“My Bike is Better Than Yours”

Best MotorcycleMOTORCYCLE RIDERS ARE A UNIQUE BUNCH.  Over the decades I’ve managed to ride all over North America, including coast-to-coast, multi-week tours a number of times. As much as I love riding, I also love to shoot the breeze with motorcycle riders of all ages and experience levels, wherever we may encounter each other and I consider it a privilege to converse with such a diverse variety of individuals.

Regardless of whether speaking with a somber biker the size of large refrigerator with every tattoo imaginable; or a petite and mature woman well versed in the practice of professional safe-riding techniques; or hot-shot kids; easy going middle-agers; dirt bikers; cruisers; sport-bike riders; retro bikers; sport-tourers; adventure tourers; Gold Wing riders; European riders; custom riders; highly experienced tourers; brand-new riders; vintage aficionados; and every other rider imaginable, I have found one thing in common: the love of motorcycle riding.

Secondarily, I have found that “most” (but not all) riders that I have encountered are genuinely friendly. That might seem odd to note. At least I consider it so, because my experience in the real world of meeting motorcyclists is different than what may be found in some online motorcycle forums. I have found it remarkable over the years to observe that in spite of their universal passion for riding, a certain number of online motorcyclists are so ready and willing to express vitriol to other riders over divergent sub-categories of passion or motorbike preferences.

You know the tired old arguments: individuals who assert that certain continents produce better motorcycles and/or that certain owners of certain brands are superior to others and all others are valueless.

Of course, at any given time any specific brand may boast a particular motorcycle that reflects the current state-of-the-art performance engineering. However, even though such a bike may be deemed “best” based upon certain qualitative parameters, there will likely be a much larger percentage of riders who will vote for their “best” motorcycle by purchasing a different one. What is a “best” motorcycle for any rider is as variable as what any specific individual considers is the “best” music, the “best” movie, the “best” ice cream or the “best” beer.

I consider those riders who espouse “My bike is better than yours” are simply not experienced enough to appreciate what motorcycle riding is all about: enjoyment of the ride. And that can be realized on any motorbike.

The good news is that such a malady can be resolved by more riding….

What attitude do you like (or dislike) most among riders?

140 thoughts on ““My Bike is Better Than Yours”

  • I ride a Harley. I started with a Harley in 1974, riding the 350cc Sprint. Not that I’ve been riding all that time. I took a substance-abuse break, then I took a not-enough-money break, but now I have been riding steady for 12 years. All Harleys. I don’t look down on other bikes, nor do I look up to other bikes. To each his/her own. The only thing that bugs me is when metric bike riders start in on metrics’ “technical superiority” and Harley’s price. I admit I pay a premium for the image, and that’s my choice. As far as the tech superiority, I don’t know. Maybe it’s true to some extent in some circumstances. But Harleys are constantly being upgraded and refined, and for my money they are plenty good enough. I’m not trying to win a race. I’m just out for a comfortable, good-looking, enjoyable ride. And Harley does it for me. To each his/her own.

  • Hey Guy, which model VFR do you ride….I’ve been riding thirty years hard core. My 2010 VFR1200f (the one with the real transmission) has been my absolute favorite bike out of at least 20, man it is a sweet ride! not better than any other bike (well maybe some ha ha) but just my personal favorite…i have owned jap, euro, usa (harley, victory) but my honda is just so sweet to me its just hard to describe..you probably know

  • “The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility, it’s right. If it disturbs you, it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.” – Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

  • I have had + 20 motorcycles during the past 50 years. I was in love with Italians, Germans, English, Japanese, Americans, from 50 to 1500 cc. All of them were the ride of my life for a time. Presently a ST3 and a VFR are my mates.

  • Many different type bikes for many different priorities for riders. Long touring, sporting the curves, dirt, custom chops, big cruisers, mopeds. High tech or naked. The feeling of fun & freedom. Reliability on long far away roads. Do research and ride what fits you individually. Be safe on your baby. God bless….

  • One only has to look at the comments following a magazine review of a Harley-Davidson product to see all the criticism and rants against the product and company. Now look at other brands. Don’t see Motor company riders bashing other brands. Must be a maturity thing. The wanna-bees ride H-D copies and shoot their anonymous mouths off.

  • I agree, Jimbo.

    I presently own three bikes of different brands. A Harley, a Victory, and a Honda.

    I also belong to forums for each brand, and do a lot of reading.

