Editor’s note: Finally. The definitive discussion about the merits and myths of motorcycle bragging rights. OK, let’s get real. This two-part blog post is not going to bring these two opposing foes to any kind of accord. This isn’t the United Nations by any stretch of the imagination. But it promises to be fun and, and the very least, it enables our two protagonists to let off some steam. Patrick Garvin will present today’s “New” bike argument. Tomorrow’s “Old” bike counterpoint will be offered up by Kody Wisner. Gentlemen: Start your blog posts!
New school rules; old school drools (By Patrick Garvin)
The debate’s been raging since the dawn of time, whether it’s a dad shooting baskets on the driveway court with his son, or arguing with your buddies about who’s better — Slash or Hendrix.
Old school or new school; which side of the fence are you on? Even as I write this I can see some of you puffing your chests out and saying “There’s no school like the old school.” But when the rubber meets the road and it comes down to actually riding your bike across the state, I see you “old school” guys rollin’ down the road on a Street Glide.
As we continue to explore this debate, all I’m asking you to do is look at this as a one-shot deal: You have to pick one. You don’t get to have the best of both worlds. Now, let’s break this thing down into some categories so we can see the overall scope of things.
Motor/Fuel Delivery: Today’s motors are far superior to the old power plants of yesteryear, and I don’t care about the configuration of the motor. Today’s Twin Cam and Evo (and, no, Evo motors aren’t old school — yet) easily make more power in stock configuration than an old Shovel or Panhead. And don’t even try it in the aftermarket department. A 124-inch Evo or Twin Cam will bring on the pain when it comes to asphalt tearing power and arm-stretching torque.
Now let’s turn to mileage. I dare say a Twin Cam motor will last twice as many miles as a Shovelhead. And as far as efficiency and ease of tuning are concerned, the fuel-injected motors in today’s bike are light years ahead of the old carbs. Case in point: Let’s say you take a trip from your house at 1,000 feet elevation to Sturgis where you’re tooling around at 5,000 feet or so. Your trusty carb is going to have to be dismantled on the side of the road while you guess what jet you should use (assuming you have extra jets with you). On the other hand, your fuel-injected ride can be adjusted in a bunch of ways by simply touching a button. Better yet, if it’s running a closed-loop system, it’ll automatically adjust for you.
Brakes: Now let’s say you actually get one of these old school bikes up to speed. At some point, you’re going to have to stop it. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a set of four-piston calipers biting steel rotors than rely on those wing-and-a-prayer antiques known as drum brakes.
Frame/Suspension: First of all suspension has come a long way in the last 40-plus years, mainly because they actually have them on bikes now. Yeah, that hardtail looks super cool in the bar parking lot, but after 250 hard miles of secondary twisty highways, I bet that old bike don’t seem so cool. And you can keep that Springer. I’ll keep my fluid filled front fork set up as I blast through corners, not to mention the weight savings over the Springer.
So let’s keep it real. Before you go boasting about how “old school” you are, sit back and think about it for a bit. When it comes time to go ripping through the corners with your buddies or to take that road trip, which set of keys are you really going to reach for?
Don’t forget to read Kody Wisner’s response tomorrow. Same time, same blog!