® The obsession with the superficial

I watched a video this morning of a guy sharing his top five favorite vintage motorcycles. It was disturbing. Conspicuously absent was consideration for how the bikes worked, their maintenance picture, their long-term durability. Instead it was all about the styling and the exhaust sound. The exhaust sound! Ironically, his number one choice was a bike whose crankshaft twisted, cams chewed themselves up, cooling system failed causing massive engine overheating, and counterbalancers fragged. To be fair, a list of mechanical glitches such as these could probably be made of most vintage bikes. So that could be overlooked. But stop and think. Best because of the sound of the exhaust? Is this how motorcyclists think?

If so it explains a lot of what is wrong with this industry, and really with society. The obsession with the superficial. We let manufacturers get away with selling motorcycles the way timeshares and chocolate bars are sold--with the emphasis on the sizzle, the allure--envy and lust and discontent. We should be holding powersports OEMs' feet to the fire to actually develop and improve a model over time, after first making sure it is good to start with, so that it actually gets better and not simply more glamorous, evocative and exciting. I'm afraid common sense is dead, replaced with the sensational, the titallating. No one thinks today. They only feel. They only experience. Obsession such as this spells the end of civilization.

Last updated February 2024
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