We do our fair share of traveling here at J&P. In part, it’s to spread bad-to-the-bone motorcycle parts across the globe, but we also have the opportunity to meet great people and see a ton of unbelievable bikes. What I’ve noticed recently in my personal travels for J&P Cycles is that styles of motorcycles tend to be regional in nature. And while there is no hard and fast rule about this, I’ve discovered that the bikes you see can often determine the region of the country you’re in.
Take the West Coast, for example. Out there, you have Dynas and FXR’s with tall T-bars tucked behind café fairings, sporting two-into-one pipes and tall suspensions in the back. Slammed Road Glides roll across the desert with short ape hangers, long bags and big motors. You see guys geared up in helmets and facemasks and clad in leather vests and jackets to combat the extremes of the desert climate. The bikes tend to move in packs and — much like their riders — have a hard edge to them. The West Coast attitude clearly shines through in the motorcycle culture.
The South is a different story. You spot a lot more sportbikes, long and low Busa’s, custom-painted zx14’s and blingin’ R1’s patrolling the streets of Daytona. The V-Twins have a style all their own — more of a pro-street style with long and low lines normally sporting a wide tire on the back with chrome dripping off every imaginable part. And the paint is normally a mind-blowing mural of some sort that probably cost more than my entire bike. The South is about swagger, the trickest of the trick, air suspension and single-sided swingarms. These machines are built to strut and roll slow down a sunny main street.
The bikes of the North and Midwest take on more of a no-nonsense approach that reflects their blue-collar background. Bikes are purposeful, built to ride with function over form. Baggers built for the long haul, “keys and a seat” type Softails and hotrod Sportsters blast across the landscape like they’re on a mission. The custom bike scene is a “run what ya brung” culture with lightweight, hand-fabricated Shovels, Pans, CB750’s XS650’s and everything in between. They carry an Indian Larry grease monkey mentality where chrome and high-dollar paint is about as necessary as a screen door on a submarine. From New York to the sprawling Midwest plains, these guys are all about a handful of throttle.
When you finally get to crawl out of your winter hibernation, climb back in the saddle and hit the road for your favorite rally. See if what I surmise is correct. Take a look around and enjoy the smorgasbord of two-wheeled bounty from all corners of the country.