Have you ever noticed that whenever you buy a new car (or motorcycle) that it always seems faster the day you buy it than it does six months later? This is what happens when your mind and body get used to the speed (as well as the forces applied to it), making your motorcycle feel slower than it is.
Remember, especially if you’re just learning how to ride a motorcycle, that the motorcycle doesn’t actually slow down- you just got used to the speed. This is why people modify their cars to make them faster, and this is also why people go from 600cc super-sports (already capable of 10/11 second quarter mile times) to 750cc or 1,000cc motorcycles.
Why The Motorcycle Feels Slower
There are many psychological reasons that your motorcycle loses the edge that it used to have, but the bottom line boils down to one word: perception.
I can still remember the first time I took my Kawasaki Ninja 500R out for a spin- it was a blistering, blood-thirsty machine that accelerated like a bat out of hell. I will never forget the feeling in my stomach the first time I pinned it – and I mean really pinned it. It was, without a doubt, the fastest machine in the world.
Of course it wasn’t, but it felt immensely powerful to me at the time. As time passed and I became more confident with the Ninja it eventually felt slow. Suddenly I went from wondering how anything could be faster than it to wondering why it was taking so long to hit 100 km/h. My perception changed.
As you become more confident with your abilities as a rider, and as you become more confident with the particular motorcycle you’re riding, the machine itself loses the raw appeal it once had. This is normal, but it’s also a mind-trick! Of course your motorcycle hasn’t gotten any slower, so make sure you remember that when you’re riding!
How to Prevent it From Happening
Aside from constantly upgrading to a bigger and more powerful motorcycle there really isn’t a whole lot that can be done. Though, you will notice that if you don’t get a chance to ride the motorcycle for a few days that as soon as you hop back on it will feel faster and more responsive (a product of your mind “forgetting” just how the motorcycle felt).
To keep the excitement around for a little longer, try adding some “spice” to your riding:
- Hit the twisties – There’s nothing better than hitting the twisties. It doesn’t matter if you ride a sportbike, a cruiser, or a dual-sport: twisties are twisties, and they’re a blast to ride.
- Avoid traffic, take the scenic route – Rush hour traffic will suck the life out of any motorcycle, no matter how big or how small it may be. Ditch the traffic and hit the scenic route- you’ll have a great time!
- Learn the limits of your motorcycle – As the old saying goes, it’s more fun to ride a “slow” motorcycle fast than to ride a “fast” motorcycle slow. Get out there and explore the limits of your motorcycle (keep safety and the rules of the road in mind at all times, though).
If, after everything is said and done, your motorcycle still feels slow then it may be time to move in to something bigger. Good luck, and safe riding!