MEDIA MYTHOLOGY

Published by Editor on June 10th, 2011 - in FEATURES

You can rest assured that a few oft repeated maxims will keep intruding – as you sit on your throne,  undertaking a leisured trawl through the pages of whatever motorcycle orientated publication you favour during your few stolen minutes of peace and solitude.

Right now, a number of lazy, ill considered judgements just keep on cropping up.  Recognise any of these?

1)  THE WEIGHT DISAPPEARS AS SOON AS YOU ARE ON THE MOVE.

No, it doesn’t. Take two otherwise identical machines, differing only in kerb weight. Given the same rider, the lighter one will always permit higher corner speeds: Newtonian physics is still in gainful employment here on Earth. And higher corner speed potential increases the available fun factor. What is particularly pernicious about this misinformed observation is its lazy complicity regarding the alarming trend for producing heavier and heavier bikes, especially those originating from the big four. Big being the operative word.

2)  OLDER SPORTSBIKES MAKE BRILLIANT ROAD BIKES / ARE BRILLIANT SPORTS TOURERS / ARE MORE COMFORTABLE  etc etc.

There’s nothing like a massive generalisation to help a lazy journo state his case, and right now we are all supposed to be hunting down old Fireblades and ZX9s on the strength of such pronouncements. The fact that older sportsbikes often entail a lower seat with a longer stretch to the bars (ie all Blades up to the 954) is conveniently ignored. The fact they also tend to have a longer wheelbase, tired suspension, and generally feel like two bikes welded together by comparison with more recent incarnations, also gets written out of the rose tinted script.  The other much trumpeted cliche is that the old skool representatives generally make ‘usable power’ in a more liberal way.  The problem is that while a standard 1998 R1 produces useful grunt downstairs, all current litre sportsbikes potentially make more, even if in some cases (like the misunderstood 2011 ZX10) the gearing needs sorting or tighter emissions regs need bypassing. We’re massively in favour of cheap old bikes vs megabucks but overstating the case helps no one.  If you’re going to suffer the inevitable privations and compromises that go with any sportsbike on the road,  you might as well enjoy the many benefits that recent design brings to the party.

3)   I DON’T BOTHER WITH ROAD RIDING ANYMORE

To be fair, this damning piece of self incrimination is often a straight quote from an individual at an ‘exclusive’ owners track day, although it may also be heard falling from the lips of wealthy  aficionados as they relax in the motor home at any given circuit…

The whole point of motorcycles is spontaneity. Early on a summer morning, or very late on a moonlit August night, there is everything you want from motorcycling at the ready, whenever you choose, and free from deluded individuals obsessed with knocking half a second off a modest lap time.  The choice may be more prosaic – it could be a dull Novemeber afternoon – but it’s precisely the element of freshness, of the unknown, of the feeling that made you get on a bike in the first place which is always available, 24/7, to the road rider. It’s there, now. Imagine sacrifcing that potential on the bonfire of the vanities. Nope, we can’t either. Track days are an addition to the repertoire, not a replacement.

If you spot any crass, hubristic assertions which need to be outed in a more critical (and amusing) context, we’d be happy to give them an airing. Sign in below..

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