In my line of work, I am fortunate to ride many fantastic and notably different motorcycles. While some stand out as being superior, they all have something to offer their intended audience. As I could be on any number of models in any given week, I have never really been a die hard for any specific brand. While some guys are all about Gixxers and others wouldn’t be caught dead on anything but a Harley, I will happily get behind the bars of anything on two wheels. Yes, I suppose that makes me a slut of sorts but I’m not to worried about getting a reputation. When going on weekend rides with friends the only constant is that there isn’t one. Pre and post ride, my driveway will be filled with Ducatis, Hondas, BMWs, Yamahas and even Harleys. Even my own bikes have ranged from cruisers, standards and sportbikes from various manufacturers, so I have never been one to discriminate between rides or riders for that matter.

It occurred to me while riding the 09’ Hayabusa that not everyone seems to feel that way. While crotch rocket riders were soiling themselves at the site of the new king of the hill, older guys on cruisers would ignore my left handed gesture of brotherhood almost consistently. I guess they didn’t realize that the guy on the bright orange Busa’ was the same guy who wrenched on his 84’ Maxim or cruises back country roads on his Shadow.

While contemplating this sociological conundrum, I encountered a middle-aged man in a suit riding a Vespa who gave me an assured nod as he passed. Not only did it catch me off guard, it solidified my belief that behind the visor we are all the same. Regardless of what we ride, it’s why we ride that really matters.

  • FZ

    It’s called hierarchy… some embrace it, others buck it!

    How was that 09’ Hayabusa???? Inquiring minds wanna review!

  • George

    I remember 30 years ago my brother brought back a BMW 2002 from Germany when he got out of the military. Then BMW drivers flashed their lights at each other. I don’t think they do that any more. I like the wave, I am a new rider and I never knew you did it unitl I rode and someone waved me. Keep it going.

  • Mike D.

    Here’s one that goes around now and then:

    Well, personally, I weave at everyone. I see another bike coming at me in the other late, I weave at it. I see a car, I weave at it. Occasionally, I am so sober that I’ll be scared to weave at a semi-truck, but usually I’m either drunk or stoned enough that I don’t care, so I weave at them too. I admit, when I first heard that it was a tradition for motorcyclists to weave at each other, I thought it was kind of nuts.

    I was a new rider and weaving at all was kind of a challenge. But I wanted to be a good biker, so I did it. Sure, I laid the bike down a few times at first, but I got the hang of it. Then, after doing it successfully a few times and seeing the looks on the other riders faces — well you can tell they are impressed and it really is a
    blast! At first, they sometimes look like they aren’t going to weave too, but don’t go thinking they’re being unfriendly. I’ve learned that what they are really doing is seeing how good you are at this weaving thing. If they don’t weave, you show them you know what you’re doing and keep weaving right at them. If you do it right, they will always weave too, sometimes right at the last second After I found out how much fun it was, I couldn’t resist spreading the practice to cars, trucks, bicycles and even pedestrians.

    People love it! They beep their horns, they yell, they give you all kinds of waves. Sometimes they even turn around and follow you for awhile, which is when you show ’em what you’ve got and lose ’em. Then turn off on a side street and wait for ’em. When they catch up, pull out and weave at ’em again. They’ll beep and wave with just as much excitement as they did the first time! Obviously, it’s a matter of
    personal preference. But I highly recommend weaving at least at other bikes, if not at everyone you see. I promise if you do this you’ll meet new people and be the talk of your neighborhood in no time.

    Just letting you know how it works for me,

  • frank

    I have a V-Rod and a Ducati 999 and when riding I do get the Wave/non-wave according to what I’m riding.
    Its a shame, a real shame.

  • Bandit

    Amen! I’ve been riding for almost 40 years now, and it strikes me as sad that motorcycling has fractured. I’ve owned every major brand of bike, and like them all for their own reasons. But it is really disappointing to me that primarily Harley riders seem to have their heads up their backsides. And these are often the most inexperienced riders on the road! I wave at everyone, and having ridden most everything from a Harley to a BMW to a Duc to a YamaSukiKawaHonda, I know none of us have a franchise on cool or good riding skills.

