Us Motorcyclists And Our Weird Superstitions

Superstitions are a funny thing. Whether they actually have an effect on an outcome or not is still up in the air, but then again there’s no real way to prove or disprove they don’t, so I might as well keep on practicing mine because, well… because. That’s just what I do! Call it what you want to call it, but I like to think superstition works for me, mostly…

Merriam-Webster defines superstition as “a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck, a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck, a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary.”

Over the years I’ve somehow, somewhere picked up and created a bunch of different superstitions and rituals I do before getting on the bike, and I’m sure many of you probably have your own checklists and habits too. A lot of my routines transfer over to my regular day-to-day life as well. Probably my biggest one, or rather the one that happens most often, is that I always put my left shoe, boot, slipper, sneaker, any sort of footwear on first, followed by the right. Every time. Same goes for my socks and gloves. Why? I have no idea, but I’ve been doing it this way ever since I can remember – and so far so good, I haven’t died yet. It must be working…

Valentino Rossi has many pre-ride rituals. Perhaps his most commonly known is when crouches besides his bike, always on the right hand side, holds the foot peg and bows his head. (See lead photo) The second most common is while leaving pit lane, where he stands on his pegs and adjusts himself, both front and rear.

Maybe it’s because we read from left to right? I don’t know – your guess is as good as mine. But that’s just the way I do it. There have even been times when I’ve put my right shoe on first, in a hurry or something, only to realize my mistake. So I took it off, started over and made sure the left one went on first. That’s probably pretty weird, right?

Probably, but I bet some of you are thinking to yourselves, “ehhh, that’s not thaaat weird, because I do ________.” At the end of the day, we’re motorcyclists – we’re all­ weird somehow. Take it as a compliment. Another thing I do whenever I get a new helmet, (manufacturers will probably hate me for this) is purposely drop it on the ground before I take it on its first ride, so we can get that initial scratch or chip out of the way up front. We all know that won’t be the last time your helmet falls or gets knocked off of something like your bars, seat or mirrors. And it’s just a gentle drop, nothing that’s going to do the helmet any real damage.

I have others too. When I put my deodorant on, it’s seven swipes per arm – down is one, up is two, and so on… Ten if I’m going on a date. If a girl compliments you for smelling good, you’ve already won half the battle, fellas. Ladies, tell me I’m wrong…

Don’t walk under a ladder. I don’t know how or why exactly, but that one just seems to make sense. Or, don’t open an umbrella inside. Well, why would you? You’re already inside… There’s plenty more obviously, but I’m quickly veering off on a tangent.

Colin Edwards says that his most public superstition involved his leathers. “I didn’t believe in introducing my leathers to the ground in a crash. I would walk out to the front of the garage, lie down, dig in my shoulders, roll around and get a little scuff on them. Then we were good.”

One more? Okay, sure. If I ever get called out for jinxing something, I’ll repeat the same line again to cancel-out said jinx, or rather, “un-jinx” it. I usually get strange looks and rolled eyes whenever this happens, but whatever, I deal. Anyway, back to motorcycles. I can’t be giving away all my secrets, I already did that here.

Whenever getting on or off the bike, I always do it from the left, mostly because it’s just plain awkward to get on or off from the right (because of the kickstand), but I make it a point to do it every single time so as not to disturb the universe, Motorcycle Gods, or my own quirky internal pre-ride checklist. Us motorcyclists need all the help we can get.

Fortunately, that help comes in the form of throttle therapy. Now, if we could only get doctors and therapists to start encouraging motorcycle riding as quickly and enthusiastically as they’ve recommended medical marijuana… Damn near everybody would be on a bike and all the world’s problems would melt away. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but like I said, us motorcyclists are weird and crazy, and living in even stranger times. Weird or not, we do what we do and we all have our own superstitions and habits, whether it’s motorcycle related or not.

Kevin Schwantz never believed in any superstitions, however he confesses that he once thought he came across a lucky pair of underwear. “Then I crashed the next race weekend. I said, ‘Those things aren’t lucky. Throw ’em away.’” I once thought I had a lucky pair of underwear too. I’ll never forget them, because they were the boxers I was wearing the day I lost my V-card, and they may or may not have had flames on them… Hey now!

Like us, the top pros have theirs as well. Racing Together: Superstition, an article by Matthew Miles that investigates many of the top racers’ superstitions, is what sparked this discussion of mine, and you can read it here. And you should, because there’s some pretty interesting things that certain MotoGP racers do that might make you scratch your head.

Though, in the end, we’re all crazy in one way or another – motorcyclists maybe more than most.  With the help of Waylon Jennings, to that I say, “I’ve always been crazy, but it’s kept me from going insane.”

We’d love to hear about your superstitions and what you guys do before, after or while riding your motorcycle(s). Who’s got the weirdest quirk of them all?

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Is ABS Worth an Extra 600 Bucks?

