Hot Bike - - Soapbox -

Write for a mo­tor­cy­cle magazine? Come on—child­hood dreams, ca­reer goals, dream job? Think for a minute what it’s like to be the guys who must pack the pages of this pub­li­ca­tion to please the minds and spir­its of all you in­cred­i­ble read­ers. Mo­tor­cy­cles are about as per­sonal as mu­sic tastes, re­li­gion, and po­lit­i­cal pref­er­ence. To please the masses is a daunt­ing and monthly oc­cur­rence. One bike has too big of a wheel, this bike looks like all other bikes in its cat­e­gory, this bike can only be rid­den for 43 miles at a time due to its tank size, etc. The end­less crit­i­cism is peak­ing lately. Let’s take a walk down mem­ory lane and ex­plore that thought.

It’s a fact that we were not all lucky enough to en­ter this life with mo­tor­cy­cle lineage—gen­er­a­tions of two-wheeled tra­di­tion, where fam­ily me­mories wreaked of bean oil pre­mix and race gas, and plas­tic sinks with car­bu­re­tors strewn about, a never-end­ing project men­tal­ity taught as a life­style. Those el­e­ments were the purest of Amer­i­cana for many life­time mo­tor­cy­clists. As we grow older, it means more. As we grow older, we grow qui­eter on pref­er­ence and larger than life on me­mories and at­tempt to pass it down to our chil­dren the way it was shown to us.

Let’s rewind 10 to 15 years. The mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try was in­tro­duced to a time pe­riod where ex­ces­sive spend­ing and life­style pur­chases were prac­ti­cally hu­man na­ture. Raked out and 350mmtire equipped, the chop­per craze brought on rid­ers who were new to mo­tor­cy­cles al­to­gether, and in a lot of in­stances, once it was gone, a lot of those rid­ers would never be rid­ers again. This was a time of mon­u­men­tal judg­ing, bit­ter­ness, and sep­a­ra­tion, as very per­sonal styles were ex­plored and we all learned a valu­able les­son: Just be­cause it hasn’t been done be­fore, does not mean that it needs to be.”

Present day we have ex­pe­ri­enced an in­cred­i­ble in­flux in Amer­i­can V-twin mo­tor­cy­cles, and the cus­tom game is climb­ing to in­cred­i­ble heights cur­rently. Big sus­pen­sion, big en­gine, big brakes, wrapped up in show-wor­thy paint. That recipe right now is on point. That recipe has brought to­gether and brought out so many new and tal­ented young peo­ple, all while pre­serv­ing some in­dus­try vet­er­ans and in­dus­try leg­ends as well. The rise of per­for­mance-based and very ride­able and us­able bikes right now is a very real leap that is para­mount to an in­dus­try re­cov­er­ing slowly from mas­sive in­flux and dras­tic down­turn. That’s the truth that the peo­ple be­hind the coun­ters, be­hind the CNC ma­chines, and on their feet next to a lift all day know and have lived, while now serv­ing all of you.

So at this point you’re likely think­ing, “Come on, Danny. What’s with this emo­tional roller coaster and time ma­chine jour­ney you’re tak­ing me on here?” This is the point. When it’s eas­i­est to join into the fun that is mo­tor­cy­cles, it’s wide open and vul­ner­a­ble. It gets filled with new rid­ers, who are wel­comed with arms wide open, and with the power of so­cial me­dia, an uptick is opin­ions and sep­a­ra­tion oc­curs nat­u­rally. Life­time mo­tor­cy­clists will tell you they could have fun on any­thing with two wheels, or they have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for some­thing in ev­ery cat­e­gory of vin­tage Har­ley-david­sons, per­for­mance-based baggers, club-style Dy­nas, and FXRS.

Re­mem­ber this and don’t ever for­get it. Mo­tor­cy­cles are free­dom. The ride is pos­si­bly the only risk I will take daily, know­ing my life is on the line and can sep­a­rate my life from my wife and kids. That’s a real sce­nario and truth I face, but the sup­port­ing truth and re­al­ity is that there is noth­ing else on this planet that can give me that same feel­ing. There is noth­ing else in the world that car­ries the me­mories for me of my fam­ily her­itage and the times I spent with my fa­ther. I can’t re­mem­ber my grad­u­a­tion or my first kiss, but I could tell you ev­ery dif­fer­ent place I rode dirt bikes with my pops, what he was rid­ing, or what it was like the first time I rode on the free­way on a V-twin.

There’s his­tory in all of these parts, his­tory in all of these shops, and his­tory be­ing made in these pages. Let’s pre­serve them. Open your mind to ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­thing that is mo­tor­cy­cles rather than fo­cus­ing on just one. HB


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