As part of my duties at J&P Cycles, I get to travel the country attending various rallies and races within the motorcycle community. And I’ve noticed a trend that didn’t take me long to recognize, nor did it require any super human observatory powers on my part. In fact, I’m pretty sure anybody who’s been on a bike for a while or attended his or her fair share of bike shows has seen this.
For lack of a better term, let’s call it motorcycle prejudice. This syndrome takes its form in a lack of understanding and tolerance between one motorcycle culture and another.
The American V-twin crowd looks down its nose at the Metric cruisers about “riding rice.” The metric guys refer to the Harley guys as owners of overpriced machines that fall apart. And both sides have a problem with the crazies on the crotchrockets. Then there are the dirt bikers who aren’t even considered motorcyclists by some.
Here’s my question: Why on earth would you think better of yourself and less of someone else based on the type of bike they ride? And please don’t bring up that tired argument about bikes being “made in the U.S.A.” That sentiment falls on deaf ears when you consider that most so-called American-made parts are produced overseas, and some metrics are made right here in the “good old U.S. of A.”
There are many Goldwings that have “Made in the U.S.A.” stamped right on the motor. Besides, how many of the people standing on the “Made in the U.S.A. soapbox” are driving an import car. For that matter, how many guys who claim they don’t ride Harleys for maintenance reasons drive old Chevy trucks?
My point is this: Why limit yourself? There are so many incredibly cool machines out there. Why would anyone want to restrict themselves to one style of bike? With the incredible technology available in the sportbike market, you can get year-old machines that have better set-ups than MotoGP bikes of a decade ago. And the Motor Factory in Milwaukee seems to be upgrading and tweaking its product year after year. Gone are the days of a 20,000-mile HD that marks its spot in the garage. And Metric cruisers and Goldwings are some of the smoothest-running bike on the road — and they make surprising power to boot.
Believe it or not, I was recently introduced to the world of dirt bikes and now I’m hooked! In fact, I’m beginning to believe that there may be no more exciting way to ride a motorcycle. Ducati has a rich history and puts out an incredible product with as much swagger as any manufacturer out there. And we haven’t even talked about all the old café racer and chopped hardtails that you can pick up on eBay for a song. CB750s, XS650s — the list goes on and on.
I’m not saying you should change what you ride. Just expand your horizons a bit. All I ask is the next time you are a rally or local watering hole, don’t snub the guy next to you just because he’s not riding the same iron as you. Go over and check it out. You just might like it.