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The Heart & Soul of Sportbike Riding

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  • The Heart & Soul of Sportbike Riding

    Motorcycling means different things to different people. This lifestyle is made up of all sorts of people each with their own conception of what motorcycling is. Think about it for a second. A "Harley" guy is all about presentation. No doubt that guys enjoys a nice ride on a sunny Sunday afternoon just as much as we do, but alot of his enjoyment comes from being seen on his bike. Of course, no respectable Harley rider will admit to it, but it's pretty obvious to us. I am not saying we as Sportbike pilots don't share this behavior because we do, but we do have our differences.

    Take my "Harley" friends for instance. One of them worked in the machine shop of my old workplace and I was there when he was building his panhead rigid. There he was, ordering Cams, HUGE pistons, and other so called "high performance" parts. After sitting on the side and listening in on him and another Harley guy go on and on about what he was doing, I asked them a simple question: "So...what do you expect all this stuff will do for your bike?" Simple enough question I thought. Then came their answer..."It's gonna sound NUTS!"


    "Uh, so you mean you got this high lift Cam, HUGE pistons, Super Coils, and $800.00 pipes (that look like 3 ft. of chromed bent tubing to me) so that the bike will sound nuts? That's it?" Both guys looked at me like I was retarded. Forgive me if I'm out of line here, but wouldn't some old spark plugs and a few holes punched in the exhaust with a nail have the same effect? LOL!

    I guess it all comes down to personal preference here. This same bike sported a 21"X90 front tire with no front brakes. I dunno bout you, but the idea or riding a 3 ton motorcycle around without front brakes with a rubber band for a front tire terrifies me. So guess what the answer was when I asked them "Why would you run a skinny tire like that up front with no brakes"? was? "Because it LOOKS good".


    Up till then I had never ridden a Harley. (Or Harley like clone). The first bike I ever owned was a Sportbike, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. After my first Harley ride it all because crystal clear....These guys...I take that back, these MEN are truly daring souls. They have every right to portray themselves are the Road Warriors they are. Their unlimited bravery so vividly celebrated amoungst themselves is indeed earned...BECAUSE THEM BIKES ARE DEATH MACHINES!!! LOL!

    Of course most guys raised on Harleys think we are nuts. I get it all the time, stuff like "You guys are nuts. Those "Ninja's" (I hate when they call ALL Sportbikes "Ninja's") are too dangerous. I'm into cruising, not killing myself." But walk in on these guys talking about their amazing feats and it really makes you think. Ive heard them talking about how they blast down the highway at a 100mph going SO fast that they couldn't feel their feet because of all the vibrations. And they call me nuts. I now know that SOME, not all of the Harley guys do really share one of the reasons why we ride, and in some ways they take it a step further! LOL!

    It may be too late to say that this post is NOT an anti-Harley read. Quite the contrary. I could easily flip the coin and talk about the preconceptions Harley riders have about us and our bikes such as, "You have to twist up like a pretzel in order to ride those things. Can you imagine the strain on your back? I like to kick back when I am riding". I thought the riding position on them cruisers was comfortable till I rode one. Without your legs to support you the shock of hitting a bump goes straight up your spine. I swear I was about an inch shorter after my first ride on a rigid! LOL! Here's another one "the front brakes are too powerful on those things. My uncle's cousins nephews girlfriends brother flipped one over once when he tried using the front brakes on one of those things. That's why I only use the back brakes to stop, it's safer and you stop way faster".

    No comment.

    So what I am trying to say here is, it's different stroke for different folks. Even if some of us got into Sportbikes for "the Look" even the most jaded Sportbike rider can't help but get into the riding aspect of it. Sportbikes ARE Motocycling to me. Big Twins, especially the TL series of bikes from Suzuki is my definition of what a "Sportbike" should be. It wasn't always so, but now? I couldn't imagine not owning one. I realize that even amounst the Sportbike fraternity my preferences aren't what would be considered as Mainstream. For me my TLR is my idea of what a Sportbike is: To me, my TLR is the Heart and Soul of riding.
    Last edited by Edwin; 09-11-2003, 02:19 AM.
    Your Friend in Sport,


  • #2
    Yay! Edwin's back! . Good thoughts as usual!
    "I spent most of my money on Scotch, women and cigarettes. The rest I just wasted"


    • #3
      anybody got anything to add? not me


      • #4

        Deep thoughts with Edwin....great read!
        May 2003
        August 2004


        • #5
          Edwin, you're a real poŽtic!!
          If You're Not Living On The Edge, You're Taking Up Too Much Space

          Show Mods: HammerIt TLR/R Fairing, Tail and Undertail, Hugger and Fender * Custom


          • #6
            Just remember, as long as ever Senator's brother, son, cousin, nephew.... and CEO's of major comapanies own Harleys they won't dare to legislate sportbikes out of existence for fear of loosing their own beloved two wheelers!
            Lets face it, we're living in the glory days of Harley right now. Two of the most popular shows on TV are Orange County Choppers, and Monster Garage ( starring that good ole boy Jesse James)
            No, there not for me. The idea of only riding my bike to Hooters on Wed. night just so every body can see my latest chrome aquisition and spending the rest of the week polishing said chrome isn't my idea of riding. But, you can bet I wave at every one of them when we pass on the parkway because their helping to keep my lifestyle alive.


