A question for Harley riders, no disrespect.

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 390beretta, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

    Dec 18, 2012
    Up the Dandenongs
    I think you've summed it up pretty well. Safety notwithstanding, I've often wondered how do they tolerate the weather, whether it be hot, dusty, cold or wet. I know I'm a wimp, they must be tough I guess. Perhaps it's a bit like keeping up with the Jones's, but don't they realise the Jones's don't care.
    I was stopped near an intersection out in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee or Oklahoma somewhere, this dude and his woman arrive on their Harley, dressed in their uniform of do rags and sleeveless leather tops. I give a friendly wave, and all I get in return is a dismissive look. Oh yeah, they sure are tough. You just gotta laugh.:rofl Wankers.

  2. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

    Mar 2, 2007
    Yep! And the do rag also will add protection. I never see a Hog rider around here riding with a helmet on.
  3. DR Donk

    DR Donk Been here awhile

    Jul 30, 2009
    Western Michigan

    How does that old Bell helmet question go "If you have a $10 dollar head wear a $10 dollar helmet?" :lol3
  4. sphyrnidus

    sphyrnidus born to ride

    Apr 2, 2009
    No the protective gear is nog going to work if you get hit by a car, but most likely you will still have your skin, while without protective gear, you won't.
    Btw is there any evidence that coloured, hiviz or retroflective gear works on a motorcycle? As most have fairing and headlights on, it can hardly be seen and as most accidents happen at the front of the motorcycle, I don't think that it makes a lot of difference wether your dressed in black or yellow.
  5. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Feb 18, 2008
    Kent, Washington State
    Time to confess,
    My first street bike was a Harley and I wore the costume. I was young and impressionable, letting peer pressure, trying to fit in, and the image influence me to make bad decisions about gear even against my older brothers advice as an experienced rider and racer.

    After witnessing the results of relying on image and ego rather than training and gear I changed my ways. I'm still not ATGATT, but now always wear at a minimum a modular helmet, boots, gloves, and almost always a jacket and long pants. I do sometimes do my short sub 40 mph commute in shorts and a shirt in hot weather when riding my Ural. When on 2 wheels, jeans and jacket stay on.

    I sincerely believe most gearless riders don't put much thought into it, being more of a monkey-see-monkey-do kind of thing.
  6. Colorado_Rider

    Colorado_Rider Banned

    Mar 13, 2013
    Failville, CO
    Because babes dig guys with feeding tubes and can't talk.
    Benduro likes this.
  7. anotherguy

    anotherguy unsympathetic

    Jun 18, 2009
    the hills
    First reply nailed it.
  8. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

    Jul 6, 2009
    Tool Shed
    Funny you should mention it. I traded the only HD I ever owned for a new K75C in 1986.

    My guess is that many of the HD and cruiser crowd, as has been mentioned, got into it to adopt the image. That image is well-defined in the popular media of the last sixty or seventy years and if they have little or no MC experience there is no reason they would be expected to feel otherwise. Education and observation are what brought me to wear what I consider appropriate gear when I ride.

    These rider's sense of style is different from an ADV, RacerBoi, or an IronButt rider. Stereotypically their rides are short, their destinations often involve ogling each other's chrome over a brewski and the aim is to support an image that has been well-marketed for decades. Many just want to be unique, like all their buddies around them. Is this any different than the other sub-classes?

    As a teen I enjoyed reading Easyrider magazine and dreamed of owning a Harley, but had to make do with a Suzuki TS100. I went through twenty bikes before finally purchasing a Harley. When I did, it was a Sportster 1000, as I had come to appreciate handling and performance and the other bikes in the HD line couldn't even try to deliver. It was the first new motorcycle I had owned, and it was a disappointment.

    I tried to like it. Really I did. I tried to find joy in riding helmetless with jeans and a jean or leather jacket, boots and gloves. It was uncomfortable riding this way, having always ridden with a helmet. Putting in 400 mile days was a pain with the tiny gas tank. Wind, sun, and weather all will wear you down on long rides. Those noodles for forks were the clincher for me. I'd crank it into a turn, or try to transition between curves and have to wait for the steering input to translate through the flexy forks to the wheel. The bike had less than 10,000 miles on it when I traded for the K75C, bought a Roadcrafter suit and racked up 80,000 miles over the years before finally selling it.

    In the mean time I still rode with guys on HD's who were the real deal. We were buds, but I know it was embarrassing for them when we went to, say, a Gypsy MC rally in Del Rio and amongst the pirates was me on a blue bike with a blue suit, looking all GQ. They'd always threaten to use my bike in the bike bash. :lol3 But we were all riders and that would win through once they took the time to realize I was an all right guy, even if I dressed funny.

    These guys were content to ride long miles, day after day, in all kinds of weather. We had some good times and respected each other's choices.

    I'm just glad that we all ride. Riders are still better than non-riders in my book. If you ask me what I think is best, I'll tell you what is best for me. As for other people, I really do try to avoid preaching gear choices. Everyone has to find their own path through life and evolution must take its course. Some who prefer pirate garb will ride into their golden years and some who gear up to the max will get dead young, despite being well prepared to avoid injury.

    If someone has poor skills and poor gear choice, and, I care enough about them to intervene, I will probably point out where they might consider focusing in order to preserve themselves. Once.

    The bottom line for me is that I want to respect a person's choice, offer information if it would be well received, and avoid doing things that divide riders amongst themselves. Riding can be something different for each rider and if they need to dress a certain way to get that something, then so be it. At least they are riding.
    ACR and dmason like this.
  9. 131unlimited

    131unlimited Been here awhile

    Aug 14, 2008
    Folks are free to choose what they want, it really is that simple.