Dear MOby,

So you have me almost convinced I need a new GSX-S750, thanks a lot. You convinced me at “the complete pushbutton reliability of the thing” in the long-term review last week. My first bike is a 2010 Monster 796 and I love it, but maybe not as much as I used to. It’s not exactly low-maintenance; in fact it’s due for new belts and a valve inspection. My expertise extends to changing oil and tightening the drive chain, and that’s about it. I figure I can use what I save by not servicing the Monster as a down payment on a new bike, then finance the rest super cheap. Also, the GSX at my dealer just seems to fit me better than the Monster.

Money is an issue, though (I mainly use my bike for my 30-mile commute) and here’s my question: Do I want to spend the extra $600 for the GSX-S750Z, with antilock brakes? I never missed having ABS on my Monster, which usually stays in the garage if it’s raining.

Bill in San Luis Obispo

Dear Bill,

ABS is like having earthquake insurance or a large-caliber handgun when an angry bear jumps out of the bushes in your backyard. Well I wasn’t expecting that. You never need those things until you need them, and then you’re very glad you spent the money. The most common terrible thing that happens to motorcyclists is people pulling out in front of, or turning left in front of us. And when that happens, the primitive part of your brain takes over and slams on the brakes without waiting for the part that learned about controlled hard braking to catch up. Nine times out of ten, down you go.

It’s happened to me a few times in the last couple of decades. Two of those times the front wheel went to full lock instantly; luckily I was on big cruisers both times, with lots of self-righting trail and wide handlebars, and I missed cars by inches – not crashing only by the grace of God. (The racers call it crashing without falling off.) On a short, stubby sportbike I’m pretty sure I would’ve crashed both times. The last time it happened, I was on a sportbike with ABS, and the front tire just said cheep cheep cheep while the bike slowed straight and true as I barely missed a left-turning camper truck by a few millimeters. On the skidding cruisers, I was but a clenched sphincter along for the ride. On the ABS bike, I clearly remember braking hard and controllably steering around the back bumper of the thing simultaneously.

So, yes, I would definitely spring for ABS whether you ride in the wet or not. In Europe it’s been mandatory on all bikes over 125cc since 2016. As to whether the Land of the Free will follow suit, who knows? But there’s an interesting piece here at

A quick online peruse reveals that Suzuki is offering 1.99% financing for three years on both the GSX-S750Z ABS model, $8,899, and the non-ABS GSX-S750, $8,299. If you put down $1,000, the online calculator says the Z would cost you $226.21 for 36 months, while the non-ABS bike would be $209.03. Given what I know, I’d gladly pay the extra $17 a month.

And let’s not forget our friend the Insurance Company. Insurance is crazy wherever you go, but many insurers are going to give you a discount for having ABS that might cover the extra $17 and then some. Stop like the wind!

Send your moto-related questions to If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least do no harm in the time it takes to seek out a believable answer. And we’ll occasionally even admit we were wrong, even if we were right at the time. Depends on what the definition of “is” is.

Recent Ask MOs:
What the Heck are Centramatic Wheel Balancers?
Is a Polaris Slingshot a Good First Motorcycle?
Why Did Kawasaki Detune the New Z900RS, Why?

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Motorcyclists Help Car Crash Victims

The video begins with eight riders on Husqvarna 701 Supermotos messing about as they leave the track. Typical supermoto hooligans jumping their bikes and doing burnouts amongst other general acts of hooliganism. Turns out they may not be your typical motorcycle derelicts after all.

Things heat up when a Mustang rider pulls around the group at a light speeding out onto the highway and eventually right into a head-on collision with a couple in a Maserati. Without skipping a beat our fearless supermoto superman flies into action as the others follow suit. The rider checks on the gentleman who caused the collision before turning his attention to the couple with injuries and offering basic first aid.

As the video ends we find the riders are from all over the globe, with our main camera POV hailing from the Netherlands. Thank you Supermofools for being a shining example of motorcyclists and generally great human beings.

This video showcases many examples that we can all learn from. Let’s make a list:

  • Don’t drive like a jerk (or under the influence of anything as the videographers suggest)
  • Help others when in need if you are able
  • Help Law Enforcement do their job (even if they first judge you by your mode of transportation)
  • Learn basic first aid, you never know when it could literally save someone’s life
  • Riding supermoto will make you a better person (Okay, maybe that isn’t true but it sure is fun)
  • Action cameras can be useful for more than making your bored girlfriend and friends sit through 30 min of you “railing the canyons, bruh”

Full Video Below:

We were heading back to our hotel after a trackday. Waiting at the traffic lights this Mustang passed us and drifted into the oncoming lane causing a crash with the couple sitting in the Maserati. The Mustang driver was under the influence of something.

After checking on him I went to the couple in the Maserati to check on them. At first, the Mustang driver stayed at the accident, but after two minutes he decided to run. The other guys chased him down. When he heard the sirens coming he ran away for the second time, my friends chase him down again and luckily the police arrived and arrested the Mustang driver.” – Supermofools.

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New Triumph Speed Triple Teased for Jan. 29

Triumph released a new video teasing some sort of match-up between four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty and two-time Isle of Man TT winner Gary Johnson. Left unsaid but clearly hinted at in the video is a revised Speed Triple.

