FROM ROOTS TO FU­TURE

Motorcyclist - - In This Issue - —Zack Courts

where do we draw the line, I won­der, be­tween her­itage and nos­tal­gia? Or be­tween state-of-the-art and avant-garde? The whole idea of, “you can’t know where you’re go­ing un­til you know where you’ve been,” is one that we grap­ple with reg­u­larly here at the mag­a­zine, con­stantly aware that Mo­tor­cy­clist has deep roots as well as a present obli­ga­tion in the mo­tor­cy­cling com­mu­nity, both of which de­serve at­ten­tion.

This type of strug­gle is rep­re­sented per­fectly in this is­sue’s Shift sec­tion, with pho­tos from The Hand­built Mo­tor­cy­cle Show. New bikes dressed to look old, vin­tage bikes built to be fu­tur­is­tic, form over func­tion and func­tion over form, mixed and shaken and poured into the same ware­house in down­town Austin, Texas. Pris­tine and pol­ished alu­minum. Di­lap­i­dated plas­tic. All in the name of… well, who knows? Pay­ing homage to the past? Break­ing new ground? Why not both?

In light of this year’s resur­gence of In­dian in flat-track com­pe­ti­tion, the ini­tial hey­day of In­dian flat-track dom­i­nance is re­counted on page 64. Con­text is key here—af­ter all, there has to be an orig­i­nal surge in order to resurge. The lin­eage of RR su­per­bikes from Honda that Mitch Boehm and I dis­cuss on page 76 is ar­guably the op­po­site. Rather than two splashes of suc­cess sep­a­rated by 65 years, Big Red’s RR sport­bikes have had 25 years of stead­fast evo­lu­tion, each stage of which has been an­a­lyzed and doc­u­mented in the pages of this mag­a­zine over the years. And so the past and present blend—as they do in Brody Cox’s ex­plo­ration of vin­tage hel­mets, Ju­lia La­palme’s retro-leather jacket re­view, and Ari Hen­ning ’s in­ter­view with an air­brush artist.

In the fu­ture, maybe the stunt rider from Joe Gresh’s last-page col­umn will be a leader of the in­dus­try. Or maybe we’ll be scram­bling across the skele­tons of our cities like we did rid­ing the two-wheel-drive KTM pro­to­type on page 58. I say in each and ev­ery case we will be look­ing back from the fu­ture at the past, and what we have learned, with an eye to mak­ing things bet­ter while pay­ing trib­ute to our legacy as mo­tor­cy­clists. As it should be.

Two ma­chines, frozen in a mo­ment. Noth­ing shows progress quite like rid­ing two bikes—de­signed 25 years apart—on the same day.

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