Busting Motorcycle Myths & Misconceptions

When it comes to bikes there are a plethora of misconceptions out there, floating around like viruses. And these are no ordinary viruses. When you get infected, these viruses make you say things in front of fellow bikers that you shouldn’t and invariably make you look stupid.

This post is all about getting you vaccinated against these virus-like misconceptions. And if you are already infected by one or more of these misconceptions, than this is your cure. Happy healing, err I mean, happy reading.

Myth 1: Killing your engine at a signal doesn’t save fuel.

There is a general misconception that starting your engine consumes as much fuel as keeping it running for *enter random amount of time*. It doesn’t work that way. No extra fuel is provided to the engine while starting and hence starting the engine doesn’t consume any unreasonable amount of fuel. Also, the fuel burnt while the engine is idling is not getting you anywhere, it’s a waste. Thus, killing the engine at traffic signals helps save a lot of fuel over time. Killing the engine at signals also helps saving the environment, since our engines use a rich fuel mixture while running in idle and a rich mixture results in more un-burnt fuel which means more pollution and less snow for the polar bears. So the next time you stop at a signal, kill your engine – the polar bears will love you.

Myth 2: You should not ride a new bike in top gear.

A new bike should not be ridden at high engine speeds. On a new bike we should keep the revs below 5000 rpm till the engine breaks-in; below 4000 rpm if we want to be extra cautious. This is because when the engine is new, the mating parts are not well worn in. There is high friction between these mating parts and running the engine at a high speed during this period may damage these parts.

However, not riding our new bike in the top gear is actually counter productive to this. A new bike should in fact be ridden in higher gears as much as possible since the higher gears offer more speed while keeping the revs low.

Myth 3: Using the kill switch is harmful to the engine.

Why in God’s name would the manufactures provide a kill switch if it were harming the engine? What the kill switch does is break the electricity supply to the spark plug. This results in stopping of the engine cycle as more fuel will not be ignited. That is the same thing that turning the ignition off does. Turning off the ignition will break the entire electric circuit of the bike including the electricity supply to the spark plug. Bottom line – kill switches don’t harm the engine.

Myth 4: A bike gets accustomed to the rider’s style over time and another person riding it results in less fuel efficiency.

Wait, whaaat? That’s just plain, unadulterated bull shit! A bike is not a pet. It has a drive train and not a digestive system that adjusts over time. It won’t get accustomed to the rider’s style. The only circumstance when a bike changes due to the riding style of the user is when it’s not ridden the way it’s supposed to be.

For example, unnecessary revving of the engine while engaging the clutch results in wearing down of the clutch plates. In this case, yes the bike changes due the style of the rider but that’s only because the rider is a nincompoop. And even in this case, the working of the bike changes because its drive train is deteriorating and not because the bike is getting accustomed to the anything.

So the next time someone cites the reason of fuel efficiency while handing you their bike keys, you’ll know better.

Myth 5:“It won’t happen to me”

I have seen this general air of delusion in many riders. They feel that accidents can only happen with others. Let me get this clear – just because you have been riding for a long time and your experience so far has been uneventful doesn’t mean that you are immune to accidents. You are risking your life every time you hop on a bike. So take necessary precautions – wear a helmet, obey traffic rules. And above all, DO NOT DRIVE UNDER INFLUENCE. Drunken driving is a big no-no.

Let me tell you a story about Johnny. When Johnny is happy, he goes riding. When Johnny is sad, he goes riding. When Johnny is bored, he goes riding. When Johnny is drunk, he calls a cab. Be like Johnny.

So my friend, now you are completely immune to myths about bikes. Happy riding!

Did I miss out on any myth? Let me know in the comments.



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