Minimalist motorcycle rider injury occurrence - is it less?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by skibikemototour, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Greetings.:wave

    The primary question: Do 'minimalist' riders, 250cc and less as defined here, incur fewer injuries from riding a motorcycle?:ear

    Various government studies :deal correlate greater motorcycle displacement and horsepower with higher incidence of fatal motorcycle crashes.:eek1

    My own thoughts are about injuring my legs, which are important for my other chosen sports and profession, actually more important to me than riding a motorcycle. My frame of reference is that I ride in season thousands of miles per year on a (minimalist) dualsport motorcycle, dirt roads and singletrack. I have had no motorcycle-related injuries since my failed attempts at motocross long ago.

    Anecdotal reports lead to the question, in regard to dirt bikes or dualsport-

    Is the incidence of lower extremity injuries greater when the rider is on a more powerful, heavier, taller seat-height motorcycle than when on a shorter, less-powerful motorcycle?

    Yes, understood (and have experienced) the thrill of powerful, long-travel motorcycles, no question. Here is discussion about incidence and type of injuries with 'minimalist' v., haulin' ass, kinds of motorcycles.

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I am sure.
    I never got hurt badly on a small bike, street or dirt.
    Got hurt plenty on big bikes in the dirt.

    Not to say you can not kill yourself on a scooter, but big bikes get people in trouble everywhere.
    And they do not have to be fast, I know plenty of people who crashed badly on Harley's.
    I also know a guy who started out riding at middle age on a Harley, then he got an old Harley, then a divorce, then a very fast sport bike of some kind. He lost it on the interstate at very high speed and is a real mess now, and no longer rides. He is lucky to be alive, but I am sure he had times when he wished he did not make it, and I am also sure he thinks the motorcycle thing was a big mistake.
    It might be different if he had a small bike, but there is that ego thing...
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  3. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Cruisers, which vastly outsell all the other type bikes put together, are almost all large displacement bikes. Hence the skewed accident statistics.
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  4. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Good thoughts NJ-Brett! I do not want to be like the guy described- but I differ in that I have ridden since age 13. However, deep into middle-age I worry about my professional life and my skiing (most important sport for me) being altered or interrupted by leg injury. Like you, I have not been injured on a 'minimalist' ride. I have confidence in my riding abilty on about anything, but lately I have these concerns....not as confident as in my youth:huh ! What REALLY gets into my thoughts is the decades and thousands of miles of injury-free riding- so is 'it' coming, or does that mean I will continue to ride and be injury free? Hmmm...:eek1
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  5. yuu

    yuu Been here awhile

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    Though there's a lot more ways to look at the data than bigger = more injury it's no shocker that it's easier to hurt oneself on a bigger bike.

    I'm over 200 pounds in gear - put me on a 125 and the chances of a power wheelie approach zero. Drop me on something like an R1 and I could probably power it up through several gears. Hell, my Monster 900 can power the front wheel off in 2nd.

    Mashing the throttle to WFO from a dead stop in 1st on 125 might wheelie it. Same move on the R1 will loop it.

    Like wise, you hear many less instances of that 125 spinning it's rear wheel out from under it, leading to a highside.

    Smaller displacement bikes are more tolerant of poor throttle control and are easier to control as they don't react as violently, allowing the rider more latitude and in most cases time to adjust.

    So yeah, no shocker that most of the time a smaller bike is a less dangerous bike.
    #5
  6. Myfuture_yourdebt

    Myfuture_yourdebt Banned

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    Read up on the statistics of how many young men pulverize themselves into concrete barriers at 130 MPH on their brand new crotch-rockets....can't do that on a scooter or most thumpers.

    Regarding leg injuries specifically...statistics aren't going to account for the thousands of times a year dirt bike riders crash offroad and "walk it off" without going to a hospital. From my 4 years of dirt riding, nothing has taken a beating more than my knees (second place would be elbows)...without pads one's knees are very vulnerable, they're the parts of your body that face out especially when you're falling (off your bike).

    That being said, I worry more about OTHERS than I myself (only after I have mastered what I can in regards to safety). It doesn't matter how safe you're riding or what size bike you have if Joe-Schmo in his jacked H2 and 24' toy hauler comes flying around a corner leaving you no-where to go. The vast majority of my close calls have been those sort of situations AND other riders going way too fast on the trails particularly around blind corners. The whole idea of "if you go over the center line in corner, you're going too fast" applies to offroad riding as well...I've almost been forced over cliff edges multiple times by other riders going the opposite direction and pretending like the trail is theirs and theirs alone (ex: they are far left on a left hand turn when they should still be on the right half of the trail only...add a blind corner and now you're asking for it).

