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Been out of the loop for awhile

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Tastiger, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Now this may sound like the demented ravings of some crazy old fart that's been living under a rock, or who has just come through some bizarre time warp but please, bare with me.

    I've been riding motorcycles since the mid seventies and, back in the day, I kept up with all the news on forthcoming developments and new models. I bought new gear when needed all of which was appropriate and up to date.
    As the years progressed, the bikes I was buying were getting older (I started off with new bikes with one exception, the vintage Triumph which I still have) and the last couple of bikes I bought were around ten years old.

    I kept that last bike for about eight years. We ended up moving to a house with no garage and I had to push it (a 1984 Kawasaki GT750) around to the back of the house when I got home from work at around midnight. I was over it. I got a car. It was sad to see that bike go but we have plenty of memories of trips here and there - Not the least of which was our honeymoon.

    Over the years I had replaced my gloves a couple of times, my helmet a few times and my boots once.
    Ten years later and we've moved interstate and I've finally got the old Triumph on the road again. The old leather jacket still fits, just, but the leather is starting to fall apart. It seems rats have been into my helmet and gloves and my boots are curled up like something a pixie would wear. Time to buy some new gear.

    So here's the thing, it seems riding apparel has changed somewhat during my riding absence. I decided on a textile jacket with all sorts of vents, a zip out lining and an assortment of armor (some of which I left out). I bought some dedicated riding jeans, more armor and Kevlar (in case I go into combat?) but decided against the gloves with carbon fibre knuckles and just got some cheapish leather summer gloves. Oh, and a new open face helmet.

    But the cold weather doth approacheth and with it, textile overpants, winter gloves and a new (modular) helmet. Oh yeah, just call me Mr Modern!:cool:

    The other thing is, with all this increased motorcycle action, I've recently bought a couple of magazines. Not my usual classic bike type mags, but the one with new bikes and, quite frankly, I'm flabergasted! It seems like you don't need to be thinking as much these days. Bikes that have ABS and different power delivery modes - ooh, It's raining, I'd better push the "rain" button. Apparently there's a BMW that reads the road as you're riding and adjusts the suspension accordingly!!

    I don't understand, it doesn't make sense to me. Motorcycling used to be about the basics, just you and the bike, open to the elements. You could tell when to change gear by the sound of the engine, an engine you could hear. Now there seems to be indicators to tell you when to change gear and what gear you're in. There are discussions about what music to listen to when you are riding. Isn't that a distraction? I would have thought so.

    Now I'm not saying that all these new innovations are wrong, it's just that I don't understand the need for a lot of it. But then I don't see the need for bikes of over one litre capacity. One day I might end up getting a nice new bike and change all the aforementioned opinions
    One day.

    Tomorrow I'll get the old Triumph out and hit the backroads for a while. It's very basic, crude by todays standards, and I probably won't go much over 70mph. That's cool though, its handling characteristics make riding at that speed exciting enough.

    Rant over. If you see a confused old fart on a rattly old bike out there on the road, give me a wave.(y)
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  2. Make sure the rozzers don't see you at 70mph, that's way to dangerous and over the limit here in orstraylia... ;)
  3. It appears that ABS will be mandated. The safetycrats have a naive almost touching and wistful trust of technology as the saviour in all situations. Those who have been riding for a while know that is far from the truth. I am hopeful that motorcycling will remain a broad church and there will be the simple and the complex all available in the market. If not there is the classics as you say.
  4. I'll try...honest, I'll try, but I'll have to avoid waving every time I look in the mirror.:confused:
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  5. G'day TasTiger,

    I hear you. Lots of new tech these days. I have been riding for a while too but I was never that brilliant a rider. So I am a big fan of ABS. But the biggest technological advancement I'm waiting for is Google Cars. There are many people who don't enjoy driving and frankly, not very good at it. If they can all switch to autonomous cars, riders would be much safer. :p
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  6. You think? Depends on their programming. I hope than have an advisory board with some riders in it when they put in the parameters of what the automated car responds to etc.
  7. My first bike was a standard Hyo, with no ABS, no gear change indicator and it didn't well me what gear I was in.

    My KTM has ABS, tells me when it is performance efficient to change gear and tells me what gear I am in.

    Now the KTM duke is a FAR better bike than the hyo electronically and performance wise. But I miss the simplicity of the Hyo. Sometimes it feels like the bike is doing the work
  8. About the "new tech" stuff....... when I looked at the new BMW R1200, it seems to come with key-less ignition. It might be an option but the dealer was very vague.

    For over 50 years now, I have managed to rummage in my pocket, find the bike ignition key, put it in the hole and fire up the bike.

    OK occasionally, I'd forget and put on my gloves, then have to take one off again to get the key, but, it was hardly blighting my life.

