Something I've never understood is why motorcyclists give each other grief about what bike they ride. For no apparent reason. Yet it still exists and is prevalent in the motorcycle community across all genres. Riders everywhere are not only looked down on for *gasp* riding another brand of motorcycle, but also for the size of their bike.

Let's deal with the bike size issue. We as Americans are incredibly susceptible to crafty marketing and have swallowed the whole "bigger is better" marketing spiel hook, line, and sinker. For the life of me I can't seem to figure out why having an abnormally large motorcycle is a good thing? I've spent more than my fair share of time on baggers and they do have certain benefits, but being big and heavy isn't one of them. One of the favorite pastimes of the cruiser crowd is crapping on Sportsters. In my opinion, the Sportster is the best and most versatile bike Harley has ever built, yet it's looked down upon and given pet names like "girls bike." In the grand scheme of motorbikes, the XL platform is relatively large with its 60" wheelbase and 550 pound curb weight. You can easily pack it with enough luggage for a cross country trip and it's passenger-worthy. On top of that, it handles very well for a cruiser, certainly better than a 900 pound bagger, and its horsepower-to-weight ratio will crush its saddlebagged brethren. Think about it like this - a Sportster at  550 produces 55 rear wheel hp in stock form making for 10 pounds-per-horsepower. A Road Glide weighs in at 850 pounds and produces 77-78 horsepower out of its stock Milwaukee 8 engine. That comes out to 10.89 pounds-per-horsepower. And that bagger, with all the crap crammed in its bags, is probably closer to pushing 900 pounds. What that means in real-life scenarios is that the "girls bike" is going to leave that bagger like it's chained to a stump when they both twist the wick. And that scenario plays out even worse when you start throwing import bikes into the mix. I'm not sure where the bigger is better myth got started or why people look down their noses at smaller bikes, but the numbers just don't add up to me.

'Merica, hell yeah! We're all about American-made products, but don't let brand loyalty leave you blind. There's a lot of great motorcycles on the market right now. 

The second thing I always see is blind OEM loyalty. You have folks that bleed Suzuki yellow or Kawasaki green or only "Ride Red," but perhaps the most heinous offenders are the Harley-Davidson faithful. The argument I see the most is that it's an American-made machine. And that's great (I will always gravitate to American-made products), but it's simply not a 100% bulletproof argument. If you took the foreign-made components off your Harley, it wouldn't make it out of the driveway. Moreover, the people that use that argument to crap on other brands of bikes don't apply that philosophy to any other area of their life.  They stand on the American-made soapbox to thumb their nose at other motorcyclists while they drive import cars, wear shoes produced in an overseas factory and work on their Milwaukee iron with imported tools. The logic seems to have slipped by me on why one is OK, but not the other.

The overarching point of this is that if you are perpetuating these stereotypes of hating on someone else's machine, you are missing out. There are 1000's of great motorcycles out there, and if you're not opening yourself up to riding them, you're really missing out on some great experiences. And if you are one of the folks staring down their nose at someone for the type or style of bike they're riding, you're hurting the motorcycling community. My personal philosophy is to a) Try and show as many people as I can how awesome life on two wheels is and b) Ride as many motorcycles as I can. Motorcyclists by nature tend to have a bit of outlaw in us. If we all end up riding the same brand and style of motorcycle with the same bandanna/vest combo, we're not outlaws anymore. We're sheep. Don't be sheep. Do yourself a favor. Next time you have a chance to ride a bike you'd never get caught dead on in the past, ride it. My money says it will at least put a smile on your face.

If you get a chance to ride something different, try it, you just might like it!