Bikers think a little differently from normal people.
Yes, motorcycles are always on their minds.
They spend a lot of time thinking about their bikes.
But it’s not as simple as that.
Motorcycles are not just a cool thing to own.
They’re not just a hobby.
Motorcycles are deeply embedded in most parts of a biker’s life.
They’re his favorite thing to think about.
(Well, not counting his wife, of course…)
It’s not so surprising.
Because motorcycles can be a powerful force for good in your life.
They help with most everything: from general feelings of depression, to hearing bad news, to having a terrible day at work.
And anything with the power to make you feel THAT much better – well, you’re going to get a little obsessed with it, right?
But if you don’t ride a motorcycle, and you haven’t been around bikers much, the biker mindset is hard to understand.
It can seem kind of irrational.
And this level of obsession can take some getting used to.
Understanding how bikers think is easy. You just need to dig a little deeper into their relationship with their motorcycle. Once you get into the biker mindset, their behaviour seems, well, almost normal.
Over the years, I’ve gradually come to understand how bikers think.
I’ve been living with my bearded soul mate Pat for 30 years.
We’ve done many thousands of miles together on too many motorcycles to count.
And we know a lot of people who are also seriously into motorcycles.
Most of our friends think it’s perfectly normal that we usually have a motorcycle in the living room.
So I’ve had plenty of time to understand how bikers think.
Let me share with you some of the key things I’ve learned so far…
How Do Bikers Think? 6 Insider Insights
Let’s take a quick glimpse inside the biker mindset.
(Are you ready?)
1. Bikers think a motorcycle ride is a miracle cure – for everything.
When something goes wrong in a biker’s life, watch him reach for his motorcycle key.
He’s probably not avoiding a hard conversation.
He’s not running from his problems.
He just has a biker mindset firmly in place.
And so he’s doing the one thing he knows will make him feel better, instantly.
Because some kind of transformation happens during a motorcycle ride.
With the motor purring and the wind in his face, suddenly things don’t seem so bad.
A sense of perspective returns.
He takes a deep breath and focuses on the motorcycle.
He guides his machine through the curves of the road – and actually smiles again.
Suddenly he knows that things will be OK.
Let’s face it, there’s always a challenge to deal with.
But isn’t that just Life?
And 100 miles down the road, it becomes possible to come home and face the latest thing Life has thrown at him.
2. Bikers think a motorcycle is an extension of their personality.
Ever noticed that any time a biker gets a new motorcycle, the tinkering begins IMMEDIATELY?
A new bike in the family will always need a little something.
This always makes me laugh.
Because bikers absolutely cannot resist customising their motorcycles.
They might need a luggage rack, a little screen, maybe a headlight guard.
The handlebars are not quite right.
Or there’s an after-market touring seat available.
I used to question this compulsive need to customise a new motorcycle.
The bikes look perfectly fine to me.
Why did you buy it if it needs so many other bits? I used to say to Pat.
Well it’s mostly OK, but it’s not quite right for our needs… he would explain patiently, while grinning at me and openly clicking BUY NOW on the Triumph accessories web page.
Now when a courier drops a Totally Essential new part at the back door, I just shake my head and laugh.
Because now I get the biker mindset.
The motorcycle is an extension of a biker’s personality.
Buying a new motorcycle is not like buying a new washing machine.
There are important functional and style decisions to make.
The details need to be tweaked and adjusted to reflect what the current rider needs in terms of comfort, practical concerns, and personal style.
Because yes, the bike has to be fit for purpose.
But it also has to reflect what the current rider thinks is cool.
You don’t want to be out on the road riding something embarrassing.
3. Bikers think a motorcycle ride restores the power balance.
A motorcycle ride will help a biker’s mood, for sure.
But it can do more than that.
It can also restore his sense of personal power.
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day world.
An insult from your boss, an offhand comment from a friend, a disappointment at work – there are a thousand things that can happen every day that make you feel small.
But for a biker, nothing restores a sense of personal power like riding his motorcycle on the open road.
Swooping around corners, roaring past trucks, he’s mastering a howling metal monster and bending it to his will.
The insults and irritations fall away and he remembers that he’s not only in charge of the motorcycle – he’s also the master of his own life.
