Safer on a Dual-Sport Bike?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mikem9, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I disagree. Most of the thumper dual sports under 650cc are very skinny motorcycles without much substance. Most of them have no fairings, and many don't have windshields. From a cager's perspective, they are extremely hard to see from the front or back -- while driving I've thought a guy on a DRZ was riding a mountain bike once from several hundred yards back (no helmet either, so that didn't clue me in). Every time I go riding with my friend and he is on his XT, it's like a two dimensional bike -- easy to see from the side, but front or rear, it vanishes. Kind of scary.
    #21
  2. HH

    HH Hurricane Harry

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    In the city, I think the dualsport has a better advantage at finding a way out of situations. At highway speeds, the vibrations and buffeting are distracting on smaller bikes.
    #22
  3. ADW

    ADW 'tard bike restos

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    I'll be killed just as badly on my GL1800 950 pound Goldwing as I will on my 650 KLR or my vintage 350f Honda. I suppose there's SOME minor difference in that the GL1800 has more power and better brakes etc., but a left-turner or bimbo on her cellphone ramming me from behind at a light will kill the shit out of me no matter what I'm on. I really don't consider the bike I'm on a factor at all when street riding (OK, if I'm on my CT90 I know that's a powerless brakeless shitbox for modern roadway travel, but I don't ride it in city conditions. It's only for gravel roads and very rural pavement where it's rare to see more than a few cars).
    #23
  4. LetItRoll

    LetItRoll ForwardAholic

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    There is quite a bit of difference between the handling and braking abilities of different bikes even within the same catagory, (klr650 vs drz400s, xr650l, etc) and the same in the other sport, touring, cruiser catagories as well, any bike that stops sooner, turns quicker, better power to weight ratio, etc. is going to increase the ability to avoid or reduce trouble in some situations, no way of knowing for sure unless you know the exact particulars of the peril(s) waiting for you. One advantage of the better handling dual sport bikes, when on road riding if the trouble is in front of you and gives limited time for reaction/avoidance as is so often the case, there can often be larger escape route(s) due to the ability to leave the road after slowing some and navigate whatever ditch, gravel, farmers field, curb, etc. awaits. Of course not all roads or situations present anything that you would want to hit on any bike, but many do and an xr650l for example can briefly handle some moderatly rough terrain at 40 mph that no street bike would want to see. There of course are going to be other situations that could occur that dual sport bikes will always be worse at, so each riders exact situation, roads most often traveled, comfort with speed, vision, reaction time, etc. will usually be greater than the difference between the bikes. As many others have pointed out here, nothing takes the place of defensive driving. There are many, many riders that have ridden tens of thousands of miles on all of these bikes without trouble, and also others that have crashed every one of these same bikes, there are great differences in the bikes but even so it usually comes down to the rider. Have fun and ride sane.
    #24
  5. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    Speed doesn't kill, instantly becoming stationary is what gets you.

    What means it can NOT out-accelerate an average car. It's common sense that being slightly faster than surrounding traffic and being able to get out of a situation in several ways - having the choice to brake OR accelerate - is safer.
    #25
  6. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Certainly helps with Kangaroos. DL 650 1, Deer 1.

    I aimed to be on empty road after the impact, off the brakes at the last second , got bounced into the air, smears of blood, hair and mud on the bike but no damage. I'm pretty sure a sports bike would have fared badly there, smaller wheels, less suspension travel - and likely travelling a lot faster in the first place.

    Debris, no contest, the wide bars, suspension travel and steering lock make hitting even gravel in corners mostly survivable. As does hitting it at slower speed in the first place :lol3

    I think that's the big win for DS bikes, even more for scooters, when shit happens, it happens at far lower speeds. That means on average, less damage.

    Pete
    #26
  7. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    I'd place less focus on what how the bike is safer (more visible, maneuverable, whatever) and more focus on what it says about the rider that they choose to be riding that bike.

    Cruiser riders say sportbikes are more dangerous- sport bike riders say cruiser riders are more dangerous. Oregon 2012 stats say they're BOTH over-represented in crash numbers. Under represented are dual sports (indiscriminate of size) and touring bikes.
    #27
  8. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    I actually did that today. :lol3

    I don't know that dualsports are safer. Some PEOPLE are probably safer on dualsports than they would be on some other bikes. It also depends on how your dualsport is set up and if you're used to it. I think a lot of dualsports tend to be more forgiving of noob mistakes in being ham-fisted with throttle, brakes, and steering inputs. They'll also roll right over a lot of crap that would destroy some bikes. My DR took a 4-5' deep ditch at 50MPH once, for example.

    Put good brakes on your dualsport. Keep it in good repair. Put good suspension on it. Ride appropriate to the tires you have on. Make sure your bike has enough power for the roads you're riding on.

    Ride with your head in the ride.
    #28
  9. ddavidv

    ddavidv Thrifty not cheap

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    I used to ride a POS '89 KLR650. I replaced it with a 2004 Wee Strom a few months ago. My insurance actually went down. :huh
    #29
  10. Aj Mick

    Aj Mick Been here awhile

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    Safer on a dual sport bike..... What a lot of nonsense.

    Different bikes are optimised to different situations, with "dual-sport" bikes being the all rounders. They are compromised in just about every way.

    Safety is not about the bike, but about riders being aware of their surroundings, and riding within limitations of the bike they are using.
    #30
  11. luckygrownup

    luckygrownup Been here awhile

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    Statistics are fun. According to the hurt report, "Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents." So, you can say a big Duel sport is safer.If you want to be safer on a motorcycle don't drink and ride: "Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement." according to Hurt.

    Here are some interesting stats from Hurt:
    Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
    Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
    The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
    Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data.
    The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
    More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident data.