    The mental approach to safety is more important than anything, IMO:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20415067#post20415067
    #6
  7. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Bump. Let's hear your stories and thoughts about small v large motorcycles and incidence of injury. Thanks! :muutt
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  8. JWhitmore44

    JWhitmore44 pistolero

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    I really doubt it's the bike, more like the rider. The type of rider that chooses a smaller CC bike (the term minimalist doesn't seem to make sense here to me) isn't the type to be roosting around and blasting through the woods, desert, or twisties. The folks that ride the smaller CC bikes are content to ride slower and probably a little more cautious. There's definitely some merit that smaller bike will make it easier for a new rider to learn on, and that it may minimize their crashes when or if they occur. You can ride just as cautious on a big bike. But that's not why you bought a bigger bike. You buy the bigger bike for it's power, the ability to haul more, to be able to crack the throttle and bring the front wheel up, to run down the road at a higher rate of speed. There's no reason to blame an inanimate object for the things that people do. You can ride just as safe, or even just as careless on any size bike. There could even be times that over confidence on a smaller bike could get you in trouble. It's not the bike that makes you a safer rider it your brain. Even with smaller bike, antilock brakes, traction control wont help you if you don't use your head.

    I've head several bumps, bruises, cuts, scrapes, and sprains form crashing big and small bikes. But it was a little 175cc 2 stroke that I was over taxing it's suspension that threw me over the handle bars and I ended up with a separated shoulder.
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  9. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    The worst injury I've had in 20 years of racing came from a KLX140 on a go kart track. 3rd turn from the start of a 4 hour endurance race.

    Once you are moving all bets are off, though a heavier bike can pop a knee easier, I can dab and hold or fall on my 530 where my SE950 might have broken my leg.
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  10. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    I put 49,000 miles over 12 years on a KLR650. No injurys. Heat exhaustion was the closest.
    15 miles in 2 months on a ~250 and I took out the ACL in the knee. 4 months later I stabbed my calf with the foot peg, caught me just above the boot.

    So far the smaller the bike the worse my injury list.
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  11. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    Can we assume that we are taking the other vehicles out of the analysis? One could argue, bigger bike, better seen...or...smaller bike, slips through tight gaps better when they cut you off...or...bigger bike, more power to accelerate out of a bad situation...

    Are we talking street only or dirt roads and beyond? ADV riding or single track?

    My thoughts:
    When the bike falls ON you, you'll be thankful for a lighter bike. So far my little 250 has allowed me to get out away from it as it falls. I usually end up standing on top of the downed bike. All incidents have been low speed dirt get off's.

    The limits of small or light can be defined in many ways. Many would agree that a DR350 is not a big bike. It was big enough to inflict a tib/fib fracture on a riding buddy's leg this summer. It happened on an overgrown deeply rutted logging road.

    OP:
    If you want to protect your job and skiing, don't ride. Just don't be surprised if it happens there instead.:D
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  12. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Not sure about this.
    I tended to banzai on everything in the dirt, top speed on the edge of control often, that is the fun part for me, seeing just how fast I can push a crappy bike in the dirt.

    The dr650 was up to 100 mph in the dirt, no room for error at that speed.
    The old Daytona was 70, an old xt250 was likely 60, the tw200 was 50.

    On the street, the old Bonneville would do close to 120, the sportster was limited at 110, the new Bonneville did about 110, the Daytona did about 90, the TU250 does 85 if the wind is right (drafting), etc.

    Besides throttle/power control, weight comes into play on both street and dirt, heavy bikes with the weight up higher are worse, bikes without lean angle are worse, heavy bikes with no lean angle are very unsafe.

    I never had a bad crash on the street, in the dirt, only on tall big bikes.
    I must have crashed 5000 times on small bikes in the dirt with only minor injuries (no hospital), on the dr650, I crashed about 5 times, one helicopter ride, much time off work, many broken bones, and that was a low speed crash.

    I am not sure how other riders are, but I have to get on it at least some time.
    Bigger bikes mean more speed, more weight, more damage.
    A big modern sport bike has enough power to get you in trouble REAL fast.
    Who is going to own one without getting on it from time to time, and just a quick getaway from a red light could have someone pull out of change lanes in front of you.
    Besides the usual 'I did not see you', sport bikes are so quick no one expects one to be there THAT fast.






    #12
  13. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Cars are whats dangerous,not the bike itself. If you have enough skill to stay mounted up on a bike then size is irrelevant.
    If you think its smart to run every bike you ride at full speed on the street or dirt then its you and not the bike that's going to kill you. Its whats between your ears that saves you. The throttle turns both ways.

    On a fast bike I can pass a car in a spit second,on a little slow bike Im hanging myself out there while droning past,every second out there in the oncoming lane is dangerous. Having really good brakes and great throttle response can get you out of many situations.......if you know what your doing.

    If your always having close calls on the street and saying things like "my ABS saves me every day" then you are way closer to disaster then you think.

    Many riders never take the time to really learn what they're doing,they just hop on and twist it up for the thrill,or some just dont have the coordination to get very good at riding,or its just an occasional hobby to go with their other hobbies.