    What does happen when you are a million miles from nowhere, you stop for a pee or a smoke or a stretch, and the battery in the key dies?
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  9. I would have thought Google cars would simply avoid all accidents. Not that simple?
  10. I can't speak for other brands but on my Indian, you enter the PIN code and bike starts without a fob.
  11. <sob> No..... not another PIN to forget.......:confused:

    Can they send you an e-mail so that you can reset the PIN?
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  12. Yes, but first you need to enter the confirmation code they SMS to your mobile.
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  13. The first Google car (kind of) at fault crash has already occurred due to a programming assumption that did not translate into the real world. The computer assumed the larger vehicle (a bus) would stop for a smaller vehicle (the google car); it didn't and the car hit the bus. I imagine that self drive electric cars will be the start of the push to phase out petrol / diesel human controlled vehicles. Especially motorbikes, as the beige cardigan committee hate them. Congratulations on getting the Triumph up and running, old bikes are stubborn.
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  14. Fob Keys...ABS Breaks...toucha my bike -It will scream its head off, pretty old school here too. But got a Switchback and Streetglide in the stable at the moment, think we'll be ok with these because they are easy to ride and very forgiving, plus a little luxury in the old age helps with recovery time after a big day out. Enjoy your bike.
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  15. I tend to agree with you Tastiger. I also started riding around then (licence in 1971) in the days when oil leaks were an anti-corrosion device and car aircon was an open window. My current bike (after a 20-year break) is a Hyo cruiser with no bells or whistles. However, I MUCH prefer my current car with its basic modern features so maybe if I had a bike with all that stuff I would like that too. I simply cannot bring myself to spend more on my bike than on my car. When I looked at riding again a couple of years ago , I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the prices.
    PS my leather jacket from 1972 is in good nick and STILL FITS :)
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  16. They're meant to, yes. In practice... They will in time end up being much safer than the average human driver. They're pretty close to that already. But perfectly safe? Er... no. Mistakes happen. No matter how clever your systems are, things can and do still go wrong.

    Look, like Bilbo said, it's a dangerous thing getting out of your bed each morning. There's so many things that can go wrong...
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  17. ABS, rider mode control, fancy electronics ...... When did they stop putting kick starters on. Get your kit on, jump on the bike, hit the starter and zilch ... then what. Can't roll start because of fuel injection, electric fuel pumps and immobilizers so day ruined. Give me an old bike any day where a squirt of petrol in the air cleaner and some energetic kicking would have you up and away like superman in moments.
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  18. Too true. Computers are especially bad at making value judgements, and it'll be interesting to see what happens when a google car kills a kid to save a shopping trolley.
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  19. Aye, very true.

    I was one of the folk that had a VW try and kill me.:mad:

    Driving along, straight road, good grippy surface, cruising at 90 kph, then suddenly the stability control system decides we have lost traction.:eek:

    So, to help the situation, the ECU decides to cut the throttle to idle.

    But the ECU didn't know there was a bloody great truck, close behind me.

    I was lucky 'cos I found some space to go to, the lady that this happened to in Victoria, wasn't as lucky, and she was killed.
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  20. Yeah, it seems that these things can be really helpful. I ride a "modern bike" (2007). It's WAY better than bikes of the 70s and doesn't have any of the modern excesses, except the clutch lock out and stand switch. The other bike is from 1986. They are like chalk and cheese. Motorcycles have advanced in wondrous ways. The stark differences are in air vs liquid cooling, carburettors vs Fuel injection, and general electrical complexity. Remember points? TFC neither of these bikes have them. They weren't really so bad, but provided an additional maintenance item and tuning issue. I was happy to see the advent of CDI.

    I've no doubt that engineering can assist when things get a little tricky BUT if the technology goes a bit pear shaped, there is not a lot that you can do about it. I WAS actually cautioned about the ABS on one new bike I was looking at once. Warned off it as an option. It was, on the scale of things regarded as "agricultural" and prone to letting one down when braking over corrugations or loose surfaces, leaving one effectively with no brakes. I think I'd rather deal with things the hard way.

    "Switchable" is a feature I would value very highly now, while you can still buy things that offer the option. Power modes, ABS, traction control can get in the way of a good ride, or save your bacon. A "rain mode" can make it easier when it gets slick, but also can soften the need to learn fine throttle control. The overall effect of all of this technology is probably a reduction in skill level, certainly a reduction in prangs due bad circumstance, conditions and insufficient talent to deal with what comes up without all of the gizmos. They would also introduce the possibility of a technological failure bringing one undone on its own.

    Tastiger has rightly identified the first technological issue in lives such as his. - electric legs, fuel injection. While they have little bearing on handling, they certainly determine whether you ride or not, and how much you can do for yourself should they let you down. Ah for a carburetted kick start bike with magneto ignition. Case in point where technological advances have made life so much easier, but there is a penalty to be paid when something is not right. If I can start it, I can ride it. You could start and ride one ride with a low, flat or failing battery but with the more modern machinery, you'll sit until you deal with the battery.

    ABS, Traction Control, and Ride Mode as a part of engine management systems are just more of the same. This is the second set of technological advances, without splitting too many hairs. They do make life so much easier, BUT have the potential to exact a greater penalty if they malfunction. Use with care. It is possible for them to bring you undone and if they do, they have a greater bearing on your safety than whether you can light it up at all if your battery goes flat. Hence my liking for systems such as these which can be turned off to suit rider wishes.

    I do have one kick start only bike with carburettors, and another with Fuel injection but none of the rest of the wizardry - I think that these two might see me out. I don't need my life to be any more complicated. I like to be able to do a few things for myself, do not like being helpless due to some sort of simple malfunction, and really don't like regularly testing more and more things to confirm that they still function as they should, which one SHOULD do. Nothing is actually fail safe.

    There is my "crank rant" for the day.
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