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Some bad ideas just keep coming back

While I've been appreciating (I won't quite say "enjoying") the falling gas prices, I have to say that a few consequences of the return to almost-reasonable prices have me less than pleased.

For example, the resurging popularity of SUVs.

I understand that there are some people who need SUVs. I grew up in northern New Hampshire, and there are people who need the size, the cargo capacity, and the flexibility of an SUV.

But for every driver who needs an SUV, there are a dozen or so who just WANT one.

All decisions in life are tradeoffs. Hell, the root word for "decision" derives from the Latin term for "kill," because when you decide something, you kill the alternatives. And the pluses of SUVs come with serious minuses.

1) They are a LOT heavier, which means that they get worse mileage, worse handling, and inflict more wear and tear "where the rubber meets the road" -- on both tires and roads.

2) They tend to be more top-heavy, meaning that they are inherently less stable in emergencies and more prone to roll than a passenger car.

3) They are bigger, meaning that they take up more space to park (do NOT try to fit between two big SUVs in a parking lot, unless you like dings).

4) They are taller, which makes them harder to see around, over, or through when driving near them.

I've never really looked into it, but I'd be willing to wager that one could yank 3 out of 4 SUV drivers out of their behemoths, strap them into a sedan, station wagon, or minivan and actually improve their overall lot in life (at the expense of crushing damage to their egos). They'd be safer, richer, and generally have a more convenient life.

But that won't happen, largely because we live in a free market system. People buy big, useless SUVs because they want them, and they can. Auto makers make them because they can sell them -- and at a very nice (almost obscene) profit.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. One of our most essential freedoms has to be to make our own choices, even stupid ones. The right to be wrong is one of the most undervalued rights -- to "protect" us from poor choices is to infringe on our essential freedoms, and should only be done under the most dire of circumstances.

In the meantime, though, whenever I see someone tooling around alone -- or with a single passenger -- in a Toyota Land Crusher or GMC Behemoth or a Ford Excess, I find myself both amused and disgusted.

(Proud former owner of two Taurus wagons)


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Comments (46)

Bought a Blazer two years b... (Below threshold)

Bought a Blazer two years back. The dealer kept trying to talk me into a Trailblazer, which is a LOT larger and a LOT more expensive. And above that was the Tahoe and Suburban.

One of our most essentia... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

One of our most essential freedoms has to be to make our own choices, even stupid ones.

And to have Vonage boxes come flying through the air and hit you in the head.

(I couldn't resist. I saw the commercial with the geek and the hot girl during lunch.)

I need a high-clearance fou... (Below threshold)

I need a high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle only once a year (when I go deer hunting), and it also comes in handy when the snow occasionally gets fairly deep.

So could I do without my SUV? I could probably get by. But as you point out, Jay, I don't have to.

I merely have to be concerned about your disgust.

Hmm...I'm gonna hafta work on that.

I bought a new Mazda Tribut... (Below threshold)

I bought a new Mazda Tribute about five years ago before I was married. I'd owned small cars for years and was frustrated more than once in my inability to carry a box from one destination to another. I would have made do with a small wagon, but truth be told when I bought mine I don't recall being able to find one that I liked.

Now, I have a wife and two small children. She now has a minivan. I don't beleive we need two large cars in the familiy, and will likely trade mine in once we can afford it. For the moment, though, the Mazda is paid for. It's cheaper to pay the slighty higher gas rate than another $300/month car payment.

I'll add to the list...... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I'll add to the list...

5.) The soccer moms and soccer dads who drive drive them, literally can't drive them. They are overmatched by their own car and have little or no sense of the width of their vehicle, often drifting into the adjacent lanes.

6.) And The concept of parallel parking? Forget it. Might as well make 'em do calculus or brain surgery instead, they'd have a better shot at solving either those than working their vehicle into a decent sized spot. It's actually funny to watch some people try and work their SUV's into spots.

7.) Blind spots. SUV's have 'em in droves. SUV drivers have great difficulty in seeing sedans or compacts or even smaller SUV's like a Honda CRV on the passenger side. And since most people are not very good about turning their heads to check for vehicles in other lanes and rely only on their mirrors, this is also a problem. I've had 3 friends who owned SUV's get in accidents this way because "they didn't see them...".

There should be special driver tests for SUV's Because if ya can't drive it, you shouldn't buy it.

That's my not-so humble opinion.

P.S. I own a manual mid-size truck. Yes, manual. A rarity. I believe in active driving vs. passive.

