Form over Function

It should be obvious, I love motorcycles. I spend hours every week writing about them so clearly there must be some passion involved with them. Motorcycling is generally an act of passion, it’s too dangerous to be anything else. I’m OK with people buying bikes that look good, my wife and I do ride Ducati motorcycles after all. So I really can’t complain too much if someone wants to modify a bike to a certain aesthetic. However, there is a point that I feel people go to far. They change or add too much and end up with something that is no longer practical to ride. For me that is a crime, since the whole point of owning a motorcycle, the MAIN point of owning a motorcycle, is to ride it. To go places and see things on the back of it. That is certainly why I ride.

This trend of taking a perfectly good motorcycle and making it pretty (or cool or tough) is not new and I suppose it will continue despite me thinking it’s ridiculous.

Taking something like this:

A great starter Bike the Yamaha SR 400.

A great starter Bike the Yamaha SR 400.

and making into something like this…

Much nicer looking... worse to ride.

Much nicer looking… worse to ride.

Drives me nuts.

Let us look at what was done to this bike.
Someone took a bike that was fine, if a bit plain looking, and made it look good.  They put knobbly tires and drum brakes on it. They also moved the fender up, changed the seat and preformed some other cosmetic changes (paint etc.). Now it has less braking power and a plank as a seat. They also gave the poor Suzuki off road pretensions (high front fender and off road tires).

Now why do I think all of this is bad?
It sacrifices so much function for form, which is the problem. Taking a motorcycle that was plain, but perfectly functional and good at what is was and making it really good for nothing. It’s no longer going to be very good on the street with tires, brakes and a seat like that. The Tires and brakes affect handling and your ability to stop safely on the street, off road tires are for just that, and drum brakes increase your stopping distance. Both compromise your safety. So maybe they don’t plan on using on the street, they did give it those tires and moved the front fender. Sadly, it won’t be good for the dirt. With limited suspension travel and the low pipes it won’t be good for anything other than fire roads.

There are ways to do this sort of thing right. Taking a motorcycle and making it more focused is fine, sacrificing some utility for looks is also OK with me. Taking a motorcycle and making it good for nothing but looking at? Just to ride down to the coffee shop and show it off? I guess… if it’s your 3rd or 4th motorcycle, and you’ve got nothing better to do with your money. Otherwise, I think you’re missing the point… of being able to have fun.

Beautiful … but pointless.



About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
This entry was posted in motorcycle, Motorcycles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Form over Function

  1. rjbuxton says:

    I’m with you on this. People can pay their money and take their choice, but the ‘Cafe Racer’ culture is destroying some fine bikes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s