Riding Down the Tubes

This is just a depressed observation on the state of the motorcycle industry, media, and the economy that was inspired by this month's Cycle World. The first inkling that this might not be an issue I’d put in my archives came at the end of the gushing review of the $15,000 H-D Wide Glide. I skipped the article because I have no more interest in what anyone thinks of another Hardly hippobike than I have in the terrified whining wisdom of the ClusterFox characters. For some reason, I did skim over the “Editors’ Notes” and Edward’s comments reminded me of why I try not to read this stuff. The Wide Glide wasn’t noisy enough for him he wanted it to have “Louder pipes, too, though not obnoxiously so.”

Douche. Anything louder than legal is “obnoxiously so.” These damn things already get a welfare noise check from the EPA to keep them in business. If you need more noise than that, you’re suffering from 15-year-old girl insecurities. Rubrubrub, to you too dude.

CW followed that up with a “customizing” of the $14,000 Honda Fury that took a geek bike and turned it into a really noisy over-weight piece of crap that only a character like Dave Edwards would think is “cool.” This silly-assed customization job removed the license plate (completely, now you can only ride your bike in your own driveway), replaced the legal pipes with straight pipes, polished up the aluminum so that every weekend will need to be spent removing oxidation from the unprotected aluminum pieces, and shortened the fenders so that the bike will splatter crap all over the motor and rider. Of course, no one would ever consider riding something as silly as this in the rain, on a gravel road, or away from their manicured gated yuppie communities.

The only good thing about the article was the hilarious picture of Mr. Edwards posing on the Fury, looking as dorky as a stock broker on his way to the Hollywood Hard Rock Café for a designer beer and a plate full of Santa Fe spring rolls. All those shiny bits, including Dave’s half-helmet, reflecting Hollywood’s asphalt glory and the desiccated palm trees reminded me why I wanted out of California so badly. If I was dreading winter before, now I’m looking forward to the weather that “gets rid of the riffraff.” We don’t have a day mild enough to allow someone to ride a bike as useless as the Fury. As Dave says, "The $600 the polisher charges is us money well-spent." Holy crap. If that's well-spent money, I should be looking for the next Bernie Madoff to take care of my retirement funds.

Not that I like any part of the Fury, but the page 60 before-and-after picture left me with a little more respect for Honda's stylists. The finished "customized" Fury is a cluster of crap stuck together with lots of cash and Tijuana velvet painting taste. Another example of more money than sense.

It took me a lot longer than usual to read Kevin’s TDC column because of the ad for the Cycle World Vintage Memories Calendar on the adjacent page. I couldn’t get over the picture of the side-hack monkey with his chin a couple of inches off of the asphalt and his shoulder dragging on the ground. I’ve never seen anything like that. I’m not sure I’d want to see it as it happened. However, my eyes kept wandering to that picture as I tried to read about “twitchy monsters” and electronic throttle control circuitry. That is one sick picture.

Those were the good old days of motorcyclists and giant huevos (or little tiny brains). Today, the American motorcycle market is all about rich guys and their useless toys. If you aren't Jay Leno and don't want to own a barn full of bikes that you touch once a year, you aren't worth considering in this Timid New World. I guess this is all a prelude to turning motorcycles into dedicated recreational vehicles unfit for highway use and illegal on public roads outside of the occasional parade. It's hard for me to find a reason to be glad I'm old, but this gets close.

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