Online Wisdom is an Oxymoron

Why Relying on Online Advice is Misguided

Whether you want to find out why your motorcycle is acting up, are looking to buy new tires, or are trying to learn new motorcycle skills, treat what you learn online with a healthy dose of skepticism. When it comes to searching for advice online, it really is caveat emptor. (AKA Buyer beware!)

I was watching a YouTube video in which a rider was giving riding instruction, presumably to be consumed by new riders. Towards the end of the video he mentioned he had been licensed for three months. Perfect! The uninitiated teaching the uninitiated; the blind leading the blind.

Let’s look at another example. I bought my V-Strom used. Soon it became time for me to replace my tires, so I posted in various online forums looking for suggestions; it was a flawed approach.

Three suggestions, three misses

Fred emphatically advocated for a set of tires he deemed indispensable. However, Fred’s perspective is tainted by his substantial wealth; to him, cost is inconsequential. He always buys the best, regardless of price.

Jennifer, a former racer, endorsed a high-performance tire. Her fervent desire is to push her bike to its limits in the twisties, prioritizing maximum traction over tire longevity.

Sam, a student, presuming that everyone shares his budgetary concerns, recommended the cheapest tire option he stumbled upon.

Back to the drawing board

What I required was a set of criteria tailored to my needs: my bike, my riding style, my budget, and my tire longevity objective.

  • I ride an adventure bike.
  • I predominantly ride on paved roads, with occasional forays onto off-road terrain.
  • I enjoy riding in wet conditions.
  • While I love spirited riding in the twisties, my riding is likely less aggressive to that of a former racer on a litre bike.
  • I ride about 15,000 km per year.
  • I tour with my motorcycle and often ride 7- to 8-hour days.

My quest was not for the cheapest or the best tire available, but rather for the optimal balance of performance, longevity, and affordability. Longer-lasting tires sacrifice performance due to their harder composition, while high-performance tires, being softer, tend to wear out more quickly. I sought a middle ground: commendable performance over a respectable lifespan.

Deciding based on my own criteria

The tires I had on my bike were the Suzuki-specified Bridgestone A40 ADV tires. Oddly, not one person recommended them. There seems to be a prevailing bias against recommending the OEM-specified tires. It’s just not de rigueur, don’t you know. I didn’t know.

Given that I managed to squeeze approximately 25,000 kilometres out of my OEM tires, I deemed them a promising starting point. I was satisfied with their performance—they consistently instilled confidence in both wet and dry conditions, and I had ridden in a lot of both.

To my delight, Bridgestone introduced an updated version of these tires, dubbed the Bridgestone Battlax A41s, boasting state-of-the-art technology enhancements aimed at bolstering wet and dry weather performance and durability. After conducting some research, I opted for these tires, and I have been very happy with them. I still watch the forums and have yet to see anyone recommend the OEM-specified tires, which is odd because they perform very well and are fairly priced. With thousands of kilometres on my new tires, I can attest to their exceptional performance: they inspire confidence across varied conditions—be it wet or dry pavement, gravel tracks, or spirited highway and twisty road riding. (I have yet to test them in 100 per cent off-road conditions.) Not once have they left me wanting in terms of performance. On multiple occasions, I encountered gravel mid-corner, yet they seamlessly navigated me through, sans palpitations or adrenaline rushes.

If I had have taken a suggestion from one of the online forum commenters, I would have ended up with the wrong tire for me. That said, let it be known: this is NOT an endorsement for Bridgestone’s A41 Battlax Adventure tires. Unless, of course, your criteria align precisely with mine, then only maybe.

BUYER BEWARE!

The lesson learned, whether in the realm of tire purchasing or any other aspect of motorcycling, is to approach others’ recommendations, especially from online sources, with caution. Without insight into their situation—be it their criteria, level of expertise, riding style, mechanical aptitude, or financial situation—you cannot be sure their recommendations will align with your needs, will be viable, or will even be safe. While there’s a possibility their suggestions may meet your requirements, the odds are probably more likely that they won’t. It’s definitely a case of caveat emptor, so do your own homework and keep yourself safe.

And, of course, take what we say with a grain of salt too, because we’re just one voice, and it’s just our opinion.

Ride safe and be seen. Hope to see you out on the road sometime soon.

– John Lewis


John Lewis

John is a passionate moto-traveller and motorcycle enthusiast who enjoys sharing stories that inform, inspire, and entertain. Specialising in motorcycle touring, safety, travel, or just about anything motorcycle-related, John’s insights, travels, and experiences have been featured in national magazines such as Motorcycle Mojo and The Motorcycle Times, as well as on various blogs and websites. When he is not riding or writing, he works as the service manager at a boutique motorcycle shop where he’s always ready to share a story or helpful tip.

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