    The irony is, that while I continuously read how “biased, arrogant, obnoxious, stupid”, etc, Harley Davidson riders are, and how inferior their bikes are, on the Victory and Honda forums, I practically never see the reverse on the Harley forums…nor do I, or have I heard those types of negative remarks from the many Harley bikers I have, and do, associate with.

    Now, I know there are those in any crowd that will be biased against other’s choices of bikes, but, I have to honestly say, I see, hear, and read it FAR LESS from my Harley friends and Harley forums than I do on the others.

    Read through the “Do Loud Pipes Save Lives” thread, and look at the difference in the biased remarks…even threats of violence…from the Harley haters there…it’s ALMOST funny.

    That’s been my experience anyway.

  • What attitude do I like? The real rider who is tolerant of the choices others make when it comes to choosing their ride. I ride what I ride because it fits me and my riding style. I really don’t care to hear your opinion condemning others.
    What attitude do I dislike? The opionated rider who let’s everyone know their ride/brand is the best and everything else “sucks.”

  • I love the rumble of a Harley or similar big bike. I love the growl, the macho aspect. I do ride my own Harley and everytime I push the start button…I get a thrill. The feel of all that power is awesome. Okay, I’ll be honest rather than say what I know I SHOULD say about all bikes being equal. I don’t understand the appeal of the crotch-rockets. Yes, they’re super fast and they should probably be just for racing. They’re whiny and damned annoying. I hear them buzzing around my neighborhood all day long. I laugh inside when a whiny crotch rocket pulls up behind me and guns the engine. You call THAT a motorcycle sound?? And how can they possibly be comfortable with the driver hunched over like that? I divide motorcycles into kid toys and grown-up machines. My Harley is a grown-up machine and I love it.

  • If we are going to be so pompous, I would suggest we compare the cost of operation, maintenance and the time the bike can be ridden comfortable. The least amount of money spent verses time spent on the machine is the winner.

  • I’ve been riding two wheelers for years, and now at my age I felt it was necessary to add that extra wheel and brake. I purchased a new 2014 Harley Trike Ultra Classic, and I love it. I love the reverse too. Lots of storage for trips, but the most important issues for me are the large dual disc brakes in the rear, and also dual discs on the front wheel. The stability factor also works for me. And the best part is it’s still a bike with the wind in my face, and the sound and power below me. My comfort factor is where it should be.

  • I ride my bike all year round (Vancouver, BC) unless there’s snow or ice on the road (a promise to my wife). I’ve grown up with bikes of all kind, I like them all and ridden alot of them, I have my preference. Is my bike better than yours? No. But it is for me, because it fits my current needs. You never know what tomorrow may bring you, be your own reason why you ride.

  • An interesting concept. Which of my bikes is better than yours, I’m sure they sit in the garage/workshop arguing amongst themselves. The Norton 99 because I’ve had it since I was fifteen, it’s been with and without sidecar, had clipons apehangers, dirt bars, been geared as a street scrambler a tourer a sprinter and it always sticks to the road like glue. The K0 CB750 because it was my first superbike, the Black Bomber because it put nails in the coffin of British twins, the CB350 K4 because it was once the most popular buy in the States. The Norton 88SS because it’s the prettiest although so fragile, the Navigator because it was a step in the right direction and has an unburstable motor. The VT 500s because they can go on and on without complaint. The ’79 Goldwing because it is so good at keeping you comfortable. The V45 Super Magna because it looks so good for a stock bike. The VMax because it still has the legs of just about everything in a traffic light drag race. The Honda C90 because there are more of them than anything else

    For me I have favourites, bikes I like to look at, bikes that are comfortable, bikes that have loads of appeal, bikes with grunt, bikes that are brilliant at going down twisty lanes.

    They all have one thing in common they have two wheels and they offer a feeling of freedom. One of the nicest trips I had was years ago after rebuilding a Yamaha SS50 moped with a friend, we needed to run it in and decided to ride to the coast and back a nice 250 mile trip. Having started on my 350 Norton after 3 miles i decided that it would be better on a similar bike so we nipped back and I used the family runabout, a Honda C50. what a great day! All done on quiet roads and lanes, took us 9 hours but we saw the countryside, the weather was warm a great day out on a pair of 50cc bikes. Having fun is what it is about

  • I drive a royal enfield and have 3 of them, one fully customized, one with custom paint and one with standard as the ex-showroom vehicle. When it comes to competing between these three bikes it self, it was a never ending war. Each of it is designed and owned with passion, and so are the bikes of fellow riders. There is never a comparision for being better than others. If i try to ride a friends 2000 cc bike, it is defenitely not better than mine, because MY bike understands ME. and we both are good to work for each other.