And so the rude comment or workplace skirmish that happened earlier in the day stops mattering.
It’s power to upset the now smiling biker has evaporated.
4. Bikers think professional motorcycle mechanics are a last resort.
You may notice that many bikers hate taking their motorcycles to a professional mechanic to get work done.
Sure, they’ve got to take the bike in for regular services and new tires from time to time.
But most prefer to do their actual spannering themselves.
You know why?
Because the motorcycle is their own special beast.
They’ve customised it, and tailored it to their individual needs and style.
It’s way more than just a machine they own.
There’s a real bond between man and motorcycle.
And so they care about the details in a way that a busy mechanic simply can’t.
This is understandable.
In a motorcycle workshop, the mechanics are under pressure to work fast.
They have to fix a range of issues on an endless parade of anonymous bikes.
They need to find the problem, solve it, and move onto the next bike.
That’s how the business works.
There’s no room in this business model for double-checking a million details.
There’s no time to grease every single bolt carefully before they put things back together.
They simply can’t spend the time – and yes, I’ll say it, the LOVE – that a biker will pour into fixing his motorcycle.
So that’s why many bikers will only take their bikes into the shop when they have to.
It only happens when they run into a problem they absolutely can’t fix themselves.
Oh, believe me, they WILL try to fix it first.
They’ll do their best.
They’ll call their friends for backup.
They’ll come back inside from the garage bleeding and furious.
And then, many hours later, if they just can’t fix the problem, they’ll call the bike shop.
But to the biker mindset, this is a last resort, a desperate cry for help.
They know that professional mechanics don’t love their bikes like they do.
And they’re right.
5. Bikers think no-one should touch their motorcycle.
I’m always amazed to see non-motorcycle people trample right over some pretty obvious boundaries.
Now and then, people will ask Pat if they can ride his motorcycles.
I’m not talking about close friends – I’m talking about passing acquaintances who fall in love with something in his garage.
And we’ve had complete strangers ask to take photos sitting on our motorcycles when we’re out riding.
Sure, often they’re tourists, with no idea of bike etiquette.
But even so…
Some people just assume they have automatic access to a biker’s motorcycle.
They just don’t understand that their request is outrageous – and weird.
I’ve never asked a complete stranger if I could go take a selfie in their car, right?
Non-bikers don’t get that the motorcycle has a certain status.
In the biker mindset, a motorcycle is a member of the family.
And so yes, a biker will be protective of her.
He probably won’t be keen on lending you his wife for the evening either.
Unless you’re Brad Pitt.
In that case, at least his wife might consider opening up a dialog.
But the rest of the time, it’s best not to touch the motorcycle.
Or the wife.
6. Bikers think one motorcycle is rarely enough.
Of course you can’t have too much of a good thing.
One piece of chocolate cake is delicious – and two is even better, right?
Sure, you may feel sick, and maybe even guilty afterwards, but you can deal with that later.
The same applies to motorcycles.
You can never stop at one.
In the biker mindset, motorcycles have different roles and functions.
So bikers love them for different reasons.
I understand this when I look in our garage:
- The Triumph Thunderbird is our big, comfortable road tripping bike.
- The Triumph Bonneville is perfect for commuting on, especially in the winter, when the roads are dirty.
The Bonnie doesn’t mind a little mud.
- The Triumph Scrambler works for the many rougher roads we come across in our travels.
- And the vintage Norton is just drop-dead cool.
But Pat’s not spending the mortgage money on motorcycles.
It’s not like a gambling addiction that will ruin us.
He works full time in a high stress job.
He wants to spend some of his money on motorcycles.
That seems reasonable to me.
Because motorcycles are quite like that delicious piece of chocolate cake.
If you can justify it, you’ll probably need more than one slice.
And believe me, the biker mindset CAN pretty easily justify owning more than one motorcycle.
Now you know how bikers think!
You don’t need a PhD in psychology to understand the biker mindset.
It really just comes down to understanding the central role of motorcycles in a biker’s life.
Because motorcycles are so much more than machines.
They’re a form of therapy, they’re members of the family, and a powerful reminder of a biker’s personal power and freedom.
So yes, it’s true that bikers think about their motorcycles a lot.
And now you know why.
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