Motorcycle Cruiser Poll Results

What you think

Starting early in 2004, has been regularly posting polls on topics that we believe are of interest and concern to cruiser riders.

Below are the results of polls with the most recent results first. We will add the results of newer polls shortly after a fresh one is posted.

To view and respond to the current poll, sponsored by Baron Custom Accessories, visit the home page of

Can't Stop Arnold

We asked, tongue in cheek, what the reaction to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission that he has been riding for year's unlicensed should be.

Readers knew it was pointless to even try to do anything.

Total Votes: 2044
Poll ended: January 28, 2006

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted that he has been riding for years without the required motorcycle endorsement on his driver's license, what should happen? * Confiscate his bike like they would mine.: 16% * He's a star AND a politician; he MUST be allowed to do whatever he pleases. Anything else would be un-American.: 3% * Confine him to tricycle, powered or not. He can deliver pizza.: 1% * New reality show: Arnold's MSF RiderCourse: 2% * New reality show: Arnold Waits in Line at the DMV: 1% * Let the public decide; put a propositon on the next California ballot.: 1% * Make him do public-service ads touting the benefits of licensing.: 8% * He can't ride properly anyway because going right offends his wife and going left offends his party.: 1% * Pull his license. Hasta la vista, baby...: 3% * I've seen Terminator; the LAPD can't stop Arnold.: 61%

Gotta Have It: What Matters Most on a Cruiser?

We wondered what one thing site visitors valued most in a cruiser. We found out that there are three of those one things: brand, comfort and reliability.

Total Votes: 1579
Poll ended: November 17, 2005

Which of the following is the most important consideration when selecting a cruiser motorcycle? * Accessories available/Customization potential: 2% * Appearance: 13% * Brand name: 21% * Comfort: 20% * Handling: 3% * Performance/Power: 8% * Price: 4% * Reliability: 19% * Safety: 2% * Sound: 1%

Occasional Passengers

Having raised the topic in our current editorial in the magazine, we asked readers how frequently they rode with passengers. Not that much, it turns out.

Total Votes: 789
Poll Ended: September 28, 2005

In the October issue of _Motorcycle Cruiser, Jamie Elvidge looks at some of the issues involved in riding with passengers. How often do you carry a passenger?_ * Never: 16% * As infrequently as possible: 16% * Once in a while: 43% * Whenever I can: 9% * Usually: 9% * Almost always: 5%

Ride to Work Day

After asking about commuting habits, we wondered if readers at least commuted on Ride to Work Day. The majority did.

Total Votes: 1251
Poll ended: September 8, 2005

Did you ride to Work on Ride to Work Day, July 20? * Yes: 55% * No: 44%

Why Not Ride to Work? Weather, Cargo, and the Fun Factor.

For once we were pleased to get a relatively low response to our survey, since the only ones who responded should have been folks who don't use their bikes for daily transportation. The largest number of respondents' primary reason was that it was too hot, cold, dry, wet, or otherwise uncomfortable. The second largest response was they had to tote stuff that a bike couldn't handle. An eighth of those who voted said riding in traffic wasn't pleasant. We did forget to ask if parking was an issue, and 7% of those voting in a similar poll on sister site cited parking as their reason.

Total Votes: 709
Poll ended: July 20, 2005

With Ride to Work Day coming up July 20, we wondered why more people don't commute by motorcycle. If you do not normally use your motorcycle to get to work, what is the primary reason? * Riding apparel creates problems: 8% * Inconvenient or uncomfortable: 3% * No fun--Don't like riding in traffic: 12% * Wrong image for my profession: 4% * Bike not reliable: 1% * Weather or temperature: 30% * Messes hair: 8% * Need to use phone in car: 1% * Must carry people or items too big for bike: 18% * Too dangerous: 10%

Loud Pipes? Not Really

On the heels of the AMA Conference on Motorcycle Sound, we asked visitors how high the volume on their exhausts should be turned up. The number-one reply was slightly louder that stock—but still legal—with stock noise levels the second choice. Only 13 percent were proud of being loud and only 2 percent didn't care about the damage they did.Poll ended: June 7, 2006Total Votes: 2328Loud pipes are becoming a major issue. How do you feel about them?I want my bike no louder than stock.: 29%I prefer just a bit more volume than stock but still legal.: 55%I like to make some real noise when I feel like it.: 8%A motorcycle should be good and loud.: 3%I want my bike as loud as possible. I don't care if it upsets others.: 2%

Insurance? Overexposed.