            • #7
              you are right mc... as long as harleys are in the good light. we cant be screwed by anti bike legislation. i personally dont like harleys, but if that is what makes up the majority of riders, so be it...


              • #8
                How do you come up whit all this stuff Edwin makes great reading
                Originally posted by TLCURT
                Because TL's fucking rock.

                It's a cult own one is to love one.


                • #9
                  its nice to have you back Edwin . great read as usual. i grew up with sportbikes too, but recenently rode my brothers cruiser........i can understand their mentality (sort of) better now. cruisers still don't float my boat, but the're still motorcycles.
                  2002 TLR B/W . Yoshimura bolt on Titanium cans. Yosh box remap. Joe V airbox mod. plug in TRE. 17/41 sprockets. Zero Gravity double bubble screen. fan switch. HyperPro steering damper. Extreme Graphic Top Gun undertail. Ohlins rear shock.

                  Gear: Arai Quantum f. Joe Rocket GPX 1pc suit. Alpinestars Super Tech boots. Alpinestars GP-1 gloves----always wear it all

                  <a href="">
                  <img src="


                  • #10
                    I've got respect for the bikers.. the "real" HD guys. I see the same ones out there no matter what the weather. They don't seem to own cars.. they have one form of transport and they ride it no matter what, from youth to old age. That's a damn lot of mileage and danger.

                    That and if you don't respect 'em, they'll probably kill you and set up a speed lab in your house...

                    Matter of fact the only thing on 2 wheels I really don't respect is a guy on a scooter. I mean.. come on..... or even worse, a guy on a HONDA scooter!
                    Used to ride a '01 TLR


                    • #11
                      Edwin, glad your feeling like your old self again

                      My bro just got a cruiser (I wondered why) but at least its based on a sport bike engine, execpt for the fact that its a honda
                      Just a few mods:

                      Silver, the fastest color!

                      On the inside - HID type bulbs, K&N filter, Iridium ix plugs, 16T front sprocket, Coerce billet sprocket cover, Yosh re-map +5, +5, +5 11 o'clock, Scorpio SE-i500 system from my GB and an ATRE.

                      On the outside - TLR forks, front carbon fender, 5/8th master brake cylinder, black SS brake lines (frnt & rear), braking waves all around with Ti bolts, Brembo gold front calipers & a busa gold rear caliper, flush mount signals (frnt & rear), ZG DB scr


                      • #12
                        Interesting musings there, Edwin.

                        In my observation, the so-called 'hardcore' Harley bikers that i know or have met at ralleys are usually just as intriqued about sportbikes and our side of the sport as we are perplexed over them. In fact, many of them said things like "rice-burners are the ride of the new younger generation, and that makes sense because x,y & z..." or "if i were to get into bikes now...or if i werent already so used to harleys." Or the perenial "if i didnt have such a bad back", which, according to Edwin is probably caused by their rigid frames to begin with...

                        A lot of the more hard-core guys i've talked to really don't seem to be such a Harley snob as everyone thinks, theyre just caught up in that style cause that was the bad-azz ride when they were getting into riding. But don't expect them to wave to non-harleys, because that just doesnt fit the all important image, which is such an important part of their culture.

                        Its the yuppy or new-jack Harley posers who tend to scowl at us sportbike riders and give major negative attitute towards us. Those guys are usually a joke anyway, even to real Harley riders, so don't pay any attention to them. Theyre the ones that got into Harley riding due to insecurity.

                        Just some of my own observations on this crazy biking culture.
                        <font SIZE="5" COLOR="red"><b><center> ~Alien_Tank </center></b></font>
                        <hr SIZE="10" WIDTH="100%">
                        -see ya!!!
                        <BR><marquee BEHAVIOR="scroll" DIRECTION="right" LOOP="25" SCROLLAMOUNT="6" SCROLLDELAY="50"> </marquee>


                        • #13
                          Harley's are at least a V-Twin motorcycle... Thats good right?
                          TL1000R: For those who like to drive high speed tanks


                          • #14
                            True motorcyclists are a rare breed.
                            Harley riders are a dime a dozen.
                            "Damn... my brain just stopped"


                            • #15
                              Alien Tank, seems my experiance with the Harley crowd is the same as yours. The true Harley riders are a joy to be around. Myself and Crazycat have been inducted into a Vietnam Vets Harley organization. And yes, they too do not like the yuppie scum.
                              RIP Ron
                              Sept. 12 2004