    The best way to find the safest motorcycle is go to an insurance company and look up the rate for different bikes.

    My bike insurance rates:
    2002 BMW R1150 RTP $130/year ( Insurance says this is a safer bike.)
    2013 BMW R1200 GSA $350/year ( Insurance says my duel sport is 3 times less safe than my Touring bike. Since I ride this one about 3x faster, this may be true. )
    #31
  12. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    The Nut holding the bars is what makes a bike safe or dangerous.
    #32
  13. Racersteve

    Racersteve Adventurer

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    "Safer", you say, while discussing motorcycle riding, well, ok, as most non-riders would say we're crazy for riding AT ALL!
    I think 4 things keep us "safe": Perception, Throttle, and way down the list Steering and then Brakes. Anticipating what is going to happen will prevent you from needing most panic reactions. The throttle on a fast bike in the fast lane keeps you ahead of everything behind you, and most vehicles changing lanes into you. Marginally, you could steer away from some problems, but reaction time, traction and available clear road will limit you. Finally, the almighty brakes, what they will do is lock up for most riders and drop you into the problem you are trying to avoid, hopefully at a reduced speed. No, give me the brains to see what might happen, and the throttle to avoid it. Unfortunately, as my passenger wife said on her first ride------- "I don't feel as safe on this (KLR) as your big (ZRX1200) fast bike." THAT'S perception!
    #33
  14. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Don't bet on that. Every dual sport and especially supermoto test I've ever read will comment on how these bikes can shock a sportbike rider when it comes to tight winding roads. I've actually experienced that when riding with sportbike riders, when there is no window for sheer speed and acceleration the dual sport can put the hurt on a sportbike. That's also why the term "urban assult vehicle" often comes up in those articles too. They're just REALLY maneuverable... If you learn to trust the tires and don't run the DOT knobbies or squarish trials tires. I can lean far enough to scrape a toe on a peg that is about 10" off the ground when sitting upright.
    #34
  15. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    I would tend to say there has been breakdown. That is why a 600 sportbike is far more expensive to insure than a 650 dual sport. Same with a 1000 sportbike versus a 1200-1800 cruiser or tourer. Of course the cost of crash damage comes into play as well. The insurance industry has the numbers I am sure.

    Still as you and I agree, it is the rider that makes safety. I could ride a current 600 or 1000 supersport and be far less likely to get into an accident than most new riders of any age or a 20something rider with experience (one due to newness, the other due to that immortality of youth).
    #35
  16. Idle

    Idle Been here awhile

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    I ride a Husaberg 650 supermoto, the cons are... Let me get back to you on that :thumb

    Blown around by wind; Even passing semi trucks on the freeway, I don't have a problem. I get some movement, but it's predictable. I have firm suspension resprung and revalved for my weight. My bike is very stable at snails pace or breakneck speed.

    Less passing power; My bike will out accelerate many bikes from 0-60mph.

    Less power to blip out of danger; ^^

    Brakes; front 320mm with radial 4 pot caliper with great feel, and strong engine breaking aswell.

    Pavement tire grip; I've got 17" rain tires.



    One other pro for dualsports is you don't have to ride with your hand on your hip. It has to be safer holding both grips.
    #36
  17. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    My father was a traffic control engineer for Ohio, viewing the reports of virtually every accident on a state or US route within the division of ODOT under his supervision.. One time he actually said to me. "Speed doesn't kill, failure to yield right of way and failure to control does."

    He was pointing out that most of the accident reports he viewed had consequences less due to speed than due to either of the two other reasons. Even in the Hurt Report from USC back in the 80s the median speed was something like 25 mph in the accident reports that they accumulated in the study.. Most accidents don't involve truly hazardous speed unless you consider the speed limits or less to be hazardous.
    #37
  18. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Human behavior, not the bikes.

    I've seen people crash out on mopeds that would do the same on a bike. Scary part... they get driver's licenses for CARS!

    One kid I knew crashed his custom standing on the seat doing wheelies. The back wheel droppind into a recessed manhole - just enough to flip the bike past the balance point.

    One thrityish rider I knew still has his VFR;700 with like 90 K on it with no crashes. One kid had the one CBR600F (87, first year) that had not been down after I think around 10 years.

    It's all behavior, not the bikes.
    #38
  19. LetItRoll

    LetItRoll ForwardAholic

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    I like all those accident stats, lots of good info there. No question defensive and sober riding will reduce your risk more than any other available options. In the example above the insurance company is not directly saying the dual sport is 3x less safe, they are saying on average they pay out or expect to pay out 3x more on the one bike vs the other, that could be from the number of accidents, or more likely in this case from the difference in book value of the 2, when accidents do occur, no matter how much damage to the 2002 they will just total it and pay $3k or whatever book is down to now (being 11 years old). It would be interesting to see accident data by brand, BMW riders in general usually seem to have good protective gear, more likely to be middle aged responsible type, etc. That is how it seems from what I see where I live, not sure if that holds up nationally or if it is just imagined on my part. RIDE SAFE!
    #39
  20. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    OK, to reframe the situation: for a rider of equal skills, knowledge and abilities would a dual sport be safer in a particular riding environment (e.g. beat up urban streets) compared with another rider of equal skills, knowledge and abilities on another type of bike (e.g. cruiser/sport bike)? In such a comparison, if a cruiser or sport bike were ridden at the same speed over the same surfaces - the beat up urban streets or broken pavement of a windy rural secondary back roads - I'd say a dual sport is potentially safer. Maybe the cruiser can ride the same speed over the same surface as a dual sport that day, or maybe always, but their workload in doing so is going to be higher, and higher workload usually leads to errors.
    #40