I finally dropped the bike

I was told often during my MSF course and in the process of seeking a bike to buy that it was best to buy used because I would almost certainly lay it down in the first year, probably doing something stupid. It’s amazing how people with experience often know what they’re talking about, isn’t it?

Today, I was riding home from the train station on our '83 Honda Nighthawk 450. It’s really nice to get on the bike even for a few short minutes after a long day at work, and today had been a particularly rough day. As soon as I got on, I remembered that I’d nearly run out of gas on the way to the station this morning, and that I was already using the reserve tank. So, straight to the gas station I went.

As I pulled up to the pump and shut off the bike, I started to put down the kick stand. But at the last moment, I remembered that I didn’t want to do that because I have a bad habit of forgetting to put the kick stand back up when I take off, and I prefer stradling the bike and holding it straight up and down while I’m fueling up. So I left the kick stand up.

Then I reached for my wallet to get out my credit card, and in the process, I accidentally knocked a favorite pen out of my pocket. No problem. I just figured I’d dismount really quick so I can grab the pen…


Luckily, I caught the bike on its way down, and, since it’s a fairly light bike, I was able to hold on to it lmost all the way. In all, it probably only had about six inches of freefall travel before it hit the ground. No real damage done, fortunately. I picked the bike up before I had a chance to get embarrased, and I refused to look around to see if anyone else had noticed. I felt particularly lucky because another rider pulled into the station about a minute after my mishap. I don’t know why I think making rookie mistakes in front of other riders is more shameful than doing so around any other witnesses, but I never said I was logical.

Anyway, lesson learned, and probably in the least harmful way possible. I still feel like an idiot, but it could have been a lot worse. Methinks I’ll be using the kickstand from now on, though.

What more experienced riders than me told me was never buy a bike you can’t pick up, pretty much for the same reason.

BTW, doesn’t “lay it down” usually mean dropping it while in motion? I think letting it tip over while at a stand-still just means you’re a dweeb. :smiley:

Just kiddin’, we’ve all done it.

Yeah, this is where everyone points and laughs. :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

Newer bikes have a kickstand safety switch. (My older bike is a '94 and it has one.) If the kick stand is down and you put it in gear, the engine shuts off. It keeps you from taking off with the kick stand down and getting levered over in a turn.

I was on the 405 one day on thee Seca doing about 80 when the engine quit. It just stopped. I pulled in the clutch and headed over to the right shoulder. I diagnosed the problem as a broken wire on the kick stand. The bike thought its kick stand was down and shut down. I made a field repair by stripping the broken end of the wire and attaching it to the spring (a ground) and I was on my way. (I’d stopped carrying a pocket knife the day before, so I had to strip the wire with the P-38 I have on my keychain, which is about as sharp as a dull rock.)

Ugh…yeah, I originally had “laid it down” in the title and then realized that wasn’t the right phrasing, but I missed my mistake in the actual OP…ah well. Just reinforces your theory that I’m a dweeb. :slight_smile:

ETA: The stand safety switch sounds lovely, Johnny (except where it failed you, of course). There have been at least three times in the last six months that I’ve started to drive off in the train station parking lot and bounced the stand off the pavement as I started to lean into a left turn. I’ve been much better about it in the last month, though, because the last time I did it, it scared me bad enough that I had to stop for a minute and get my head straight.

Sorry about your bad day.

I once saw a guy break traction and lay his shiny bike down at a gas station. He was attempting and “esso-asso” to cut the corner and hit the “slick” concrete at the station that surrounds the fuel dispensers/islands. He wasn’t hurt but did seem really embarrassed.

I have dropped my bike many times, especially while learning, luckily, it is a 78 xs650se, so no harm done. I even dropped it the day of my test warming it up.

I dropped my new buell last year right after I got it, that I couldnt pick up. Of course I laid that buell down about a week later avoiding a van.

Dropping a bike never stalled me much, but that one experience of laying it down, pretty much struck the fear of Og in me, I think Ive ridden twice since then(on the replacement buell). I think what I need to do is get on my yamaha(Im very comfy with the bike, no weird mysteries), and maybe I can get over my fear of riding then.

Not I :smiley:

Alright, so I might have come sorta close a few times, and perhaps I’ve only had about 5 months of experience total, so there’s still plenty of time. But I like to think that I’m past that stage, by and large.

Past that stage? Good lord no. It’ll bite you one of these day, Red, never fear. :slight_smile:

Well, now that you’ve jinxed me… :mad:

This usually isn’t a good idea. There are lots of things that can go wrong, and as you’ve seen this is one of them. You’ll put the same amount of gas in the tank, and unless you’re going for a long ride you shouldn’t fill the tank up since the gas might expand and burp out of the tank.

But since we’re on about dropping bikes… I had just bought my new Connie, these are very heavy bikes and easy to drop. Well I had just filled up a 7.5 tank, and gotten a 12 pack of beer. I threw the beer in the trunk, got on the bike and pushed it up to raise the kick stand. Well I pushed a bit too hard and the bike went the other way. Let me tell you once a 600+ lb bike gets going there’s no stopping it.

I wish I could remember where I read and/or heard about this years ago, but there was a story about a guy who had a motorcycle with an attached sidecar. For whatever reason, he had removed the sidecar one day, and drove off on the 'cycle. He stopped at the first red light, of course, without putting his feet down and slooowly toppled over to the asphalt!

Now that would be fairly embarrassing…

[Yoda voice]You will. You wiiiiiiiill.[/Yoda]