Motorcycling is about freedom, the ability to choose your own path, the trip, the performance, the connection between man (or woman) and machine.
Motorcycling is also about braving the elements, about ergonomics as an afterthought, and just because motorcycling is the most fun way to get around that doesn’t make it an easy way.
For those reasons I wasn’t sure where I stood on the motorcycle cruise control argument.
Motorcycle cruise-control, yay or nay, and why? Three experienced motorcyclists all of whom work or have worked in the motorcycle industry were asked. Each weighed out the pros and cons.
First up, new contributor and former interviewee, Worth Cadenhead. Worth might be the new guy on the team, but he’s seen his share of the motorcycle business too.
Worth: Objectively, I don’t care. But for me, Nay. Why? Because I’ve used motorcycle cruise control before and hated it, both the aftermarket, throttle lock variety, and also factory installed electronic cruise control. I found the word “control” to be a misnomer, because once I released pressure on the throttle and didn’t slow down, it felt like I had NO control. The last thing I want is to be in the pilot’s seat and feel like somebody else is driving.
Second up is veteran YouMotorcycle contributor and sometimes motorcycle stuntman, Happy Gilmore. He’s been a long time contributor to YouMotorcycle and has written some of site’s most popular and least popular articles. Happy’s been in the motorcycle industry for five years and knows a thing or few.
Happy: Yay. Motorcycle cruise control is smart. It can improve mileage and reduce hand cramping which could result in improved motorcycle touring. Being Germanic though I have to look at the details. I’d say it should be like a car’s in which if you touch any of the levers or foot pegs it automatically cancels. Furthermore, lets get adaptive cruise control as a standard feature for bikes with cruise control. Let it works like a park-assist sensor for the back of the car, but one that would cut throttle positioning to slow the bike down if it noticed it was approaching a slower moving vehicle. Not only would this improve bike safety, but it should reduce squiddy-squidness so that immature sport bike riders couldn’t ride the asses of slower cars while they are in cruise control.
If you don’t like the feature don’t use it. But it’s about time motorcycles receive the same technology that is already available for other modes of transportation.
Finally, YouMotorcycle founder Adrian’s take on motorcycle cruise control. No one asked him, he just sticks his nose in everything around here.
Adrian: Motorcycle cruise control? Nay. In all honesty, I would infrequently feel comfortable using it. Guestimation tells me that 80% of my riding is done within 50 km of the most populated city in the country. I never have the space to on the road to afford myself the luxury of traveling at a constant speed for very long.
I know of other riders, like MISSRIDER, tour ten thousand miles across continents every year. I’ve seen her cruise control setup. I understand and admire her need for it, but I am not worthy of it.
Recap: Motorcycle cruise control can be great for those who really need it, though those riders are probably few and far between. It’s not for everyone, and the name “cruise control” is a bit of a misnomer. Many motorcyclists won’t be a fan of the with the loss of control associated with it. Nonetheless, more options for motorcyclists is never a bad thing.
It’s interesting that none of the three motorcyclists thought to mention the negative reaction many in the motorcycle community have had to new technology in the past. Talks about Anti-lock Braking Systems and Fuel Injection saw plenty of nay-sayers as the technology slowly became adopted by the motorcycle industry. Are we seeing the same stubborn nay-sayer vs. eager early adopter type of argument here?
Where do you stand? Cruise control on a motorcycle, yay or nay, and why?
Please leave a comment and say your bit!