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Old 10-10-2005, 09:15 AM   #21
longride
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

The only reason they get around that way is they HAVE to. I'm sure 5 people on a Honda 100 in Vietnam isn't their preferred way to travel. The rest of the world is making a statement also, and the statment is: "I can't afford anything better"
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Old 10-10-2005, 09:30 AM   #22
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

Only 5 on a massive Honda 100? That would be a luxurious amount of elbow room for Bolivians. I have seen as many as 8 people on one raggedy 1960's era Suzuki.
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Old 10-10-2005, 11:19 AM   #23
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

Just got back from my first European motorcycle trip. 10 days in the Alps, just me, the wife, and a BMW R1200GS. (Which, by the way, I once managed to squeeze US $30 worth of regular in the tank).



We spent most of the time in small villages in the Alps, and no time in any major city. But I was impressed with the variety of really small cars and the number of scooters. Makes sense, given the cost of fuel and the size of the streets. We even saw an Italian postman delivering mail from an official postal-service scooter!



What impressed me most about the cars was that every Japanese & European automobile manufacturer sells at least one model in Europe that is significantly smaller than the smallest model they sell here. (Check out SmartCar.com from Daimler-Chrysler) They also sell a whole bunch of diesels, apparently throughout their line of cars.



What does all this mean? Well, the smallest Ford I saw was the Focus and the smallest GM I saw was a Civic-sized Opel. I’m guessing that if gas prices stay high or go higher, GM and Ford are gonna’ get seriously dope-slapped by the European and Japanese manufactures, who need only to put on another shift at the factory to flood the US with overpriced small cars. We may even see the return of – God help us – the three horsemen of the automotive apocalypse, Fiat, Peugeot and Renault (a four-on-the-column Dauphine, anyone?)



Anyway, if you havenÂ’t dumped your GM and Ford stock by now, call your broker today.



Now, to respond to your point. IÂ’m guessing that any increase we have observed in bikes on the road is additional use by people that already own a motorcycle. Americans are too rich and too wimpy to get on a bike for serous, year-round transportation. CÂ’mon, if youÂ’ve got a $40,000 SUV, how much does the cost of gas really matter? And how many times have you heard some wuss say that they donÂ’t feel safe in "those little cars" - like a Camry?! Think youÂ’re gonnaÂ’ see them on a motorcycle?



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Old 10-10-2005, 01:17 PM   #24
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

I've heard that too, "I don't care how high it gets, I need a Yukon to haul my 2 kids around in" My opinion is that talk is cheap, while $600 monthly gas bills are not. Factor in driving comfort, better handling, ease of parking and lower insurance against four wheel drive that you never use and they'll change their tune after awhile. They don't have to ride bikes, if everyone had cars we'd be more visable and have better sightlines, instead of being swallowed in the clutter.



If worse comes to worse, according to studies sponsered or at least reported by MCN a properly dressed rider is more likely to survive an impact with a car because with the low hood lines and pedestrian impact designs on the newest cars, the bike takes most of the impact, while the rider has secondary impact bouncing down the road, which with any luck (such as in my case) his gear will mitigate. Getting hit by an SUV or pick up, the impact point is the riders trunk causing internal organ damage that's considerably more deadly.



The point is a road full of small or midsize cars gives you a better chance of avoiding and surviving an impact than a road full of SUV type large vehicales
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Old 10-10-2005, 01:23 PM   #25
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

Quote: "Mileage is not the only reason that bikes are popular in Europe. Taxes, insurance rates, parking, and lenient traffic laws all come into the equation. I know of a few Europena countries that tax vehicle based on engine displacement and weight."



It's that way in much of the U.S. as well. Registration in Arizona for my 2002 Jetta GLi (msrp $25,000) is just over $300 a year. For my wife's Mitsu Montero Sport (msrp $30,000) it's close to $400 a year. My 1990 K75s? $21. And don't even get me started about insurance.....



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Old 10-10-2005, 01:23 PM   #26
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Default Another upside of high gas prices?

It's not just that there is more interest in motorcycles.