From what we can see, the bike looks similar to the current Speed Triple, including the headlight and fly screen design and frame. The video does however show enough detail to show some changes to the Speed Triple.

The first, most obvious clue is the TFT screen shown at the 15-second mark. The 2018 Speed Triple R and Speed Triple S currently use an analog speedometer and an LCD display but the video clearly highlights a new digital color screen that displays vehicle speed, engine speed, gear indicator, fuel level, fuel economy, estimated range, temperature and time.

The digital tach appears to redline at 11,000 rpm, compared to 10,000 rpm on the current Speed Triple’s analog dial, which suggests some changes to the engine.

Other visual differences we noticed include new five-spoke wheels, a new front fender, revised handlebar switches and a different exhaust.

The left switchgear shows a few extra buttons compared to the controls on the current Speed Triple.

What remains to be seen is whether this new bike represents a complete refresh of the Speed Triple line or if it’s a new variant joining the existing R and S models. Most of the changes we’ve found are notable but relatively minor and the bike shown in the video looks very similar to the current models, so it’s possible Triumph is teasing a new RS version to go along with the existing R and S models, bringing the Speed Triple in line with the Street Triple lineup. Triumph has already announced the Speed Triple R and S for the 2018 model year, but we can report that neither model has received certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board yet. It’s possible Triumph was waiting to reveal a new variant before getting the model family certified.

We’ll find out soon enough, as Triumph will reveal more information on Jan. 29. Check back here on for more details as it becomes available.

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Rich Olivers Mystery School Announces its 2018 Class Schedule

It’s a new year and class is in session, motorcycle class that is. It seems like there’s no shortage of different riding schools these days, and we think that’s great! Seasoned veteran or newbie, road or dirt, everyone can learn something at Rich Oliver’s Mystery School, which just announced its 2018 schedule. We plan on attending at some point this year too, hopefully we’ll see you there!

Begin Press Release:

Prather, California – January 22, 2018 –

Do you want to Gain Skills, Gain Confidence and Gain Control on your Motorcycle?

Rich Oliver’s Mystery School announces their initial 2018 dates to help you and your friends do just that. Through a series of different curriculums, Rich and his staff help their students to learn improved bike control, how to manage the motorcycle when it loses traction, and how to approach obstacles.

Founded in 2003, the Mystery School has expanded to a new permanent 13.9 acre park-like setting in Prather, California. The facility is solely dedicated to help students make skill improvements during their time at the School with custom designed track and drill areas. Upcoming dates are listed below and also found at

Two-Day Fun Camp

  • March 10 – 11
  • March 24 – 25
  • April 14 – 15
  • April 28 – 29
  • May 5 – 6
  • May 19 – 20
  • June 2 – 3
  • June 23 – 24

Four-Day Pro Camp

  • March 1 – 4

Kid’s Ride and Wrench Camp

  • April 21 – 22

Private Training Days

  • March 9
  • April 13
  • April 27
  • May 4
  • May 18
  • June 1
  • June 22

Learn To Ride Off-Road Course

  • February 24
  • March 17

Off-Road Challenge Course

  • February 25
  • March 18
  • June 16

POST Motorcycle Update Course

  • March 20 – 21
  • April 3 – 4
  • May 9 – 10
  • June 19 – 20
  • June 28 – 29

The most popular course is the Two-Day Fun Camp and is designed for everyone interested in improving their overall motorcycle control. Students need to be able to ride a motorcycle; however, they do not have to have any dirt experience. Rich uses a step by step process to teach how to slide the Yamaha TT-R into the corners with skill and confidence. Students experience two fun-filled days of flat track riding drills, practice riding, and racing topped off with a final main event race! This class is very effective for all levels of street, dirt and track day riders.

For the serious racer and track day rider who want to improve their lap times, we offer the Four-Day Pro Camp. The Pro Camp is a multi-faceted training that shows participants what is required to be a successful racer. Not only are there many hours of seat time learning on the bike but students also learn key mental strategy and toughness to be the best that they can be. All of the items covered can be used in your racing and in your everyday life. This course is key for off-season training.

The newest addition, the Kid’s Ride and Wrench Camp, is a course that blends learning how to ride a motorcycle with an introduction to the metric system and working with the tools used to repair and maintain a motorcycle. This two-day course covers how to ride, how to wash and load a motorcycle into the bed of a truck, and how to assemble a motorcycle from the frame up.

Additional courses offered include Private Training Days with Rich, Learn To Ride Off-Road Course, the Off-Road Challenge Course and the POST Motorcycle Update Course. Rich Oliver’s Mystery School will open in late February and extend through July. Fall dates will begin in September and run through mid-December. Visit or call (559) 855-3089 for more information.

Rich Oliver’s Mystery School is sponsored by Yamaha’s bLU cRU program, Yamaha Motor Corporation, Yamalube, Yamaha Generators, Shoei Safety Helmets, Cortech, MotionPro, Lightshoe, Lindemann Engineering and ASV Inventions.

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