The 5 Most Dangerous Motorcycles in America?

07/17/2014 @ 8:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler60 COMMENTS


Contrary to what the AMA or motorcycling gentry may believe, not all motorcycles are created equal. Due to a combination of marketing, riding styles, and environment, the following five types of motorcycles are the country’s most dangerous.

While the NHTSA doesn’t track motorcycle accidents and crashes based on the type of motorcycle being ridden (among other things), the cultural factors that surround motorcycle injuries and fatalities paint a stark picture, which we’ve shared with you here.

#1 Cruisers:


Over half of new motorcycle sales in the United States are cruisers, thanks mainly to the huge influence that Harley-Davidson has on the US motorcycle market. By sheer volume alone then, cruisers dominant motorcycle crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

Add into the mix motorcycle “fashion” leather, “the bitch fell off” t-shirts, and massive biker rallies where bikes and booze are mixed together like a good Jack & Coke, and you have a risky culture predisposed to incident. These are the same guys that cry about personal freedoms when it comes to wearing their skull-bucket helmets, and the results perhaps speak for themselves.

With Hollywood latching onto the one-percenter motif, it seems the proliferation of the classic “biker” stereotype has no end in sight. To be sure, this is how motorcyclists are portrayed on the big and small-screens — the single biggest interaction the motorcycle industry has with the public at large — which has a huge influence on the “cool” perception that draws riders to brands like Harley-Davidson, Indian, and Victory.

#2 Street Bikes:


Rice rockets, squids, organ donors….there are a variety of names for people who travel on city streets by two-wheels. To make matters worse, sport bikes are reaching over 200hp now, straight from the factory.

Add into the mix a demographic that is constantly treating city streets like their local race track, and it’s unsurprising that local police departments are always setting up motorcycle-only checkpoints, giving grief to riders for simple infractions, and viewing the motorcycle population as easy revenue-generation opportunities.

For their part, street riders have helped advance science’s understanding of the human brain, with their being no shortage of head injuries coming from riders whose talent was outweighed by their ambition on public roads.

A 1,000cc sport bike for your first motorcycle? You better finance that purchase son. T-shirt and sandals on the freeway? Feel the wind on your hair, you rebel. Lighting up a stretched chrome Hayabusa at a stoplight? Absofuckinglutely. Stunt Life 4evah boi??! OMGWTFBBQ!

#3 Adventure Tourers:


Motorcycles suited to both long highway stretches, as well as where the sidewalk ends, adventure-touring is the new fetish of the Baby Boomers who actually went to college.

Sipping their high-calorie caffeinated beverages, talking about being the 1% in a “winning at Wall Street” sort of way, and walking into low-hanging fixtures with their modular helmets constantly flipped-open, the ADV crowd is perhaps the most vulnerable motorcycling demographic to factors that exist outside actually riding a motorcycle.

Heaven help the 12 riders each year who actually take their 600 lbs two-wheeled sofas off-road. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has no statistics about adventure-touring fatalities, but our hearts go out to the families whose children will have to grow up only knowing their fathers by the trust funds they left behind.

The one small consolation we can give is the knowledge that while these men likely expired, trapped under the massive hulk of their machines, they did so looking fabulous in their OEM-branded four-season gear…and their hands were comfortably warm, while they grasped onto the handlebars in their final moments.

#4 MX/Enduro Motorcycles:


The dangers don’t stop just because the tarmac does. Off-road motorcycles bring their own unique challenges to their passengers, on top of the already existing dangers that come with two-wheeled locomotion. Traveling through single-track trails at velocities well outside what evolution prepared us for, dirt bikers undertake a gauntlet of obstacles, like nature’s booby traps of tree branches and rocks, which can snap bones like high school boys do bras.

For the psychopaths who intentionally loft their motorcycles off jumps, pretending like God intended man to leave terra firma, a new range of dangers exist. Let’s put it this way, any “sport” where you need to wear a device that keeps your neck from breaking in half should probably be outlawed, along with the greenhouse gas emitting two-stroke machine you rode in on.

