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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Factory customs?

I am really struggling with my feelings on new bikes. I don't want to come across as one of those guys that constantly say...in my day we did this and we did that to our bikes, but it's getting that way.
Harley and victory have a line of factory customs--dark bikes I think. Really, what is custom about lots of black paint--flat at that. When I was a kid, when I was a teen, when was in my 20s, 30s you did what you wanted to do to your bike to make it yours.
Are we becoming such an instant society that we need our motorcycles customized for us? My last Harley , a dyna fxdxt, started out as a blank canvas. I made it into what I thought a sport touring bike bike should be. Better brakes, better suspension, much more powerful engine and then....I took off the majority of the black trim and added chrome and cool paint. There was no way anyone mistook my bike for another fxdxt.
I guess I am just a rambling fool today, but where is that with today's motorcycles? You buy a bike and it is exactly what you want--even my new Kawasaki concours...it's perfect. The most I could do to make it more mine was upgrade the seat and windshield so Marcia would be more comfortable. It's fast, handles great, stops great and looks pretty good. I could see painting it in the future...but even that would be forced...
Anyway..I am just rambling...but I sure hope the industry doesn't specialize itself right out of anyone doing their own thing to a bike....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feel like writing--new bikes are exciting--what about new riders

It has been a while since i felt like writing, but the mood is on me.  I have been caught up in how many great new bikes are out there.  It is amazing what some of the new machines will offer, the new ZX10, the Yamaha Tenere, the GSXRs are back!  it is just a great time to be a bike fan, and even better if you are a new bike shopper right now.

But, these new bikes are all big dollars--especially for a younger rider looking at coming into our world.  not that a new rider should buy a zx10...but it makes my point.  We are getting older and the newer riders seems tobe fewer and fewer.  Somehow we all need to make it OK to ride a 350 or a 500 and not make it a bad thing.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of used bikes out there that are perfect beginner bikes, we just have to help the kids understand they are cool too. 

I remember being 16 and drooling over my 1975 Suzuki TS 125--because it was my street transportation.  A two stroke 125 that had trouble going 70mph, but it was my ticket to freedom.  I graduated to the big leagues when i bought a GS400.  Two thundering cyclinders of four stroke magic meant i was able to go on rides anywhere.  That bike was competent enough to carry me and a passenger all day--anywhere.  It was also a UJM, so if i had to run down a dirt road to get to point B, it could handle it.  It was tiny and underpowered by todays standards, but it seemed to do everything i needed as a high school student. 

I am not sure the solution, but i know the problem is there.  We need to get more people riding and make them understand its cool to be on a bike--any bike--and maturing your riding skills as you increase bike size is the right way to do it.