Note: This article pertains to all types of riders. So, please read on.
What happens to sport bike riders when they get old? Most people think of sport bike riders as young men in their 20’s or 30’s. A lot of people don’t consider that sport bike motorcycle riders, who may be up for betting on sites like 아리아카지노, are often in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s.
It’s assumed that those crazy riders on their rice rockets are young, testosterone laden young men. And this stereotype has some truth to it, since the attitude and ergonomics of sporting machinery suggests a fast and young lifestyle. But, many older riders do keep a sportbike in the garage if their body can handle the demands on aging bones, muscles and soft tissue.
A lot of sport bike riders move gradually to more upright machines with less demanding ergonomics and softer power delivery. But, if you look around at any sport riding gathering, track day, or even club race event, you’ll see that the median age is what is often considered over the hill. You’ll also see that these elders are often some of the most skilled riders on the road and the fastest on the track.
While the hair beneath the helmet may be gray, the desire to express mastery at the handlebars is as strong as ever. I’m not speaking for all sport bike elders, just the ones I know who keep at least one high-performance bike in their stable for those days when the back is feeling okay and the passion for a rip requires a razor-sharp tool.
At 57 years old, I’m now qualified to speak from the perspective of a once young road racer and sporting street rider. Thankfully, I happen to have a slim physique, which makes me able to climb onto a sport bike with relative ease. I am also of average height so high rearsets don’t bother me. This makes riding a sport bike possible.
Pull up a Chair, Son
There are a lot of things I could share about aging. But, there are a few notable observations I think are worth mentioning.
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1. Ride Smarter
When I’m on a motorcycle, I can step back and evaluate whether the speed I choose to ride matches my mood and personal limits, as well as the limits of the road or track, the weather, etc. While there are times when my inner squid emerges, I am much less prone to riding beyond the limits. I am closer to the edge of the risk:reward ratio than when I was young and felt invincible. Now, I ask myself whether riding a certain way is worth the possible aggravation.
Top photos © Ken Condon
Bottom photo © Annalisa Boucher
2. Ride more Efficiently
How is it that I can get through a two day track day event riding multiple groups and still get up the next day and go to work? I see a lot of track day riders many years my junior pack up halfway through the afternoon because they are too tired to go on anymore. How am I able to do this? It’s not because I’m in great shape.
It’s because I’ve learned to ride efficiently. This means hanging off the bike only as much as necessary to achieve the goals of keeping the pegs off the pavement and the tires in their sweet spot and perfectly loaded for maximum traction. It also means being relaxed as much as possible. Not only does this help my stamina, it also allows me to feel the tires and chassis so I can “listen” to the bike as it tells me how much traction I have.
3. Change Behavior
Getting old forces changes in behavior. At some point you have to recognize the fact that the mind, eyes, muscles and stamina are not what they used to be. Everyone is different, but from my experience, the rate of decline seems to accelerate once you pass 50 or so. This means I have to pace myself. I am more aware of the need to warm up my body for a few laps just like I do my tires.
The possibility of getting hurt is present no matter what age, but what may be a simple injury, quickly healed, can turn into a long, drawn out healing process if you are older. You will have to hire a qualified personal injury lawyers in Kennewick to compensate the long-term treatment expenses. Riding smart and wearing really good personal protection is important for minimizing those injuries.
4. Stay in Shape
I’m not in bad shape, but I’m not in great shape, either. I walk almost every day, but I used to run. I lightly stretch when I need to, but not as often as I should. I have never smoked and my vitals are good. I guess I can say I’m in pretty good shape for my age.
Even so, I suffered a freak health issue a while ago that I’m lucky to have survived. Thankfully, I can still manage a full day of street riding and both days of a two day track day event without much trouble. Staying in shape is harder as you get older. Weight gain is a real problem for many. Weight can creep up on you slowly. Five pounds may not seem like much, but if that happens every year for 10 years, you’re looking at a whopping 50 pound weight gain that will be tough to get rid of.
