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Are drops guaranteed for all riders?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by chilliman64, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. #1 chilliman64, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    it seems that many here believe that all riders will drop their bike at some stage. comments like "get that inevitable first drop out of the way" etc don't make a lot of sense to me. this has been on my mind for a while as I have read similar statements many times and I'm a little perplexed.

    why is it presumed that everyone will (or should) have an off? it is not presumed that car drivers are guaranteed an accident. getting the 'first one' out of the way doesn't mean that there will be no 2nd or 3rd etc so why is the 'first' a good thing? making mistakes or riding above your skill level are not a required part of learning your road craft. I would have thought not coming off at all is better and something that should be anticipated.

    I don't think you must have an off as a right of passage, it is not a given or something that makes you a better or safer or less nervous rider. it is not something necessary to cross off your riding bucket list. isn't it better not to come off (and ride within your abilities)? I do know mistakes can happen and we are often at the mercy of other blind and pathetic road users.

    I didn't come off on my L's or P's and that was a long time before rider training was mandatory, in fact my first bike would not have been LAMS compliant and I could double immediately as I had a full car/truck/bus licence.

    edit to correct spelling mistake
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  2. it doesn't take any fact, thought or intelligence to "believe" something :p
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  3. It's an over-used and simplified sentiment of support (don't feel bad if it happens to 'everyone' - the majority), with the hopes of learning something from it. Not absolutely every single person has or will fall off their bike, but I wouldn't go so far as to compare it to the many drivers who have never crashed a car... maybe more like tripping/falling while walking/running (or does that not happen to most of us on rare (sober) occasions)? :) Being in a rush or a lack of concentration on 'one of those days' can be one's undoing regardless of skillset.
  4. Because learning a new skill for me anyway isnt easy,I fell over learning to windsurf,and ski.Gravity wins if you dont get it right. A mate once said to me that he stopped riding dirtbikes because he fell off all the time,to me that was kinda odd as I did and still do. I am not taking about massive high speed endos off a cliff. Just simple tip overs and they happen all the time when your first learning and with off roading even when your ok,having 9 foot long legs helps with that on occasions..
  5. I must admit I wen into my first lesson thinking I would drop the bike as everyone says you will. I haven't yet and even today my first spirited twisty ride, I never came close to even feeling like it would drop and I even pit a scuff on the chicken strips, so I know I leant hard. However I never pushed beyond what felt comfortable. The guy with me told me the speeds him and his mate tend to do and I was mind blown. I couldn't at this stage of my ability even fathom that pace where we were riding and that is the key. Ride within your abilities. However for some people balance does not come naturally and yes they may drop the bike a few times, whilst getting the hang of it.

    I feel very lucky to be honest. 2wks ago I had only ever once before ridden a bike 15yrs ago and had an off 30 secs after getting on and swore I wouldn't bother. Today after just 6hrs riding exp, I was riding very tight twisties and it felt totally natural.
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  6. I think the principal is more associated with removing the stress of scratching your bike. Once it's done thats one less thing to worry about.
    But it's complete garbage.
    I dropped mine.
    Now I have a shiny new bike and am concerned again...
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  7. By invoking the "Drop Gods" will we now drop our bikes due to simply commenting on this thread? ;) Pfft, I doubt it...

    I've never had an off, though I have dropped/placed down my bike(s) mainly during turning at a very slow speed or due to not putting the stand down properly (idiot mistake). Is a slow speed stumble an "off"?

    As iGolfiGolf said above, maybe it's more about the cosmetics of the bike?
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  8. #8 Mudfrog, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    I dropped my bike (Honda CBR500R) on the very first day I had it. I had ridden from Lane Cove, over the Harbour bridge, all the way down to Blakehurst with no problems (apart from stalling repeatedly at the first set of traffic lights right out the front of the dealers at Lane Cove). I then went for a quiet ride through the back roads to visit a friend and show off the new bike. On the way home from the friends place I encountered a T intersection where I needed to make a right turn into. I was in 3rd gear going down to second and spotted a car approaching rapidly on my right which I hadn't seen when I first looked. I stopped quickly and promptly fell over before I even knew what was happening (at zero kays per hour). I was totally surprised that the bike went down so fast. I had not proceeded into the intersection and the car was nowhere near me when I fell over so that was just luck. This seems to be a similar occurrence to the circumstances described by 'Old Maid' just recently where a car just came up from nowhere as she was about to turn.

    Why this happened, or the contributing factors of which I learned afterwards, are as follows: (and I did learn a few very useful practical lessons from this "off".)

    Firstly, I was in too high a gear;
    Secondly, I should have been prepared to come to a stop at that intersection if required;
    Thirdly, I had grabbed the front brake with my handle bars turned fully to the right whilst turning;
    Fourth, I was fatigued mentally from my first ever ride - having only had two half day L sessions at Clyde the weekend prior as the sum total of my riding experience;
    Fifth, my Oggy Knobs paid themselves on that day... Not a scratch or any damage anywhere; and,
    Sixth. I can pick my bike up by myself...

    Certainly I would have preferred to kept my pride / dignity and not fall over at all. I don't feel that it wa a rite of passage though, just me being a tool.
    Did I 'have to have' an off type experience to learn these things ? Probably not but it was a very quick lesson in all of the things NOT to do !

    I made it home with no further incidents and now have clocked up 8000 kms with no more 'offs' or accidents and touch wood... will stay that way as long as I continue to stay 'switched on' and vigilant with my riding skills and road craft. Put simply, not do any more stupid shit / panic.

    cheers Fred :)
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  9. #9 jstava, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    My belief that most motorcycle riders will fall off or drop their mounts at some point is simple superstition, long held traditionally by rebellious thrill seeking tearaways (or wannabes) who fully believe that if you don't fall off now and again, you are not really trying. In that, we have a belief arising from a belief which holds that any effort to amass great skill will involve increased risk, and therefore increase the probability of one coming unstuck.

