Motorcycling is a pastime full of variation. There is something for everyone, which is just as well, because life generally gives rise to many interesting types. Different characters can become very easy to spot on two wheels, so here’s a light-hearted look at some of the types of motorcycle riders you may encounter in the wilderness.
The motorcyclist that all other motorcyclists love to hate. Voted most likely to make a complete nuisance out of themselves and make all other motorcyclists look utterly horrendous, Squids have no qualms about writing checks their skills most likely can’t cash. Look for barely protected bodies, loud pipes and (most of all) sketchy manoeuvres. Squids are to be avoided at all costs and are not to be confused with motorcyclists who actually give a hoot.
Likely bikes of choice: True squidliness knows no boundaries…
(Stereo)typical gear: T-shirt (sleeves optional); jeans (regular, non-motorcycling ones) or shorts; sneakers. In essence, minimal.
This motorcyclist enjoys a good ride just as much as the next one, but is equally at home in the garage. To this gearhead, developing a good relationship with the motorcycle certainly means being able to take it apart and put it back together again, as long as there are no extra parts at the end of the venture. Well, not too many, at least. Mechanics enjoy a high satisfaction quotient because the bike they ride is the one they take care of. Greasy hands and cheeks are all part of the game. There might be some colourful language involved, but the end result is generally a smile…and the next project…and the next……
Likely bikes of choice: Any UJM; older Triumphs, Nortons or BSAs; anything modern that’s seen better days, in need of TLC, or generally prone to break downs.
(Stereo)typical gear: Overalls; grease in random places; old, but not-quite-past-the-shelf-life helmet, jacket and gloves (when not in the garage).
The Brand Loyalist
Quite simply, this motorcyclist will ride any motorcycle at all…as long as it’s their brand. Other motorcycles are irrelevant, or worse, not even worth the synapses required to consider them motorcycles in the first place. It’s (insert motorcycle manufacturer here) or nothing else. No middle ground. No exceptions. No if, ands, or buts. That’s all there is to it. On the plus side, gift shopping for the Brand Loyalist will be very easy…until they have everything, that is…
Likely bikes of choice: If you can’t tell by now…
(Stereo)typical gear: Gang Brand colours and accessories. As much as possible.
The Adventure Rider
The road not taken is the road this spirited, active motorcyclist will go for. Then it will be taken. Knowledgeable, well-prepared, and well-equipped. Dirt is as much a part of The Adventure Rider’s game as grease and oil is to The Mechanic’s. May not necessarily be a dirt-specialist by default, but will welcome extended stints over the rough stuff in between long, comfy rides on the blacktop. A versatile skill set behind the handlebars matches the versatile nature of their chosen rides.
Likely bikes of choice: KTM Adventure series; BMW GS series; Honda Transalp or Africa Twin; Kawasaki KLR.
(Stereo)typical gear: Off-road/dual sport helmet with goggles; matching jacket and pants, generally weatherproof (if not fully waterproof); adventure-centric or dirt boots, generally waterproof.
The Exclusive Sport Rider
Single-minded, and that mind is filled with SPEED!!! Power, too. That speed and power is often wrapped up in some sleek bodywork that could have spent time in a wind-tunnel at some point. May or may not be a race fan, but if they are, they might be overheard gabbing about the latest MotoGP encounter during one of their curve-strafing intermissions. Otherwise, they can be seen congregating at a track day, where obsessive knee dragging ensues with aplomb. Time must be shaved from laps. Oh, and by the way: SPEEEEEEEEEED!!!!!!!!!
Likely bikes of choice: Anything GSX-R, CBR, ZX-R, YZF-R; European sport bikes like Ducati, Aprilia, or the BMWS1000RR; naked bikes for those into the street fighter image.
(Stereo)typical gear: Jacket with matching pants; race replica leathers for the hardcore; knee sliders; full gauntlet gloves; aerodynamic, replica helmets.
The Exclusive Cruiser Rider
The yin to the Sport Rider’s yang. Cruiser Riders like ‘em long, low, and with a soundtrack that’s more “potato-potato” than “whhhhhaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!” Prefers a relaxed ride, but not afraid to whack the throttle open. In a straight line. No knee dragging. Likely to garner avoidance from those not in the know due to association with shadowy dealings and what not, but most likely to be your lawyer, dentist, real-estate agent, university professor, or (*gasp*) someone in your very own family. Unless they are actually associated with shadowy dealings. Hmm…
Likely bikes of choice: Harley-Davidson; other cruisers…
(Stereo)typical gear: Black leather vest or jacket (with or without patches); fingerless gloves; totally inadequate half-helmet; cowboy-style boots; chaps optional.
Forget a quarter mile at a time – The Stunter is most likely to live life one wheel at a time. Also most likely to spend the most time changing tires. If Stunters aren’t also Mechanics to some extent, then they know a Mechanic or two. Expect a Stunter’s bike to take a beating, but expect them to magically afford a new bike if one happens to bite the dust. Might be seen at a drag strip or parking lot (the latter with varying levels of permission). May also double as a Squid with a keen death wish if you happen to see one going down the highway pulling an extended horn mono.
Likely bikes of choice: Mid-capacity to large-capacity sport bike or naked bike with sledge hammered fuel tank, large rear sprocket, engine guards and various other stunt-centric modifications.
(Stereo)typical gear: Similar to Sport Rider; motorcycle-specific jeans; if they are minimalist, body armour over T-shirt and jeans will do; those riding shoes that look like street shoes.
Just a hunk of metal? Hah. Not even. It’s not a mere two-wheeled contraption to this deep, thoughtful motorcyclist – it’s a living, breathing entity with a character all of its own. Assembly lines? Nay, though they may be identical, each bike has its own soul, waiting to be stirred by one worthy enough to twist the throttle with deserved respect and love. Philosophers are also likely to be pretty darn decent riders, as they will spend time studying and perfecting techniques in an effort to ensure that man/woman and machine merge in exquisite harmony. Definitely a thinking rider.
Likely bikes of choice: Mid-size sport bike or naked bike…or anything that they feel they can become one with.
(Stereo)typical gear: ATGATT…and all the right gear, at that.
Can you think of any other types of motorcycle riders that weren’t mentioned here? Sound off below!