Jay...I am amused when peop... (Below threshold)

Jay...I am amused when people who drive small econimcal cars berate people who drive SUV.

I know it's a free country but why drive small cars when you could be driving a motorcycle and really saving money. Besides, comparing a small car to a motorcycle, small cars are:

1) They are a LOT heavier, which means that they get worse mileage, worse handling, and inflict more wear and tear "where the rubber meets the road" -- on both tires and roads.

2) They tend to be more top-heavy, meaning that they are inherently less stable in emergencies and more prone to roll than a motorcycle.

3) They are bigger, meaning that they take up more space to park (do NOT try to fit between two small cars in a parking lot, unless you like dings).

4) They are taller, which makes them harder to see around, over, or through when driving near them.

"Proud former owner of two ... (Below threshold)

"Proud former owner of two Taurus wagons"

What happened to the "Shaggin Wagon", JT?

Jay, I like a lot of your w... (Below threshold)

Jay, I like a lot of your writing, but I have to take exception to a few of your points.

1) Yes, they are heavier, and yes, the do have more of an impact on the ground and other objects. But an important point is that the energy of an impact must be absorbed or dissipated somehow. It's that whole "conservation of energy" thingy. A smaller car will absorb less energy than a larger one. And energy that is not dissipated will be transferred to the occupants. Ask Dale Earnhardt. Making cars lighter does not save lives unless technology is used to absorb the energy some other way.
2) As the FedGov has just mandated, all SUV's will have Roll Stability Control. Your point is valid about handling and it is being addressed. Just as seatbelts and airbags made all vehilces safer, so will RSC.
3) Yes, they are difficult to squeeze into smaller parking spots. But that is more the fault of local zoning boards who require X number of spaces for a business to operate. They set the minimum number for spots in the lot. In a paid-parking situation, the owner of the lot is attempting to make as much money as possible - not much harm in that, is there?
4) I'll grant you that visibility in traffic around larger vehicles is more difficult. The only work-around is to get yourself one. heh

But now, to the parts I got me motivated to comment:

"almost obscene": Please don't tell me your understanding of economics is that limited. You've written some brilliant pieces here. I'm sure you understand that a manufacturer must make a higher profit margin on product A in order to compensate for smaller profit (or loss) on product B (and in Ford's case; C, D, and E). And for the auto industry in general, consider the Return on Investment of an investment of the company. The Auto industry average is in the 3%-5% range. "Big Oil" is a whopping 10%. Insurance: 18%. Banking / Finance: 22%. (Groceries are in the 1%-2% area - pitiful.)

Whenever you are talking about "profits" and think of something as 'excessive', please keep in mind the old trick of the MSM. If they like you, your ROI is listed in percentage form. If they don't like you, your "Gross Profit" or "Net Profit" is listed in dollars with no ROI mentioned.

Finally, being "disgusted" by someone's personal financial choice indicates a lack of tolerance. Are you intolerant of other's personal financial choices, Jay?

PS. I realize you wrote; "I wouldn't have it any other way." That statement's impact is lost among the sea of other negative statements.

thanks for letting me comment.

Also, forgot some of my fav... (Below threshold)

Also, forgot some of my favorite names for SUV models:

GMC Suburban Assault Vehicle
Ford Exploder (or Explosion)
Nissan Path Blinder

VagaBond-Motorcycl... (Below threshold)


Motorcycles? What gas-guzzling and traffic snarling monstrosity are you advocating? Clearly the only option is a moped.

Compared to mopeds, motorcycles:

1) Are a LOT heavier, which means that they get worse mileage, worse handling, and inflict more wear and tear "where the rubber meets the road" -- on both tires and roads.

2) They can go faster, meaning crashes are more likely to inflict injury.

3) They are bigger, meaning that they take up more space to park (do NOT try to fit your moped between two motorcycles unless you like dings and getting your @$$ kicked by angry biker guys).

4) They are taller, which makes them harder to see around, over, or through when driving near them.

And so on. Clearly the only solution is for everyone to drive mopeds. Except the few who NEED motorcycles.

What? what's that you say about bicycles?

