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Thread: Are rider skills becoming obsolete?

  1. #1

    Are rider skills becoming obsolete?

    I read an article the other day that both Honda and BMW are developing motorcycles with balance assist. I suppose this sort of technology parallels recent automotive enhancements in an effort to increase safety, so it has to be viewed as a good thing.

    The cumulative driver assists in cars have made autonomous vehicles a recent reality, where no driver skills whatsoever are required to get from point a to b ... can motorcycles be far behind?

    Don't laugh.

    Production motorcycles are currently available with a number of "assists" that theoretically lower the skill level required for safe operation.

    With the throttle, brakes, and shifter already under electronic control, linking the GPS with future balance control technology might be the key to an entire self-driving motorcycle.

    Comments?

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    What would be the point of riding a self-driving motorcycle?
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  3. #3
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    Riding

    It's a plot politicians want to keep stupid people in the gene pool

  4. #4
    bored, bored ... dlowry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 179212 View Post
    It's a plot politicians want to keep stupid people in the gene pool
    I would have to agree. It seems we've sunk to the LOWEST common denominator with respect to everything these days..
    Dave...
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  5. #5
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    So if someone gets pulled over in one of these vehicles or on the self driving motorcycle, for suspected DUI, who gets the sobriety test, the operator or the vehicle?
    Gary Phillips - #6322
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 43912 View Post
    Don't laugh.

    Production motorcycles are currently available with a number of "assists" that theoretically lower the skill level required for safe operation.
    One might argue that they raise the margin for error to a more acceptable level given that the performance envelope of even some of the lowliest of bikes for sale today exceed the capabilities of the liter bikes of yesterday. We don't complain that tires are much better in a wider array of conditions, or that suspension systems are much better at keeping the tires on the road. Why do we complain about systems that let us mere mortals use a 200hp bike shod with sport tires on a rainy day, on a dirt road? I don't really have an answer - and I am guilty of it myself but it begs the question... what is wrong with using technology to make the physical skills of motorcycle operation safer for people who have not yet acquired those skills - or perhaps had them a few seconds before the deer jumped but now are holding the front brake in a death grip that otherwise would be a skid? It's not like there are not enough other threats that cannot really be managed. Like the deer itself.

    Maybe it's the obsolesce of some skills that were hard gained. Maybe it's "get off my lawn" syndrome. Who knows... but as part of my turning a new leaf and releasing the inner luddite... I'm riding an S1000XR these days. And I like it a lot

  7. #7
    Or, you could think of it as improving emergency handling,

    BMW already has the tech to help right the bike during emergency braking and increase braking pressure in a curve.

  8. #8
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    It's for the Boomer Generation.

    I took a beginners motorcycle course a few years ago with my redhead girlfriend. Yeah, me and redheads, what can I say? I took the course with her because we wanted to spend more time together and I thought it was better than dance lessons. I don't need dance lessons, I got the moves, hence, the redheads love me.

    In the first hour, we had to explain what we wanted out of the course and the vast majority wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. The class was an easy 15% under 30 and the vast majority older and the nearly dead. When asked if we already had a ride, I was shocked to hear a grandmother in her 70's say she just bought a Harley but had never ridden, at all, ever. Same story for a Chiropractor that had a 1700 Vulcan and he had never ridden anything. The best was the 30 years of experience driving a bus and he didn't know what a choke was much less that there was a clutch but he had just purchased a Ducatti.

    Sadly, they all passed the beginner's test and sadly, I saw my insurance rates climb.

    Just an FYI, when I was asked why I was there, I responded with, "I've never take a formal motorcycle course before and I thought it be fun to learn that I'm not as smart as I think I am."
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  9. #9
    We totally by serindipity happened to be in Ruidosa, New Mexico this weekend. Aspencade!! Hundreds of American cruiser motorcycles. This left absolutely no doubt that rider skills are indeed obsolete. Call it the Great American Wobblefest 2017.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 05-22-2017 at 02:18 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I totally by serindipity happened to be in Ruidosa, New Mexico this weekend. Aspencade!! Hundreds of American cruiser motorcycles. This left absolutely no doubt that rider skills are indeed obsolete. Call it the Great American Wobblefest 2017.
    I happened to be taking Lee Park's Total Control ARC at a large Harley dealer in Ohio featuring a brew pub and live music on the premises. It was quite crowded with customers. Very few even bothered to ask or wander over to see what us strange people in helmets were doing in the parking lot despite a fat boy and a big HD tourer in the mix. Until Lee knee-dragged the tourer; an Ultra Glide or some such thing approximating the size of an aircraft carrier except with a floor preventing it from tipping like one might in dry dock. A pretty impressive feat even thru my jaundiced eye. They looked at it as a circus event then, for a few minutes, a small gaggle stood at the ropes and oogled before returning to whatever they were up to when the Street Triple's turn came up. Shopping... or maybe the bar. Not one person came over to see if they could try. Not one. We were clearly having fun - and it wasn't obvious you couldn't just line up for a go. Of the two domestic bikes in our group - one won the class in a raffle and the other went down hard and didn't know why. His daughter had some link to the school and so he came. The rest of the class were males, 40+ with a tech background, lots of years of moto and not new to training. So... preaching to the choir. The more things change - the more they stay the same.

  11. #11
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    There are many ways to thin the herd.

    'Technology intoxication' is one of them.
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF Lead RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by greenwald View Post
    There are many ways to thin the herd.

    'Technology intoxication' is one of them.
    Indeed! But?
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  13. #13
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    Can envision in the future self-driving vehicles jammed into intersection backing to and fro with occupants busy texting each other. And an old brick weaving its way through on route to a rally.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by huckleberry View Post
    I happened to be taking Lee Park's Total Control ARC at a large Harley dealer in Ohio featuring a brew pub and live music on the premises. It was quite crowded with customers. Very few even bothered to ask or wander over to see what us strange people in helmets were doing in the parking lot despite a fat boy and a big HD tourer in the mix. Until Lee knee-dragged the tourer; an Ultra Glide or some such thing approximating the size of an aircraft carrier except with a floor preventing it from tipping like one might in dry dock. A pretty impressive feat even thru my jaundiced eye. They looked at it as a circus event then, for a few minutes, a small gaggle stood at the ropes and oogled before returning to whatever they were up to when the Street Triple's turn came up. Shopping... or maybe the bar. Not one person came over to see if they could try. Not one. We were clearly having fun - and it wasn't obvious you couldn't just line up for a go. Of the two domestic bikes in our group - one won the class in a raffle and the other went down hard and didn't know why. His daughter had some link to the school and so he came. The rest of the class were males, 40+ with a tech background, lots of years of moto and not new to training. So... preaching to the choir. The more things change - the more they stay the same.

    When complex control inputs like Lee's are codified into a software algorithm it will probably be called something like "cornering assist", and it will undoubtably save more lives than loud pipes ever did ...
    Last edited by 43912; 05-22-2017 at 02:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    I am a MSF Instructor in WA and also teach the H-D Riding Academy. All I can say is there are some VERY good sales persons at these motorcycle shops.

    I always tell my students that any fool can ride a bike fast. If you really want to impress me, drive your bike in a 6' circle at 3mph!!

    The H-D Riding Academy lets students learn on the Street 500. At 514lbs. , it's certainly a handful. I can't count the times I've been told that students have already purchased a bike, usually >$15k from the dealership and it's sitting in the garage. I also can't count how many times I've seen these bikes on Craigslist in the following weeks!

    I'm at least thankful that in WA State, to get a 2-wheel/3-wheel endorsement, you need to go through a Basic Rider Course to operate a motorcycle legally.

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