by Bear, President and Founder of OBB
I’m probably bitching to the wrong crowd… You guys are here reading this, so you’re clearly part of the group that likes to read about motorcycling and be informed…. well at least you can sympathize with my thoughts then. In recent rants I have complained about people wearing fake dog tags and motorcycle jackets with fake road rash. In general, I have a put up or shut up attitude, but this month my rant is again directed towards the “fake biker”.
I had two experiences recently that really made me wonder (again) if there are more of them than there are of us. First let me preface my thoughts by saying this: there is no such thing as a stupid question, and I have always had a share-the-sport attitude. I’m willing to share what I know, and if I don’t know then I’ll say so instead of bullsh*tting.
When I started riding I could barely change a set of plugs myself. But with time, dedication, and by always trying to inform myself (ok… and often out of financial need), I learned to fix most things myself and even enjoyed it.
The thing is, either you head that route or you don’t. But in my opinion, motorcyclists should be informed and understand how their machine functions at the very least. People who only want to ride are missing half of our sport. It’s like owning a boat but never leaving shore. There is a segment of people who only want to ride, but like I said, I think it’s their loss and they are missing some of the great rewards of owning and wrenching. I often encourage riders who are not comfortable working on their newer machine to buy an older fixer-upper to start wrenching on. That way when they strip a bolt or break something while learning the ropes, it’s not the end of the world.
What really drives me crazy are guys trying who try to play a role. Either you know about wrenching, or you don’t, or you’re learning. There is no shame, no matter what your skill level.
I was troubled to overhear a conversation the other day at a shop… I listened to a sales guy wax on about the benefit of riding Honda’s: “it’s their four stroke engines, that’s why Hondas are so powerful and smooth and beat Harleys with their dated 2 stroke engines”… and the guy he was talking to was eating it up. Now last I checked, every major bike manufacture is using four-stroke engines, and aside from the odd dirt bike, there are hardly any 2 strokes on the market.
The thing that’s sad is that some people don’t know any better. We should all be comfortable with our knowledge level and be willing to learn. I still learn new things about bikes all the time. The important thing is to keep an open mind and not be a know-it-all or a bullsh*tter. No matter when, at what age, or why you joined the great sport of motorcycling, it’s our duty as enthusiasts to know the basics of our machines, their systems, and how they work.
taken from the Old Bike Barn blog
first published 2009-06-23