We asked visitors what sort of insurance they carried, and were surprised that over half said they carry no insurance and that only 4% said they carry liability only (legally required in most areas and usually very inexpensive).

Total Votes: 3052
Poll ended: May 17, 2005

What kind of insurance do you carry on your street bike? * Full coverage with medical: 21% * Full coverage without medical: 9% * Liability plus some coverage for the bike: 1% * Liability plus uninsured motorist: 2% * Liability only: 4% * Other coverage: 0% * No coverage right now, but I'm shopping: 35% * No coverage: 25%

Yes, We Ride to Work!

With gas prices rising, we wondered how many site visitors rode their bikes to work. An interesting thing happened. For the first half of the balloting, about two-thirds of respondents said they usually didn't commute by motorcycle. They (during a week when gas sprice spiked up sharply), things turned around, and by the time we took the poll down, more than half of the responses said they usually rode to work.

Total Votes: 1056
Poll ended: April 11, 2005

Do you use your motorcycle for your daily commute?

  • Always: 21%
  • Usually: 32%
  • About half the time: 8%
  • Occasionally: 15%
  • Rarely: 6%
  • Never: 15%

Number One Resolution for 2005: Ride More

When we asked what what motorcycling resolutions you planned for the new year, "Ride More" was the top choice, selected by a third of respondents. "Buy that new bike" was number two, just ahead of "Take that trip I've been dreaming of."

Total Votes: 2995
Poll ended: March 9, 2005

What is your top New Year's Resolution for motorcycling in 2005?

  • Ride more: 34%
  • Get some skills training: 5%
  • Make some improvements to my bike: 8%
  • Buy that new bike I have been lusting after: 18%
  • Ride smarter: 7%
  • Take that trip I've been dreaming of: 14%
  • Upgrade my riding gear: 3%
  • Start commuting on my motorcycle: 5%
  • Change the oil: 2%

The Urge to Customize

Since cruisers are made to be customized, we wondered what readers had planned for their bikes? Amost 80% have at least some plans to siff up their bikes.

Total Votes: 1037
Poll ended December 22, 2004.

What plans do you have for customizing your motorcycle? * No plans: 12% * A few bolt-ons: 57% * Substantial bolt-ons and paint: 25% * Fundamental changes, such as raking: 2% * Major changes such as new frame: 0%

Winter Wonder

We wondered what visitors were planning to do with their motorcycles during the winter. About a quarter weren't going to ride at all, but almost that many seemed to be ready to ride even more.

Total Votes: 829
Poll Ended: November 18, 2004

What do you plan to do with your motorcycle this winter?

  • Store the bike, ride the snowmobile.: 20%
  • It's going to get a lot of work.: 5%
  • Hook up the electric vest for the "warm" days.: 13%
  • I'll do its annual major maintenance on a cold weekend.: 4%
  • I won't ride much less.: 15%
  • I'll ride as much as I do any time of the year.: 15%
  • Where I live, these cool days provide the best riding.: 19%
  • I use the off-season for a road trip at bargain rates.: 5%

How Many Motorcycles Do You Own?

We asked site visitors how many motorcycles they own. Most of them (43 percent) own just a single motorcycle, but 40 percent say they own two or more machines. and 15 percent have three or more.

Total Votes: 2412
Poll Ended: October 27, 2004

How many motorcycles do you own?

  • None: 7%
  • One: 53%
  • Two: 21%
  • Three: 8%
  • Four: 3%
  • Five: 1%
  • Six or more: 3%

Going the Distance

As the summer riding season rolled to a close, we asked what sort of mileage site vistors expected to tally on their motorcycles during 2004. We were pleased to see that about a quarter say they ride at least 1000 miles a month, though more than a third anticpate riding less than 500 miles per month.

Total Votes: 1525
Ended: September 8, 2004

Summer, which is when most Americans ride the most, is almost over. How many total motorcycle miles do expect to have ridden during 2004? * Under 2500: 12% * 2500 to 5000: 22% * 5000 to 7500: 15% * 7500 to 10,000: 12% * 10,000 to 12,500: 11% * 12,500 to 15,000: 9% * 15,000 to 20,000: 6% * 20,000 to 25,000: 5% * 25,000 to 30,000: 3% * Over 30,000: 1%

Favorite 2005 Roll-Out? Get Hammered.