I drive a small car and it ... (Below threshold)

I drive a small car and it has nothing to do with tree-hugging. Although I would love to have an SUV it just doesn't make sense since I commute 2 hours a day. I used to have one and I loved it, LOVED IT...but really it was just an ego thing. Believe me, I could come up with a million reasons to have one--I live up in the north out in the country. But when I was younger (ten years ago) I visited India and I remember thinking it was so weird to see a family of 4 riding down the street on a motorscooter. Dad driving with one kid in front of him, Mom sitting sideways on the back holding the baby. Memories like that always make me pause when a huge "want" pops into my mind...

I have a Tahoe (and a Jeep)... (Below threshold)

I have a Tahoe (and a Jeep) and I'm not justifying it to anyone. If anyone is "disgusted" or "amused", it's because they don't know why I need it. I'm not buying a third car (because two of us drive to work) just so someone won't judge me if they decide what is excessive for me and what isn't.

And no, I'm not picking on Jay. I'm just sayin'.

I own an SUV and an origina... (Below threshold)

I own an SUV and an original 1970 Austin Mini. I figure it balances out. :)

I own a full size SUV and a... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

I own a full size SUV and a Saturn.

A 16 year old girl driving a Jeep Cherokee ran into my wife, two kids and a mother-in-law. Both vehicals totaled. All walked away without a scratch.

I'll stick with a full size SUV every time and pray I don't get hit with one while driving my Saturn.

My personal approach to sur... (Below threshold)

My personal approach to surviving accidents is to be aware enough and nimble enough to avoid having one in the first place.

Of course you can't always avoid someone else running into you, but a lot of fatal accidents occur when people run into poles and other fixed objects. So there's something to be said for simply being a good driver.

My old car has no airbags, no ABS, no traction control, etc. but I still feel safe in it because it handles well and I can see everything around me.

The SUV thing again!<... (Below threshold)

The SUV thing again!

Yes, there are some people driving them that shouldn't be. SUVs are not for commuting. And don't get me started on the idiots that think 4WD means "stuck to the road like it's on rails, and can defy the laws of physics."

Having said that, personal choice rules. Living in America means I can buy what I want with my money and no one can tell me different.

I drive an F150 myself, which I feel is a truly utilitarian vehicle, and not a yuppie, status symbol, shiny-do-nothing-driveway truck like the Land Cruiser or Expedition or Denali. Those are for faux adventurers whose idea of 'offroading' is jumping the curb at the mall to get a nice parking space at Whole Foods.

Gas usage all comes down to... (Below threshold)

Gas usage all comes down to how much your household members burn in a week's time. I probably burn less gas in 1 week with my mid-size V-6 SUV than my neighbors who have 5 cars (3 teen-age drivers) do in 1 day!!!!!

What about pick-up trucks often seen with just 1 passenger?--Most burn as much gas or more than SUV's? What about V-8 engines in sport cars & other automobiles?

What about 1/2-empty school buses in many areas due to sophomores, juniors & seniors driving their own cars to school? Raise the driving age to 18 nationwide if we as a country want to conserve gas.

Close all businesses but theatres & sport facilities on Sunday, if we as a nation want to conserve gas (we would save about 10% gasoline & in addition would conserve electricity & fuel for heating/AC.)

What a stupid post. At leas... (Below threshold)

What a stupid post. At least you said you wouldn't have it any other way Jay. For the record, my 4WD Dodge Durango has a better emmissions rating than your wagon did, look it up. Not to mention there are PLENTY of SUVs on the fed's fuel economy site that get better gas mileage than your wagon, there for, I am disgusted that you drove that thing. By the way, I've been paralell parking trucks in the city for years, on a dime, with only inches of space, never hit a car, never had an accident. Let us not confuse the type of car one drives with the skill level of the driver Jay. There are shitty drivers EVERYWHERE, in every kind of car.

Heh, Peter..I own a manual ... (Below threshold)

Heh, Peter..I own a manual 1995 Ford Escort stationwagon. It has tons of space (oddly enough) in the back for just about anything I need to carry. If I need more, I use this company down the street called Rent-A-Wreck (you rent damaged vehicles for cheap).

On to your "can't drive them" comment...I was blind-sided by some bitch in her Jeep Grand Cherokee. We were going North through the Grapevine on I-5 between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley (I was driving to Bakersfield), I was in the slow lane and she JERKED back and forth in her lane (she claimed I was drifting when I was driving a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis...I was in no way drifting), overcompensating and slammed right into my driver's side door. I walked away with minor scratches on my neck from the shatterable glass in the driver's window. Their SUV was upturned, the driver could get out, but her passenger (probably her husband) was stuck..