    All fellow riders, just enjoy the fun of riding on a bike rather than competing with others 🙂

  • I’ve ridden everything from a Bridgestone 50cc when I was 11 to a Kawasaki 2000cc now at 58. The answer to ‘the best bike’ question is just like the ‘best gun\caliber’ question. Whatever does the job best for you. You have your own requirements, objectives and solutions so that answer is YOUR answer regardless of the form it takes because nobody else is riding YOUR motorcycle, or they shouldn’t be. Harley snobbery isn’t as rampant as it once was but it still exists. Personally the “made in America” reasoning for owning a Harley is false as most every part is made in other countries. The electronics are all made in Asia and even the cases are made in Italy…..

  • I have a few rules about motorcycles that I always have to explain when asked about, what the best bike is or what bike someone else should buy. First rule, there is no logical reason to own a motorcycle (I have been riding for over 30 years), riding a motorcycle is completely an emotional decision. So trying to use logic to decide which bike you like or want is never going to work. This brings me to my second rule, you don’t buy the bike you want, you buy the bike you have to have. People do all kinds of research into motorcycles and then spend months trying to decide which bike is “best”. I always laugh when I see this and tell them just start looking, the bike you ultimately end up with will find you. One day you will be looking at a bike and you will get that feeling, I have to have this bike, and there you go, that is the bike you should buy. No logic, no good reason, purely emotional. Sometimes it is the first bike you look at, as in I never wanted a bike and then one day I saw this bike and knew I had to have it or I have been looking for months for another bike (never sell you current bike until you have another bike to replace it) and suddenly I saw this bike and knew I had to have it.

    I will use my own experience to show an example of this. I was looking to purchase another bike and made a decision based on logic that I wanted a Roadstar (great bike). I had researched them, read all the reviews and made a “logical” decision. Then I started to look (and ride). I looked at new ones, I looked at used ones, I looked at custom ones. I looked and looked and just couldn’t find the one I wanted. My friend that was going with me to look at them finally decided I really didn’t want another bike and was just wasting our time. But I knew the real reason, the bike I had to have hadn’t found me yet. Finally a guy I knew called me and said he was selling his Kawasaki Nomad and I just had to come look at it. It was a nice looking bike, but I didn’t want a Nomad, I wanted a Roadstar. I told him thanks, but no thanks. He called back and said really just look at it. I said okay I will look at it, but I will only give you x amount, less than he wanted. He said okay, so I had no choice. I went to his place looked at it, it was a beautiful bike, but I already knew that, because I had ridden with him before. Then he said take it for a ride. I did. I then returned to his place bought the bike on the spot with cash and road it home. It was in the middle of November in the northeast and it was a 70 mile ride, but I had to have that bike, so the decision was made. My buddy that looked at all the other bikes with me was outraged, he said we wasted months looking at Roadstars and then you ended off with a Nomad, what the hell? Of course it wasn’t logical, I bought the bike I had to have….

  • I just love motorcycles so I enjoy reading anything and everything about them. I must say that your blog has quite a lot of relevant information and it was really fun reading it. Thanks!

  • The “bike” is actually only a small part of the equation. Surely the “RIDE” is why we do it. I can honestly say some of my best rides were on a C90. Sure I have loved my HD’s, BMW’s and Triumph’s they have added to the fun.

    But when money was the big issue, I found I could get fun from almost anything with too wheel and an engine, so six weeks, 3,300km around Sumatra on a C90 in 1983 go down as one of my all time gread experiences.

    My thought on people that are so caught up with “their” bike is that they probably don’t ride enough….

  • Well said Bill….riders love what they own and that is why they spent their hard earned money on the bike…there are many comparisons of different manufactures and models but that doesn’t mean that what you ride personally isn’t the best bike out there…..its what you rock and can afford and feel best on that is the best….for example I bought a 1978 kaw…kz750 many years back for $600.00 because that was all i could afford at the time…i flew one way from Northern Virginia to twin falls ID and rode her back…the entire adventure cost me $1100.00 including the motorcycle which to this day has been a remarkably sweet and impressive bike… point is….what your riding is the best motorcycle on the streets…because you own it and mostly because your not a wannabee and actually riding your motorcycle!!! rock on brothers and ride often and ride hard………

  • I think while we love all bikes, some of us do feel a special affinity to certain manufacturers, Triumph, BMW, Harleys etc. And different models within those marques. No problem with that. Now whether it means the bike is better or not, probably not. However, I think it’s okay to have a pride in your bike, while of course still admiring others 🙂

  • all motorcycles are awesome….rock what you ride and love the sport…the more riders the better…so come one come all….hardened vets and newcomers…we can all enjoy our passion and we can all learn from one another…lets roll together like we always have and the bike you own will always be the best for the moment!!!

