If you're like most bikers who had to give up motorbike travel or even motorcycling all together, then you're familiar with that small nagging voice at the back of your head always asking you to find the time to ride again.
For many people, it's only a matter of putting off the time to a more suitable period in life. For some it's when the kids are all grown up and have flown from the nest, for others it's plain old retirement.
But times have changed, especially if it's been a decade or more since you last kicked your bike to life. While it may only need some adjustment by riding on the roads, travelling can be challenging for a “born-again rider”.
So if you're thinking of a long ride into the sunset, here are some differences in modern motorcycling to keep in mind:
1. No more easy riding
Traffic has become more congested all over the world, and the roads in Europe are now busier than ever before. The good news is that Western European trails have also become safer, with major parts under constant surveillance and wider lanes allowing for more freedom of motorcycle movement.
Just remember that you're almost invisible to most road users in cars and bigger vehicles, so ample warning and defensive driving is imperative on a motorcycle. After years of absence, it take lots of practice rides before you can head out again.
2. Motorcycles are more powerful
Modern motorbikes have become extremely powerful machines compared to what you may be used to in the past. Almost every new motorbike you can buy today is going to be more powerful than any of the models you may have seen in MotoGP from twenty years ago.
So if you're hopping onto a new bike, be certain to get used to its speed – you'd be surprised how the throttle can respond on new machines and you don't want to risk self-accidents while travelling!
3. Motorcycle brakes have changed
Older motorcycles really didn't have a much different braking system from even bicycles, where you may have had to use your entire grip to squeeze the brake handle.
The main reason is that most motorcycles today use disc brakes and not drum brakes (even though brands like GOOFIT still make them for lower CC scooters and bikes), which have improved braking response times. Today, big bike brakes from people like MetalGear give you better braking power with even just one finger so it can really surprise someone who has been used to older bike brakes like on the Kawasaki W Series.
And there you have it in a nutshell, a quick guide to help you watch out for things that have changed in motorcycling in case the travel bug hits you!