    Been on HD's for many years. In the 70's 80's 90's and early 2000's it really was no helmet, illegal beanie if you had to have a helmet. Leather jacket only if it was cold and most everyone rode in jeans, boots and a t-shirt.

    Now a days, there is still a lot of that, but there are many more folks who ride HD's with a lot more gear. For me, it's an armored Vanson leather jacket, gloves, Draggin jeans, boots and depending what I'm in the mood for, a full face ( most of the time) a dot half helmet ( some of the time) or no helmet ( couple times a year ) if I'm in the mood and in a state where I dont have to wear one.
  10. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

    Jun 2, 2010
    The mosquito-y Center of Canada
    Met a guy who's got over a million miles on Harleys. I think he's on something like his 27th Electra Glide?

    Anyways, he's fully geared all the time. Harley does make some nice stuff if you can get away from the do rags and sleeveless leather vests - AKA 'the uniform of noncomformity'.
  11. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

    Feb 11, 2012
    They're self-confident enough that it doesn't matter how some douchebags talk about them at the café or in the internet.
  12. dwestly

    dwestly Refuses to Grow Up!

    Sep 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    There is a difference between "gear" and safety equipment. Their leather jackets have no impact protection. Their boots may be the only piece of safety equipment worn, if heavy and protective. The gloves are usually fingerless, light leather offering no protection. Standard denim likewise offers no protection, and is usually the most misunderstood item of motorcycle clothing of all. Statistics say that you are more likely to suffer lower extremity injuries than any other in the event of a crash, yet even experienced and "safety conscious" riders still think denim is some magic force field.

    All this being said, I don't want to be deemed a "safety geek". Wear what you think is appropriate. That's what our freedoms are all about. The inevitable application of Darwinian Theory will eventually take care of the rest.
  13. moggi1964

    moggi1964 Tiger Keeper

    Dec 7, 2011
    Sale Cheshire UK

    I guess life is a gamble and you decide on an individual basis the level of risk you are willing to take.

    I do think education of new riders should involve showing them evidence of the difference between a slide down the road in shorts, jeans, textiles and leather.Once they understand the possible outcomes they are able to make an informed choice.
  14. Ride Now

    Ride Now Graybeard

    Aug 17, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    This ^ just about sums it up for me too. I've noticed more and more guys in mc clubs around here in the PNW are wearing full face helmets and even the occasional textile gear. Ya sure wouldn't have seen that 20 years ago! :huh :D
  15. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

    Oct 30, 2012
    Kingdom of Belgium
    Just some observations on the HD crowd in my area:
    They cruise. Because their machines are called cruisers or because you can't go fast without facial protection?
    When you go at a speed comparable to a cyclist, should you really dress a power ranger, are you really that much precious?

    I started riding when Joplin was still around and helmets were recommended but not mandatory.
    When the recommendation became law, I felt sorry for not having gone helmetless more often, while I still could.
    Putting on a helmet is like going from a motorcycle inside a cage.
    The caress of the wind is gone. The sound of the engine is distorted.
    If you never rode without a helmet, you just don't know.
    Really, You Don't Know.:jjen

    And I still get claustrophobic behind a faceshield. :deal

    Bottom line: from ATGATT to PIRATE, -shadow and vapours, all the same-, aren't we all fashionista first? :wink:
  16. Skyshadow

    Skyshadow Banned

    Jan 5, 2014
    By the hemlock tree on top of a hill
    Sometimes it's nice to simple get off a bike and walk into an establishment without spending 15 minutes taking off a bunch of gear and still being uncomfortable because you can't take it all off. I used to believe in ATGATT...now I believe in wearing whatever allows me to ride. If that means a pair of boxers and slippers.....that's what it means.

    Too much importance is placed upon telling others how to properly enjoy their pastimes.
  17. Tuna Helper

    Tuna Helper Rawrr!

    Jun 22, 2010
    Red Five standing by
    I tend to leave my face shield up for that reason. I like the wind.
    And the other end, the reason I tend to not ride when it's cold, is I don't like to spend 20 minutes to put all that stuff on, and even then I'm often not as warm as I'd like to be.
  18. Kubla

    Kubla Long timer

    Aug 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I am an extreme case but I ride a Harley because it fits my 6'6" 400 pound body better than pretty much any other bike, my size is also why I wear almost no protective gear due to not being able to get stuff that fits without having it custom made. I have 2 helmets, a Simpson half helmet and a full face that almost fits right, I have yet to find another full face that comes close to fitting and it is even difficult to look since there seems to be no standard for helmet sizes.

    And on the same note, where do motorcycle gear makers come up with their sizing, which does not match clothing sizes at all. Case in point, I own many coats and jackets in 4X and all fit fine, including my leather ones, ordered a first gear riding jacket in 4X, the front would not come within 6 inches of closing and was very tight across the shoulders. I would really like to have a mesh riding jacket but have been unable so far to get one that fits.

    Yes, I am well aware that I am fat
  19. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

    Jan 1, 2011
    Bisbee, AZ
  20. alii1959

    alii1959 Been here awhile

    Jan 31, 2008
    Georgia, USA
    I agree with everything you said, below. I too am a new Harley guy. I even have Hi-Viz Harley gear....they only sold it for a short time. Bright yellow helmet, body armor, gloves, etc. The only concession I make to comfort is kevlar cargos when it gets warm down here in Jawja. Otherwise ATGATT

    QUOTE=AKDuc;23145586]I agree with this:


    and this:

    I'm a newer Harley rider of just a couple years who's ATGATT. :D

    Tho truth be told, I did come from a "Ricky Racer Power Ranger" background. :lol3

    And oh yeah, I'm on HDForums but I like it a lot better over here. :wink:

    Anything 2-wheeled, Mark H.[/QUOTE]