    Stay friendly, wave at a brother, and from an old(er) school rider, when you see a bro broken down, pull over and help ’em out. It doesn’t matter if they ride a Harley or a Honda, we’re all in this for the ride. I hope.

    Ride on!

  • Lawrence Braul

    I suppose if I am honest I have a hierarchy as well. It is the reverse of the die-hard Harley homage though. I figure the Harley is an over-rated, over-priced, under-powered, under tired, and under-cooled bike.

    My “little” 800cc cruiser has a longer wheel base, more comfort, more tossability, fuel injected, shaft driven, and a great long ranger cruiser. Someone will tell me that I know nothing of the joy of power cruising but after a wonderful two week jaunt this summer, I beg to differ. I have passed enough Harley guys to know that it ain’t the bike. It’s the ride and it’s the rider.

  • Scott

    I too feel that. Most days I commute on my lounge chair (06 Goldwing). I get friendly waves from everyone but Harleys. I have even made friends with my local motor officer that travels with me most mornings. When I ride my Triumph Daytona, the only people that pay attention to me are other sport bikes and the cops that are watching “another damn kid on a sport bike”. I’m 37 , a father of 2, I volunteer with several charities and spend most of my free time teaching motorcycle classes. I not just another dumb biker. Most of those people that are judging me for the bike I am riding, or even the fact that I am riding at all, know me from one of the other things I do and have no idea it’s me inside that tinted visor.

  • Mike C

    Glad you brought this up. Sometimes I get my nose out of joint when someone doesn’t return a wave, whatever kind of bike they’re on.
    Then, I think about the “return waves” that I don’t give for this or that reason, like: I’m on the freeway commute home and trying to keep every potential idiot (everyone) in my scan and be ready to respond at a hair’s notice; or, when the guy waving has black gloves on a black handlebar and only sticks one or two fingers out (OK, so I don’t see as good as I used to…).
    So, I tend to cut the guy who doesn’t wave back a little slack in my mind when I think he may not have seen me, or was in a “one with the road” trance. That is, when I can remember to do that…

  • RDB

    I have to agree with “old(er) rider”, I too have had many different makes of scoot’s- restore and ride older BMW’s for the most part- would have to say that the Hardley-Ableson crowd is the worst about not returning the gesture- I have even had them “flip me off” when they got close enough to see my protruding cylinders. mearly every biker I have stopped to aid has been on a Harley…go figure.

  • John H

    I just started riding a year ago and was blown away by the thrill and freedom of a motorcycle. Then I started feeling like I was apart of an underground culture when I got the wave from other riders… It was unique. Then I started getting the snub from Harley/Cruiser riders. I ride a Suzuki GS500F – my starter bike. I didn’t really understand why the two wheel brethren would diss me so. I then made it my mission to seek out all riders of two wheeled machines ( Scooters/Harley/Cruiser/Dual-Sport/Sport … even small bikes with rear tire motors.. lol) and try to wave/acknowledge their choice of riding against the four wheeled cage’r world. Try to keep up the battle against the brothers who have fallen from the all riders on any machine are my friend. Go Motorcycles !!

  • Animal

    I,m president chapter 1 freedom cruisers we let any body join are club even if thay own a harley, croch rocket, vespa, ( street leagle freeway) were a rideing club and very proud of it. also men or woman riders.

  • Justin Siekmann

    I too have and do ride four different brands of bikes and have started riding my Moto Guzzi Norge more than the others. I have found some what of a different story than most here. In my experience it is only the too cool for school Harley riders that don’t wave at anyone including other Harley riders. Believe it or not the Gold Wing riders, in my experience are the worst offenders of the wave. The Guzzi gets more waves than any of my other bikes primarily because most people don’t know what it is so it is catagorized. I wave at everyone except when near a ralley when it just gets to be too much of a bother.

  • In my observations riding the roads for near 30 years is that a motorcyclist will wave regardless of the ride.
    This individual shares with us the same experience and knows the comradery that exists, if only for a few passing seconds.
    Then there’s the weekend warrior guy. Spent way too much money on the ride and probably isn’t too good at riding it. All together way too involved in keeping up the image to be concerned with other insignificant riders on their “less than worthy rides”.
    I’ve been in the proximity of these “nice” folks and have heard some of the most awful commentary on myself, my bike, and what their response would be if I had an ill fated ride. Just horrible that another rider/fellow human could wish that upon us.
    A grouch is just a grouch, no matter what they’re riding.