5. Keep Your Skills Sharp
There is a real danger in complacency. It’s easy for veteran riders to assume they don’t need to maintain their mental and physical skills. After all, they’ve survived this far. This perception leads to diminished skills, which can lead to a crash.
Motorcycle riding skills are perishable. So, keep those skills sharp! Practice in a parking lot, attend a safety course periodically, and ride a track day or three. It’s also good to read about riding technique. Even if you already “know” the material, reading about a technique brings it into your consciousness.
And for you older folks returning to riding, GET TRAINING! I know you may know how to “operate” a motorcycle, but that’s not enough to ride safe and smart. You need to update your mental software and learn things you may not have known before that can literally save your wrinkled ass. I recommend taking the Basic MSF course, followed by an advanced training course.
Bonus Tip: Share Your Knowledge
I’m grateful that I can share knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to help people like you ride better and smarter. But, another benefit to writing and teaching is that it makes me a better rider. I constantly think about my riding, which keeps my skills sharp.
A lot of really fast, experienced riders can’t explain how they do what they do…they just do it. That’s fine, but thinking about the physiology and psychology of riding a motorcycle well makes a rider’s knowledge and skill indelibly deeper and accessible when you need it.
Oh, and don’t assume you know what you are talking about, even if you are “fast”. Learn the physics and language of communicating the complex concepts of motorcycle riding before you claim expert status.
How Much Longer?
At some point, we all must hang up our helmet for the last time. In my case, that appears to be several years away. I can still do things I did when I was younger, it just takes more effort. What are your experiences with aging behind the handlebars?
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47 Replies to “5 Tips from an Aging Sport Bike Rider”
I turn 59 xmas, so I bought myself an early gift. I found a really clean 1 owner 2000 ZX12. I’ve been out of riding for a few years now, been bored ever since. There’s nothing that stirs my soul like riding does!! Thank you all for your input on this subject, I don’t feel so isolated anymore…lol. Stay safe out there.
WELL HERE IS A STORY I STARTED RIDING IN FLORIDA WHEN I WAS 13 WHEN I TOLD MY DAD I WANTED A MOTORCYCLE HE WENT THRU THE ROOF BUT SAID IF YOU WANT A MOTORCYCLE YOU NEED TO GO WORK FOR THE MONEY TO BUY IT IT CUT GRASS LOT OF GRASS IN FLORIDA MADE ENOUGH TO BUY A HARLEY 125CC FROM A POSTMAN IN 1951 RODE IT FROM MIAMI TO WILD WOOD NJ AND WORKED ON THE BOARDWALK AT A HOT DOG PLACE NEXT TO THE CAROUSEL MERRY GO ROUND THE OWNER’S NAME WAS BEN BUSH & BROTHER GABE FOR THREE SUMMERS & MOVED UP TO BUYING A HARLEY “K” MODEL 750CC TRADED IT FOR A NSU 250CC IN 1956 GREAT MOTORCYCLE ENLISTED IN THE NAVY AIR WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL AFTER MILITARY A USED BMW R 60 THEN A USED R69 @ RODE IT TO MEXICO CITY WITH 3 WEEKS VACATION & $240.00 DLLS WITH MY WIFE FELL IN LOVE WITH MEXICO AND THE PEOPLE HAD THREE GOLD WINGS WIFE FELL ILL WENT BACK TO BMW’S NOW I STILL RIDE MY BMW R1200RT AND LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN IN BAJA MEXICO I’M 82 1/2 YEARS OLD AND CAN NOT MAKE MY MIND UP TO GIVE UP WHAT I LOVE UNDECIDED
I’ll be 68 this new year. Sold my last bike, a GS 1000 Suzuki, in 1983. Just purchased a 2018 Ducati Supersport, and am having the time of my life. Always wanted to learn to ride a sport bike.Now I have the time.
