How Old Is “Too Old” To Ride A Motorcycle?

Old Motorcycle ManHE SAID HE WAS TOO OLD TO RIDE.  So, now, he and his wife were traveling on a trike.  We met at a gas station and talked for a while, before we each headed back out on the road in different directions as part of our separate multi-day rides and they sure looked like they were having just as much fun as I.

As a result of our conversation, that was the first time I considered the notion that there could be a day when I’m too old to ride.  That moment was also the first time I entertained the possibility of a three-wheel vehicle.  Personally, I found myself contemplating a motorcycle with a sidecar more than a trike.  Of course, since I haven’t ridden with a sidecar or on a trike, I have no basis to judge which I might prefer.  Having said that, I have ridden a Can Am Spyder, with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back. Although that machine didn’t inspire me, I think it’s good that there are options for three-wheeled vehicles. (For more info, see Worst Motorcycle Demo Ride Experience).

So, how old is too old to ride?

Heck, for that matter, at what age does this concept of “old” begin?

For me, I know I ride smarter (and slower) than when I was a kid.  But I can’t say I have the same reflexes.  Nor do I have the same endurance.  I don’t know how many thousand-plus miles per day I have ahead of me, but factually, there is very little reason I need to put on those miles in a day anymore, anyway.

So, at what point would I say that I’m too old?

I imagine if I start trying to figure out how to replace a motorcycle seat with a rocking chair, while allowing the handlebars to sway up and down at the same time as the rocker, then I may have passed the point of being sensible.  (Actually, I might have passed that point a long time ago, if I was ever sensible at any time).

Back to the point of which I have no answer: how old is too old to ride a motorcycle?

If you have any guidance or thoughts, I’m interested….

105 thoughts on “How Old Is “Too Old” To Ride A Motorcycle?

  • At the age of twenty I bought a 2nd hand Triumph Bonneville, obtained from a family whose son was killed in an accident with the bike. There was minor damage to the bike but he wasn’t wearing a cash helmet, came off on a corner and went head first into the curb.
    Having a “dead man’s’ bike did not phase me at all, but it did in a small way, make we aware of the dangers of biking but at the age of 20 me and my mates were indestructible. In the early 60’s the Bonneville was the superbike of the day and I loved it. I rode it for three years then sadly sold it to buy a car as the girls were not keen on going to a drive-in movie or to a dance on a bike. The car was a Morris Minor – it was like going from a Ferrari to a soapbox, but for the sake of love and romance I changed; it was a painful change and my day dreams were more about the Bonneville than the latest gal in my life.

    Then my life style changed from living in the country to the city of gold, ‘Johannesburg’.
    Now it was the hell run through traffic to do the 20 km from home to work. Being an innovative guy I convinced my wife that it would be quicker, easier, cheaper and less stressful if I had a motorcycle, so at the age of 26 I soon had a Yamaha XJ650 in my garage, a lovely bike and for a while my wife and I enjoyed the Yamaha with breakfast runs on week-ends away from the city.
    The city was not for me and within a year we moved back to country living in a small town in Natal. By this time the kids arrived; having a family, a new job that entailed much travelling and buying a house there was little time for biking besides times were tough so the bike was sold.

    But the thrill of a bike never left me and I would always notice a motorcycle be in on the road or parked; besides I still had my leather jacket that was a constant reminder.

    Once retired the yen to have another bike grew stronger. One evening I announced to my wife, “I’m going to buy a motor bike!” I expected a virulent response but she calmly asked, “Why? You’re 77 years old; do you think you can still ride? I do not think it’s a good idea.” After much discussion and my unwavering decision to get a bike she agreed.
    Most of my friends and family think I’m crazy except for my wife, a reluctant ally, and especially my daughter who said, “Go Dad Go”.

    With the high price of new bikes I began searching for 2nd hand bike in the 500 to 650cc range. Took a few for a ride; the one that that got me hooked was a 1981 Honda 500CX shaft drive, it was in excellent condition but it was heavy – as was the price.

    As my search continued I realized that I was setting my sights too high and the one thing that worried me was the mass of the bigger bikes; I doubted if I could lift a bike weighing +200 kilograms, also I needed a mechanically simpler machine that I could work on, this narrowed the field to a single cylinder; besides speed was no longer my ambition, I just wanted to ride a bike!

    I ended up buying a Yamaha YBR 250cc; it was in pristine condition, had done 9733km and the price was right. The previous owner suffered a stroke and had to sell.

    Having had bikes in my younger days I thought that being back on a bike would be like ‘a duck taking to water’. Surprise, surprise, after 50 bike less years there was a lot to be learnt. My cornering was poor as was riding at slow speed less than 10km/hr, taking off one a steep incline, smoothness in gear change. I dropped the bike thrice when stationary and my confidence level sank to an all time low.

    I browsed the net for advice and tips on motorcycling; the information gleaned was a great help and so I began my own training programme. Threet months ago my overall rating was probably 30% but now I reckon I’m close to 90%, wonder if you ever get to 1005? As they say practise makes perfect and practise I do. Recently I managed a nasty situation when a car pulled out in front of me – this was a great boost to my confidence.

    Have had a number men come and chat all saying they would love to have a bike.
    “So get one!” I reply, but in most cases the excuse is the wife would not allow it; probably more than anything else it is the risk of motorcycling that scares them off.

    At a shopping centre an old lady stopped to admire my red Yamaha and wistfully said, “My husband and I rode a bike for many years; they were wonderful years”.

    Having a motorcycle is an exciting, pleasurable and relaxing experience – I’m a very Happy Chappy! Maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future I’ll up-grade to a bigger machine; but for now the Yamaha and I are very good friends

  • I think if you love to ride…you will find a way…I am a Disable American Vet and have a bad back, a long with severe leg pain. I tried the Spyder and really didn’t care for it. I sat on a HD Trike, it didn’t feel right. So what did I do with my 2017 H-D FLHTCU? I searched and came across the “Landing Gear, Leg Up” System. If you are concerned about being too old or having a disability with the possibility of dropping your ride, check out this system from a company out of Florida. Ask for Pete. No more fears. Ride free! Go a head Google it. Bye!

  • And now, count me among the thousands of Boomers with the time and disposable income to completely outfit the bike and myself before ring the first mile on it: pair of Givi 48L Trekker Outback side cases, Happy Trails HD skid plate and crash bars, Hepco & Becker center stand, Barkbusters Storm handlebar guards, Alpinestars Andes V2 jacket and pants, Forma Adventure boots, Arai florescent yellow XD-4 helmet. Time to start training!

  • And I passed the BRC, one of four graduates out of six who began and more than 40 years older than all of the others.. I now have the coveted M endorsement on my DL. Waiting for the Happy Trail crash bars and skid plate to arrive.

  • I’m a 69 y.o. male retired soldier. I don’t know how old is too old, but I’ll soon find out. Signed up for an 18-day adventure bike tour with my son, an experienced cyclist, in Patagonia next year. To train for the tour I bought a virtually new BMW G650GS, presently parked in my garage awaiting my successful completion of the Basic Rider Course next week. That’s right. I’m a newbie. Previous experience limited to tentatively driving my daughter’s Yamaha V-Star in the relative safety of our neighborhood. If I fail the BRC beyond hope I’ll cancel the trip and sell the bike, never having ridden it. In the meantime, nothing ventured . . . !

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