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I'm surprised it took this long

I'm surprised it took this long for that statistic to pop up. There's a really weird situation in the bike market these days, where older, relatively wealthy guys are buying a bike "which befits their station" or something like that. It's the SUV mentality rolling over into motorcycles. I've discussed bikes with my dad (a non-rider), and if he was going to get a bike he'd "get a Harley". Let's see: a new rider... a Sportster maybe? No, a big Harley.

Yep, a sixty year old novice with a bad back with his eye on a 700 pound motorcycle. Ain't that grand?

Simon

PS. Not that my dad has any chance of riding while my mom's alive. That's strictly verboten.
 

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Lots of baby boomers and middle-aged Americans like the 38-year-old Cullinan are getting motorcycles
That just about answers the question,why. Right now in the USA there are more middle-old-aged Americans then any other time in the history of motorcycles.
And sorry to say being older does not rule out doing stupid things...... :(
 

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When I was in my teens my reflexes kept me alive, now at 64 it's my experence. If I hadn't been riding for the last 50 years there's no way I could make it. Of course the biggest bike I've ever had has been a 750 cc
& even that is bigger than what I really want or have any need for.
 

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Personally, I don't understand the attraction of the Triumph Rocket III or Vulcan 2000 or basically any "cruiser" over 1100 cc. I think there's a segment of the population that is compensating for something and is too shy to get a Viagra prescription. :lol:

I admit that when I had my GSX-R 750 I lusted over 1000 cc machines, but I claim extenuating circumstances: I was actively drag racing the bike at the local NHRA-sanctioned 1/4 mile track at the time.

Simon
 

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Re: I'm surprised it took this long

ClassicGeek said:
There's a really weird situation in the bike market these days, where older, relatively wealthy guys are buying a bike "which befits their station" or something like that. It's the SUV mentality rolling over... verboten.
That hits it on the head. The friggin status factor.

Norman, do not blame the the Reaper, the Grim one is just doing his job mopping up after.
 

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Re: I'm surprised it took this long

JohnnyDeath said:
That hits it on the head. The friggin status factor.

Norman, do not blame the the Reaper, the Grim one is just doing his job mopping up after.
Yeah I kinda thought you would stick for your colleague :!: :wink: :lol: :lol:
 

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There's lots of ways that mid-life crisis manfiests itself. And while it may be related, I think those guys who are either just starting out with motorcycling or getting back to it after 20+ years have decided they're not getting any younger, so they want to enjoy what they always wanted to enjoy and couldn't until now. I fall into this category myself. Yeah, sure I'd like a 1400cc big, bad, cool-looking Harley cruiser... my other half thinks it looks great too! But the reality is, I don't need it! I have more fun on my 650 Burger. Most of the big cruisers I ride with disappear into my mirrors very quickly when we cruise around the twisties of the mountain roads. I get to actually enjoy the twisties while the metric cruisers are worried about keeping their bikes up (... don't go there). I can easily see where the article is accurate. A lot of the older guys in the group have big cruisers after decades of non-riding (or of never riding). These bikes are more than they can handle. Even the 650 Burger is probably a bit much for someone who hasn't been into it ever (or is just getting back into it after decades).

I still think a 1400cc big, bad, mean-looking machine would be nice to have! And after being very comfortable with my Burgy 650, I wouldn't find it very hard to adjust to at all -- as opposed to starting out with one of those bigger bikes. BUT... other than looking cool and feeling cool, it just wouldn't be as much fun as the ol' Lardy arsed Burgy (hi Norm!).
 

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I still haven't see the figures that I would find most interesting: a comparison of the death rate vs. the ridership rate. I've seen several articles now stating that boomers are getting killed in ever higher numbers. Ok, that's one datum. We also know that boomers are also riding in ever higher numbers. How do the two correlate? If ridership is up 20% and death rates are up 20%, that's just what you'd expect. If ridership is up 20% and death rates are up 30%, that's bad. Of course, if ridership is up 20% and death rates are up only 10% that's good. So, how do the rates compare? Has anybody seen that data? I hate it when the news gives you some information (usually information that makes a good headline) but doesn't give you enough information to understand the whole story.
 

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AaaaaaaH!! At 38, this guy's middle-aged? Compared to me, he's just a pup!