That brings in a whole new host of environmental issues, which sees off-road riders emitting tons of pollutants each year and causing incalculable amounts of erosion to the public lands, which they treat like a personal playground.

It’s no surprise that off-road vehicles areas are constantly dwindling in number — America is likely one snowy plover away from a complete shutdown of the OHV system.

#5  Retro / Café Racers:


It seems that motorcyclists can’t troll the internet for five minutes without running into a hipster motorcycle video that features a garage-built café racer and french-press coffee pot. Fueled by struggling artists, who need only a friend’s couch, a dozen or so “participation” trophies from their youth, and a $40,000 RED camera rig, the cafe racer scene is alive and well in the United States.

In some ways, it’s a good thing. The renewed interest in the Honda CB350 has helped empty junkyards around the nation, designer-label flannel sales are through the roof, and Vimeo is finally a sustainable media site (not really).

The real danger comes though when these hapless “builders” actually try to ride the machines they’ve created on public roads. You can follow the yard sale of vintage motorcycle pieces from one dive bar to another.

Since riding any retro or café motorbike has become a de facto two-wheeled homage to Grizzly Adams, we haven’t seen people fear the beard this much since baseball’s 2010 World Series.

We’d like to give special recognition to the folks at Rolling Stone for helping frame the format of what is being widely considered “the worst piece of journalism” ever committed by a serious publication.

As we have seen in the motorcycle space as well, there is a growing trend of click-bait headlines, list-type articles, and self-edifying quizzes from established, proper, and previously reputable media outlets.

We hope in time that the remaining legitimate journalists will treat a good “Top 10” et al posting similar to how comedians treat a good “Aristocrats” routine: a complete and total joke for a captive audience.

  • GoopHill

    ” …riders whose ambition was outweighed by their talent.. ” I like how you slipped that one in there. :)

  • Mike W

    Here I am, in the market for a new bike, and I came to read your article in good faith. In Good Faith I say, to help steer my decision! I expect part two of this piece to treat the subject matter seriously, and tell me which motorcycles I shouldn’t look crossways at for fear they will injure me while standing still. And I expect you to do so while simultaneously not angering any of the manufacturers who regularly read your site.

  • Richard Gozinya

    On the plus side: You actually found a picture of that Sons Of Anarchy guy where he isn’t wearing white sneakers, so that’s something.

    On the minus side: It’s a listicle.

    On the third side: Why the fuck does anybody give a rat’s fart what The Blaze thinks about anything? Their entire existence is one of the worst pieces of journalism in all of human history. Not that Rolling Stone is anything special, but at least they’re not The Blaze.

  • Keith

    Thank goodness I only ride standards then! Didn’t make the list. :)

  • paulus

    A good, light hearted read to end my week (thank you global time difference).
    As most of the major demographics were covered it seems that pretty much all are dangerous.
    Well, that’s the point really.

    2 Wheels are risky fun. I accept it and get my fixes of non-sexual amusement from it.
    Love live motorcycles… even if some of us are destined not to be so long lived.

  • Robert C

    This was a good laugh. As some one who aspires to ride as many different motorcycles as possible, I enjoyed how this article shit on every one equally. But, all I gotta say is. Fucking Harley guys. SMH

  • TexusTim

    well jensen you set a new low here with all the curse words that you use but you monitor us for the smalles infaction when it coems to swear words..nice example of “do as I say not as I do ” so you might consider that its a numbers game the more a section or group buys bikes the more precentage of crashes will happen..more cruisers and sportbikes sold more crashes..does not mean all of use the street for our personal race track..many of us take it to the should know that but you want to lump everyone into your “catagories” nice really nice. notice i dint have to cuss to say my piece…so stop cussing or stop monitoring us for what you have no problem doing.

  • Conrice

    HAHAHA Great fun.

  • Hey Richard Goz. You take the cake for the most obnoxious comment. Where did the Blaze come from?
    To get back to the bike, I agree the head lights are spectacular and suit the avant- guard styling.

