Sunday, November 8, 2009

Riding Someone Else's Motorcycle

Today I got a chance to ride my buddy's Goldwing. He has a 2009 model year. I only took it around the neighborhood where he lives. But I was really impressed with how well it handled, and how so well balanced it rode.

I could do tight turns more easily than I could on my Electra Glide Ultra Classic.

I'm so accustomed to riding my Ultra, that riding a Goldwing feels so much different. In fact, anytime I've ridden someone else's motorcycle, it's always so different.

Even it's the same motorcycle, it still feels different. Another friend of mine has an Ultra Classic also, and in fact he same the same 2005 model year that I have, and neither of our bikes have been lowered. We even have the same stock seat. Yet, his still feels so different. He's ridden my Ultra, and he agrees that mine feels very different from his. Yet, we can't seem to figure out why the two have a different feel.

There's a gal in our riding club with a Yamaha Roadliner. The stock handlebars on that bike are quite wide, almost like beach bars. Watching her ride up ahead of me, I can't help but wonder how uncomfortable she looks. My friend Brian jumped on it once for a short ride, and noted how uncomfortable the bars felt to him as well. It seems as if she'd only change the bars, get something a little more narrow, and with a little bit higher rise, I think she could manuever that bike so much more easily.

And that brings me to a point that some riders are able to handle slow speed turns, and twisties so much better than other riders, and part of that is due to the bike. The bike itself can make a huge difference in how well you handle the road. But yet, you may never know that until you get on someone else's bike and ride it.

Only then do you realize how much of an impact the bike itself makes on your ability to master riding skills.


  1. For most people, opportunities for such comparisons are few and far between.

    Asking another man if you can ride his bike is often taken the same way as asking if you can sleep with his sister or try on his underwear. For me, my bike is a very personal thing. Where I could care less if someone borrows my car, I just can't see someone else riding my bike. For that reason, I personally would never ask someone else if I could ride theirs. Even if I knew they wouldn't care, I just wouldn't want the responsibility should something happen.

    Don't get me wrong. I realize this isn't a big deal to everyone, and there are lots of gray areas.

    I actually have two Harleys. My 04 1200 Sportster which was the first H-D I ever owned, and my 07 Springer. I hadn't had any luck selling the Sporty, and then I met my now live-in girlfriend who has an 08 883. She wanted to ride my Sporty to see if she'd like a 1200 better as she already feels she's outgrown the 883. Because I no longer ride the Sportster, even though it is still mine, letting her ride it didn't really bother me. Then yesterday, she dumped it for no reason either one of us can figure.

    She's ok. The bike is pretty f**ked up. I was pissed at first, but I'm over it now. The bike can be fixed, and it's more important that she is alright. It's just something that can happen if you let someone else ride your motorcycle. If you're not prepared to deal with it, then I say....DON'T DO IT.

  2. Actually, I did not ask to ride his Goldwing, he offered it to me because he readjusted the suspension and wanted me to feel it.

    But I do know someone who borrowed another friend's Road King, and totalled it. Fortunately, he had full coverage.

  3. Yikes.. I thought I was wound a little too tightly (more like asking to sleep with my wife). Perhaps the real danger is in loaning "UP" to someone with a less powerful or lighter bike. If the borrowed bike is an increase in power, weight, or both, bad things seem more likely to happen.

  4. If you want to know how a different bike feels, I think the safest bet is to demo one at a dealership! I know I ain't never lettin' anyone touch MY baby!

  5. Steve is right. We are privileged in our club to have the opportunity to ride each other's scooters. I've ridden every bike in our club several times (a few times when I've had a few beers!). We all know each other and trust that, should something tragic happen, the rider will fix or replace the bike. It's important not to borrow what you can't afford, however. But what kind of friends would we be if we just told each other to, "go rent one?" Riding other bikes if fun and improves your skill by widening your experience. Our guys rock!!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)