Actually, I can certainly understand how all that might be true - but I don't have to like it. I quit riding for awhile because I could see the writing on the tombstone. I've always been a little on the careless side, when confronted with gobs of horsepower. For the most part, I understood that, and rode trials in the woods, or sub 500cc bikes (the biggest I'd owned before the Burger) on the street. I've finally gotten to the age (status?) where I can pretty much afford any bike I want (and want any bike I see), and it was only dumb luck (my wife likes the back seat) that I bought the Burger King, rather than the FJR1300 or the KTM950S Adventure or the Triumph Tiger. Her choice might be the reason I'm still alive today. (But I've got that DR350 now, and it's sure to eat my lunch, eventually.)

I also think another reason that I've been preserved may be the fact that I really don't like cruisers. You have to admit, that when ridden sanely, a sportbike with tons of power will actually keep you more safe than a cruiser with tons of, well, tons. Sportbikes today do everything well. By comparison, cruisers are sleds. They're too fat, too heavy, underpowered, underbraked, and handle like pigs. When I decided to get back to riding, my buying decision was influenced by the previous bikes I've owned. If I were a neophyte, as many 38+ year-old riders are now, I may as easily have gone the 'macho, make-a-lotta-noise, feel-like-a-bully' route, and gotten a pig. I prefer the finesse of a well-balanced (yes, it's still too heavy, but at least it has a low CG and a livable lean-angle), sport, D-P, or Super Scoot. 8)

Steve
 

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You have to admit, that when ridden sanely, a sportbike with tons of power will actually keep you more safe than a cruiser with tons of, well, tons.
I once believed this. I once even tried to argue this point with my motorcycle instructor. I don't believe it anymore. I agree that cruisers are sleds. Their performance envelope is automotive at best. However, modern sportbikes are so highly strung that they are dangerous to all but the most skilled riders.

Under "normal" circumstances, they are very responsive. Under "pressure" circumstances they will overreact to the hasty inputs by a rider, especially squids who don't do any track time. Dog jumps in front of the bike. Rider flinches and squeezes hard on the brakes. Rear wheel comes up. At this point the situation is still recoverable, but the rider panics, and when the wheel comes back down, they've crossed the center line or piled into the back of a parked car.

I wouldn't want my dad to buy a Harley, but I'd want to see him on a Yamaha R6 even less. Ninja 500 maybe. Maybe a nice Burgman... :wink:

Simon
 

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Steve, I can see by your sig that you're into wheels of various kinds in a big way. :)

I've always liked Harleys and big cruisers too, but I"m a little guy and know my limitations. Actually a little OLD guy now. :wink:

Probably I could, in perfect circumstances, manage (just), a big heavy cruiser. Unfortunately the circumstances aren't always perfect.
Soft shoulder on the road when you pull over, have to park on a hill, somebody cuts in front of you etc. Too much dead weight to wrestle with.

I use to ride a 650 British bike (an AJS Norm), and that was enough of a handful for me at rest. Mobile, I could throw it around pretty well, but I was a young man then with better reflexes, eyesight. hearing, and strength than now.
I'm still a little awed by the Lardy, but I intend to take it slow and easy, sign up for all the safety courses and gradually learn to co-exist with the sexy beast. 524 pounds will need to be treated with a little respect and planning, as well as all that get up and go I've been reading about:)


I have to agree with the SUV viewpoint expressed in this forum.

A lot of new riders are buying big simply because they can!

For a novice to take on Harley or a Harley clone just because he/she can afford it now is a little foolish.
I say a little, because I considered it myself for a while.:wink:
I like to twist that grip and go too! :twisted:

But on the other hand, if the bike's so big that my cage gets better gas mileage, and the performance and comfort is only so so anyway, then there is something wrong with the whole picture. :cry:

I can understand the carnage.
Riding around on a full blown 700 pound cruiser with no experience, no safety course training, expecting to live to hundred, well.........
 

