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Gassit’s Guide to Motorcycling | COLUMNS | GASSIT GARAGE

Fred addresses our learner readers’ concerns and sets out to prove that there are no stupid questions, just stupid people

People say you’re supposed to nod at other riders when they pass you on the road, but I’m usually concentrating too much on the traffic to do that. Will people think I’m being rude if I don’t nod?

Yes, they will think you’re rude. And you will be bloody rude. If you can’t manage to work out how to briefly raise and lower your head when another motorcycle passes you because you’re so-called concentrating too much on the traffic, then you shouldn’t be riding a motorcycle. Simple. Throw your key in the river and catch the bus.

When I park my bike, should I leave it in neutral or first gear? Different mates say different things.

Use commonsense, leave it in gear and maybe consider getting yourself some new mates.

Can I do a trackday on my Ls? It would be a top way to learn, surely.

Of course you can. You don’t need a licence to ride on the track. And you’re spot on, ‘sa top-notch way to learn. But do it on your mate’s bike in case you crash – maybe the same mate that told you to leave your bike in neutral?

I’ve been riding off-road for donkeys. Do I still have to do the full course or is there a shorter (and cheaper) test I can do to get my road licence?

Some states and territories will let older farts like me go for their unrestricted licence earlier, but if you’re young and (obviously) silly, you should stick to riding your donkeys off-road.

Is there any way I can fast-track my LAMS restrictions? I want to get on a YZF-R1 as soon as possible.

I said stick to riding donkeys, pherphuxake. Actually, maybe you should go and ride that R1 now… to… Darwin?

When I go into a petrol station, do I have to take my helmet off?

Unless you want to be crashed tackled to the ground by a paranoid on-edge security guard, it’s probably wise.

The other day I was riding along and another bloke coming the other way looked at me and tapped the top of his helmet. Is this some kind of code?

He could be telling you to use your head cos you’re riding like a plonker, or he could be telling you there’s a copper up ahead. But don’t think too much about it, and run yer own, er, race.

I’m a vertically challenged rider and find it impossible to get my feet down flat at a stop. Any advice?

Don’t. You only need enough of yer foot on the ground to balance, that can mean one toe. I’m sick of hearing about idiots who buy their bike based purely on what they feel like when they’re stopped. Think about it.


Is it better to use high-octane petrol in motorcycles?

It is better to use high-octane petrol for everything in yer life. Whether it’s starting fires in yer backyard, firing up your old whipper-snipper or putting it in yer new bike. Always use the good stuff. The only exception to this is when you’re out whoop whoop and you can’t get hold of it. Even then, dilute it with the good stuff at your first opportunity.

My next-door neighbour is offering to sell me his custom special at a knock-down price, but the bike was made before they had LAMS approved stickers – and it has since been turbo-charged. How do I work out whether I am legally allowed to ride it or not?

Whether it’s power or price, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Don’t let yer mate pull the wool, do yer research depending on where you live and know what’s what. Every rider makes a bad bike choice at least once in their life, and that’s oright, but make sure yours won’t land you in trouble with the wallopers.

A friend of mine is on his learners and has just bought himself a Yamaha MT-07. He says he’s planning on getting it flash-tuned to remove the restriction. He reckons there is almost a zero percent chance that he could get busted – is that true?

Lemme guess, it’s the same knob who said to park your bike in neutral? There’s one way to make sure you don’t get busted, and that’s just usin’ yer noggin and being patient. If yer don’t break the rules, you won’t get busted. It’s not rocket science.

People reckon you should wear earplugs, but hearing cars really helps me in traffic. What do you reckon – plugs or no plugs?