I am sick to death of heari... (Below threshold)

I am sick to death of hearing about SUVs wasting energy and being "too big". When you SUV-bashing jerks downsize your houses and apartments, perhaps I'll think about purchasing a smaller vehicle. In my experience, the biggest anti-SUV loudmouths are the same people who rattle around in a 3,000-4,000 sf house with a spouse and one kid (at best). Talk about hogging natural resources.

Henry:I use my Toy... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


I use my Toyota 4x4 for everything. Camping, skiing, hauling trailers, dump runs, lumber runs (like to build my fence this summer...the new patio next summer), and she gets good gas mileage for a truck--still 20-21 MPG. 90,000+miles in just 7 years and is in great shape.

I'm amazed at how porky all... (Below threshold)

I'm amazed at how porky all vehicles have become. My daughter's smallish Audi A4 is pushing pretty close to two tons. But really, the only problem I have, as a car owner, is that I'm a second class citizen. Let's level the playing field - the same mileage standards for all cars/light trucks/SUVs. Please don't tell me that right now I'm saving $ with better fuel economy - I'm spending more for the extra technology to get that better mileage. And if push comes to shove, I'll be more inconvenienced in gas lines due to the thirst of SUVs.

And on the issue of safety, a guy named Thomas Wenzel, PE, has documented that once you've got a well engineered sedan like a Ford500 or Camry or LaCrosse, then you are as safe as having an SUV. The SUV ought to be safer if you drove it like the lousier handling thing it is, but people vote with their right foot for a certain level of risk. Wouldn't want to be in a Camry being t-boned by a SUV, but equally wouldn't want to be in an SUV when the inattentive driver ground loops it because of the high CG and misplaced over-confidence in its safety.

You sure you're not talkin'... (Below threshold)

You sure you're not talkin' 'bout fat chicks

1) They are a LOT heavier...
2) They tend to be more top-heavy...
3) They are bigger, meaning that they take up more space...
4) They are taller, which makes them harder to see around, over, or through ...

..but her passenger (pro... (Below threshold)

..but her passenger (probably her husband) was stuck

That's because the roof pillars are poorly constructed on most large vehicles, and therefore can't hold the weight. You can almost just look at them and tell.

Sure, they aren't designed to be upside down, but unfortunately sometimes they are.

By the way, I think everyone on the road should leave at least 5 fuckin' minutes earlier than they do. Hell, that alone would save a lot of lives.

Peter F., better gas mileag... (Below threshold)

Peter F., better gas mileage would be using a diesel. I knew someone back in college who drove an old beat up diesel (I forget what make/model), and he got somewhere around 25 mpg. I drive a '95 Ford Escort Station wagon, as I've said (manual), and I've had people deride me and insult me for my car. I get 30 mpg, and am quite happy with my car. It's a family hand me down (my grandmother used to own it), and it works great.

and still on my last comment, I'm still scared of seeing headlights on my 9. The scariest thing in the world is seeing headlights SWERVE back and forth in the lane next to you in your side mirrors. The only reason I'm walking today (most likely) is that the 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis is a tank (I can't tell you how many fender benders I got into and came away unscathed, f*cked up the back end of a little toyota pickup @ idle speed, too)

AughtSix is only half right... (Below threshold)

AughtSix is only half right. You don't need mopeds or bikes either. In fact, you don't need no stinking feet. Sit still and quit moving around, it annoys me.

PS: Aughn't it to be OughtSix?

Why are people who drive Do... (Below threshold)

Why are people who drive Dodge truck and SUVs in particular such assholes? I can guarantee anytime some oversized rig comes barrelling up behind and rides my butt in the right lane, that stupid aggressive grill style of a Dodge will fill my rear view mirror.
I think Dodge purposely markets to assholes in their mid 20s to early 30s. Prove me wrong.

Astute observations Jay...I... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Astute observations Jay...I would simply like to add don't overlook the idiotic belief of Ford whose low beam vision on Big Things is leading to the layoff of 30,000 good paying jobs...and the trickle down to local economy's...

I got tired of using intern... (Below threshold)

I got tired of using internal combustion to push around my VW; an SUV would drive me nuts. It was so nice to yank that engine out of there, and what's more, I sold it and actually made money instead of pouring it in. Now I just roll silently past the gas stations. ;)

A couple comments on Vagabo... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

A couple comments on Vagabond's motorcycle post:

1. Few if any motorcycles have catalytic converters, so from an environmental standpoint they are much, much worse than cars, trucks, or SUV's.

