One of the most dangerous questions ever is, “How fast will she go?” It’s too bad that all cars, let alone motorcycles, weren’t like my little Dodge Colt, a Mitsubishi in disguise. You almost needed a magnifying glass to see her engine. The truthful answer to that question for her was, “Just over 65, 70 if we’re going downhill.” I kept her within the realms of safety, except when I let the back tires wear through until an inner-tube bulged out like a cyst, or when my overstretched dragging left foot became the only brakes. Darned parking brake wore out because I didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily.
Now the manufacturers could publish it in the owner’s manual, maybe even as a subtitle on the cover, but that would probably lead to an equivalent dangerous statement, “I don’t think the owner’s manual is right. This thing has to go faster than that.”
At last count I’ve owned 28 cars, one half-ton, two vans, and a motorcycle. I don’t know the dangerous answer to only 3 or 4 of them, most especially the motorcycle, but also the one that lost its motor three hours after I bought her. When the bike tachometer hit 5000, the speed hit 140 k, and she started shakin’, I eased up. At that point sanity overruled curiosity. The pavement was no damsel in a skimpy dress winking invitingly, “Come hither, yon scoundrel.”
Most beaters I had were only short steps above the Colt. The goal was to get one that could last 6 months for less than $500. At work they made me park 2 blocks away because of fumes, and oil stains on the parking lot. The straight highway on the way to Dad’s was where the speed question got answered.
Unless the government legislates speed control devices, or young inquisitive men develop brains, I don’t see a solution to the question anytime soon. It’ll continue to beseech an answer – one borne of experience, not intelligence.