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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I continue to read posts where members complain that they can't see behind themselves with the stock mirrors on the Street and it took me awhile to figure out the the probem. People are so used to driving cars that have a rear view mirror that allows them to see directly behind them that they believe motorcycle mirrors should provide the same visability but they don't and can't.


The rider sits in the way of a rear view mirror and all a motorcycle mirror can do is provide side vision just like the side mirrors on a car. The M/C mirrors, mountd on the left and right side of the handle bars, are designed to provide visability for your blind spots on the left and right. They're "side mirrors" and not "rear view mirrors" like we're used to in our car.


When we think about the motorcycle mirror in it's correct context then the complaints disappear because we can't ask them to do something they're not designed to do and can't reasonably do anyway. A motorcycle is not a car and we need to stop thinking of them in "car" terms.
 

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I tend to agree, however, I also disagree.

Every bike I've owned, I've been still able to see a vehicle directly behind me at a traffic light, as well as still view the left and right lanes to the "rear".

The "Street" bike mirrors appear to be too close together prohibiting this "view", as I'll call it. I have great visibility to both my left & right, but, until I changed things around I couldn't see you if you were bumped up against the rear license plate, pushing me. I just wouldn't know you were there. Too "me", that's a safety issue, sorry.

I want to see "all around me", front, right, left AND rear.
 

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I found that, I tend to move my seating position while riding. I just naturally move my body enough to get a better view in the mirrors.
 

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I tend to agree, however, I also disagree.

Every bike I've owned, I've been still able to see a vehicle directly behind me at a traffic light, as well as still view the left and right lanes to the "rear".

The "Street" bike mirrors appear to be too close together prohibiting this "view", as I'll call it. I have great visibility to both my left & right, but, until I changed things around I couldn't see you if you were bumped up against the rear license plate, pushing me. I just wouldn't know you were there. Too "me", that's a safety issue, sorry.

I want to see "all around me", front, right, left AND rear.
Since fitting the long stem mirrors visibility is vastly improved. My car wing mirrors certainly don't get blocked by my shoulders! I don't think it would have been too much of a stretch to have fitted the longer stems as standard and nearly all of the contributors to the forum seem to have been unhappy with the stock ones.

I am a novice with Harleys, but do the other models also come with such narrow stock mirrors, or is it just the Street?
 

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Sportster 1200 has models that are mounted underneath. I have never ridden with that setup.
 

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I am with 10-64 on this one. I want to see "all around me", front, right, left AND rear, especially in city traffic where lane switching is part of everyday life.

In all my previous 10 motorcycles all round view has been possible through good placement of standard mirrors. I have recently written to H-D and questioned that on the 2016 model they have gone to great expense to re-design the front and rear braking systems. Was the poor vision from standard mirrors an oversight I asked, because for only a few bucks extra they could have taken an off the shelf and in stock item and corrected the poor visibility.

I now await their reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I tend to agree, however, I also disagree.

Every bike I've owned, I've been still able to see a vehicle directly behind me at a traffic light, as well as still view the left and right lanes to the "rear".

The "Street" bike mirrors appear to be too close together prohibiting this "view", as I'll call it. I have great visibility to both my left & right, but, until I changed things around I couldn't see you if you were bumped up against the rear license plate, pushing me. I just wouldn't know you were there. Too "me", that's a safety issue, sorry.

I want to see "all around me", front, right, left AND rear.
My normal ride is my XL-50 Sportster and it's considerably larger than the Street. The mirrors are farther apart but only by 2 1/2 inches and guess what. I can't really see behind me on my Sportster either.


I've been on all sizes of motorcycles and yes, the larger the motorcycle typically the better the rear visability and the Street 500/750 has about the same rear visability typical to that size of motorcycle.


What's directly behind you doesn't really represent a threat and when it does there generally isn't anything you can do about it. If you're stopped with a vehicle in front of you and someone's going to rear end you there's not much you can do about it. Even if there's no one in front of you you're not likely to pull into cross traffic to avoid being hit. Riding down the road you'll become aware of tailgaters that do represent a threat but the only real remedy is to pull over and let them pass and for that you need side mirrors.


Clear vision ahead and being able to see to both sides behind you is imperative in any vehicle for safety reasons but that same reason doesn't really exist for seeing behind you. My 1979 Chevy Van doesn't even have a rear view mirror and only has side mirrors and it'd not dangerous to drive. I can't even see as much behind me in my van as I can on the Street.


Yes, you can put extensions on any motorcycle and it will increase how much you can see behind you. You could even get absurd and put two foot extensions and see virtually everything but it's stupid looking and not really required for safety reasons.


I can understand why some want to see directly behind because you can do that in a car but a motorcycle is not a car.
 

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On the v-rod I can see much better into the lanes next to me. With the extenders on the street it is similar.

I do agree though, you should be stopped behind cars on one side or the other so if the car in front of you gets rear ended you aren't the meat in the sandwich so to speak.
 

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i think the reason the mirrors don't stick out so far, so that it is less likely to smack them on the cars you pass by when filtering to the front of traffic queue.

otherwise, it's normal for a Harley bike to have at least one glaringly crappy stock part so you'll take a look thru their parts catalog
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I found that, I tend to move my seating position while riding. I just naturally move my body enough to get a better view in the mirrors.
I've always done that as well on all of the different sizes of motorcycles I've been on and the fact that it comes so naturally is probably the reason I didn't find anything wrong with the mirrors on the Street. When someone mentioned that they had a "rear view" problem on the Street I scratched my head and thought, "What the **** are they talking about?" because it was something I hadn't experienced personally. I'd just been naturally shifting my body just like I'd been doing for the last 45 years. It took me awhile to figure out their problem.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On the v-rod I can see much better into the lanes next to me. With the extenders on the street it is similar.

I do agree though, you should be stopped behind cars on one side or the other so if the car in front of you gets rear ended you aren't the meat in the sandwich so to speak.
Most of my riding is back country or highway riding where what's behind me isn't even a consideration. I know others spend more time riding in the city but even then there's little you can do if someone's going to rear end you. It's not like it would be a good idea to pull into oncoming or cross traffic to avoid being hit from behind. I'm going to ask one of the safety course instructors about this.
 

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That's what the instructor told us. Pull up to one side or the other and give yourself an escape route. I.e. between the car in front of you and the car next to it. It eventually becomes habit. Of course if you are first at the light there's not much you can do. But if you are offset it at least gives them somewhere to crash into other than a motorcycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Something else I noticed on a ride I took last week is that I typically check my mirrors for traffic behind when I'm in a gradual turn on the highway. That puts the road behind me directly in my mirror because it's not directly behind me in the turn. As I previously mentioned the vast majority of my riding is in the country as opposed to the city and winding roads are always my favorite roads so I've adapted to them over many years of riding.
 

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I found that, I tend to move my seating position while riding. I just naturally move my body enough to get a better view in the mirrors.

I do the same, but I'm a lot smaller than most of these riders. But I have also just added bar end mirrors (which I find makes everything too tiny, but I can finally see all around me) but kept the stock mirrors, too. The combination of both works for me, as I wouldn't be happy with either of them on their own. I thought it would look odd, but I kind of like it and just went with it.
 

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I do the same, but I'm a lot smaller than most of these riders. But I have also just added bar end mirrors (which I find makes everything too tiny, but I can finally see all around me) but kept the stock mirrors, too. The combination of both works for me, as I wouldn't be happy with either of them on their own. I thought it would look odd, but I kind of like it and just went with it.
Ycbrewster, that’s a nice option.
 
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