So when did we become so picky? Comfort, performance, handling and all that. If you look back over the years and think about how far technology has brought the motorcycle then sure, be picky. Analog speedo and tach. Big neutral, turn-signal and high beam indicator lights. Waffle grips. Rubber covered foot pegs…no, the other kind that were huge and slippery. Kick starters and chain and sprockets on everything. Tail lights? Bigger the better, right? Turn signals as big as your fist and steel fenders. Reliability? Forget about it. Wow.
But picky we can be. Who needs sleek and colorful? It didn’t matter back then because we were focused on other issues, like “one down and four up” kinda things. Windshields? I don’t think so. Fuel mileage-Who needs it? Proper gear? No thanks, I’ll wear my flannel shirt, work gloves and line-man lace up boots. And where did I put my bubble face shield? Sure, we’ve come a long way since those days and I really don’t ever want to go back. But every time I catch myself complaining about this thing or that on my motorcycle, I stop and ask myself what is it that I really have to complain about?
After all, life is good when it comes to the modern motorcycle. Think about it, if we were out riding today on those hideous motorcycles we were riding thirty years ago, we would still be out there riding for the fun of it. We just didn’t know any better. Electric motorcycles? Why not? If you would have told me in 1979 that in the future…you know, 2013, that there would be not just one, but several electric motorcycles on the market today, I would have called you crazy. And here we are in the future, electric motorcycles and all.
So we have a several things going on here. Fun versus function, and style versus boring. We ride because it’s fun but we appreciate the transformation of kick-start to electric start, carburetor to fuel injection and so forth. We appreciate the styling and a creative use of materials on modern bikes instead of using a blacksmith to hammer out steel side-covers. Who couldn’t use of couple of extra pounds on their motorcycle where it’s not needed?
So next time I’m riding my Road King, I will consciously put out the effort to say what I “like” about it instead of what I “dislike” about it. Or maybe I’ll just think back to 1977 and how my bell bottom pants leg got chewed up in my chain and sprocket.