10 Motorcycle Myths
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5. Harley-Davidson motorcycles leak oil and break down a lot.
This picture was taken at a Polar Bear Grand Tour Christmas Toy Run. It shows a group of 14 Harleys that all came in together and parked together in this corner of the parking lot. Surprisingly, none was leaking any oil and they all started right up after the group returned to their bikes.
The Polar Bear Grand Tour is conducted during the winter months in the NJ-NY-PA-DE region and consists of over 500 riders who brave the weather each Sunday for 22-24 straight weeks. I would say that over 60 percent of these riders are on Harleys and I can't remember the last time I saw one parked on the side of the road during a run, unless he/she was waiting for a buddy to come along.
Tales of leaking and breakdowns tend to relate to bikes of the AMF era between 1969-1981. That was 25 years ago. And I'm sure I'll hear from owners of many of these AMF bikes that they haven't had any problems at all.
So, if you've been waiting for Harley to come out with a machine that's reliable and doesn't leak oil, you've been missing a lot of fun. Go check out the complete Harley-Davidson line at your local dealer.
6. You should buy your dream bike for your first bike.
When the motorcycle bug bites, it can cause you to be less logical in your thinking. You become obsessed with learning to ride, getting a bike, and finding correct riding apparel.
You start looking at all the new bikes out there and you quickly fall in love with your dream bike. Usually, the bike is way more than you can handle as a beginner.
There is always a steady stream of newbies into motorcycle forums for beginners. It seems that the biggest riders are the ones who claim that they will have no trouble with a big bike. They are strong enough to hold it up -- whatever that means.
The point is that a beginner needs to keep their eye on the goal: Learn how to ride by taking an MSF course and then get a small used learner bike (I bought this 1981 Honda CM400T) for six months to a year to practice riding skills. During this time a new rider will probably drop the bike several times, most in low speed or parking lot situations. These drops won't do much damage to the rider but could cause significant damage to plastic panels on the bike. A new bike will suffer the most damage cost.
Dream bikes may also have too much power for a newbie. A simple momentary twist of the wrist going over a bump could cause a new bike to speed out of control or cross into an opposing lane of traffic too quickly for a newbie to respond.
So, as painful as it is, forego the dream bike for awhile until you become proficient in as many street skills as you can. You'll be happy you did.
7. Marlon Brando rode a Harley in the movie, The Wild One.
The 1953 movie, The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin, tells a story of two rival motorcycle gangs as they terrorize a small town after one of their leaders is thrown in jail. Brando and the rest of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club ride Triumphs and other British motorcycles. In fact, Brando rode his own personal bike, a Triumph Thunderbird 650 in the starring role as Johnny Strabler.
It's a myth that Brando rode a Harley in the movie. It is true that the rival gang, led by Lee Marvin's character, Chino, rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The Wild One was loosely based on the Hollister Incident that occurred in 1947 and was reported in Life Magazine.
More information about the movie may be obtained at the IMDb Web site.
Photo courtesy of iBaller.com.
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