    (I ride a little bike in the dirt,an 09 200KTMxc-w,the thing is I ride it because its easier to go faster on it on tight trails,safer?......Easier to pick up for sure)

    If you worry about getting hurt all the time your riding then its best to give it up,your in the wrong sport.
    #13
  14. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Yeah, thanks everyone for interesting comments.:deal

    8gv, very true. I could die while driving my car to work- actually probably more likely than my receational riding that avoids pavement...:huh And true, I can get injured at work and permanently change my life as well.

    And yeah, I ski well, but in this thought process I realize how close is the margin when I ski at times...routinely.

    I hope to not offend anyone saying this, but reading this website and seeing the crashes, with injuries, in TRs on easy riding has caused me to second guess! I have not injured myself since selling my crazy open-class MX bike long ago. But when I see these regular crashes on gravel roads in the TRs, I guess it causes the doubt:eek1.

    So, we consider our lives and actions. I do tell my kids "I want to live before I die," true enough, but I need to be responsible.

    Thanks for interesting discussion!:1drink
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  15. frog13

    frog13 Long timer

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    I'm guessing there would be a correlation between more power,taller,faster etc bikes,simply because all of that is there for the operator to "experiment" with?.But,even for a skilled operator,the more speed and heavier a unit is,I'd believe the possibility for injury will increase?. I know,there are ALL kinds of variables...........
    #15
  16. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    My riding has become much safer lately, but that's due to my type of riding now.

    I had been a four-seasons road-rider for many years, averaging at least 5,000 miles a year on dual-sport bikes commuting and traveling. I've ridden in Hawaii, all over the desert southwest, got my Iron Butt numbers, rode Alaska's Dalton Hwy, the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and many, many other enjoyable rides since the early 80's.

    That came to screeching halt (literally) when a habitual violator with no insurance driving on a suspended license pulled out in front of my Tiger three years ago. My bike had two headlights, I was wearing a fluorescent yellow reflective vest, and it was broad daylight on a sunny day, and the stupid motherfucker still didn't see me. This was my very first wreck on a street bike, after having ridden on the road since 1987.

    I went down with a concussion, two broken spine vertebra, three broken in my neck, broken ribs, punctured lung, and a dislocated shoulder with nerve damage. I was ATTGAT, and with the exception of a small skinned spot on my right knee, there wasn't a superficial mark on me. My Nolan N-102 modular helmet was wonderful... all the little plastic trim doodads came off of it, but it held together just like a solid full-face. I didn't even have a chipped tooth.

    I left the scene in an ambulance, the other driver left the scene in a police car.

    I was away from bikes and riding (and ADV) for a couple years, but I held on to my old trail bike, thinking I might get back into trail riding at some point. And I did.

    I ride a few times a month now, but strictly off-road, mostly single-track. My injuries are pretty much just skinned elbows as I fall over in a rut, or some other obstacle with minimal forward ground speed.

    I still love motorcycles, and I still love riding, but I just won't enjoy riding on the road anymore. Smaller-displacement thumpers (400cc and a couple 250s) for me now, and I'm happy as a clam.
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  17. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Good discussion, thanks. I think the little 250cc motos I am riding lately have less potential for trouble. You can crank it WFO and compared to my open class dirt bikes and big streebike in the past...very tame!:lol3 Although in my youth I wheelied my TS185 relentlessly, 188 ft once, and one time I flipped it while showing off and the gas tank flew off in front of everyone....:eek1! But it was my open-class Husky that sent me to the ER twice:arg

    I think this week I am a little tired after getting a little concussion out having fun:huh...That is perhaps why I have been pondering this stuff. Last weekend I climbed a mountain on skis with my daughter and 4 buddies. While leading the way down, skiing nice powder, I zipped under a low branch as usual on this run and met a bent-over tree top that was not there last season. Hit it with goggles and my ultralight climbing helmet, clothes-lined me, no give at all. At 55 I think I am not as indestructible as in in the past...

    Today I went out on the snomo, parked and climbed twice and skied powder solo:D Feelin' strong, ready to ride next season. Right now all I do is open the garage and start, rev, and idle my motos every week. Maybe next season again I will stick to dirt and gravel as much as possible and continue to stay safe!:clap:clap
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  18. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    Yeah, some of us are getting to the age where we just don't heal up very quickly anymore. And I don't bounce worth a shit these days. :lol3
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  19. skibikemototour

    skibikemototour Banned

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    Exactly, my friend! My mind thinks I am a 28 yo tough guy, until my body reminds me that I am....55 not so strong, not so indestructable!:huh
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  20. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    That's pretty much it. I'll turn 46 next month, but I'm in great shape (I can hang with fellow Taekwondo students half my age) and feel like I'm still in my 20's. Until I inadvertently lift something heavy at work. Then my back reminds me that I'm twice as old as I think I am, and that my spine's permanently deformed from the bike wreck.

    But aside from the injuries, scarring, and fatigue, I feel great. :lol3
    #20