2. The motorcycle of choice among greasy looser wanna-bes with more money than brains ,which is also the most popular bike in the US, gets about 20-25 mpg, which is worse than almost all cars, and most light trucks and light SUV's. I'd bet most other makes don't do much better-- at least not at the size engine that most guys want to buy.

And on SUV's in general, I agree with Jay's second to last paragraph more than anything else he wrote.

I am also endlessly amused by two things. First, I drive the freeway to work every day and every single year on the first snow the ditches and banks are littered with 4WD vehicles, most of them SUV's and usually at least a few on their sides or up-side-down.

Second, many, many of the full sized SUV's in my area still have John Kerry stickers on them, at least the ones that haven't been covered up by Grandholm stickers. Just seems kinda hypocritical to me.

But that's just me---endlessly amused.

How many of you that are "a... (Below threshold)

How many of you that are "anti" SUV from areas that have heavy snow fall? I've got to tell you that there are some places where we need the 4wd just to get around during the winter. I got a steal on a used escalade, and I've got to tell you that it is one sweet runner, snow or not. I can paralell park that baby too, thanks to the beautiful GM idea of 4 wheel steering. I'm only about 6 mpg behind my wife's little grand-am on average too. Basically, if a person is a crappy driver, it doesn't matter what they drive. As long as it's not a death-trap ford, that is.

All decisions in life ar... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

All decisions in life are tradeoffs. Hell, the root word for "decision" derives from the Latin term for "kill," because when you decide something, you kill the alternatives. And the pluses of SUVs come with serious minuses.

Someone been reading Diane Duane's "Spock's World"?....just curious.

Gas mileage car --'99 Caval... (Below threshold)

Gas mileage car --'99 Cavalier-about 25 avg.
'72 Chevy PU--502 cid-450HP--every other gas station mileage.
'65 GMC PU-gofor truck (go for this -go for that) don't care what it gets.
1956 Chevy Bel-Air (purchased new)--355cid-about 600HP with NOS on-mileage -about 3 mpg if you let it coast.
'85 military Blazer 6.2 diesel (M1009)-about 20 mpg-fuel cost about $.60 per gal-(make my own bio-diesel from used french fry oil)
Retired so gas prices are not one my attention getters now.

"of"... (Below threshold)


Cloninger, I've said before... (Below threshold)

Cloninger, I've said before I'm a Diane Duane fan. Yeah, that's where I picked it up. She's my 2nd-favorite Trek author, behind Peter David. (I'd say that "authors with five-letter first names and five-letter men's first names as last names" have a natural affinity for writing Trek, but Diane Carey ruins the rule -- she is ATROCIOUS.

I pull useful info and ideas from anywhere I find them. And Star Trek novels are absolutely no exception.


I didn't see anybody mentio... (Below threshold)

I didn't see anybody mention this, but I think part of the popularity stems from people getting old and fat. The old part is associated with stepping up into a higher cab as opposed to sinking down - easier to get in and out of the vehicle (we have a van, and it was nice stepping in and out when I had my C-section). Then the fat issue - I'm guessing big people feel more comfy in a Ford Explorer compared to a Camry.

My husband and I tool around in a 1986 VW Eurovan (14 mpg), with our three kids... but we rarely use it except for hauling all 5 of us or getting stuff from IKEA (we live in NYC). I don't feel guilty or smug or anything. There are tradeoffs, and considering people seem to prefer living the suburban life with huge homes and yards they never use the full capacity for, why should it be any surprise their cars are the same way?

quit bitching, you sound li... (Below threshold)
R J Squiller:

quit bitching, you sound like Andrew Sullivan

Henry I find it quite humor... (Below threshold)

Henry I find it quite humorous how you deride SUV owners for being shitty drivers and scaring the daylights out of you, then go on to say that you can't even tell us how many fender benders you've been in, and about fucking up a toyota!! Thanks for backing up my point that a shitty driver is a shitty driver, whether driving an SUV or a, I don't know, maybe a '95 Ford Escort station wagon.

And Hedgy, you're full of shit, because us assholes that Dodge, in their infinite marketing wisdom, decided to specifically market their totally rad and aggressive grill style to, would only be driving in the fast lane, not behind your dumb ass in the right lane going 30 on the highway with every other douche causing our nation's traffic jams. Prove me wrong.