  • John Mith

    So. What you are saying is “all motorcycles are dangerous”?

    Gimme a break…. Not a very good example of journalism.

  • Mariano

    If you’re going to quote Stoner, at least give him the credit. Writing 101 , I’m sure you went to college.

  • You had me until you got to #5!

    Have to say, one point docked for using the ‘Hipster’ word. Have you seen those archive videos of stuck-up types in the 1960s complaining about ‘beatniks’ and long hair?

    They look pretty stupid today. Don’t be that person.

  • Chris, you know the entire internet blames you for hipster motorcyclist thing…right? ;)

  • What, no Scooters or Learner bikes? I thought falling off a CG125 or a Speedfight because the brakes don’t really work was part of the right of passage. What about the C90 field bike ridden round the local quarry or football pitches? It’s a good thing the Mini-Moto (cheap, chinese, off ebay) craze is over or you’d have to include that as well.

    Then there’s specific bikes and brands. Like the hooligan’s choice, the Suzuki Gixxer. Racefit pipes don’t save lives, they cause accidents. Just like GoPro cameras.

  • JS

    Mariano, but Stoner didn’t say that. Look at what was written – from riders whose ambition was outweighed by their talent on public roads. – it’s opposite to what Stoner said to Rossi – “…ambition outweigh your talent?”

  • @Jensen: Yes, I’m in the firing line. I can handle it. It is the future. :-)

  • James Wright II

    Harley Davidson for years now have not been in the Motorcycle Business:

    They produce Props to a Lifestyle, that is for the most part Fantasy.

  • pelon

    I guess Supermotos are super safe:)

  • Spamtasticus

    The five most dangerous Harleys of all time:

    1. The flat black ones
    2. The glossy black ones
    3. The dark grey ones
    4. The light black ones
    5. The aqua ones

  • Spamtasticus

    Good stuff. It took me a few of the points to get it but for a second there I was wondering if Beeler had been cracked by a rather unimaginative troll. Then when 3 of the 5 bikes are actual models I own I was starting to think that the A & R cookies might just be doing a little more “cookie-ing” than they or the NSA should.

  • Shawn

    Please tell me that you criticizers understand satire when you read it.

  • Westward

    @ Mariano

    Actually, it was Rossi who originally quoted the, “Ambition Outweighing Talent” line. He said that of Stoner in 2006, when a journalist asked him about the then rookies season at that point in time, after his many personal acquaintences with tarmac.

    Stoner must have really been holding a grudge for a long time to dish it back at Rossi four years later. Maybe he should thank Rossi for giving him a purpose for all those years…

    Stoner, the Batman of MotoGP…

  • Jake F.

    Jensen, of all the comics in the world, you went with Gilbert Godfrey?!

  • Jake F.

    My apologies to Mr. Gottfried for misspelling his name. By the way, when is A&R getting an edit post function?

  • bobx

    so, the safest motorcycle is a car?

  • Doug

    Love the poser outside of Starbucks, made me laugh. My old 916 has never seen Starbucks, only track days and twisty PA backroads. She even saw the decreasing radius turn at Pocono East on her side one time. Very sad. :( Do people actually watch that Sons of Anarchy biker soap opera? What’s bittersweet for the industry is that the vast majority of people you see on motorcycles, are exactly that…..people that bought motorcycles, not true motorcyclists. Inexperienced jackasses trying to impress other people. They have no idea what motorcycling is really about. Good for sales….but bad in every other aspect like how cagers view us because they do dumb things and dress like they are going to the beach. They also lose rights for all of us who really do enjoy and appreciate motorcycles.

  • @DaveMinella

    Jensen, the next time I see you, I want to hear your version of “Aristocrats.”

  • Chris Blair

    Shawn and Westward nailed it right on the head. Excellent work Jensen, I’m still laughing.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Haha. Very funny stuff. The ADV and Cafe racer were my favorites…”two wheeled homage to Grizzly Adams” made me laugh loudly in my cube at work.–might be more funny to me because I live in SF.

