Whether you ride a cruiser, a crotch rocket, a tourer, a dual sport, a standard, or even a dirt bike, would you ever challenge a full size pickup truck to a towing contest? No? How about a contest involving maximum payload? No? Would you prefer to ride in the truck on a snowy drive to Lake Tahoe, or to take your chances on a two-wheeler? I can predict your answer.
It comes down to design, yes? A reasonably intelligent person can look at almost any type of vehicle and figure out some things it can perform well and others that it can’t. For anyone lacking that eye for design, experience will usually suffice. Even if you don’t own a truck, you almost certainly know someone who does, and you’ve probably had the opportunity to ride in it and learn some basics about its capabilities. Ditto for motorcycles. People who’ve never owned or ridden a bike have heard the stories or eye witnessed how fast most of them are.
If it seems like I’m overthinking this, please bear with me. Writing it all out is necessary as I sort through a sequence of events and try to figure out the thought processes of others. Perhaps I am assuming too much in the capabilities of people to look at a vehicle and know its strengths, by virtue of its design. I guess I’m just a little confused.
The other day, I was riding the Triumph and entered a freeway onramp that was two lanes wide, but merged to one lane before merging onto the freeway itself. Ahead of me was a diesel powered Dodge crew cab in one lane and it was slightly to the rear of a Kawasaki Ninja in the other. The huge plume of black smoke from the Dodge indicated the driver had romped the throttle in an attempt to beat the Ninja to the merge point. Suddenly I heard the wail of a DOHC 4-cylinder reaching for 10,000 rpm and the Ninja shot out of sight like a missile. The Dodge driver stayed hard on the throttle until maybe 90mph before giving up the pursuit. By that time, the Ninja was in the next ZIP code.
As (bad) luck would have it, the truck was headed the same direction on Highway 50 as I was and the driver seemed content to remain ensconced in the fast lane at a grand 68 mph, so I eventually caught up to him. I politely followed for a while, but as we started up the El Dorado Hills incline, he slowed, so I moved to the right to pass. That’s when he found the throttle again. I’m not sure what made him think that his 6,000 pound crew cab could out accelerate a motorcycle going uphill, but clearly he thought it could. I didn’t even have to downshift the Triumph, just rolled it up to maybe half throttle and left him behind.
Far from being an isolated incident, I see things like this pretty often – people in SUV’s and trucks attempting to match acceleration and speed with a motorcycle. It puzzles me. How is it that someone who is smart enough to hold a job so they can afford the SUV or truck in the first place, is not smart enough to understand that those particular vehicles’ design strengths are not the same as a motorcycle? When drinking, do they mix beer and wine? When doing laundry, do they wash whites with colors? It’s maddening, I tell ya.
Until next time, stay tuned and upright,