For a beginner, this was such a pleasure to read and take notes. Looking forward to years of efficient and smart riding.
I started riding when I was 16 but took quite a break due to marriage and professional study commitments. Bought myself a 1960 BSA DBD34 Clubman Gold Star when I was in my 30’s, which I still have and use. Bought myself a Ducati Monster 3 years back as I’d always wanted to own a Ducati. I ride out most weekends, weather permitting, with a younger friend. Have to say I still love to ride but at 65 I do back off on some corners when my buddy keeps the gas on !! Plan to ride for as long as I can but agree that with age comes a healthy respect for mortality – I’m also conscious that reflexes are probably not as sharp as when I was young(er)and indomitable. Ride safe everyone and enjoy.
I liked this article so much I shared it for others to read. This is wisdom that our youthful sides and those who don’t have it yet, should absorb fully. Ride for the fun for the smile, not for the fear.
I’m in my 50s and my bike of choice is a yesteryear crotch rocket, a 2000 or 2002 ZX-9R Ninja. I own two. I bought them because I like to do an occasional track day, but ride the canyons and mountain twisities a lot, which often means I have to ride sometimes great distances (350 miles in a day) to get there and back. And I have found, like you suggest, it’s that balance. I don’t need to be doing 90 MPH to get my kicks every ride. In fact, when the speeds of others go wild, I generally ride mindful of the perils that comes with speed. Not only is it not worth it, it’s no longer fun, because I feel awful afterwards. Besides, the physics of my heavier bike means I get to do the puck dragging at much much lower speeds than those lighter track bikes and I’m more fresh when I get to the canyons than those other riders because my bike was designed for the street, not the track.
I find enjoyment from the total experience of being on a motorcycle and the camaraderie that goes with riding with like-minded riders. Stay in shape, keep your mind and skills fresh, ride like you are capable of, with something to spare and without riding beyond it, and jump at the chance to join others for those Sun up to Sun down riding adventures.
I am 70 years young , ride my ultra classic to Washington DC for the last five years from Sacramento also have three quads that I ride often and just got a used Honda dirt bike 125 and will ride as long as the good Lord lets me do so being old is in your mind , don’t give up what U love because of age !
I have been riding since the sixties but had never done a track day until last year for my 70th birthday. Oulton park was the venue I chose and it was brilliant. I liked it so much that I have done another 6 track days this year and plan to do a lot more next year. I have only had one off at Oulton Park’s Lodge corner where I went off the side of the tyre. I wish I started track days 40 years ago.
Glad you discovered the fun of track days.
I’m not sure how I stumbled across this article, but so glad I did. It’s brought a bit of peace to my thoughts. My loving father was 65 years young when he went for his last ride on his beloved Yamaha R1. September 13, 2015. His brother and 2 friends stopped by that morning and asked for him to join them for a cruise. All on sport bikes. My dad loved the adrenaline rush. He did for 40 years. His R1 was impeccable. But he was tired that morning. My sister’s wedding was the night before. Nonetheless he couldn’t turn down the chance to ride with the fellas. That was the last day I saw my father. 65 years old, but 21 at heart. He was racing on a long road and something happened. What really happened may never be known. My father knew his bike and that road. One day I may accept that the combination of age and speed of 120mph, anything can happen, but still my heart wonders what caused him to cross the road to the other side, through a ditch, and into a telephone pole. I know for sure he held on with everything he had. He left behind a wife of 44 years, 3 daughters, and 4 grandchildren. My Dad was the most outgoing guy. Genuine, caring, with an incredible smile. The best Grandfather. He’s missed every single day and will be forever. I wish he had read an article like this, although no one could tell him to take it easy on his R1. They went down together in the end. The love of motorcycles is powerful, but the love of family is greater. Enjoy your days of riding but always remember what you have written. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
So pained to hear of your loss, Beth.
Thank you so very much. I really enjoyed reading your article.