    You didn’t mention the dot-com kids in silicon valley who look like stand-ins for the TV show Big Bang Theory who ride around town on their Panigale’s yet aren’t fit to be riding anything more than a ninja 250…I guess you actually kinda did.

    …ther Harley bashing is too easy,…it would be more funny if it weren’t so true.

  • Jw

    Amusing read.

    On a serious note we just lost a family friend last week in Arizona who had one of those “skull type vanity non DOT half helmets”

    Whatever you ride, wear a good safe helmet and ride a bike with half the horsepower your ego thinks it can handle.

  • Very funny!! Unfortunately, pretty accurate since the VAST majority of motorcycle riders (in the U.S.) are no more than passengers on their machines. A truly skilled rider is not merely along for the ride, they are, literally, the upper half of the motorcycle (try the book of the same name by Bernt Speigel, you’re welcome) much the same way as a great horseman. The majority of the bike accidents where I live are the “weekend biker”, “live to ride”-types. They’re easy to spot, riding side-by-side on narrow country roads, saving lives with their loud pipes.
    Perhaps a tiered-license system system and much more rigorous training (like in the UK) might help. Another thing that might work is maybe letting go of the notion that riding can be enjoyed by anyone, some people just are not meant to ride, anymore than they meant pilot an aircraft or be a surgeon.

  • TheSeaward

    Nice satire piece. I got a good laugh out of the Stoner quote. I expected the comments from people not understanding that this was a joke to be the funniest part and looks like I was right.

  • AndrewV

    I was pissed till I realized it was satire. Good stuff.

  • AndrewV

    Hellforleather, I.E. RideApart has turned into such a joke. Their top 10 lists seem written by someone who has never ridden a motorcycle.

  • Kalle

    I read this satire article on A&R, and you won’t believe what happened next!

  • Justaguy

    All. Hipsters. Must. Die.
    Hipsters are going to be worse than their Boomer ‘hippie’ grandparents and I didn’t think anyone could be worst than the ‘least greatest generation’. 13 years of war and we still somehow have a generation of men wearing skinny jeans and wearing ‘body spray’. SMH.

    Hellforleather is a perfect example of the dufus-ness of hipsters. Started out brilliantly, but as time passed Wes and that other guy knew EVERYTHING, regardless of topic, they just couldn’t admit they were wrong misinformed. “Roadcrafters are gay! Unless we black it out and remove the patches, then it’s hipster-riffic! Look at this awesome and expensive knife I got to ‘go camping’, I’m so badass! I. Rode. A. Goldwing. And it wasn’t that bad.” Generation Instagram.

    For the record, minibikes (which fall under dirt bikes) are the most dangerous.
    As a group, minibike riders have the biggest balls in all of motorcycling. How many kids right now are wrecking jumping cats or fire or ‘that over there’? Badasses.

    All hail the mini-bikers!

  • Campisi

    On the other hand, scooter riders will never die.

  • proudAmerican

    Great write-up. Thanks for sending me into my weekend in a great mood.


  • TonyC

    The #5 most dangerous motorcycle should be Derringers! C’mon, America.

  • PeterD

    Like all good humor there is an uncomfortable amount of truth in this.

    So I fit into category #3 except I don’t drink coffee, don’t have a modular helmet, and don’t have the means to start a trust fund. I’m also one of those 12 idots that occasionally drives my Super Tenere off the pavement. There are some very beautiful places you can see in Washington state on the Super Ten if your willing to deal with the dust, gravel and pot holes. And if the good Lord sees fit to cause me to expire in one of these places under my 600 lb sofa — well I can think of a lot worse ends to come to. But the Super Ten is the best all round bike I’ve owned – even if it turns me into a caricature.

  • Dan Smith

    Desperate for a new story to fill up some space? How long did it take you to write this fluff?

    You know there’s a lot of people out there that would love the opportunity to write real content for you. Drop me a line if you are interested in some real content.

