Do you all get “challenged” at stop lights?

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Well-known member
Jun 30, 2015
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Bend, OR
Well.... first, they ARE fast. ANY motorcycle 500 cc and up is fast compared to most cars/trucks.

Also, all riders (and people) equate noise with speed/power. If the motor is that loud, it MUST be fast. And Harley (cruiser) riders buy this myth hook, line, and sinker. A lot of FJR riders buy it to, BTW. But alas, the butt dyno lies. It lies like a rug.

Something I wrote on another forum about 18 months ago:

"On Saturday morning, as I pull out of the gas station, a pirate running an unfaired, big-raked pirate ship passes buy. Dude knows I'm right there, but won't look my way. At the traffic light 100 yards away, I stop behind him. Of course, that is my only choice because Capt. Jack plucks his fat ass in the center of the lane, ensuring no chance for Pants to pull beside him. Heaven forbid, I might glance his way and say "good morning, have a great ride today". Oh no, we can't have that compromising his reputation as a bad ass in the thriving community of Youngsville, Louisiana. While behind him, I notice the back of his leather vest says "Prospect". Ah... now I get it.

The light turns and I let out the clutch and hold back. There is traffic in both lanes and in general, Pants rides like a grandpa in the city limits. These people are stupid and they are always out to kill ya. However, our beardless wonder in front seems dead set to either prove to me who's boss, kill himself, or in the more likely choice, .... both. He revs his shit to about 500 below redline (3,500 rpm, give or take), dumps the clutch, and then starts what can only be described as a Watusi on two wheels. He's weaving left, ducking right, shifting left, bobbing right - trying to run ahead of the traffic; all along hoping to keep the blood from running out of his hands as he clutches the ape hangers with all his might. His open exhaust (goes without saying, really) are so friggin loud that I am "feeling" them in my chest, and of course hearing them over my ear buds and music. But of course, this is how he wants it. EVERYONE must know he is the biggest, baddest cowboy in the land. On a steel horse he rides, wherever and however he wants. Moreover, he wants ME to know this - as evident by his constant glancing into his mirrors to see (ensure) that Senoir Rice Burner is where he belongs - in the back sucking his gas fumes.

Me? I'm enjoying the show in perfect lane position and following distance. No point in shifting lanes - it's a risk that has no reward. All of this traffic isn't going anywhere, and the drag race would simply end at the next traffic light.

We get to the end of the surface street, where it meets the highway. In a stroke of luck, the car to my left broke off, and I was able to shift into the left lane first in line at the light. Right next to Pirate Shitshow, who is somehow convinced that his bike is loaded up with carbon, because he is incessively reving it while stopped at the light. To be clear, we only have one choice - both of us must turn left. We will be turning onto a 3-lane divided highway that is wide open. We will have at least 3 miles of uninterrupted highway to proceed north toward wherever our destination will be.

I come to a stop and put my feet down. Immediately, I turn toward the Pirate, nod my head to him, and raise my right hand in a "hello" gesture. He pauses momentarily as if to contemplate his options. On the one hand, he's looking directly at me. He can't sit behind the excuse that he didn't see me. But on the other hand, I'm riding a crotch rocket sewing machine. What if a member of the gang that I'm trying to impress and let me in sees me waiving at Rice Boy over there? What will these fine innocent motorists waiting behind us think? What about my reputation? The economy? The price of tea in China? Decisions Decisions.

So he compromises is principles and nods to me. Then he snaps his throttle twice at me. Not it's Pants' turn to think. What did that mean? I know his bike is running rich - I'm still a bit dizzy from smelling his exhaust for the past 3 miles. But what else is he telling me? Is he declaring his motorcycle, the one with the motor design that originated and has been largely unchanged for over 60 years.... superior? Is he challenging me to something? Is he deaf from years of not wearing ear plugs under the shaving sink otherwise known as a helmet? Is he making a non-verbal statement about our virility (which BTW, I will have no choice but to concede, since that ship sailed 2 months after my youngest was born 25 years ago)?