Wach year I ride over the North Cascades highway to Anacordes, Washington for the Oyster Run. This year, despite perfect weather, there was very little traffic and only one RV. The high gas prices are keeping the big slow gas hogs off the road.
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Old 10-10-2005, 01:30 PM   #27
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

One thing I don't understand is how many riders are still buying cruisers and sportbikes as a reaction to gas prices. I guess if you're used to driving a ford excursion or a hummer then getting 35 mpg on your 1800cc V-twin or your 1300cc sportbike is economical. But when I see those bikes in mags I'm astonished that they get such poor milage. My old K-bike gets 45 in town and almost 50 on the highway. When and if I decide to get a new bike one of my biggest considerations will be tank size and fuel milage.



I'm also glad more people are turning to bikes, but I also hope and pray they'll get the proper training before venturing out. Not only for their sake, but for ours. More accidents will mean higher insurance rates accross the board. I'm already paying $40 more for the next year than I did last, and if I hadn't switched companies it would've been $80.



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Old 10-10-2005, 02:16 PM   #28
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

This is an often overlooked point. For their size and weight, most bikes don't really get good gas mileage, not when you compare them to the lighterweight cars out there - granted the days of truly light cars seems to have passed in this country.



It's not a secret though... noone really cares about gas mileage on bikes. The bike market is remarkably similar to the car market. People spending lots of cash want really high HP numbers, or plenty of gadgets. The cheap bikes are usually just trickle-down technology from newer bikes.



My guess is that to get a high mpg bike you'd have to pay more money for less HP to cover the R&D costs. Kinda like spending more on a Prius to get Corrola performance. People aren't going to do it until it's the trendy thing to do.



Sadly, I think the person above who said many people outside the US drove small cars, bikes and scooters because they HAD to was probably right.
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Old 10-10-2005, 04:21 PM   #29
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

I think that although more people will actually consider bikes as reasonable transportation as gas prices stay relatively high, I don't think it'll be enough to make a significant change. If money is the chief reason, how can buying a separate vehicle be considered cost-effective? Anyone with kids to transport needs a car, and most drivers still think of bikes as death traps. Plus, a lot of potential bikers are amazed to find out that most (big) motorcycles don't get much better mileage than a Honda Civic. I live in San Diego, where it's not unusual at all to hear the morning traffic report refer to an accident involving a motorcycle. It'd be different if I lived elsewhere, but nowadays when someone asks me about buying their first motorcycle so that they can save a bunch on gas money since they have a longish freeway commute, I usually try to talk them out of it. I may be a biker snob, but I learned to ride many years ago when I didn't have to deal with such crowded, aggressive traffic conditions, and the only reason I still feel relatively confident is that I've been riding for a long time. I'm much more supportive of someone wanting a bike for pleasant weekend rides in the relatively open roads away from the coast, but I only encourage new commuters if I don't like them. Just kidding. Actually, I can easily discourage wannabee bikers by telling them my bike barely gets 25mpg. It's worth it to me to ride an MV Agusta Brutale, though.
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Old 10-10-2005, 04:29 PM   #30
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Default Re: The upside of high gas prices?

Sadly I think most Americans are too locked into their personal comfort zones to switch over to motorcycles. First the government must bite the bullet and convince them that fuel is a finite resource and is rapidly running out. On one of my recent trips to the US I was amazed to see the number of massive gas guzzling SUV and trucks clogging the highways in the daily commute, most with only one person in. I even saw people watching local sporting events sitting in these gas-guzzlers with the engine running so they could sit in the comfort of their air-conditioned cab. Yet in the papers and on the TV everyone was *****ing about the cost of gas. I think recreational motorcycling will always be popular, but who is going to convince the Joe Blow public its safe to risk life and limb riding to work. I know I would be fearful about letting family members ride a motorcycle or scooter amongst the half asleep, aggressive, mobile phone toting juggernaut drivers, especially in rush hour traffic. Now getting people to brave the inclement weather on a motorcycle, that could be the equivelent of attempting to climb Mount Everest.
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