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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I went to to a Harley demo and they kept saying I was not riding properly for the staggered formation. I just wasn't comfortable with the idea of riding staggered because when say a right turn comes along, I like to ride into the right side of the lane then go back into the left as the turn ends. And the guy on the Vrod wasn't happy with me doing that, even though he had space behind me. They were nice enough to let me keep riding the whole day since I wasn't intentionally endangering anyone otherwise I think they could have just ended my ride while on the road. But they would not let me ride next day. Plus I wore an alpine star jacket so I was one of the few guys who actually had more than just a Tshirt or leather vest.

But I have been to other demos like for Suzuki and Honda and they didn't give me any problems and let me keep trying different bikes. I rode how I usually did and we never really rode in a strict staggered position. We just rode in a single file line and it was much easier.

I do notice Harley riders are big on that staggered formation, but I don't really like riding like that because I feel like you're forced to stay in one place rather than really enjoy the ride and go where you please.

Harleys are good bikes and have a solid feel. But at the demo, there were a bunch of guys dressing up as the typical Harley guy with the leather or jean vest with their group name on it. I almost feel some Harley guys are just in it just so they can dress up and look like some bad ass from a rock metal band. And put flags on their baggers to express themselves like a cluttered myspace page. I question if those hard core Harley riders are riding their bikes just because of the Harley lifestyle or if they really appreciate all motorcycles. There were other guys who rode different types of bikes who wanted to give Harley a chance, but I just wonder if the stereotype of Harley riders can be true like how South Park depicted it. Harley is a good bike, but some riders seem to only be in it for the looks and not put riding functionality as priority. But thankfully Harley does make bikes that are practical to ride for those who don't care for ape bars or trying to be a Harley poser.
 

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The lesson you should take away from that is, these are the kind of people you don't want to ride with.

You should ride your own ride, even in a group. The way I see it (I could be wrong but it makes sense to me), the :edit - ONE reason for staggered riding is you have access to and control over all three mini-lanes within your lane. If you are not allowed to utilize the entire lane, what's the point?
 

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The lesson you should take away from that is, these are the kind of people you don't want to ride with.

You should ride your own ride, even in a group. The way I see it (I could be wrong but it makes sense to me), the reason for staggered riding is you have access to and control over all three mini-lanes within your lane. If you are not allowed to utilize the entire lane, what's the point?
That's what I thought the point of the formation was too...

I did one of these "rides" on my FZ1 with a bunch of Harley guys, never again. The majority of them barely know how to ride (Imagine if you only rode 1000 miles a year, and never in the rain, only between the temperatures of 85 and 70 degrees.). We never got above 40 mph yet somehow 2 people still managed to crash. What a shit show. My left hand was sore from slipping the clutch the whole time.

Lots of guys I work with ride, all Harleys. Only one of them is actually a great rider. He rides year round on all conditions on a very nice touring rig and when he's not riding that he rides dirt bikes in the woods. So it's not every guy on a Harley, but it seems to be a majority IMO.

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The way I see it (I could be wrong but it makes sense to me), the reason for staggered riding is you have access to and control over all three mini-lanes within your lane. If you are not allowed to utilize the entire lane, what's the point?
That's probably one reason. I understood it as a way to add space between you and the rider in front of you while still staying in somewhat of a compact group and not riding side by side (I think we are saying the same thing though in two different ways). But when you approach the turn you go back to "single file" so everyone can set a proper line through the turn, or at least what makes them comfortable at a given speed. Then, when going back to a straight road, get back into the staggered formation.

I did have someone tell me, who was very new to riding at the time, that you're only supposed to ride staggered inside of towns or cities. He was trying to correct me after I went into a staggered formation on a very straight road well outside of any city limits. I'd never heard that before, and another experienced rider disagreed as well. No clue where he heard that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I don't think I will be buying a Harley if riding with Harley guys means riding staggered formation an entire trip. I feel sport bike riders are more fun to ride with since they ride where they please and not worry if you're in the same place for the entire trip.