  • irksome

    Rule #1 of the Interwebs: Never assume readers will pickup on sarcasm.
    Rule #2: There is no Rule #2.

  • Brilliant thanks.

  • malcom

    Man if wives and mothers read that article might put a serious crimp in motorsicle sales.

  • Oldbeezer

    “We hope in time that the remaining legitimate journalists will treat a good “Top 10″ et al posting similar to how comedians treat a good “Aristocrats” routine: a complete and total joke for a captive audience.

    Top 5 Related Posts: “

  • mudgun

    @ Jensen: You missed one category; The mini-bike. Without that first bike, no outlaw, no squid, no brain donor would ever develop into what we are today. Mine was a parallelogram framed, lawn mower powered, one geared, ten inch wheeled, God only knows what it was, but it was an easy road to follow once my 11 yr. old legs straddled that thing. It was hard to start, it shook, shimmied, smoked, and burnt my legs on a regular basis, but all that just made me love it more. On road, off road, driveways, alleys, cow fields, baseball diamonds, mud holes and creeks, it didn’t matter to me. I owned the world. Why my mother ever let me have that thing I’ll never know, but I’ll have to thank her if I ever see her again.

  • Justaguy

    mudgun, I wrote the same thing earlier but I might have used too many bad words and am in time out so look for my homage to the minibike to show up later on (maybe).

  • irksome

    “Well, it’s a real family-oriented act…”

  • “5 most dangerous motorcycles in America”

    The title is misleading because you are describing motorcycle types. Are there any more than 5 motorcycle types? Title is lame and meant to shock, but those of us who know better see it for what it is.

  • David T

    Awesome! :)

  • Nick Saban

    Freaking awesome!

  • L2C

    “Fueled by struggling artists, who need only a friend’s couch, a dozen or so “participation” trophies from their youth, and a $40,000 RED camera rig, the cafe racer scene is alive and well in the United States.”

    I thought this was the funniest line. That line is all about fakin’ the funk!

  • MikeD

    @Everyone who didn’t get it:

    The Article was a JOKE full of Sarcasm and a nice one to say good bye to the M-F daily grind/routine, please, cut the guy some slack.


  • Kurt

    Since I didn’t read ALL of the comments… for the idiocy that oozed from the pores of some of them… Here’s a tidbit for ya. THIS WAS A SATIRE OF THE ROLLING STONE ARTICLE ABOUT “The 5 most dangerous types of firearms”… Which has been widely regarded by many as “The worst piece of journalism published in documented history”… The article simply broke down firearms into 5 easy-to-swallow categories, and spouted opinion and ignorance as fact, all while managing to appear haphazardly researched by an incompetent journalist. Now do you see the joke that Jensen has played? It was all in good fun… and, meant to be a comical read. For those who got it, good on ya’. For those who didn’t… quit being so fucking sensitive… bitches.


  • Well played, Jensen.

    Next up, you should hire a non-rider to run your website.

  • AHA

    Love it! Bursts the pomposity of motorcycle blogs, readers and the click bait culture we’ve all linked into.

    A timely reminder for us all to take ourselves a little less seriously and our info sources a lot more seriously.

  • Wow, would love to know what and how you ride?
    I bet you do visit Starbucks quiet often. Not exactly sure what this is about but it’s not about the 5 most dangerous motorcycles or even types of motorcycles. It’s funny though.
    I agree with zac kurylyk, maybe you should get a “ban all motorcycles” guy to write articles.

  • Óðhinn

    The rider has a lot to do with it, and sport bike (crotch rocket) riders are, by far, the most dangerous douchebags on the road.

  • Jamie Fry

    This article reeks, of bullshit. First the article says Harleys are the most dangerous, and then says that its the kind of people attracted to Harleys are the problem. Soo.. the real conclusion is that the most dangerous bike is the one thats controlled by someone who is unskilled or reckless. Whodathunkit?

  • Redacted

    Oh sure redact my post, but let the author of this drivel run his/her mouth.