What pray tell is he telling me? Aw [email protected]$k it, it's time for Pants to let his FJR do the talking.

The light turns green, I lower my helmet shield, and I launch. I make the left hand turn about 1/8" before the pegs scrape. She straightens out and I let her have it. If you're gonna be a squid, choose your times and don't look back. I run her up to the redline and shift to 3rd. Still pulling, I glance in the right mirror. All I see is a dot that is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. I get to something near triple digits and I back off. I'm caught up with traffic now, and I better calm down, lest I make a dumb ass mistake that is exponentially larger than the one I just made.

Your prospects are not looking too good, my friend...."
Thanks for taking me along on that one!


Dec 27, 2007
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Albuquerque, NM
I don't know that I've ever been challenged at a light. Even if someone does, I'm not racing them. I've seen the aftermath too many times and don't want to be party to that.

I will however, ride fast. It is what it is. Plenty of clowns have come up and tried to do something goofy. None have embarrassed me yet, but many times, that's due to my ability to actually ride something that's not a straight line.

Like 'Pants, I'll repeat one from years ago:

I was riding to Sandia Crest which is off of North 14, on the east side of Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains. There is a Shell convenience store right at N14 and the Crest road. So, I stopped, fueled up and got a drink. While I'm there, a small gaggle of crotch rockets pulled in and did their thing. Maybe 10-15 bikes.

As I began to leave, they pulled out just. before I did. I saw their tires and knew they would be slower. So, I rolled toward the front and asked the lead guy if I could go ahead. He said, "No. We don't need any old guys holding us up. Sorry."

Well, I'm not really old and I'm definitely not slow, but ok. If I remember right, this guy had a mohawk on his helmet. Whatever! So, they took off, doing wheelies and revving the crap out of their bikes. The first turn looks worse than it is, so as they all braked, I hit the outside and passed like 4 of them.

At each turn, I pass more and more. Finally I was behind the lead guy who had called me old. As we came into a hard left turn, he slowed down way too much, so I passed him and made the turn, barely touching pegs. He tried to keep up, but I lost sight of them soon after.

When we got to the top, I was getting my stuff off and wondered if they had turned around. Nope, they finally showed up and not one of them looked at me. I really thought about pulling the same crap on the way down but figured it's not a good idea to be a show off and end up crashed. I had made my point and had fun doing it. So, on the way down, I tried to ride smooth enough that I didn't have to use my brakes. Haha.

I never saw them again.
Dec 11, 2015
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Columbia, MD
This is a great thread. There are many instances where the power to weight ratio of the FJR can put distance between you and potential trouble.
I was discussing riding with a co worker who runs muscle cars. I said that the FJR has two modes, T and S. T is supposedly for touring and S is for sports. Really they stand for Timid and Stupid fast.
The art is to keep pace with the hero who is stomping on the gas for a few seconds to allow them to sense victory, and then make them feel as though they've stopped as you pull ahead. You need the right place to do this as the wind is really whistling at the top end. On ramps are fun you can merge at triple digits too easily.
Most of the time after the challenge has been thrown down and the obligatory inching forward has taken place, just set off normally and watch the show, but once in a while I just can't resist. It's too much fun.


Well-known member
Jun 3, 2020
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East Coast Canada
Have I ever been challenged at a red light? Nope, never; and, that is just how I like it. It might have something to do with the white helmet and bright yellow jacket. I have had cars pull over to the right and give way when I come up, quickly, behind them. I just give them a friendly wave and carry on.


RI Beach Pop
Oct 3, 2005
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Lincoln, RI
Once a Mercedes raced me on the ramp. Obviously I won but then I stayed at freeway speed once merged. This must have hurt driver's ego. He sped up on freeway and zoomed ahead at 90 mph. A mile later I saw him parked on right shoulder cop behind with flashing lights. Hehe!

Another instance some other car got itch to speed after seeing me "enjoying" my ride and passed me. I maintained 1/4th mile behind him. He was stopped when he was doing 100 mph. Sacrificial drivers. Lol.
In the old days we called them 'bear bait'