  • Is my bike better than yours? For me, mine is better than yours simply because it is mine. I’ve owned Hondas, Yamahas, Kawasakis and now Harleys. Every bike I had I considered “better than yours” because it was mine. No, I’m not particularly self centered, I’m just always happy with the bike I ride. My most recent bikes, an ’03 Harley Ultra Classic and my current ’11 Ultra Classic, have been the best touring bikes I’ve ever owned. In the last four years, ’08 to ’12, I have taken those two bikes to all 48 contiguous states and every Canadian province from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Why do I consider my bike better than yours? Not because yours is bad (because I’m sure in most cases it isn’t), but simply because mine takes me, in comfort, everywhere I want to go, and it is mine. Who knows, next year the bike I ride may be exactly the same as the one you ride. But next year mine will once again be better than yours.

  • No such thing ! But for the all around fit’s in more categories Has to be the KLR 650 Just look at the years of production ( that sayes alot ) and it is still not the perfect ride ! But if your knees are in the breeze at that time you are on the best one

  • My goodness, Karen….what a great attitude!…and all totally true!

    You sure you’re a “girl”? LOL

  • If it has two or three wheels…they all equal a good time. You can ride it, work on it, read about it or just talk about it. All aspects is why we don’t need therapists! Enjoy.

  • Hey – I relate to everybody that’s on two wheels. That kid with the beat up old moped? The guy who’s stuck in a cubicle five days a week and only gets to ride his brannew HD once or twice a weekend? Euro-dudes out on a tour? They’re all having FUN, and that’s what it’s all about!

  • “…those riders who espouse “My bike is better than yours” are simply not experienced enough to appreciate what motorcycle riding is all about: enjoyment of the ride.”

    Really? It is all about the ride? My bike can’t be superior because of craftsmanship or condition? Motorcycle enjoyment can take many forms such as collecting or restoration.
    It is not just about riding.

    I have found that when most riders tease each other with,”My bike is better than yours”, it comes with a fun, innocent attitude and many times the riders will own the same model or at least the same mark. Look at the banter between BMW owners about what is best, Flying Bricks or classic Boxers. It is all in good fun. Will the HD vs BMW exchange ever end? I hope not.

    At times, the comment “My bike is better” is an opening for a discourse on the technical merits of the motorcycles themselves. If how the bike is used is ignored, then the exchange is not about which bike is best. Then it becomes a way to examine and argue
    about engineering and design concepts.

    By the way, my motorcycle IS better than yours!

  • After riding for 53 yrs.,starting on triumphs and owning 29 bikes ,i love them all. Most riding was done on sport bikes of every brand. Particulerly my Guzzi lemans and lawson rep kz1000. Now i’m into H-D as there more comfy and more comeraderi amongst riders.

  • There was an interesting blog in one of the motorcycle magazines, with a guy traveling the U.S. and encountering everyday people who basically told him the only motorcycle worth having was a Harley. I don’t think its Harley Riders, so much as Harley-the-Company co-opting the image of motorcycling to the general public. Other than the T-Mobile Ducatii Girl (sigh) no other manufacturer has bothered to create a U.S. image. You have to ask ‘why not?’

  • Amongst our group, we always have good natured bantering about which mark is better than the others! We even have a few that ride the new-age scooters and they are no slouches! None of us care what is ridden, simply that they are ridden, and those of us that have given up riding (Usually for physical reasons) are still welcome in our group. Good people, great riding for all!

  • I ride a VFR 800 while in my winter home in Florida and speed Speed Triple while home in Canada. I have owned bikes since the 70’s starting with Yamaha 650.

    I have not met a motorcyclist with whom I did not share friendly greetings….. And yes I find that many are negative towards Harley owners, but I do not know why, maybe they are envious….a lttle.