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lilleyen said:
I use to ride a 650 British bike (an AJS Norm), and that was enough of a handful for me at rest. Mobile, I could throw it around pretty well, but I was a young man then with better reflexes, eyesight. hearing, and strength then now.
The better eyesight back then... I can agree with that. Reflexes are still as good (or at least I'd like to think so). But I don't take something that's obviously deteriorated (like my eyesight) and let it get to me. Heck, I'm stronger now than I was when I was younger. I attribute that mostly to staying away from cigarettes for 4 years now. By the time I was half my current age, I'd lose any physical challenge if I were going against myself today. Today, instead of being addicted to cigarettes, I'm addicted to riding the Burgy (they say you substitute one addiction with another in order to quit). And you'll find that the more you ride it, the better you'll be able to handle it (true wtih everything).
 

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I guess I fit into the stereotype too. I'm 35 and I just bought a 1700 cc Yamaha Road Star Warrior to share the garage with the Burgman. I first got my cycle licence when I was 17. Stopped riding between the ages of 21 and 32. Im glad I had gotten my experience when I was younger and learned the hard way of what NOT to do. I dont think I would want to start fresh at 35. ( I went to the MSF course 3 years ago to renew my licence. They pointed out the things NOT to do...but I already knew about them by past experiences.)
 

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Here's the article

Boomers dying on choppers

Midlife crises leading to bad choices

By David Sharp, Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine -- Mike Cullinan made a midlife course correction, breaking up with his girlfriend and buying himself a big Harley-Davidson motorcycle: a 620-pound Dyna Low Rider with a 1,450-fuel-injected engine.

Lots of baby boomers and middle-aged Americans like the 38-year-old Cullinan are getting motorcycles, whether to recapture their lost youth or pull through some kind of midlife crisis.

And now, as a result, riders 40 and over are accounting for an alarming number of motorcycling deaths.

Safety experts suspect older riders with a lot of disposable income are buying more machine than their aging, out-of-practice bodies can handle.

Across the country, the annual number of motorcycle fatalities among 40-plus riders tripled over the past decade to 1,674 in 2003, while deaths among riders under 30 dropped slightly to 1,161, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to NHTSA, the average age of motorcyclists killed in crashes rose from 32 in 1994 to 38 in 2003.

"It's really kind of astonishing," said Carl Hallman, highway safety coordinator with the Maine Department of Public Safety. "The ages of these fatalities are so high. You would think it would be all of the young kids on those fast bikes, but it's not."

The surge in deaths among older riders helped to push motorcycle fatalities higher overall. They jumped by nearly half during the past five years, from 2,483 in 1999 to 3,661 in 2003.

In Maine, 22 people were killed on motorcycles in 2004, the highest level in a decade. In New Hampshire, 29 died, versus nine the year before. In Vermont, there were 11 fatal crashes, more than in the three previous years combined. In all three states, riders in their 30s and older accounted for the most crashes.

"From a career standpoint, they have a little extra time and a little extra disposable income; the kids have grown up, so they're looking for hobbies," said Rae Tyson, a NHTSA spokesman who specializes in motorcycle safety.

As for why so many riders in their 40s, 50s and beyond are dying, big, powerful bikes appear to be part of the explanation. NHTSA data show that both engine size and deaths among riders with the largest class of engines rose during the past decade.

NHTSA figures also show that riders in their 30s and 40s who died were more likely than their younger counterparts to have been drinking.

In addition, safety experts say many older riders are either returning to motorcycling after many years or are trying it for the first time.

"They haven't ridden in 20 or 30 years, so their skills are rusty," said Cathy Rimm, program director for Motorcycle Rider Education of Maine, a nonprofit organization that offers safety training. "Motorcycles have changed, and they're getting bigger motorcycles. And they're getting on without a refresher course."

Finally, safety officials point out that older riders' eyesight and reflexes are not what they once were.

"In our experienced-rider courses, we do take into account the way your body changes, that your reaction time will change and that your eyesight will change. There are changes older riders should make," said Mike Mount, spokesman for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in Irvine.

Cullinan, a repair shop manager from Standish, had not ridden for 15 years, and his life underwent a big change when he broke off a relationship. He spent more than $18,000 on his black low rider with chrome.

"I went for the largest bike I could handle, or that I hope I can handle," he said.

Though Maine and many other states require classes for new riders to get motorcycle licenses, there are no such requirements for a license holder who decides to get on a bike for the first time in decades. No state requires continuing periodic education, said Kathy Van Kleeck of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Cullinan said his eyes were opened by the statistics. He has bought a helmet, which is not required in Maine, and is taking a refresher course this winter.

