Fact or Fiction: Common Motorcycle Myths Explored

Owning a motorcycle is one of the most empowering and free feelings that you ever have. It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you own, crotch rocket, tourer, cruiser, sportster, or what kind of biker that you are 1%er, weekend warrior, or daily rider, having a bike is the ultimate in independence. They’re a lot of myths, legends, and old wives’ tales that come from motorcycle ownership, however. Some of these are outlandish, some are based on misconceptions, and some are outright dangerous. Many are true, most are not. You have probably heard a lot of them yourself in your time of motorcycle ownership. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones and whether they are fact or fiction.

Sport Tires Make a Bike Go Faster
This is FICTION: Racing tires are designed to be sticky and have a better grip on racing surfaces, but this effect only takes place once the tires reach a certain operating temperature. The truth is that you will more than lily never attain this temperature when you are using your bike for daily riding such as to and from work, or around your local area. While you might get a slight performance increase when you are on long highway trips, the advantage you may gain will not even be remotely close enough to warrant the effort of changing your tires out for the road trip.

In addition, racing tires are not designed for the rough surface of roads and highways. They are meant for the relatively smooth surface of racetracks. The limited tread on the tires and the lack of steel belting will make them wear out faster than regular tires. A lot of money put out, no real benefit gained.

Use of High Octane Fuel Increases a Bike’s Performance
FICTION: High-performance bikes are designed for high octane fuel since the engines are tuned in such a manner that a larger amount of energy is able to be extracted from the fuel. Regular motorcycle engines are not designed for such high compression extraction of energy and as such cannot truly benefit from the use of high octane fuel. The only real advantage of using high octane in your regular motorcycle engine is that there are more cleaning agents and engine boosters in the fuel which may help your engine run better on average. The truth is, though, that you can get the same effect by using a bottle of fuel booster with every fill up of your tank for less than the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded. Save your money and use a high-quality regular gas in your bike and every week drop a bottle of STP into the tank.

By Going Faster, You Can Decrease Front Wheel Wobble
FICTION: This is based partly in truth, however. The truth part is that due to a motorcycles two-wheel design the front wheel, which is thinner than the rear wheel, wobbles naturally. When you hit a bump or some other obstruction the wheel wobble seems to be more pronounced, but then when you speed up it corrects itself. Now for the fiction part and why…wheel wobble can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including issues with your tires or you from the wheel being out of alignment. If your wobble is significant you should get your bike into a service center and have it looked at but at all costs do not try to correct the wobble by riding faster. You could suddenly lose control of the bike and end up in a very bad way.

A Fast-Moving Motorcycle Is Small Enough Not to Register on a Speed Trap
This is FICTION: While your bike may be smaller in size than a car or truck, the truth is that the laser or radar beam that detects your speed is only the size on average as the lead from a mechanical pencil. You get the idea, you may be smaller but there is still enough of you to have the beam hit and there is no way to ride fast enough to beat the speed of light, which is what you are effectively racing against when trying to beat a speed trap.

Lay Down a Motorcycle If You Are Going to Crash
FICTION: This is not only massively fiction, this is also massively stupid, and massively dangerous. Are you trying to lose an arm or a leg, or to totally destroy your $25,000 investment in your bike? Why would you deliberately want to lay down your beloved machine to have it turned into highway hash browns? Back in the old days when bikes were less advanced and most riders had more balls than brains they idea of stopping a bike in an emergency situation was at least plausibly to lay it down and take the side, but today’s bikes are much more advantaged, they go a hell of a lot faster and there are more drivers on the road. The advent of ABS, disk brakes, computer stabilization, and other advancements have made it a lot easier to stop the bike quickly and under control. If you are in an emergency, then it’s best to just apply both brakes hard and controlled and try your best to maintain a vertical position using your feet. Remember, it’s cheaper and easier to replace a pair of biker boots and deal with at worst a sprained ankle than to destroy your bike and perhaps yourself in the process.

Now that you have seen some of these myths settled you are better informed and prepared to ride your motorcycle for many years to come. While there are a lot of myths and wives tales about motorcycles that have some truth to them, the ones that we have discussed here are fully debunked. Now go forth a ride!