Thursday, August 9, 2007

Torn Between Form & Function - Ultra Classic vs Scooter

I'm torn between form and function. Being a practical man, I love basic bare bones function. The favorite cage I ever owned was a Jeep Wrangler for that very reason. No carpet to get muddy, everything had a purpose, no fluff, no frills, transportation. That's what I like. But when it comes to motorcycles, that's when things get complicated.

I love the big twins, loaded with chrome, leather, saddlebags and conchos. If I could afford it I might be riding one of those. But the practical guy inside me says my Sportster if fine. It serves it's purpose well and looks good too.

Practical, functional, utilitarian, that's me. Why then the conflict with bikes? I don't know, maybe some primeval leftover in our thought process tells us bigger and flashier is better. Maybe it's an instinctive need to attract the opposite sex by flaunting our virility and the opposite sex falls for it. I have no such feelings about driving a small car or truck though, why motorcycles? Something about bikes makes me identify with them more than any other object ever honed out of steel.

I look at the extreme. The Kawasawki KLR is supremely practical except it sits a little high. It has what it needs to serve it's purpose and has a reliable engine and is good on gas. It's no show stopper for sure but the beauty lies in it's utilitarianism. If one wants to include scooters in this discussion then they would take the prize for extreme function.

The other extreme would be those huge machines bristling with passing lamps, radar detectors, GPS units, windshields, bags and stereos. A Honda Gold Wing or Harley Ultra Classic comes to mind.

Maybe I would be content if I had all the bases covered. A Harley big twin, a basic scooter and my trusty Sportster for the middle. Yep, that's it. Or is it? Nope, that wouldn't be practical either, owning 3 bikes. Sure would be fun though!

See the adventure documentary Long Way Round. 2 Men, 2 Bikes, 20,000 miles.

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