"I'm hoping I will learn something that'll make me safer," he said. "I'll be riding this spring and summer with my eyes open."

I myself am 50. I decided to enjoy life a little more since my wife and I are empty nesters now. Who knows when your health could fail these days. I try to enjoy life each day and for now the Burgie (my silver bullet) does that.
 

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Middle Aged?

Well, I'm not sure what category I fall into...I rode a minibike for a very short while in my youth...(10 or 12) Preferred to ride 20-30 miles a day on my good ol' Huffy bike. Always wanted to ride a motorcycle but none of my family or friends at the time road except for a few boyfriends...they would never even consider letting me ride...after all I was a GIRL! Well now that I am apparently middle age (40) I'm moving up from the 50cc scoot to the Burgman 650. I have a healthy respect for it as I KNOW it is too heavy for me but thankfully I did well in physics! I plan on taking the rider course and getting all the practice I can before riding it more than the 15 miles of surface roads to work. I don't think I'll ever even attempt to take it on the highway (freeway or motorway for some of you folks!).

I too would like to see some "real" statistics. I would bet that the proportion of riders has risen more dramatically that deaths. There were less than 4,000 deaths in the US (1 is too many) last year. Florida alone has over 100,000 registered motorcycles! And no offense to the riders in Maine, VT and NH...the ones that died probably were going to fast on all those twisties or were riding when the weather was less than optimum. It takes a lot more common sense to ride on 2 wheels than 4.
 

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I started riding at 60 -- years, not mph. At MSF course one of the youngish lads taking the same course asked why I was beginning such a thing "at your age -- uh, not that you're old, I mean, or anything..." Weeell, ya see, Spanky (pronounced paah-ee), it's important to keep trying new things, to make the envelope flexible, keep the emotional muscles stretching, and, **** it, continue to check life out.

And that's still my belief. Happily, tossing the hot shiny red car in favor of the AN400K3 turns out to have been an excellent, phenomenally phun decision. Tuning into this forum was another.

As for age factors, sure there are some coordination and experience issues that age affects. Fundamentally though, ones sphincter dimensions do not change with years: if you ride like an a----le as a kid, you'll likely do so as an older kid. If not, likely not. IMHO, of course. :wink:
 

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ScubaGirl said:
It takes a lot more common sense to ride on 2 wheels than 4.
Boy, ain't that the truth! I make sure that I am feeling great - very alert, not tired, etc. - before I get on the bike. I enjoy the Burgman, but my riding roots are with cruisers and I am thinking of going back (maybe sell the Burgman). My riding style is more laid back and I ride for the pure enjoyment of it. Granted, I commute to work and that requires riding on high speed highways, but the Burgman just glides along at 70+ mph. Going any slower on I-66 during rush hour is asking for trouble!

I make sure my skills are the best they can be by taking MSF classes every few years. The more I learn, the more I enjoy riding. Not having to worry about my ability to handle most common "problems" sure makes way for lots of fun!!

Madonna
 

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After owning loads of different bikes mostly 750s I got a 1500 Gold Wing, at first it was great, the comfort was great,the power was great but it was boring to ride so I sold it to a Saudi Captain in the Airforce. The difference here is that I am 55 he is 30 and when he came to look at the bike I asked him what bikes he had ridden and he said "my brother has a Ducati" so I assumed he could ride OK. When I said take the Wing for a spin he said, no, you ride it, I will get on the back, I thought ,strange, but off we went and after a short ride he said OK I will have it. Now the system out here is that you take the bike to a car dealer who handles all the paperwork, leave the bike for a few days and then the buyer takes it away. I just happened to use the same dealer to buy a 600 Ducati and in the corner was a smashed up Gold Wing, yes, my old Wing, apparantly he came for the bike, started it up while on the centre stand,tried to push it off but couldn't,got off and pushed it off without the side stand and dropped it. Three of them picked it up and he sat on it ready to go,now the dealers yard is all gravel he gave it a hand full and it spun round and threw him off, they picked it up again, by this time he was loosing face infront of his friend so he got it to the road very wobbly and set off in the wrong direction to the traffic and BANG. Lucky for him he got away with a broken leg.
There is no substitute for continued experience.

Ian
 

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I would have paid to watch that :lol:
 
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