There was heavy balloting when we asked about what brand's new-model intro to that point had impressed the most. Victory, which dropped the big-inch Hammer and small-cost 8-Ball dominated the results, though the large number of votes makes us suspcious of the results.

Total Votes: 7292
Ended: August 18, 2004

Of the 2005 model lines introduced to date, which one impresses you the most? * Harley-Davidson: 17% * Suzuki/Boulevard: 2% * Victory: 74% * Yamaha: 4%

Sturgis 2004: Hell, No! We Won't Go!

With the Sturgis Rally approaching, we wondered about how our readers felt about attending the biggest tourist event in the state that had let its former Governor, William Janklow, off with a light (100-day) sentence after he had recklessly run a stop sign and killed motorcyclist Randy Scott. There was plenty of response, and the overwhelming majority of those who voted favored a boycott. An accompanying story asking for reader comments had some interesting alternatives.

Total votes: 1840.
Ended: July 23, 2004

In the August issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, staffers offer 3 viewpoints on a Sturgis boycott in response to the Janklow verdict. Which one do you agree with? * Cherney: "Punish the incompetent judge, not the community": 19% * Elvidge: "Save yourself with good riding skills instead": 10% * Friedman: "Boycott them back to the stone age": 66% * Undecided: 0% * I never heard of the Janklow verdict: 1% * None of the above: 1%

Basic Tech, Please

Our technical editor wondered how involved the projects he writes about should be. Respondents said they like the simple. The biggest segment wanted simple procedures they could handle in an afternoon, and only 12 percent want major projects that would require more than a weekend.

Total Votes: 174
Ended May 11, 2004

How involved should the magazine's how-to projects be?

  • Keep it simple, projects that take an afternoon are enough: 47%

  • I'd like more intense projects, installing cams, for example: 17%

  • A two-day project should be the maximum: 22%

  • I'd like intense full-bike projects that could take weeks: 12%

Give Us More Power and Greater Comfort

We asked what site visitors would more like to improve about their motorcycles. Power and comfort tied as the most desired improvement. Handling, braking and sound tied for third. Few respondents listed reliability as the primary issue they want changed.

Total Votes: 506
Ended May 3, 2004

What aspect of your motorcycle would you most like to improve?

  • Appearance: 10%

  • Braking: 11%

  • Comfort: 18%

  • Ease of Customizing: 7%

  • Ease of Maintenance: 7%

  • Handling: 11%

  • Power: 18%

  • Reliability: 3%

  • Sound: 11%

Some of Us Are Bright, Some Aren't

Since a study had just been released that showed bright-colored helmets could drastically reduce a motorcyclist's chances of being involved in accident (a finding that confirmed what other studies had learned), we wondered how many riders used bright-colored helmets and clothing when they rode. The responses were split pretty evenly...

Total Votes: 437
Ended April 20, 2004

A new study (see News) shows once again that bright colored helmets and apparel can help riders avoid accidents. Do you dress to be seen?

  • Always: 24%

  • Often: 18%

  • Depends on the ride and the weather: 21%

  • Rarely: 22%

  • Never: 12%

Let My Kid Ride? If He Does it Smart

We all think it's fine to ride ourselves, but how about a teenager who is just learning to drive? How would you react if your new driver wanted to hit the road on a bike? Two thirds would permit it if the kid got good training and dressed for the inevitable crash.

Total Votes: 424
Ended April 11, 2004

If your child reached driving age and wanted to ride a street bike, what would you do?

  • Encourage her/him: 5%

  • Make sure he/she gets training and good gear, then OK it: 67%

  • Neither encourage nor discourage: 1%

  • Explain the dangers but let her/him decide: 7%

  • Suggest he/she wait: 5%

  • Discourage her/him but not forbid it: 3%

  • Forbid it as long as I can: 6%

  • Make sure he/she gets a bike I want to ride: 3%

Riding Plans? Yes, Lots!

We wondered if high gas prices, an uncertain economy, or the aging cruiser-rider population might curtail your riding plans. Apparently not. Respondents said they plan to ride more frequently and more distance in 2004, assuming the weatherman cooperates.