I am sorry for your loss. Your dad had what was known as “Moxy” and men who have moxy live the life of real men. We just have it in us to live life to the fullest. I am old also but I love life and I have “Moxy” Your dad did what was required of him to be happy. GOD Bless
Nice common sense advice for us oldsters & the comment section here is inspiring. I turned 60 last June, I bought a brand new used Triumph Thruxton 900 which I picked up yesterday. Bout pooped my drawers on the first kl but confidence and recollection soon returned and today I was up and out the door and on the saddle. The Thruxton splits the line nicely tween a harley and a supersport for this geezer.
I am 63, I love to ride my motto Guzzi 1100,
I’m 68 and still ride I have a honda cbr f3 needs work I’m going to fix it and continue riding there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle
i am 73 yrs young i have a 2015 kawasaki z1000 abs and a triumph t120 and live in florida and mountains ofTN. Still enjoy the twisties and love both bikes used to have harleys they seemed to get to heavy and clumsey these bikes are both nimble amd fast and light weight
I thought it was interesting that you mentioned staying in shape. My brother is looking to buy some sport bikes and wants to ride well. I’ll be sure to talk to him about staying in shape can help with that.
John R. 60 years old I have had some health issues lately My last long, fun trip was to Copper Canyon in Mexico. I believe I have a couple of good trips still in me. I am thinking about Alaska and the the four corners of the U.S. Yall be safe
I’m 61, got my bike license 2 years ago. I followed the advice I was given and bought a V Star 250. It was a good bike and light easy to ride.
I became interested in sport bikes and sold the v star and bought a ninja 300, still small but lots of fun and a pretty comfortable riding position.
Really enjoy the control and peppy performance, I know it’s not a powerful bike but I love riding it. I am retired and my friends are trying to shame me into going the Harley route love how they look but I don’t think I need all the weight and noise at this point, plus the ninja is too much fun and put 2500 km on it the first month, the same amount I put on the v star which I rode for 6 months
The Ninja 300 is indeed a fun bike. The big cruiser bikes can be fun too, but you are right, they are cumbersome. I rode a V Star 1100 recently and the thing was so bulky and unwieldy that it was not fun at all at anything below highway speeds. The Indian Chieftain I reviewed was nice, but was also oversized for me.
I’m 64 and have a 2013 R1. I run by the concept that old age and treachery beat youth and ability. It’s worked so far…. 🙂 Supersports are a blast.
What made you choose the r1 ?
Savoy insights and advise for riders of all ages. I am 66 and still riding my 86 gsxr750 and my 95’cbr900rr and loving every minute of it. I’ve learned that mental attitude,physical fitness and spiritual well being are key ingredients to outing time. A delicate balance to be sure but with endless possibilities.”Wick it up”
I’m 56 been riding dirt bikes, cruisers, since a kid. Always wanted sport bike but always talked myself out of. 13 years on a 2003 Softail Standard, 2007 yz450 for dirt, and 3 other old dirt bikes I could bring myself to rid of. Well after purchasing and riding my new Yamaha 2016 yzf r1 Yellow Anniversary edition I’m in love again, WOW, INCREDEBLE. My Harley will be detailed and up for sale soon and I will be riding sport bike until I can’t then if possible trade to a fz1 or similar sit up bike.
This new r1 computer controls in my opinion used with responsibility makes it so much safer to ride then my old Harley. It does exactly what you want it to and more importantly when it’s most needed.
Well I’ve babbled on enough glad to see there are other old guys like myself out there.
I’m 45 and just got a GSX-R750 , this will be my 1st sport bike, was more into Hogs but those things are too damn heavy and the zero% from suzuki on that bike model was too hard to resist. I moved from Illinois to Arizona a few years back and was thinking, I could ride a bike all year here so why not
This post is old. but I thought I would add to it.I am 48 and I pilot a ZX10-R My wife also
Is on a ZX10-R Both our bikes are Heavily modded and have been custom fitted to our
Bodies.We do have a friend in our Club who rides a GSXR-1000 and he is 76.
