We've all been near a big Harley at a stop light, where the rider keeps blipping the throttle. I've always wondered why they do this. Is it because those big pistons don't idle very well, and if you don't blip the throttle they tend to stall? Or is it just a bit of macho (or occasionally macha) fun?

1 Answer 1


Mechanically, it's a bit of a throwback to carburettor equipped bikes - my motorbike, for example, can be a little bit unforgiving when it's cold and it's not nice to go to pull away and have the engine splutter. In fact, an inexperienced rider could easily fall off because of it! And, as you've highlighted, a badly set up bike might have issues idling.

That said, the truth is that most motorcyclists love the sound of their bike. We also don't have much else to do while waiting at lots - a drive might fiddle with their stereo, some bikers blip the throttle.

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    Unless they just started their bikes cold and pulled out of a parking lot, they are doing it for no reason other than to hear it with no regard to anyone else most of the time.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:39
  • even then, anything made anytime after about the 60s and actually maintained reasonably should be able to hold idle nicely while cold. It's what the choke/enricher is for on carbed bikes.
    – Leliel
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 2:49

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