For many people—men and women alike—it’s been a lifelong dream to own a motorcycle. No matter how old you are when you finally take the plunge and buy your first bike, you should be aware of your limitations as a rider and the dangers of certain kinds of motorcycles. While bigger and faster may seem better, this isn’t always the case for bikes and, before you make a fatal mistake and buy a supersport motorcycle, find out why this may too much bike for you to handle.
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Don’t get us wrong—at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re proud to represent motorcyclists in accident claims. In fact, we ride motorcycles ourselves. However, we also encourage safety, and advise would-be riders to choose a bike that fits them and their lifestyle. Unfortunately, some riders go for bikes they cannot handle and end up in serious and sometimes deadly crashes. In this article, we explain what makes high-powered supersport bikes so dangerous and why they’re not a good fit for most new riders.
What Is a Supersport Bike?
When it comes to two-wheeled motorized vehicles, there are many sizes and speeds available—from scooters and mopeds to high-speed racing bikes. Off-road dirt bikes are small and easy to handle, but don’t reach great speeds and aren’t street legal. Large, heavy cruisers are comfortable for long distances, but are slow to accelerate and can be difficult to handle.
A popular choice for many riders is the sport bike. These machines are light, nimble, quick, and come in a variety of engine sizes and potential speeds.
While there’s not a formal definition of a supersport bike, it’s generally agreed that a bike with an engine size
of 600 cubic centimeters (cc) or greater is considered a supersport. This bike is engineered to deliver more horsepower per pound than other types of two-wheeled machines. Depending on the make and model, these bikes can reach speeds in excess of 150 mph. They’re intended to be racing bikes, but are often ridden on the road.
The potential for speed—and the carelessness of many supersport bike owners—is what makes them so dangerous.
Dangers of Supersport Bikes
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), supersport bike riders have death rates four times that of riders of all other types of motorcycles. Making up less than 10 percent of bikes on the road, they account for over 25 percent of all fatalities. While the fatality rate for cruiser-style bikes is about 5.7 deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles and 6.5 for large touring bikes, the fatality rate for supersport bikes is 10.7.
What accounts for the higher-than-average death rate? The following are a few reasons:
- Too much speed. Simply put, these bikes were designed for the racetrack and offer way too much power and speed for an average roadway. While many riders use them responsibly on the highway, others have a hard time resisting the urge to go full throttle. Obviously, it’s never safe to ride on a public highway at speeds exceeding 100 mph, but riders of these bikes sometimes do.
- Too much confidence. Riders who choose these bikes often do so to project a certain image. They love the look and power of supersport bikes and want to show off what they have. Often, these riders are new to motorcycles and can’t actually safely handle the speed and power they have under them. The combination of a young, inexperienced rider and a powerful bike has proven many times to be a deadly one.
- Too little control. Balancing a motorcycle takes experience and practice. A supersport bike offers incredible acceleration and requires a lot of throttle control to operate properly. If you give it too much gas, you could easily pull a wheelie and flip the bike.
The bottom line is to choose the bike that’s right for you. If you’re new to motorcycles, stick to a bike with an engine size of 250cc or smaller. And unless you’re planning to race your bike on a track, seriously consider whether a 600cc or 1000cc bike is really necessary.
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