Your honor, I submit exhibi... (Below threshold)

Your honor, I submit exhibit A: D-Hoggs. I rest my case

Uh, Bunyan?1. Few... (Below threshold)

Uh, Bunyan?
1. Few if any motorcycles have catalytic converters, so from an environmental standpoint they are much, much worse than cars, trucks, or SUV's.
That has more to do with regulations than engineering. Per cubic inch of exhaust, you are correct, but it takes much more activity to get a 'cycle to out out the same volume of exhaust as a car or truck. For the same mileage, my C50 has a lower exhaust foot print than my Five Hundred sedan.
2. The motorcycle of choice among greasy looser wanna-bes with more money than brains ,which is also the most popular bike in the US, gets about 20-25 mpg, which is worse than almost all cars, and most light trucks and light SUV's. I'd bet most other makes don't do much better-- at least not at the size engine that most guys want to buy.
What bike are you talking about? The only cycle I know that comes close to being that low is an 1985 Vmax, and it has a city of 25. The current equiv, the Vstar custom '06, is at 37.
I know my Boulevard 50 ranges from 42 in town with hills, to 60 on the flat highway.

I will never, EVER go throu... (Below threshold)

I will never, EVER go through another Minnesota winter without an SUV (currently have a cherry red 2003 Blazer).

scsiwuzzy,I was ta... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


I was talking about Harley-Davidson's. I thought that was obvious.

I have a 250cc Yamahama and when I ride with my Harley friends they have to stop every 125 miles and put 6 gallons of premium in their tanks while I put in less than a gallon and a half of regular.

Still with no catalytic converter, I may be putting out much less CO2 than a car, but tons more unspent hydrocarbons, which are very harmful to the environment. Even a lawn mower is much worse than a car in this respect.

Seriously Bunyan, what mode... (Below threshold)

Seriously Bunyan, what modern Hog only gets 25 mpg? Also, no stock Harley has a 6 gallon tank. Even the big 1400+ 'Glides and Fat Boys have at best a 5.1 or a 5.0.
If your friends are only going 125 miles between tanks, they are:
A) Riding terribly maintained bikes
B) Riding in low gear too often (way, way too often)
C) Have a V-Rod with the 3.7 gallon tank and city ride most of the time
D) They are using less than 91 octane gas
E) Some combo of the above

As for your hydro-carbons, you can get an emissions kit. Sounds like you have a Virago, so no problem finding one, unless it is an antique.

scsiwuzzy,I don't ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


I don't know the specks on the Harleys. All I know is what I've personally witnessed. And they are all new, well 2002-2005, models with stock fuel tanks. They all have around 1400cc engines and get less than 25 mpg. Maybe my 4 friends bought the only 4 defective Harley's, I don't know. Plus did the figures you qouted include the main and reserve tanks?

Yes I have a Virago. I know it's a chick bike, but I bought and ride it for one purpose only and that was to save myself money on commuting costs. (I commute around 80 miles a day.) Plus I don't have any psychological issues which make me need to present some sort of image.

Bunyan,I have nothin... (Below threshold)

I have nothing against Viragos. Just commented that an emissions system can be mounted. Nice little bike. Too small (length) for my arms and shoulders without modifing the bars, and I like a little more power/size. I commute 40 miles each way on my C50 (800cc), so I know what you mean about costs. Both my car and bike need to drink after aprox. the same number of miles, but one has a 4.1 gallon tank, the other 25 :)

AS for Harley's (former Harley employee talking, current Suzuki owner NB) tanks, the 5.1 I quoted for the big boys is the total fuel capacity.

The engine size you listed means they are either Dynas (Glide, Low or Bob), Fat Boys or Soft tails. The smallest stock tank in those models, IIRC, is 4.7. Those bikes should get 40+ mpg.
Sounds to me like they spend too much time in low gear. Either they like having the throttle open and the pipes loud OR they never learned how to ride (hate to see the wear on their engines) and could use a tach (since I think only some touring bikes and one 750ish Kawi still have factory tachs) to clue them in. Or a combo of cluelessness and the desire to be loud.

Harleys. Bah. Too many wann... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Harleys. Bah. Too many wanna-be Hells Angels and trend-chasers.

I generally like Harleys, and love their sound, but c'mon... why do so many people make them so obnoxiously LOUD!

Best ad I saw for motos was a BMW ad poking fun at all the new Harley riders 5 or 10 years ago. It showed a pic of a Beemer bike and the text : "For when you want to ride a motorcycle, not a bandwagon"






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