Some Harley guys seem more about a fashion show, especially the guys with the huge custom choppers who are compromising functionality for looks and wearing their favorite football team's jersey. I get custom choppers look cool, but I don't get how these people enjoy riding them. Unless all they do is ride in places people can see them on their choppers.

I only ride because I like the feeling of riding, I'm not worried how I look on the bike. Plus I think more sport bike riders wear the proper gear since Harley guys think denim or leather vests is the necessity attire to ride a Harley. Plus since Harley is selling a lifestyle, too many men with midlife crisis buy these bikes because it looks cool and not for how it rides because my friend's dad did that.

I did meet some cool Harley riders who wanted to share their passion for riding, but I saw too many posers especially grown men who wear football jerseys on their choppers.

If I'm gonna get a cruiser type motorcycle when I'm older, I'll probably get a BMW touring bike or Honda Goldwing. The older guys who ride those bikes seem more inviting. They seem like the people who ride for functionality over looks.
 

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I forget who said it but I recall someone saying people who buy Harleys are doing it just because of the name and the style rather than trying to buy the best bike for what they want to do. So at least you're not the only one with that opinion. That being said, there are a lot of knowledgeable riders on Harleys, I'm not trying to generalize an entire group, the same way I don't like them assuming everyone on a sportbike is doing wheelies all day and zipping around cars on the highway over 100mph.

If you're into the cruiser style though, there are so many other manufacturers that make similar bikes that are very nice to look at. Yamaha, Suzuki and Triumph to name a few that also make popular sportbikes. Harley isn't the only game in town. I think a lot would argue they aren't the best, either.
 

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Skid Mark
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you can make it up to them by revving at the next underpass and then randomly punching a minority in the face. you're in the club for sure then...


s3aturnr
 

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That's probably one reason. I understood it as a way to add space between you and the rider in front of you while still staying in somewhat of a compact group and not riding side by side (I think we are saying the same thing though in two different ways). But when you approach the turn you go back to "single file" so everyone can set a proper line through the turn, or at least what makes them comfortable at a given speed. Then, when going back to a straight road, get back into the staggered formation.

I did have someone tell me, who was very new to riding at the time, that you're only supposed to ride staggered inside of towns or cities. He was trying to correct me after I went into a staggered formation on a very straight road well outside of any city limits. I'd never heard that before, and another experienced rider disagreed as well. No clue where he heard that one.


That's what I should have said, and what I meant - A reason, not the only reason. It gives you your space side to side, and gives you more of a buffer between riders. It's stupid and unnecessary to expect everyone to stay in the exact same position in their lane all the time. You should be free to avoid obstacles, set a line you are comfortable with for turns and all that. Then go back into staggered formation when things straighten out or settle down.

I never heard anything about geographic restrictions on staggered riding either. :lol
 

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After Me Lucky Charms
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I forget who said it but I recall someone saying people who buy Harleys are doing it just because of the name and the style rather than trying to buy the best bike for what they want to do. So at least you're not the only one with that opinion. That being said, there are a lot of knowledgeable riders on Harleys, I'm not trying to generalize an entire group, the same way I don't like them assuming everyone on a sportbike is doing wheelies all day and zipping around cars on the highway over 100mph.

If you're into the cruiser style though, there are so many other manufacturers that make similar bikes that are very nice to look at. Yamaha, Suzuki and Triumph to name a few that also make popular sportbikes. Harley isn't the only game in town. I think a lot would argue they aren't the best, either.
This article.

How to sell a Harley-Davidson | RideApart
 

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We rode in staggered formation on our group rides back in Orlando and we were mostly on sportbikes.

We would go into a single file in the corner's and reform the staggered formation on the straight aways. We used plenty of hand & feet signals for road debris and turns.

This was a very seasoned group of riders and plenty of high speed trysts!
 

