The Louder the Bike the Worse the Rider

On, I just revived an old column from my MMM days. “#61 What Loud Pipes Say.” I was on a roll back then and that column rolled up more dumbasses per word than anything I’d written in the previous five years. Hell, I got more hate mail from Hardly goobers from that one column than the whole magazine had received in the previous five years. Our advertising rates went up accordingly.

I no longer live on a curve, so the biker goobers are no longer announcing to my neighborhood the upcoming comedy of their lame attempts at turning a motorcycle competently. Now, they’re just making noise to be making noise because, apparently, their mothers didn’t pay enough attention to them in the first few weeks of their pitiful little lives. A few weeks ago, I wrote about watching a pair of these goobers fumbling a stop, falling over, and putting on a Laurel and Hardy show trying to figure out how to pick up their hippomobiles and fumble off to the nearest bar to whine about “how mean everyone is.” Needless to say, those two fools were on a pair of mindlessly and needlessly noisy Harleys.

There is, of course, no evidence at all that “loud pipes save lives” and crash statistics point to the exact opposite fact. I don’t suspect the loud pipes are the problem, though. That would be and error of mistaking correlation for causation. It’s not that loud pipes substantially increase the likelihood of crashing, it’s that all of the most incompetent riders rely on loud pipes to make up for their lack of skill, judgement, and basic intelligence. So, it might stand to reason that the louder the bike, the less skill the rider possesses.

Loud Pipes Are My Right! (Or Are They...) - BikeBandit.comYears of long and careful, if cynical, observation has established this theory as a fact, in my mind. In dozens of MSF “Experienced Rider” courses, (ERC) the most incompetent people on the range were consistently mounted on the loudest motorcycles. Male and female, if the bike was loud I could set my watch on the moments the rider would dropout, fail to negotiate a section, fall down, or all three (not necessarily at the same time) during a 4-hour course. They always had the same motley excuses, too. Usually something along the lines of “the course is laid out for small motorcycles” or “nobody ever has to ride this slow and this is unrealistic.” Not that these goobers did any better on the faster exercises or on the sections where every other equally large (but not as loud) motorcyclists did fine.

The funniest example of this syndrome I ever experienced was in a 13 bike ERC full of Hennepin County Sheriff Deputies. I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating that these “law enforcement officers” were about as legal as a pickup load of cocaine with a meth chaser. Except for one very competent Goldwing rider in the group, 12 of 13 cops had no more business on motorcycles than they had performing in a tight rope act. Their “plan” for incompetence compensating was to be illegally noisy and wear lots of “biker face” whenever possible. A bunch of middle-aged fat guys on Harleys wearing law enforcement patches is intimidating in a bar, but in traffic it is just as useless as the loud pipes.

HD noiseThe local bars here are stuffed with the loud pipe crowd and when one of those groups decides they’ve drunk enough and pull out of the parking lots, it looks like pure random motion; or a flock of chickens after someone has tossed a firecracker into the pen. You have never seen worse riding skills or more unpredictable behavior and all they have with which to defend themselves is noise. And it never works.A giant “Look out! I’m an idiot on a motorcycle!” sign would probably make more sense. Sort of like those bicycle flags recumbent riders sport, except big screen television size.

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2 Responses to The Louder the Bike the Worse the Rider

  1. Tim Long says:

    Pungently exquisite writing on the absolutely bottomless subject of absolutely bottomless narcissism, astride machinery that clearly exceeds the advisable horsepower / IQ ratio, which should never exceed a ratio of 1 in a car, much less a motorcycle. I’m ever more convinced that the heavy rumbling of “loud pipes” is the modern, western equivalent of Tolkien’s Nazgul, or Ring Wraiths on the Nine Black Horses, hooves pounding, searching for the One Ring, to the detriment of the gentle folks of the Shire. Or, at least 3 of the 4 horsemen, of that time of which we shall not speak. Thanks for putting words to the dark clouds roiling my serenity every night.
    Tim, just up the Hill from Lock 15

  2. This morning, I bicycled into town to drop off a pile of stuff at the library. As usual, Highway 61 was littered with potato-head Hardley goobers and there were a lot of unhappy looking pedestrians as they blubbered by. Traffic was moderate and the overwhelming majority of noise was from motorcycles. During a pause in the pirate parades, a guy on a new-looking V-Strom drove through town and he was the quietest vehicle on the road. No one seemed to notice him; or hate him.

    I think that, again, proves that some people are so desperate for attention that even hate and anger does the job for them. Mommy must have tossed them in a laundry basket when they were born and ignored their existence from then on.

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