    I believe this is probably also borne out statistically.

    However, it is little comfort to the recovering (injured rider) to have this pointed out, "Gee you must be such a much better rider for that. Perhaps when you are feeling better you could give me some pointers" nor much incentive (to improve one's skills) at all, to the more safety conscious among us to be told, "ya ride like my grandmother. Gwan, havacrack" when not choosing to filter.

    Is it a rite of passage? - Doesn't have to be. We can all fall victim to someone else's poor vehicle operation or observation, make mistakes ourselves, or otherwise come unstuck for any number of reasons. But it is no kind of requirement. You CAN get lucky.

    I think it is fairly unhelpful to tell someone, perhaps a new or intending rider, of the certainty - which it definitely aint.

    Whether it is good for you or not is another matter entirely - Depends on whether it hurts and whether one is capable of learning from it.
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  10. No.
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  11. Bikes can be heavy and they have only 2 wheels. It is possible to over balance whilst manoeuvring a bike, especially whilst pushing backwards Sometimes side stands can fail on a slope , and before you know it , the beast has laid down. Fortunately there are , usually, helping hands nearby to get things back in order.
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  12. I've fallen from dirt bikes but not yet on a road bike! Not expecting to either. I have been taking training once a year of the last 10 years.
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  13. nup
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  14. If you ride it long and often enough you will eventually have an incident. Dropped mine a few times - generally putting my foot down parking and finding a stone underneath only to slide my foot out from under me and with a bike that weighs 285Kgs dry you won't hold it. Shit happens.
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  15. #15 XJ6N, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
    Good, thought-provoking question thread, chilliman64chilliman64. :]

    I've heard similar things about the supposed inevitability of dropping your motorcycle, whether it's a stationary drop off the side-stand in the driveway or high-siding after over-cooking a bend. Twenty years ago I dropped a couple of agricultural and trail bikes doing things that, considering my meagre ability and what was being attempted, you could consider the outcome inevitable.

    I remember a bloke who I worked with on a farm who was a few years older and a particularly good dirt rider shaking his head and saying with scorn, "I don't know how you could drop it like that...". Not long after, he went on holiday for a few weeks during which time it rained heavily after months of drought. One morning after he'd returned to work he appeared in the doorway of a shed I was working in, covered in mud and soaking wet.

    "Can you drive me into town so I can change my clothes?" he asked. He'd ridden fast up from the lower side of a earthen dam wall, intending to jump the bike over the top. When over the top and in the air he was dismayed to find that the previously near-dry dam was now brimming full of water. I didn't bring up his earlier remark to me as we changed the oil and dried the bike out.

    Since getting my license I've had two or three occasions where a drop crash was distinctly possible - finding a patch of gravel on a bend, kangaroos jumping out in the dark, etc. but nothing (yet) that I'd consider inevitable. I've known riders who've seriously crashed twice within six months of getting their licence and those that haven't so much as dropped their bike in the garage in twenty or thirty years. The only differences I can tell between them is experience, subsequent skills and most importantly, rider attitude (and a little bit of luck - heavy bikes and stationary drops notwithstanding).
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  16. I never took it to mean that you're guaranteed to drop it, let alone that you should somehow encourage your first drop to get it out of the way. That would just be stupid.

    To me, it was more an attitude that, while not all riders will drop it, drops are a natural incidence of riding and you shouldn't let it get to you too much if and when it happens. It's really just a narrow application of the "shit happens" principle.
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  17. This is over a 50 years of riding and I guess you could say that I have had a couple of drops.
    1/ Bike roll off the side stand.
    2/ Side stand sinks into the lawn and falls over.
    3/ Car slams on the brakes and I hit the back of the said car.
    4/ Rear ended twice.
    5/ T'boned by a car.
    6/ Hit a roo at 130km/hr.
    7/ Lost the front end on gravel when two up.
    8/ Lost my footing with sand on the driveway.
    9/ Riding too hard and lowside it.
    Ride long enough and I think you have a good chance of dropping your bike.
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  18. It is more-than-likely to happen, as we are talking about an activity involving balancing a hefty single-track vehicle. Only at speed, will a bike stay upright of its own accord.
    Gravity is the constant, available traction and rider skill levels are just two of the variables.

    It's definitely not a case of 'You're not a true rider 'till you've dropped it'. That sort of BS is not a theme here.
    IMHO: It may happen, and when it does, don't worry as you're not Robinson Crusoe. Learn from it, and move on, if you can.

    Or, find another thing that floats your boat...
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  19. #19 Oldmaid, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    Not quite sure what you mean TBH.
    If you get through 40 or more years of riding and never have an off or even drop your bike, well good for you.
    I think that the sheer physics of a bike are stacked towards a drop happening.
    All of my drops and one very minor off, can all be attributed to my stupidity and testing the law of gravity with two wheels.
    I don't view it as a right of passage as such but to know that you can pick yourself up and then pick your bike up actually increased my confidence in riding plus my ability to pick up my bike.
    My recent off on my Zeddee didn't deter me from riding but sure as hell pissed me off. Zeddee is hard for me to pick up on my own I can do it.
    I got back on and rode home with about 4cms of brake lever a busted knee and shit on liver.
    I am happy to have had that little off in a way. I did everything I needed to, rolled away from the bike and turned engine off in a blink. So I was happy to know I could walk away get back on and ride home. I didn't lose my shit or cry ir anything.
    So for me it was in many ways a good thing.
    I had always felt deep down that if I had an off or dropped Zeddee that I probably would stop riding.I haven't.
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  20. In your case it's not about the chance of dropping your bike - it's more about congratulations on still being alive!
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