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That's what I should have said, and what I meant - A reason, not the only reason. It gives you your space side to side, and gives you more of a buffer between riders. It's stupid and unnecessary to expect everyone to stay in the exact same position in their lane all the time. You should be free to avoid obstacles, set a line you are comfortable with for turns and all that. Then go back into staggered formation when things straighten out or settle down.

I never heard anything about geographic restrictions on staggered riding either. :lol
Both the MSF manual and the Commonwealth of Virginia manual state that riding staggered is the best approach in most cases, but not all cases. The Virginia manual specifically says that riding single file is the best approach in turns (MSF manual says curvy roads).

Maybe anyone planning on doing a Harley test ride should print out some of these: http://www.arng.army.mil/soldierres...torcycle Safety/MSF Quick Tips Group_Ride.pdf

Interesting read.
 

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I suppose if you are riding with a bunch of people you don't know, strict rules might be necessary. This is why I rarely/never ride with groups of people I don't know well. A good rule of thumb for me is, if a group's ride preparation contains a suggestion to read the group's rules, I'm not going on that ride. It could just be that they are overly cautious, or it could mean that they experience enough problems and have enough problem riders to need written rules. Neither one of those things sounds like very much fun to me.

/cynicism
 

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I did a Harley Demo day in June, they did preach about riding staggered and no "rubber band" riding, but they didn't seem to give anyone much grief. I can't stand riding a bike with no instrumentation other than an analog spedo, that vibrates my shoes off, and scrapes the footpegs on the concrete just trying to turn out of the parking lot.
 

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I suppose if you are riding with a bunch of people you don't know, strict rules might be necessary. This is why I rarely/never ride with groups of people I don't know well. A good rule of thumb for me is, if a group's ride preparation contains a suggestion to read the group's rules, I'm not going on that ride. It could just be that they are overly cautious, or it could mean that they experience enough problems and have enough problem riders to need written rules. Neither one of those things sounds like very much fun to me.

/cynicism
For me it's more about the hand signals. I get annoyed (and confused) when it looks like someone is just making them up, even the basic ones like right-turn or stop. Not everyone uses them though. I'd rather have someone not use them at all rather than use incorrect ones.
 

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The purpose of riding staggered is to give the maximum room for *necessary* maneuvering, not so that you can change position whenever you feel like it. If you feel that you have to go outside-inside-outside in town cornering, I would think you're wrong, or the group is going way too fast. If you're in twisties, it is common to break into a single file so people can take their own lines.

If you were disrupting things enough that they felt it necessary to ask you not to return, I would say that's on you. You were the one wanting the demo ride, it's up to you to follow directions as long as they are not unsafe.

I am with Tammy in that I don't really care for group rides, but when I'm at a demo ride I shut up, follow directions, and accept the limitations inherent in keeping a mixed group of strangers safe. Coming back here and asking about the formation is one thing, coming back here and taking snide potshots at Harley riders makes you seem like just a whiner.

KeS
 

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I went to a HD ride day to test Buells. What a fucking joke. They put the buells at the back of the "staggered formation" behind all the harleys, we never went over 45mph (including on the highway), and I got pulled aside and scolded for "stunting" after weaving in my lane to try and get SOME sort of feel for a sportbike, which I was not getting from riding in a fucking line...

You had your chance HD. Never again.
 

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There are still guys who think the front brake will cause you to flip.

There are idiots everywhere. If you're going to ride in a group, make sure it's a group that understands that formation is good for most areas, but not for the twisties.
 

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plenty of people on sportbikes that don't know how to ride either.

i ride alone 99% of the time, but decided to try out a group ride with some people my friends ride with. there were 7 people there counting me. i stayed at the back to watch the antics. the front 4 got pulled over for speeding in a 35mph residential area. i guessed they were doing over 60. i split off at that point but later found out that 2 of them crashed shortly after.

they have a facebook group, so i tried telling them that's not what a "normal" ride should be like. they seemed to all think it was fine and agreed they had fun. i don't think seeing a fellow rider go down is a good time. whatever.
 
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