Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ride 'em Don't Hide 'em!

Two pieces in two separate motorcycle magazines, related only because they both referenced Vincent motorcycles got me thinking today.

One was all about the history of this one particular specimen. (Apparently, there are some avid Vincent enthusiasts out there who archive every detail they can about every bike the company made). It goes on about an American and his quest to own a Vincent, then the current owner's quest to obtain it. It was a pretty interesting article, but I won't go into details, mainly because I haven't bothered to get any authorization from the author or the magazine. Anyway, decades after the original owner parked the bike for his last time and covered it with a tarp, it was bought, and brought back to life. The decision was made to leave it as is, with the original tires and everything. Now, I respect not wanting to tart it up and try to make it look like it just rolled off the dealership floor. But the sad thing, which really upsets me, is that there is NO intention of riding it. Blah, blah, blah... need to preserve blah blah blah ... future generations ... yada yada yada...

Come on, by my estimate (which is based on absolutely no real information), approximately one quarter of all Vincents ever made are being "preserved for future generations to appreciate". Fuck that. It's a motorcycle! Ride the damn thing or sell it to someone who will. It wasn't designed and manufactured to be preserved. It's a machine, and taken out of its context, it loses its identity. It becomes statuary. If you want a sculpture of a motorcycle, hire a sculptor; it's probably cheaper than buying and restoring a Vincent anyway.

The other was a letter in another magazine, referring to a previous issue. This other magazine had run an article on Falcon Motorcycles, who created a sweet custom bike based on a Vincent. The letter writer was offended that the builders would desecrate what he considered to be some holy grail of motorcycle perfection by modifying it. Guess what, dude? People have been modifying motorcycles since the dawn of motorcycle time. Hell, the existence of motorcycles is owed to people modifying bicycles!

Again - a bike is not a relic, it's not a museum piece - there are plenty of those already. If you have an antique, ride the damn thing or sell or give it to someone who will. I can understand not making it a daily rider due to reliability, comfort or parts availability issues, but don't turn your garage or living room into a shrine.

I understand some folks want to hold things like antique motorcycles sacred, but let's be honest: sacred cows make the best burgers. Anyone hungry?


  1. gypsy pa-bon (not good)October 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    I have to agree with riding it and not hiding it. It belongs on the road, not in a museum.

  2. Thank you for reading, brother. Tires were made for asphalt, not carpet, eh?

  3. Great perspective ... I owned #800 FXDB, the first generation of HD Dyna Glides, i.e., a model called "Sturgis". It sat in my living room for a couple of years until I couldn't stand it any longer. I rode it to Laughline, to Sturgis and across the USA from ocean to ocean and back. I loved seeing it sit in my living room but I loved the 50K miles I put on it more. Yes, it devalued in price but the pure joy I got from ridingIves till gives me memories that are priceless!

  4. See? That's what bikes are for. If you want a return on your "investment", call a broker. Speaking of 50,000 miles, I'm about to hit that point on my bike. It was four years old when I bought it and only had 21555 miles. I'm pushing 71K right now - less than a grand away from 50K of my own. Oh, and by the way, this bike was only sold ONE YEAR in this configuration.