Bottom line is you only live once! Get out and go through some gears!
Just like the story of the Two Bulls on the Hill…………
I’m an aging rider the only problem is I’m also paralyzed. I was wondering if anyone has or knows of someone with a sportbike trike. Maybe they could tell me about them. I know a lot of people would just quit riding but it’s in the blood. I’ve never riden a Harley and the Spyders are interesting but a pure sportbike turned into a trike would be wild as I pulled into a Superbike race.
I liked the article and the many inspiring comments people left. I am over 50 been riding since I was 16 and mostly Harleys. But after having a heart attach and coming back to the land of the living which I am thankful. I did the forbidden I traded my Hog for a super sport. I know sounds the opposite of what is supposed to happen but I always wanted one. It began when I started riding my sons SV1000s it got me hooked and so this year I did it. I know it is not as comfy but at the end of a great ride with all the aches and pains I feel great and satisfied. I only hope to keep going as long as my body will.
I am 57 and have married and ridden for 30 years. Current bike is a 2014 CBR600rr. My wife is 48 and rides a 2010 CBR600rr. I will keep going as long as my wife will.
I’ll be 70 in a couple of weeks. I just got back from vacation in the Smoky Mountains where I did a 327 mile/11 hour ride with my cousin (mid 50s) and a buddy (mid 60s), both on Vee-Stroms. I was on a rented BMW R1150RT that was not particularly in the best shape for a sport bike ride. It was a tire shredding crazy curvy day, and I managed to keep up with those young fellas. We never did anything stupid—I’ve done stupid, I know stupid—and had a great time. I’m not in the best of shape, and am, maybe, 10 – 15 pounds over weight. I think a person has to be a student of sport riding, and have the proper attitude to do what I did. Of course, there are many folks who are better/faster street bike riders than I am, but I had a total blast, and amazingly, could walk the next day.
I’m glad you had a good time riding at a sporting pace. It seems as if performance riding never really leaves us once it grabs hold.
I am 51 and ride a Kawasaki Ninja 650. I put an average of 5000 summer miles on my bike. I am 5’7 and weigh 135, and in pretty good physical condition. I am the only 50-something woman I know who rides one, and I really don’t understand why. Compared to riding a cruiser, I love my motorcycle’s light-weight maneuverability and responsiveness. The 650 is not a “Super Sport”, but it’s still a sleek, fun machine.
I know a few over 50 women rider, my wife being one of them. You may have to look hard, but they are out there. I love the Ninja 650. I rode one on the racetrack a while back and thought it was a hoot. Good choice.
Keep on riding. Be individual, do what you want, not what others think.
Well I’m prob a little too young to contribute to this post at 63 yrs but I’ll try anyway.Owned a Road King for about 5 yrs and enjoyed riding it over a lot of the Eastern U S .Sold it couple yrs ago but recently my son said “Dad why don’t we get bikes and ride some places together and make some bike riding memories before we can’t ride anymore”.Thats all I needed to inspire me so we purchased bikes.I wanted something that handles better than my Hog did so I bought a Yamaha FZ1 “an old man sportbike”.I have a friend who out rides me and most 20 yr olds who has that model and loves it.By the way he’s 83 and rides more than my son and me together and typically does a couple of Big Trips a year.Well I’m really enjoying that upright position FZ1 and feel like I’m a lot more observant and careful while riding these days.Man I’m so thankful to have been blessed with a hobby I’ve had the privilege of doing for over 45 yrs .Im hoping for many more Lord willing and hope all my motorcycle brothers have many wonderful yrs riding as well.
I moved up from 40+ years on Harleys to my first sport bike, a Yamaha R6. Very smooth transition. Main difference is of course the riding position and the high RPM motor. I like the feeling of high tech, dependable electronics, state of the art brakes, and, well….passing every damn thing in my way. 64 years old.