    I wave to them anyway.

  • daniel washburn

    I rode a harley for years but I couldn’t wait to scratch the name off the damn bike. I see these guys that get their bike and first thing there out getting an ugly tattoo so everyone will know about it. They go out and get window stickers, coffee mugs, t shirts, sun glasses, helmets, gloves, jackets, hats, door mats, hell, even blankets that say harley on em. Give me a break!!! I didn’t want any part of this advertising blitz. The fact that I purchased one made me feel as if they owed me money fot the add space on my tank. I personally waved at everyone. but when I had to sell and move over to a kawasaki street bike all the waves from the HD riders stoped, some even looked at me as if I had flipped em somthing dirty. It was for this reason that I never rode with the bastards in the first place. Now when I ride I run limirics through my brain dedicated to all the stuck up, “I’m too good and you are not” bikers sharing the road with the same killer cages as I. Some times I have to fight the urge to use my 150 cheep bhp to run circles around em all the way to the next place their headed to gather with the other “special” real bikers on harleys. I find that most people who think they are above others, ARN’T. Get over yourselfs guys, just because you purchased a Harley it doesn’t mean your a bad ass hells angel now. give me a break….

  • daniel washburn

    oh yea, to MIKE D.
    I absolutley loved your weaving story. Laughed so hard I spit. You’ve got a real gift. Keep it up.

  • bob

    Mike D….Dude you’re supposed to WAVE, not WEAVE!”

    Ride safe.have fun.

  • kakeyed

    From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like most riders will “wave”, but many are so cool that they can barely lift a couple of fingers to acknowledge, and that makes it pretty hard to see behind a fairing or with black gloves against a black background.

    Some also wait until they are right next to you, which also makes it hard to see at a closing speed of 200kph (that’s 125mph in the non-logical measuring system).

    In any case, I always wave at other bikers since I know that I might easily have missed their gesture, but happy in the knowledge that they couldn’t miss the clear and friendly wave on my part, given way in advance.

  • Edster

    I wave to all. “It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as you ride”.
    Thats my take on it. I ride an XL1200S (Sportster Sport model) and even other Harley riders won’t wave back. Sad to say even though my “girls bike” will walk away from most big twins. I know fro myself I started out on a Honda XL250R and waved at everyone who was a rider but I didn’t get any waves back except for Harley riders. Strange you may think but this was in Japan where the custom is only practiced by the Harley riders over there. Otherwise it is not practiced. One would think most Harley riders started out like I did on a used dual sport or dirt bike made in Japan. I think ya got so many RUBs out there that may have started out on the sled they’re riding. They don’t understand the spirit of riding. When they snub me on my bike I tell ’em I bought Harley because I wanted a Sportster not the other way around. As far as I’m concerned the Sportster is one of the best bikes made by HD.
    Heck I’ve even waved at scooters although it was by accident. I guess scooter people are riders too, So I guess I’ll still wave at them.

  • sololobo

    It is getting rediculous really. Every body not on a harley wants to wave and get one back. I don’t feel safe hanging off my bike by one hand so I can show you that we’re brothers. If my two fingers hanging low off the grip isn’t enough I’m sorry, but I’m trying to stay alive out here. The fact that there are more bikes on the road every year is making this acknowledgement a real pain in the ass. I don’t know where you guys live but about 25% of us here in the summer are on bikes. I’ve been thinking about one of those hands on a spring hanging off my headlight might be my next move. Thank God I don’t have to do this to every guy I pass in a car when I’m in mine. I’m sorry, but after 35 years and a billion waves I’m burnt out. Happy trails!

  • Brad

    I know I’ve missed *plenty* of waves, so, no biggy. I try to “water off a duck’s back”. But, of course, *very* few cruisers give the wave.

    And, what’s so logical about 1.0 mile being equal to 1.609344 kilometers?

    🙂