Is mercifully over and the results are in… 87 starters, 75 finishers, riding 8000 to over 12,000 miles in 11 days. That’s getting close to a million mile test of rider and motorcycle, and produces data big enough to break into the realm of statistical significance. Time to mine said data!

Despite riding thousand miles days but three minor accidents occurred in this near million miles of riding, and all involved the same rider… Sorry, safety nazis! This continues the Iron Butt rally’s excellent safety record, with but one fatal accident in 20 years and around ten million miles of rallies, a rider who hit a deer while violating the rally’s helmets required rules. And that exemplary safety record was achieved on all kinds of roads and in some truly miserable weather at times.

Consumer Reports pretty well predicts most of the DNFs- Two BMW K bikes, one new with a computer system that refused to allow the stater to reliably work and yet another final drive flameout on an older K bike… You’d think BMW would have fixed that all too frequent failure by now! Of the mere eight or so Harleys entered, one of course surrendered it’s electrical functions to the tropical rains… Given their normal environment, waterproofing must not be a high priority at the Motor Company. The only outlier was a 700 cc. Honda twin whose charging system failed on the last night of the rally- The industrious rider procured a big ol’ car battery at an all night WallyWorld, but that didn’t have enough juice to get him to the finish. One Kawasaki Concours suffered front end and wheel damage from hitting something in the road, but that don’t go in the mechanical failure category. The farkle failure rate was much higher, with many of those supposedly “waterproof” GPSs that riders spend hundreds extra for proving to be not so waterproof.

But the big takeaway from the ’15 Iron Butt is how dozens of riders spent $20k or more on fancy liter plus bikes and thousands more on multiple GPSs and tankbag mounted tablets, only to be joined in the finishers circle by riders mounted on a Harley Sportster that started the rally with over 100k miles on the clock, a two decade old airhead GS-PD, and even a 250 Ninja that turned 100k miles on the rally… Is nothing sacred? To add insult to injury, the airhead’s rider was seen using paper maps, and the 250 Ninja didn’t even have the usual auxiliary fuel tank… But at 70 MPG, who needs one? The Sportster needed a brake repair and the airhead a new starter, but with no vast expanses of “tupperware” in the way, said repairs barely delayed their riders. Heck, the airhead rider even stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire on the way in to the finish!

So if you’ve a hankerin’ to see the country on 2 wheels but have been holding off ’til the budget allows a new big touring bike, delay no further… If yet another airhead, a high mileage Sportster, and now no less than three Ninjettes have finished the Iron Butt, with a little prep a $2000 beater bike can get you ’round the country if not world… What are you waiting for?

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