I have been riding since I was 12, now I am 62 and still in relatively good physical health for my age. I still enjoy fast, but have had to acknowledge and compensate for my limitations as the result of my advanced age. In other words, I don’t push the machine to the limits like I did when I was younger. I ride a ZX11 today, and I find a great deal of enjoyment in being just “quick smooth”. There are no tracks nearby for track days, but in West Virginia we have some of the best sport bike riding in the nation. Keep Ridin’
Chuck, You sure do have some great roads in WV. You know, there is a pretty interesting racetrack in WV…Summit Point http://www.summitpoint-raceway.com/. I’ve never ridden there, but I’ve heard good things. Try this link: http://www.motorcyclexcitement.com/
Im 72 and I bought what I thought was a nice compromise bike for a Sunday ride. My first Harley, if you dont count the HD Aermacchi Sprint i raced in the late sixties, is an XR1200. I love the bike and Im quite content to ride at a spirited but more leisurely pace on the back roads of Connecticut. I was never a fast street rider, preferring the track to test my limits. I still get the urge to go vintage road racing , but quite frankly, Im too old to hit the ground anymore. I do satisfy my competitive urge by racing a 1971 240Z in vintage sports car events. No chance of hitting the ground that way.:)
Yeah, the car thing is probably on my horizon as I get older. Although the expense of tires and maintenance is not very attractive.
Next year I’ll be 69. Besides good genes, I have also kept myself in shape over the years. Last year I learned of the track days and gave it a try…This year bought a 01 Ducati 748 to start and did a few track days….I’m hooked… I don’t know how many years I have left to ride but am so thankful to be doing these track days and meeting new people that share my interest.
That’s great Richard…Inspiring, for sure. Remember, smooth first, fast second.
Great stuff Ken. When I get to be older, like in another 30 years or so 🙂 , I’ll use more of these tips. A great motivation for staying in shape is to assume that if you don’t “move it” via exercise… then you will “lose it”.
I’m also lucky enough not to suffer from any major issues that prevent me from doing a wide ranging workout and running so, like you, I’ve been able to stay quite fit. I use that very ability as motivation since many of us don’t have a choice I think I’m lucky.
Hi Ken, great stuff and just what I need to hear. Although you and I are quite different in physique and skill level, I still enjoy the track but will never have the speed or skill set as the younger riders I see. I go because I enjoy the time with my son, being in the track environment and going fast ( for me ).
I have been riding around the country for 45 years on BMW bikes and only in the last few years riding any type of sport bike ( MV Brutale and a 1100 Hypermotard )both sold after my granddaughter was born. Now I am the new owner of a 2002 SV650 which will just be used for track days because of the local tracks opening up. Bryan and I even purchased memberships this year so I am excited.
I would love to drag knees and look great in photos but it is not the case for me. I am the 60yr old, 50 lb overweight guy in the article ( soon to be 25 lbs if I wish to fit in my leathers) but I think I have just as much fun in a safe environment as the guys in the blue and black groups.
Well, see you in the spring, just wave at the old guy on the SV on your way past 🙂
30 years…right Dave. Good attitude. I use track riding as a motivation to stay fit. If I can’t perform at a high level on the track because I’m lazy, then shame on me.
I hit the big 50 this year and am enjoying my riding more than ever! Over the years my desire to keep up with the latest and greatest machinery has yielded to owning something that better fits my needs ergonomically.
I currently ride a Kawasaki Z1000 on the street and a Suzuki GSXR600 on the track.
Both bikes are far more capable than I will ever be at my age so the need or desire to trade them for something newer is not as strong as it used to be!
I enjoy doing all my own maintenance and while my street riding mileage is reducing my trackday mileage is increasing so I definitely get my “fix” of adrenaline on a regular basis and in a safer environment.
I have no plans to hang up the helmet as long as my body will allow me to keep riding!
Old guys rule!!