the barrier island to the mainland about every 2-3 miles. We do a lot of riding along the beach, so when we cross back and forth we go over the bridges. They go up and down every 10-15 minutes. There is a lot of waiting, but the view is great.

Janine :)
 

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Why?

- Engine is air cooled and will overheat when running but standing still on a hot day.
- Noise. Once going the loud noise coming out the tailpipe gets left mainly behind you. But standing still it's YOUR hearing that is overwhelmed. Smart riders know that if you listen you can hear impending danger as well as see it, and with your engine off you've doubled your chances at discovering it.
- Vanity. The rider imagines himself a real girl-magnet, and doesn't want to miss a lady calling out to him when stopped at a light.
- Gas prices. A penny saved is a penny earned.
- Pollution. Saving the air for their kids and grandkids.
- Fear of falling. They don't want to be seen dumping their big bike, so they put the side kickstand down at lights which stops the engine.
- To get a quick listen to the expensive sound system they installed on their bike but can't hear over the running engine noise.

You pick.
 

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Ask a Harley rider if loud pipes really save lives, why aren't they facing forward to warn of their approach. Most accident potential is between 10 and 2 O'clock ahead. :?
 

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Janine, thanks, now I understand.
 
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