® People are funny

People are funny. And people who depend on the advice they read on most powersports user forums, places where for the most part the idealogy and whims of a few self-proclaimed experts are canonized and regarded as inviolate, no matter how wrong, are the funniest. Peculiar, really. Nonsensical.

It is rare for example that when among my customers I promote Sta-Bil fuel preservative, the single most important thing you can do to your old Honda, that people don’t react as though they think I have a financial stake in the recommendation. Sure, they have heard of the stuff but they don’t know anyone who uses it. Thus they view me in my old age as desperately living off product endorsements or something equally inane. Or worse, that I am some really senile old bastard drooling into my Malt-O-Meal and wandering around in bunny slippers muttering, “Sta-Bil, Sta-Bil”. What else could they be thining? The same with silicone brake fluid, possibly the second most important thing for vintage Hondas that see so little use that their brakes are constantly in a bad state. That the vintage community is largely ignorant of the benefit of silicone fluid is frankly astonishing, incomprehensible. How can one look at his disassembled caliper and not wonder if something can’t be done to prevent that insidious corrosion? The vintage car people know it, why don’t the vintage Honda crowd, whose uniquely aluminum parts are even more at risk?

Ditto Marvel Mystery Oil. What a scam that is! Haven’t any of the users of that stuff read the ingredients list online? According to a National Transportation Safety Board post aircraft accident investigation published in 2003, the Marvel Mystery Oil used in the subject airplane was found to be composed of 74 percent mineral oil, 25 percent stoddard solvent (high flashpoint parts cleaning solvent), and 1 percent lard, which comes close enough to the company’s 2015 safety data sheet which omits the lard and adds less than 1 percent benzene compounds. So, adulterated baby oil. Yeah, I want that in my bike! Not! Why is there such a huge disconnect between people who have been in the industry all their lives and the more vocal forum members? Don’t people have common sense any more?

The first-gen Honda V4 crowd is uniquely lemming-like and the most perplexing. In response to the very best advice you can get regarding the historic camshaft failure in these engines to have Megacycle or Webcam remanufacture the cams and followers—the only permanent fix and one in stark contrast to powersports media’s insistence on oiling system modifications—the V4 forums’ folks have accused me of being a shill for one or both of those companies. I had to read that online attack several times before my brain would accept it, it’s so breathtakingly stupid. In addition to camshaft manufacturers offering the very best solution to vintage Honda multicylinder engine rebuilding in regard to their long-discontinued and fast-wearing camshafts, their hardening and regrinding service for the early V4 cams and followers is the only intelligent fix for these bikes’ cam deterioration problems, and their SOHC four stock grind cams are virtually mandatory when rebuilding those models. Not performance cams, just stock spec replacements. And they make a difference.

On the subject of charging system testing so many think nothing of measuring discharge in amps but charge in volts. Where is the logic in that? This one resulted in my being disenfranchized on a forum. Mind-boggling. Premium gas, sanding brake pads in attempts to eliminate squeal, aftermarket fork seals, virtually aftermarket anything--gaskets, keyswitches, fork seals, ad infinitum. Also pressure-washing, honing in-service engine cylinders, downplaying the importance of cylinder compression--the Internet is rife with bad advice, and just plain nonsense.

And then the ethanol thing. Believe what you want about ethanol and corrosion, the truth is carbs corrode even in its absence. But to blame ethanol for modern gasoline’s historically unprecedented gelling and brief shelf life? That just doesn’t make sense. And worse, it ignores the facts. Again, has social media destroyed peoples’ brains? Is YouTube now the final authority? And why hasn’t the body of knowledge regarding ethanol on the inside of the industry trickled down to the end user? Even a little? No voice of technical authority in powersports contributes to this uninformed babble. There’s the mystery.

Yes, people are funny. We all have our pet beliefs, our preferences and prejudices, the views and conclusions resulting from our experiences, environments and influences. That’s what makes us human, organic, and frankly--fragile. And we’re entitled to that humanness. To use an outdated phrase, opinions are what make horse races, a trite saying that nonetheless communicates something interesting—that all opinions are equally valid until the cold reality of “the wire”. But social media, instead of being a force for good in humanity that acts like that wire in codifying and authenticating opinions, and in the process becoming the clearing house for best practice that everyone assumes it is, is instead observed to be a bad force, one that polarizes while it pretends to build community, estranges while seeming to consensualize, ignorantly pontificating in the name of reliable advice. Its promise of bringing people together has failed. The result is that career industry professionals like myself have become anachronisms, doddering old fools out of touch with the trends, unwelcome on forums, discounted and disbelieved and disrespected by the social media masses. Virtually all of the truly significant members of the powersorts community are absent on forums. That’s the hidden scandal no one talks about. To forums they’re the funny ones, the oddballs. It’s Orwellian. It’s ironically and blatantly antisocial. And it unfortunately isn’t all that funny.

Last updated February 2024
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