  • What attitude among motorcyclists do I like? I am an outgoing person and will talk to anyone about anything. I enjoy the comradery sparked by a common interest be it in the Walmart checkout line, the H-D or any other dealer and I frequent them all. I enjoy the sport of riding. I wil ride with anyone on any brand, cruiser, tour, dual sport, etc. If a rider has a problem with what I ride, it is their problem, not mine. Each rider rides what they ride because they like it.
    What attitude do I dislike, the “holier-then-thou’ attitude, the person who believes themselves or their ride or brand is better then everyone else and boasts about it, the show-off, the squid who has to have attention.
    On-line forums of any kind are hot beds of criticism because of the anonymity. The writer can say whatever they wish without fear of personal confrontation or criticism. Nuff said.

  • In Eastern NC, I’ve found the biker wave to be universal from riders of all types of bikes. I ride Hondas, a VFR800 and a 599, and even in full gear and a race helmet, I get a hello back from the shorts and sandals guys and gals with skid lids on cruisers. That’s pretty cool.

  • My feelings are hurt! I ride a Harley and I wave to everybody! I only ride a Harley cuz my ex-boyfriend rode one and he never took me to any other dealership BUT the Harley dealership. I saw, I fell in love and I bought…never considering that there were OTHER possibilities. Frankly, I wouldn’t know, by sight, a Harley from a Yamaha…unless I READ it on the bike! One of my riding buddies rides a big Yamaha…and it is gorgeous!

    My brother is a Honda man and truly disdains Harleys and that entire culture, but being the loving bro he is, he takes care of my bike during the winter and tells me to just stick with my Harley since I’ve FINALLY achieved a real comfort level with it.

    Please don’t lump all us Harley people all into one category. There are plenty of friendly Harley people out there who do NOT have a superiority complex. I ride with some of them and they happily wave to EVERY one! And while I’ve heard a few Harley men say that anyone who doesn’t have a Harley is just jealous…THOSE men are generally uneducated ignoramuses .

  • Well, I mostly ride a Harley Night Train, and love it…but, I also own and ride a Honda CBR 600RR, and I like it too. It’s just a different type of riding, and while I enjoy the adrenaline rush of an eye popping blast through the gears on the CBR, I can only take about thirty minutes of the hunched up. cramped riding position it requires, then I’m “back to the barn”.

    The Night Train, however, allows me hours of cruising, ripping through the gears, and mucho torque, that I enjoy….and the low resonant “throb” of that marvelous Harley engine gives me real “gut level” pleasure to experience.

    I am fortunate, I guess, as I know several riders of different makes and styles of bikes…even the owner of a local Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki dealership, and the only negative remarks I hear are all in good natured ribbing….nothing mean, or really meant to insult.

    As far as waving to other bikers, I wave to all…even the “lowly” moped/scooter guys, and always seem to get a return wave, or a quick “honk” of their horn. IF I have noticed ANY pattern of non-return of my wave, I would have to say it is from the Goldwing guys…not all, but enough to notice that they seem to wave back less than any other group….most probably just a coincidence, but still noticeable.

    I love two wheels…have ridden lots of different makes and styles….and enjoyed them all.

    Ride safe guys….and wave to me! LOL

  • I ride a Yamaha FJR and work for HD. I always hate the mentality that my bike is better than yours. I ride with friends that have crotch rockets that can be as arrogant as some of my HD rider friends. Most everyone thinks I’m nuts because I ride almost all winter except when the snow flies. I have owned many brands of cycles through the years. I work with guys that bad mouth anything that doesn’t have HD on it, then only put about 1000 miles or less a year on their bikes. They say I ride Jap junk, even though the bulk of the parts on HDs come from China and Mexico.

  • I owned 3 FLH 1 Buell 1 Guzzy and now own a KLR 650, and what I still don’t understand is the Harley riders attitude and that’s why I don’t ride one anymore .
    There new yuppies wanting to look like bad boys and that’s not what riding a motorcycle is all about.
    Ride and enjoy and wave your hands 2 other motorcycle riders like u, HAVE FUN.

  • What I can’t understand is the attitude “I ride a Harley and will not acknowledge ANY other riders except Harleys”. I’ve given up trying to get a ‘bikers nod’ of greeting and mutual respect from puffed up Harley riders. I nod at everybody and usually get a greeting in return. I have to say that more and more riders fail to acknowledge as time goes by. I wonder what’s happening to bikers? Aren’t we all in this together, or is that just for the Conservative governent?

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