Total Votes: 576
Ended April 1, 2004

Spring has sprung and the riding season is bearing down on us. Which of the following describes your riding plans? * I expect to ride more days and more miles than 2003: 75%

  • I expect to ride more days but no more miles than 2003: 0%
  • I expect to ride farther but no more often than 2003: 3%
  • About the same as last year: 7%
  • I expect to ride as often but less distance as 2003: 0%
  • I expect to fewer miles but as often as 2003: 0%
  • I expect to ride fewer miles and days than 2003: 2%
  • Ask the darn weather forecaster!: 6%
  • I don't know yet: 1%

Helmet Choice: Protection Preferred

Note that the question here wasn't whether you wanted to wear a helmet but what kind you choose when you do wear one (which only three percent said you don't ever do). A third of respondents go for the protection of a full-coverage style with a chinbar. Another 40% choose solid protection in the form of a flip-up style chinbar helmet or a full-coverage open-face. .

Total Votes: 904.
Ended March 22, 2004..

What kind of helmet do you wear most often?

  • Full coverage with chin bar : 34%

  • Flip-up-face modular helmet: 13%

  • 3/4 coverage open-face: 17%

  • DOT half-helmet or shortie: 24%

  • The smallest DOT helmet I can find : 1%

  • The cheapest DOT helmet I can find: 1%

  • Non-DOT "novelty" helmet: 3%

  • I never, ever wear a helmet : 3%

Favorite Events: Daytona Beach Bike Week and the Hoot

Because this went up while many Daytona Bike Week fans were at the event, it was probably a bit unfair to Daytona, which lagged in second or third until the end of bike week, then came back strong in the three remaining days of the poll to tie the early leader, Honda's Hoot, for first. Americade was a solid third. Newcomer, Cyclefest, which we included because of our involvement at the inaugural event in 2003, posted surprising results, almost equalling Sturgis.

Total votes: 571.
Ended March 10, 2004.

With Daytona Bike Week underway, we wonder: What is your favorite annual motorcycle event?

  • Americade: 14%

  • Arizona Bike Week: 2%

  • CycleFest: 8%

  • Daytona Bike Week: 21%

  • Daytona Biketoberfest: 4%

  • The Hoot: 21%

  • Laconia: 5%

  • Myrtle Beach: 6%

  • Sturgis: 9%

  • Other: 6%

Rider Training: Basic or None

Although almost half of respondents had taken a basic state or Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider training course, only 14% had dared stretch themselves a bit and taken more advanced training. Almost two-fifths of respondents either think they know it all or don't have access to a rider-training facility.

Total Votes: 508.
Ended March 1, 2004.

What is the most advanced rider training you have participated in?

  • No formal training: 13%

  • No formal training (I started riding before it existed): 25%

  • Basic MSF or state rider training: 39%

  • Basic state or MSF rider training multiple times: 5%

  • Experienced rider course: 11%

  • Club or other specialized rider training: 1%

  • Racetrack training: 2%

Accessory Buying Plans? Sit On It

What's missing from your cruiser? Over a fifth of respondents thought it was the right saddle, which is the first thing they plan to buy, with luggage second. Windshields, pipes, and dress-up bits are also on your shopping lists.

Total votes: 463.
Ended February 20, 2004.

What motorcycle accessory do you expect to buy next?

  • Luggage: 15%

  • Windshield: 12%

  • Exhaust System/Muffler: 14%

  • Seat: 22%

  • Lighting: 9%

  • Suspension: 3%

  • Wheels: 1%

  • Air Filter: 4%

  • Mirrors: 3%.

  • Other Billet or Chrome: 12%

Janklow Verdict Response: Boycott Sturgis

We weren't surprised that motorcyclists were outraged at the hand-slap verdict given to Bill Janklow after he ran a South Dakota stop sign and killed motorcyclist Randy Scott. In light of his arrogance as a driver and the likelihood that he was aware of the stop sign he ran at over 55 mph, the manslaughter verdict appeared obvious. Then the former South Dakota governor and congressman was sentenced to only 100 days in jail by the judge. Would motorcyclists react with actions to match their outrage? Over half (57%) said they would with the largest response being a boycott of the Sturgis rally, the biggest tourist event in South Dakota.

Total Votes: 951.
Ended February 10.

_What is your response to the 100-day sentence for Bill Janklow? _

  • It is too harsh: 9%

  • It is about right: 1%

  • It was a bit too light: 6%

  • It is much too light, but I'm not taking action: 23%

  • It is much too light; I'll boycott Sturgis: 44%

  • It was much too light; I'll take other action: 13%

  • What's a Janklow?: 1%