Over the years I have ridden a huge variety of motorbikes and have noticed that when I’m riding some models I get a lot of appreciative waves while others attract none.
So which bikes attract the most appreciation form the public and other riders and motorcycle camaraderie and which ones make you a motorcycle pariah?
Harley creates waves
Interestingly, Harley-Davidson motorcycles create the most division.
In the past 25 years I have ridden every model from the Milwaukee company and I can tell you that no other bike attracts more attention from the non-riding public, particularly children.
The bigger, louder and more colourful, the more attention it attracts.
Of course, obnoxiously loud Harleys tend to also cop a fair amount of disdain from the public, as do any ridiculously loud motorcycles.
Yet the motorcycle-riding population tend to shun Harleys, unless they are also riding one.
Harley riders wave at Harley riders, but non-Harley riders rarely wave at HOGs.
Maybe there is some degree of superiority among Harley riders who, I find, often don’t acknowledge other makes, even if the rider waves at them.
OMC members also rarely wave at “normal” Harley riders.
Perhaps that’s because, like the Del Fuegos in the 2007 John Travolta movie Wild Hogs, they think they are posers or wannabe OMC members.
As Ray Liotta’s character, Jack, says in the movie: “The joke is the assholes who buy leather outfits and think they’re bikers.”
In my experience, these are the brands, types and models that rarely receive waves from the public and/or other riders and their riders rarely wave:
Scooters: Except for Vespas and old Lambrettas who attract waves from hipsters and pretty young women with a Roman Holiday fixation, most riders seem to disdain scooters and won’t wave when I’m riding one.
Most of the motoring public either have them in their blind spot or seem to actively hate them. Scooter riders seem to acknowledge their pariah status and don’t wave, either.
Goldwings: Kids and people impressed by size will wave. However, most riders and the public seem to think Goldwing riders should just get a car and will not bother returning or giving a wave. It’s a shame as Goldwing riders are among the biggest and most enthusiastic wavers.
BMWs: BMWs were long considered the “Camry of motorcycles”, ridden only by middle-aged men in cardigans. Either that or they are ridden by wankers, so people tell me. However, some modern models, such as the S series and the R nineT derivatives are breaking this mould and do attract some waves.
Adventure bikes: It depends on whether you or the other rider is wearing those garish adventure outfits. Perhaps it’s because they are deemed to be Charley and Ewan posers.
Trail bikers: No one waves at them because they are rarely on public roads. They don’t wave back either, probably because they have their hands full.
Sportsbikes: Similarly, sportsbike riders are usually too busy concentrating on getting their knee down to wave. It’s also difficult to lift your hand to wave in those restrictive leather outfits. They also go by so fast you don’t get time to wave to them.
In my experience, here are the motorcycles that attract the most waves:
Trikes and outfits: These get a similar reception to Goldwings, but they attract a lot more appreciation than disdain, probably because the pillion is having such a great time and often waving exuberantly at everyone.
Classic motorcycles: The public just love old motorcycles while riders appreciate them and understand the commitment it takes to own and ride them. And the riders are so proud, they wave at everything!
Old Boxer BMWs: I’ve separated this group from the above because old boxer BMWs are now enjoying a resurgence of popularity among young hipsters. When I owned an R 65 back in the ‘80s I even received waves from OMCs.
Triumphs Bonnevilles: Probably because they look like classic motorcycles, they attract admiration. They also get waves from young hipsters and even old-school OMCs. My Street Scrambler even attracts the occasional wave from adventure riders! And maybe because most of them are not riding flat out with their knees down, they tend to be active wavers.
Have you experienced this wave and non-wave phenomenon depending on the bike you are riding? Please leave your comments below, but remember this article is meant to entertain, not incite a riot!